First, some good news. Just days ago, the state Senate in Maine voted to implement Rank Choice Voting for the 2020 elections. And in Massachusetts, a similar effort has just cleared a major hurdle. But, how can we benefit from things like rank choice voting or a national popular vote system if people have to use electronic voting machines that are hackable, broken, and don’t have voter-verifiable ballot paper trails?
The federal government is not going to save us, for now. So, it’s time to turn to your state and local governments, and that starts with understanding how your state elections operate and who is in charge.
As of November 2018, 21 states had paper ballot voting. The other 29 are using either Direct Recording Electronic systems, aka: electronic voting machines, or using a combination of paper and electronic voting. Some require paper trails, and some don’t. As of today, the eight states with electronic voting that don’t require backup paper ballots are Texas, Mississippi, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Tennessee, Kentucky, and New Jersey. We’ve included the Ballotpedia page with all of this information and links to each state’s voting policies in the show notes.
Next, if you don’t already know, find out who the chief election official is in your state and how they got their job. Only 24 states have voter elected Secretaries of State as the ultimate authority over their elections. The rest have a board or commission, a governor appointed secretary of state, the lieutenant governor, or an official elected by the state legislature. As we saw with now Governor Brian Kemp in Georgia during the Midterms, the person or people in these positions have serious power. We’ve included a link in the show notes to help you easily find out how your state election officials are determined. Find out what they stand for and put pressure on them or fight to unseat them if they aren’t supporting voter-verifiable, hand-marked paper ballots.
And finally, because America has a highly decentralized election administration system, local cities, towns, counties, and municipalities have a fair amount of control over elections. They are the ones running the actual elections on the ground, dealing with election day problems first-hand, and they often handle awarding voting equipment contracts. Even though the state dictates overarching election policies, each town’s election can operate quite differently from another within the same state. Start going to your town and city council public meetings and make noise. Highlight the serious problems with unverifiable electronic voting machines and barcodes, and emphasize the critical importance of hand-marked paper ballots and voter-verifiable paper trails. It is much easier to change minds on this level.
To learn more about election integrity and the fight for hand-marked paper ballots, check out The Brennan Center for Justice, FairVote, Protect Our Vote dot com, the Coalition for Good Governance, Let America Vote, and Stand Up America.
And in a related side-note: National Voter Registration Day is September 24th, in case you need an excuse to get yourself or someone you know registered. Vote Riders is hosting registration drives across the country and they need volunteers, so head over to voteriders.org.
So, if ensuring election integrity in our country is important to you, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about Fighting at the State and Local Level for Hand-marked Paper Ballots in Elections via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.
Understand your state and local elections & take action:
2. Learn How Your State’s Election Administration Officials Are Put in Office & Fight to Unseat Those Not Actively Advocating for Hand-marked Paper Ballots
3. Attend Your Local Town/City/County Public Meetings and Advocate for Hand-marked, Voter-verifiable Paper Ballots.
4 . Learn From/Get Involved With:
EDUCATE YOURSELF & SHARE
Vote Flipping Claims Underline Urgent Need to Fix Voting Machines (The Brennan Center)
Georgia’s New Voting Machines Must Be Ready for 2020 Primary, Judge Says (The Wall Street Journal)
Voting Machine Security: Where We Stand Six Months Before the New Hampshire Primary (The Brennan Center)
Posted September 6, 2019; Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman
Hear the segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1303: Election Systems are Not to be Trusted, They are to be Verifiable
Colorado, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio and Utah lead the way on fighting gerrymandering in 2018 when voters passed reforms by overwhelming margins to make redistricting fair and transparent. This year, New Hampshire and Virginia passed reforms that are now in their final stages of becoming law. And, active efforts are underway in at least four more states to do what the Supreme Court won’t: end the destructive practice of partisan gerrymandering.
This is a rapidly growing movement gaining momentum just in time to ensure that the 2021 redistricting makes our democracy fair. You can help make sure it succeeds.
Each state has its own political levers to pull. Some require ballot initiatives, some need a constitutional amendment to pass the legislature, and others require navigating legal channels to make change.
