Background Briefing: October 16, 2023

Paralysis at Home While Wars Rage Abroad With the House to Vote on Jim (Gym) Jordan For Speaker on Tuesday at Noon

 We begin with paralysis at home while wars rage abroad as House Republicans, who have been wrangling behind closed doors, prepare to vote on the House floor for a new speaker on Tuesday at noon. Joining us to discuss whether Jim (Gym) Jordan will fall short like Steve Scalise did as the date for a government shutdown fast approaches is Julian Zelizer, a Professor of History and Public Affairs at Princeton University whose recent books include Fault Lines, Burning Down the House: Newt Gingrich, the Fall of a Speaker, and the Rise of the New Republican Party, Myth America: Historians Take on the Biggest Legends and Lies About Our Past and The Presidency of Donald J. Trump: A First Historical Assessment. The co-host of the “Politics & Polls” podcast and a CNN Political Analyst, and we discuss his latest article at CNN, “Jim Jordan sums up what’s wrong with the House GOP.”


Sunday’s Election in Poland a Welcome Reversal of Democratic Backsliding

Then we look into the results of Sunday’s election in Poland which saw the right wing Law and Justice Party fail to get a third term as the centrist Civic Platform led by former European Council President Donald Tusk is poised to form a new government. Joining us to discuss this welcome reversal of democratic backsliding in Eastern Europe is Jan Kubik, a Professor of Political Science at Rutgers University and Professor at the University College London. His books include The Power of Symbols against the Symbols of Power, Postcommunism from Within: Social Justice, Mobilization, and Hegemony and Twenty Years After Communism: The Politics of Memory and Commemoration.


Will the Corrupt, Crooked and Reactionary Establishment in Guatemala Deny the Democratically-Elected President Arévalo His Right to Govern?

Then finally we assess whether the reactionary forces in Guatemala led by the corrupt outgoing president and his crooked Attorney General backed by the military, oligarchs, drug cartels and vigilantes can deny the popularly elected government of President-elect Arevalo his right to govern. Joining us is Anita Isaacs, a Professor of Social Sciences and Political Science at Haverford College. She is the author of Politics of Military Rule and Transition in Ecuador and At War with the Past? The Politics of Transitional Justice in Postwar Guatemala and is the co-author of an article at The New York Times, “If the Election Deniers Succeed, Guatemala Will Have Lost the Battle for Democracy.”