- The Koch Bros. & Their Billionaire Web
- Bernie Sanders Explained Plus Sue Graftonâ€™s X
- Eric Laursen, THE PEOPLEâ€™S PENSION & Greg Palast, BILLIONAIRES AND BALLOT BANDITS.
- Doug Henwood, MY TURN: Hillary Clinton Targets the Presidency
- Gerald Friedman: A Bernie Sanders Presidency Boosts Incomes & Jobs
- Comix as Art and Politics: Art Spiegelman and Greg Palast
- Paul Theroux, DEEP SOUTH & Ted Rall, BERNIE
- DISPATCHES FROM THE RELIGIOUS LEFT
- Ron Suskind, THE WAY OF THE WORLD and ELIZABETH WINTHROP, COUNTING ON GRACE
- David Cay Johnston, FREE LUNCH
- The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power
- Margot Livesey, HOUSE ON FORTUNE STREET
- Fixing Our Broken Election System
- Call for Independent Exit Polling
- Web Extra: 9-11 Press for Truth video
- The Vote Count Protection Project
- URGENT: Stealth bill threatens democracy
- Voting Problems?
- Danielle Allen, OUR DECLARATION & Katy Simpson Smith, THE STORY OF LAND AND SEA
- Bill de Blasioâ€™s Civic Experiment – Is It Working?
- Linda Coleman: Radical Descent & Greg Guma on Bernie
- Greg Guma on Bernie Sanders’ “Insurgent” Run
- Ciceroâ€™s End, Dust Up over Sanders’ Plan, & Remembering Quentin Young
- Is Hillary Clinton Good For Women?
- Historian Donna Murch on The Clintons’ War On Drugs, Mass Incarceration & The Black Vote
Can we get real democracy in the US? We talk with political scientist Patrick Barrett about his article, â€œCan We Change the Political System? Strategic Lessons of the Bernie Sanders Campaignâ€.
Then we re-air our 2008 interview with muckraking reporter Greg Palast about his bookÂ Steal Back Your Vote. We talk about how voters were disenfranchised by voter purging and other voter suppression methods in past elections â€” and what voters can do about it.
Why do Americans vote at a lower rate than voters in any other advanced country? Maybe because thatâ€™s the way our election system intends it.
Voter suppression takes many forms — and itâ€™s institutionalized by both parties. In fact, that phrase â€œboth partiesâ€ is a big part of the problem. In a two party system, there is no real competition. That means the peopleâ€™s needs and choices are ignored.
A recent report out from Princeton and Northwestern UniversityÂ found that U.S. government policies rarely align with the preferences of the majority of Americans, but do favor special interests and lobbying organizations.
Majorities of Americans are in favor of strong action on climate change, lowering income inequality, single payer health care and increasing social security.
But thatâ€™s not what the two parties favor â€” and the one candidate in this primary season who does support those policies, Bernie Sanders, has faced enormous institutional roadblocks to his campaign.
Some of those roadblocks appear to be actual election fraud â€” such as purges of likely Sanders voters and flipping of votes in voting machines from Sanders to Clinton. The number of states where the exit polls differed greatly from the official resultsÂ raise a red flag.
ButÂ fraud isn’t the only wayÂ to suppress the vote.Â Here are some questions:Â
- Why arenâ€™t election days national holidays like they are in other countries?
- Why arenâ€™t all citizens automatically registered to vote when they attain voting age?
- Why in many states do felons lose their right to vote, even after they have served their time?
- And why don’t all registered voters get to vote in primaries?Â
The majority of US voters are independents with no party affiliation, yet in most states they have no choice of which candidates they will get to vote for in the general election.Â New Yorkâ€™s closed primary is a case in point.
Suppression takes other forms, too, like voter ID and limiting early voting.
Political scientist Patrick Barrett studies democratic political change and how it happens. His recent article for TruthoutÂ Can We Change the Political System? Strategic Lessons of the Bernie Sanders CampaignÂ explores these issues within the context of the current presidential primary season.
Patrick Barrett is director of the A.E. Havens Center for Social Justice at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He writes and teaches about US and Latin American politics and is the co-editor of The New Latin American Left.
Investigative reporter Greg Palast has been writing about the disenfranchisement of voters since 2000. In 2004 he reported on how thousands of votes for John Kerry were thrown away as â€œspoiled.â€
Then in 2008, he paired up with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr to write a comic book called Steal Back Your VoteÂ (he also wrote the 2012 book titled Billionaires and Ballot Bandits, illustrated by Ted Rall).
Unfortunately, the situation has only gotten worse since that time â€”especially the purging of voters from the rolls, as in Arizona, New York, Pennsylvania and other states. In light of that, it seemed like a good time to listen back to this interview.