Can Biden Rebound?
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Julián and Sawyer talk about the shocking, but unsurprising, news of the nearly dozen mass shootings that took place nationwide over the weekend and how it’s an indication of continued inaction by our leaders on proper gun reform. They also unpack new polling numbers showing that only a third of respondents approve of President Biden’s performance. The two then tackle news of Elon Musk’s proposed acquisition of Twitter and the possible demise of InfoWars.
Keep up with Julián on Twitter at @JulianCastro and Instagram at @JulianCastroTX. Sawyer can be found on Twitter and Instagram at @SawyerHackett. And stay up to date with us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram at @LemonadaMedia.
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Julian Castro, Sawyer Hackett
Julian Castro 00:13
Hey there, I’m Julian Castro.
And welcome to OUR AMERICA. Before we get started, Lemonada Media, the network behind our show is excited to share its newest project with you. BEING is reality TV for your ears, and innovative audio format like no other podcast you’ve ever heard. This season. It’s BEING Trans, meet Chloe, Jeffery, Mariana, and Sy. Over the course of six episodes, you’ll get to be a fly on the wall for their most intimate conversations and unscripted, raw moments. You’ll right alongside them as they handle health, family relationships, love lives, friendship, professional careers, and everything else that comes with living life as a transgender person in LA. With this podcast, you’ll gain unique insights and an empathetic understanding of their personal experiences. BEING Trans premieres next Thursday, April 28, wherever you get your podcast. Now, this week, we’re talking about the latest string of gun violence and whether Washington will finally, finally do something about it. We’re also going to talk about Elon Musk’s attempted hostile takeover of Twitter. And finally, we’re going to dig into the latest polling on President Biden as we look ahead to the midterms. But first, let’s start with the violence that took place this weekend. Sawyer, what do we know about that so far?
And I’m Sawyer Hackett.
Yeah. So this weekend, two teenage boys were killed and eight others were injured after gunfire at a party in a rental home in Pittsburgh on Sunday. And that’s one of at least 10 mass shootings that occurred across the United States over Easter weekend. That brings the year total of mass shootings to 144. A shooting left one person killed and three injured in Portland, and two shootings took place in South Carolina leaving a total of 18 people with bullet wounds. This violence took place just days after President Biden gave a speech about gun violence, urging Congress to take action on gun safety legislation. And he also announced executive action to crack down on ghost guns, which are you know, these privately, privately made firearms without serial numbers that are increasingly found in violent crimes, gun violence and mass shootings are up at least 66% in the last two years. And as folks probably know, gun violence tends to be cyclical, it tends to tick up as the weather warms up. And that’s been especially true during the pandemic. So this is all, you know, ignited this new political fight around gun violence legislation. It seems like we seem to have this, you know, once a year at this point, you know, it also has sparked this conversation about crime and how we address crime. And so Julian, you know, do we think Congress is going to be any closer to addressing this issue this time around?
Julian Castro 02:51
I wish I could say yes, but no, I mean, let’s be realistic. It’s been a decade since Sandy Hook. And after 26 people were murdered there in cold blood with an assault weapon, nothing happened. And there’s no reason to think that 10 years later, that something’s going to happen this time, especially because Democrats have a very slim majority in the House, and it’s 50/50 in the Senate. We know how difficult it’s been to get anything significant passed other than infrastructure and the American rescue plan. I think the hope on this issue lies in states and local communities, frankly, and executive action.
Yeah. And you know, just to remind folks, you know, more than eight and 10 voters are in favor of preventing folks with mental illnesses from purchasing firearms, and making private gun sales and sales at a gun show subject to background checks, you know, a little bit smaller majorities support federal databases to track gun sales. 66%, banning high-capacity magazines that hold more than 10 rounds. 64% support that, and banning assault weapons. 63% of Americans support that. So this is an issue that has overwhelming public support, and it has for decades and has just not been touched by Congress, because I think that whether it’s the NRA or the gun manufacturers associations, you know, these people have a chokehold on legislation in Congress, and the Republican Party just refuses to even come to the negotiating table for even the most common sense, simple reforms, like requiring background checks that are supported by 90% of Americans. It’s just so pathetic.
