A whopping 20 Democratic presidential candidates met in Miami, Florida this week for the first in what promises to be a very long season of primary debates. Pre-debate buzz centered around frontrunners like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren—or Kamala Harris and Joe Biden, who let the fireworks fly on the second night in a heated exchange over the ex-Vice President’s record on school bussing. One surprise standout was former HUD Secretary Julián Castro, who made headlines on the first night for his radical immigration proposals and for clashing with fellow Texan Beto O’Rourke. Castro joins Mehdi to talk about his big night, and Intercept DC Bureau Chief Ryan Grim stops by to analyze the debates.
Iran Crisis: Have We Learned Nothing from The Iraq War?
Calls for military action against Iran grew louder this week in response to the Trump Administration’s claims that the Islamic Republic was responsible for attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman. Many analysts and politicians, both in the US and abroad, expressed skepticism of those claims. But the US media appears to be falling into a familiar pattern, providing a sympathetic platform for the administration without fundamentally questioning its premises. What can we learn from the last push for a war in the Middle East 17 years ago? Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, who served as Chief of Staff to then Secretary of State Colin Powell during the runup to the Iraq War, joins Mehdi Hasan to discuss the lessons of recent history.
Why Won't the Democratic Candidates Move to the Left on Foreign Policy?
The Democratic candidates have introduced a raft of radical progressive proposals on the domestic policy front, from Medicare for All to free public college to universal basic income. Yet that appetite for radicalism has been sorely lacking on the foreign policy front, with the candidates mostly mouthing the same noncommittal platitudes we’ve come to expect from cautious presidential contenders. Why is it that the policy area in which American presidents have the most power and the most freedom to shape world events is so often overlooked in our political campaigns? Atlantic contributor and CUNY professor Peter Beinart joins Mehdi Hasan to talk about why Democrats are so timid on foreign policy.
Why is Andrew Yang Running for President?
Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang, a 44-year-old former businessman and philanthropist, has garnered a devoted fanbase (dubbed the “Yang Gang”) for his unique raft of progressive and technocratic reform proposals. His signature policy, the “freedom dividend”, would see every American receive $1000 every month, no strings attached. Yang has garnered enough support to secure a spot on the Democratic debate stage later this month, in spite of his total lack of political or government experience. On this week’s Deconstructed, Mehdi Hasan sits down with the candidate to talk about his platform, his qualifications, and why he seems to have attracted online interest from the alt-right.
Brexit and the Rise of the British Trumps
This week’s EU Parliament elections sent political shockwaves across Europe, with far-right nationalist parties racking up major victories in France, Italy, and even the UK. Established parties in Britain took a pounding as voters flocked to Nigel Farage’s newly-founded Brexit Party. Only days earlier, Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May resigned in the wake of repeated failures to secure a deal on Brexit. Where does all this leave the UK’s effort to withdraw from the European Union? And what can the US, in the midst of its own anti-immigrant populist moment, learn from the turmoil across the Atlantic? Guardian columnist Owen Jones joins Mehdi Hasan to talk about the rise of British Trumpism.