Americans Don’t Need “Unity” in the Abstract

Katrina vanden Heuvel joins Paul Jay to discuss Biden’s attempts at bipartisanship and the need for progressives, inside the Democratic Party and in the movement outside, to mount massive pressure for real reform.

Hi, I’m Paul Jay. Welcome to podcast. Please don’t forget there’s a donate button at the top of the webpage.

I watched the reaction to President Biden’s inaugural speech on Fox, assuming I’d hear nothing but fawning and cheerleading for Biden on CNN and MSNBC, somewhat to my surprise when I heard on Fox was mostly fawning and cheerleading for Biden. Most of the Fox commentators praised Biden’s calls for unity. And I wondered why they were being so positive about him. And then it hit me. Calls for unity and calls for bipartisanship in Congress, which means handing back power back to the Republicans at a time they are weak and in disarray.

The last time there was a moment like this was in year one of the Obama administration when the Bush administration was discredited by the disastrous Iraq war and an economic meltdown. Instead of charging Bush and Cheney with war crimes and vigorously attacking the Republican Party while they were on the ground. Obama said he only wanted to look forward and went back to business as usual, negotiating with the GOP even while the Democrats held the balance of power in both houses. Bipartisanship is a way to put a brake on demands for progressive reform.

Biden’s call for unity, which appeals to a genuine desire to end the crazy antagonisms amongst the people, is really meant to say he will negotiate in Congress with the same forces who defended Trump and brought you the events of January 6th. Yes, Americans need unity, but not in the abstract. They want unity of the people to solve the crisis of the pandemic, of unemployment, of climate change, of systemic racism, of a general feeling of despair about the future.

Yes, unity for that, but not unity with the forces that ignored the pandemic, that refused to support unemployed families, that deny the climate crisis. If Biden is serious about modeling his administration after FDR and he hung a large painting of FDR in the Oval Office right across from his desk, he should prepare to rule like the autocratic FDR was accused of being. FDR faced an attempted coup. He threatened to pack the Supreme Court. He forced his policies down the throats of Republicans and bankers who got in his way. Yes, he did all this to save capitalism. And no doubt there is a dark side to FDR’ rule, which we can talk about another time. But when it came to pushing his policies forward, he called for unity of the people in support of the reforms and focused on creating the New Deal.

Now that the Democrats control the Senate by a thread, the issue is will they change the rules of the Senate to allow their slim majority to pass the dramatic legislation that’s needed? Or do the corporate Democrats actually like the break on the progressive reforms that Republicans provide? Now joining us to discuss all this and more is Katrina vanden Heuvel. She is the editorial director and publisher of The Nation and a frequent commentator on U.S. and international politics on ABC and NBC and CNN and PBS.

Her articles have appeared in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and The Boston Globe. And she writes a weekly column for The Washington Post. She’s also the author of several books, including Change I Believe In: Fighting for Progress in the Age of Obama. Thanks very much for joining me.

Katrina vanden Heuvel

Paul, it’s great to be with you. I mean, you set it up as well as anyone can set it up. I mean, we’re looking at a time of extraordinary crisis on several fronts. And if Biden wants to be a transformational president, he cannot let the Senate be the graveyard of ideas, of plans, of legislation, which it will be unless there are serious reforms of our already flawed democracy, which we saw.

I mean, we love our country, but we understand its failings. And we saw them very clearly on the 6th of January. But the filibuster has now become, I think, a central reform, as have others. I would say that if the Republicans really stop the John Lewis bill, which is in the House and it’s about voting reform and the House reform, number one, the first bill the House passed, which is about more democracy and not just big democracy, voting rights. As expansive an expansion of voting rights since the Great Society, about curbing dark money, about giving D.C. representation as a state, and independent gerrymandering.

I mean, you have a real plate there. But I do think there is more grassroots movement support, which those inside the house who get it understand. There’s more support now, not just for the filibuster, which is kind of an unsexy term, but for making sure the change is commensurate with the problems people face are addressed.

