Start Making Sense

Joan Walsh on the Georgia Runoff; Gustavo Arellano on the LA Vote

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The Georgia Senate runoff campaign has begun–Joan Walsh has just returned from Atlanta, and explains why Trump’s candidate Herschel Walker seems likely to lose. Also: comment on what happened in Stacey Abrams’ tragic loss.

Plus: in Los Angeles the terrible sheriff has lost his re-election campaign. Gustavo Arellano, the LA Times columnist, comments, and reports on how the billionaire developer running for mayor campaigned for the Latino vote.  11-17-2022

How We Win the Midterms: Steve Phillips; plus Black Landowners in North Carolina: Cameron Oglesby

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How can we save democracy from white nationalism and right-wing authoritarianism? Steve Phillips argues we need to organize and turn out the millions of non-voters – people of color and young people – with a long-term, data-based strategy. Steve’s new book is “How We Win the Civil War: Securing a Multiracial Democracy and Ending White Supremacy for Good.”

Also: a story about Black landownership, starting in Piney Woods, North Carolina, one of the oldest examples of uninterrupted land ownership by Black people in the US, going back to before the Civil War. Cameron Oglesby has that report.  11-3-2022

Stacey Abrams Explains her Work; We Remember Mike Davis

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Stacey Abrams, running for governor in Georgia, is behind in the polls of likely voters, which the pollsters define as people who vote regularly, especially in the last midterms, four years ago. But her whole strategy is to organize and mobilize people who do NOT vote regularly – to expand the electorate with young people, people of color, and those the political scientists call “low-propensity voters.” She explains in this interview, from April, 2019, after her first campaign for governor.

Also: Mike Davis, author and activist, radical hero and family man, died on Tuesday, Oct. 25. After talking about his life and work, we play part of an interview with him on this podcast from November, 2016, one week after Trump was elected.  10-27-2022


A brilliant radical reporter with a novelist’s eye and a historian’s memory.

Mike Davis, author and activist, radical hero and family man, died October 25 after a long struggle with esophageal cancer; he was 76. He’s best known for his 1990 book about Los Angeles, City of Quartz. Marshall Berman, reviewing it for The Nation, said it combined “the radical citizen who wants to grasp the totality of his city’s life, and the urban guerrilla aching to see the whole damned thing blow.”

… continued at, HERE   10-26-2022

Chris Lehmann on Republican Plans for 2023, plus Adam Hochschild on Repression in WWI America

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What will Republicans do if they win control of the House in the midterms? Now they’ve said something about that, officially: they call it their “Commitment to America.” Chris Lehmann calls it “a grab bag of cultural resentments papering over an anemic policy wish list.”

Also: The Trump years are not the only time American democracy has been threatened; the World War One years, when Democrat Woodrow Wilson was president, were another. That’s what Adam Hochschild argues –his new book is “American Midnight: The Great War, a Violent Peace, and Democracy’s Forgotten Crisis.”  10-20-2022

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