Start Making Sense

Trump Needs Wisconsin to Win, but Biden Is Ahead: John Nichols With Good News from a Swing State, plus David Nasaw on Refugees

Listen HERE
Voting by mail in Wisconsin will not be thrown into chaos by the state supreme court—John Nichols reports on a state Trump needs to win, where Biden is ahead.
Plus: 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. 9-17-2020

Chris Hayes: The Catastrophe of Trump; plus Joan Walsh: Politics on TV in 1968

Listen HERE
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: Politics on TV–in 1968, when Harry Belafonte hosted the Tonight Show, for an entire week—and his guests included Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King. Also: Aretha Franklin. Joan Walsh, National Affairs Correspondent for The Nation, talks about the new documentary, The Sit-In: Harry Belafonte Hosts the Tonight Show—she’s one of the producers, and it’s streaming now on Peacock. 9-10-2020

White Backlash Politics: Harold Meyerson; Black Lives Matter: Jody Armour; Cuban doc: Ella Taylor

Listen HERE
After Kenosha: will Trump’s efforts to mobilize white backlash voters succeed, the way Nixon did in 1968? “No,” says Harold Meyerson.  Trump is the incumbent, not the challenger; the Democrats don’t have a war to defend; and whites are a smaller proportion of the electorate than they were in 1968.
Also: Radically Changing our broken criminal justice system- –Jody Armour’s visionary radicalism. He teaches law at USC and he’s a prominent defender of Black Lives Matter – and his new book has just been published: it’s called “N*gger Theory: Race, Language, Unequal Justice, and the Law.”
Plus: Ella Taylor recommends “Epicentro,” sort of a documentary about Cuba—it’s streaming now on 9-3-2020

Trump in Kenosha: John Nichols; Black Lives Matter in Europe: Gary Younge

Listen HERE
Tump’s visit to Kenosha on Tuesday was part of a backlash strategy, with right wing militias and their allies encouraged to provoke violence with Black Lives Matter demonstrators, followed by Trump claiming he alone can bring an end to “chaos and looting.” John Nichols was in Kenosha for Trump’s visit – he reports on what happened there, and why a backlash strategy won’t work in Wisconsin.
Also: There’s a huge movement in Europe supporting Black Lives Matter. Gary Younge describes some key examples and comments on the effort to address racism in Britain, France, and elsewhere in Europe – and on the English falling back on the argument that racism there is “better” than in the US. Gary lives in London, teaches at the University of Manchester, and is a member of the editorial board of The Nation.  9-3-2020

Rick Perlstein: The Republicans from Reagan to Trump: plus Pramila Jayapal: From Investment Banker to Community Organizer

Listen HERE
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, Pramila Jayapal, co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus–she represents Seattle in the House–talks about how she went from being an investment banker as a young immigrant to a lifelong organizer.  Her new book is “Use the Power You Have: A Brown Woman’s Guide to Politics and Political Change.” 6-26-2020

The DNC & the GOP: Harold Meyerson; Melina Abdullah: Facing the LAPD; Ella Taylor: “The 24th”

Listen HERE
The Democratic National Convention featured several Republicans but almost no Bernie supporters: Harold Meyerson comments.
Plus: A Black Lives Matter leader in LA confronts the LAPD—outside her house. Melina Abdullah is a co-founder of Black Lives Matter-Los Angeles; she’s also professor of Pan-African studies at Cal State Los Angeles—and last week she was on the front page of the paper in LA. We asked her what happened.
Also: Virus-time TV with Ella Taylor – today Ella recommends “the 24th” – a new feature film about an all-black army regiment sent to Texas in 1917, and the violent confrontation with local racists that followed –it’s a true story about the only racial insurrection in American history where more whites were killed than blacks–16 whites died, including 5 policemen, and 4 of the Black soldiers. over a hundred Black soldiers were courmartialed – for mutiny. Thirteen were hanged immediately, and six more later.  8-20-2020

The LAPD vs. a BLM leader: Melina Abdullah, plus Katie Porter on Voting by Mail & Jody Armour on Unequal Justice

Listen HERE
A Black Lives Matter leader in LA confronts the LAPD—outside her house. Melina Abdullah is a co-founder of Black Lives Matter-Los Angeles; she’s also professor of Pan-African studies at Cal State Los Angeles—and last week she was on the front page of the paper in LA. We asked her what happened.
Plus: Katie Porter, the new member of Congress who flipped a longtime Republican district in California’s Orange County, talks about defending the postal service and about ending student loan debt. (Watch her full conversation with Katrina vanden Heuvel.)
Also: Changing our broken criminal justice system—radically. Jody Armour, who teaches law at USC and is a prominent defender of Black Lives Matter has a new book out, with the provocative title N*gga Theory: Race, Language, Unequal Justice, and the Law.  8-20-2020

Fighting for Vote By Mail: Pramila Jayapal; plus Tom Frank on Trump, Biden, and ‘Populism’

Listen HERE
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 Use the Power You Have: A Brown Woman’s Guide to Politics and Political Change.
Also: Tom Frank, author of the classic What’s the Matter with Kansas, talks about Trump’s phony populist appeal—and whether Joe Biden, the guy from working-class Scranton, can win back the working-class white men who turned to Trump last time around. Tom’s new book is The People, NO: A Brief History of Anti-Populism.  8-13-2020

Trump’s Dangerous Push for a Vaccine by October: Gregg Gonsalves, plus David Cole on the Police

Listen HERE
Trump is rushing to develop a vaccine, and declare victory over Covid-19 just before the November election – whether or not the current research, “Operation Warp Speed,” has succeeded.  Gregg Gonsalves explains that an ineffective vaccine that will create more resistance and skepticism about future vaccines.  Gregg is codirector of the Global Health Justice Partnership and an assistant professor of epidemiology at Yale School of Public Health.  He’s also the winner of a MacArthur genius fellowship.
Also: David Cole, national legal director of the ACLU, says we need less punishment and more justice from the police and the courts.  One key way to achieve that is to reduce enforcement of misdemeanors, which currently leads to millions of avoidable arrests, especially of people of color – and many cases of police violence against them. 8-6-2020

This Is Disaster Relief Under Corporate Power: David Dayen, plus Amy Wilentz on Mary Trump

Listen HERE
Senate Republicans introduced their new trillion-dollar economic stimulus bill, which they call “The HEALS Act.” It’s woefully inadequate, says David Dayen—and part of life in the age of corporate power—the subject of David’s new book, Monopolized.
Plus: Trump’s unfortunate childhood: Amy Wilentz talks about Donald, Fred Junior, Marianne, Elizabeth, and little Robert—as described in the new blockbuster bestseller by Mary Trump, daughter of Donald’s brother Fred Jr., Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man.  7-30-2020