Julian Castro 04:33
Well, and they wouldn’t even let the CDC or the NIH and maybe the NIH do research into the effects of gun violence, health research. I mean, it’s crazy. This is a symptom of the broken political system that we have, where money equals influence, and for the longest time, the NRA did have almost unrivaled influence on a lot of members of Congress. Now the NRA today is not what it used to be. I mean, it’s had scandal after scandal. It’s lost members. And to their credit. I mean, if you’ve been watching over the last 10 years, there are a lot more Democrats, Democratic politicians who have been willing to stand up to the NRA, then there were a few years ago. So there’s progress that’s been made. But that hasn’t translated enough yet into actual legislation. That’s why at the federal level, what Biden is doing with ghost guns and other federal action, executive actions, he might be able to take probably the best hope, in the short term, and also, in the short term and long term, state action.
And, you know, as I mentioned before, I think it’s going to be another summer of violence, we’re going to see, you know, weekend’s like this every weekend, this summer, where, you know, there’s five, six, mass shootings across the country every single weekend. And it seems like the political discourse around this tends to just focus on crime, right, we always just revert back to this. We need more policing, we need more, you know, funding to address violent crime. And it’s never about the guns themselves. It’s, you know, Republicans are always just pivoting back to crime. It’s good to see President Biden picking up that pen and pushing some executive action on this, I would love to see him do that on a whole bunch of other issues. I think we’re gonna talk a little bit about that later in the show. But we, as a party, I think, have to control this narrative, because we’re going to see this happen every single weekend. And it’s just going to reignite Republican talking points around crime and defund the police and all of this stuff. And Democrats are ultimately going to be blamed, I think, for what is just lack of action at the federal level on gun violence that Republicans have refused to make progress on.
Julian Castro 06:53
I mean, we risk going back to the 1990s, I think, policy wise for people that are taking this seriously. The challenge is, how do you put policy in place that does two things, at least, that keeps people safer. And that’s why we need to change some of these gun laws, and also use our police forces prudently, but at the same time, not go backward to the 90s. And other times where there was total overreach, stop and frisk, right. Giuliani’s broken windows approach, the police brutality that we saw in New York and LA and other places, and that we still see, you know, the murder of George Floyd and over policing of especially Black and Brown communities. Here’s the thing, the Republicans have created this narrative, that Democrats just want to defund the police. I mean, you and I know that there were actually very, very few, if any Democrats in office who called for defunding the police, I know a lot of folks who have said, we need to be thoughtful about how we do policing. Are there certain instances, for instance, like in Denver with their star program that, you know, we’ve talked about, where you can send mental health professionals out there, if somebody has a mental health issue? Can you police and also be smarter about how you do it to be more effective, but Republicans have created this narrative. And Democrats really have just been many of them running scared on this issue. And they shouldn’t, because we can do both of those things. You can have a community that has the police that it needs. And they of course, do play a role in keeping the community safe, but also where people’s rights are respected. And you don’t see over policing and overreach. And you do public safety in new and more effective ways, like Denver Star Program, which now has essentially hundreds of encounters. And they send a mental health professional out to people that are having a mental health episode that traditionally a police officer would have been sent out to. They haven’t had to send a police officer a single time to respond instead of that mental health professional. So they’re obviously and they’ve been effective, they’re doing something right. You can balance all of those things, if you have the thoughtfulness and the political courage to get it right.
Yeah, I mean, this just seems to be another one of those issues where Democrats, you know, have this fear of the polling on the issue, and they just end up ceding all of this ground to Republicans who use their moment on stage to just hit Democrats as hard as possible and pivot on crime and defund the police. I saw you have this conversation on MSNBC over the weekend when you were guest hosting Mayor Eric Adams in New York City, essentially blaming progressive policies for increased awareness about crime and increased crime, essentially saying that policies on the left are contributing to this I mean, this is part of this scaredy cat approached I think Democrats have on issues related to race in general. But you know, on the on the issue of defund the police, you look at the polling on it and overwhelming majorities of Americans support balancing police budgets, which is I think a better way to phrase it, which is like investing in mental health services, you know, taking some money away from actual law enforcement to invest in mental health services instead, that is supported by a majority of Americans by a big majority of Americans, but defund the police is such a toxic phrase to so many people, because it’s been, you know, hammered by right wing media that Democrats just run in fear from the issue.
