Edition #1074, "The corruption of Donald Trump," focuses on executive and federal level corruption - and the lawyers are already hard at work filing lawsuits as we speak. But as you’ve probably been hearing: more than ever, our activism efforts need to shift to the state level in order to make progress.
Represent.US is doing just that. This organization is bringing together conservatives, progressives, and everyone in between, to pass powerful anti-corruption laws that stop political bribery, end secret money, and fix our broken elections. To accomplish this goal, they are going around Congress to put powerful reforms on the ballot, where the people can vote for them directly.
And they have been making progress.
In November 2014, a bipartisan coalition of Represent.Us members in Tallahassee, Florida, put America’s first municipal Anti-Corruption Act on the ballot – and they won. Since then, voters have passed initiatives for sweeping anti-corruption reforms in more than a dozen cities and states across America. In 2016, for the first time ever, comprehensive statewide anti-corruption legislation passed in South Dakota. Unfortunately, politicians in South Dakota are now declaring a fake state of emergency in an effort to ram through a Koch brothers-backed bill that would gut America’s first Anti-Corruption Act.
Anyone can help fight this battle in South Dakota by spreading the word about the ulterior motives of South Dakota politicians, but you can also fight corruption locally by joining a Represent.US chapter near you or starting one yourself. Go to Represent.US today to get involved and bolster their efforts.
So, if fighting corruption at every level of government is important to you, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about Joining or Starting a Represent.US chapter near you via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.
As the American writer John Steinbeck once said...
“Power does not corrupt. Fear corrupts…perhaps the fear of a loss of power.”
Let’s make sure their fears are warranted.
OUTRAGEOUS: Politicians in SD are using "emergency powers" to ram through a Koch-backed plot to gut America's first Anti-Corruption Act. pic.twitter.com/wGkD40NykE— Represent.Us (@RepresentDotUs) January 23, 2017
Join or start a Represent.US chapter near you to fight corruption locally
South Dakota Declares State of Emergency (via All In with Chris Hayes)
Your Day-One Guide to Donald Trump's Conflicts of Interest (via Mother Jones)
The Wall Street Washington Complex Invades Trump's Cabinet (via Mother Jones)
The many scandals of Donald Trump (via The Atlantic)
Trump Could be the Most Corruptible President Ever (via Politico Magazine)
Donald Trump's Business Dealings Test a Constitutional Limit (via The New York Times)
A Close Look at Donald Trump's Cabinet (via Marie Claire)
Posted January 24, 2017; Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman.
Hear the clip in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1074: The corruption of Donald Trump
Tell the Electoral College to #StopTrump & Vote with the People via @DemSpring and directelection.org
We are not here to give you false hope. It is, by all accounts, very unlikely that enough electoral college electors will change their vote and keep Trump from becoming our next president. However, just because something is unlikely or unprecedented doesn’t mean it can’t happen….Just look at the results of our election.
Regardless of the outcome, what we do between now and inauguration day matters. We need to show Trump, his cronies, the Republicans backing him, the mainstream media and the rest of the dumbfounded world that the majority of this country rejects Trump and everything he stands for. We need to show them that he does not have a mandate. How do we do that? We get in the streets and let our voices be heard.
So in the early morning of Monday, December 19th - the day the electoral college will cast their votes and truly end this election - make sure you’re at your state capitol building to join Democracy Spring and millions of your fellow Americans. Democracy Spring, of get-money-out-of-politics fame, is organizing rallies at the state capitol buildings in all 50 states on the 19th to call on the electors to vote their conscience and protect our democracy. Tell everyone you know and bring everyone you know. The size of these crowds matters. Head over to savedemocracy.org to get the details on the Democracy Spring December 19th action at a state capitol building near you and RSVP today.
But wait, there’s more…
There’s not much time left, but before December 19th you can actually write directly to the electors themselves. Directelection.org is a website put together by a guy from New York who, like millions of others, is terrified of a Trump presidency. The website gives you all of the tools you need to send polite, persuasive, actual mail to 273 Trump-pledged electors - or as many as you can afford the postage for.
