Activism

Many of our America at a Crossroads audience members have repeatedly asked what they can actually DO to help protect our democracy. We have researched and vetted a number of non-partisan, non-profit organizations that are immersed in issues aligned with JUDJ’s mission. Voting rights, voter suppression and other pro-democracy ideals lie at the heart of the organizations we have included below. In many cases, these organizations have volunteer opportunities, including internships and special opportunities for high school and college students. We encourage you to connect with and support these organizations and actively engaged in protecting our American democracy.

Anti-Defamation League is a leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of anti-Semitism and bigotry, its timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of hate with the same vigor and passion. ADL is a global leader in exposing extremism and delivering anti-bias education, and is a leading organization in training law enforcement. ADL is the first call when acts of anti-Semitism occur. ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate.

Learn more about ADL and volunteer opportunities.

The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law is a nonpartisan law and policy institute that seeks to improve our systems of democracy and justice. We work to hold our political institutions and laws accountable to the twin American ideals of democracy and equal justice for all. The Center’s work ranges from voting rights to campaign finance reform, from ending mass incarceration to preserving Constitutional protection in the fight against terrorism.

Learn more about the Brennan Center for Justice. 

The California Center for Civic Participation is a non-partisan, non-profit civic education organization, engaging high school students by sparking their interest with exposure to real excitement of the democratic process. We believe that youth hold so much untapped and unlimited power to change their communities and their world and we exist to expose and nurture that power.

Learn more about the California Center for Civic Participation and volunteer opportunities. 

The Center’s mission is to promote an enlightened and responsible citizenry committed to democratic principles and actively engaged in the practice of democracy. The Center has reached more than 30 million students and their teachers since 1965.

The Center for Civic Education helps students develop (1) an increased understanding of the institutions of constitutional democracy and the fundamental principles and values upon which they are founded, (2) the skills necessary to participate as competent and responsible citizens, and (3) the willingness to use democratic procedures for making decisions and managing conflict.

Learn more about the Center for Common Ground.

The Center for Common Ground empowers under-represented voters through non-partisan voter registration and Get Out the Vote. It provide voter information through door knock canvassing, texting, phone-banking. It also provide free rides to the polls on Election Day.

Learn more about the Center for Common Ground and volunteer opportunities.

Center for Election Innovation & Research engages in cutting-edge work to build voter trust, increase voter participation, and improve the efficiency of election administration. Their work helps elections officials maintain accurate and complete voter lists and secure election technology infrastructure.

Learn more about Center for Election Innovation & Research.

Common Cause is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization dedicated to upholding the core values of American democracy. We work to ensure open, honest, and accountable government; to promote equal rights, opportunity, and representation for all; and to empower all people to make their voices heard as equals in the political process. Common cause works across four major issue areas: voting and elections; money and politics; ethics, transparency and government accountability; and media and democracy.

Learn more about Common Cause and the Common Cause Education Fund

Democracy North Carolina is a nonpartisan organization that uses research, organizing, and advocacy to strengthen democratic structures, build power among disenfranchised communities, and inspire confidence in a transformed political process that works for all.

Learn more about Democracy NC and volunteer opportunities. 

ElectionDay.Org engages businesses to provide resources and tools to promote voting within their organizations including information on how to register, voting methods, and relevant deadlines. 

Learn more about ElectionDay.Org.

Equal Justice Works creates opportunities for lawyers to transform their passion for equal justice into a lifelong commitment to public service. Equal Justice Works is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization and is the nation’s largest facilitator of opportunities in public interest law. Equal Justice Works brings together an extensive network of law students, lawyers, legal services organizations, and supporters to promote a lifelong commitment to public service and equal justice. The organization believes that a community of lawyers committed to public service can fulfill our nation’s promise of equal justice for all. Following their Fellowships, more than 85% of Equal Justice Works Fellows remain in public service positions, continuing to pursue equal justice for underserved communities.

Learn more about Equal Justice Works and available volunteer opportunities.

The Election Official Legal Defense Network (EOLDN) is a project of the nonpartisan, nonprofit Center for Election Innovation & Research. EOLDN connects licensed, qualified, pro bono attorneys with election administrators who need advice or assistance. Election workers from all over the country, at the state and local level, can contact EOLDN via this website or by phone (1-877-313-5210) at any time, to request to be connected to a lawyer who can help them, at no cost. This service is available regardless of the election official’s political affiliation, or whether they work in a blue or red state or county.

Learn more about Election Official Legal Defense Network and available volunteer opportunities. 

FairVote is a nonpartisan organization seeking better elections for all. They research and advance voting reforms that make democracy more functional and representative for every American. FairVote has a proven record since 1992 as a nonpartisan trailblazer that advances and wins electoral reforms at the local, state and national level through strategic research, communications and collaboration. Today, we are the driving force behind advancing ranked choice voting and fair representation in multi-winner legislative districts that will open up our elections to better choices, fairer representation and more civil campaigns.

Learn more about FairVote and volunteer opportunities.

Indivisible is committed to providing civic education, policy resources, strategic guidance, and targeted trainings for groups across the country. It educates and empowers civic leaders at the community level across the country. 

Learn more about Indivisible and volunteer opportunities available in several states.

Inspire2Vote supports nonpartisan efforts to promote voter registration among high school students. Inspire2Vote is a program of Project High Hopes, a 501(c)3 operating foundation which engages in innovative programs in the areas of civic responsibility. For more information about Project High Hopes,

Learn more about Common Cause.

The League of Women Voters of the United States encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.

Learn more about League of Women Voters.

