Hello! And welcome to another edition of Inside The Newsroom. It’s been a while, and for that I apologize. First up was a two-week trip to Israel, which was immediately followed by a fever that limited me to my bed for a week. But I’m better now (hooray!) and it’s time for another juicy podcast newsletter. Today’s guest is Ryan Grim, D.C. Bureau Chief for The Intercept and contributor to The Young Turks. Ryan has covered the Democratic Party and left-wing politics for the past decade and is one of the foremost journalists on the topic. Make sure you check out his new book, We’ve Got People, which details the history of the progressive movement against the establishment. Enjoy!
Pour One Out For Jesse Jackson
In his book, Ryan uses Jesse Jackson's 1988 presidential campaign as the start of the progressive movement as we know it. It’s remembered as ‘controversial’ because it caused major divisions within the party, similar to those that Bernie Sanders opened in 2016. Jackson ended up losing the nomination to Michael Dukakis, as the party’s establishment sided with the racist view that Jackson, a black man, could not become president. Ironically, we're still having the same debate more than 30 years later, only Barack Obama broke the racial barrier and now it’s whether a ‘socialist’ candidate can win.
The 2020 race is in full swing and it's amazing to see how many candidates have paid tribute to Jackson. Sanders, Warren, Beto O'Rourke, Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg and Bill de Blasio have all associated themselves with Jackson. Meanwhile Jackson recently criticised Joe Biden for his position on voluntary busing — transporting students to different school districts to rectify racial segregation.
Obama’s Progressive Legacy
When Barack Obama first rose to prominence during the 2008 presidential campaign, he was seen by some as the darling of the progressive movement, with his calls for change flirting with populism. He'll go down as the most popular two-term Democratic president since FDR, but a lot has changed since then.
Fast forward to the 2020 race and Obama is a target for many Democrat candidates. While we haven't seen the vitriol we saw from the Republicans in 2016, criticism of Obama's deportation policy and Obamacare have become more and more frequent, and are being turned against his vice president Joe Biden.
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AOC Pulls Off The Unthinkable
At the beginning of June 2018, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was barely known outside of New York City. Today she has millions of followers on social media and is one of the faces of modern progressivism. Below are a couple of videos of the moment she defeated the incumbent Democratic representative from District 14 for New York, with Ryan reporting somewhere in the background. Oh, if you haven’t seen the full documentary behind AOC’s win, you should have. Watch it.
Schumer and Pelosi. BFFE 💕
The Democratic leadership has been in the works for more than three decades. Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer first met in the late 1980’s, at one of their so-called “dinner gang” gatherings in D.C., and have been pretty inseparable ever since. That’s not to say the two haven’t had their differences over the years, but to understand the divisions within the party in 2019, it’s important to know how we got to where we are in the first place.
Tom Perez walked into a complete shit show as DNC chairman in 2017, months after Debbie Wasserman-Schultz was forced to shamefully resign the post for conspiring against Bernie Sanders in favor of Hillary Clinton. Things have gone either tits up or just fine since then, depending on who you ask. A lot of the work Perez has done has been to heal the trust lost by Wasserman-Schulz, though that hasn’t stopped critics from piling on over the DNC’s dismal fundraising efforts compared to their Republican counterparts.
The Democratic Party Is Actually Three Parties. What?
Perhaps the Democrats’ biggest challenge heading into the 2020 election will be uniting its different factions. Hillary Clinton and the DNC weren’t able to do so in 2016, in large part due to Donna Brazile’s revelations that the DNC rigged the Democratic primary in favor of Clinton. Once nominated, Clinton failed to reel in enough Bernie Sanders supporters and, well, we all know what happened from there.
This time around, whoever wins the Democratic nomination will have to heal the damage carried over from 2016. And they’ll have their work cut out: Whoever wins will have the task of uniting not two, but three separate divisions within the Democratic Party, otherwise it could spell four more years for the Donald Trump.
MSNBC vs CNN vs Fox
We all know there are distinct differences between the three largest cable news outlets, but this amazing visualization by Charlie Smart of The Pudding analyzes thousands of data points. Unfortunately, whoever wins the Democratic nomination might just end up being who the cable outlets want to win.
… is (hopefully) Eylon Levy, an English-born journalist who now works for i24NEWS in Israel. During my recent trip to the holy land, Eylon was gracious enough to give it to us (my tour group) straight, explaining the difficulties Israel faces right now. It wasn’t all one sided, and I hope to have part of the conversation again for you guys.
Thanks so much for making it all the way to the bottom. If you haven’t already, please consider subscribing to get a newsletter about a cool news topic in your inbox every time I release a new podcast (1-2 times a week). You can find me on Twitter @DanielLevitt32 and email me corrections/feedback or even a guest you’d like me to get on the podcast at firstname.lastname@example.org.