Julian Castro 10:37
What really is annoying, galling, whatever word you want to use. I challenge anybody listening to go and actually research police budgets in our country, whether you’re talking about big cities or small towns over the last 30 years. And what you’re gonna find with very few exceptions, you may find some exceptions, but very few exceptions, is that those budgets have only gone higher and higher. And there have been more police officers added to the police force in the vast majority of cities out there. You did have some tough budget times during the recession, where you can imagine that cities may have taken their budgets down. But that’s the extent I mean, go look at those numbers. Yeah, there is nowhere really where police have been defunded. Outside of the very few exceptions, have a couple of cities in the last couple of years since the murder of George Floyd. And even then, I bet if you looked at the budgets, their overall they’ve gone up.
Yeah, I remember tweeting something about this a while back. But if you looked at the US police forces around the country, if you added up the funding for us police forces, that they would comprise the third biggest military in the world after the US and China. It’s absurd how much money we spend on policing, and we don’t get any results for it. But yeah, I mean, one of those cities that you just mentioned, that actually did sort of make adjustments to police budgets to invest in mental health, to invest in, you know, community support was Austin. Which brings us to our next topic of Austin resident Elon Musk. That’s my fun segue to our next topic, which we’re going to talk about Elon Musk and his attempted hostile takeover of Twitter. You know, as folks know, Elon Musk is the wealthiest man in the world, his net worth is valued at more than $265 billion. He has offered to buy Twitter for $43 billion. He says that he wants to turn Twitter into a privately owned company because he believes quote, free speech is imperative for a functioning democracy. Musk had initially acquired 9% stake in Twitter, after which he was invited to join the company’s board. Ultimately, that deal fell apart after it was clear that Musk you know had bigger aspirations than just being on the board of Twitter, he wanted to make some fundamental changes. And so now he is attempting this takeover of the company. And I believe Twitter, the latest news on this is that Twitter has used this poison pill plan, which would allow other shareholders to acquire more shares at a cheaper price is effectively just trying to push Musk out and dilute his stake in the company, his 9% stake that doesn’t stop Musk from buying the company after all. And late last week, he attempted to buy, you know, all of these shares. So you know, this public debate going on right now, conservatives are championing Musk as this hero for free speech. There’s been a lot of people who have pointed out, however, that Musk is not this champion of free speech that this may be a financial boon for him. What did you make of all of this story, this weird story?
First, Elon Musk seems to have one of the biggest egos out there, constantly seeking to I mean, there are people who are super successful in business that don’t seek 1/10 of the attention that Elon Musk seeks. This seems to be his personality go grand, go big, make a big splash about it. And, you know, I guess that’s maybe comes with the territory and part of why he has been as successful as he’s been. But I kind of agree with Mark Cuban, you know, Mark Cuban fellow billionaire to Elon Musk tweeted out that he thought that Musk was maybe just messing around with the SEC and messing around with investors to basically get himself in a better position to make money off of this if he eventually dumps his shares. Mehdi Hasan also had a great segment a few days ago, on all of the different times that Elon Musk has demonstrated that he’s not really for unbridled free speech. He’s had this tendency to penalize whether its employees or others who have spoken out against him or Tesla. So I just see it as inauthentic, whatever it’s about I think it’s turned into his ego and this poison pill that Twitter has put in place. It triggers when any one shareholder owns 15% of the company, Musk owns just over 9%, there’s actually an equity group that just became a larger shareholder at 10%. And if that happens, if Musk does acquire 15%, and the poison pill is triggered, you’re right, it doesn’t mean that he can buy it. What it means is he then has to negotiate directly with the board on the terms of a potential purchase. And the idea is that they don’t, you know, people don’t think there’s support on the board to sell it to him because they’re afraid of you know, that he wouldn’t necessarily act in the company’s best interests.
Yeah. And I mean, Musk has tried to paint this action that he’s taking as him being a champion of free speech, trying to reinvigorate the platform, and I think has kind of CO opted the arguments of some of the folks on the very, very far right, who have been D platformed. from Twitter, folks like Donald Trump, Musk has spoken out against that he’s tried to make this his main argument that he wants to take Twitter because he thinks Twitter is headed in the wrong direction. I think that this is just another chance for us to you know, try and get rich. Over the past couple of years, he’s been doing these things, you know, running up, AMC, the movie theater company, running up their stock, running up GameStop. You know, he has this pump and dump scheme when it comes to investing. And I think he’s doing the same thing here. And you’re right, I mean, this guy, like he gets angry anytime somebody speaks out against him, I remember that, you know, Senator Warren spoke out and said that, you know, that Musk hadn’t paid any income tax over the last eight years, which is true, by the way, over the last two years alone, his net worth has grown 1,080%. So this guy has tremendous wealth. And when she spoke out against him, he called her Senator Karen. He’s this whiny billionaire who just wants to get his way. But to me, this all just seems to be one more billionaire trying to get rich off of a PR stunt.