Paul Jay

If Biden and the Democrats are not accused by the Republicans of being autocrat’s. They ain’t doing their job because, you know, Kerry makes these statements on climate change, obviously the pandemic, they’re acknowledging we’re at an existential moment. They’re acknowledging you can’t do business as usual. I don’t know whether they’re real. I don’t get a handle yet on what these climate plans really are. But that means also not business as usual in Congress.

Katrina vanden Heuvel

Absolutely. And you know what? They if they listened carefully, the senators, would get a boost from someone who in his memoirs regrets that he didn’t play a more forceful role. At John Lewis’s funeral, former President Barack Obama spoke very clearly of the filibuster as a Jim Crow relic. And it is a Jim-Crow relic, as is the Electoral College, as are other flawed elements of our flawed democracy. And they need to be addressed if we’re going to be what we claim to be.

But I would take issue with you on the autocrat. I won’t argue Roosevelt, but why is it autocratic? Why is it not a full use of our democratic tools to improve the condition of people’s lives? I mean, look at what the Republicans have done.

Paul Jay

Just to be clear, I’m saying they need to be accused of being autocrats by the Republicans. I’m not saying they are what they would be doing.

Katrina vanden Heuvel

I know what you are saying, Roosevelt was accused of that. And he said I welcome their hatred. I think that has to be more of the spirit. I mean, I’m not calling for hatred, but I’m calling for people who aren’t going to be so concerned about being friends with those across the aisle, because I do think Joe Biden suffers. I mean, I think we can talk about it. But he is a traditionalist at a transformational time or one that demands transformation.

And he still remembers the Senate as the good’ol guys club. It is not that. McConnell would cut your throat, I think, before allowing certain things to pass. And so would I think Grassley was his comrade in arms at the Obama first days. And Obama, he could have given them two months, but he gave them two years. He gave them two years of letting Democrats sit back and essentially capitulate. And I do think there’s a lot more emotion around ideas that were once considered systemic and structural but couldn’t be explained are now on the agenda of a lot of movements connected to people inside.

Paul Jay 

I know I’m asking and saying one hopes that he is FDR-ish, but there are some big differences. The 30s scared the shit out of whole sections of the elites. They never thought, they’d been through economic crises before, but not like the thirties. They have the cyclical business cycle. They assumed they’d get out of it. But in the thirties, there was no end in sight to the Depression. So Roosevelt had sections of the elites with him. And it’s not like now where they’ve discovered, oh, we don’t care about deficits anymore. We can just throw money at this problem.

Katrina vanden Heuvel

Overarching, our conversation is the idea that there’s a fight for the soul of the Democratic Party. People can argue they want a third party. They think the Democratic Party is too corrupt. But there is a fight within the Democratic Party. Bernie Sanders is going to be budget director. Sherrod Brown is going to be chair of the Banking Committee. I mean, you will see some action there. Now, Roosevelt’s time was different because you had strong labor unions.

You didn’t have, we had not lived through Reaganism. We had not lived through the distrust of government that so permeates our country and politics. And we also had not lived through deindustrialization. We had not lived through Democratic Party corruption, failed trade deals, which the Democrats really presided over, and being on the wrong side of history of too many endless wars which have killed working-class men and women. So I think there are a lot of changes, but there are possibilities.

And, you know, Roosevelt never dealt with climate. I mean, some of his programs just briefly, I mean, like the dams, TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority), you know, there would have been a lot of disgruntlement. But I do think we need that fighting spirit. And if it doesn’t come just from the occupant of the White House, it can come from movements and energy and finding others inside the political process. But I do think Roosevelt is it’s interesting how he remains a model, with all the problems, I mean.

Paul Jay 

It often gets kind of personalized about Mitch McConnell, the Republicans in Congress, and we talked a little bit about this off-camera, but I really think Mitch McConnell is going to wind up eventually being exposed to being very much at the center of what happened on January six.

But that being said, I don’t think Biden and the Democrats, corporate Democrats are afraid of Mitch and the Republicans its that Mitch and the Republicans are the face of a section of corporate America that if they get super antagonized, they have enormous amounts of money to throw at the next election.

