On today's BradCast: It was a mixed bag for democracy overseas this weekend, where (as here in the U.S.) a democratic election does not necessarily guarantee the winner will be a small "d" democrat. Meanwhile, the version of democracy we have here at home ain't necessarily doing much better. Arguably worse, in fact. [Audio link to full show is posted at the end of this summary.]
Among the stories covered on today's program...
- A 49-year old man has been arrested after attacking two staffers of Virginia's Democratic Rep. Gerry Connolly with a metal baseball bat on Monday at his district office in Fairfax. The motive for the attack was unknown as of airtime, but the incident is yet another in a sharp rise of threats and attacks against lawmakers and their families since Donald Trump's January 6, 2021 sore-loser insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
- For the first time in his 20 years as Turkey's leader, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will now face a runoff election to retain power in two weeks. Over the weekend, the increasingly authoritarian Erdogan was able to notch just 49.5% of the large turnout vote, falling just short of the 50% needed to win outright against opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu, who received just shy of 45%. The next two weeks will see a fight for the remaining 5.7% of the vote won in the first round on Sunday by a third party candidate. Erdogan is believed likely to pull off another victory on May 28 --- despite startling inflation and his handling of an earthquake that resulted in more than 50,000 deaths --- after failing to win outright for the first time in his political career. Kilicdaroglu, however, vows he will win control of the key NATO ally, which has drifted toward the conservative right and Russia in recent years.
- The news was slightly brighter in Thailand over the weekend, where two different opposition parties to the ruling military junta easily bested the competition. It was a "stunning" victory for the liberal Move Forward party who, with the help of young, first-time voters, easily defeated the populist, billionaire-controlled Pheu Thai party that had been favored to win going in to the weekend. Move Forward's agenda includes rolling back the military's political role and reforming laws that stifle dissent. The question now, however, is whether either Move Forward or Pheu Thai will be able to build a governing coalition in parliament and win the coveted Prime Minister's position. All parties, however, including those backed by the military, seemed to recognize the voice of the weekend's democratic vote. For now.
- Back here in the U.S., the controversy over last week's appalling, 70-minute Donald Trump town hall, gifted to him by CNN, continues. In the second half of today's program we open the phones to listeners on whether CNN should have held the forum at all --- allowing the disgraced, twice-impeached, criminally indicted, sexual abuser former President of the United States to offer lie after lie after lie before a live audience of cheering supporters --- and, if not, how should the frontrunner for the 2024 GOP Presidential nomination be covered? Also, while the performance was clearly a gift to Trump in his run for the GOP nod, will it actually help him in the long-run to win a general election next year? I am not so sure. In fact, I don't think it will help him at all and is as likely to hurt him in a number of ways. We take a lot of thoughts from a lot of callers on those points, several of whom disagree with my own take on the matter, though in several different and interesting ways...
(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)