This well organized site has everything you need to make this a simple process. It has ready-to-print, customizable mail-merge documents in Microsoft Word and a set of ready-to-print Avery Standard fifty-one sixty labels for envelopes. All you have to do is download, add your name and address, and customize the letters further if you want. Then just print, sign, put them in envelopes, address the envelopes, apply stamps, and mail.
The standard letter is respectful, but clearly points out the duty of the Electoral College - yes, it quotes Hamilton - and why Trump is unfit for office and will likely be impeached. Materials and cost of postage are on you - and you will probably need to pay extra for rush service to make sure the letters get there in time - but everything else is at your fingertips for free.
So if doing everything you can to protect democracy and reject a Trump presidency is important to you, then be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about telling the Electoral College to #StopTrump and vote with the people via social media so that others in your network can take action too.
Stand up. Fight back. There is absolutely no time to lose.
RSVP for the Democracy Spring December 19th rally at a state capitol building near you at savedemocracy.org
ASAP ONLY! Download everything you need to print and mail letters to the 273 Electoral College members pledged to vote for Trump at directelection.org
EDUCATE YOURSELFThe People Who Pick the President (Politico)Electoral College: Make Hillary Clinton President (Change.org)Posted December 13, 2016, written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman.Hear this segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1064: Desperate times, desperate measures
To be clear, this election IS rigged - but only because eligible voters are being denied their right to vote.
Millions are already voting and it’s not going well. They are being taken off the rolls in North Carolina because their address changed. Across the country they are being barred from voting because their presented gender doesn’t match their ID card. In Wisconsin, they have limited access to polling places because Republican officials have determined that having more voting locations helps Democrats. In Ohio, their ballots are being thrown out if a voter makes a single clerical error. Voter registration drives are being raided by police in Indiana….and this is also the first election in 50 years without the full protection of the Voting Rights Act.
So, that’s the lay of the land - and it’s not even election day yet.
Voter suppression is how democracy ends. If you have been denied your right to vote, report it immediately and get help by calling Election Protection at 866-OUR-VOTE. If you have questions about the voter ID laws in your state, call the VoteRider’s national voter ID hotline at 844-338-8743.
The best way to counter voter suppression this close to the election is to volunteer to help get out the vote. NextGen Climate is currently running a $25 million get out the vote campaign with a heavy focus on turning out young Americans concerned about climate change, reproductive rights, criminal justice reform and other major issues that will impact their future. They are driving college students to the polls, enlisting volunteers to call voters in swing states from the comfort of their own homes, providing Get Out the Vote strategy calls for all volunteers and producing videos with celebrities to appeal to undecideds and those thinking about staying home. Full disclosure, this organization does favor Hillary Clinton - but their primary goal is getting voters to the polls, period.
Sign up to be a volunteer to help get out the vote at nextgenclimate.org/volunteer.
Today and after November 8th, we encourage you to make fighting voter suppression and restoring the Voting Rights Act part of your theory of change by getting involved in the long term with organizations like The Brennan Center for Justice, Democracy Awakening, Democracy Spring, Voto Latino, Advancement Project, NAACP and other organizations fighting to make democracy work for everyone.
So if having a real democracy that works is important to you, then be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about the Getting Out the Vote & Reporting Voter Suppression via social media so that others in your network can take action too.
Volunteer to help get out the vote with NextGen Climate
Report voter suppression by calling Election Protection at 866-OUR-VOTE
Ask questions about voter ID laws by calling VoteRider’s national voter ID hotline at 844-338-8743.
This Election Is Being Rigged—but Not by Democrats (The Nation)
Possible Election Day problems worry civil rights advocates (PBS Newshour)
This Is What Actual Voter Suppression Looks Like, And It’s Appalling (Huffington Post)
Posted October 28, 2016. Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman.
Hear the segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1053: "The real way elections get rigged"
It’s hard to believe the election is only month away. It seems like only five or six years ago that we started talking about it when, in fact, it’s been much longer than that. But this election is unprecedented in more ways than the rise of the GOP’s pure id running as their candidate.
