Krystal and Saagar cover the Roe political fallout, Ohio GOP and Dem primary results, Fed raising rates, Starbucks union-busting, DIY abortions, SCOTUS retrospective on culture war, Dems failures on abortion, and election analysis with Kyle Kondik!
Timestamps: Roe Politics: 0:00 – 28:36 Primary Results: 28:37 – 48:36 Fed: 48:37 – 56:47 Starbucks: 56:48 – 1:04:44 Horsemeds: 1:04:45 – 1:11:08 Saagar: 1:11:09 – 1:21:35 Krystal: 1:21:36 – 1:31:54 Kyle Kondik: 1:31:55 – 1:48:48
5/5 NEWSLETTER: Roe Politics, Primary Results, Fed Policy, Union Busting, & More!
Welcome to the premium newsletter for the May 5th, 2022 broadcast of Breaking Points with Krystal and Saagar. No major announcements before the show today, aside from a reminder to remain civil with friends, family, and other fans of the show in response to some of the emotional subject matter being tackled today.
Now to the contents of the 5/4 show!
Building off their coverage from the previous episode, Krystal and Saagar dive into the up to date political developments surrounding Roe v. Wade that were kicked back into high gear on Tuesday. The first is a telling sign of grassroots Democratic passion and enthusiasm to fight the coming SCOTUS decision overturning the 1973 case to legalize abortion. According to Democratic grassroots donation site ActBlue, $9 million in grassroots donations came in which was $21 million less than the day after Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away. It is a sign that rallying around abortion rights will not save Democrats in the midterms as polls showing them poised for a resounding defeat. The GOP’s abortion talking points came out as well, with the gist of it being that the Republicans seek to paint their opposition as extremists in defense of their pro-life stance while appealing to the compassion of ordinary Americans. Some figures on the fringes of the GOP have been using more inflammatory language about Roe and the opinion leak itself, with Trump’s infamous ‘stop the steal’ lawyer Jenna Ellis claiming it was worse than January 6th. Polling data out from The Economist and YouGov since the leak places Americans in between the two sides of the debate on abortion, with a sizeable majority opposing the decision to overturn Roe and support for partial abortion bans depending on the scope of the legislation.
Democratic politicians have vowed to fight back against the ruling by codifying federal abortion legalization into law with their power in the Congress and the Presidency. This action would likely require getting rid of the filibuster in the Senate, something Biden continued to express hesitation towards. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer had stronger words about the urgency to codify Roe into law to fight the SCOTUS decision. He vowed that a vote would be brought to the Senate floor and he called on Americans to pressure their representatives into supporting such a vote. His comments come as swing vote Senators Sinema (D-AZ) and Manchin (D-WV) expressed reservations about abolishing the filibuster, especially considering that Manchin considers himself to be a pro-life social conservative. Hope for the pro-choice side comes from swing vote GOP Sens. Collins and Murkowski who both expressed displeasure at the Supreme Court’s plans to overturn Roe. But the chances of codifying Roe into law remain slim given the need to overturn the filibuster and uncertainty surrounding the four most moderate Senators’ stances on the issue.
Another important manner involving the Senate took place last night as Ohio and Indiana primary elections took place, with results coming in on Tuesday night. All eyes were on the contested GOP primary in Ohio, where the Trump backed venture capitalist and author JD Vance triumphed in a crowded field after a long and bitter campaign. Polls ahead of the race were neck and neck with Vance in the lead, and the rest of the candidates quickly coalesced around Vance ahead of his general election battle with Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan for the seat. In this race, Trump’s endorsement was shown to be pivotal for the outcome and helped push Vance ahead of the pack come election night. The MAGA world had been deeply divided in this contest with Sen. Ted Cruz and other influential conservatives backing top challenger Josh Mandel against Vance. Other races have shown Trump’s endorsement to be less influential, such as the Georgia GOP Gov. primary where incumbent Brian Kemp has built a large lead over Trump backed former Senator David Perdue.
