Background Briefing: November 4, 2020


Biden Has a Path to the Presidency, Trump Has Lawyers and Courts

We begin with the narrow path Joe Biden has to the presidency following an election night in which the expected “blue wave” did not materialize, nor did a Democratic victory in the Senate or an increase in their majority in the House.  But as disappointing the results are for those who believed the polls, the path to the presidency for Donald Trump is even narrower if not out of reach and all Trump can do is dispatch lawyers and go to the courts as he is doing in Michigan and Pennsylvania while calling for a recount in Wisconsin. Richard Parker, who teaches economics and public policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and is the former managing editor of Ramparts, a co-founder of Mother Jones magazine and serves on the editorial board of The Nation, joins us to discuss how Wall Street and the American oligarchy appear to be the big winners now that we will have a weak presidency and a paralyzed Senate assuring that little will get done to deal with inequality, climate change, healthcare and unemployment.


Trump the Loser and Four Years of Scorched-Earth Opposition

Then we speak with Eric Levitz, who writes for New York Magazine’s Daily Intelligencer where his latest article is “Biden Has a Good Chance of Winning – and Having a Dreadful Presidency.”  We discuss last night’s big wins for Trump in Florida. Ohio and Texas followed by the morning after victories for Biden in Arizona, Wisconsin and Michigan and the possibility Biden could still win Nevada, Georgia, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. Short of declaring himself the winner, Biden made it clear today that the American people decide who the next president is and when the votes are all counted, he will be the next president of the United States. But since the GOP is now the Trump party, with this hateful, bitter, vindictive and increasingly unhinged loser leading the opposition, we could be in for four years of scorched-earth division and disruption.


With Biden Likely to Win Pennsylvania, Trump Sues to Both Stop the Count and to Speed it Up

Then finally we go to Pennsylvania to speak with Will Bunch, a national opinion columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer whose latest article is “America wakes up to a near worst case scenario: Trump’s bogus victory claim, likelihood of gridlocked D.C. reveal a still-broken nation.” Will Bunch argues that “our country is governed by 18th century rules that created a presidency where it’s a mountain for the candidate with the most votes to win, a Senate that enshrines minority rule, and a retrograde judiciary that is locked in for decades. Toss in a riled-up public where 75 million angry Americans vote revenge over policy, celebrity over sanity, and hate over hope — and the 2020s look like a potentially lost decade.”