Day: March 26, 2023

Background Briefing: March 26, 2023


Trump’s First 2024 Presidential Rally Shouts Out to the Far Right, Militias and Insurrectionists That He is Their Fuhrer and They Are Coming After You

We begin with Trump’s first rally as a presidential candidate for 2024 held on Saturday in Waco, Texas, famous for the Branch Davidian siege and massacre which has inspired far right anti-government militias as well as Timothy McVeigh who went on to blow up the Federal building in Oklahoma City. Joining us to discuss Trump’s incendiary rhetoric calling for protests and violence is Jennifer Mercieca, a professor in the Department of Communications at Texas A&M University where she teaches courses on Political Communication and Presidential Rhetoric. An historian of American political discourse, especially discourses about citizenship, democracy, and the presidency, she is the co-Editor of The Rhetoric of Heroic Expectations: Establishing the Obama Presidency and author of Founding Fictions as well as Demagogue for President:The Rhetorical Genius of Donald Trump. 


The Massive Protest in France to Protect a Social Safety Net Americans Could Only Dream Of

Then we look into the massive protests in France against raising the retirement age from 62 to 64 with another nationwide demonstration led by the unions planned for Tuesday. We contrast how French voters and workers rise up to protect their generous social programs in comparison to Americans who have a far less of a safety net than the French who get six weeks of vacations, free education, free healthcare and prescriptions and a secure retirement. Joining us is David Andelman, a contributor to CNN, twice winner of the Deadline Club Award, and a chevalier of the French Legion of Honor. He is the author of A Shattered Peace: Versailles 1919 and the Price We Pay Today and A Red Line in the Sand: Diplomacy, Strategy, and the History of Wars That Might Still Happen. Formerly a correspondent for The New York Times and CBS News in Europe and Asia, he runs the Substack blog Andelman Unleashed and we discuss his article at CNN, “Paris is still burning, but Macron survives by a hair.”


How Foreign Wars Test the Moral Convictions of American Leftists

 Then finally we will look into the history of how foreign wars test the moral convictions of American leftists as the far right and the far left embrace an alternative reality that America and NATO are to blame for the war in Ukraine, not Russia. Joining us is Michael Kazin, a professor of history at Georgetown University and editor emeritus of Dissent Magazine. His books include American Dreamers: How the Left Changed a Nation, The Populist Persuasion, War Against War:The American Fight for Peace 1914-1918  and A Godly Hero: The Life of William Jennings Bryan. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and editor of The Princeton Encyclopedia of American Political History, and his latest book is What It Took to Win: A History of the Democratic Party. We discuss his article at Dissent Magazine, “Eject the Left-Right Alliance Against Ukraine.”