Katrina vanden Heuvel

Well Paul, it is interesting that the Democrats amassed enormous amounts of money. I mean, a lot of money went into Georgia. The good news is that the money was used for on the ground, was used for organizing door to door when Covid permitted, and not just throwing money at the airwaves and the DNC coming in a week before. So that’s one piece of it. The problem is, I’ve always I always suspected these never-Trumpers in the sort of corporate wing that was ready to play footsie with the Democrats because that dilutes the progressive wing of the Democratic Party as you can imagine.

McConnell’s a money man. What he cares about is the courts which enable the laws which privileged the wealthy, he’s a deregulation-man which you know, had to look at the Coke return on investment is the best deal they ever got. And he’s that. He doesn’t have much use for right-wing populism, even though he’s from Kentucky. So I think he represents a strong wing of the party that is at war with the right-wing populist forces.

And it’s not generational. But he delivers for the very wealthy. And I think that elite is divided. More of it is up for grabs. And that will pose a challenge to the Democratic Party because the corporate wing of the Democratic Party is strengthened. It’s complicated, but I do think that is McConnell’s base.

Paul Jay 

Well a lot of this is going to come down to whether they change the rules on the filibuster or not. So how do you see the fracture lines in the Democratic Party on that issue?

I mean, the two main opponents and to some extent, certainly Manchin. You know West Virginia hasn’t gone Democratic for president in how many years, since John F. Kennedy I think. This relates to another issue, which is Biden. He’s made climate, and I would again call out the movements like Justice Democrats, Sunrise, and 350 have put it at the top of the agenda. He’s no longer even calling it a crisis. He calls it an emergency.

I do think he’s right. I would wish he’d call it Green New Deal. But what was the New Deal at its heart was creating jobs, jobs, jobs. And he is really linking the green climate work to jobs. So I think that’s going to be key and linking these issues to why we need to get rid of the filibuster or really slowly roll it back case by case. And I think you have the traditional divide in the Democratic Party.

You have progressives, you have some new people. But Sinema in Arizona and Manchin are key opponents. If the Senate had gone five or six seats to Democrats Paul, this would have had a lot more energy and there were already groups organizing around it. There was a big ad in The New York Times. I’m not sure what these big ads produced on Saturday or Sunday. It was called Fix the Senate. And it had every organization, Working Families Party, People’s Action.

I mean, just every progressive organization and others, legal groups. So you could see a critical mass behind this with allies in the Senate. Schumer, he’s threatened by being primaried by AOC. So he’s working in new ways. He’s talking to new people. He’s becoming more of a lead on these reforms.

Paul Jay

How serious do you think AOC is about that?

Katrina vanden Heuvel

About running? I don’t know. She was very interesting in the days after the election. She was very open about how she disliked the vitriol, and she spoke eloquently on the floor of the House when she was treated with such contempt by one of the Republican members. She’s very strong, but I think it’s too early to tell. On the other hand, I think it’s important that Schumer think he might be primary-ed. Being primaried is one of the reason, by the way, that Trump Republicans are staying in line.

Paul Jay 

How much leverage do the progressives in the House and the few that are in the Senate, how much leverage have they got now? And what should they do with it?

Katrina vanden Heuvel

All right so in the House there is the Progressive Caucus. I’m always struck that a lot of progressives don’t know. It’s one hundred members now and it’s more unified because they passed new rules. Pramilla Jayapall from Seattle is the chair. Katie Porter is the deputy chair, Jamie Raskin, Ro Khanna, Mark Pocan who’s leading a defense reduction caucus. They’re part of it. And the new rules will lead them to vote more as a bloc, more organized. I think that’s very important and I think that gives strength.

And they have ties with movements outside. So it’s that inside, outside at its best. Senate, there was an attempt to form a progressive caucus with Elizabeth Warren and Jeff Merkley from Oregon? You know, there’s Bernie, who’s a maverick, as we can tell from his mittens, and there’s Sherrod Brown. But there are new senators, too, who are willing to be more active. Warnock is going to be, I think, an interesting progressive member in an important way, linking to pro-democracy, voting rights, racial justice issues.

Senators are always more mavericks. So this is key to why the filibuster needs to be. But you do have synergy. If you can move some of the bills out of the House into the Senate. Sure, there’ll be some stepping back. But the House has a package of legislation they’ve been working on for a few years, which is terrific. So I think Democrats, progressives understand they need a wind at their back from the movements, many of them are strategic, and I think the caucus really plays an important role.

