Day: October 7, 2018

Background Briefing: October 7, 2018


Trump Stokes Men’s Aggrieved Entitlement

We begin with the Kavanaugh effect reflected in Trump’s recent rhetoric that expands on male victimhood which he used successfully in the 2016 campaign to convince the white working class they are being marginalized by minorities who are taking away their jobs and feminists who are taking away their manhood. Now with Senator McConnell dismissing female protesters as “a mob”, Republicans are embracing the victimhood of a privileged white male to expand their base of beleaguered and oppressed men to make the case that not only has Kavanaugh been wronged, but his unfair treatment by the Democrats and the media shows that any man can be victimized in the era of the #MeToo movement. Robert Jensen, a professor in the School of Journalism at the University of Texas, Austin whose work has focused on the radical feminist critique of sexuality and men’s violence as well as questions of race through a critique of white privilege and institutionalized racism, joins us. We discuss President Trump’s remark following his victory celebration after seating Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court, which suggests the contentious confirmation has now become a trial over masculinity and embattled manhood. In response to a reporter’s question about what would he say to young men in America, Trump replied “Well, I’d say that it’s a scary time for young men in America when you could be guilty of something you may not be guilty of”.


Will a Fascist Get Elected in Brazil?

Then we examine the elections underway in Brazil in which the leading Trump-like presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro is even more open and extreme in expressing his authoritarian tendencies saying an opposition female candidate is not worth raping and that he would prefer a dead son to a gay son. Joining us for an update on whether Bolsonaro will get the 50% of the vote to avoid a runoff is Maria Luisa Mendonca, the Director of Brazil’s Network for Social Justice and Human Rights who is also a professor in the international relations department at the University of Rio de Janeiro. We assess the fate of Brazil’s fragile democracy and whether the country will return to a right wing dictatorship.


A Month Ahead of a Critical Election – The State of Voting in America

Then finally, with a month to go before the critical midterm elections, we analyze the state of voting in the country following the record low turnout in the last 2014 midterms in which only 140 million Americans voted, the lowest turnout since 1942, followed by just over 25% of American adults voting Donald Trump into the presidency in 2016. Allan Lichtman, a political historian at American University who has studied both the American right and the presidency, joins us to discuss his new book, just out, “The Embattled Vote in America: From the Founding to the Present”.