Background Briefing: July 17, 2019


Trump Again Tries to Make “The Squad” the Face of the Democratic Party

We begin with President Trump’s rally tonight in Greenville, North Carolina at which he is expected to continue his attacks on the four minority congresswomen he is trying to make the face of the Democratic Party as he attempts to frame the issue not about his racism, but the freshmen congresswomen’s alleged anti-Americanism, which was expressed in his tweet yesterday “Our Country is Free, Beautiful and Very Successful. If you hate our Country, or if you are not happy here, you can leave”. Jonathan Weiler, a Professor in Global Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and the author of “Authoritarianism and Polarization in America” whose latest book is “Prius or Pickup? How the Answers to Four Simple Questions Explain America’s Great Divide”, joins us to discuss the growing divide in our country that will get worse as we approach next year’s election in November. With Trump’s only strategy for reelection apparently resting on stirring up racist resentment using the pernicious notion that ungrateful minorities hate the country and should love it or leave it, there is evidence that Trump’s hateful divisiveness is working, at least with Republicans among whom Trump’s approval rating has just shot up by 5% to over 90%. We will assess whether there are enough angry, white working Americans, the so-called “Reagan Democrats”, who are susceptible to Trump’s racist appeals to vote for him in 2020.


My Country, White or Wrong

Then we speak with Eric Levitz, who writes for New York Magazine’s Daily Intelligencer where his latest article is “The American Right Defines Patriotism As Complacency About Racism”. He joins us to discuss my country white or wrong as Trump has shifted the focus from whether the four freshmen congresswomen known as “the squad” are American, to whether they deserve to be Americans. With conservative pundits opining that the minority women, especially the refugee Ilhan Omar, should temper their critiques of American politics and culture, implying she is guilty of unforgiveable ingratitude, we will assess whether progressives can fight back by invoking the founder’s vision of a more perfect union.


If You Can’t Impeach Trump, Then Go After His Cabinet

Then finally, with yet another attempt to get the House to vote on articles of impeachment, this time by Congressman Al Green using a procedural tactic known as a privileged resolution, we speak with Garrett Epps, a Professor of Law at the University of Baltimore School of Law and a contributing writer for The Atlantic where he has an article “Can’t Impeach Trump? Go After His Cabinet”. We will discuss the historical example of the impeachment of President Grant’s Secretary of War William Belknap and how that might apply to some of Trump’s cabinet of grifters and lowlifes like Alex Acosta.