Background Briefing: January 2, 2020
An Examination of the Health of Our Democracy
As we conclude our look back on the defining stories of the past year, today we look into the health of our democracy under assault from plutocracy and how to take it back. We begin with an interview I did on May 19th of 2019 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.
The Survival of Democracy and the Rule of Law in Our Regressive and Reactionary World
Then we go to a recent interview I did on December 11th of 2019 with Wendy Brown, one of the country’s leading political thinkers on the challenges to democracy and the survival of the rule of law in today’s regressive and reactionary world. A professor of Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley, she joins us to discuss her latest book, just out, “In the Ruins of Neoliberalism: The Rise of Antidemocratic Politics in the West”. We analyze the reactionary moralism of the Trump Administration’s most ardent and effective proponent, William Barr, and the need for a new vision on the left to blunt the apocalyptic populism of white patriarchy and the right’s denial of the climate extinction threat to God’s green earth.