Start Making Sense

Nurses on Strike, plus Women Lawyers who Challenged Trump: Bryce Covert on hospitals, plus Dahlia Litwick on the Courts

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Nurses have taken the lead in the wave of this year’s labor activism. The largest private-sector nurses’ strike in American history took place recently in Minnesota – 15,000 nurses walked off the job for three days in the Twin Cities and the Twin Ports. Other nurses threatened strikes in half a dozen other places. Bryce Covert reports a key front in the fight for better health care in America.

Plus: Dahlia Lithwick talks about some of the heroes of the Trump years: the women lawyers who fought him on the big issues—the Muslim ban, neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, and voting rights. Her new book is “Lady Justice.”  10-6-2022

Can the Democrats hold the Senate? Plus Ken Burns’s “Holocaust”

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Can Republicans win control of the Senate? Trump’s candidates are the GOP’s biggest problem, starting in Pennsylvania, Arizona, Georgia, and Wisconsin. The Nation’s National Affairs Correspondent, John Nichols has our analysis.

Also on this week’s episode of the Start Making Sense podcast, a discussion about Ken Burns’ new documentary on PBS, “The US and the Holocaust.” Historian David Nasaw comes on the show to discuss why the film may be the most politically engaged and relevant work of Burns’ career.  9-29-2022

Bhaskar Sunkara: Bernie in 2024? plus Chris Lehmann on the Brooks Brothers Riot

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Should Bernie Sanders run in the Democratic primaries in 2024? President of The Nation, Bhaskar Sunkara says “yes” IF Biden doesn’t. Sanders transformed American politics and, Bhaskar argues, he remains a uniquely important figure for Democrats and the left.

Also: 20 years before the January 6 attack on the capitol, a Republican mob attacked a central hub of government operations claiming the vote count in the presidential election that year was fraudulent, trying to reverse the results. That was the “Brooks Brothers Riot” in Miami, a Republican effort long before Trump. On this week’s episode of Start Making SenseThe Nation’s DC Bureau Chief, Chris Lehmann reviews that history.  9-22-2022

Sarah Posner on the Conservative Takeover of the Southern Baptists, plus Amy Wilentz on Jared

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The transformation of the Southern Baptist Convention into a powerful right wing political force developed over the last 50 years. Before 1973, when abortion became a constitutional right, the Southern Baptists did not have a political position on abortion. Then came what they call the “conservative resurgence”—we call it the “fundamentalist takeover.” Sarah Posner explains that history. Her book “Unholy: How White Christian Nationalists Powered the Trump Presidency, and the Devastating Legacy They Left Behind” is out now in paperback.

Also on this episode, a new installment of The Children’s Hour: stories about Ivanka, Jared, Don Junior and Little Eric. This week: Jared writes a book! He called it “Breaking History.” We have comment from our Chief Jared Correspondent, Amy Wilentz.  9-15-2022

Amy Littlefield on How Abortion Rights Triumphed in Kansas, plus Barbara Ehrenreich Remembered

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Remember how Kansas was the first state to vote directly on abortion after the Supreme Court overturned Roe, and how Kansans surprised everyone by voting to keep abortion rights in the constitution, 59%-41%? Amy Littlefield went to Kansas to report on the election for The Nation and see how the victory had been organized and won.

Also on this week’s episode, we’re still thinking about Barbara Ehrenreich, who died last week. She was one of our best. We’ll listen to an interview with Ehrenreich from 2002, about “Nickel and Dimed,” her unforgettable book about trying to live on low-wage work which had just been published.  9-8-2022

Chris Lehmann on GOP Plans for 2023, Patrick Leahy on Jan. 6

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Republicans are making plans if they win control of the House in November–Chris Lehmann reports that their top targets include the NLRB and the Department of Labor. Chris is The Nation’s new D.C. Bureau Chief.

Also: Patrick Leahy of Vermont has been a senator for almost 50 years. He describes how, on January 6, when senators took refuge from the mob attacking the capitol, they prepared to complete the work of counting the electoral votes in their underground bunker–until he insisted they should wait until they could return to the Senate chamber. His new book is ”The Road Taken.”  9-1-2022


The Mar-a-Lago Raid and the Democrats, plus ‘Dirty Work’ John Nichols on Trump, and Eyal Press on bad jobs

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The Mar-a-Lago raid by the FBI put Donald Trump back at the center of American politics, just before the midterms. Is that good for the Democrats? John Nichols comments.

Also: Dirty work—and the people who do it: the low-income workers who do our most ethically troubled jobs. What does that have to do with the rest of us? Eyal Press explains—his book “Dirty Work” is out now in paperback.  8-25-2022

Abortion Rights Victories in Red States, plus the Crisis in Haiti

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Ever since the Supreme Court abolished the constitutional protection for abortion, activists have been fighting in the states — to protect abortion rights where possible, and to expand them where that’s possible. They’ve had some remarkable success, at least in the short run. Katha Pollitt reports. Also: the attack on Salman Rushdie.

Plus: The Organization of American States released a statement admitting, finally, that the international community was responsible for the crisis ravaging Haiti today. But what is to be done now? Amy Wilentz comments.  8-18-2022

Liz Cheney in the Wyoming Primaries and White Supremacy in Southern California

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Liz Cheney is way behind in the polls leading up to next week’s Wyoming primary. John Nichols went to Wyoming to see her in action, and reports that she’s “fighting to outlast and replace Trump as the manager of the right-wing franchise in American politics.”

Also on this week’s show, a deep dive into Orange County, California. Ronald Reagan once called it “the place all good Republicans go to die.”

But there’s another history of Orange County. LA Times columnist and author of the new book “A People’s Guide to Orange County,” Gustavo Arellano explains that, just as there’s a history of white supremacy and right wing power, the O.C. also has a history of people –especially immigrants– leading a resistance.  8-11-2022

Pramila Jayapal, from Banker to Organizer, plus Eric Foner on the Right to Vote

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Pramila Jayapal is head of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and represents Seattle in the House. She will explain how, as a young immigrant from India, she went from being an investment banker to a lifelong organizer. Her book, “Use the Power You Have: A Brown Woman’s Guide to Politics and Political Change,” is out now.

Also historian Eric Foner talks about about voting rights and voter suppression, about who gets to be a citizen, the rights of undocumented immigrants, and about the roots of mass incarceration — –they all relate to the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments, part of the country’s attempt to redefine citizenship after the end of slavery. His book, “The Second Founding: How the Civil War and Reconstruction Remade the Constitution,” is out now in paperback.  8-4-2022