Background Briefing: December 15, 2022


Trump’s “Major Announcement” Falls Flat as the White House Recalibrates, Expecting to Run Against DeSantis

We begin with Trump’s “major announcement” today that he had promised, claiming “America needs a superhero” which turned out to be a pitch for tacky digital trading cards of him “featuring amazing ART of my Life & Career!” which Trump is offering for only $99 each while supplies last. Joining us to discuss Trump’s drop in the polls which now has the White House recalibrating, expecting to run against DeSantis and adjusting their strategy to tie Trump to DeSantis, is Aaron Rupar, who until recently was the associate editor for politics and policy at Vox and is now an independent journalist covering US politics and media. He is the author of Public Notice at and we discuss his article with Noah Berlatsky, “Ron DeSantis is not moderate.”


Ten Years After Sandy Hook, 150 Million Guns Have Been Sold in America

Then, on the tenth anniversary of Sandy Hook we examine an article at The Guardian that finds 150 million guns have been sold in America since that gun massacre of first graders. Joining us is Tom Diaz, a writer, lawyer, and public speaker on the gun industry and gun control. Formerly senior policy analyst at the Violence Policy Center, he is the author of Making a Killing and The Last Gun: How Changes in the Gun Industry Are Killing Americans and What It Will Take to Stop It, and Tragedy in Aurora: The Culture of Mass Shooting in America. His latest book is Broken Scales: The Crisis of Race and Justice in Divided America and he has a video “Drums of War” which asks are we headed toward a civil war.


The European Parliament Recognizes Stalin’s Starvation of Ukrainians as Genocide

Then finally, with the European Parliament announcing today that it “recognizes the Holodomor, the artificial famine of 1932-1933 in Ukraine caused by a deliberate policy of the Soviet regime, as a genocide against the Ukrainian people.” Joining us is Cristina Florea, a professor of history at Cornell University who teaches courses on East European and Soviet history, World War II and interwar Europe. Her work examines the relationship between nationalism and empire, the importance of imperial legacies in modern European history, and the centrality of imperial competition to East European politics and societies. She is the author of Crossroads of Empire: Revolutions and Encounters at the Frontiers of Europe and we discuss her article at The New York Review of Books, “Ukraine’s Long Self-Determination.”