Day: February 25, 2020

Background Briefing: February 25, 2020


The Last Candidates’ Debate Before Super Tuesday

We begin with the last Democratic presidential candidates’ debate before Super Tuesday which is beginning now as we go to air and assess what may be the beginning of the final winnowing of the field down to two or three candidates. Polls appears to have Biden and Sanders likely to emerge as winners in Saturday’s South Carolina primary while Buttigieg could eat away at Bernie’s lead if his expected attacks in tonight’s debate hurt the frontrunner. But Klobuchar and Steyer are both running on empty and short of a blow-out performance, could pull the plug on their campaigns after Saturday. Meanwhile both Biden and Mike Bloomberg face what looks like a last chance to ramp up their lackluster performances, with Bloomberg in person needing to live up to the man portrayed in his television campaign after the hundreds of millions he has spent promoting himself.  Jonathan Weiler, a Professor of Global Studies at the University of North Carolina and author of Authoritarianism and Polarization in American Politics whose latest book is Prius or Pickup?: How the Answers to Four Simple Questions Explain America’s Great Divide, joins us to assess the race where only a small fraction of the almost 2000 delegates needed for the nomination have been won so far. We examine if as Trump claims, he is rising in the polls above his static and loyal base, and why, as well as whether Bernie could expand from his Democratic base that supports him to win over moderates and even Republicans in the general election.


An Update from a Microbiologist Who Has Studied Coronavirus Parthenogenesis for Four Decades

Then we get an update from Dr. Stanley Perlman, a professor of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Iowa who has studied coronavirus pathogenesis for four decades on the extent to which the coronavirus outbreak has spread around the world and whether it has moved from an epidemic to a pandemic. He joins us to discuss the recent deep and drastic cuts to the CDC that Trump proposed and the president’s breezy confidence that America is protected from the spread of the virus even though the Director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Disease said today “it’s not so much a question of if this will happen anymore but rather more of a question of exactly when this will happen”.


Will the Chief Justice Defend His Court from Trump’s Attacks?

Then finally, with Trump trolling two justices on the Supreme Court, Sonya Sotomayor and Ruth Ginsberg, tweeting out that “Both should recuse themselves…on all Trump and Trump-related matters”, we speak with Corey Brettschneider, a professor of political science at Brown University as well as a visiting professor of law at Fordham Law School. The author of The Oath and the Office: A Guide to the Constitution for Future Presidents, he joins us to discuss Sotomayor’s stinging dissent against Kavanaugh putting his partisan hand on the scale and whether the Chief Justice will defend his court from Trump’s attacks.