I’m not much of a Lefty or a progressive. I’ve never considered myself to be a democratic socialist. I tend to be suspicious of large groups of people who assemble under any banner to do virtually anything. Yet I’m excited about Bernie Sanders presidential campaign. And while I plan to vote for Bernie in the Maryland primary, this podcast is NOT intended to evangelize for him. Rather, I’ll be exploring exactly why voters and volunteers are so excited about Bernie’s candidacy — and how his campaign will evolve to meet the huge challenges ahead. Because, in the end, the excitement about Bernie Sanders is about far more than just Bernie Sanders.
#29: A Primary Whuppin’ in Maryland
After months of debates and canvassing and phone calls and strategizing and a seemingly endless tsunami of talking heads & political analysis, it’s finally time to cast our votes here at home in the Maryland Democratic primary.
In this episode, Caleb and I chat about Bernie’s campaign thus far... about seeing how the political sausage gets made... about the results in Maryland... and about the road ahead.
Plus, an inspiring letter from a loyal listener... and a tiny bit of (fair-use) Springsteen.
Show notesPrimary results in Maryland“A movement, not just a campaign,” by Sue Prent in the Green Mountain DailyNPR Politics Podcast: Quick Take: April 26 Primary ResultsMusic beds: Semper Fidelis, by the Heftone Banjo Orchestra (via Free Music Archive); and We Take Care of Our Own, by Bruce SpringsteenTo rate & review this podcast on iTunes, please go HERE — and then click “View in iTunes.” Thanks in advance.
#28: Former DNC Chair Endorses... Bernie?!?
Paul Kirk is almost the definition of The Establishment (Democratic party division).
Mr. Kirk is the former chairman of the Democratic National Committee (1985-1989). He served as a U.S. Senator from Massachusetts from 2009 to 2010, when he was appointed to fill the vacancy created after the death of Senator Ted Kennedy. Kirk has also served as chairman of the board of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, and as co-chair of the Commission on Presidential Debates.
That’s pretty Establishment. Which is why I was blown away that Paul Kirk endorsed Bernie for President.
Why is he backing Sanders? Is Debbie Wasserman Schultz and the current DNC in the tank for Hillary Clinton? And is democracy just too much damn work?
Here’s my recent conversation with Paul Kirk:
Show notesPaul G. Kirk (Wikipedia)Paul Kirk endorses Bernie Sanders [VIDEO]Democratic National CommitteeDemocratic Leadership CouncilAl FromIntro music bed: Kings And Queens (Instrumental) by Alialujah Choir (via Free Music Archive)Outro music: Enough is a Feast, by Bill Harley; ©2008 Round River Music, All rights reserved, used with permission; billharley.com (Special thanks to Diana Woodall for recommending Enough is a Feast, and for securing the official permission from Mr. Harley and Round River Music.)
#27: Noam Chomsky
Noam Chomsky is an American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, historian, social critic, anti-war activist, and a world-renowned voice of the very progressive left.
For more than half a century, Chomsky taught at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He’s the author of more than a hundred books, including Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media; Necessary Illusions: Thought Control in Democratic Societies; and Hegemony or Survival: America’s Quest for Global Dominance.
Chomsky is now 87 years old, and although he has retired as a full-time professor, he’s still in big demand as a speaker, a writer, and a critic. In recent months he’s also said some nice things Bernie’s campaign for president.
So, on a whim last October, I sent him an email to ask for an interview. I figured my message would disappear under the hundreds of other emails he must receive each day. But he wrote back, and after several exchanges, we scheduled an interview for a few months down the road.
Fast forward to March 11, when I stopped by MIT to see Prof. Chomsky. I had only 25 minutes on his schedule, and it flew by...
Show notesNoam ChomskyAbby Martin interviews Chomsky [VIDEO]Fritz SternGeorge Carlin [VIDEO]Sound bed: “Let’s Make a Pact,” by Josh Spacek via Free Music Archive (Creative Commons License Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0)
#26: No More Cookies & Kool-Aid
When Democrats went to the polls in South Carolina about a week ago, they handed Hillary Clinton a huge victory. She won 74 percent of the vote to Bernie’s 26 percent, mostly because Hillary was the choice of most of South Carolina’s African American voters.
And it’s Hillary’s ability to connect with African American voters — and with Latinos too — that’s become a key factor in this campaign, or so the political pundits keeps saying. To win the Democratic nomination, they tell us, requires the support of people of color, and Hillary has that support all locked up.
But does she really? Do African American voters choose to support Hillary because she represents their interests? Does she “get” them in a way that Bernie doesn’t? Is Bernie unable to appeal to black voters because he’s a stranger from lily-white Vermont, while the folks in South Carolina know and still admire the Clintons?
Wendell Gilliard is an African American member of the South Carolina House of Representatives, where he’s served since 2009. Mr. Gilliard is a former member of the Charleston City Council, and a former president of the United Steel Workers Local Union.
Mr. Gilliard has also endorsed Bernie Sanders. I talked to him a few days ago about the campaign, about the racial dynamics of South Carolina politics, and about the demands of what he calls the “cookies and Kool Aid circuit” and the great divide between Democratic grassroots voters and the party’s leadership.
Show notesWendell GilliardVICE News video about the African American vote in South CarolinaBarack Obama’s victory speech following the South Carolina primary in 2008 [VIDEO]
#25: Erika Andiola & The Politics of Immigration
On a Thursday night in January 2013, federal agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement raided the home of Erika Andiola in Phoenix, Arizona. Without a warrant, the agents arrested Erika’s mother and brother, put them on a bus, and began the process of deporting them back to Mexico. Hours later, in a panic, Erika posted a plea for help on YouTube.
According to Erika, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) maintained dossiers on her whole family, partly because they were all undocumented, and partly because Erika was a high-profile immigration activist.
As a founder of the Arizona DREAM Act Coalition, Erika was (and remains) a very public and passionate voice supporting legislation to allow the children of undocumented immigrants to become documented.
The good news is Erika’s mother and brother were released the day after they had been arrested. But the whole experience clearly worried Erika.
Erika Andiola is now the Latino Outreach Strategist for Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign. I talked to her the other day about immigration and the Latino vote… about Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, who are both Latino. We also talked about Hillary’s so-called “firewall” — the idea that people of color, especially Latinos and African Americans, will prevent all that FeelingTheBern from spreading across key primary states.
Show notesErika Andiola’s plea on YouTube, posted right after her mother and brother were arrested by immigration agents in January 2013 [VIDEO] Erika on TwitterArizona DREAM Act CoalitionBernie gets a tepid response at a church in South Carolina (Washington Post)Music bed: Tell Me (by Alialujah Choir) & Curtains (by The Losers) via Free Music Archive
#24: The Big Choice
This episode is just a few minutes long, but I didn’t want to wait until I produced another complete episode before I shared a special audio clip with you.
It features a bit of insight from Robert Reich, who served as the U.S. Secretary of Labor under President Bill Clinton, and who now teaches public policy at the University of California at Berkeley.
In roughly a minute, Reich distills the essential difference between the voters who support Hillary— and voters who support Bernie. It’s worth a quick listen.
Show notesRobert Reich & “The Big Choice for Democrats” [VIDEO]
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Where some political podcasts can be quite aggressive, this one has a very open tone to it. I love the narrative. The guests are always very on point and each episode has a clear topic. Alan Mairson is a great host; appealing voice and very articulate.