Day: September 21, 2020

Background Briefing: September 21, 2020


How McConnell and Trump’s Appointment to Replace RBG Will Backfire

We begin with what appears to be a lucky break for Trump with the death of RBG as he and McConnell shamefully rush to fill her seat. Already the stories most damaging to Trump have vanished from the headlines; his ties to Putin and corruption and his mishandling of the pandemic which just resulted in the 200,000th death in the U.S., a deadly milestone overshadowed by the press’s focus now on the Supreme Court.  Robert Alexander, the Chair of the Department of History, Politics, and Justice and a professor of political science at Ohio Northern University who has studied and written about the Electoral College, joins us to discuss his article at CNN, “GOP Push to Fill RBG’s Seat Could Backfire Spectacularly.”  We discuss how it’s likely McConnell already has the votes minus Senators Murkowsky and Collins to force through a vote on the nominee Trump will announce on Friday, but that this will backfire when, according to the polls, the Democrats win the presidency and the Senate in November and increase their majority in the House. Then the determined Democrats will get their revenge by getting rid of the filibuster and expanding the Supreme Court to 11 justices then appointing two liberal justices as well as making Puerto Rico and Washington D.C. states to make up for the GOP’s advantage of federalism over majoritarianism in the Electoral College and the U.S. Senate.


 The Global “Dictator Drift” as the U.S. Undergoes “Substantial Autocratization”

Then we speak with Michael Coppedge, a professor of political science at the University of Notre Dame who is one of the principal investigators for the Varieties of Democracy Project which has measured hundreds of attributes of democracy and governance for most countries since 1900 and is a co-author of the new book Varieties of Democracy: Measuring Two Centuries of Political Change. He joins us to discuss the global “dictator drift” away from democracy in countries like Turkey, Hungary and Poland and how the United States is undergoing “substantial autocratization.”


Trump’s Call to “Restore Patriotic Education” is Intended to Whitewash and Rewrite Our History

Then finally we examine the broadside in the culture wars Trump leveled last week on Constitution Day at the National Archives Museum vowing to “restore patriotic education” while claiming “left wing rioting and mayhem are the direct result of left-wing indoctrination in our schools”, accusing historian Howard Zinn of trying to make “students ashamed of their own history.” Joining us is Kevin Kumashiro, an internationally-recognized expert on educational policy, school reform, teacher preparation, and educational equity and social justice who is the former dean at the University of San Francisco’s School of Education and author of Troubling Education and Teaching Towards Democracy. We discuss how Trump and DeVos want to whitewash history so that slavery and the genocide of native Americans is forgotten while America’s teachers are encouraged “to teach our children about the miracle of American history.”