This year, 17 states have either cut back on early voting, cut day-of registration, passed voter ID laws and/or found other ways to suppress the votes of the disenfranchised, students, the elderly, immigrants and more. Like in Wisconsin, where the state is violating multiple court orders by not providing eligible citizens with free IDs or certificates for voting, and in Indiana where it is now lawful for party-nominated officers to demand further proof of identification from voters.
So it’s going to be a jungle out there no matter what, but what you can do is be prepared and make sure everyone you know is prepared to vote. Head over to the very famous and now venerable RocktheVote.com. There you can register to vote or confirm that you are registered - this is especially important if you’ve recently moved - and spend some time getting to know the current voter ID laws in your state. Rock the Vote has actually partnered VoteRiders, the organization we just heard about, to provide accurate and detailed information about each state’s current voter ID laws. Or, you can go directly to VoteRiders.org.
And remember, if you run into any problems while registering or voting in your state, call Election Protection at 866-OUR-VOTE - that’s 866-687-8683 - or go to 866ourvote.org to report the incident.
When it comes to voter suppression, we cannot afford to be complacent in the off-season. So make voting accessibility and restoring our democracy part of your theory of change by getting involved in the long term with organizations like VoteRiders, Democracy Awakening, the ACLU, the Brennan Center for Justice, Project Vote, the Legal Defense Fund and other organizations fighting to restore the Voting Rights Act and make sure everyone has a voice at the ballot.
So if making sure everyone can cast their ballot this November is important to you, then be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about registering and preparing to vote in your state via social media so that others in your network can take action too.
Register to vote at https://www.rockthevote.com
Check your registration status with Rock the Vote's "Am I Registered?" tool
Electionary - A Guide to Election Laws
“Rigged” - The Documentary (via Fusion TV)
Judge Blocks Election Day Registration at Illinois Polling Places (via The Chicago Tribune)
This November, Know Your Voting Rights (via ACLU)
Posted October 4, 2016, written by Best of the Left Communication Director, Amanda Hoffman.
Hear this segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1047: How the parties have broken our democracy
Last weekend, on August 6, 2016, we marked the 51st anniversary of the Voting Rights Act. It came, almost poetically, after six federal appeals courts struck down voter suppression laws in North Carolina, Wisconsin, Kansas, Texas, Michigan and North Dakota. These were huge victories, but the fight is far from over. Just look at Missouri, where Republicans are actually trying to amend the state constitution to solidify voter suppression laws.
As we heard in Edition #1034, the 2016 presidential primary elections were a mess. We need to restore the Voting Rights Act, and perhaps even modernize it with the Voting Rights Advancement Act. But Congress has been silent.
That is why this week, NAACP National President and CEO Cornell William Brooks, and Stephen Green, national director for the NAACP Youth and College Division, lead a six hour, non-violent, sit-in with 20 activists at Congressman Bob Goodlatte’s office in Virginia which ended in arrests for trespassing. Brooks was calling on Goodlatte - who is the chair of the House Judiciary Committee - to hold hearings on voting rights legislation to combat what he called the new “multiracial, Jim Crow 2.0 voter suppression that affects young people." Goodlatte had said that he would support strengthening the VRA if current discrimination could be shown. Apparently six federal courts pointing it out in six states wasn’t enough.
In a NAACP release, Brooks said:
“With the fate of our national moral character at stake, we must hold our elected leaders responsible to act to uphold the constitutional rights guaranteed for all citizens to vote and participate in our democracy.”
You can stand with the NAACP and Cornell Brooks and demand the Voting Rights Act hearings take place by calling Congressman Goodlatte and telling him yourself. The number to reach Goodlatte’s Roanoke office is (540) 857-2672 or you can call the DC office at (202) 225-5431. One more time - Goodlatte’s Roanoke office number is (540) 857-2672 and the DC office number is (202) 225-5431. You can also tweet at Goodlatte on Twitter @RepGoodlatte with the hashtag #RestoretheVRA.
If making sure every American can take part in our democracy is important to you, then be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about Demanding Representative Goodlatte Hold VRA Hearings via social media so that others in your network can get involved too.
