“One party is pro-fascism and the other party wants to give electric cars,” says Molly Jong-Fast—and you can guess which party is winning.
J.D. Durkin, the chief Washington correspondent for the business news network Cheddar, joins the latest episode of The New Abnormal to talk about how “not even Democratic leadership is on the same page” as a “once-in-a-generation opportunity” is slipping away as Nancy Pelosi brought a stuffed animal to a messaging knife fight with the GOP ahead of the midterm elections. And, Durkin says, despite “how popular the items in the reconciliation bill are with the American people,” Mitch McConnell is “willing to do whatever he needs to do to stand in the way” since “he’s not the one who would deliver it.”
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Plus Dr. Peter Hotez rejoins the pod to talk about booster shots, vaccinations for American kids, and vaccinating the world. He says that we need 9 billion doses of vaccine—and to forget about “the obsession with MRNA vaccines”:
“It’s not just a matter of hoarding, it’s the fact that there aren’t 9 billion doses to hoard” so that “even if the G7 countries gave up their entire stockpiles of MRNA vaccines, it would only make a modest dent.” Instead, he says, it’s time to use “a simple low-cost recombinant protein vaccine that’s looking as good or almost as good” and there can be easily produced abroad and only needs simple refrigeration. India is now producing 100 million does a month “and hopefully that will fill the gap.”
As to boosters, he says “you not only want to prevent hospitalizations, you want to prevent infection” and “hopefully the third immunization will restore that function” that got lost between waning immunity and Delta. “If that’s the case, not only does it prevent long COVID but it means, if you get enough people accepting it, what happens is you stop transmission of the virus and we vaccinate our way out of this epidemic.”
And finally, Molly talks with Leonid Volkov, chief of staff to imprisoned Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny, about “an important cautionary tale of a country that had democracy and lost it.” But, he says, “Russia used to have political competition and has lost it, but political competition doesn’t involve democracy.” And Volkov warns they’ve now declared Nalvany’s anti-corruption group, started a decade ago, “an extremist community, which means that every member of our political organization and supporter effectively could be charged with being part of an extremist community retrospectively.”
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