The Lincoln Project is a leading pro-democracy organization in the United States — dedicated to the preservation, protection, and defense of democracy. The Lincoln Project launched with two stated objectives. The first was to defeat Donald Trump at the ballot box. The second was to ensure Trumpism failed alongside him. As we have seen, our fight against Trumpism is only beginning. We must combat these forces everywhere and at all times. Our democracy depends on it.

Learn more about The Lincoln Project and available volunteer opportunities. 

People For the American Way Foundation conducts research, legal, and education work on behalf of First Amendment freedoms and democratic values; monitors, exposes, and challenges the Religious Right movement and its political allies; identifies, trains, and supports the next generation of progressive leaders through its Young People For youth leadership programs and its Young Elected Officials Network; and carries out nonpartisan voter education, registration, civic participation, and election protection activities.

Learn more about People for the American Way. 

Project Vote is a national, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization founded on the belief that an organized, diverse electorate is the key to a better America. Project Vote’s mission is to build an electorate that accurately represents the diversity of this nation’s citizenry, and to ensure that every eligible citizen can register, vote, and cast a ballot that counts.

Learn more about Project Vote. 

Project Vote Smart offers services and programs for political journalists to enhance their coverage of politics and elections. The Project partners with more than 300 national, state, and local news organizations, all endorsing Project programs. In addition to comprehensive databases on more than 40,000 candidates and incumbents, the Project provides journalists with special research services and publications. We devote considerable effort to researching information about all candidates for presidential, congressional, gubernatorial and state legislative office and elected officials. Voters thus have access to unbiased information on candidates as well as those serving in elected positions.

Learn more about Project Vote Smart and available volunteer opportunities. 

The Public Citizen Foundation supports Public Citizen’s education, litigation, research, and public information activities. Public Citizen is a national consumer advocacy organization founded in 1971 to represent consumer interests in Congress, the executive branch and the courts. Public Citizen fights for openness and democratic accountability in government, for the right of consumers to seek redress in the courts; for clean, safe and sustainable energy sources; for social and economic justice in trade policies; for strong health, safety and environmental protections; and for safe, effective and affordable prescription drugs and health care.

Learn more about Public Citizen and available opportunities. 

Reform Elections Now works to reduce partisanship in government through electoral reform. It believes that election reform is the most systematic way to reduce partisanship in government. To this end, we pursue our mission by providing our members and audience with insightful analyses, high-return solutions, and opportunities for targeted engagement with like-minded organizations. Led by a team of non-partisan business people, we focus on pragmatic election reform initiatives that are achievable, constructive, and measurable.

Learn more about Reform Elections Now. 

Rideshare2Vote was created to increase the voice and power of people by expanding their civic engagement and voting rights. We have created a voter touch outreach field program that includes our transportation service specifically for Democratic and progressive voters. Rideshare2Vote focuses our work in disenfranchised communities; voting for the first time; who are not voting in every election; that are disabled; living in poverty and who are elderly.

Learn more about Rideshare2Vote and available volunteer opportunities. 

Rise mobilizes student voters to build our political power for change. Our vote is one of the most powerful ways we can change our communities and our county. Rise works to empower students with the knowledge, skills, and tools we need to get out the vote. 

Learn more about RISE and available volunteer opportunities. 

Fusing pop culture, politics, and technology, Rock the Vote works to mobilize the millennial voting bloc and the youth vote, protect voting rights, and advocate for an electoral process and voting system that works for the 21st century electorate. For almost 25 years, Rock the Vote has pioneered ways to make voting easier by simplifying and demystifying voter registration and elections for young adults.

Learn more about Rock the Vote and available volunteer opportunities. 

Spread The Vote helps members of our communities empower themselves to be heard at the polls: with IDs, registration, education, and turnout. 21 million Americans don’t have photo ID. If they live in a strict voter ID state, they can’t vote. Volunteer to help Americans win back their fundamental right to vote. We love our volunteers! Whether you live in a voter ID state or not, there are a lot of ways that you can help us fight voter suppression. 

Learn more about Spread The Vote and available volunteer opportunities. 

Students for Justice is a non partisan organization created to empower underrepresented voters in voter-suppression-states. Students for Justice engages young people in the electoral process through paid internships; interns take on a variety of projects –- communications, outreach, and community organizing— all aimed at getting out the vote. Interns develop paid social media campaigns to increase voter registration and turnout. They recruit, train, and motivate volunteers to use postcards, phone calls, and texts to contact some of the 16.5 million Americans who have been purged from the voter rolls, helping them re-establish their voter registration, and get out the vote.

Learn more about how to donate and to apply for an internship. 

The Andrew Goodman Foundation makes young voices and votes a powerful force in democracy. Our ability to spark their passion — today — will result in change, tomorrow. The Andrew Goodman Foundation supports youth leadership development, voting accessibility, and social justice initiatives on campuses across the country with mini-grants to select institutions of higher learning and other financial assistance to students.
Our vision is that young people will become active, engaged citizens who ensure a just democracy and sustainable future. Join us during this critical time for American democracy and help shape the next generation of civic leaders.

Learn more about The Andrew Goodman Foundation and available volunteer opportunities. 

The Center for Public Integrity is dedicated to producing original, responsible investigative journalism on issues of public concern. The mission of the Center for Public Integrity is to protect democracy and inspire change using investigative reporting that exposes betrayals of the public trust by powerful interests. To pursue its mission, the Center generates high-quality, accessible investigative reports, databases, and contextual analysis on issues of public importance; disseminates work to journalists, policymakers, scholars, and citizens using a combination of digital, electronic, and print media; and educates, engages, and empowers citizens with the tools and skills they need to hold government and other private institutions accountable.

