The cover art for the podcast "Gaslit Nation" with Sarah Kendzior and Andrea Chalupa


The American Crisis: The View from Flyover Country, Part 2

In episode 6, Gaslit Nation continues its look at the decades of American crises that gave rise to Trumpism and paved the way for Russian interference in our democracy.

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Paul Manafort is the swamp creature that Trump promised his followers he would drain from Washington. In Part I of The American Crisis, we discuss how Manafort’s long career of widely documented corruption should be studied as a model to help uncover others like him wielding influence in the halls of power. In a way, Trump is living up to his promise by exposing the swamp through his own disgraced and indicted campaign officials.

Now that Manafort has agreed to fully cooperate with Mueller’s investigation as part of a plea deal, will this Kremlin-linked operative who made a fortune in blood money furthering the interests of dictators and despots actually help deliver justice? We discuss what difference Manafort could make helping Mueller’s team secure more indictments.

The news poisoning continues under the Trump administration with Americans being forced to relive the injustice and gaslighting done to Anita Hill. This time the brave patriot to come forward for the sake of her country is Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, a California professor whose name was leaked after writing a confidential letter describing how Trump’s Supreme Court nominee attempted to rape her in high school, a trauma that haunted her for the rest of her life.

With an estimated one out of every six women in America having suffered rape or attempted rape, the Kavanaugh story is Trump and the far-right once again forcing millions of women to relive their own trauma. It’s not easy for survivors to report on the Trump White House, and the lack of empathy prevalent among Republican leaders and major media excusing Kavanaugh with a “boys will be boys” defense continues to be appalling and dangerous. We are in a crisis of moral leadership in this country where internment camps are being built for children and hard-fought pro-choice rights are at stake.

We ask once again: What is wrong with the New York Times? Their Opinion section has outdone itself by advocating for “peaceful ethnic cleansing.” In other news that sounds too dystopian to be true, a Kansan woman faced a bureaucratic nightmare by being requested to show a family bible in order to prove her citizenship and renew her passport. We’re not making this up.

Finally, we mourn the glory days of Bob Woodward when he didn’t practice access journalism and instead fought for the truth. His bestselling book Fear, following in the footsteps of Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury, cashes in on the reality show of terror broadcasting from the White House. Books like these are tone deaf because they make Trump seem driven by chaos, “Trump being Trump,” excusing the human rights crises he has deliberately created.

The truth of Trump, Russia, and America’s long march towards kleptocracy deserves an encyclopedia set to capture the full scope and many players. In the meantime, there’s Gaslit Nation. Part I of our discussion of the social ills that led to the rise of Trumpism in America can be found here.

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