A quick note: This episode was recorded on October 31, 2020, before Election Day or any of the subsequent events surrounding the results or the transition process.
Like many Americans in the run up to the presidential election, we had politics on the brain, and our state of mind is reflected in this episode. After a quick check-in, we dive headlong into a discussion of the strong connection between money and politics in the US. First, in our Flipping the New segment, we examine the New York Times’ report on Trump’s tax documents, with brief digressions for beards, scamming, and the Constitution along the way. For the Main Event, we move beyond the soon-to-be ex-President’s taxes and business dealings to discuss the role that money has always played in US politics and all of the ways that money influences who holds political power. The Electoral College doesn’t meet until December 14, but even after the new administration takes office on January 20, 2021, huge questions remain: why is it so expensive to run for office? How representative can a democracy possibly be if elected officials are more likely to listen to a corporation than they are to their constituents? If it doesn’t have to be this way, what can we do to ensure that the US actually has a “government of, by, and for the people?”
Business organizations, including the US Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable are inserting themselves into public conversation about the upcoming election, releasing an open letter asking voters to “trust the process” amid what could be weeks or months of uncertainty about the results. [this is, of course, a preemptive attempt to head off social unrest around the election, which could be bad for business domestically and internationally].
How the Federal Election Commission limits political contributions
From the Associated Press: Judges in Florida rule that all of the people previously convicted of felonies who had their right to vote restored with the passage of Amendment 4 in 2018 will need to pay all court and legal fees, fines, and restitution associated with their cases before being allowed to cast a ballot.
Protect the Sacred founder Allie Young talks to Harpers Bazaar about organizing “Ride to the Polls,” an initiative aimed at increasing turnout among young Native American voters, the power of early voting on horseback, and the barriers to voting that still exist for Indigenous communities across the US.(Harper’s Bazaar)
The important role of the Navajo Nation in turning Arizona blue.