Background Briefing: May 23, 2023

Ron DeSantis Will Announce His Bid For the Presidency in Conversation With Elon Musk on Twitter

We begin with the expected announcement tomorrow, Wednesday by Governor Ron DeSantis that he is running for the presidency which will be delivered in a conversation with Elon Musk on Twitter before a potential audience of 140 million of Musk’s Twitter followers. We assess the chances of the most likely candidate to challenge Trump who is 34 points behind Trump at the moment and is not a natural retail politician, in fact is the opposite, relying on his wife Casey to make up for his lack of charm and people skills. Joining us is Michael Binder, is professor in the Department of Political Science and Public Administration at the University of North Florida whose research interests include voter decision-making, direct democracy, American politics and public opinion. He is the faculty director for the Public Opinion Research Laboratory at the University of North Florida and we discuss how DeSantis is positioning himself as far to the right as possible and while Trump is a genuine authoritarian who emulates dictators, DeSantis seems more cynical in choosing an authoritarian path to power.


Debt Ceiling Negotiations Will Determine How Much Punishment Will Be Inflicted on the Poor to Reward the Rich

Then we get an update on the up and down on and off negotiations on the debt ceiling between President Biden and Speaker McCarthy to determine how much punishment will be inflicted on the poor to reward the rich which is clearly McCarthy’s priority. Joining us is Whitney Tucker, Director of State Fiscal Policy Research at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities where she coordinates the Center’s efforts to design and promote more inclusive and equitable tax and budget policies. She has a report at The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, “Republican Debt-Ceiling-and-Cuts Bill Would Cost States and Local Communities $1.3 Trillion.”


Putin Could Be Arrested If He Shows Up For the BRICS Summit in South Africa in August

 Then finally we explore the possibility that Putin could be arrested if he shows up for the BRICS summit in South Africa in August since South Africa is a signatory to the International Criminal Court which has an outstanding arrest warrant for Putin and South Africa’s leader Cyril Ramaphosa has urged Putin not to show up although Putin has indicated he is determined to attend the summit. Joining us is Kent Harrington, a former senior CIA analyst who served as National Intelligence Officer for East Asia and Chief of Station in Asia. We discuss his article at his Substack First and Second Thoughts, “Pursuing Russia’s War Crimes: Words Are Good, Actions Are Better.”