11:29 GMT +315 December 2017
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    How Progressives Can Expand Democracy NOW (Even in the Trump Years!)

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    Brad Friedman
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    On today's BradCast: Enough playing defense. It's time for Democrats to go on the offense, in states all across the country, to expand the franchise, in numerous ways, rather than simply defending against increasing Republican efforts to restrict voting rights. And where they won't, it's time for progressives to hold them accountable for it.

    Today I'm joined by Daniel Nichanian, election expert and post-doctoral fellow in political science at the University of Chicago to discuss his "Voting Rights Manifesto: A State-by-State Plan to Defend Democracy", as recently published in Vox.com's "Big Ideas" series.

    Nichanian explains where and how Democrats can and must take action, right now, even during the Trump years, to expand voting rights and access to the polls. Yes, it can (and must) be done in states across the country where Democrats still have control of legislatures and governorships. In many cases, as he describes, Dems don't even need to control both.

    No need to wait for and hope that Congressional Republicans to restore the Voting Rights Act, which they probably will never actually do. There are many ways for Democrats to expand voter registration (such as automatic universal registration and other reforms), expand the pool of those eligible to vote (restoring millions of felons' voting rights, for example), ways to make it easier to vote (early voting and easier access to absentee voting), and many other tools to take a proactive stand in the new year.

    "The Democratic Party has not been at the forefront of the voting rights issue in the past two years," Nichanian observes. "The issue has really come to a head since the wave of Republican takeovers of state houses in 2010 and 2014, when the Republican Party really prioritized, in state after state, putting in place a very ambitious and consistent agenda of its own to curtail voting rights. The extent to which the Republican Party has prioritized this issue, it keeps taking Democrats by surprise." But, he explains, "when the Democratic Party has power, in many places, they really don't get their act together to think about what has to be done on this issue, and actually get it done."

    We discuss how Democrats can do so. We also try and hold them accountable for not having done so to date in so many places where they should have by now —- even in places like New York and California. I'm hoping the conversation, and Nichanian's piece at Vox, might give us all something positive to work for in the new year, even at the same time as progressives build the resistance against the destructive, anti-democratic agenda of Donald Trump and the GOP.

    Also on today's show: Fox "News" wingnuts continue their climate change hoax; Democrats in North Carolina end up playing Charlie Brown to the state Republicans' Lucy — again. And, finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our year-end Green News Report as Obama, on his way out the door, bans off-shore oil drilling in large parts of the Atlantic and the Arctic, and not a moment too soon. The Arctic has turned freakishly warm over the past two months of what is likely to be the warmest year ever recorded on the planet (for the third year in a row). She also has some good news as the year wraps up, however: A new poll finds that Trump's voters actually support regulations on the burning of carbon that causes global warming and, something that even Trump can't change, solar power is now the world's cheapest form of energy. Take that, Big Oil, Big Coal and 2016!

    You can find Brad's previous editions here.

    And tune in to Radio Sputnik one hour a day, five days a week.

    Tags:
    solar, Voting Rights, rights and freedoms, clean energy, Fossil Fuels, Climate Change, Oil, LGBT, 2016 US Presidential Run, Republicans, Democrats, Fox News, Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Barack Obama, United States, North Carolina, California, New York
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