Background Briefing: August 30, 2020


Why Trump Loves Rallies in Which He Shares the Unhinged Belief Systems of His Cult-like Followers

We begin with Trump returning to his favorite activity one day after his rambling speech at the close of the Republican National Convention, with his rally in New Hampshire where he went off script with nasty attacks on Kamala Harris while floating the idea that his daughter Ivanka has presidential potential. Carl Hoffman, author of the New York Times bestsellers Savage Harvest and The Lunatic Express who is a former contributing editor to National Geographic Traveler and Wired, joins us to discuss his latest book out on Tuesday, Liar’s Circus: A Strange and Terrifying Journey Into the Upside-Down World of Trump’s MAGA Rallies.  We explore the phenomenon of Trump being incapable of doing the job of president and having no interest in governing but loving leading rallies and riffing with his adoring crowd. Having spent months going to Trump’s rallies and getting to know his diehard supporters, Carl offers a frightening portrait of perhaps as many as 10 million Americans with the most unhinged belief systems who are attracted to a leader with cult-like fervor whose make-believe presidency feeds them a fantasy of an America in which the coronavirus has gone away. And as Trump defames his political opponents as anti-American radicals out to burn and loot white suburbia, his lies and conspiracy theories connect with the worldview of the hardcore Trump camp-followers portrayed in Liar’s Circus who believe Michelle Obama is a man, Obama is gay and their kids adopted, and that Hillary Clinton tortures babies while the Clintons have “suicided” 99 people. All this while the Q Clock is ticking as the QAnon followers wait for Trump to signal “The Storm” when the Democratic opposition is rounded up and sent to Gitmo while the “deep state” traitors and the press are taken to military camps and executed.


Will Biden Call Trump Out on His Cynical Game of Creating Civil Strife in Order to Benefit From It?

Then we go to Wisconsin to speak with Matthew Rothschild, the Executive Director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign who previously was the editor and publisher of The Progressive magazine in Madison, Wisconsin. He joins us ahead of Trump’s visit to Kenosha on Tuesday where he will meet with local law enforcement and inspect property damage in what is the centerpiece of his reelection campaign; to stir up racial tension in the hope of sparking clashes between protesters and Trump’s armed militia supporters to portray Democrats as being weak on law and order.  We speculate if and when Biden will call Trump out on his cynical game of creating civil strife in order to benefit from it.


The Author of a New Report “Hidden in Plain Sight: Racism, White Supremacy, And Far-right Militancy in Law Enforcement”

Then finally we discuss the new report from the Brennan Center for Justice, “Hidden in Plain Sight: Racism, White Supremacy, and Far-Right Militancy in Law Enforcement” with its author Mike German, who served for 16 years as a special agent with the FBI specializing in covert operations and domestic terrorism. Having infiltrated white nationalist militia groups during the 1990’s, Mike warns law enforcement, in particular the pro-militia racist sheriff and police chief in Kenosha, that making alliances with right wing militias is a deadly mistake because they will kill police just as easily as they shoot protesters.