Ralph invites political psychologist Dr. Drew Westen back to the program to give his analysis of what happened in the midterm elections. What the Dems did right and what they still do wrong. And we also welcome back labor journalist, Steve Early, co-author of “Our Veterans: Winners, Losers, Friends, and Enemies on the New Terrain of Veterans Affairs.”
Dr. Drew Westen is a clinical, personality, and political psychologist and neuroscientist, and Professor in the Departments of Psychology and Psychiatry at Emory University. Dr. Westen is the author of The Political Brain: The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation and is the founder of Westen Strategies, a strategic messaging consulting firm. He has advised a range of candidates and organizations, from presidential and congressional campaigns to major progressive organizations to the House and Senate Democratic Caucuses.
Normally, within the first couple of years of a president’s administration, he’s usually picking up from where the last president left things— which is usually with a bad economy. And voters blame the new president for it, and that’s why you see these historic midterm effects where the party in power usually gets killed. And this time, the Democrats didn’t get killed. Let’s give them that first.
Dr. Drew Westen
Democrats have trouble figuring out that if you just speak honestly as a populist, you can win anywhere… Because people know when they’re getting screwed. And they know when somebody has their back. And they know when someone is speaking honestly to them.
Dr. Drew Westen
All politicians—with very few exceptions— flatter the voters. When do we say, “It’s the voter’s responsibility”? That they have exerted a wave of masochistic voting against their own interest?
Steve Early is a lawyer, organizer, union representative, and labor journalist. He is the author of Refinery Town: Big Oil, Big Money, and the Remaking of an American City, and co-author, with Suzanne Gordon and Jasper Craven, of Our Veterans: Winners, Losers, Friends, and Enemies on the New Terrain of Veterans Affairs.
One of the great things about the VA is that a third of the VA caregiving workforce is veterans themselves. So you have this unique culture of solidarity and empathy, connection between patients and providers. You don’t find that at Kaiser, or Sutter, or UnitedHealth, or any of the other big for-profit or nonprofit healthcare chains. So this is a real national treasure that needs to be defended.
Steve Early, author of Our Veterans: Winners, Losers, Friends, and Enemies on the New Terrain of Veterans Affairs