And I think you have some really distinctive senators. Now you’re going to have issues. What we haven’t talked about, even on foreign policy, which has not been the Democrats’ strength, and it’s still dividing the party and the Biden nominees for the most part are restorationist. They’re part of the Blob, the Washington Consensus. But there’s more emotion on ending endless war, not just repealing and replacing, but rethinking the Authorization to Use Military Force, which gives the president imperial power, reasserting Congress’s role in matters of war and peace, and looking at arms trade. I do fear there’s not enough informed thinking about China and Russia and the dangers of a new Cold War with both countries instead of de-escalation. Biden did do the classic kind of detente move when he indicated he would sign the START treaty. It’s just a start. As someone like Daniel Ellsberg would say, we have to get rid of ICBMs and take off first-use trigger alert, but there will be opportunities.

I do think China will be a bigger issue and stop Iran. I mean, Paris climate was not easy, but it was a sign-on. I think the Iran deal putting that back together is going to be much tougher because of destabilization in the Middle East, the role of Israel, of political forces at home.

Paul Jay 

Well, what do you think of his appointments there? They’re pretty hard, democratic, hawkish on the whole. 

Katrina vanden Heuvel

I’m not going to deny, I mean, they are. Someone said to me the other day, oh, I know I have a Russian friend who’s living in Eau Claire. And she said, what is hawkish? But I think here we see that the work over the years, there is a bench of Democratic economic thinkers, Jared Bernstein, Heather Bouchet, Janet Yellen.

She doesn’t come, it’s complicated, but they’re more in that realm, and more in the legal realm. In the foreign policy arena it didn’t help that the last two Democratic presidents were Clinton and Obama. Very traditional NATO expansion, failing to end the war on terror, drone wars. And you have a lot of those people. So I would say a lot of work is going to need to be done to continue arms control in a real way to avert a Cold War with China, to avert a Cold War with Russia, and to think hard about it.

And I feel strongly about this Paul. I mean, if this crisis hasn’t made us think about what real security means, lead us to rethink security. Think of all these weapons systems. We have our bloated defense budget. How effective have they been against an existential climate crisis, a pandemic which is ravaging the world in our country, systemic racism, staggering global inequality? I think that demands hard thinking. And the unfortunate part is the restorationists. The appointments are very traditional.

I do think people should know about the Quincy Institute. It kind of takes issue with what you began with, because I don’t call it bipartisan. I call it trans-partisan. I mean, it has Andrew Bacevich and people who really believe that restraint and realism and not triumphalism and arrogance should dictate America’s role in the world.

Katrina vanden Heuvel

There is an interesting exchange between Rand Paul and Blinken, and as crazy as I find Rand Paul on almost everything, he nailed Blinken on interventionism and and Blinken’s responses to Paul, he couldn’t even. But then the same exchange with Lindsey Graham and Blinken, and Blinken agreed with every word out of Lindsey Graham’s mouth.

Katrina vanden Heuvel

See no one’s getting it’s like right. It’s complicated because the Republicans want to be tougher on China and tougher on Russia, and then you get a Rand Paul who stands out, he is a trans-partisan, but you do have to hold your nose. But he is someone who is willing to question and I suspect, Paul, again, to kind of take issue with what you said, he probably was on Tucker Carlson. I doubt he was on Rachel Maddow, Rand Paul talking about Blinken’s foreign policy.

Paul Jay

No, this is in the hearing. 

Katrina vanden Heuvel

I know. But that night who showed it? Because you’re a good person, but how many Americans are sitting around watching the hearings? That’s a whole other problem.

Paul Jay

 Yeah I don’t know. I just had YouTube and it popped up in front of my eyes.

Katrina vanden Heuvel

The Quincy Institute works with sane Republicans. It’s getting more difficult, but it at least has a sense that the people appointed by Biden and it’s not even a war of rivals, right. It’s really kind of singular.

Paul Jay

Fareed Zakaria interviewed Jake Sullivan, and Sullivan sounded kind of rational to me. Whereas Blinkin sounded old-school defending intervention.

