Background Briefing: August 16, 2018
Trump’s Dog Whistles Are Now a Howl
We begin with the coded racial politics that Trump used in his campaign and continues to deploy in his presidency with an escalating fury of late in which his dog whistles have turned into a howl. Ian Haney Lopez, a Professor of Law at the University of California, Berkeley and author of “Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class”, joins us to discuss the race-class narrative project he is part of that seeks to educate the 99% of Americans who are being manipulated into manufactured racial and cultural divisions to serve the interests of the 1%. We examine how Trump is the ultimate test case of this strategy since he ran as a populist but rules as a plutocrat. And in collusion with Fox News, Trump continually riles up his base with racial resentment to get them to vote against their own interests while distracting Americans from realizing that whites, blacks and browns have so much more in common with each other than they do with the billionaires. Meanwhile the billionaires are afraid of real democratic representation and have managed to disguise plutocratic rule by buying politicians and dressing up elections with the trappings of democracy.
A Philosopher Looks at Our Political Crisis
Then we speak with the distinguished American philosopher Martha Nussbaum about her new book, just out at a time of stark political polarization and cultural distress, “The Monarchy of Fear: A Philosopher Looks at Our Political Crisis”. She joins us to discuss how the political is always emotional and that Trump essentially practices the politics of blame and resentment, using the weapon of fear that is both primal and universal.
Nationwide Newspapers Push Back Against Trump’s Dangerous Demagoguery
Then finally we assess the nationwide effort by newspapers big and small, liberal and conservative, to push back against Trump’s dangerous demagoguery branding journalist “the enemy of the people” as he whips up his supporters at rallies to curse and confront the press doing their job covering America’s president. Michael Cohen, a regular contributor to The Boston Globe which began the nationwide effort to defend journalists and journalism, joins us to discuss his latest article at The Boston Globe “Trump escalates a dangerous war on the press”.