We’d like to remind everyone that we’re about to have the first presidential election in 50 years without the full Voting Rights Act - and we’ve already seen a preview of what’s to come. So make fighting voter disenfranchisement part of your theory of change. Start getting involved by downloading the NAACP’s Civic Engagement toolkits at NAACP.org and help them register 300,000 voters this summer. Or get involved with other organizations fighting for voting rights like Democracy Awakening, the Brennan Center for Justice, the ACLU, Rock the Vote and FairVote.org. No matter who wins in November, as progressives we always need to be prepared to fight. Start training for the battle now and become a warrior for democracy.
Thinking abt multiracial, multiethnic, multigenerational voter suppression, means we can't do business as usual. pic.twitter.com/SnTk2gOfaT— (((Cornell Brooks))) (@CornellWBrooks) August 9, 2016
Call Rep Goodlatte - Roanoke, VA office: (540) 857-2672; DC office: (202) 225-5431
Tweet at Rep Goodlatte - @RepGoodlatte
Email Rep Goodlatte at firstname.lastname@example.org
Here's What's Happening in the Battle for Voting Rights (Mother Jones)
Voting Rights and Elections (The Brennan Center for Justice)
Republicans Used to Unanimously Back the Voting Rights Act. Not Anymore. (Washington Post)
Written by BOTL Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman.
Hear this segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1034: "Fighting for your right"
It turns out FDR was wrong when he said “nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except themselves.” This year, 16 states will have new voting restrictions in place for the first time in a presidential election that disproportionately impact seniors, people of color, young people, and low-income individuals.
16 million registered voters in the US don’t have the current government-issued ID needed to vote. In Texas alone, more than 600,000 registered voters won’t be able to cast a ballot. In just a few years, we’ve cut more than 5% of the US population out of our democratic process, and the vast impact of these new voter suppression laws are probably why 69% of Americans are actually against voter ID laws.
We’re even making things difficult for those who actually can vote. Our antiquated election system causes long, discouraging wait times, and 43 states have voting machines more than a decade old - practically relics in the tech years.
To remedy our broken democracy, the Brennan Center for Justice outlines 8 detailed actions to fix our system, including overturning Citizens United, establishing small donor public financing, ending partisan gerrymandering and restoring the right to vote for those with past criminal convictions. We know you’re already working on those things, so here is today’s activism focus:
- Restore the Voting Rights Act by telling your legislators to pass the Rights Amendment Act and the Voting Rights Advancement Act, both currently in front of them, to stop voter suppression laws and redistricting.
- Tell your legislators that you demand a modern election system.
A modernized election system would include allowing automatic and secure voter registration for every eligible voter when they interact with state government agencies (with an option to decline), offering online voter registration, allowing people to register or update their information at the polls, replacing outdated voting machines, and expanding early voting. This isn’t earth shaking stuff. In fact, bills that will launch automatic voter registration just passed in West Virginia and Vermont, and Illinois and Maryland are considering voter reform proposals right now.
So, if making sure America is actually a democracy is important to you, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about how to Demand Modernized Elections and Restoring the Voting Rights Act via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.
Let’s fight like our right to vote depends on it, because sadly it does.
Contact your legislators to demand modernized elections and urge them to vote for the Rights Amendment Act and the Voting Rights Advancement Act to restore the Voting Rights Act.
Sign the Brennan Center for Justice’s change.org petition “Tell Congress it’s time to Automatically Register Every American to Vote.”
Follow @BrennanCenter on Twitter for the latest updates on public policy and issues of democracy and justice.
The Brennan Center for Justice Election 2016 (via the Brennan Center)
Restore the Voting Rights Act (via the Brennan Center)
Wanted: 21st Century Elections (via the Brennan Center)
Modernize Voter Registrations (via the Brennan Center)
Why is it so hard to vote in America? And what can we do to fix it? (via the Brennan Center)
Voting Laws Roundup 2016 (via the Brennan Center)
Hear the Segment in Context:
Episode #1009: "Battle for the Ballot" (Voting Rights)
Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman.
The Call for a Voting Renaissance and Mass Non-violent Mobilization to Stand Up to Trump via @MoveOn
First we thought it was a publicity stunt or maybe an art project. Then we told ourselves no one would vote for him and laughed at his absurdity. But then one day we woke up to find that he is the clear front runner for the Republican Presidential Nomination.
