Background Briefing: March 12, 2019


The Brexit Zombie Has the UK Heading for a Cliff

We begin with the 391 to 242 vote in the U.K. parliament rejecting Prime Minister’s May’s best and last attempt at a Brexit deal and assess what might follow as the March 29 deadline to crash out of the E.U. fast approaches. James Cronin, a professor of history at Boston College and an associate of the Center for European Studies at Harvard University and author of “Global Rules: America, Britain and a Disordered World” joins us to discuss a country in the grip of zombie politics as the Frankenstein monster of Brexit continues to sow disarray and division. With the Prime Minister holding onto a slim Conservative majority in parliament which gives the far-right small Northern Ireland Unionist party in her coalition undue influence to take a hardline position, and the leader of the Labor Party Jeremy Corbyn proving again to be feckless and indecisive, the prospects for a way out of this mess are not at all clear. But if there is to be a do-over, the original narrow victory for the Leave campaign would be overcome by the demographic changes in Britain since the vote where the older pro-Brexiteers have died off in sufficient number to give a majority to the younger anti-Brexit voters who are now old enough to vote.


A Roadmap to Fix Our Broken Democracy

Then we speak with Carol Anderson, the Chair of African American Studies at Emory University and author of the new book “One Person No Vote: How Voter Suppression Is Destroying Our Democracy”. She is a columnist for The Guardian and joins us to discuss her article “American democracy is in crisis. A House bill could help heal it” and we discuss HR 1 which has been dismissed by Republicans but has not been championed by Democrats even though it is a roadmap to fix most of what is wrong with our politics and restore our democracy so that it works for all Americans.


Trump and Maduro Fan the Flames as Venezuela Slowly Dies

Then finally we get an update on the deteriorating situation in Venezuela with electrical blackouts now adding to the agony of a beleaguered people impoverished by hyperinflation who have run out of food and medicine and are defenseless against criminal gangs taking advantage of the chaos to loot and shoot with impunity. Javier Corrales, a professor of Political Science at Amherst College and author of “Dragon in the Tropics: Hugo Chavez and the Political Economy of Revolution” joins us to discuss how Maduro blames the Yankees as his ruinous misrule continues while the Trump Administration fans the flames of division as the country slowly dies.