Julian Castro 17:02
Yeah, and you know, we’ll see where this goes, right now, I doubt he’s gonna get his hands on Twitter, I count that as a good thing. I don’t buy his argument that he just wants it to be about free speech. And even if you take that argument at face value, what is he talking about? He’s gonna allow all these folks that are spreading misinformation, intentionally propagandizing, to use, essentially this 21st century Townsquare, to scramble our democracy to threaten our democracy even more, if that’s the future under him, then, you know, I say, all the poison pills that you want Twitter, put them in place one after another.
Just for some perspective on this guy. By the time I finish this sentence, Elon Musk will have earned what the median household in America earns in one year. I mean, that’s how wealthy this guy is. And you know, you and I are, we’re recording this conversation on Monday, which is tax day. And so I think that this is a good opportunity to flag that we desperately need a billionaires tax. You know, these guys, they put all of their money in these assets, in these investments, and don’t pay any taxes on any of it until ultimately, they’re sold. And so Elon Musk pays an income tax rate, I think, in the single digits. But, you know, this brings us to our next topic, which we’re going to talk about after the break, which is the latest polling on President Biden on Democrats. What that looks like. And, you know, his latest push is this billionaires income tax. So hopefully, that will sort of do some of that populist support for holding these billionaires accountable. But that’s we’re gonna talk about after the break.
Julian Castro 18:57
Welcome back to OUR AMERICA. A few days ago, Quinnipiac University released its latest poll that took a look at the Biden administration and how it’s doing in the public eye just a few months before our November 2022 midterms. Sawyer, what do you have to say?
Yeah, this new polling is it seems to be extremely troubling for Democrats heading into the midterm year. You know, we should say upfront that this polling tends to be pretty inconsistent and Quinnipiac is I think, known for painting a pretty bleak picture for Democrats. But I think it is telling especially to compare this poll to where Trump was at this point in time. This poll showed that only 33% of respondents approved of Biden’s job performance, with 54% disapproving, this is the lowest approval rating he’s had in the polls since January. He still has fairly decent approval among Democrats with 76% supporting but his approval with independents is that oblique 26% and among Republicans just 3%. But to me, I think Look, the most frightening part of this poll was Biden’s polling numbers with traditional Democratic constituencies, you know, just 21% of 18-to-34-year old’s approve of the job Biden is doing, which is four percentage points lower than where Trump was with the young voters at this time last year. He’s underwater with every single age cohort. He’s also polling it at 63%, with Black voters and just 26% with Hispanic voters. So all of this is to say that, you know, the outlook for Democrats continues to look pretty bleak. Just seven months ahead of the 2022. midterms. Julian, before we get into what we think some of the solutions are to this. What did you make of this poll?
Julian Castro 20:40
You mentioned some of the cross tabs, and they’re astonishing. I don’t know how in the hell; a Democratic president finds himself with those numbers for vital parts of the Democratic coalition. That’s just my honest assessment. I mean, something is clearly wrong here. No question. The administration has gotten some important stuff done, the rescue plan, the infrastructure legislation, executive orders that have repealed some of the worst parts of the Trump administration’s actions, a better tone, more willingness to work with the other side. I mean, they’ve done some good stuff. But I also feel like when you look at those cross tabs, how low he is, with young voters, how low he is, with Black voters and Hispanic voters. There’s this feeling that on some things that Biden has over promised and under delivered, whether it’s canceling student loan debt, or immigration reform, or police reform, voting rights, that’s huge. This sense that in the campaign that he promised one thing, and in office, he hasn’t delivered what he promised. Now, look, we need to acknowledge that Mitch McConnell and the Republicans are the biggest culprit here. They’re bad faith actors, they will do anything they can to prevent Joe Biden from succeeding the way that they tried to do with Barack Obama, at the same time, Joe Biden sold himself on the campaign trail as the person based on all of his years of experience in the Senate, that could bring people together, especially in his own party, we have 50 votes plus one in the Senate, we have a majority in the House. And we’ve hit a roadblock with Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema on build back better, and I mean, so when it comes to the economy doing a lot better than it was before, when it comes to infrastructure, the rescue plan when it comes to responding to COVID, all very important stuff, no doubt that they’ve hit their marks a lot better than Trump would have. But on these other issues that are also important, voting rights being the best example, they have under delivered, and I think that a lot of folks center and left are disappointed in that. And that can be deadly. That lack of enthusiasm, right before a midterm.
