Background Briefing: January 11, 2021


GOP “Gamers” (McConnell) Flirt with Fascism While Their “Breakers” (Hawley and Cruz) Embrace it

We begin with an analysis of what Timothy Snyder describes in The New York Times as “The American Abyss” and the extent to which we not only witnessed a grotesque display of American fascism on Wednesday with the storming of the capitol by the equivalent of Nazi stormtroopers but that there is within the Republican party a large constituency of 8 senators and 138 House members who voted against American democracy AFTER their own capitol was assaulted, looted and vandalized. Jason Stanley, Professor of Philosophy at Yale University and author of How Propaganda Works, and his latest How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them, joins us. We discuss the division in the GOP between the “gamers” and the “breakers” with the gamers like McConnell happy to take advantage of a system that affords them minority rule via the oligarch’s dark money and a minority of voters motivated by Fox News, while the breakers like Senators Hawley and Cruz actually want to break the system and have power without democracy. We assess whether the plutocracy that funds both camps will have second thoughts about supporting the ugly side of the breakers to go along with the gamers who will be more effective at frustrating Biden’s agenda.


Pelosi’s Deadline to Pence on the 25th Amendment or a Second Impeachment

Then we speak with Princeton historian Julian Zelizer the co-host of the Politics and Polls podcast whose latest book is Burning Down the House: Newt Gingrich, and the Fall of a Speaker, and the Rise of the New Republican Party about his article at CNN “Impeach Donald Trump – Again.” We discuss efforts underway to get Vice President Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment with a deadline set by Speaker Pelosi before the House quickly moves to impeach Trump for a second time.


Will the Democratic Party Learn From Grassroots Success in Arizona and Georgia?

Then finally we examine the possibility of the Democratic Party learning from the success of long-term grassroots organizing by activists who turned Arizona and Georgia blue and speak with Robert Kuttner about his article at The American Prospect, “The Movement, the Party, and the President: The Republicans are cracking up. Can Democratic unity hold? And Will the Biden Administration be an ally of long-term organizing.”