As Trump Cedes Power Abroad, GOP Seeks To Seize Power In Wisconsin And Michigan
Another world stage, another embarrassing outing for Trump. Meanwhile, Republicans try their hand at undermining democracy in the Midwest.
Stories you might’ve missed:
1. This weekend’s G20 meeting went about as expected when it comes to the antics of President Trump. Heading into the meetings in Argentina, Trump canceled bilateral meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin and other leaders. This, Trump tweeted, was due to ongoing tensions between Russia and Ukraine over Russia’s seizure of Ukrainian ships. However, other tweets by Trump, seem to indicate that the real reason for the cancelation was Trump’s anger over developments in Mueller’s investigation. This was effectively confirmed by Press Secretary Sarah Sanders’ statement castigating the investigation.
Trump then went on to embarrass the US further on yet another national stage. There were the aesthetic guffaws, like his awkward walkout with Argentine President Mauricio Macri. Worse yet, there were the more technical ones, like international consensus on trade and climate change made without the US.
Even the one supposed “win” for Trump, a possible breakthrough in the trade war with China, lacked substance. The agreement made over the weekend is a good start, mainly a postponement of tariffs set to hit in January. However, promises to keep talking and for China to buy more American goods seem empty when considering Trump’s penchant for short-term photo ops rather than long-term negotiations.
In short, it was another exceptional performance by Trump on a world stage, and not in a good way.
2. Normally, when an incumbent is defeated in an election, they relinquish power to their opponents for the sake of a smooth democratic transition. Not so with the GOP, who are engaging in efforts to wrest power from statewide gubernatorial offices in Wisconsin and Michigan. The Republican legislatures there are spending their remaining days before the transitions introducing measures to hand more power to themselves and attempt to make future elections less fair. Rather than searching for the reasons they are losing the electorate’s trust, Republicans are resorting to authoritarian measures to cling to power.
3. While the G20 drew the most headlines, another important global meeting is also underway. The UN’s annual climate summit is taking place for the next 12 days in Katowice, Poland. While it may not be drawing as much attention, the conference is crucial to hammering down details to keep global warming below the levels agreed upon at the Paris summit in 2015 (you know, the one Trump pulled the US out of.) This includes stipulations on how to measure greenhouse gas emissions, who should do the measuring, and how to coordinate global efforts to do so.
It is very important that these talks go right, not least because, according to several recent reports, the target agreed upon in Paris may not be enough to prevent climate change’s worst effects. There were some positive signs, such as a commitment by the World Bank to invest $200 billion in climate change mitigation. This is a good first step, but one of many needed, towards resolving a major question: how will poor countries pay for climate change’s effects? Low-income countries stand to suffer disproportionately from increased droughts, floods, and other natural disasters brought upon by climate change, and will also become ever increasing contributors to emissions as they get richer. Rich countries, despite causing most of the damage to the world’s climate, are loath to provide aid while struggling to meet their own commitments. An agreement on this will not be easy.
4. France is providing a prime example of the struggle to meet climate change commitments. Its capital is currently experiencing a serious unrest over proposed price hikes on fuel by President Emmanuel Macron. What started as peaceful demonstrations by so-called “yellow vest” protestors turned into bouts of violence, vandalism, and arson, with over 100 injured. President Macron has been considering a state of emergency. The man who came in hoping to revitalize French politics needs to get the French public behind him first.
5. Former FBI Director James Comey will testify in front of Congress privately on Friday over the Bureau’s investigations into election tampering. Comey had wanted a public testimony, fearing leaking from the still GOP-held Judiciary Committee. A standoff with Republican lawmakers was looking like it would go to court, but an agreement for a private testimony followed by a public transcript 24 hours later resolved the matter. This is only one of the committee’s subpoenas, the other being for former attorney-general Loretta Lynch.
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