Background Briefing: November 24, 2021


The Alleged Rift Between VP Harris and the White House is the Last Thing Biden Needs

We begin with speculation about a rift between Vice President Harris and her staff and the White House staff which, given the president’s poll numbers and the weighty issues on his plate, is the last thing Biden needs. Joining us is Lincoln Mitchell, a professor of Political Science at Columbia University, where he also serves as an associate scholar in the Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies. He is the author of numerous books on the former Soviet states, baseball, and democracy the latest of which is The Giants and Their City: Major League Baseball in San Francisco, 1976-1992. We discuss his article at CNN, “Harris and Buttigieg could be allies instead of rivals” and this unnecessary distraction about intra-party fighting on top of the fratricidal wrangling that has gone on over the infrastructure bills, when the Democrats face the daunting challenge of Republican voter suppression that could render them a permanent minority party into the future regardless of the will of the majority of American voters.


Guilty Verdicts in the Ahmaud Arbery Case Come as a Relief to Many

Then with the verdicts in the Ahmaud Arbery case coming down today finding all three white men guilty of killing a black man, we look into the extent to which this verdict as well as the verdict against the organizers of the Unite The Right Rally in Charlottesville will act as a deterrent against right supremacist violence which the FBI considers our greatest domestic threat. Joining us is Ekow Yankah, a professor of Law at the Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University whose research focuses on Criminal Law and Theory, Political Theory, Policing, and Voting Rights. He also serves on the Executive Board of the Innocence Project and the American Constitution Society’s New York Chapter and his publications include A Paradox in Overcriminalization and Good Guys and Bad Guys: Punishing Character, Equality and the Irrelevance of Moral Character to Criminal Punishment. With Trump and right wing media celebrating Kyle Rittenhouse for killing left wing protestors, we discuss the importance of holding leaders of the January 6th insurrection like Roger Stone and Steve Bannon to account if democracy and the rule of law are to continue to have meaning in the United States.