Trump Watch

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


Learning from the Midterms: John Nichols, Sasha Abramsky & Katha Pollitt

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The 2018 Midterm Elections: What can we learn from what happened in the Midwest and the Rust Belt? John Nichols has the report on Pennsylvania, Michigan, and–of course–Wisconsin, all of which voted for Trump in 2016, and all of which elected Democratic governors and Senators last week.
Next,  Sasha Abramsky on the Southwestern states: Arizona, Nevada, Texas–comparing and contrasting progressive and centrist candidates and their successes and failures — and of course California, where Orange County, once the home of right-wing politics–from Goldwater to Reagan and beyond — now will be represented by zero Republicans in the new Congress.
Plus, Katha Pollitt talks about all those women candidates — the Democrats in their multicultural glory (and the Republicans, the party of white men). 11/15/18

The Jeff Sessions Firing: Erwin Chemerisky & Ahilan A., Plus Elections Analysis w/Harold Meyerson

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Remembering just how terrible Jeff Sessions was, especially on asylum and refugees: Ahilan Arulanantham, ACLU SoCal Senior Counsel, who argued in the 9th circuit against Sessions’ policies — and won. Also: the latest on DACA.
Also, Harold Meyerson on the midterms: they deepened the Dem hold on cities and suburbs — and the Republican hold on the hills and the dales.
Plus: Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean of the law school at UC Berkeley, on the old Attorney General, and the new one–and what the change could mean for Mueller and his investigation. 11/8/18

Midterm Countdown: John Nichols & David Dayen; Plus Sandi Tan on “Shirkers”

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With five days until the November 6 Midterm elections, we have two political updates: John Nichols comments on national matters–Trump’s closing, he says, is bound to get worse; and David Dayen reports on the California situation–where Democrats hope to flip five or six House seats.
Plus: Singapore-born film-maker Sandi Tan joins us in-studio to talk about her Sundance award-winning documentary, “Shirkers,” now streaming on Netflix–the story of teenage filmmakers and the amazing film they made–20 years ago–and then lost.

The Mail Bombs and the Midterms: Harold Meyerson, plus Guerilla Theater in L.A.–Hieronymous Bang

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From the mail bombs sent to prominent Democrats, to Trump’s efforts to distract voters with stories about migrants on the march in Mexico — Harold Meyerson analyzes the state of the midterm elections, now less than 2 weeks away.  Our special focus: the swing districts of southern California, of course.
Also: pop-up Guerilla theater in Los Angeles: the great Hieronymous Bang explains what’s going on with the political play whose name cannot be spoken on the radio, and Alan Minsky joins in.


Voting Rights in 2018: Sasha Abramsky on Florida, plus Rebecca Traister on the politics of women’s anger

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The most important voting rights issue on the ballot in 2018 is restoring the voting rights of 1.4 million ex-felons in Florida. An initiative on the ballot there would repeal one of country’s worst Jim Crow laws–and it seems likely to pass. Sasha Abramsky has that story.
Also: the political power of women’s anger: Rebecca Traister has been thinking about that. Her new book is called “Good and Mad.”  10/18/18

Impeach Kavanaugh? John Nichols, plus D.D. Guttenplan on Mobilizing a New Radical Majority

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What the Democrats can do about newly-confirmed Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh when they win the House in November and take control of the Judiciary Committee in January: John Nichols talks about investigations that could lead to the filing of articles of impeachment–and some other possibilities.
Also: D.D. Guttenplan talks about some alternatives to those old white Republican men who shouted and pouted and voted to confirm Brett Kavanaugh at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing – his new book is “The Next Republic: the Rise of a New Radical Majority.” 10/11/18