Background Briefing: July 12, 2022


How Trump Mainstreamed Violence as a Political Tool

We begin with today’s hearing of the House January 6 Committee at which a strong and clear case was made that Trump would not listen to the adults around him standing up for the rule of law but instead found a motley group of legal charlatans and deranged cultists offering a lawless path to stay in power with the help of a far-right street gang the Proud Boys and a violent militia the Oath Keepers. Joining us to assess the impact of today’s hearing is Dr. Rachel Kleinfeld who studies the capture of frail states abroad by leaders who use violence as a political tool employing party-linked militias to grab and hold onto power. She did not expect to be witnessing the embrace of violent militias by the Trump-controlled GOP and is a senior associate in the Democracy, Conflict and Governance Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace where she focuses on issues of rule of law, security, and governance in post-conflict countries, fragile states, and states in transition. She was the founding President of the Truman National Security Project and was appointed to the Foreign Affairs Policy Board, the advisory body to the U.S. Department of State and her latest book is A Savage Order: How the World’s Deadliest Countries Can Forge a Path to Security. We discuss her article at Just Security, “The GOP’s Militia Problem: Proud Boys, Oath Keepers and Lessons from Abroad.”


The Centerpiece of Biden’s Israel Visit Will Be The Jerusalem Declaration, a US-Israel Strategic Partnership Against Iran

Then with the Israeli press reporting that Biden’s visit to Israel on Wednesday through Friday will be crowned by the Jerusalem Declaration, a US-Israel Strategic Partnership agreement for a joint stance against Iran. Joining us is Lara Friedman, the President of the Foundation for Middle East Peace who was the Director of Policy and Government Relations at Americans for Peace Now, and before that she was a U.S. Foreign Service Officer, serving in Jerusalem, Washington, Tunis and Beirut. Lara is a leading authority on U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, with particular focus on the Israeli-Arab conflict, settlements and Jerusalem, and on the role of the U.S. Congress. 


Biden at 44% to Trump at 41% in a 2024 Rerun of the 2020 Election

Then finally with a recent poll showing Biden at 44% to Trump at 41% in a 2024 rerun of the 2020 election, we discuss that depressing and alarming prospect with Gary Jacobson, Distinguished Emeritus Professor of Political Science at the University of California San Diego whose research focuses on Congress and congressional elections. He is the author of Money in Congressional Elections; The Politics of Congressional Elections and The Electoral Origins of Divided Government; and co-author of Strategy and Choice in Congressional Elections, American Parties in Decline, and The Logic of American Politics.