As the COVID-19 pandemic has spread across the globe, it’s demonstrated how different countries — with different political systems — have all dealt with a very similar challenge, and how the public has reacted in each country. To help put the United States’ experience in context, in this installment of the FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast we look at the political responses in both China and the European Union with University of Richmond political scientist Dan Chen and POLITICO Europe analyst Cornelius Hirsch.
You can listen to the episode by clicking the “play” button in the audio player above or by downloading it in iTunes, the ESPN App or your favorite podcast platform. If you are new to podcasts, learn how to listen.
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Greens face big challenges as COVID-19 transforms the political landscape – CBC.ca
The Green Party missed out on a golden opportunity in the 2019 federal election. The COVID-19 pandemic might rob it of another opportunity in 2020.
Poised for a historic breakthrough — at times running third in national polling, ahead of the New Democrats — the Greens made only modest gains in the last election. The party won just one more seat than it had going into the vote and increased its share of ballots cast to just 6.5 per cent, still lower than its best result in the 2008 election.
Now, with support for the federal Greens and their provincial cousins either stagnating or dropping as Canadians shift their concerns away from climate change toward the novel coronavirus pandemic and the economy it is gutting, the party faces significant challenges ahead.
Wednesday at 9 PM ET marks the deadline for nominations for the Green leadership race. As of Wednesday morning, there are six candidates officially in the running: Amita Kuttner, Dimitri Lascaris, David Merner, Glen Murray, Annamie Paul and Dylan Perceval-Maxwell.
Murray, a former Ontario Liberal cabinet minister, is the only candidate with elected experience, though all of the others have run for office under the Green Party banner at least once.
The candidates have until September to meet all eligibility requirements. The race is scheduled to conclude in October.
At the outset, the contest provided the Greens with an opportunity for renewal. Elizabeth May, who announced her resignation as leader in November, had been at the head of the party since 2006. But the pandemic has made it more difficult for the campaign to gain any traction.
It also has taken a toll on support for Green parties at both the federal and provincial levels.
Polls by the Angus Reid Institute and Léger published this week recorded national Green support at between five and seven per cent, virtually unchanged from where it was on election night. In British Columbia and Atlantic Canada, where the party holds its three seats, support was lower than it was in October.
The B.C. Green Party — which became the first Green Party in Canada to win multiple seats in an election when it took three in 2017 — had to postpone its own leadership race due to the pandemic. While polls suggest the party’s support is no higher than it was three years ago, the B.C. New Democrats under Premier John Horgan have opened up a wide lead over the B.C. Liberals; Horgan’s handling of the pandemic is getting high marks from British Columbians.
As partisanship drops, so does Maritime Green support
He’s not the only premier to experience a boost in support in recent weeks. Most premiers have — in part because the crisis has encouraged many of them to put partisanship aside and work collaboratively with other parties.
The desire for that kind of politics helped the Greens in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island make their big breakthroughs in the 2018 and 2019 elections in these provinces. But the pandemic seems to be sapping one source of the Greens’ political appeal by encouraging the governing parties to take a more cooperative, less partisan approach.
In New Brunswick, the latest Narrative Research poll found Blaine Higgs’s Progressive Conservatives leading with 48 per cent support, while the Greens trailed in third with 15 per cent. That is a drop of five percentage points for the New Brunswick Greens since February — and those are the kind of numbers that would give Higgs the majority government he was unable to win in 2018.
The poll found 41 per cent of New Brunswickers choosing Higgs as their preferred premier, an increase of 15 points since February. Green Leader David Coon fell four points to 14 per cent over that time.
In Prince Edward Island, where Peter Bevan-Baker’s Greens form the Official Opposition in a minority legislature, Dennis King’s governing PCs have surged nine points since February to 54 per cent support. The Greens dropped six points to 22 per cent, putting them in a tie with the Liberals.
While King jumped 15 points to 53 per cent as Islanders’ preferred premier, Bevan-Baker fell 10 points to 21 per cent.
Though it could be a momentary blip for the governing Tories in these two provinces (crisis-induced spikes in support don’t always last), it should worry the Greens that they appear to have taken a step back in two provinces that once showed great promise for them.
COVID-19 dwarfing climate change as an issue
But the real existential issue for the Greens might be the impact the pandemic has on Canadians’ concerns about climate change.
At the beginning of the year, Nanos Research found that the environment was being cited by 21 per cent of Canadians as the most important issue of national concern. The economy trailed in second with 15 per cent.
COVID-19 has completely dwarfed these issues; 50 per cent of those polled by Nanos in April cited the pandemic as the most pressing issue facing the country. It has since dropped down to 33 per cent, though that still makes it the top issue of concern.
