What happens to a representative democracy when one party is no longer committed to the foundational notion everyone must be represented, equally? This is one of the questions David Daley addresses in his latest book, UNRIGGED: HOW AMERICANS ARE BATTLING BACK TO SAVE DEMOCRACY.
David Daley is a senior fellow for FairVote and the author of Ratf**ked: The True Story Behind the Secret Plan to Steal America’s Democracy, which helped spark the recent drive to reform gerrymandering. Dave’s second book, Unrigged: How Americans Are Battling Back to Save Democracy, chronicles the victories and defeats in state efforts to reform elections and uphold voting rights.
He is the former editor-in-chief of Salon.com, and the former CEO and publisher of the Connecticut News Project. He is a digital media fellow at the Wilson Center for the Humanities and the Grady School of Journalism at the University of Georgia. His work has appeared in the New Yorker, The Washington Post, The Guardian, New York magazine, the Atlantic, the Boston Globe, Rolling Stone. When writing for the Hartford Courant, he helped identify Mark Felt as the “Deep Throat” source for Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein.
Margaret Klein Salamon is the founder and Executive Director of The Climate Mobilization, a volunteer-powered organization that is working to initiate a WWII-scale mobilization to rapidly transform our economy to protect humanity and the living world. In that role she has helped catalyze a burgeoning worldwide climate emergency movement. More than 1,500 cities and counties around the world have now passed climate emergency declarations based on the climate emergency policy framework that The Climate Mobilization has developed and championed.
Margaret has doctorate in clinical psychology and a BA in social anthropology. She is the author of The Transformative Power of Climate Truth and Leading the Public into Emergency Mode. Her latest book, Facing the Climate Emergency: How to Transform Yourself with Climate Truth, has just been published by New Society Publishers.
Daniel Q. Gillian is Julie Beren Platt and Marc E. Platt Presidential Distinguished Professor of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania. His research interests focus on racial and ethnic politics, political behavior, political institutions, public policy and the American Presidency.
Professor Gillion’s first book, The Political Power of Protest: Minority Activism and Shifts in Public Policy, demonstrates the influential role of protest to garner a response from each branch of the federal government, highlighting protest actions as another form of constituent sentiment that should be considered alongside public opinion and voting behavior.
His book, Governing with Words: The Political Dialogue on Race, Public Policy, and Inequality in America, demonstrates that historically, the political dialogue on race offered by presidents and congressional members alters the public policy process and shapes societal and cultural norms to improve the lives of racial and ethnic minorities, illustrating that mere words are a powerful tool for combating racial inequality in America.
Professor Gillian’s most recent book is THE LOUD MINORITY: WHY PROTESTS MATTER IN AMERICAN DEMOCRACY, just published by Princeton University Press. It comes at a time when many of us have been confined to our homes for many weeks during this global pandemic and others protest, disregarding social distancing precautions and carrying rapid fire weapons to state capitals, protesting government stay at home orders. We asked him about this and more.
Here are links to some of the articles referenced in this interview:
Alan Hirsch’s latest book, A SHORT HISTORY OF PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION CRISES: (AND HOW TO PREVENT THE NEXT ONE), has just been published by City Lights Books.
Alan Hirsch is an Instructor in the Humanities and Chair of the Justice and Law Studies program at Williams College. He is the author of a number of other books including Impeaching the President: Past, Present, and Future and For the People: What the Constitution Really Says About Your Rights (coauthored with Akhil Amar). He received his law degree from Yale Law School. His work has appeared in the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Washington Times, Newsday, and the Village Voice. He also serves as a trial consultant and expert witness on interrogations and criminal confessions, testifying around the nation.
He focuses on four presidential election crises that left the nation with no clear winner: those in the years 1800, 1824 & 1876, 2000, and he notes that in twelve elections, fully 20% of all presidential elections, were too close for comfort.
Gaia Vince is an environmental journalist, author and broadcaster. Her work focuses largely on the interplay between humans and the planetary environment. Her latest book, TRANSCENDENCE: How Humans Evolved Through Fire, Language, Beauty & Time, was published in the United States in January, 2020 by Basic Books.
Her first book, Adventures in the Anthropocene: A Journey to the Heart of the Planet We Made, won the 2015 Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books, making her the first woman to win the prize outright. That book discussed the Anthropocene, the geological epoch that began when human activities started to have a significant global impact on Earth’s ecosystems.
She has held senior editorial posts at Nature and New Scientist, and her writing has featured in newspapers and magazines including the Guardian, The Times and Scientific American. She also writes and presents science programs for radio and television. Her research takes her across the world: she has visited more than 60 countries. She currently lives in London, where we spoke with her via Skype.
In addition to fire and language, Gaia Vince asserts that beauty was a powerful force in human evolution. She cites artifacts such as the “Lion Man”, the oldest known zoomorphic sculpture and uncontested example of figurative art, between 35,000 and 40,000 years old. It was carved of mammoth ivory using a flint knife and stands 31.1cm tall, 5.6cm wide and 5.9cm thick.
In her book, American Zion: Cliven Bundy, God & Public Lands in the West, just out from Torrey House Press, Dr. Betsy Gaines Quammen, PhD, documents the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and how their beliefs led to Cliven Bundy’s scoff-law actions, including decades of grazing his cattle on public lands without legal permits and refusing to pay over $1million in fines and fees, leading to armed followers in tense stand-offs with federal employees in Nevada and Oregon.
After environmental laws such as The Endangered Species Act, The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and The Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA) required the federal government to assess public lands and protect endangered species such as the Desert Tortoise, individuals such as The Bundys and groups such as The Sagebrush Rebellion and the so-called Wise Use Movement arose to defy federal protections encroaching on what they considered their traditional way of life.
[Cliven Bundy and an endangered Desert Tortoise (Reuters/Jim Urquhart/AP)]
This led to armed confrontations at the “Battle of Bunkerville” and “The Siege of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.”
Mormon prophecy contributes to the sense of religious righteousness and destiny, which motivate some to claim uniquely superior interpretation of the U.S. Constitution, considered to be a divinely inspired sacred text.
[From left to right: Cliven Bundy, Ryan Bundy and Ammon Bundy.]
We end the program with a brief discussion of the unfolding Covid-19 Pandemic, the anti-science response of the Bundy network, and the work of Betsy’s husband, David Quammen, who in his book, Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic(2012) predicted it was only a matter of time til a pandemic like this would occur.
Finally, Dan Roberts reads his poem from 2006, “Helter Shelter.”
Past Forthright Radio programs referenced in this show include:
Katherine Stewart is a journalist whose work has appeared in The Guardian, The New York Times, Reuters, The Atlantic, Bloomberg View, Newsweek International, Rolling Stone, The Nation and more.
Her earlier book is THE GOOD NEWS CLUB: THE CHRISTIAN RIGHT’S STEALTH ASSAULT ON AMERICA’S CHILDREN. Research for that book led her to discover the insidious depth and breadth of Christian Nationalism and its determination to radically alter the democratic foundations of the United States of America. Indeed, she documents the global reach of the movement toward authoritarianism, intolerance, plutocracy and aggrandizement of money and power for the “elect”.
The result is her latest book, THE POWER WORSHIPPERS: INSIDE THE DANGEROUS RISE OF RELIGIOUS NATIONALISM, published by Bloomsbury Publishing.