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"The Betrayal: How Mitch McConnell and the Senate Republicans Abandoned America"

Aired on Friday, May 20th.
Aired on Friday, May 20th.

"[The] extent of McConnell's scorched-earth politics makes it clear why Washington has been either deadlocked or regressive. Anyone interested in social justice or the advancement of the ideals of democracy can read this chronicle and come away knowing who one of the principal political villains of the twenty-first century is." -- Booklist

Is Senator Mitch McConnell a symptom of how broken American political discourse is today -- or is he a cause? Our guest is Ira Shapiro, whose 40-plus year career in Washington has focused on American politics and international trade. Along the way, Mr. Shapiro has served twelve years in senior staff positions in the U.S. Senate, working for a series of distinguished senators (among them Jacob Javits, Gaylord Nelson, Robert Byrd, and Jay Rockefeller). Shapiro joins us to talk about his new book, "The Betrayal: How Mitch McConnell and the Senate Republicans Abandoned America." As per a critic writing for Washington Monthly: "Shapiro guides the reader through the highlights -- or lowlights -- of the Trump presidency through the prism of the Senate, including the massive tax cuts and attempted repeal of Obamacare, the rush to jam through judges and justices, and, of course, the impeachment.... Shapiro takes us through the debacle of Trump and the pandemic -- with no pushback or oversight from Senate Republicans as Trump downplayed the virus, and failed to take any of the steps that could have limited it or prevented massive deaths and incapacitation -- and then, of course, the road that led to the January 6 insurrection, the second impeachment of Trump, and his second acquittal.... Of course, larger trends in society and the political system are responsible for the current cancer in the American polity, a cancer that has metastasized from Washington to the states to the public as a whole. The Republican Party was on its way to becoming a radical cult before Donald Trump came along, and before Mitch McConnell became his party's Senate leader. But individuals can matter in shaping the environment and determining the course of events. And McConnell has mattered -- in a way that ensures he will be in the top list of villains when the history of this sorry period is written. The evidence to bolster that judgment will include [this book]."

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