Learn more about The Center for Public Integrity. 

The Civics Center is dedicated to building the foundations of youth civic engagement and voter participation in high schools through education, organizing, and advocacy. We support student-led, peer-to-peer voter registration and pre-registration efforts in high school communities.

Learn more about The Civics Center and available volunteer opportunities. 

VoteRiders is the country’s leading nonprofit, nonpartisan organization focused on the issue of voter ID. Our mission is to ensure that no eligible voter is prevented from casting a ballot that counts due to voter ID laws, either directly from lack of acceptable ID or indirectly because of voter confusion. Founded ten years ago, our work has helped millions of voters successfully navigate and overcome the barriers that result from voter ID laws, which are currently in place in 36 states. As we head into 2022 and the crucial midterm elections, our far-reaching voter ID education resources, partnerships, and free ID assistance programs are now more important than ever before.

VoteRiders offers a wide range of virtual and on-the-ground volunteer opportunities for individuals looking to make a difference, including virtual letter-writing and text-banking events and in-person or virtual ID assistance opportunities to support voters in the states of Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Texas, and Wisconsin.

Learn more about VoterRiders and available volunteer opportunities. 

When We All Vote is a leading national, nonpartisan initiative on a mission to change the culture around voting and to increase participation in each and every election by helping to close the race and age gap. Created by Michelle Obama, When We All Vote brings together individuals, institutions, brands, and organizations to register new voters across the country and advance civic education for the entire family and voters of every age to build an informed and engaged electorate for today and generations to come. We empower our supporters and volunteers to take action through voting, advocating for their rights, and holding their elected officials accountable.

Learn more about When We All Vote and available volunteer opportunities. 

JUDJ Newsletter

JUDJ regularly sends supporters newsletters highlighting upcoming events and a round up of important articles and news coverage related to our efforts and issue areas.

Dear Friend:

Tomorrow we welcome the country’s preeminent constitutional law scholar, Laurence Tribe of Harvard Law School.  He will be in conversation with media law expert, Henry Weinstein of UC Irvine School of Law.  The legendary Tribe is author of the seminal American Constitutional Law text book and has argued scores of important cases before the appellate courts and the US Supreme Court on issues including but not limited to gay rights, separation of church and state, and the First Amendment.  Tribe and Weinstein will be discussing Precarious Times: Our Constitution at Risk.  Register Here

TRIBE ARTICLES/COLUMNS 
Here is an interview with Laurence Tribe on the subject of the Dobbs case printed in the Harvard Gazette
Here are many articles by Laurence Tribe which were recently published in many different publications.
Here are op-ed columns written by Laurence Tribe over the past few years and published in the Washington Post.

Susan Glasser: TRUMP SECOND TERM WOULD BE A SCARIER THAN HIS FIRST
In this column in last week’s The New Yorker Susan Glasser speculates that a second Trump term would be a “scary rerun” of his first term. Glasser writes: “The man who finished his Presidency with a total of 30,573 false and misleading claims while in office, according to the Washington Post’s fact-checking project, is not going to suddenly return to power as a truthteller. He will seek vengeance and vindication. He will run the same plays again and again. He will find aides and advisers who will do his bidding, unlike the faithless traitors who surrounded him before.”


Jennifer Rubin on Ken Burns “The US and the Holocaust”
NAZI ANALOGIES ARE DANGEROUS….BUT INCREASINGLY RELEVANT
In Monday’s Washington Post Jennifer Rubin’s op-ed is entitled  “Nazi Analogies are Dangerous.  But, they are increasingly relevant today”.  With the backdrop of Ken Burns’ latest documentary “The US and the Holocaust” (currently airing in three parts on PBS), Rubin distinguishes the use of the word “Nazi”, which refers to a particular type of genocidal fascism from a specific time and place,  and the term “fascist”;  to use the term “fascist” is not to accuse someone or some group of planning a genocide, but rather, connotes that the person or group is using the authoritarian playbook deployed by many power seekers across the globe.   As Rubin analyzes the distinctions she recognizes that the challenge “is doing justice to the Holocaust while raising the red flag to warn of a movement that bears many of the markings of fascist movements and leaders from history.”

Dear Friend:

Today at 5 pm Pacific we welcome the former president of Planned Parenthood and an outspoken advocate for abortion rights, Cecile Richards in conversation with Patt Morrsion.  Register here.


In this interview in the Rolling Stone Cecile Richards speaks about the pro-abortion rights movement’s great victories and devastating losses during her 12 years as president of Planned Parenthood.  In the interview, which took place the week after Roe v. Wade was overturned, Richards describes the current state of political affairs which, in Richards’ estimation has less to do with abortion rights and has more to with politicians “appealing to a right wing base that, a few decades ago, the Republican Party decided was critical to their political power and success. Now they’re like the dog that caught the bus because these folks are now in charge of their party. “

Apropos of today’s program, this week Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) proposed federal legislation that would outlaw and criminalize all abortions after 15 weeks, and would subject doctors who violate the law to 5 years in prison.  The legislation goes far beyond the recent Dobbs decision which overturned what had been a federal right to abortion and left the matter for states to legislate.  Graham’s proposal is evidently unpopular among his fellow GOP Senators, not necessarily for substantive reasons, but rather, for political reasons.    The Hill reported that Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) distanced himself from Graham’s proposal and suggested that no one is eager to debate the bill.


