Tag: brett stephens

Background Briefing: September 2, 2019


Will the Democrats Run Away from Their Progressive Majority?


On this Labor Day we look back on stories that we covered in 2019 on the challenges working Americans face as our democracy succumbs to plutocracy in this new gilded age. We begin with an interview from June 30 when, following the first two Democratic primary debates, we discussed the concerns expressed by political strategists and pundits that the Democratic presidential candidates on the ascendency are taking the party too far to the left as centrists like Joe Biden appear to flounder while others like Governor Bullock of Montana were not able to make it onto the crowded stage. We spoke with an economic advisor to Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, Robert Hockett, a Professor of Law at Cornell Law School who helped Elizabeth Warren write the Accountable Capitalism Act and Ocasio Cortez write the Green New Deal and the Loan Shark Prevention Act. He joined us to discuss whether the Democrats are committing political suicide by ignoring the center of the party and pandering to the left and how Joe Biden was run over by Kamala Harris to the point many are writing him off as roadkill. We also assess whether Joe Biden, who has always had a solid lead in the polls, has lost his mojo and if a Biden-Harris ticket is no longer viable, and whether there is the opening for Elizabeth Warren who appears to be gaining popularity at Bernie Sanders’ expense?


Inside the Dystopian Reality of the Tech Boom

Then we go to an interview from earlier in the year on February 18 with Corey Pein, an investigative reporter who did a deep dive into the greed and hubris of Silicon Valley, emerging with a scathing sardonic expose of tech culture in his new book “Live Work Work Work Die: A Journey into the Savage Heart of Silicon Valley”. He joined us to discuss the dystopian reality of a tech industry which sold us on a utopian future and the techno-oligarchy of short-sighted reactionary titans atop the world’s most powerful corporations amassing vast fortunes at the cost of the common good.


A Stronger Democracy Makes a Better Economy

Then finally we go to an interview I did on May 19 with author and filmmaker Astra Taylor on her latest film “What Is Democracy” as well as her new book, “Democracy May Not Exist but We Will Miss It When It’s Gone”. She has done extensive research on how democracy is a both under attack around the world and remains a promise unfulfilled. Having interviewed average Americans about their understanding of democracy, her findings are alarming, just as the fact that much of the structure of American democracy itself is alarming, given how many presidents recently have been elected with fewer votes that their opponents, a trend that is likely to worsen in the future.