For a certain age group, you’re conjuring like, you know, very bad images from the late 70s there.
And we should, I guess, talk about a little bit how he got here with his support. I mean, obviously, right now, at this very moment, inflation seems to be, you know, a top concern among voters, I think that it’s largely a media driven narrative, you know, gas and oil price is the biggest culprit in this inflation spike, you know, Russia continues to dominate the news. And even though Biden has, you know, marshal the support of our allies across the world to hold Russia accountable, you know, that situation doesn’t seem to be improving all that quickly. The domestic agenda, as you mentioned, is completely stalled. But I think more so than that this polling, and especially the numbers that you mentioned, about those democratic constituencies, you know, 63% support from African Americans 26% support with Hispanic voters 21% support with 18-to-34-year old’s, that is a signal of this general malaise that the party has, you know, in enthusiasm and support for a Democratic administration.
Sawyer Hackett 24:17
Well, yeah. I mean, you know, it’s a good word to, I think, capture what and I think a lot of people have written about this is generally just bad vibes. That’s how my generation would describe this is there just has not been good vibes around this administration. And my biggest frustration has been, no matter how bad things get, no matter the lack of progress, the lack of progressive action on things. There’s still this huge calling for Biden and Democrats to be more centrist to be more like Republicans to build that support backup, even though we’re losing support among Democratic constituencies. They say we need to pivot even harder to the right. And I mean, Bill Kristol had this point I tweeted this article out about them. muskrats need a serious centrist faction in the party. I mean, the President himself, the entire Democratic establishment and leadership are centrist. You have the one signature achievement that we have, you know, if you put aside COVID, the one signature legislative achievement, we have an infrastructure bill was a centrist piece of legislation. You have Biden out there saying that we’re going to fund the police and you know, instead of pushing for police reform, and you have him calling, you know, Mitch McConnell, his friend, you have him keeping things like title 42 in place, Trump policies on immigration. These are centrist policies and actions that got us here, not progressive actions. It wasn’t progressives that have dug us into this hole. And I just can’t stand this like constant reverberation back to the middle that centers pundits like to push us towards.
Well, and it ignores the question of what the hell is centrist now? Yeah, you’re gonna let Republicans go as far to the damn right as they, I don’t even know that’s right. That’s fascism. Fascism out there as possible. And then they tug you, you know, to redefine what is centrism, I agree. I mean, Joe Biden traditionally had been the moderate Democrat. And I think part of what happened was, he read the room correctly in the 2020 election, they wanted somebody with experience, a quote, unquote, adult in the room, compared to Trump, they wanted Democratic voters and Americans wanted somebody who could speak to who they saw as middle America and go win in Ohio and Pennsylvania, and Michigan and Wisconsin. Also, on the Democratic side, they wanted somebody who was going to be progressive and get voting rights and immigration reform and police reform done. And he tried to do both of those things, including, I think, promising a lot of progress on these issues that are important to the left. But in office, he’s overly catered and in tone and in practices has really paid most attention to that middle, slash center left center right coalition that he thinks he has, that has disappointed a lot of people who are center left to left. And the answer to that is not to continue to pretend like you’re going to get more votes from the middle by chasing the Republicans to the right. It’s to actually go and live up to those promises, if you can. Now, Manchin and Sinema have their own mind, and they have their own vote, and they’ve been a roadblock. But that’s the thing. Biden sold himself as the one who could make those deals happen, because of all of his years of experience. If that doesn’t happen. I think then that disappointment grows. And unless something changes right now, Democrats are in for a very bad night in November. And you know, I hope that’s not the case. Many folks will do what they can to make sure that’s not the case. But it’s not shaping up to be a good night in November. I mean, those are just the facts. Yeah, if you look historically at it, and right now, it may not shape up to be a good night in 2024 either. If this isn’t turned around, because these are deep, deep, deep problems with the base.