Onto the Democratic side, where the OH-11 congressional primary between incumbent Shontel Brown and progressive challenger Nina Turner took center stage. In a surprise to some, Brown resoundingly defeated Turner in a rematch of their face off before redistricting took place in 2020. One major reason why was the lack of support from progressive institutions or those in power in the lead up to the race, such the Congressional Progressive Caucus in the House and activist groups including Justice Democrats. This contrasted with the party establishment’s full throttle effort to re-elect Brown, who received endorsements from President Biden and Rep. Jim Clyburn among a slew of leaders. She was also the benefactor of funding from interest groups and Super PACs, particularly those with hardline stances towards Israel that contrast with Turner. After the results came in, Turner spoke with Breaking Points contributor Jordan Chariton of Status Coup about why she lost and her plans for the future. The clips were condense and mashed up in the show for the sake of time and clarity. For more on these primaries, watch the previous coverage below:
Will Trump Endorsement Give JD Vance A Win? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RAPqdv0czm8
Can Trump’s Endorsement SAVE JD Vance?
AOC Endorses Nina Turner TWELVE HOURS Before Election: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-BGyik9seu0
Nina Turner: SHOULD Biden Be PRIMARIED? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rjQME6KD6H4
Moving on, the Federal Reserve announced a half point raise in interest rates to combat inflation and that the central bank will begin reducing its portfolio holdings on June 1st. This increase marks the largest jump in 22 years as Fed Chair Powell warned Americans that the battle against inflation will be a difficult one. Similarly dire warnings about the economy and markets are coming out of Silicon Valley, where investor sentiment is the worst since the dot-com bubble based on rumblings put forward by venture capitalist David Sacks. In his Twitter thread, Sacks provides resources for a more in depth understanding of the lack of optimism from venture capitalists. Regular investors in tech products have shown idenital feelings in the NFT markets, where sales are flatlining and values are plummeting as the supply for crypto tokens greatly outweighs investor demand. The rate hikes and market downturns will have major consequences for the US economy in the short term and the long term. All of the downstream effects will be covered by Krystal and Saagar on a later date.
The fourth block of the show concerns the Starbucks labor union battle between management and workers that continues to escalate. The company announced a new benefits package for employees with the exception for those at stores with unionization drives. Some 240,000 Starbucks employees at 8,800 stores across America will receive expanded training, better sick leave, and credit card tips as CEO Howard Schultz blamed unionization efforts for the discrepancy in benefit distribution. It is possible that this constitutes illegal discrimination by union members and could be struck down by the NLRB, who would require union baristas to be provided the new benefits. Previous benefit expansions that raised wages to $15 an hour or by 3% did include the stores in the midst of union campaigns. There have been 50 successful union drives and more elections coming given that 230 stores have filed petitions for union votes. At the same time, President Biden has invited Amazon Labor Union leader Christian Smalls to the White House who will be alongside organizers from Starbucks and other companies. Smalls will also testify in front of the Senate budget committee chaired by close ally Bernie Sanders who is having a hearing about Amazon’s federal government contracts that have been subject to renewed scrutiny in the wake of union busting activity.
For the E block of the Thursday show, Krystal and Saagar have once again decided on a fun segment to lighten the mood amidst all of the turmoil. Progressive media outlet Vice published an article endorsing the usage of the medication Misoprostal as part of an article instructing readers on making DIY abortion kits. The treatment is also used to treat ulcers in horses making it easy to acquire from veterans. It is ironic given Vice and many mainstream media outlets labeling of Ivermectin as a ‘horse dewormer’ in their attacks against Joe Rogan for his views on covid. Liberal hypocrisy aside, it points to the belief from pro-choice activists that if abortion bans are passed, women will resort to using less safe, DIY option to get the procedure instead.
