Start Making Sense

Daniel Squadron on How Trump’s Fake Electors Scheme Could Become Law, plus Amy Wilentz on Ivana

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The Supreme Court next term will take up a case that could make Trump’s fake electors scheme the law of the land. Daniel Squadron explains the situation – and how winning majorities in state legislatures in swing states is the key to preserving democracy in 2024. Squadron is the co-founder and executive director of The States Project.

Also: Ivana Trump, the mother of Ivanka, Don Junior and Little Eric, died last week – Amy Wilentz comments on her memoir, “Raising Trump,” first broadcast in 2017.  7-21-2022

John Nichols on the ‘Stop the Steal’ rally, plus Rebecca Solnit and Thelma Young Lutunatabua on Climate Change

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On Tuesday the January 6 committee held yet another dramatic hearing, this one on the origins of the ‘Stop the Steal” rally and the events that provoked that 1:30 am tweet of Trump’s urging supporters to come to Washington, where it “will be wild.” John Nichols has our analysis.

Also on this week’s episode, Rebecca Solnit and Thelma Young Lutunatabua say it’s not too late to act to slow climate change. Their new project, Not Too Late, invites newcomers to join the climate movement, and guides people from despair to possibilities.  7-14-2022

David Cole on What To Do About the Supreme Court, and Sarah Posner on School Prayer

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What is to be done about The Supreme Court? David Cole, national legal director of the ACLU, and legal affairs correspondent for the Nation, has the best answer: organize, and vote.

Also: the people who say “America is a Christian Nation” had some big victories at the Supreme Court last week, on school prayer, and on taxpayer funding of religious schools. Sarah Posner comments on the endgame of the Christian Nationalists; she’s the author of Unholy: How White Christian Nationalists Powered the Trump Presidency, and the Devastating Legacy They Left Behind.  7-7-2022

Michele Goodwin on the end of abortion and Anatol Lieven on Ukraine

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The end of abortion in 26 states will be deadly for many poor women, especially poor women of color. Law professor Michele Goodwin explains, reviewing the history of forced pregnancy under the slave regime in antebellum America, and how it was banned by the 13th Amendment’s prohibition of “involuntary servitude.”

Also: How will the war in Ukraine end? The Russians have failed to install a puppet government there but the Ukrainians are not going to recover the territory Russia seized in 2014. So some kind of negotiated settlement is necessary, and better sooner than later. Anatol Lieven, author of “Ukraine and Russia” joins the podcast to discuss.  6-30-2022

Sarah Posner on White Evangelicals and the Jan. 6 Insurrection, plus Joan Walsh on Sex Ed

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In understanding the January 6 insurrection, much of the focus has been on white nationalist militias like the Proud Boys. But white evangelicals also played a big part on January 6. Sarah Posner, author of Unholy: How White Christian Nationalists Powered the Trump Presidency, and the Devastating Legacy They Left Behind, joins the podcast to discuss religion’s role in the riots.

Also: Republicans have opened another front in the culture war with the slogan “parental rights.” Joan Walsh joins the podcast to explain how it’s not just about banning the teaching of Critical Race Theory, but also about a ban on comprehensive sex education.  6-23-2022

John Nichols on January 6 and Peter Dreier on Progressive Prosecutors

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The January 6 committee hearings have been powerful and devastating, explains John Nichols.

We’re also still thinking about Chesa Boudin’s recall in San Francisco. Pundits everywhere are saying it means Democrats need to abandon their commitment to reforming the police and the criminal justice system. Peter Dreier doesn’t agree, explains why this week’s on the podcast.  6-16-2022

John Nichols on Crime and the Democrats, plus Sarah Posner on Sex and the Southern Baptists

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The results of Tuesday’s primaries in L.A. and San Francisco, according to the New York Times, were “a stark warning to the Democratic Party about the potency of law and order as a political message in 2022.” John Nichols disagrees. Also: our preview of the live TV hearings of the House committee on the January 6 insurrection.

Plus: sex, politics, and the Southern Baptists: Southern Baptists have been at the center of the Trump movement, but now the denomination has been rocked to its core by a massive sex abuse scandal. Could the sex scandal change the Southern Baptists? Sarah Posner will comment.  6-9-2022

Katha Pollitt on How to Protect Abortion Rights and Kelly Lytle Hernandez on “Bad Mexicans”

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The coming repeal of constitutional protection for abortion leaves us with a lot of work to do – to protect and expand abortion rights in the states where it will remain legal, and to help women in states where it will be banned. Katha Pollitt joins the Start Making Sense podcast to explain what we need to do now – in politics, health care, and funding.

Plus: “Bad Mexicans” – that what the revolutionaries of 1910 were called as they fought on both sides of the US-Mexico border against the robber barons and their political allies. UCLA historian Kelly Lytle Hernandez tells that story, which is the subject of her new book.  6-2-2022

John Nichols on Politics in 2024; Amy Wilentz on Reparations for Haiti

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The next 6 months will be crucial in determining what happens to American democracy in 2024. Republicans are preparing to challenge the popular vote in many of the states they control by empowering state legislatures to pick electors for the electoral college rather than voters. To do that, they also need to elect Republican governors. The Nation’s national affairs correspondent, John Nichols, joins this week’s show to discuss how the most crucial battlefield for those efforts right now is in Pennsylvania.

Also: Haiti is back on the front page—at least in the New York Times— and it’s not because of what’s happening there right now. The Times has published the results of a year-long investigation into the history of Haiti’s forced payments to France following Haiti’s successful slave revolution and the establishment of the world’s first Black Republic. Nation contributor, Amy Wilentz, joins the show to discuss the findings.  5-26-2022

John Nichols on Progressives in the Primaries, plus Lynn Garafola on ‘La Nijinska’

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Tuesday’s Democratic primaries for the House were flooded with money from pro-Israel groups seeking to defeat progressive candidates. It worked in North Carolina, but not Pennsylvania, where Summer Lee won. John Nichols has our analysis.

Also in this week’s show, a discussion with Lynn Garafola about Bronislava Nijinska, the ballet dancer, choreographer, and long-neglected sister of the legendary dancer Vaslav Nijinsky. Garafola, author of the new biography, La Nijinska, Choreographer of the Modern, tells us about how this “amazon of the avant-garde” started out in revolutionary Russia, worked in wartime Kiev, and then came to Hollywood in the thirties.  5-19-2022