 
FOREIGN AFFAIRS:  A DANGEROUS DECADE DOMESTICALLY AND GLOBALLY
 
In this article in the current Foreign Affairs, RICHARD HAASS, President of the Council on Foreign Relations who will be an America at a Crossroads guest in November, writes about the the many global as well as domestic problems which are creating what Haass calls “the most dangerous moment since WW II”.  Aside from the heightening of global competition and the aggressively imperial ambitions of Russia and China, the condition of American democracy is significantly adversely impacting the situation.  Haass writes,  “American democracy and  political  cohesion are at risk to a  degree not seen since the middle of the nineteenth century. This matters because… U.S. leadership has underpinned what order there has been in the world for the past 75 years and remains no less central today.  A United States riven internally,  however, will become  ever less willing and able to lead on the international stage.”  According to Haas,  America’s leaders must act with discipline to marshal our resources against the prevailing disorder, as democracy at home must be shored up for the US to be most effective in helping to restore balance and order abroad. 
 

WHY HAS CONFIDENCE IN THE US SUPREME COURT PLUMMETED?
 
In this op-ed in the weekend’s Washington Post, Deputy editorial page editor Ruth Marcus discusses Chief Justice Roberts’ defense of the court in the wake of the Dobbs decision (overturning Roe v. Wade).  Roberts’ recently declared that people should not call the Court illegitimate because it makes unpopular decisions, as the Court is not there to reflect the majority’s will.  But Marcus took exception to Roberts’ declaration; she writes that the reason that the people’s trust in the Court has plummeted is not simply because the Dobbs decision was unpopular.  Rather, says Marcus, what has undermined the Court’s legitimacy in the eyes of much of the public, is the entire process of stacking the court with conservative justices which was clearly a political strategy designed for the very purpose of overruling Roe v Wade.  And, in the process, writes Marcus, the Court “abandoned normal rules of restraint, twisted or ignored doctrine, and substituted raw power to achieve its desired result.”

Dear Friend:

If you missed today’s extraordinary, wide-ranging conversation between former US Solicitor General Neal Katyal and Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Carol Leonnig of the Washington Post in conversation with Patt Morrison of the LA Times, you can watch it at THIS PAST-EVENTS LINK.  It is posted a few hours after the program ends and remains there indefinitely with all of our past America at a Crossroads programs.

Next week we welcome the former president of Planned Parenthood and an outspoken advocate for abortion rights, Cecile Richards in conversation with Patt Morrsion.  Register here.


In this interview in the Rolling Stone Cecile Richards speaks about the pro-abortion rights movement’s great victories and devastating losses during her 12 years as president of Planned Parenthood.  In the interview, which took place the week after Roe v. Wade was overturned, Richards describes the current state of political affairs which, in Richards’ estimation has less to do with abortion rights and has more to with politicians “appealing to a right wing base that, a few decades ago, the Republican Party decided was critical to their political power and success. Now they’re like the dog that caught the bus because these folks are now in charge of their party. “

In this analysis in this week’s The New Yorker,  staff writer Margaret Talbot writes about “Justice Alito’s Crusade Against a Secular America”.  She describes Associate Justice Alito in his earlier years on the Court as having a reputation for being reasonable and “not too flashy or provocative”.  But now, writes Talbot, Alito as become the embodiment of the  more ambitious and extreme conservative majority.  “He’s had win after win–including overturning Roe v. Wade–yet seems more and more aggrieved.”   The article explores what drives that anger. Talbot speculates that “[i]n the end, Alito may be angry for the same reasons that many conservatives of his demographic are angry—because they find their values increasingly contested; because they feel less culturally authoritative than they once were; because they want to exclude whom they want to exclude, and resent it when others push back…{Perhaps} Alito was frustrated because he knows, at some level, that he is fundamentally ‘dissenting from American culture and where it is ineluctably heading—a society that is increasingly diverse and secular.'”  while the Supreme Court lacks the power to mandate cultural change, Talbot suggest that Alito is clearly trying. 



CAROL LEONNIG & DAVID IGNATIUS ON THE MAR-A-LAGO SEIZURES IN TODAY’S WASHINGTON POST
In this article in today’s Washington Post Carol Leonnig and Devlin Barrett reveal that some of the documents seized at Mar-a-Lago are “extremely restricted, so much so that even some of the senior-most national security officials in the Biden administration weren’t authorized to review them.”   According to revelations in the article, there were highly classified documents related to foreign nations’ nuclear capacities. In this op-ed in today’s Washington Post David Ignatius criticizes Judge Cannon’s ruling and her opinion, which is expressly based, at least in part, by the judge’s concern for injury to Trump’s reputation.  As to that concern, Ignatius writes, “she is wrong in arguing for this review because, as she puts it, the stigma of documents seizure for the former president is ‘in a league of its own.’  Nonsense. All reputations are equal.”
Dear Friend:

Tomorrow we welcome former US Solicitor General Neal Katyal and Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Carol Leonnig of the Washington Post in conversation with Patt Morrison of the LA Times.  Register Here

This op-ed essay written by Neal Katyal was in last week’s NY Times in which he discusses the Trump-era (March 2019) memo released last week by the Justice Department which closed the book on the “Mueller” special counsel report.  He writes about  “slipshod legal analysis and omission of damning facts” but focuses more on the process by which that memo was written.  The fact that two political appointees in the Justice Department wrote the memo which was then released by Attorney General Barr flies in the face of the special counsel guidelines. “The point of requiring a special counsel was to provide for an independent determination of any potential criminal wrongdoing by Mr. Trump. But the political appointees in his Justice Department took what was the most important part of that inquiry — the decision of whether he committed crimes — and grabbed it for themselves. This was a fundamental betrayal of the special counsel guidelines not for some principle but because it protected their boss, Mr. Trump…America desperately needs an effective system to investigate high-level executive branch wrongdoing.” 