Local chapters of the organization Common Cause are leading many of these efforts on the ground in states across the country. Find and join an effort that might already be underway where you live.
If your state isn’t on the list, check into how your state handles redistricting with the Brennan Center for Justice’s “50 State Guide to Redistricting.” If your state still has the incumbent state legislature drawing your districts, consider grabbing some friends and launching a campaign to change this.
Common Cause has put together a “Redistricting Activist Handbook” that includes tips and lessons learned from their many state campaigns and outlines varying alternatives to incumbent-controlled redistricting currently in effect in 15 states. These alternatives fall under four categories: Independent commissions, politician commissions, non-partisan state staff, and state constitutional standards.
And finally, for an overview on gerrymandering and what you can do, visit Indivisible's gerrymandering resource to get background on gerrymandering, details on how lines are drawn, and clarification on terminology around this issue. In addition to fighting for redistricting reform, Indivisible also encourages pushing your state to fund census count efforts. This is important in every state because Congressional Republicans are purposefully underfunding the census, which could lead to a massive undercount - especially of minority and other disenfranchised populations. Reallocating state budgets can help fill the census outreach funding gap.
So, if fair and transparent elections are important to you, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about Fighting Gerrymandering on the State Level via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.
See how your state does redistricting with Brennan Center's "50 State Guide to Redistricting"
Start your own local campaign with Common Cause's "Redistricting Activist Handbook"
Learn more with Indivisible's Gerrymandering Resource
EDUCATE YOURSELF & SHARE
How Did Citizen-Led Redistricting Initiatives Fare in the Mid-terms? (Pacific Standard Magazine)
The Supreme Court's Message: Win or Go Home (The Atlantic)
States spend big on make-or-break 2020 census (Roll Call)
Posted July 26, 2019; Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman
Hear the segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1292: A Republic, If We Can Keep It (Unrigging Gerrymandering)
I don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade, but Mitch McConnell has been extremely unpopular in his own state since the last time he won reelection in 2014. So, even though he currently has a 47 percent disapproval rating and a 38 percent approval rating in Kentucky, we shouldn’t give that too much weight when it comes to defeating him in 2020.
And this time, we have a new variable: Trump. Kentuckians give Trump a 53 percent approval rating, making Kentucky ninth on the list of states most approving of him. McConnell has hitched his wagon to Trump so closely in the past two years, you can hardly see where Trump begins and McConnell ends.
And McConnell’s campaign is acutely aware of that. His first campaign ad sprinkles Trump’s praise throughout, while touting how he blocked Merrick Garland’s nomination, got Gorsuch and Kavanaugh’s confirmations through, confirmed 26 hand-picked conservative federal circuit court judges, and falsely frames the tax bill as a win for the middle class and catalyst for good job reports and economic prosperity.
The man has been an effective tool of special interests and wealthy conservatives...at the expense of our democracy and political institutions. That’s the point of the ad: Don’t worry about how Mitch accomplished these things, what’s important is that he delivered.
That’s what we’re up against, and Kentucky political analysts warn that the Democratic base in Kentucky - those that supported FDR, Harry Truman and Alben Barkely - is dying off.
So, how do we beat McConnell? Well, here are the people and groups attempting to do it and their strategies:
THE PACs & ORGANIZATIONS
The PAC End Citizens United has leaned into McConnell’s fight to uphold political corruption, running an ad that shows McConnell’s lifelong resistance to campaign finance reform proposals and his vow to not to allow a vote on the most recent Democratic bill to overhaul campaign finance reform, voting access and ethics.
A new DC-based PAC called Ditch Mitch has raised over one million dollars very quickly and has already started running ads highlighting McConnell’s fight to destroy the ACA, pointing to data that says the cost of healthcare is an important issue for Kentucky voters.
Indivisible Kentucky has been waving the Ditch Mitch banner it since 2017, when they first ran a billboard campaign in the state with the message “You Make Us Sick” and “Kentucky Deserves Better” with the hashtag Ditch Mitch 2020. Those billboards have started popping up again and we can expect more from this group as we get closer to 2020.