Sawyer Hackett 28:20
Well, and you’ve pointed this out many times, and obviously you were somebody who ran against Joe Biden in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, I mean, Joe Biden was the person that met the moment that voters were looking for, in that he was this restoration of normalcy. He was bringing us back to an even keel as a country and, you know, doing away with Trump and the chaos and the recklessness and the and the hatred and the vitriol, it was this return back-to-back to normal. But unfortunately, our politics changed. Our society changed in that time. And I think he may have been the right person for the moment in terms of what the Democratic Party needed to win. But at this moment, we need something different. I mean, I’m not saying Biden needs to go, I’m saying he needs to adopt a different tone about these things. The right is moving towards authoritarianism, at a record pace, you know, and we are losing the messaging war. They’re banning books and trying to install cameras in classrooms, and we’re losing to these people. How does that happen? I mean, at this point, you know, you’re right. There’s the legislative action is all but done. I mean, we’re not getting any big things done in Congress before the midterms, that’s just not going to happen, unless for some reason, they can restore some tiny scaled back version of build back better.
When those guys are hardly even going to be in Washington between now and then. Right? They take like a damn two month break to let people go in campaign and they have a summer break, I mean, literally, I bet if they’re there 40 more days between now and the election in November. I’d be surprised.
Right. So the Progressive Caucus has been pushing him for a while now to start moving on some of these executive actions like we’ve lost the window for first legislative action Manchin and Sinema. And, you know, Biden’s work with them sort of stalled that process. But there’s dozens, if not hundreds of executive actions he could be taking, including things like canceling $50,000 worth of student loan debt, which, you know, Elizabeth Warren put out an op ed this morning about how we can stave off a potential disaster in the midterms. And of course, this has been a big pet issue for her. It’s like, you want to improve your numbers with 18-to-34-year old’s, maybe cancel some student loan debt, or maybe take some action on marijuana reform. I mean, these are things that have overwhelming majorities, and they’re also things that should be wedge issues, that Democrats should be pushing forward as hard as possible to divide Republicans and bring independents over to us. But they’re viewed as progressive so we have to be careful about them, or we have to take a scaled back version of them, or we have to cancel $10,000 of student loan debt instead of $50,000 of student loan debt. I mean, I just don’t get the approach in a midterm year to constantly be pivoting towards the middle, when we can see in the numbers that our base is just drained. They’re just drained of enthusiasm, drained of support, we need them to show up in the midterms. More so at this point, then we need that small sliver of independents who voted for Trump and then turned around and voted for Biden in 2020.
Yeah, I mean, the latest approach, the administration seems to be taking is this plan to sort of small bullet, folks may remember this from the Clinton years, Bill Clinton, he devised this strategy to do small ball policy changes in legislation, like invest in school uniforms, and you know, other things like that, from what I understand the Biden administration is looking at that kind of piecemeal approach of things that may resonate with Americans, because they’re simple to understand. And they’re things that the majority of people support, they’re not these larger, more transformational investments, like build back better. And hey, look, I mean, if you could get some pieces of that legislation done, sneak them in, I’ll take one example, universal pre-K, if you could get universal pre-K, or even part of that, you know, a few years ago, that would have been considered a transformational in and of itself. And I think it still would be, they need to look at what they can get done. And they need to approach it with a sense of urgency. You alluded to this, one of the big challenges here is that so much oxygen in the room has been taken up by the war in Ukraine, all of the attention, the media is giving to that, of course, understandably, but also the resources, the time that the administration is having to take with that the President’s own time paying attention to that. So you got to look at and say, I mean, the chance of doing significant legislation, and turning the tide, it’s just getting less and less likely, day by day.
Sawyer Hackett 32:54
Well, and at the very least, he should take those actions on, you know, executive actions or whatever, we can get done legislatively, as soon as possible, because this might be our last time to make policy in Congress for a decade. So he has to do it now. And it would help him and at the very least, we need to start hitting back Republicans. I mean, Jesus Christ, why are we still calling Mitch McConnell, our friend? Why is that happening? Why is President Biden calling Mitch McConnell his friend, what you know, this was a guy who during the campaign said famously said Republicans would have a quote, epiphany after Trump was gone. Well, that has long passed, and Mitch McConnell is still being an asshole. And he’s still saying he might deny, you know, Joe Biden, the chance to confirm a Supreme Court justice, if they take back the Senate. How are you calling this guy a friend? I don’t care what he’s how nice he is in person to you. You should be hitting Republicans as hard as possible. every chance we get because this party is moving towards authoritarianism. And we’re acting like this is just normal.
