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Gerrymandering Victory! Ax the Max!

Young activist, Katie Fahey tells us the inspiring story of how she was able to organize a left/right coalition to end gerrymandering in her home state of Michigan. And Paul Hudson, the head of Flyers’ Rights tells us how and why the FAA has re-approved the faulty Boeing 737 Max.

Katie Fahey served as founder and Executive Director of Voters Not Politicians, a grassroots, nonpartisan campaign that ran a successful effort to end gerrymandering in Michigan. Now, Ms. Fahey is Executive Director of The People, a nonprofit organization committed to sharing the lessons learned in her home state. The People gather and empowers everyday Americans to find common ground and take action to create a more responsive government of, by, and for the people.

“In Michigan, our state legislature is so gerrymandered that really for the last ten years even though pretty consistently over 50% have voted for Democrats we have had a supermajority in our state house and state senate with Republicans. The bills you’re trying to pass don’t resonate with the people who live here. The Republicans basically didn’t have to talk to a single Democrat to pass anything that they wanted.”

Katie Fahey, Executive Director of The People

 

“Redistricting is going to happen whether we like it or not. And it is going to have an impact. These election maps are going to be drawn this year and are going to be stuck in place until 2031. So, anything you can do to try and make that process more fair, more transparent, make sure that your voice is at least being heard, has such a higher chance of having an impact that will guarantee future generations of voters have more equitable elections. I would just say it’s so worth the investment.”

Katie Fahey, Executive Director of The People

“Now we have gerrymandering in many states and it’s quite clear that both parties engage in it, but in the last ten years the Republicans have far outpaced the Democrats in state after state. Which in effect secures them safe seats.”

Ralph Nader

“The purpose of gerrymandering is it torpedoes a competitive democracy.”

Ralph Nader

Paul Hudson has been a groundbreaking public interest advocate for over thirty years: In the 1970s in energy and utility policy, in the 1980s for crime victim rights, in the 1990s to 2012 for air travelers and terrorist victims. He led the Pan Am 103/Lockerbie bombing victim family organization and the Aviation Consumer Action Project. Today, he is the president of Flyers Rights, which is keeping on top of the Boeing 737 MAX story.

“The [Boeing 737 MAX] plane may be unfixable. That’s the fundamental problem.

Paul Hudson, President of Flyer’s Rights

“The primary blame has to be with Boeing urging Congress to essentially delegate safety to them. They persuaded that on both sides of the aisle. It also of course lies with the FAA itself. We have one administrator after another who either ignores the problems or kowtows to Boeing. And we have the lack of any oversight by the Executive Branch generally.”

Paul Hudson, President of Flyer’s Rights

“That’s the one thing the patsy FAA and the arrogant Boeing corporation cannot stop us from doing. They can influence Congress. They can influence the FAA and the Department of Transportation. They cannot stop a consumer boycott, which the airlines are very, very sensitive to.”

Ralph Nader

Ralph Nader Radio Hour Ep 350 Transcript (Right click to download)

14 Comments

  1. Vesselina Traptcheva says:

    Hi,
    The podcast is not in the segment. Could you please post it?
    Best,
    Vesselina

  2. Peter m Stema says:

    So where is the down load button?

  3. Peter m Stema says:

    its up now!!!!!!
    Thank you

  4. Afdal Shahanshah says:

    It’s interesting that she encountered any sort of resistance from her local League of Women Voters considering they have had a national campaign called People Powered Fair Maps for the last few years. I wonder what the substantive criticisms were.

    Also wanna point out that districts will never be truly fair to minority parties because single-winner districts with plurality-vote elections are inherently marginalizing to them. Ending gerrymandering should not end the struggle. It may make the two-party system more competitive and seemingly legitimate but it does nothing to make more than two options on a ballot more competitive. To do that with single-winner districts you need to adopt better voting methods like Approval, Score, or STAR voting (“instant runoff voting” is insufficient). And finally the ultimate cure to gerrymandering is proportional representation with large multi-winner districts, which completely eliminates even the potential for regional favor for a particular party and any incentive to gerrymander.

