Category: Start Making Sense

Harold Meyerson: Will Trump Make It Through One Term?

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Could the Democrats remove Trump from office?  Should they?  Harold Meyerson comments on the politics of impeachment, and the lessons of the Democrats’ successful effort to remove Nixon, and the Republicans’ failed effort to remove Clinton.

Also: D.D. Guttenplan reports on the Democrats’ efforts to flip a Republican House seat in the special election in Montana on May 25. The special election pits Democrat a bluegrass musician named Rob Quist against a multimillionaire.

And Amy Wilentz comments on Ivanka’s new book, Women Who Work. She calls it “a collated collection of bogus ideas and self-help puffery and platitude.”

 Rick Perlstein: What We Didn’t Understand About Trump

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The leading histories of the conservative movement don’t account for the Klan enthusiasts and the “tribunes of white rage” that Trump mobilized and that he represents—that’s what Rick Perlstein argues in a mea culpa on behalf of historians of American politics.
Also: the rock-star appeal of Modern Monetary Theory for the Sanders generation. Atossa Araxia Abrahamian says that, if money is understood correctly, “debt is not the end.”
And Heather Ann Thompson talks about the Attica prison uprising of 1971 and its legacy—her book Blood in the Water won The Nation Institute’s Ridenhour award.

Laura Poitras: The Many Contradictions of Julian Assange

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Risk
is the new film by Laura Poitras, about Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks. Poitras, who won the Oscar for best documentary for her film about Edward Snowden, Citizenfour, calls Assange “admirable, brilliant, and flawed.”
Also: Stephen Cohen says a new cold war is threatening world peace, and a new McCarthyism is undermining American politics.
And Eric Foner says it might be possible to impeach Donald Trump—but having Mike Pence as president would probably be worse.

 Margaret Atwood: ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ in the Age of Trump

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The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood
’s dystopian novel about the United States after a right-wing coup has installed a theocratic regime, is now a 10-part series on Hulu.  The TV version is shocking, scary, and surprisingly relevant in Trump’s America.  In this interview, she recalls how and why she wrote the book—in 1984—and what in the TV version seems most resonant today.

Also: Katha Pollitt says “It’s not ‘McCarthyism’ to demand answers on Trump, Russia, and the election.

And for our Ivanka Watch segment, Amy Wilentz comments on Ivanka’s debut on the world stage with her first official foreign trip—to the W20 in Germany, where she was booed.

 Bill McKibben: This Is Our Last Chance to Save the Planet

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“We’ll either save, or doom, the planet, during the Trump administration.” That’s what Bill McKibben says—he’s an organizer of the Climate March in Washington on Sunday, April 29.

Also: 81 percent of white evangelicals voted for Trump, despite his obvious failings as a Christian. Frances Fitzgerald examines evangelicals’ earlier history in politics, including their support for a Democrat—the “born-again” Jimmy Carter. Her new book is The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America.

Plus: Andrew Bacevich looks at America’s longest war. Our fight in Afghanistan, which began 15 years ago, shows no sign of ending, despite the recent dropping of “the mother of all bombs.”

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 Tom Frank: Would Bernie Have Been Able to Beat Trump? Hell Yes!

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In the Rust Belt, “they hated Hillary”—that’s what Tom Frank found on his recent book tour for the paperback edition of Listen, Liberal: Or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the People?
Also: Is Ivanka Trump responsible for her father’s attack on Syria? Amy Wilentz comments on the president’s reliance on his daughter—and his son-in-law Jared Kushner.
Plus: Now that Neil Gorsuch has been sworn in as a Supreme Court justice, Ari Berman reviews the big picture of the battle for voting rights.

 Chris Hayes: Donald Trump Is a Law-and-Order President In the Worst Possible Way. TheNation 4/6

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H
ow we got from the events in Ferguson to the election of you-know-who: Chris Hayes talks about race, incarceration, and politics in his new book  A Colony in a Nation—Salon called it “a dark book for a dark time.”

Plus: Although Trump was the least Christian of all the Republican candidates, white evangelicals voted for him overwhelmingly, despite the work of some prominent evangelical leaders.  Sarah Posner of the Nation Institute analyzes the political deal that evangelicals made—she wrote about the issue last month for The New Republic.

And Gary Younge explains what it’s been like talking about kids killed by guns—on call-in shows on talk radio.  His book Another Day in the Death of America: A Chronicle of Ten Short Lives recently won the Anthony J. Lukas Prize.

 

Chris Hayes: Trump ‘Knew Literally—And I Mean Literally—Nothing About’ His Health-Care Bill

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Chris Hayes assesses the damage to Trump and to the Republicans caused by the failure of their effort to end Obamacare—and the opportunities the major defeat now opens up for progressives.
Plus: The deepening crisis facing Trump over questions about his campaign’s collusion with the Russians. Joan Walsh comments.
And Amy Wilentz argues that all the publicity about Ivanka and her children is part of a Trump media campaign to distract the public and delight tabloid readers.

 Jane Mayer on the Reclusive Billionaire Who Made Trump President:
Start Making Sense 3/23

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The hedge-fund magnate Robert Mercer was probably the most important backer of Trump for president. Jane Mayer of The New Yorker has the first in-depth report on this little-known figure and former Breitbart News funder.

Also: Is Trump like Nixon? Both won by exploiting the resentments of the white working class; both covered up crimes committed by their campaigns against the Democrats. But Rick Perlstein, author of the classic book Nixonland, says the answer is no: Trump is not like Nixon.

Plus: Tom Hayden finished a book on the antiwar movement of the 1960s before he died in October: Hell No: The Forgotten Power of the Vietnam Peace Movement. It’s out now from Yale University Press. Steve Wasserman, Tom’s editor and publisher, comments.

Democrats Need to Understand Why the Rust Belt’s White Workers Still Support Trump: Start Making Sense 3/16

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Why do many white workers who voted for Trump still support him? The Nation sent D.D. Guttenplan to Ohio to find out—he’s returned now with his report.

Also: should the feminist movement welcome people who are anti-abortion? Wouldn’t that make the resistance to Trump stronger? Katha Pollitt doesn’t think so.

And: Ari Berman reports on a big victory for voting rights in Texas, where a federal court ruled that the state intentionally discriminated against black and Latino voters with its redistricting maps.