Donald Trump - the crass, loud-mouth, reality TV show star/fascist - now has a real shot at becoming the next president of the United States, and it’s not funny anymore. From the moment he began his campaign, Trump’s hateful rhetoric has stoked the embers of racism, bigotry, violence, fascism, misogyny, and xenophobia in our country and brought a full fledged fire of hatred roaring back to life.
This week, MoveOn.org, in collaboration with other progressive organizations, published an open letter to the American public on medium.com calling for a movement of citizens to unite in standing up to Trump’s hateful and dangerous rhetoric, saying…
“We cannot afford to underestimate him until it’s too late, as many Republicans now regret having done during the primaries. If we wait to see how things shake out to make our plans, it’ll be too late and November will come sooner than anyone thinks.”
MoveOn is calling for three types of local and personal actions to stop Trump:
1) Non-violent mobilization and organizing against his hate rhetoric in your city streets, on social media, or in letters to the editor.
2) Asking every media outlet, corporation, and office-holder — from the school board on up to Congress and from your local news up to cable news — to condemn Trump’s racism, misogyny and xenophobia that was born out of an environment they helped create.
3) A voting renaissance to stop Trump and build an even more powerful progressive majority, an effort that requires massive volunteer power to door-knock, phone bank and have real conversations with all types of voters.
The open letter concludes by saying, “If we stand together in this moment across movements and build together we will not only stop Trump, but continue to create a country that protects and respects the dignity and humanity of all people and allows us all to prosper and thrive.”
The segment notes include all the links to the letter and related information, as well as additional resources, and, as always, this and every activism segment we produce is archived and organized under the activism tab at Best of the Left dot com. So, if standing up to fascism is of at least a passing interest to you, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about this campaign’s call to action via social media so that others in your network can get involved too.
If we stand-up together we have the power to make Donald Trump the thing he hates the most — a loser. Now that would really be “terrific.”
Follow @MoveOn on Twitter for the latest updates on the campaign and other actions to stand up to Trump's dangerous rhetoric.
Use the hashtags #LoveTrumpsHate and #STOPTRUMP on social media.
Donate to the MoveOn.org "Stand Up to Trump" campaign to support their efforts.
Democrats Sound Alarm Against Trump (via Politico)
Liberal Groups to Launch Campaign to Defeat Donald Trump (via USA Today)
Hear the segment in context:
Episode #999 http://www.bestoftheleft.com/_999_fascism
Written by BOTL Communications Director Amanda Hoffman.
For the better part of the 20th century we saw barriers to citizens’ voting rights knocked down, but so far the 21st century has been all about putting them back up. This country is now blatantly suppressing the voting rights of people of color, seniors, students, incarcerated and formerly incarcerated, and low-income Americans, and has stripped any remaining power from those who actually can exercise their vote thanks to big money.
If we want to change the course of this century, then we have to demand action now.
This April 16th to 18th, join Democracy Awakening 2016 - a nationwide movement that will converge on state capitals and Washington, D.C. for an array of actions, including demonstrations, teach-ins, direct action trainings, music, a Rally for Democracy, and pressing for a Congress of Conscience through non-violent direct action and advocacy.
Watch and share the official Democracy Awakening video:
Democracy Awakening is mobilizing to demand a nation where voting rights are protected and the integrity of the vote is not undermined by big money. Your actions will support reform measures to restore previously struck-down protections against voting discrimination, update the Voting Rights Act of 1965, modernize voter registration, and prevent deceptive practices keeping people from voting, just to name a few. You will also be fighting for “The Democracy for all Amendment” - a constitutional amendment to overturn Supreme Court decisions like Citizens United and allow elected representatives to set commonsense limits on money in elections.
Sign up to take part in and/or volunteer for this nationwide mobilization at democracyawakening.org.
Fighting for every voice to be heard and every vote to be counted is as American as apple pie, so don’t get complacent - get angry and get your voice back. Remember, it’s only a democracy if it works for everyone.
Visit democracyawakening.org to sign up as a volunteer to help organize this event or to participate in April.