In his monologue today, Saagar looks back at his old commentary on the SCOTUS battles during the Trump years, where he explained how the Supreme Court culture wars are corrupting American politics. It makes the judiciary entirely about cultural stance despite the importance of courts on economic policy and other political issues aside from the most hot button cultural fights. So if you want your cultural values upheld by courts, you get blackmailed into voting for Republicans or Democrats no matter how little the parties represent voters on other questions. It gives upholders of the establishment a way to divide Americans and justify their vote despite how infrequently SCOTUS confirmations occur. The Senators who cause economic damage, new wars, and all kinds of problems can hide behind culture war disputes when being held accountable for their tenure. Making these fights existential benefits the oligarchs currently running the American political system and reaping the rewards of the current economic order. It becomes much more difficult to build coalitions to combat this if the country is divided on cultural issues and cast their votes based on questions of culture. Saagar cites the example of $50 billion in chip manufacturing that is stalling in the Senate to zero scrutiny whatsoever. The votes are not there for a landmark piece of legislation to boost US manufacturing and domestic capacity, with no pressure for any minds to be changed.
Saagar wraps up by talking about how extremely consequential actions such as this consistently get overshadowed by the culture war that takes up everyone’s energy and emotions. The way to form the coalitions required on these other issues is to view them as existential as abortion in order to change course on the American political system.
After the monologue, Krystal and Saagar talk about how his old monologue resonated because of how difficult it is for people to live in a politics centered around SCOTUS votes. Then they discuss the lessons of the pro-life movement that took place over the course of generations and has become the litmus test for right wing justices who are all in support of upholding corporate power with zero scrutiny.
In her monologue, Krystal takes down the Democratic Party’s empty gestures in the abortion fight that they have used for a generation to fundraise and get people to line up behind them. They have done this with many other issues such as the $15 minimum wage that Biden pledged to support at the 7 minute mark of the linked video. The child tax credit is also a classic example of Democrats using issues as political cudgels to boost their fortunes. It was a massive success with reducing childhood poverty across the country, but the one year long time window they thought could be a weapon against the GOP means that the CTC is now gone. Voters who benefited most have shifted noticeably to the GOP since the credit expired with a whimper. The same can be said about the abortion debate, where Democrats had the power and political backing to codify Roe v. Wade many years ago if they wanted to. Barack Obama vowed to legislate Roe and had the supermajority to do so, even if some conservative Dems were part of the coalition.
One conservative Democrat is Henry Cuellar, the Texas border district congressman who is still receiving the support of establishment Democrats in his fight against a progressive challenger. Cuellar, who is being investigated by the FBI, doubled down on his views in the last few days. Democrats have continually broken their promises to their voters and used the SCOTUS debates around abortion to get disappointed supporters to fall in line anyways. The GOP does the same thing, but Krystal points out how Dems have no plans to change in the midterms, where they are likely to get trounced. Democrats will claim that more Democrats are needed to fight this battle, but the pleas ring hollow when one looks back at the history.
After the monologue, Krystal and Saagar talk about how some segments of the Democratic base who are very supportive of the party are actually coming around to some Left critiques of the establishment’s failures. The likelihood that the larger criticism resonates is less than party insiders using Manchin and Sinema as scapegoats, and it remains to be seen how motivated the base is to turn out for Dems.
Krystal and Saagar are joined by elections expert Kyle Kondik of Sabato’s Crystal Ball to better understand the primary results in Ohio, particularly in the GOP Senate election. In his write up, Kondik goes through the data on how Trump’s endorsement boosted the Vance campaign with a focus on the blue collar counties that proved to be strongholds for Vance. The margin of victory for Vance, who won most of the state’s counties, was noticeably higher in those in post-industrial, Appalachian areas devastated by the shocks of free trade and the opioid epidemic. Kondik also provides a preview of the general election between Vance and Tim Ryan who will both be running as populists skeptical of political elites and globalization. The seat is likely to end up going to Vance given the state’s rightward shift and the midterm forecasts nationally that are very favorable to the GOP. This contest will surely be an intriguing populist battle that we will continue to follow here at Breaking Points.
Thank you for reading the Breaking Points newsletter for the 5/4/22 full uncut show. As always, feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org with feedback or drop a comment on YouTube! The next full show and corresponding newsletter will be on Monday, so enjoy your weekend and all the content we will send out!