In terms of actual opponents, it’s still early, but a few people have thrown their hat in the ring.
On the Democratic side, healthcare professional Steven Cox, is the only one who has officially declared his candidacy.
However, Senator Chuck Schumer has been trying to recruit Marine Corps Pilot Veteran Amy McGrath. Despite national coverage of her campaign during the midterms, McGrath lost her run for Representative in Kentucky’s 6th district by a slim margin. Some say her loss was partly due to her vow to not run attack ads against her opponent and that she couldn’t win against McConnell with that approach. *UPDATE*: Former fighter pilot Amy McGrath announces bid to take on Mitch McConnell in 2020
Matt Jones, a local sports radio and political talk show celebrity in Kentucky, thinks he is the one that can beat McConnell. Despite his sports background, Jones graduated from Duke Law School and is known as an outspoken champion of worker’s rights with pro-gay marriage, pro-choice, and pro marijuana legalization views. And, he has name recognition.
Mitch will be primaried by C. Wesley Morgan, a former 1 term state Rep and liquor store owner. He says McConnell is a “self-serving senator” who has only moved to the far right because Trump is so popular in Kentucky.
'MONEY' IS THE NAME OF THE GAME
But doing the bidding of special interest groups and lobbyists has put a lot of money in McConnell’s coffers. According to federal campaign records, he’s got millions more cash on hand than he had this time last cycle, and that doesn’t even count millions raised by other groups and super PACs supporting him.
In 2014, McConnell was able to rake in $31 million to defeat Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes, who raised $19 million. This election is going to depend on deep pockets and McConnell has spent his whole life making sure it stays this way.
So, if supporting those trying to defeat McConnell in 2020 is important to you, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about Support the Fight to Oust McConnell in 2020 via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.
Support End Citizens United
Support Indivisible Kentucky
Support the Ditch Mitch Fund
Support Steven Cox
Support Amy McGrath (if she announces)
Support Matt Jones (if he announces)
Posted July 5, 2019; Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman
Hear the segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1287: Mitch McConnell is the Forking Worst
November is coming… and there has been a lot of talk about a so-called “blue wave” that I’m sure we’re already taking for granted. But we must keep reminding ourselves that the wave will not happen because we simply feel like it will. It’s going to take work. It’s going to take our free time and weekends. It’s going to take our limited patience and energy. And it is absolutely THE most important thing we will do in the Trump era.
With a deluge of voter suppression laws in recent years, voting isn’t easy. It requires research and, depending on your situation, may require time sensitive actions ahead of election day. So here are your steps and resources for becoming a blue-wave-builder as we head into the midterm elections…
1) Double, triple, maybe even quadruple, check that you are registered and on the voter rolls. Sadly, this is not just an action for people who have recently moved, this is for everyone. During the primaries there were multiple reports of long time residents heading to the polls only to find that they were not on the rolls. Those voters had to fill out provisional ballots. With the Supreme Court upholding Ohio’s purge of voter rolls if voters had skipped a few elections, every single one of us needs to be on guard when it comes to our voter registration status. Go to RocktheVote.org and under the “Resources” tab select “Voter Registration Lookup Tool.” Enter your information to confirm or check your voter registration for your current address. The results are almost instant. It’d be wise to check multiple times leading up to November 6th.
2) Make sure you, and everyone you know, understands your state’s voter ID laws inside and out…and make time to make changes. Did your name change recently? If you live in a state with a voter ID law, you may need to get a new ID to ensure your name matches your voter registration. VoteRiders.org focuses entirely on helping people understand voter ID laws in their states and get what they need to vote. You can check out their voter ID info cards for each state on their website and/or call their hotline for help at 844-338-8743.
3) Know your state’s cutoff date for voter registration and absentee ballot dates and rules. When it comes to registering, every state is different. Some let you register to vote the day before election day and other’s have registration cut offs months in advance. Some states’s require certain excuses to request an absentee ballot. Learn these rules for your state and be an evangelist for voting knowledge. Go to RocktheVote.org and under the “Get Ready to Vote” dropdown select “State Information.” There you will be able to easily find your state’s election dates and deadlines and other state-specific info.
