Episode

2/12 How Working Class Voters Became Up For Grabs w/ Lainey Newman

February 12, 2024

Happy Monday! Sam and Emma speak with Lainey Newman, research assistant at Harvard Law School, to discuss her recent book Rust Belt Union Blues: Why Working-Class Voters Are Turning Away from the Democratic Party, co-authored with Theda Skocpol. First, Sam and Emma run through updates on Israel’s bombing of the Palestinians taking refuge in Rafah, Biden and Trump’s varying support for war, the election to fill George Santos’ seat, the House GOP goes after Mayorkas… again, Pakistani election results wrap up, and Matt Gaetz’s ethics hearings continue, also touching on Bibi Netanyahu’s recent appearance on Fox News to touch on Israel’s ongoing war against “barbarism” and to save “civilization.” Lainey Newman then joins, diving right into her research methods compiling and analyzing archival, interview, and ethnographic data exploring the political evolution of the Rust Belt’s “union-man” archetype – also touching connection to the region. Next, Newman dives into her exploration of the influence of unions as third places and integral parts of community infrastructure in the Rust Belt, tackling the role they played throughout much of the 20th Century, playing host to community events, local organizing, religious affairs, as well as disseminating important news and political developments, alongside its role as a collective bargaining unit. Moving forward, Lainey walks Sam and Emma through the disappearance of this third-place over the second half of the century, with the collapse of steel regulation and rise of neoliberalism obliterating the union jobs and general population of the Rust Belt, and thus killing the major progressive counterweight to conservative community institutions and third places. After tackling the role of unions in bolstering race relations, and the role the Democratic Party played in the downfall of unionism, Newman wraps up with a quick assessment of union politics heading into the 2024 election.

And in the Fun Half: Sam and Emma dive into the mass ongoing repression of Palestinian sympathies in Israel, Andrew from Chicago explores the future of housing reform in Chicago and beyond, and RFK gets inter-Kennedy pushback over the use of his family’s pictures in a Super Bowl ad. Ehab from Tucson parses through the difficult questions of voting amid Biden’s support for Israel’s genocide – alongside the likelihood of any institutional awareness – Sarah from Chicago explores the influence of Israel’s occupation of Palestine on Islamophobia in the US, and Donald Trump flexes on those parasitic NATO allies we have. Blackwater’s founder decides to weigh in on imperialism, plus, our calls and IMs!

Check out Lainey’s book here: https://cup.columbia.edu/book/rust-belt-union-blues/9780231208826

Check out this piece in the Chicago Sun-Times that Sarah in the Chicago Suburbs mentioned here: https://chicago.suntimes.com/2024/2/8/24065995/gaza-palestinian-israel-war-borak-hashem-alagha-yasmeen-elagha-oakbrook-lombard

Check out Sam’s interview with Peter D’Errico from October of last year here!: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mhEqNseF-m4&ab_channel=TheMajorityReportw%2FSamSeder

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