Few would argue that the 2020 election season has polarized many of America’s concerns, while situated amid a global health crisis — and brought about the disillusionment of many. Political scientist Wilmer Leon sat down with The Informer, in this two-part interview, to discuss the often-overlooked juggernaut of social unrest and economic decline that got us here:

WI: How would you define the election season in terms of legislation?

LEON: I have been very disappointed in what has been happening or not between the House and Senate primarily because Mitch McConnell has been focused on getting Amy Coney Barrett through the Senate and sworn in at the expense of just about everything else. In fact, after her swearing-in, he adjourned the Senate while a COVID-19 relief package was still being negotiated. There has been very little legislation done with the exception of the National Defense Authorization Act, which is incredibly disgusting because the Democrats gave the president even more money than he has asked for.

Political scientist Wilmer Leon (Courtesy photo)
Political scientist Wilmer Leon (Courtesy photo)

Now the mantra is, ‘We don’t have the money to spend to protect those thirty or forty million Americans who are about to be evicted from their apartments. We don’t have the money to provide Nancy Pelosi the two or three million dollars she is asking for to cover the (on average) 750,000 Americans a week who are applying for federal unemployment insurance which does not account for the state people. We are really looking at close to a million people a week as opposed to the 750,000 that they want to tout. I bring up the National Defense Authorization Act to demonstrate that there is enough blame to go around with regard to why Americans are suffering and starving, and facing eviction in the midst of a pandemic and in what will soon be winter in America.

WI: How has the media fared in the election season?

LEON: The media is definitely complicit in the distraction of America. You do not want to agree with Trump, but as they say, even a broken clock is correct twice a day. In this instance, he is correct. Eighty percent of what we are hearing is COVID-19 and we are not hearing what we need to hear about unemployment or about these foreclosure numbers. We are not hearing about the projections of 3,000 people a day dying from COVID-19 between mid-November 2020 and February 2021. We are hearing all of this blabber about Iran hacking and Russian hacking and it is a huge distraction. We need to be paying attention to the voter suppression tactics that the Republicans are engaged in in Florida. Florida is making formerly convicted felons pay off fees, fines and penalties assessed in their cases before they are allowed to vote. We need to be talking about why in North Carolina you need two witness signatures to witness a mail-in ballot. We need to talk about Pennsylvania where now with Amy Coney Barrett on the Court they want to revisit the 4-4 decision that ballots received after Nov. 3 but postmarked before Nov. 3 should be counted.

We need to also talk about the fact that Donald Trump with the help of Mitch McConnell and lying Lindsey Graham have now gone back on their word in terms of when a Supreme Court nominee should be brought forward. When McConnell was saying Barack Obama should not be able to nominate Merrick Garland because it was an election year, it had been eight months before the election started. People started casting votes the first of September this year and they rushed this woman through at the end of October. That is nothing but hypocrisy.

WI: What does this mean for the nation?

LEON: This means that Donald Trump has been able to stack a 6-3 Supreme Court and what very few people are talking about is that Amy Coney Barrett was an attorney working for George Bush during Bush v. Gore in 2000. John Roberts was an attorney working for George Bush on Bush v. Gore in 2000. Brett Cavanaugh was an attorney working for George Bush on Bush v. Gore in 2000. Talk about a setup! I do not hear Joy-Ann Reid talking about it. I do not hear Rachel Maddow talking about this, or even Cuomo talking about it in the news. It is not in commentaries; it is not in news stories or investigations. It is hidden in plain sight.

WI: Trump recently signed several Executive Orders that speak directly to diversity, inclusion and white people being made to feel targeted as racist by workplace mandates addressing equity. What are the potential political ramifications of these Orders on Historically Black Colleges and Universities?

LEON: Trump is touting all of the support he provided HBCUs… I know what he committed, but not how much has been allocated or received. I know what has been donated altruistically by people like Jeff Bezos’ wife MacKenzie Scott and Michael Bloomberg and some others – but in terms of what was received by those HBCU presidents when they went to the White House and sat down with Trump is unclear. The ramifications of the legislation could be critical, but we will not know until it unfolds. We, in too many instances, as African Americans are applauding the sizzle, but we never get the steak. We fall for the okey-doke and we do not have anyone in a position of power with the backbone and guts to stand up and say “No, this is not right. Let me explain to you all what has been done.”

Click here for part two of this interview.

Dr. Wilmer Leon is a nationally broadcast radio talk show host on SiriusXM Satellite radio channel 126, nationally syndicated columnist, and regular political commentator on national and international news programs. A graduate of both Hampton University (BS in Political Science) and Howard University (Ph.D. in Political Science), Leon is the author of Politics, Another Perspective: Commentary and Analysis on Race, War, Ethics, and the American Political Landscape.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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