You can read all of Carol Leonnig’s Washington Post articles at this link


LABOR DAY ARTICLE:
IS BIDENOMICS GOOD FOR WORKERS?

In this Labor Day NY Times op-ed, Nobel Prize in Economics winner Paul Krugman writes that Bidenomics have been good for workers.  To evaluate the impressive rising employment rate and its impact on the American worker, Krugman looked at wages, adjusted for inflation and found a 3.5% increase in wages for those workers who would have been unemployed or working reduced hours but for the Biden job gains boom.  Krugman concludes: “The Biden boom has, unambiguously, been good for workers’ incomes.”  Further, the lowest paid workers received the greatest gains, so the boom reduced inequality opines Krugman.  And, while those who already had jobs when BIden became President have lost some buying power due to inflation, Krugman believes that the decline in buying power was caused by global food and energy markets, not by US policy.

Dear Friend:

Today at 5 pm Pacific  Ambassador Norman Eisen, a CNN legal affairs analyst and former Ambassador to the Czech Republic will be in conversation with Larry Mantle on the topic: From Ukraine to January 6 to Top Secret Documents–A Democracy Expert Analyzes Our World.   Ambassador Eisen, formerly a criminal defense lawyer, served as Obama’s chief ethics counsel, was co-counsel for the House Judiciary Committee on Trump Impeachment #1, and is an expert on laws related to ethics and top secret material.  Eisen founded Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a leading force for government openness and reform.  He is also the author of four books on current topics. Larry Mantle, a Southern California media fixture, has hosted the very popular daily show “Air Talk” for NPR’s affiliate, KPCC, for nearly 4 decades. Register Here.


ARTICLE:

1.  RUBIN’S ADMONITION: WITH TRUMP AS THE GOP NOMINEE WE ARE HEADED FOR ANOTHER JANUARY 6
In this op-ed in today’s Washington Post, Jennifer Rubin sounds the alarm for her former party, the GOP.  She discusses Trump’s recent rant in which he demands an immediate new election or that he be made president, and asks how the GOP “expects to rid themselves of someone like Trump.”  Inasmuch as they have delegitimized so much of America’s law enforcement and “sane Republicans”, it is unclear, writes Rubin, who is left to convince the MAGA base that Trump is too toxic to be the presidential nominee. “This dilemma” writes Rubin “is entirely of the GOP’s own making. Years of sycophancy or silence, years of building a right-wing media cocoon and years of selective listening may prevent the party from engaging in rudimentary self-preservation. Maybe party leaders simply intend for him to run, lose, take the party down and set off more violent version of Jan. 6 — because that’s the direction we’re heading in.”

2. IS ILLIBERALISM IN THE GOP HERE TO STAY?
 In this opinion essay in the Los Angeles TImesNYU History Professor Ruth Ben-Ghiat describes leaders and their authoritarian parties abroad and compares them to the current GOP leadership and its following. Ben-Ghiat, who teaches and writes about illiberal systems of governments and threats to democracy, opines that the Republican Party “is expunging the remaining democratic elements from its cadres and political culture with great vigor. It is embracing home-grown extremists, forcing out moderates, threatening dissenters and aligning itself with foreign autocrats like Hungary’s Viktor Orban.”  Studying unfolding authoritarian dynamics in places like Turkey and Hungary, or past corrupt regimes, such as that of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, reveals that in autocracies, “ruling parties become personal tools of the leader, and loyalty to the head of state, rather than expertise, is the most prized political quality.”  She writes that this is especially true when the leader faces legal challenges or his power is threatened.  About the plethora of leaders and candidates who embrace Trump’s “big lie”,  Ben-Ghiat concludes, “The GOP is now a party ready to govern through illiberal methods, regardless of which Republican may in the White House in 2024.”  Ruth Ben-Ghiat will be our guest speaker, together with political sociologist Larry Diamond on September 28.  Register Here 

3. WHAT HAPPENED IN THE COLORADO US SENATE PRIMARY?  AN UNEXPECTED  RESULT AND A CAUTIONARY TALE
This opinion essay by NY Times Editorial Board member Michelle Cottle describes how Colorado Democrat US Senator Michael Bennett’s seat could be threatened, at least in part, as a result of a strategy by which some Democrats were trying to help extreme (MAGA) GOP candidates win primaries; the basic notion was that a group of Democrats thought that it would be easier for Democratic candidates to prevail in run-off elections against MAGA GOP candidates.  While that strategy (not embraced by many if not most Democrats) achieved the desired results in many states, in Colorado, it backfired.  The extreme MAGA GOP candidate lost his primary to a moderate.  And, that moderate was described in the Democrat-funded primary campaign as a moderate, in an ostensible effort to make him a less desirable candidate.   While it is unknown exactly what role those Democrats played in determining the outcome of the GOP primary, the prevailing candidate in that primary is definitely using the Democrat’s description of him in an effort to appeal to moderate voters on both sides of the aisle.

Dear Friend:

If you missed tonight’s conversation between Sarah Longwell of The Bulwark and writer, analyst Bill Kristol on the topic of “Swing Voters: Where does the balance of power lie?”  you can watch the program at THIS PAST EVENTS link.  The program will be there about three hours afte its conclusion and will remain there indefinitely with all of our 120+ past programs. 


