Republican Plans For A Trump Dictatorship. Trump has said that, if elected, he will be a dictator for a day. But the plans already being implemented by his campaign and rightwing organizations indicate that he expects to be a Putin-style dictator for far longer.
Democratic Perspective co-hosts, Steve Williamson and Karen McClelland, along with contributor, Gary LaMaster, delve into what appears to be a worldwide movement away from democracy.
We try to explain the appeal of autocratic strongmen and the tactics that politicians like Trump use to become dictators for life.
The Latest Republican Attacks On The Constitution, Diversity, Migrants, Voting And Common Sense. Steve Williamson and Karen McClelland welcome Dianne Post back to the show. Post is an attorney, activist, author, and teacher who specializes in human rights and women’s rights. She joins us to discuss the latest crackpot bills that have been introduced by Arizona Republican legislators.
To begin, Post explains that Republicans have introduced a number of highly partisan resolutions that, if passed, could be added to the ballot and prevent the Governor from vetoing them. These include a prohibition of voting centers aimed at reducing voter turnout, and the prohibition of the spending of federal money.
In addition, Post details several amendments that Republicans would like to add to the Arizona Constitution. Among these outlandish ideas are amendments that would establish extreme sentencing guidelines for sex crimes, an amendment that would prohibit Diversity, Equity and Inclusion programs, and an amendment that would prohibit cities from banning the use of a specific type of energy, i.e. fossil fuels.
The Professor Gazes Into His Electoral Crystal Ball Once Again. Steve Williamson and Karen McClelland welcome Dan Singal back to the show to discuss the upcoming elections. Singal is an author and Emeritus Professor of History at Hobart and William Smith Colleges.
Asked about the prospects of a Biden-Trump rematch in the upcoming election, Singal says, “Well, if there was a major conviction in one of the [Trump] trials before the convention, then it’s possible it could derail things. But I don’t expect that to happen and I’m not sure that it would be that big a factor even if it did. I think they would still choose him.”
“I think he [Trump] could go out and shoot someone in the street on Fifth Avenue. I think he could do that and probably the courts would take ten years before they got around to it and he would be acquitted,” Singal explains. “Although I do think the indictments and a trial…during the period of the general election campaign, that could have some bearing.”
On previous shows Singal accurately predicted the outcome of the 2020 presidential election and the 2022 mid-term elections in which he said Republicans would take the House by a narrow margin and that Democrats would hold onto the Senate. In 2022, Singal also predicted that Biden would be re-elected in 2024. And he’s sticking with that prediction. “I think that’s where we’re headed,” he says.
To support his prediction, Singal points to the economy, noting that gas prices have come down as oil supplies have gone up, inflation has come down to 1.7 percent – lower than the Fed’s goal of 2 percent – and unemployment is near a 50-year low of just 3.7 percent.
“I would say that he is our best president since World War II,” Singal says of Biden.
Additionally, Singal expects Democrats will retake the House this year and hold onto control of the Senate.
From Theater To Politics. Steve Williamson and Karen McClelland welcome Jay Ruby, theater company director, actor, activist, and Democratic candidate for the Arizona State Legislature.
Ruby has experience in organizing people, beginning with his efforts to establish a theater company nearly 20 years ago. In addition, he previously worked behind the scenes to help other Democratic electoral candidates, including David Brill’s campaign for U.S. Congress against incumbent Paul Gosar. He says, “…I learned a lot from that campaign. And that campaign also vitalized people. And I think that’s the crossover for me between theater and politics is that you can create a place where people come alive and feel, I guess, more confidence in living.”
Ruby adds, “When you bring people together in a common experience where they see beauty and they see connection between people and they see trust…what it does for an audience when they see trust in action, they believe that they can trust the world more.”
As for why he’s running for office, Ruby states on the Clean Slate for Democracywebsite, “I am running for State Representative in Legislative District 1 to renew the art of dialogue in the Arizona State House to improve the quality of life for all of us.”
Are Israel And Russia Guilty Of Genocide? Steve Williamson and Gary LaMaster consider the accusations of genocide leveled against the two nations. What are the latest numbers of death and destruction in the two wars? When do the actions of war combatants crossover into war crimes? Do the charges listed in South Africa’s case against Israel meet the definition of genocide?
A Deep Dive Into The Israeli-Hamas War. Steve Williamson and Gary LaMaster look at the history of the conflict, the conditions that led to the most recent outbreak of violence, the crimes committed by both sides, and Israel’s influence in the U.S.
The current war began when Hamas militants crossed the Israeli-Gaza border and committed obvious war crimes by murdering more than 1,200 Israelis, committing horrific acts of sexual violence, and taking about 250 people hostage. Unfortunately, Israel has committed its own war crimes in response by indiscriminately bombing Gaza resulting in more than 20,000 Palestinian deaths – 61 percent of which are women and children.
The situation is made even more controversial by the United States’ ongoing military aid to Israel and the denunciation of Israel’s actions by many in the U.S. and internationally.
Year In Review. On New Year’s Eve, Steve Williamson, Karen McClelland and Gary LaMaster review some of the biggest news stories of 2023, including Trump’s legal problems, the Israeli-Hamas war, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Bidenomics, and more. They also try to make a few predictions for 2024.
A Legacy Of Problem-Solving And Service. Steve Williamson and Karen McClelland welcome Matt Ryan retiring Coconino County Supervisor to the show. Ryan has been a supervisor for 27 years representing the north and eastern portion of the Sedona area as well as portions of Flagstaff and the city of Williams, AZ.
“I’ve been through three redistrictings, so it’s changed a little bit. Initially I came in and I represented the whole southern end of the county…It’s been wonderful. Every time I go out, it’s just so beautiful wherever I go.”
Coconino is the second-largest County in the lower 48. As such, the Board of Supervisors has had to forge strong partnerships with many other governing bodies, including city staffs, Native American tribal governments, and neighboring county boards.
During Ryan’s seven terms in office, he’s addressed everything from housing to transportation to the pandemic to wildfires to floods and much, much more.
The “Think Tanks” That Control The Republican Party. Steve Williamson and Gary LaMaster examine the rightwing organizations that hold sway over the GOP by creating policies, selecting judges, and funding candidates.
Since the 1970s, these so-called think tanks have grown in power to such an extent that it’s increasingly unlikely that a Republican candidate can be elected to office without their consent and support.
For example, the Federalist Society helped Donald J. Trump reshape federal courts, including the Supreme Court of the United States. Project Veritas has acted as a hit squad to attack progressive organizations on the Party’s behalf. The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has written much of the legislation that has passed in Republican controlled states. And The Heritage Foundation, which has been called the “Mothership of Conservatism” was the source of the Trump administration’s most extreme staff members and policies.
Worst of all, by creating Project 2025, The Heritage Foundation has created a road map to authoritarianism for the next Republican president.
The Rise Of Christian Nationalism In The US. Following the election of Christian Nationalist MAGA Mike Johnson to Speaker of the House, Steve Williamson, Karen McClelland and Gary LaMaster look at the growth of the Christian Nationalist Movement in the US, aka Christo-Fascism, and what it could mean to the future of our nation.
Despite the separation clause in the First Amendment of the Constitution which states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…”, some believe that the US is and always has been a Christian nation, and that its laws should be based on Christian values and the Bible.
Indeed, a recent study by PRRI (Public Religion Research Institute) and Brookings found that more than half of Republicans support Christian Nationalism. And, increasingly, churches are playing a greater role in politics.
But, as we point out, the movement is less about religion than it is power.