Day: July 14, 2021

Background Briefing: July 14, 2021


Republicans Don’t Believe You Have a Right to Vote, But You Do Have a Right To Infect

We begin with the increasingly deadly and infectious strain of Covid, the Delta variant, impacting states with low vaccination rates and the role of Republican politicians and Fox News in encouraging Americans not to vaccinate. With Republicans in Tennessee firing their top Covid official Dr Michelle Fiscus for trying to vaccinate teenagers against this new deadly strain, Jonathan Metzl, professor of sociology and psychiatry at Vanderbilt University and Director of it’s Center for Medicine, Health and Society joins us. We discuss how conspiracy theories have infected Republican politics and how Republicans apparently feel you don’t have a right to vote, but you do have a right to infect. The author of Dying of Whiteness: How the Politics of Racial Resentment Is Killing America’s Heartland, we discuss how back in December Kaiser Health News and The Associated Press found that at least 181 state and local public health leaders in 38 states had resigned, retired or been fired since April 1, 2020. And now the latest victim Dr. Fiscus notes, “It’s just a huge symptom of just how toxic the whole political landscape has become. This virus is apolitical — it doesn’t care who you are or where you live or which president you preferred.” 


The House Democratic Whip Pressures Senate Democrats to Carve-Out Voting Rights From the Filibuster

Then with the House Democratic Whip James Clyburn urging Senate Democrats to pass the For the People Act via a carve-out of the filibuster for voting rights, we speak with Keesha Gaskins-Nathan, a lawyer, voting rights advocate and Director of the Democratic Practice Program at the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. She joins us to discuss how voting rights and election reform legislation has become the top priority for Democrats in the face of new voter suppression in Republican-led states based on Trump’s lies about a stolen 2020 presidential election which Biden referred to yesterday as election subversion.


The $3.5 Trillion Infrastructure Package and Pressure on Republican Senators to Abandon Their Earlier Bipartisan Deal

Then finally we look into the $3.5 trillion infrastructure package the Democrats plan to pass via budget reconciliation and assess whether the Republican senators who agreed to an earlier bi-partisan infrastructure package might be peeled off under pressure from Republican activists already running TV spots against Republican senators who joined with Democrats. Robert Johnson, the Executive Director of the Institute for New Economic Thinking who was previously the Chief Economist of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee and the U.S. Senate Budget Committee, joins us.