I think that’s just so ingrained in folks who serve in Washington, in the Senate or the House for decades. That’s the residue of that. And maybe there are ways that that helps grease the skids for things to happen. But what I mean, what’s happening, basically, you know, what’s happening. Mitch McConnell is a bad faith actor. I mean, this is a guy who, right after January 6, pinned the blame, like he should have on Donald Trump and then did a total about face and said, not long after that, that of course, he would support him, support Trump, if he were the nominee, again for President in 2024. The guy has no scruples. He’s in a state there in Kentucky where he is safe. The more of this stuff he pulls against Democrats, the better it is for him. So he’s going to keep doing it. And Democrats need to have as much of a spine and act on their convictions as Republicans do.
Sawyer Hackett 34:53
Yeah, I mean, I hope we can see some of these numbers turn around. I hope that the Biden administration is looking at that list of executive actions that the Progressive Caucus has given them. I hope that there is a new shift in tone or whatever, you know, every six months or so that that administration’s go through. But right now things aren’t looking good. So we desperately need people to get involved.
Yeah, no doubt. Well, one of the other things that that we need to do is find new blood out there in local races, Statehouse races. For Congress, it was fascinating to see run for something, make an announcement about their plan to invest in getting new first-time candidates.
Yeah, the group is looking to raise I think $80 million over the next three years in this plan, you know, they call it the safe democracy from the ground up, you know, recruiting and supporting 5000 plus candidates for local offices, especially local offices in charge of, you know, these election administration positions. Republicans have been focusing on the seats, I think, in what appears to be a planned to potentially control how elections are run and hand victories over to Trump wherever possible. So this is really important stuff. So if folks are looking for an organization to support right now, if you’re looking at these numbers like we are and are a little scared, you know, go to run for something, check out their website and support them because I think this work is really important.
Julian Castro 36:18
Absolutely. you’ve ever thought about running for office, now’s the time, do it. Stick around. Next, we’ll end the show with a little conversation about Infowars, Alex Jones organization. This is some good news about Infowars.
So, Julian, I saw over the weekend that there was some news about Alex Jones’ organization, Infowars. Can you tell me a little about that?
I’m happy to take this one, especially as someone who’s down here in Texas, you know, Alex Jones is there in the Austin area. So folks know that Alex Jones has Infowars, which is sort of his, I guess, production media company. He’s been involved in a number of libel suits, including one filed by parents of the victims of Sandy Hook. He had called it a hoax. He said that they were they’re making it up. Recently, he offered to settle the case with them. For $120,000 each. They’re 13 plaintiffs he wanted to give them each $120,000 they rejected that offer. They’re going forward. So lo and behold, the news is that Infowars has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. All right, that deserves a little applause here. Chapter 11 bankruptcy in Texas, get this, it says that it only has assets in the range of between zero and $50,000. And it has liabilities in the range of a million dollars to $10 million. What else can you say? Except it couldn’t happen to a better guy. Alex Jones has been full of shit, and a web of lies and a thorn in the side of anybody who actually cares about the truth for way too long. And I for 1am Glad to see hopefully that we’re going to see the demise of Infowars, which has been such a vehicle for disinformation over the years.
Sawyer Hackett 38:39
Yeah, I mean, this guy, he’s a clown. He’s been pushing conspiracy theories. Before Trump, I think was even around I mean, this guy is like one of the Q anon kind of guys who’s been pushing these conspiracy theories. He’s also I think, was subpoenaed by the House of Representatives over the January 6 insurrection. So he’s having a rough couple of months, I think, but I was definitely glad to see this news. Infowars is obviously peddling lies every single day. So it looks like that that organization may not last too much longer.
So that’s the good news today. Don’t forget to leave us a voicemail sharing the stories you care about most right now. You can leave us a voicemail at 833-453-6662 and don’t forget to subscribe to Lemonada Premium on Apple podcasts.
We’ll see y’all next week.
OUR AMERICA is a Lemonada Media Original. Our Producer is Xorje Olivares, with executive producers Jessica Cordova Kramer, Stephanie Wittels Wachs and Julian Castro. Mix and scoring by Veronica Rodriguez. Music is by Xander Singh. Please help others find the show by rating and reviewing wherever you listen and follow us across all social platforms at @JulianCastro, at @Sawyer Hackett and at @LemonadaMedia. If you want more OUR AMERICA, subscribe to Lemonada Premium, only on Apple podcasts.