Useful Idiots: Taibbi, Halper Interview Former Sen. Nina Turner - Rolling Stone
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Useful Idiots: Nina Turner on the Future of Progressive Politics After Bernie Suspends Campaign

Plus, Why Networks Air Trump’s Pressers in Full

In this week’s quarantine episode of our Useful Idiots podcast, hosts Matt Taibbi and Katie Halper are joined by former Ohio State senator and Bernie Sanders surrogate Nina Turner, who makes her second appearance on the show and discusses the future of progressive politics in America after Sanders suspended his campaign.

Taibbi makes a critique about the selective morality around news networks airing Trump’s COVID-19 press conferences (hint: it’s about the money). And the duo also learn about Joe Biden’s Fig Newton affinity, and discover some of the most creative DIY protective wear that people have developed during the pandemic.

Taibbi and Halper delve into the controversial story of the day, Nancy Pelosi’s stocked ice cream freezer (and Trump’s video response to the Pelosi chocolate news). “Everybody in America is such an asshole right now,” remarks Taibbi, who finds Dove bars to be “the international symbol of upscale Democratic voter.”

“I can’t believe I’m defending Nancy Pelosi and her refrigeration choices,” adds Halper, who says she can’t tell at a glance if the refrigerator is expensive or not.

Our hosts break down Trump’s press conferences, his tweets, and the effects it is having on lockdown protests around the country. “I understand where people are coming from. At some point you do have to have a discussion about when do we just start dealing with this as a fact of life, right? We deal with all sorts of other issues that are fatal and are killing us, and we all start dying from birth, and that’s all part of the reality. But this is something that’s totally different, right? It’s a communicable disease that is extremely contagious, and we just don’t know a whole lot about it yet. It’s only been a month,” says Taibbi, who argues that Trump genuinely believes the state lockdowns are part of a conspiracy to ruin the American economy.

Nina Turner discusses the future of Bernie’s movement, and the current anxiety and despair among its people. “It’s OK to have a moment of grief.… I want to acknowledge that straight up,” she says. “We have to plan for the future. And so must find promise in the problem. The same issues, or value proposition if you will, or vision that the progressive left was fighting for is still true today. It was true two weeks ago, two months ago, two years ago, four years ago.”

She speaks on the need for Medicare for All, college for all, a Green New Deal, and the progressive policy positions of the Sanders campaign, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. “It is cruel and immoral for that Congress, be they Democrat or Republican, not to stand up unequivocally and say right now, in this movement, we’re going to give the people what they need, instead of constantly giving the billionaire class what they need.”

You can find the Useful Idiots podcast on AppleSpotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts.


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