Episode

12/12 KEYSTONE OIL SPILL; Why No One’s Satisifed With U.S. Democracy w/ Timothy Shenk

December 12, 2022

Emma hosts Timothy Shenk, Co-Editor of Dissent and Assistant Professor of Modern U.S. History at George Washington University, to discuss his recent book Realigners: Partisan Hacks, Political Visionaries, and the Struggle to Rule American Democracy. First, Emma runs through updates on Sinema jumping right back into working with the Right, Kari Lake’s lawsuit against Arizona, and polls revealing that the only thing the public wants less than a Trump candidacy, is a Biden one, before diving deeper into this weekend’s Keystone Pipeline spill, and the complete joke that is letting corporations regulate themselves. Timothy Shenk then joins as he dives right into the inspiration he found in the failure of the US political system leading up to the election of Donald Trump, with the inability of either party to build a durable majority following the collapse of the New Deal Coalition in 1968. Next, Shenk jumps back to the 18th Century as he begins the walk through the major political realignment that set up this coalition-stifling system, first parsing through the aristocratic civil war between Federalists and Jeffersonians in the 1790s that set up the two-party system that centered the ability to sway the electorate (rather than the belief in an aristocracy naturally rising to the top), before moving forwards through the 1800s and Andrew Jackson’s rallying of a populist coalition of his Jacksonian Democrats to bolster this political party machine. Next, Timothy and Emma explore the shift away from the Jacksonian Democrats as Martin Van Buren and the “Radical Republicans” began to take on the institution of slavery, and walk through the impact of changing party politics in the leadup to the Civil War, before shifting to the third realignment under Lincoln and beyond, as reconstruction’s vision of a multiracial democracy began to fall apart. They then discuss the rise of FDR’s New Deal Coalition in the 20th Century, as the Great Depression forced Americans to get over their lingering resentment from the Civil War, and for the first time centered class as the major political divide in the US, before they wrap up the interview by walking through the Right’s various coalition attempts (largely shrouded in a populist veneer) from Phyllis Schlafly to Donald Trump and tackling the failure of Democrats to ever see a return of FDR’s labor coalition.

And in the Fun Half: Emma and the crew bask in the jeers Elon Musk received at Dave Chapelle’s recent SF show, despite Dave’s best efforts, Jesse James from the Hudson Valley dives into reactionaries and pop-culture race swaps, and Sunil from San Jose discusses various elements of Democrats’ campaigning strategies. They also tackle Christian Walker refusing to back down to the weirdos on the Right that blame him for his father’s loss, Zack from Missouri discusses the role of religion in various elements of our politics, and Serena from Tucson walks through serious tenants’ rights issues going on in her complex, plus, your calls and IMs!

Check out Timothy’s book here: https://us.macmillan.com/books/9780374138004/realigners

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