Trump Watch

Trump and ‘Socialism’: Harold Meyerson, plus Manuel Pastor: Calif. vs. Trump, and Elizabeth Kolbert, Trump vs. Climate change

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Harold Meyerson of The American Prospect on the president’s State of the Union speech Tuesday night — and whether “socialism” is as big a negative for Americans as Trump thinks it is.
Also: as of October, 2018, California had filed 44 lawsuits against Trump, and more are expected for 2019. We talk with Manuel Pastor about climate, immigration and the future of California v. Trump.  His book is “State of Resistance.”
Plus Elizabeth Kolbert, Pulitzer-prize winning author of “The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History,” on Trump, climate and endangered species. 2/7/19

Fred Trump and the KKK: Linda Gordon; the Right’s Stealth Plan for America: Nancy MacLean

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We take a step back from all the Trump headlines to look at how we got here. Later in the show, historian Nancy MacLean talks about the roots of the right’s stealth plan for America, bringing together the Koch Brothers and their libertarian economic policy advocacy with segregationist opposition to civil rights. Nancy is an award-winning historian and the William H. Chafe Professor of history and public policy at Duke University. Her book “Democracy in Chains” was named the “most valuable political book of the year” on The Nation’s progressive honor roll.
But first, Fred Trump and the KKK of the 1920s. The group had millions of members outside the South. It targeted Catholics and Jews as well as blacks, and had impressive success at electing governors and congressmen. It passed anti-immigrant restrictions that remained in effect until 1965. And Fred Trump, the president’s father, was arrested as a young man at a Klan march in New York City. Historian Linda Gordon explains—her new book is ‘The Second Coming of the KKK: The Ku Klux Klan and the American Political Tradition’. 1-24-19

The LA Teachers Strike Tests the Democrats; Trump’s Shutdown w/John Nichols; Viet Nguyen on Refugees

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Today is day four of the LA teachers’ strike. “This bitter conflict is also a fight about the meaning of progressive politics”–that’s what Nelson Lichtenstein says — he’s professor of history and director of The Center for the Study of Work, Labor and Democracy at UC Santa Barbara.
Also: despite the fact that 58% of Americans oppose the wall, we are on day 27 of Trump’s government shutdown over funds to build one. What are the politics of the Republicans in this situation? We turn to John Nichols for comment.
Plus: Pulitzer Prize-winning author Viet Thanh Nguyen says “call me a refugee, not an immigrant” — his new book is “The Displaced.” 1/17/19

Russiagate in Review; plus Jane Mayer: Would Pence Be Worse?

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Russiagate is basically a political corruption scandal, says David Klion of The Nation. The basic facts have been obvious for a long time—and they should bring down Trump’s presidency.
Also: we ask Jane Mayer of the New Yorker what may be the most important question of the year: Would Pence be worse?
Plus: Why are Danes so much happier than Americans? Is it just because Donald Trump is NOT their president? Joshua Holland says there’s more to it than that.
And we also have a history segment today: Sean Wilentz talks about the place of slavery in the origins of the United States–his new book is No Property in Man.  1/10/19

Now it’s the Democrats’ Turn: Harold Meyerson; Plus, Amy Wilentz on Amos Oz & Alex Press on Amazon Workers

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The 116th Congress convened today — the Democrats, including two socialists, took over the House; there were many firsts and a few surprises: Harold Meyerson has our report.
Also:, Amos Oz, Israeli author and peace advocate passed away last week; former Jerusalem correspondent for The New Yorker, and contributing editor at The Nation, Amy Wilentz remembers Oz and his work.
Plus: What’s it like to work at Amazon?  In the holiday season, as a “seasonal associate” — i.e. Christmas Temporary — at a “fulfillment center”? Alex Press reports.  1/3/2019

Progressive Heroes of 2018: John Nichols; Gustavo Arellano: the OC, & David Cay Johnston on Trump

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2018 was a big year for progressives — John Nichols with the Progressive Honor Roll names some names — on our year in review show.
Next, we talk with Gustavo Arellano about the biggest change in California politics in decades: how the OC.the white-hot heart of right-wing politics in the nation, turned blue.  Gustavo is now a staff writer for the LA Times.
Finally, David Cay Johnston reports on Trump family financial fraud, saying, “Nixon’s crimes are pebbles compared to the mountain of tax cheating by the Trumps.”

From George Bush 41 to Donald Trump: Harold Meyerson, plus Eric Foner on Frederick Douglass–and Us

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George H. W. Bush paved the way for today’s Republican party with his racist Willy Horton campaign. He also nominated Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court, and pardoned the Iran-Contra conspirator whose trial would have exposed his own abuse of power. Harold Meyerson explains — he’s executive editor of the American Prospect.
Plus: Frederick Douglass, the black abolitionist, was the most famous black American of the 19th century. Historian Eric Foner says Douglass’s political ideas can help us in our struggles today. 12-13-18


The Missing Politics in Michelle Obama’s ‘Becoming’: Amy Wilentz, plus Kai Wright on the Midterms

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Michelle Obama declares in her new memoir, “I am not a political person, so I’m not going to attempt to offer an analysis” of Trump’s victory. That’s her stance in the rest of the book as well. It seems strange for the person the New York Times called “The most outspoken first lady in modern history.” What’s going on here? Amy Wilentz comments.
Plus: The Democrats won the midterms by the largest popular vote margin for either party in the history of midterm elections — larger than the Watergate midterm after Nixon resigned in 1974, 44 years ago. But there was a deeper and more significant victory hidden behind those numbers, Kai Wright argues: the political mobilization of millions of people of color in the South. 12/6/18


Katha Pollitt on White Women Who Voted for Trump; Plus, Michael Koncewicz on Nixon; Remembering Ricky Jay

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Fifty-three per cent of white women voters, according to exit polls in 2016, voted for Trump. Why? And, will their minds be changed? We turn to Katha Pollitt for comment.
Plus: Republicans who resisted the president’s abuses of power in the early 1970s — and Republicans today, who don’t.  Micheal Koncewicz, author of “They Said No to Nixon,” revisits Watergate and The enemies list project.
Also: Magician, actor, author, scholar and master showman, Ricky Jay passed away last Sunday — we remember him with an interview from 2001.

Frank Rich on Why the Democrats Won, plus Erwin Chemerinsky on Matt Whitaker & the Constitution

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Frank Rich finds lessons for Democrats in the midterms: seeking “the political center,” as recommended by New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristoff, running on “clean-government themes and promises of incremental improvement to the health care system rather than transformational social change,” is “ridiculous.” Frank writes about politics for New York Magazine and is executive producer of VEEP on HBO.
Also: Trump’s appointment of a new acting attorney general, Matt Whitaker: is it legal? He hasn’t been confirmed by the Senate – or even nominated. Erwin Chemerinsky comments—he’s dean of the law school at UC Berkeley, and his new book is “We the People: A Progressive Reading of the Constitution for the 21st Century.” 11/21/18