Month: July 2019

Background Briefing: July 30, 2019


A Preview of Tonight’s Democratic Debates

We begin with tonight’s first of a new round of Democratic presidential debates in Detroit, Michigan and speak with John Nichols, The Nation magazine’s Washington correspondent who has the new podcast Next Left and whose latest article at The Nation is “If Democrats Want to Win in 2020, They Have to Give Detroit a Reason to Vote.” We caught him walking on his way to the debate venue and we discuss what will not happen which is a substantive debate between Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren on one side and Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on the other side making their cases for and against Medicare For All. However that won’t happen until the next round of debates when the field is winnowed, which unfortunately means that tonight a lot of the people on the stage with little to no hope of going anywhere, will be even more anxious to be noticed. But this time CNN has changed the rules so that if a marginal candidate tries to butt in and hog the mic, they will be penalized with time taken from their allotted speaking time, presumably from their closing statements, so perhaps this time the debates will be a little more orderly if not more enlightening.


Elizabeth Warren’s Remarkable Political Journey

Then we speak with David Dayen, the Executive Editor of the American Prospect where his latest article is “Democrats Must Reframe 2020 Around Trump’s Corruption” and discuss whether there is a way for the Democratic candidates to look ahead to how they will deal with the issues we face as opposed to looking back at the what was missed in the Mueller Report and the disastrous Trump record. Since Hillary Clinton ran on the single issue of saying what a terrible person Trump is, which while it is manifestly true, it did not work in 2016, so what evidence is there that that same campaign strategy will work in 2020. We also discuss the remarkable political journey of Elizabeth Warren from a conservative Republican to a liberal Democrat and what brought about that change.


Demonstrations by Russia’s Professional and Intelligencia Have Putin in a State of Panic

Then finally we speak with Anders Åslund, a professor at the Center for Eurasian, Russian and East European Studies at Georgetown University and a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council where he has an article, “A Unique Chance for Change in Ukraine.” The author of “Russia’s Crony Capitalism: The Path from Market Economy to Kleptocracy”, he joins us to discuss the Kremlin’s panicked overreaction to the demonstrations in Moscow which indicates Putin is frightened of the Russian professional class and the intelligentsia’s growing disgust towards Putin’s regime and how the Russian people are inspired by the anti-corruption government that has swept into power in Ukraine in opposition to a corrupt oligarchy.