Katrina vanden Heuvel

I think Sullivan is more open minded. I do think there’s some not small things. I wouldn’t say small, but, you know, the Obama people were very proud of normalization with Cuba. I think it’s just disgraceful that Trump I mean, in the last days, they put Cuba on the terrorism list. I mean, it’s just a country that has reeled and is ravaged by humanitarian needs. So I think that’s something important. And I do think on the climate, what I would hope is that there be more of a fusion of the energy of the climate movement with the nuclear. I mean, I talk to Jerry Brown a lot and he cares deeply.

He’s the chair of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists now, which is always been at the forefront of nuclear issues. William Perry, the former Clinton defense secretary. And how do you make people think a new generation understand nuclear winter? There’s a connection. But I do think that the team I mean, we haven’t even talked about Victoria Nuland, who I believe is in the State Department, who is not simply someone who was at the center of, I would say, US misadventure, malfeasance toward Ukraine, which has led that country to be in a very difficult place that desperately needs a negotiated solution with Russia, escalating militarily toward Russia.

And I don’t like to implicate people with spouses, but Robert Kagan is someone who’s never seen a war you didn’t like. So you got that going. And then Samantha Power, you know, I always felt she didn’t seem right as UN ambassador, because you need to listen and compromise in interesting ways, and listen to the world. So I just worry we’re back at a place where Madeleine Albright many years ago and many of these people come out of her shop, lobby and shop, rather, that we are the indispensable nation, because if we’re the indispensable nation, we’re in trouble, because I love again, I love my country, but every country needs interdependence and connection. Especially in this moment where we’ve seen interdependence and its value.

Katrina vanden Heuvel

It really does look like they’re going to go back to really raising the levels of tensions with Russia. And I guess it serves this purpose in terms of the military budget and all the reasons that they do this. And how serious do you think it might get? A lot of the Democrats are blaming the Russians for this recent hack, even though there’s no evidence it was the Russians. Like we’re getting back into Russiagate territory again.

Katrina vanden Heuvel

I know I really had hopes that when Trump exited, because I have always thought Russiagate to a large extent was more domestic issue. It was about Putin is Trump. Trump is Putin. And with Trump gone and you know Biden moves on the arms control treaty. But it’s just a start. He’s also called for an investigation, as you said, of hacking, of cyber- war, of interference in the election, etc. I think it would be a grave mistake, a tragedy, if we suddenly move to escalate a military response to cyber. There was on offer, by the way, a cyber treaty, and it could be expanded from the United States and Russia, it was laughed at because it was proposed by Trump and Putin.

But sane people believe we need rules of the road. And I think to militarize cyber defense is very dangerous. It should be treated as espionage, which all countries do. And America, by the way, I think as we might know, it’s public. If you remember Stuxnet, which was the American attack, the cyber attack on Iranian nuclear installations, that was probably the largest cyber attack in contemporary history. So we don’t have clean hands, but I just think the danger of militarizing that could set us back very severely because it is the future, and there’s a lot of money that’s going to go into it, and a lot of attention.

I think China is probably too powerful to mess with as much as they want, but I’ve never felt the language that they’re thugs. We’ve also lost, I think, a sense of diplomacy, which is an old fashioned word. But to listen, to negotiate and to do so not because we’re wusses, but to do so for the sake of our country and people. I do think Biden talks about a foreign policy for working people, but I don’t then see it in some of the appointees or the policies that are emerging.

Katrina vanden Heuvel

Yeah, as much as I think most of the appointees, as you say, are old school and have come back with all the old inflammatory rhetoric, I will say one thing in their favor. I saw two things that were a glimmer of hope, and that’s what Jake Sullivan and Avril Haines, when they were asked, is China an adversary of the United States? Both of them said that President Biden is framing this, that China is a competitor. A competitor, and that’s a glimmer of hope if you talk about it in those terms. I mean, Europe’s a competitor.