4) Help other people with steps 1, 2 and 3. Whether it’s an elderly family member or neighbor, or just a super busy parent you know, help educate people in your community on your state’s laws and encourage them to not only register, but confirm their voter registration and prepare for voter ID laws. Drive them to the town hall or the DMV if they need a ride, or offer to watch the kids while they go. Support each other in the name of democracy. And don’t forget to share the info social media too.
5) And finally, join a get out the vote effort. There is so much on the line in this election and the results will impact the country for decades to come, especially the most vulnerable among us. We need people on the ground canvassing and registering voters EARLY. Find a local chapter of a Get Out the Vote effort like Rock The Vote and NextGen America, or GOTV arms of organizations like the ACLU (& check local chapters), the NAACP, NARAL, League of Women Voters, and Let America Vote.
Together, we have the power to build a blue tsunami in November.
So, if making sure the blue wave becomes a reality is important to you, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about Build the Blue Wave: Confirm Voter Registration & Get Out the Vote for Midterms 2018 via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.
5 Steps & Resources to Build the “Blue Wave” for Midterms 2018:
1. CONFIRM VOTER REGISTRATION: rockthevote.org “Voter Registration Lookup Tool”
2. LEARN/SHARE VOTER ID LAWS: VoteRiders.org State Voter ID Law Info Cards
3. LEARN/SHARE CUTOFF DATES/DEADLINES: rockthevote.org State Information
4. HELP OTHERS register, check registration, learn dates. Share information in person and on social media!
5. JOIN A LOCAL REGISTRATION/GET OUT THE VOTE EFFORT:
Posted June 29, 2018; Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman
Hear the segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1193: Fighting for a representative democracy (Voting Rights and Gerrymandering)
We’ve all spent much of the last few years lamenting the increasing polarization of our country, so it’s easy to forget that there is still one thing that most Americans agree on: getting corporate money OUT of politics. In poll after poll, the vast majority of democrats, independents and republicans, oppose the Citizens United decision and see special interest lobbying and election spending as negatively impacting our politics.
And that is what makes our current reality all the more troubling.
We had the largest mass shooting in US history this year, but Congress is trying to pass NRA- approved gun legislation. We’ve seen devastating damage from some of the strongest hurricanes in history this year, but Trump and Republicans have rolled back environmental protections at fossil fuel industry’s request. We’ve barely recovered form the Great Recession of 2008 and yet our government continues to let the banks run wild and deregulate Wall St. It’s all so wildly out of touch with how Americans feel that we’re actually seeing Republicans just flat out admitting that they’re doing their donors bidding. As they failed to defend their scam of a tax bill, Representative Chris Collins said, on television, “My donors are basically saying, ‘Get it done or don’t ever call me again.’”
If there was a ever a time to join forces and come together, it’s now. There are many groups fighting money in politics, but each of them have a slightly different approach. Here are a few we suggest…
First up, Wolf PAC, founded by The Young Turks, is going state by state to call for a Constitutional Convention. They believe that a new Constitutional amendment is the only way to stop money in politics and level the playing field. You can join up with a chapter in your state and learn more at wolf-pac.com.
Next, we have All of Us, which launched We Will Replace You dot org to target corporate democrats, has recently announced that they’ve merged with Justice Democrats. Justice Democrats, as you may recall, is backing progressive candidates that refuse to take corporate or PAC money. Head over to allofus.org or justicedemocrats.org to get involved.
And finally, Represent.Us is fighting money in politics by putting municipal anti-corruption laws on the ballot at the local and state level. They’ve already succeeded in dozens of cities and states and are currently defending the legislation that passed in South Dakota and is now under attack. Head over to Represent.us to learn more and join the fight.