Next week Ambassador Norman Eisen, a CNN legal affairs analyst and former Ambassador to the Czech Republic will be in conversation with Larry Mantle on the topic: From Ukraine to January 6 to Top Secret Documents–A Democracy Expert Analyzes Our World.   Ambassador Eisen served as Obama’s chief ethics counsel, was co-counsel for the House Judiciary Committee on Trump Impeachment #1, and is an expert on laws related to ethics and top secret material.   He is also the author four books on current topics. Register Here.


ARTICLES

 

1.  In this article in today’s Washington Post, Dana Milbank parses the blatant misinformation being spread by the GOP about the recently passed climate, health and tax bill.  Many Republican legislators, led by, but not limited to, Sen. RIck Scott (Fla.), head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, have spread the false information that the new legislation funds the hiring of 87,000 armed IRS agents. The subject legislation actually adds only 40,000 IRS employees over the course of a decade, which would restore IRS staffing to where it was in 1990, and less than 1% of those would be armed. These mischaracterizations and misinformation are being amplified by many GOP leaders and by Fox News, with their message being to to distrust the IRS; the intention, according to Milbank is to generate false hysteria which “has increased threats against the people who collect the funds for the US military, among everything else…fomenting antigovernment fury.”  According to the Department of Treasury,  the new law will result in a “lower likelihood of audit for ordinary taxpayers, because technology upgrades will enable the IRS to target the actual tax cheats–the super-rich–for more audits.  The wealthiest 1 percent defraud the government and fellow taxpayers of more than $160 billion a year.”

2.  The ATLANTIC: WHY AN ASSASSINATION  IN MOSCOW MATTERS TO UKRAINE & THE US.
This brief article in The Atlantic discusses last weekend’s murder of Darya Dugina, daughter of the “spiritual godfather or Russia’s surging fascism”, Alexsandr Dugin, and how that murder might impact Ukraine and the West.. “[T[he Dugins are not ordinary propagandists.  Aleksandr Dugin is part of a weird strain of Russian imperial hypernationalism that somehow manages to venerate Russian Orthodoxy, Stalin, the Nazis and the occult all at the same time.”  While the Russians have closed the case, determining the murderer to be a Ukrainian woman, the article questions that determination.

3.  NBC NEWS POLL
In an NBC News poll conducted this week, threats to democracy came in as the most important issue facing the country for a plurality of registered voters.  Read article in The Hill.  

4.  “TRUMPTIMISM”
In this week’s The New Yorker’s Letters from Washington, Susan Glasser analyzes prospects for the Democrats in the upcoming midterm elections.  While history and “politics as usual” would point towards a GOP wave, with the GOP possibly taking majorities in the House and the Senate, Glasser presents another perspective, called “Trumptimism” in which certain analysts make a case for optimism amongst Democrats. 
“In the age of Trump, nothing is normal… Nothing is following traditional physics and rules, so why would this midterm?” writes Glasser, quoting a veteran progressive analyst, Simon Rosenberg.  Glasser concludes that only time and the actual counting of ballots will tell us if the usual laws of “political physics” will prevail or be defied.
 

Dear Friend:

Today at 5 Pacific, David Gergen will be in conversation with Warren Olney on the topic of LEADERSHIP: What does it take to be a great leader?  Gergen, a Harvard law graduate and recipient of 27 honorary degrees, has served as senior advisor to 4 US Presidents (Nixon, Reagan, Ford and Clinton), and served as a senior advisor to Clinton’s Secretary of State Warren Christopher. He has served as the editor at large of US News and World Report, is currently a senior political analyst for CNN, and is the founding director of the Center for Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School. In Gergen’s recently released book, Hearts Touched With Fire: How Great Leaders are Made, he draws from his decades of up-close and personal experience with high level leaders, including the many presidents he directly served, and synthesized his conclusions in this book.  In this review in the Washington Post Jonathan Suri notes that Gergen worked for four presidents, having witnessed their struggles with leadership up close. “In his remarkable new book” writes Suri, “he rejects universal models for leadership. His heroes come in all shapes and sizes, and include John F. Kennedy, George H.W. Bush, John Lewis, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Malala Yousafzai and Greta Thunberg.”  Gergen will be in conversation with award-winning broadcast journalist Warren Olney.  Register Here.



 

1. LIZ CHENEY’S CONCESSION SPEECH
Here is Liz Cheney’s speech  (excerpted) delivered last night as she lost the Wyoming GOP congressional primary election in a landslide to her Trump-backed opponent.  Here is the speech in its totality.  “Now the real work begins” said Cheney as she defiantly condemned former President Trump and vowed to continue to work to ensure that he can never be reelected.

2.  WHY THE MAR-A-LAGO DOCUMENTS MATTER
In this article in this week’s The Atlantic, Juliette Kayyem, former assistant secretary for homeland security under former President Barack Obama and chair of the homeland-seurity program at Harvard’s Kennedy School, writes about the importance of the US being trustworthy with intelligence.  Kayyam  writes: “[I]t is the mere fact of the papers–regardless of what is in them–that poses a significant national security problem.  From the point of view of America’s international partners and allies…the documents were in the hands of a rogue, possibly dangerous former president.  That they are in the possession of the FBI now is important, but the damage is done.  Trump, even out of the Oval Office, continues to make the US an unreliable ally.”  While Americans tend to think of the search of Mar-a-Lago as a drama internal to the US–a story about a reckless former President, and the legal and political fall-out, the real issue, as explained by Kayyam, is the safety and security of the United States.