The pandemic’s surge as a political issue has come at the expense of the environment, which is now listed by eight per cent of Canadians as the most important issue facing the country. But while the environment has lagged, concerns about the economy have increased — it is now cited by 23 per cent as the top issue.
It is possible that as concern over COVID-19 recedes (which may not happen soon, given the threat of a second wave in the fall), the environment will rise again as an issue. But the damage the pandemic has done to the economy makes it more likely that most Canadians will be focused on economic matters in the short- to medium-term.
The longer-term picture is harder to forecast. The last time the environment was the top issue in polling was in the mid-2000s, before the financial crash in 2008 pushed it to the back burner again. It took another decade for the environment to re-emerge as the top issue of concern for Canadians.
A survey by Abacus Data for Clean Energy Canada offered little clarity about the likely longer-term impact of the pandemic on public opinion. The poll found that 32 per cent of respondents agreed that the pandemic had led them to believe that the focus should be on the economy and health care rather than climate change. But an equal number said it made them feel that Canadians can and should make changes to how we live and work to fight climate change.
It all leaves the Greens and the six leadership candidates in a difficult spot. The progress the Greens have made over the last few years has been built primarily on two pillars: growing concern about climate change and fatigue with the old way of doing politics.
But the pandemic has shifted people’s priorities and demonstrated that traditional parties can put partisanship aside. Suddenly, those pillars look a lot less sturdy.
60 minutes of mayhem: How aggressive politics and policing turned a peaceful protest into a violent confrontation – CNN
Barr gave the order
Preparations for a speech
A violent advance
A walk to remember
A messy aftermath
“It’s Spiraling Out of Control”: Confronting a Failed Presidency, Trump Plays Politics With the Protests – Vanity Fair
Confronting a failed presidency after 100,000-plus COVID deaths and the protests that are still convulsing the nation this week, Donald Trump is venting to West Wing officials that Democratic governors are allowing civil unrest to rage in American cities to damage his reelection campaign. “He feels the blue-state governors are letting it burn because it hurts him. It’s a lot like how he sees coronavirus,” an outside White House adviser told me yesterday, shortly after audio leaked of Trump berating governors on a conference call about quelling the riots.
Trump’s sense of victimhood, and his view that the crisis ignited by George Floyd’s gruesome death is largely a political problem, have resulted in a shambolic White House response, veering from Trump’s retreat to the bunker as the protests neared the White House to the culmination of police using teargas on peaceful protestors so that he could walk through a park to stage a photo op in front of St. John’s Church. “He’s paralyzed,” a former West Wing official told me.
In private, Trump has told people the street violence would subside if the other three Minnesota police officers were charged with murder, a person who spoke with Trump told me. But, always worried about seeming weak, he made no mention of the officers or police brutality during yesterday’s Rose Garden speech. “When things get dicey and hairy, it usually means he relies on his instincts,” a former West Wing official said. “And he’s decided law and order is going to win the day.”
(The White House declined to comment.)
Trump was already struggling to reboot his campaign when the gruesome Memorial Day video leaked, showing officer Derek Chauvin driving his knee into George Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes as Floyd pleaded for his life. A day after Floyd’s death, Trump promoted two operatives into senior campaign roles, moves that were largely seen as a demotion for Trump’s embattled campaign manager, Brad Parscale. As protests and riots intensified last week, Karl Rove visited the White House to offer advice on appealing to African American voters, a source briefed on the conversation said. Rove’s new role as an unofficial adviser on Trump’s team rankled some in the West Wing and on the campaign. “People aren’t happy about Rove. He’s a Bushie,” the source said. “What’s he going to tell Trump? He’s stale.”
Trump at first seemed to ignore the protests. He didn’t mention Floyd’s name for two days. But by Friday, Trump grasped the scale of the crisis when Secret Service agents rushed him into the White House bunker as hundreds of protesters demonstrated outside the White House gates. “The agents came in and weren’t messing around. It was serious,” Trump later told a friend. “Those guys aren’t going to take any shit.” That night Trump sent out an incendiary tweet threatening that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” and another on Saturday about “vicious dogs.” “Trump is pissed that they’re rioting. That’s just the old guy from Queens who’s offended by this. That’s the Archie Bunker in him,” a Trump friend told me.
Around Trump in the West Wing was a fierce debate over how to respond. Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, opposed chief of staff Mark Meadows’s advice that Trump needed to give an Oval Office address to unify the country. “Meadows was close friends with Elijah Cummings. He wanted a different approach,” a former West Wing official said. Kushner argued that Trump hasn’t been successful when he’s spoken from the Oval Office in the past, a source briefed on Kushner’s thinking told me, an assessment Trump didn’t disagree with. “Trump doesn’t like giving Oval Office addresses,” a prominent Republican told me.
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