And, if you’re really hardcore, Represent.Us is hosting the Unrig the System Summit in early February in New Orleans. This 3 day event at Tulane University aims to bring together “the brightest minds from the right and left” to get money out of politics. The lineup of speakers includes MayDay PAC founder Lawrence Lessig, Cenk Uyger of The Young Turks, former White House Ethics Counsel for George W. Bush, Richard Painter, Nina Turner of Our Revolution, and Represent dot Us Board members Jennifer Lawrence and Kerry Washington. You can learn more about the summit and register at unrigsummit.com.
So, if making sure we have free and fair elections and an actual democracy is important to you, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about Getting Money Out of Politics via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.
Get money OUT of politics by getting involved with...
8 Things You Can Do to Help Get Money Out of Politics (Bill Moyers & Co; 2014)
4 Solutions to Fight the Corruptive Influence of Money in Politics (League of Women Voters; 2015)
Posted December 15, 2017; Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman
Hear the segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1152: Rise of the oligarchy (Money in Politics)
After the presidential election, the Democratic National Committee chose to do a “Unity Reform Commission,” but not a public autopsy on the party. To correct that glaring oversight, an organization called “Autopsy: The Democratic Party in Crisis” formed to conduct an analysis and suggest a new path forward. While this group does not attempt or claim that their report is comprehensive, they focus on some of the party’s most crucial flaws, fissures and opportunities.
“Operating from a place of defensiveness and denial will not turn the party around. Neither will status quo methodology. When discussing the loss of the presidency, we deny ourselves a deeper assessment if the conversation is limited to Clinton and Sanders, what their campaigns and supporters did and didn’t do, and what should have been done. In fairness to Clinton, much of the party’s weakness was in place well before her 2016 run. What must now take place includes honest self-reflection and confronting a hard truth: that many view the party as often in service to a rapacious oligarchy and increasingly out of touch with people in its own base.
Revitalized progressive populism — multicultural, multiracial and multigenerational — means fighting for genuine democracy. Outmoded narratives and facile calls for “unity” must be replaced with a new vision of politics that is explicitly inclusive and participatory. The party must learn how to speak a populist tongue that is in sync with real advocacy for a clear agenda, putting public needs above corporate profits. An imperative is to find common political denominators that are inspirational and practical, cutting across demographic lines while building foundations for social advancement and a humane future.”
So, what can you do to ensure this advice is taken seriously and turns into actionable steps within the Democratic Party? Well, you have to get involved and fight for it. That can mean many things, but here are three ways you can jump in and start pushing for reform:
Many of you have heard about Justice Democrats, the response to the weakness and corporatization of the Democratic Party. Candidates endorsed and supported by Justice Democrats believe in progressive Democratic ideals and policies, but refuse to take corporate donations. They are primary-ing the most corporate Democrats in the country no matter how long they have served in office, such as Diane Feinstein of California. If you believe in this method, head over to JusticeDemocrats.org, read their platform, check out their candidates and start volunteering for or donating to their campaigns. Or, you could become a Justice Democrat candidate yourself.
If you’re looking to push the party left by electing more Democratic Socialists, a la Bernie Sanders, then you may want to get involved with the Democratic Socialists of America, or DSA. DSA candidates had some big wins in local elections around the country in November and you can help build on that momentum by donating or volunteering to support DSA candidates at DSAUSA.org. Or, once again, you could become a DSA candidate yourself.
And finally, remember that the Democratic Party is made up of the people that show up. So, if you want the Democratic Party to change, then you are going to want to find your local DNC Chapter and show up. Be ready to face resistance when you’re inside telling them what they are doing wrong, but more progressives getting involved in the DNC on the local level is never a bad thing. The website for the Association of State Democratic Chairs is a good place to start. Head over to ASDC.democrats.org to find your state party and drill down to find your local chapter. And, of course, you could always become a candidate yourself.
At the end of the day, this is an all of the above strategy and change can only be made through pressure from both outside and within. So get behind the method you feel most strongly about and together we might be able to make the Democratic Party the party of the people again.
So, if making Democrats wake up to their failures and pushing them to change course is important to you, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about Transforming the Democratic Party via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.
Read the report: Autopsy: The Democratic Party in Crisis
Get involved with Justice Democrats (or become a candidate!)