3. ELECTION DENYING GOP CANDIDATES WON MOST PRIMARIES: NOW WHAT?
This article from Monday’s Washington Post discusses the nearly two-thirds of the GOP primary elections for state and federal offices in which Trumpist election deniers prevailed.   In many of those elections whoever ultimately prevails in the run-offs will have authority over elections, which could, depending upon who prevails, throw the country to even greater chaos than we saw after the 2020 election.  The article raises the point that since many of the election-denying candidates have campaigned on the illegitimacy of the 2020 election, the country could well be at even greater risk, as such prevailing candidates will “claim a mandate to address their backers’ grievances by whatever means necessary.”

4.  WHY DO SO MANY GOP LAWMAKERS OBJECT TO TRUMP BEING HELD ACCOUNTABLE?
In this op ed in Monday’s Washington Post, Max Boot opines that the failure to hold former President Nixon accountable for his crimes was a “historic mistake whose toxic fallout still poisons our democracy.”  Former President Ford pardoned Nixon and the Justice Department granted Nixon immunity from prosecution while in office.  Boot writes: “Things might look very different today if Nixon had gone to the slammer… The kid-gloves treatment Nixon received created an expectation of criminal impunity for both sitting and former presidents that leads Republicans to think that it’s an outrage for Trump to be probed by prosecutors, no matter how many laws he might have broken…Attorney General Merrick Garland is receiving horrific abuse, but he is doing the right thing — the long overdue thing — by pricking the bubble of presidential impunity…”

Dear Friend:

If you were not able to join us tonight for the conversation on extremism and bigotry with Kathleen Belew, a  foremost expert on this issue and KCRW’s Madeleine Brand, you can watch the full program at THIS PAST EVENTS LINK; it posts about 3 hours after the program ends and remains at that link indefinitely with all of our America at a Crossroads past programs.   Kathleen Belew painted a very stark picture of the white power movement in the US; she also said that the most important actions we can take to combat the white power movement are: (1) staying informed and speaking out ; (2) writing letters to the editor and comment on social media against those movement with facts to counter the lies; (3) attending school board and other public meetings to combat those attempting to bring white power ideas into the public square and our schools; (4) thinking creatively about organizing “truth commissions” or press public officials to ascertain and pursue the truth when white power bad behavior is likely or suspected.  

Next week, David Gergen will be in conversation with Warren Olney on the topic of LEADERSHIP: What does it take to be a Great Leader?  Gergen, a Harvard law Graduate and recipient of 27 honorary degrees, has served as senior advisor to 4 US Presidents (Nixon, Reagan, Ford and Clinton), and served as a senior advisor to Clinton’s Secretary of State Warren Christopher. He has served as the editor at large of US News and World Report, is currently a senior political analyst for CNN, and is the founding director of the Center for Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School. In Gergen’s recently released book, Hearts Touched With Fire: How Great Leaders are Made, he draws from his decades of up-close and personal experience with high level leaders, including the many Presidents he directly served, and synthesized his conclusions in this remarkable book.  In this review in the Washington Post Jonathan Suri notes that Gergen worked for four presidents….and he witnessed their strugles with leadership up close. In his remarkable new book he rejects universal models for leadership. His heroes come in all shapes and sizes, and include John F. Kennedy, George H.W. Bush, John Lewis, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Malala Yousafzai and Greta Thunberg.”  Gergen will be in conversation with award-winning broadcast journalist Warren Olney.  Register Here.

1. WHAT DOES THE FBI EXECUTION OF A SEARCH WARRANT AT MAR-A-LAGO MEANS FOR TRUMP
In this New Yorker interview, Isaac Chotiner discusses the implications of the execution of the search warrant at Mar-a-Lago with  former federal prosecutor and general counsel for the F.B.I, Andrew Weissman.  

2.  AMERICA’S MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS: YOUNG TEENAGE GIRLS ARE SUFFERING THE MOST
A few weeks ago social psychologist Jonathan Haidt spoke to America at a Crossroads about the mental health crisis among young teenage girls.  In this column from today’s Los Angeles TImes, Robin Abcarian writes: “By all indications, the incidence of depression and anxiety aong all children has surged dramatically…[T]he country is facing a youth mental crisis, exacerbated by the pandemic…[M]iddle school girls are having the hardest time of all, especially since the pandemic.”  Abcarian cites to an article published this week in the Washington Post which sheds further light on the special struggles for teen girls; the Post article notes thatt”[t]he most frequently discussed contributor to the rise in youth mental health problems is technology use.  Although overall reach into this link has been inconclusive, some studies suggest that girls seem to be particularly negatively affect by social media.”

3. JANE MAYER: STATE LEGISLATURES ARE TORCHING DEMOCRACY…even in moderate places like Ohio.In this remarkable analysis  in this week’s The New Yorker’s, Jane Mayer writes about the growing crisis of democracy at the hands of America’s state legislatures.  Mayer focuses on gerrymandering as being the major culprit in the collapse of representative democracy. In the article she interviews various Republican and Democratic activists and highlights the different ways they approach politics.   The Democrats, who believe that their views are popular amongst the majority of Americans, have focused on winning national elections.  The Republicans, evidently knowing that their views are less popular, have pursued a longer range strategy of controlling state houses through which they can control voting districts.  

4. CHRISTIAN NATIONALISM: HOW BIG OF A PROBLEM IS IT?
Christian Nationalism is a popular topic these days, made more popular by virtue of statements like this from Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Green:  “We need to be the party of nationalism. And I’m a Christian and I say it proudly — we should be Christian nationalists.”  Here is a transcript of a recent NY TImes conversation entitled “What’s God Got to Do With It? The Rise of Christian Nationalism in American Politics”. The conversation is hosted by Joan Coaston who engaged two experts at the heart of the Christian nationalism debate: Katherine Stewart, author of “The Power Worshippers: Inside the Dangerous Rise of Religious Nationalism” and Esau McCaulley, author and a contributing writer at the NY Times Opinion and theologian in residence at Progressive Baptist Church in Chicago. 

