Background Briefing: February 14, 2021


Republican Senators Who Acquitted Trump For a Second Time Will Live in Infamy

We begin with the acquittal of Trump in which 7 Republican senators joined Democrats in voting to convict Trump in a 57 to 43 vote, 10 short of the two thirds majority of 67 votes needed. After the vote the Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell condemned Trump even though he voted to acquit him saying, “Former President Trump’s actions that preceded the riot were a distraction, a disgraceful dereliction of duty. Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day.” We will go to the UK for the perspective of an American living abroad as 81 million Americans who voted for President Biden are left without justice for the attempted coup against American democracy that would have erased their votes and have a criminal and wannabe dictator stay in power based on the big lie of “stop the steal” he cynically and relentlessly promoted to his gullible followers which was amplified by Fox News. Sarah Churchwell, Professor of Literature and Humanities at the School of Advanced Study of the University of London and the author of Behold America: The Entangled History of America First and The American Dream joins us to discuss Trump’s escape from punishment by a GOP turning away from democracy towards authoritarian instead of majoritarian rule.


If Republicans Win a Future Election It’s OK, But if Democrats Do It’s Rigged

Then we explore further the consequences of the “big lie” the Republicans have now bought into which in effect means that if they win a future election it’s OK, but if the Democrats win it’s rigged. Michael Li, senior counsel for the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program where he works on redistricting, voting rights and elections, joins us to discuss his new report “The Redistricting Landscape, 2021 – 2022.” We assess the chance of HR 1 and SB 1 passing which if they did, would ensure free and fair elections into the future.


Employers Should be Able to Mandate Covid Vaccines

Then finally we examine the possibility of enacting employer mandates for Covid vaccines and speak with Arthur Caplan, Professor of Bioethics and Director of the Division of Medical Ethics at NYU Langone Medical Center’s Department of Population Health. He joins us to discuss his article at Barrons, “Let Employers Mandate Vaccines” and how 10 states have already passed laws aimed at specifically targeting Covid vaccines to prevent employers mandating them even though flu vaccines and other medical procedures are often required.