Get involved with Democratic Socialists of America (or become a candidate!)
Get involved in your local Democratic National Committee chapter (or become a candidate!)
Posted November 28, 2017; Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman
Hear the segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1148: Understanding the past to rebuild for the future (Democratic Party)
There is vast consensus that Trump’s commission on voter fraud is a fraud all its own, created entirely out of Trump’s inferiority complex after soundly losing the popular vote, and to add a whole new federal level to voter suppression tactics.
Seven federal lawsuits have been filed against the commission by the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the ACLU and Public Citizen, and others. These lawsuits allege lack of transparency, Privacy Act violations, and racial discrimination by the commission and its efforts. And though some states are partially complying with the commission’s request for voter information by giving the public record data only, many states say that they will not comply at all.
If it can get it’s hands on the voter data, the commission has said it wants to run it through the now notorious Interstate Crosscheck System. If you’ve never heard of it, this system was led by commission chairman Kris Kobach in home state of Kansas and has been adopted by other voter-fraud fearing states. The system compares state databases and finds duplicate voters based on first name, last name and birthdate and suggests states then scrub those duplicates from the rolls. But in a country of 139 million voters, there are bound to be people with the same names and birthdays and three states have already abandoned using Crosscheck due to “accuracy issues.” That’s putting it lightly. A statistical analysis of the program conducted by Stanford, Harvard, University of Pennsylvania and Microsoft found the system eliminates about 200 legitimate voters for every one that cast a double vote. In other words, it’s wrong 99 percent of the time.
Despite all this, the voter fraud commission is already succeeding in suppressing the vote. When Colorado said it would mostly comply with the commission’s data request, more than 5,300 people de-registered.
So, here is four step plan to get your state to resist Trump’s sham commission...
First, find out if your state is complying and if so, to what extent. Don’t assume that because you live in a blue state that your state is not still planning to hand over their public voter rolls.
Second, find your local voting rights organization. Beyond the federal lawsuits, this battle is being fought on the state level which is why we don’t have just one place to send you for this action. Start getting involved and volunteering with local chapters of organizations like Let America Vote, League of Women Voters, Voto Latino, Democracy Awakening/Democracy Spring, and more.
Third, find out how to contact your state board of elections then call and write to them to tell them you do not want your state to comply with a sham commission created to excuse and promote voter suppression. We have included the link to a solid, adaptable call script from an Illinois local action group called Action for a Better Tomorrow in the show notes. Also, if the board of elections has a social media page, start commenting and share it with your networks to engage your community.
And finally, contact your governor via every available channel and tell them exactly how you feel. Tell them your vote depends on how they protect voters in the face of the Trump administration’s lying and bullying.
By the way, Kris Kobach is running for governor of Kansas in 2018. Throwing a few bucks at his opponent when the time comes would be a nice favor to the people of Kansas.
So, if defending democracy and fighting voter suppression is important to you, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about these Four Actions to Fight Trump’s Sham Voter Fraud Commission in Your State via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.
The goal of this request is same as the first: have less people voting. We can't let any election official comply with this sham commission. https://t.co/3r5DTZfk6q— Democracy Awakening (@DemAwakening) July 27, 2017
1. Find out if your state is complying with Trump’s Voter Commission and to what extent (Brennan Center has compiled state responses here)
4. Contact your state’s governor. Quickly find them with this database.
Trump's "Voter Fraud" Commission (Brennan Center for Justice)
The Bogus Voter-Fraud Commission (New York Times)
Trump’s voter commission is now facing at least 7 federal lawsuits (Washington Post)
Posted August 4, 2017; Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman
Hear the segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1124: Searching for a problem to implement a terrible solution (Voting Rights)
As our country marks its 241st birthday, this year of all years is especially ripe for reflection. Where we’ve been heading and where we are right now - politically and socially - is disturbing to say the least, but we can still change course. If nothing else, as Americans we can be proud of our track record of change and progress. It may be made with two steps forward and one step back, but eventually we get there.