Katrina vanden Heuvel

China’s too big to mess with. That’s what’s going on. There’s no compunction in calling Russia an adversary. And, you know, I think, listen, we have a very good piece at about Alexei Navalny. I have spent decades in Russia working with independent journalists, feminists, social movements, climate activists in Russia. And I can tell you that at times of Cold War and I’ve lived through one or two, the space for dissent, whether here or in Russia, the money that goes to the military instead of going to people’s needs, the tightening down, the fear that both countries have cut in exchange is not hopeful of building a society or democracy. So I think what we’re seeing in Russia to some extent is a function of the very lousy relations these two countries have had over the last five, six years. And I think it’s also, by the way, the demonization of Putin. I understand, but I think what it’s done is failed to give us real reporting on Russia. I mean, the rise of the Russian Orthodox Church, the poverty, the protests about pension age increases.

I mean, these are stories and I will say one last thing on the Internet. It’s interesting because Navalny has really built his power through the Internet, which is relatively free. And there are other journalists. There’s a great independent blogger named Dude who has nine million followers who’s been supporting Navalny. So I think that may change too under the pressure of this. But the Internet has been relatively free. And I think we don’t pay attention to that because it’s been Putin Putin Putin all the time.

Paul Jay

This climate initiative, Kerry announced again, I don’t yet have a handle on the real substance of it, because while changing the objective to one point five degrees from two is a very important statement, because two degrees, if that’s the objective, then we’re screwed because by two degrees, apparently you have something called runaway warming and you probably won’t be able to prevent it getting to three. So the one point five is good, but how to get to the one point five if it’s just about carbon pricing and if it’s a reliance on somehow new technology developing for carbon capture rather than a real directed phasing out of fossil fuel and massive investments in sustainable energy. And I’m not clear yet what they’re saying, but on that issue, on issues to do with health care, on support for families, in terms of stimulus, there may be moments in the House where progressives who can swing a vote now because the Democratic majority is so thin. And by progressives, I don’t mean the whole progressive caucus because the whole progressive caucus hasn’t been all that progressive on many occasions. But that smaller group, I call them left progressives.

Katrina vanden Heuvel

I think that’s fair. I do think the Progressive Caucus has not been as unified, but these new rules. But I also think you’re right, Paul. We haven’t talked about the Child Care Initiative, Child Poverty Initiative. I think some of the appointments in DOJ, not so much Merrick Garland as Vanita Gupta at number three. And I think the climate, it’s still too early to tell, but I’m taken with the jobs frame. I’m taken with the economic justice piece, which is real.

I do think Biden here could really welcome their hatred because the market in some sense in the last few years has been pricing out and driving, for example, Exxon, I think off the S&P. So there’s a market piece and solar and renewables, we don’t usually think in market terms, but there is that. The fracking piece is still very tough politically. On the other hand, if someone – really we should do more journalism about it – because the jobs that are dependent on fracking in Pennsylvania, one or two other states are way exaggerated.

And finally, I would say forget the companies and corporations for now, because their resistance will be intense, but I do think you have to speak to people who live in these communities and offer them something that’s often called like “just transition”. To give them work, development, or a way forward. These are communities that have lived on, for better or worse. Right? So I don’t think one can be lacking in compassion. And there’s a political purpose too. The problem I come back to is what we talked a little bit about off-camera, you know, is the legacy of Reaganism and not just Reagan but Clinton. The distrust of government is very, very high and has been but has been ginned up, and that demands a kind of Rooseveltian crisis approach. And that’s why people are talking the filibuster also because you should move quickly, right, to get people help. If they don’t see it, they can’t eat Democratic norms.

Paul Jay

And like I was saying in the introduction, it’s a time to step on the throat of Mitch McConnell and Republicans, not let them back into the game. Let’s just end up with let’s just talk a bit. There’s such a need for a real mass movement for effective climate policy and to hold, the rhetoric that’s coming from Kerry, and I don’t discount the rhetoric, it’s actually good, but especially this 1.5 and all the rest, but real effective policy is going to really be taking on the fossil fuel industry, not depending on some magical carbon capture technology. There really needs to be a mass movement around this. Where do you think we’re at?

