Democratic Debate, Asylum Injunction, Bolton Out, NC Special Election, FDA & E-Cigarettes

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This week’s show kicks off with Mike & Jay talking about the third Democratic presidential debate. They both see it as a continuing struggle between centrists, led by Biden, and the progressives, most prominently represented by Warren and Sanders. Neither Mike nor Jay expect any big changes in the relative standing of the candidates any time soon – at least not prior to the Iowa Caucuses. Mike laments Beto O’Rourke’s comment on ‘taking your guns’ and agrees with Sanders that Donald Trump is a very dangerous president. Jay counters that while Trump may be dangerous, the most dangerous leaders are those with far greater popularity than Trump has.

Next, it’s a look at the Supreme Court’s lifting of an injunction against the Trump administration’s asylum policy, a policy that denies asylum to almost all applicants who haven’t first applied for asylum and been rejected by Mexico. Jay gets into why injunctions are granted (or not granted), and explains that the Court has not ruled on the merits of the case. Mike argues that, on the merits, the Trump administration’s actions shouldn’t stand, as they contravene legislative intent. Jay thinks Mike’s argument is sound, though he’s not ready to definitively support it without more information.

After that, the Guys discuss John Bolton’s dismissal as National Security Advisor. Mike says that if Bolton leaked information (which Bolton denies) President Trump was absolutely right to fire him. Mike also feels that Bolton exemplifies the sort of emotionally-driven, seat of the pants staffing decision that President Trump all too often makes. Jay is a little more sympathetic to Bolton – at least in terms of policy – and argues that a clear, strong voice like Bolton’s can sometimes help focus an administration’s approach.

Following that is a discussion of the special election in North Carolina. While Mike is disappointed that the Democrats didn’t pick up a seat, he thinks that the results suggest that centrist Democrats can run well even in very conservative districts. Jay is reluctant to draw any conclusions about special elections given how different they are from general elections, a point with which Mike largely agrees.

Finally, Mike & Jay talk about the FDA’s ban on most flavored e-cigarettes. Mike feels that it’s a smart move and he’d like to see even stronger measures, such as the ban on e-cigarettes recently passed by the state of Michigan. Jay recognizes the authority of the FDA to institute the ban, but feels that restricting the personal choice of adults is almost always a concern.

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