Dear Friend:

With the obvious prevalence of domestic extremist groups, including white supremacy & hate groups, next Wednesday’s America at a Crossroads program could not be more timely.  The program will feature Kathleen Belew, who has dedicated her career to studying and teaching about such hate groups and is widely considered one of the  foremost experts on this issue.  Is membership in domestic extremist groups on the rise since January 6th? Have the January 6th indictments, prosecutions and sentences made these domestic extremism groups more or less effective? Has the work of The January 6th Congressional Committee moved the needle in terms of holding extremists accountable for the insurrection and other aggressive conduct, or has it swelled their ranks? 

Kathleen Belew is a tenured professor of history at Northwestern University and University of Chicago, and an international authority on the white-power movement. She is the author of Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement and Paramilitary America (2019), and co-edited A Field Guide to White Supremacy.  She has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Daily Beast, CNN.com, and Dissent and has been a frequent CNN contributor.  She will be in conversation with award-winning journalist Madeleine Brand who hosts Press Play with NPR’s local Los Angeles affiliate, KCRW. Register Here.

THIE WEEK’S MIDTERM PRIMARY ELECTION RESULTS

    A.   Here is  NY Times article on what happened in Kansas, Missouri, Arizona and Washington 
    B.   Here is a column from the NY TImes with 5 takeaways from yesterday’s primaries
    C.   Here is a column from the Washington Post with 5 takeaways from yesterday’s primaries.

Both the NY Times and the Washington Post columns make the point that while it was a very good night for pro-choice Kansas, which certainly reflected an across-the state rejection of abortion bans among urban and suburban as well as Democrats and Republicans, the results in the 4 states also show that Trump or “Trumpism” still has a strong hold on the GOP.

August 3, 2022

Dear Friend:

We join in honoring the legacy and memory of the beloved Vin Scully.  He is remembered not only as the “Voice of the Dodgers”, but , with his iconic voice, came to be recognized and beloved across our nation; indeed, he became known, even by his fellow-baseball broadcasters, as the “Voice of Baseball”.  In the words of our JUDJ leadership team member, former LA County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, “His word was worth a thousand pictures.” Scully is also remembered by all as a kind and gentle human being….a mensch.  May his memory be a blessing. 
 
If you missed today’s program with Senator Gary Peters (D-MI), Chair of the Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee in conversation with the Los Angeles Times’ Pulitzer Prize winning columnist, Patt Morrison, 3 hours after the program ends it will be with all of our past programs at THIS PAST-EVENTS LINK.    

Apropos of today’s conversation about domestic extremism, next Wednesday we welcome Kathleen Belew to America at a Crossroads to continue this important discussion.  Have the January 6th indictments, prosecutions and sentencing made these domestic extremism groups more or less effective? Has  the work and hearings of The January 6th Congressional Committee moved the needle in terms of holding extremists accountable for the insurrection and other aggressive conduct?  Kathleen Belew is a tenured professor of history at Northwestern University and University of Chicago, and an international authority on the white-power movement. She is the author of Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement and Paramilitary America (2019), and co-edited A Field Guide to White Supremacy.  She has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Daily Beast, CNN.com, and Dissent and has been a frequent CNN contributor.  She will be in conversation with award-winning journalist Madeleine Brand who hosts Press Play with NPR’s local Los Angeles affiliate, KCRW. Register Here.

1. YESTERDAY’S MIDTERM PRIMARY ELECTION RESULTS

    A.   Here is this mornings NY Times article on what happened in Kansas, Missouri, Arizona and Washington 
    B.   Here is a column from this morning’s NY TImes with 5 takeaways from yesterday’s primaries
    C.   Here is a column from today’s Washington Post with 5 takeaways from yesterday’s primaries.
Both the NY Times and the Washington Post columns make the point that while it was a very good night for pro-choice Kansas, which certainly reflected an across-the state rejection of abortion bans among urban and suburban as well as Democrats and Republicans, the results in the 4 states also show that Trump or “Trumpism” still has a strong hold on the GOP.

2. GERRYMANDERING: THE POLITICIANS PICK THEIR VOTERS INSTEAD OF THE VOTERS PICKING THEIR POLITICIANS.
In this short article (Daily Comment) in this week’s New Yorker, Evan Osnos reports on a conversation he had with a retiring long-time US Congressman Jim Cooper, a centrist Tennessee Democrat,  whom Osnos reports, became a victim of a district “redrawn into oblivion”.  Osnos presents the demise of Cooper’s political career as a case study in the impact of partisanship and gerrymandering. “When Cooper entered Congress, Democrats held six of the nine districts in Tennessee; by January, they’ll likely be down to one. The Republicans redrew Cooper’s district into three G.O.P.-leaning districts ahead of this year’s midterm elections. He has been an avowed critic of gerrymandering and has introduced bills to ban it.”  The result notes Cooper is that the politicians are picking their voters rather than the voters picking their politicians.

3. SHOULD TRUMP BE PROSECUTED?
In this op ed from Sunday’s Washington Post, Jennifer Rubin responds to those who feel that a Justice Department indictment of former President Donald Trump would make the US look like a “banana republic”.  Rubin asserts that the decision as to whether prosecution of a past president is in the country’s long-term democratic interests rests with the president, as was the case with President Gerald Ford vis-a-vis former President Nixon. Rubin contends that what would turn the US into a “banana republic” is failure to hold leaders and a former president accountable for violating the country’s laws and constitution.