Katrina vanden Heuvel

Well, there is a mass movement. I mean, I don’t think you can do better than the mass movement we’ve seen emerge, Paul. I mean it’s global too, and it’s of all ages. It has to maybe become more strategic. There needs to be linking up with more corporate protest, corporate research. But I think it’s at a very important point. The power of fossil fuel and those companies has diminished, partly due to attorneys generals really looking hard at fraud lawsuits. So I think there’s much more to do always. But there is more attention paid by media to the climate crisis, then I remember a decade ago

Paul Jay

Are there plans in the works for a mass of millions of people march in the spring on climate.

Katrina vanden Heuvel

Earth Day, April 22. It’s already out there. It’s already being organized. I work with, recommend to your viewers, Covering Climate Now is an initiative that was launched a year and a half ago by The Guardian, The Nation and Columbia Journalism Review. We have about 500 partners from the Times of India to El Pais to weathercasters in South Carolina. I love that. And I recommend you come to that site because we are already planning along with movements for Global Day, but a big day.

And I think that’s where you see look at Greta. There are activists who are 12. But I agree with you that this is why we see the Republicans’ grasp for voter suppression so fiercely. In their last days or as they see demographic change, which I’ve never believed is determinative, it’s important, but they are clamping down on voter suppression because they see the future, and the fossil fuel companies can begin to see the future, too.

And it’s reflected which makes them most concerned in the markets, and I think there’s some energy that should go into that, and if we can find them and there are some enlightened social justice entrepreneurs.

Though as much as I’m a little dubious, I’m also hopeful. There better be some because as much as a movement there is, it’s not a strong enough mass movement to run its course.

It’s one of the strongest.

Paul Jay

True enough. But there’s going to have to be some people in the elites that actually really do get the urgency of this.

Katrina vanden Heuvel

I mean, and I would submit Gore Vidal, not Gore Vidal, Al Gore, who’s lost weight not to be petty, but I’ve always felt when someone loses weight, they’re going to run for office. I don’t know what he’s going to do. I’m teasing. Jerry Brown is very involved, admittedly limits because they’re in the elite. But listen, I think keep hope alive. And I quote this line that there are no lost causes, just causes waiting to be won. And then I get sad, I had to do a podcast the other week about optimism in times of quarantine. Was hard.

Paul Jay

Hmm. Well, we’ll end on the optimistic note. Thanks very much, Katrina.

Thank you. Thank you.

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  1. “But I agree with you that this is why we see the Republicans’ grasp for voter suppression so fiercely.”

    Paul, who was it that purged voter rolls in NY? Both parties are the party of business, they both want to keep the poor off the voter rolls, the Republicans more for the general vote, the Democrats more for the primaries. Stacy Adams was getting praise, but not from Greg Palast. She tried to suppress voter registration that came from areas that might present a future challenge to her in a primary. The DNC is beyond hope, and as long as they control it, therefore so is the Democratic Party.

  2. Further to my previous post: look at Biden’s pick for CIA director: William Burns. If you look at every American regime change coup going all the way back to Afghanistan in 2001, Burns was directly involved: Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Ukraine, you name it he was in on it.

  3. What a joke: “pressure the democrats to make real reform”. LOL! Look at Biden’s vast majority of appointees: Blinken…Yellen…Psaki…the atrocious Nuland…Kagan…Kerry: these aren’t democrats; they are war mongering replicans who are democrat in name only. There is no way to pressure the DNC/democratic party to be progressive: it is impossible because it is totally controlled by Wall St and corporate america. The corporate democrats hate leftists more than republicans do. There needs to be a total, complete break with the democrats: a totally separate third party. I think Biden will go to war with China as his cabinet is full of war mongers like Kagan, Nuland and Kerry. Hard times ahead.

    1. Agreed. The duopoly has become a corporate monopoly. Slip sliding away….Hard times are ahead.

      War mongers are in charge. Well said.

  4. Katrina and her deceased husband are among the decent people of the world.

    Within five years, climate change and ecological destruction will be obvious to all but the most idiotic. Fracking? Thirst for Venezuelan oil? For oil on the Golan Heights? What have we done in Afghanistan? Free the drug lords and open the opium trade? It is insanity.

    Foreign policy is linked to climate change. Watch one, you know the real policy on the other.

    It makes me sad. So little time. So little time.

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