Day: March 14, 2019

Background Briefing: March 14, 2019


Beto O’Rourke’s Entry into the Presidential Race

We begin with the entry today into the Democratic presidential primaries by former El Paso Congressman Beto O’Rourke who is campaigning in Iowa and, given his high profile in social media and enormous fundraising prowess, could make him the outsider like Obama who beat out the safer choices.  A friend of Beto’s, Erin Coulehan, who is a writer and scholar covering Border and Immigration issues for Rolling Stone, CNN, ELLE and Teen Vogue, joins us from El Paso to provide a personal portrait of the latest entry into the crowded field of Democratic hopefuls. Since progressive Democrats are already critical of Beto O’Rourke’s voting record in congress which places him as being more liberal than the most conservative Democrats who are well to the left of the most liberal Republicans, we will discuss whether he can thread the needle between the energy of a progressive grassroots base and electability amongst swing voters. And since Beto represents a generational shift from the front-runners, and like the president is somewhat unorthodox as a candidate, but without Trump’s crassness, meanness and vulgarity, we will assess whether O’Rourke’s lack of policy proposals are outweighed by his idealism and optimism.


The Senate’s Rebuke of Trump and His Unwavering Support for MBS

Then we speak with Kate Gould, the Legislative Director for Middle East Policy for the Friends Committee on National Legislation, a Quaker lobby in the public interest fielding the largest team of peace lobbyists on Capitol Hill. She joins us to discuss the rebuke on Wednesday by the Senate of President Trump’s unwavering support for Mohammad bin Salman and his cruel and unconscionable war in a 54 to 46 vote to enforce the 1973 War Powers Act to end American involvement in the Saudi-led war in Yemen. With the House having already passed similar legislation, America’s complicity in the world’s largest humanitarian crisis is now on its way to ending.


The Senate Vote’s Down Trump’s Emergency Declaration Which Now Goes to the Courts

Then finally, with the Senate voting today against Trump’s declaration of a national emergency on the border in which 12 Republican senators joined the Democrats, we will look into the path ahead after Trump’s veto which will likely not be overridden, and examine what will happen in the courts. Richard Pildes, a Professor of Constitutional Law at New York University School of Law joins us to discuss his article at The Washington Post, “How the Supreme Court weakened Congress on emergency declarations”.