Background Briefing: October 16, 2022


Having Bought the Supreme Court, American Oligarchs Are Now Trying to Buy the Legislative Branch

We begin with the massive influx of dark money into the Republican senate races which, in spite of what Mitch McConnell referred to as a problem with the quality of their candidates, could overcome the outrageous deficiencies of Herschel Walker, Ron Johnson, JD Vance and Mehmet Oz with Leonard Leo’s avalanche of money. Joining us is Jared Yates Sexton, the author of The Man They Wanted Me to Be and The People Are Going to Rise Like the Waters Upon Your Shore as well as three collections of fiction. His latest book is American Rule: How a Nation Conquered the World but Failed Its People. He also has a forthcoming book, out soon, The Midnight Kingdom a History of Power, Paranoia, and the Coming Crisis, and he has an article at, “At Long Last, Let’s Call This What It Is.” We look into how the American oligarchy, having already bought the Supreme Court, is trying to buy the legislative branch and could succeed if Democrats do not show up at the polls in record numbers on or before November 8.


Did the House January 6 Hearing Move the Needle For Democrats Ahead of the Upcoming Election?

Then we assess how much the House January 6 Committee’s final hearing with a concluding vote to subpoena Donald Trump, has moved the needle in terms of support for Democrats in the upcoming election. Joining us is Moira Donegan, a writer living in New York whose work has appeared in The London Review of Books, Bookforum and The Paris Review. She is a columnist at The Guardian and we discuss her latest article at The Guardian “The vote to subpoena Trump shows Democrats have found their fighting spirit.


With Its Economy in Deep Trouble, the Chinese Communist Party Congress Will Anoint Xi Jinping to Another Decade in Power

Then finally as the Chinese Communist Party Congress begins today to anoint Xi Jinping for another decade in power at a time when the country’s once roaring economy is in deep trouble, we speak with Susan Shirk, a Research Professor and Chair of the 21st Century China Center at the School of Global Policy and Strategy at the University of California San Diego. From 1997 to 2000 she served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of East Asia and Pacific Affairs, with responsibility for China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Mongolia and is the author of China: Fragile Superpower, and The Political Logic of Economic Reform in China. Her latest book, out this week, is Overreach: How China Derailed Its Peaceful Rise and we discuss her article at the New York Times, “Xi Jinping Has Fallen Into the Dictator Trap.