Departures Podcast with Zephyr Teachout

Zephyr Teachout is a renowned US law professor, activist, author, and columnist with an expertise in anti-corruption, but we couldn’t help but begin our conversation during this podcast to respond to the shocking events in Washington DC on the 6th of January 2021, when a mob of violent rioters forced their way into Congress. With four people dead, three bombs found, the nation may never be the same. So what happens next? What will the consequences be?

“There seems to be a desire to just rush ahead two weeks and to sort of treat this as if we can just sweep it under the rug,” Teachout says, but this would be a major mistake. “Trump, Hawley, and Cruz didn’t necessarily expect to win, but were playing to social media and really achieved a lot of what they desired because there was no real plan of maintaining control, but there was a plan of really inciting a deep distrust of the peaceful transfer of power. I think of this as a very significant assault on constitutional democracy.”

Teachout continues: “Even with just two weeks left, it is important that there be immediate consequences. And I wish that the House was moving forward with Articles of Impeachment, and then separately the House and Senate looking at removal of members who were actively undermining the peaceful transfer of power.”

Amsterdam and Teachout also discuss her brilliant new book, “Break ‘Em Up: Recovering Our Freedom from Big Ag, Big Tech, and Big Money,” which presents an impassioned critique of the various corporate monopolies which have taken over American life and distorted our economy and politics.

“The essence of the book is to say that we are facing a democratic threat,” she says. “They are threatening our media infrastructure, our legal infrastructure, and our political infrastructure by taking over political parties – and then also directly governing.”

The situation is not hopeless, however. Teachout argues that there are many tools available at our disposal to recover our freedom and protect democracy from corporate influence – and that begins with antitrust and anticorruption laws that address the power structures instead of just individual criminal liability.