But we don’t get there because of famous politicians and speeches. We get there because people like you care enough to get involved and push us in the right direction. So, today we’re highlighting three effective ways you can roll up your sleeves and fight corruption and money in politics - the primary sources of our ills as a nation.
If you’re passionate about pushing for change from the inside, get involved with Justice Democrats. Justice Democrats believes that the Democratic Party’s alignment with Wall Street over working men and women has allowed Republicans to take over most state legislatures, most governorships, Congress, and the presidency. Their plan is to promote quality, progressive candidates to replace corporate-backed Democrats and in turn, rebuild the Democratic Party from scratch to be a party that fights for a clear progressive vision. Visit JusticeDemocrats.com to read about the candidates and get involved.
if you want to work locally on an issue campaign to fight corruption nationally, get involved with Represent Us. In communities across America, Represent.Us members – including conservatives, progressives and everyone in between – are working together to pass local Anti-Corruption Acts. In 2016, Represent.Us members passed the first statewide Anti-Corruption Act in South Dakota (state Republicans repealed it earlier this year). But this isn’t one size fits all: every municipal and state Anti-Corruption Act creates their own common-sense ethics, conflict-of-interest, transparency, and campaign finance laws. State Acts create the opportunity for federal candidates from that state to campaign on the anti-corruption platform – accountable to their constituents, not special interests. Head over to Represent.Us today to find your local chapter and get involved.
And finally, if you’re passionate about bypassing Congress and using the states to make change, get involved with The Young Turks’ organization Wolf PAC, which you’ve been hearing about on this show for years. Their plan to save democracy in the United States is by getting a much needed amendment to the Constitution that will establish elections which are free of the corrupting influence of money in our political system and fair enough that any citizen can run for office - not just millionaires and their allies. Go to Wolf-PAC.com to find out how you can get involved in your state and help bring us one step closer to passing the Free and Fair Elections amendment.
All three of these movements are worth your time and are working in concert with each other, not at odds with one another. So pick the one that fits your style and passion and get involved.
The turn of the century activist, social worker, and Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Jane Addams, once said...
“Unless our conception of patriotism is progressive, it cannot hope to embody the real affection and the real interest of the nation.”
Now that’s a brand of patriotism we can get down with.
So, if fighting the forces that continue to leach power from the people is important to you, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about Fighting Corruption to Save America via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.
Replace corporate-backed Democrats with Justice Democrats
Help pass local Anti-Corruption legislation with Represent.Us
Help pass the Free and Fair Elections Constitutional amendment with Wolf-PAC
The Logical Path to End Corruption (Wolf-PAC)
Pro-Trump super PACs have already spent $1 million on Election 2020 (The Center for Public Integrity)
Posted July 4, 2017; Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman
Hear this segment in the context of Best of the Left #1117: We were founded to resist corruption, now it’s all we know
There was some good news for voting rights in North Carolina this week, thanks to the Supreme Court. But the existential crisis still continues.
It’s no coincidence that by election day last fall the Voting Rights Act had been gutted, there were new voting restrictions in fourteen states, and states with histories of voter discrimination had 868 fewer polling places. This is the result of a strategic Republican assault on voting rights…and it’s Trump’s and the Republicans’ long game for winning in 2018, 2020 and beyond.
Now, Trump - who six months after the election is still taking any chance he gets to bring up that he won the Electoral College - has launched his promised voter fraud commission. In true Trump style, this charade is lead by people formerly accused of voter suppression. The ACLU immediately responded with Freedom of Information Act requests to officials in four states and the U.S. Election Assistance Commission.
For years now, the right and their Fox News megaphone have been able to sow enough fear and doubt, using false voter fraud - without any evidence to back them up - that Republican voters now see things like voter ID laws as necessary protections to democracy. It’s unclear if we can bring them back to reality. But for those ready to take on the politicians, including Trump, who are propagating these lies and suppressing votes, there is a new organization you should know about.
Let America Vote was founded by former Missouri Secretary of State, and recent congressional candidate, Jason Kander. The organization aims to answer a simple question: what if politicians were actually held publicly accountable for supporting voter suppression?