Engage with the movement to restore the Voting Rights Act via #RestoretheVRA on social media.
"North Carolina Exemplifies National Battles Over Voting Laws" (via The New York Times)
"Six Pieces of a Real Democracy Movement We've Never Had Before" (via HuffPost Politics)
Hear the segment in context:
Episode #998 http://www.bestoftheleft.com/_998_voting_rights
Written by BOTL Communications Director Amanda Hoffman.
Today’s activism: Democracy Spring - a march and sit-in of historic proportions to save our democracy.
If you’re sick and tired of big money holding our democracy hostage, get involved with Democracy Spring. This isn’t an ask to sign a petition or to call your congress-person (though, keep doing those things), this campaign has the potential to be one of the largest civil disobedience actions in a generation.
This April 2nd, thousands will come together to march from the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, the birthplace of our nation, to the U.S Capitol in Washington DC, where a peaceful massive sit-in will take place April 11th-16th to...
“...demand a Congress that will take immediate action to end the corruption of big money in politics and ensure free and fair elections in which every American has an equal voice.”
According to Democracy Spring, over 2,000 people have already pledged to risk arrest. A coalition of over 50 organizations are working together to lead this effort and will provide necessary training and legal support to all who join.
Getting money out of politics is not just a progressive issue - this is perhaps the one issue that brings people together across ideological divides. Working together to fix this problem is how we heal from the fractured, polarized world we currently live in. It’s time to take action!
Visit democracyspring.org to sign up as a volunteer to help organize this event, pledge your participation in April, or donate.
Follow @DemSpring on Twitter for the latest updates on the campaign.
Engage with the campaign via #DemocracySpring on social media.
Donate to support the campaign at democracyspring.org/donate.
Questions? Visit the Democracy Spring FAQ page.
Hear the segment in context:
Written by BOTL Communications Director Amanda Hoffman.
You’ve reached the activism portion of today’s show. Now that you’re informed and angry, here’s what you can do about it. Today’s activism: Stamp Money Out Of Politics with Ben and Jerrys.
Ben & Jerry have created a fantastically simple tool for building popular support to fight money in politics: they’re putting the message right on their money.
In an op-ed for CNN, they explained why they Stamp Stampede as only a pair of ice-cream connoisseur could:
"Democracy is the triple-deluxe droolworthy idea that the people can govern and be governed in turn, that We the People are the author and the subject of the law. In America, it's the idea that we can elect representatives who will rise above self-interest and work on behalf of the common good. We need a stampede to rout the special interests who have corralled Congress. And that's what we're doing.”
At StampStampede.org you can buy your stamps with phrases like "Not to be used for bribing politicians" and "Stamp money out of politics.” Then, you just start labeling your money — a practice which is completely legal and outlined on the website for those concerned about defacing federal property. A quick scan of the guidelines before deploying your stamp will also make sure you’re marking a part of the bill that won’t get it flagged by the Federal Reserve's and put out of circulation.
You can even get stamps with messages that support some of Stamp Stampede's partner organizations like WolfPAC and People For The American Way or tailor your message to address your specific concerns.
Stamp Stampede has a tumblr of people — some of them famous and even some legislators — posing with their newly labeled money and with already labeled dollars that they’ve received from the bank or as change. You can post yours to social media or send it to Stamp Stampede using the hashtag #GetMoneyOut.
This may sound like a very small act, but it’s a powerful one. The CNN op-ed laid out some pretty impressive numbers:
"The average dollar exchanges hands 875 times. That means if a thousand people stamp one dollar a day for a year, the message would be seen more than 300 million times. If 10,000 people do it, the message would be seen more than 3 billion times.”
Stamp Stampede can already boast having over 60,000 participants. If just a fraction of Best of the Left listeners joined in, we could put the effort to overturn Citizens United in people’s hands billions of times in 2016.
Get your stamps/get involved with: Stamp Stampede
Share your marked money with: StampStampede’s social media feeds
Follow the #GetMoneyOutthread
"Here's How Ben & Jerry's Co-Founder Wants To Stamp Money Out Of Politics” via Huffington Post
Hear the segment in context:
Written by BOTL social media/activism director Katie Klabusich