Harold Meyerson considers the consequences of failing to win control of the Senate–and points to dozens of far-reaching executive actions Biden could take without Senate approval.
Plus: Joan Walsh of The Nation says, ‘It shouldn’t have been so close.”
and TV critic Ella Taylor reviews “The Queen’ Gambit,” the terrific series on Netflix about the protofeminist female chess champion in Cold War America. 11-5-20
Harold Meyerson reviews Biden’s excellent recent poll results in swing states, and looks at the Democrats’ long standing problem with white male voters, and what can be done to bring them back into the party. Also: The one union that’s doing door-to-door precinct work during the pandemic.
Also: ‘The Trial of the Chicago 7’ – the new Aaron Sorkin film – is the most-widely reviewed movie in America right now; 250 critics have written about it. Of course it’s about the trial of leaders of the antiwar protests at the Democratic National Convention in 1968 in Chicago –the indicted included Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, Tom Hayden, Rennie Davis, Bobby Seale, Davie Dellinger, John Froines and Lee Weiner – and we have a conversation with Lee Weiner – about the movie, and what really happened.
Plus: This week more than ever we need a bit of relief from the election
–maybe the new Borat movie? Sasha Baron Cohen’s return with his memorable character from ‘Khazakstan’–but of course it’s all about “President MacDonald Trump.” Ella Taylor will talk about “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm.” 10-29-20
Maybe the November election will have a big enough vote for Biden so that it can’t be challenged in court; maybe the Republicans won’t dispute the outcome. But maybe they will – we’ve had other disputed elections in our history — of course we had the Supreme Court stopping the count in Florida in 2000–and there was another one, much less well known–the election of 1876. For some comparisons we turn to Eric Foner — he’s won the Pulitzer prize, the Bancroft Prize and the Lincoln prize for his work, most of which has been about Reconstruction.
Also: making music together in a dark time: that’s David Byrne’s utopia. there’s a movie about it, and it’s playing now on HBO Max: “American Utopia.” Ella Taylor comments. 10-23-20
When Attorney General Bill Barr told the House Judiciary Committee recently that voting by mail on a large scale presented a “high risk” for “massive voter fraud,” Pramila Jayapal challenged him—with evidence. She’s co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, she represents Seattle, and she talks about the fight against Trump for voting by mail. Her new book is Her new book is “Use the Power You Have: A Brown Woman’s Guide to Politics and Political Change.”
Plus: The new Aaron Sorkin film, “Trial of the Chicago 7,” starring Sacha Baron Cohen as Abbie Hoffman, opens on Netlfix Friday–Ella Taylor comments on the film, and on other political films of the week. 10-16-20
Pence faced an impossible task in the VP debate Wednesday night – defending Trump’s inaction on the pandemic; but Kamala Harris also faced challenges: she couldn’t be an angry black woman. Harold Meyerson comments.
also: Ohio SenatorSherrod Brown talks politics and history, and the lessons Biden should learn from his recent reelection in Ohio, where he won by 8 points in a state Hillary lost by 6.
plus: “Totally Under Control” is Alex Gibney’s powerful new documentary on Trump’s Covid-19 failures – Ella Taylor comments.
Finally, we remember John Lennon – tomorrow, Oct. 9, would have been his 80th birthday. 10-8-2020
Trump made no attempt in the first debate to win over undecideds- so what WAS his plan? And what is to be done to make future debates more bearable? Harold Meyerson comments.
Plus: Ella Taylor on women in politics on TV this week: “Mrs. America” with Cate Blanchett as Phyllis Schlafly; “The Glorias,” with Julianne Moore as Gloria Steinem, and “All In,” a voting rights documentary featuring Stacey Abrams. 1-01-2020
Trump’s rush to fill the Supreme Court vacancy will help Biden in several ways, Harold Meyerson says–first of all, by making the Republican threat to Obamacare an urgent issue. Harold is editor-at-large of The American Prospect.
Also: Refugees—after World War II in Europe, and today. Historian David Nasaw explains—his new book is The Last Million: Europe’s Displaced Persons, from World War to Cold War.
Plus: Hacking your mind: We make many of our decisions, including political ones, NOT on the basis of what we “think,” but rather on feelings, intuition, and habits. New work by social scientists helps explain how this works for Donald Trump — that’s the argument of a new series on PBS called “hacking your mind.” Ella Taylor has our review. 9-24-20
We are in “one of the most perilous and fraught moments for American democracy since the mid-nineteenth century,” says Chris Hayes; what’s hopeful is that “the movement we’ve seen in the streets is the largest protest movement in American history.” Chris of course hosts “All In” weeknights on MSNBC; he’s also editor-at-large of The Nation, and he spoke recently with Katrina vanden Heuvel at a Nation magazine online event.
Plus: Covid-19 is the disease that reflects all our social and economic illnesses: that’s what Manuel Pastor says, he’s director of the Equity Research Institute at USC. He reports on who’s got the dangerous jobs and who’s unemployed, which kids have computers and internet connections for at-home classes, and which don’t, and whether Trump’s effort to recruit Latino voters in key states might work.
Also: Russian efforts to interfere with our elections – that’s the subject of a new HBO documentary by one of our favorite documentary makers, Alex Gibney. He’s got footage from inside Russian “troll farms” and videos unearthed from the Russian deep web to reveal the “agents of chaos” who were key players in our elections. Ella Taylor has a review – she’s our resident TV critic. 9-17-20
Rick Perlstein talks about the rise of Reagan, from what seemed like a career-ending defeat in the 1976 GOP primary, to his narrow victory in the popular vote in 1980–and how the darkness of the culture war has shaped the Republican Party that Trump came to dominate. Rick’s long-awaited book, 1100 pages long, is “Reaganland: America’s Right Turn, 1976-1980.”
Also: Katie Porter, the new member of Congress who flipped a longtime Republican district in Orange County, talks about defending the postal service and about ending student loan debt.
Plus: we’ll talk about politics on TV in 1968 with Ella Taylor — and about a new documentary, called “The Sit-In: Harry Belafonte Hosts the Tonight Show,” when his guests included Bobby Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and also Aretha Franklin. And it’s streaming now on Peacock. 9-10-2020
The Republican National Convention was hard to watch, but Harold Meyerson did it for us. He reports on the highlights (Melania, dressed like Fidel) and the low moments (Kimberly Gilfoyle, sounding like Mussolini).
Also: The Children’s Hour, stories about Don Jr., Ivanka, Little Eric, and Tiffany, told by Amy Wilentz. Today: the kids go to the convention!
Plus: Our TV critic Ella Taylor recommends the six-part documentary “Immigration Nation” on Netflix, and the 72-episode drama “A French Village,” about collaboration and resistance in WWII – on Prime. 8/27/2020
Living in the USA
Talking about politics, thinking about the Left.
The podcast “Living in the USA” is the online version of “Living in the USA” at KPFK radio, hosted by Jon Wiener and broadcast live Thursdays at 3pm at 90.7FM in LA, also streaming live at www.kpfk.org