Best of the Left Podcast

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Original Air Date 11/10/2020

Today we take a look at the long and shifting history of the myth of democracy in America. We've never had it since the beginning but the reasons have shifted, ebbed and flowed over time. Now, in the midst of an attempted slow-motion coup, we look back at this most central American myth.

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Ch. 1: "Let the People Pick the President" The Case for Abolishing the Electoral College - Democracy Now! - Air Date 10-30-20

Two of the last three presidents — George W. Bush and Donald Trump — came to office after losing the popular vote. "The Framers who met at the Constitutional Convention really had no idea what they were doing when they established how to pick a president"

Ch. 2: The Second Revolution - Scene On Radio - Air Date 2-19-20

After the Civil War, a surprising coalition tried to remake the United States into a real multiracial democracy for the first time. Reconstruction, as the effort was called, brought dramatic change to America. For a while.

Ch. 3: Democracy: Past, Present... and Future? - The Laura Flanders Show - Air Date 6-26-19

Don't remember the past? Does that mean you're condemned to repeat it? What does our country's past tell us about our present— and how can it help us imagine a better future? This week, two leading thinkers on the tricky challenges of democracy.

Ch. 4: More Democracy - Scene on Radio - Air Date 6-10-20

What will it take to make the United States a more fully-functioning democracy, and how can we, as citizens, bring about that change?
By host and producer John Biewen, with series collaborator Chenjerai Kumanyika.

Ch. 5: Our democracy no longer represents the people. Here's how we fix it - TEDx - Air Date 10-20-15

Harvard Professor Lawrence Lessig makes the case that our democracy has become corrupt with money, leading to inequality that means only 0.02% of the United States population actually determines who's in power.

Ch. 6: The Right's Long History of Ignoring the Will of the People - On the Media - Air Date 11-6-20

Rick Perlstein, historian of American conservatism and author, most recently, of Reaganland: America's Right Turn 1976-1980, has tracked this anti-majoritarian current in the American right for centuries.

Ch. 7: The Republicans' War on Voting Rights, Protesting and Democracy - Some More News - Air Date 10-22-18

In this week's episode of Some More News, we do a deep dive on the Republicans' attacks on our voting rights, our right to protest and, well, Democracy. Which is bad and not good.

Ch. 8: Schooled for Democracy - Scene on Radio - Air Date 5-13-20

In most American schools, children *hear about *democracy, but don’t get to *practice *it. What would a more engaged brand of civics education look like?

Ch. 9: The Crises of American Democracy & What to Do About Them w/ Suzanne Mettler - The Majority Report - Air Date 9-22-20

Sam hosts Cornell Professor of American Institutions Suzanne Mettler to discuss her latest book, Four Threats: The Recurring Crises of American Democracy and what we can learn from history to understand American democracy's vulnerabilities.


Ch. 10: Changing the caucus party - Erin from Philly

Ch. 11: What happens if they somehow steal the election? - Nick from California


Ch. 12: Final comments on action being the only antidote to anxiety

MUSIC (Blue Dot Sessions):

  • Opening Theme: Loving Acoustic Instrumental by John Douglas Orr 
  • Voicemail Music: Low Key Lost Feeling Electro by Alex Stinnent
  • Activism Music: This Fickle World by Theo Bard
  • Closing Music: Upbeat Laid Back Indie Rock by Alex Stinnent


Produced by Jay! Tomlinson

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