Through online and grassroots organizing, an aggressive earned media strategy, and advertising, Let America Vote wants to play a crucial role among the existing network of organizations fighting for voting rights. They have already launched digital ads during New Hampshire’s special elections and called out Karen Handel, the Republican running in Georgia’s 6th district, for an almost laughable anti-voter rights email sent to her supporters.
Head over to LetAmericaVote.org to get involved by signing up for updates, volunteering to knock on doors, call or email legislators, write letters to the editor, host a voting rights house party, and more. While you’re there, check out the interactive map of the U.S. that highlights each state’s current and pending voter suppression laws and tactics. You can also follow the organization on Twitter @Let_AmericaVote.
So, if protecting voting rights for all Americans is important to you, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about Calling Out Voter Suppression with Let America Vote via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.
Get involved with Let America Vote to fight voter suppression
There’s a reason Trump keeps lying about voter fraud (Washington Post, Opinion)
Posted May 19, 2017; Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman
Hear this segment in the context of Best of the Left #1106: If you can't beat them, suppress them
#SaveOurSchools: Stop Legislation that Kills Public Education & Hurts Poor Children via @Network4PubEd
If you haven’t heard about bill HR-610, which includes the “Choices and Education Act of 2017” and the sick and ironically named “No Hungry Kids Act,” you need to get it on your radar. This bill, introduced by Representative Steve King from Iowa, would not only defund our public education system as we know it, but literally remove any and all nutritional requirements for food provided to poor children, all in the name of “school choice.”
Luckily, while in committee, the bill stalled. So why are we talking about it? Because this is the first draft. An inside look, if you will, at what the Republicans want to do to public education. King’s bill is Betsy DeVos’ dream, and rest assured that this bill, wrapped in sheep’s clothing and a new name, will be what comes to the House floor for a vote in the near future.
HR-610 basically reduces the role of the Department of Education down to a block grant distributer by repealing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, and establishes an education voucher program. States are only qualified to receive the federal education block grants if they comply with the education voucher program requirements and make it lawful for parents to choose to send their child to any public or private school in the state, or to home-school. This cripples the entity in charge of setting and enforcing national education standards, including anti-discrimination and programs to help children with learning disabilities. It also sends your tax dollars away from public schools and into the coffers of private, religious and charter schools which aren’t held to the same standards as public schools. In short, this is the privatization of education.
The second part of this bill has the audacity to repeal nutrition standards for the national school lunch and breakfast programs. Apparently, Republicans feel we can’t be wasting money on making sure poor children eat food that might help them stay healthy, become strong and able to focus better in the classroom.
We can get ahead of bills like this by speaking up now and drawing attention to the damage this kind of legislation will do. That’s why your action today is to call Congress and tell them you oppose voucher programs, depletion of nutrition standards for recipients of free and reduced lunch programs, and any bill remotely similar to HR 610.
Get involved on the national and local level by joining up with the Network for Public Education, lead by Diane Ravitch. Head over to NetworkforPublicEducation.org to sign up for their newsletter and be sure to follow them on Facebook, and on Twitter @Network4PubEd. You can also use the #SaveOurSchools to join the education conversation online.
So, if saving public education is important to you, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about Stopping Legislation that Kills Public Education & Hurts Poor Children via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.
It may take a village to raise a child, but it’ll take The Resistance to protect their education.
Join the conversations about school vouchers online with #SaveOurSchools
Call Members of Congress: Countable.us Education Bills ; Members of the Education and the Workforce Committee
Read the Summary of HR 610 (Congress.gov)
Do Private-School Vouchers Promote Segregation? (The Atlantic)
Jeff Bryan: The Big Lie Behind Trump’s Budget Proposals for Education (DianaRavitch.com)
Tensions rise as vouchers pick up traction across Wisconsin (Journal Sentinel - Milwaukee, Wisconsin)
Subtracting Schools from Communities (Urban.org)
Iowa ACLU Rails Against School Vouchers, Warns of New Legislation (North Iowa Today)
Posted March 29, 2017; Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman.