Tag: shopping

Background Briefing: March 22, 2020


What Kind of Election Will We Have in November, If Any?

We begin with how the coronavirus has wiped the Democratic primary election campaign from the headlines as the contagion intensifies and the possibility of the November elections being cancelled or modified arises. Alan Hirsch, Chair of the Justice and Law Studies program at Williams College and author of the new book A Short History of Presidential Election Crises (And How to Prevent the Next One), joins us to discuss how our broken healthcare system and our broken election systems combine to produce an unprecedented threat to American democracy itself. He has an article at Common Dreams “Is America Prepared for a Presidential Election Crisis? If we are smart, we will take appropriate measures before the next crisis” and we assess the challenges of voting by mail or online under a national lockdown (or even a declaration of martial law, assuming Trump does not cancel the elections). And because the Electoral College narrows the presidential contest to a few states, this allows Russian and other hackers the opportunity to change votes and call into question the accuracy of the count thus compounding the chaos and confusion. After four presidential elections so far in our history, Americans have awakened the day after the elections without knowing who won and without a reliable mechanism to resolve the uncertainty. But we have never had a president like Trump who displays despotic tendencies, has a disregard for the law and democratic values and, according to testimony before Congress from his long-time lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen, will not leave the Oval Office if he is defeated at the polls.


Will This Crisis Revive Citizenship as Consumerism Becomes Less Patriotic?

Then we explore whether this crisis which may go on for a year or more, will reverse the decades-long trend of Americans being encouraged to be passive consumers rather than active citizens with going to the malls which are now closed, being equated with doing your patriotic duty. Joseph Stieb, who recently received a PhD in history from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and has an article at The Washington Post “Americans must relearn to sacrifice in the time of coronavirus. Citizenship used to demand sacrifice. Then we taught Americans to buy things instead“, joins us with a millennial’s take on our civic ignorance and how to reverse the conflation of consumerism with citizenship.

The Shameful Insider Trading by U.S. Senators

Then finally we look into the exposure of shameful insider trading based on “nonpublic” knowledge by U.S. Senators Burr, Feinstein, Inhofe, Loeffler, Perdue and others who dumped stock ahead of the market plunging and in some cases, bought stocks that will benefit from the coronavirus crisis. Thomas Ferguson, professor emeritus of Political Science at the University of Massachusetts and a senior fellow at Better Markets, who is the author of Golden Rule: The Investment Theory of Part Competition and the Logic of Money-Driven Political Systems, joins us to discuss the uproar on both the left and the right at these revelations and whether anything will be gone about it.