    Movement for a People’s Party is a total grift by a lifelong political consultant. They had four years to put their money where their founder’s mouth was since 2016 and came up with zero ballot access in 2020 and a convention seemingly timed to kill other third party enthusiasm and wherein half its speakers turned around and told people to vote for Biden when it was over. They explicitly rejected involvement from Greens for being “too radical”. Despite pretensions of being some sort of big tent party to unite the left, that makes them the actual sectarian project and it’s one of the very worst kind: an attempt to appeal to centrist middle class voters whose entire class has become an endangered species.

  5. Giordano Franchetti says:

    Dear Ralph,
    I have followed you a lot these previous 4 years. I’m a US/Italian dual national. Admittedly I never read one of your books but its because I simply don’t read much and that is very ignorant and wrong.
    My mother preferred to spend 8 years of maximum security prison (much in solitarity and experiencing torture) than to admit on being wrong for her socialist beliefs of the non violent movement she created in the 70s in Italy.
    You, Ralph, have lived a life sacrificing your life for the rights of the people in having a governing system for and by them.
    The result is being shunned by society; she endured and incredibly became a emeritus professor of computer science of Sapienza state University and the first woman to become a professor with her research laboratory in Italy, after being imprisoned l(she was comparingly a bin laden of Italy as she was accused initially for having killed Aldo Moro, a kind of JF Kennedy of Italy)
    My friends parents didn’t want me in their houses for probably the knowledge of articles depicting my mother as a terrorist.
    Her imprisonment lead her to my self imprisonment at home for the love of her, as I became a violin concert soloist and didn’t go to school but to conservatory.
    I’d like to hear your opinion on how society generally deals with the people who knowingly sacrifice their life for the good of the people and how it therefore get shunned; how we erect people as saviours like an Al gore flying around the world with private jets for the good of the environment, how Obama would say he is for the people after having had your own citizens controlled or drinking water in flynt that wasn’t from there. How do you get your head around this endless hack of reality? Things don’t seem like they got better since the fifties, you can make many arguments of how worst it is now.

    • Demetrio says:

      Uuuhhh, I remember reading about the red brigades, Aldo Moro, etc. in the newspapers of the 1970s. I was very young so didn’t know about particular ideologies. Sorry to hear about your mother’s treatment. That said, the Italian left in those years perpetrated acts of violence that were unacceptable. Today, in the US, we have their descendants, the Antifa/anarchist crowd who should be dealt with harshly but won’t happened because democratic mayors, governors, etc. are afraid of the blm mob.

  6. Mark Hughes says:

    David is exactly right regarding actors selling themselves and nothing else. They’re actors! Or perhaps more accurately considering America’s empty culture, they’re celebrities! They sell nothing but themselves.

    Regardless, I also see this phenomenon existing among politicians. Remember Hillary in 2016? She sold nothing other than she’s a woman and she’s not Trump. That was it. Biden was the same way during this go-around, he’s not Trump and he wears a mask. That was all there was to him. Had Trump just given another round of stimulus checks, he likely would have won a second term. That’s all it would have taken to beat Biden, who, like the rest of the Democratic Party including the Squad, is an empty suit.They’re entire schtick to the American people is that they’re not the Republicans and they’re obsessed with virtue signaling. Even AOC has turned into a zero.

    Our electoral system is strange, to put a different kind of word on it. It’s one in which if candidate A loses to candidate B, then candidate A must really suck. Likewise, if candidate B loses to candidate A, then candidate B must really suck. It’s warped, and frankly this might be the last election cycle I participate in. Walking out of a voting precinct is like walking out of a cathouse without sex but you paid anyway. What was the point of going there to begin with?

    • Demetrio says:

      Agree with everything you said. By the way, Trumpo did want to send out another check, but was stymied. Now, while Rome burns, Pelosi eats designer ice cream.

  7. Don Harris says:

    Thank you for commenting on the MPP. While they may not be concentrating on one issue, there is one issue they are not concentrating on at all- big money corrupting our political process.

    They may provide some future legislative attempts at getting big money out of our political process, but are not doing anything about it now.

    Getting big money out of our political process cannot be accomplished with legislation (including Constitutional amendments).

    The reason big money in our political process is a problem is that the big money legislators only pass legislation designed to benefit the big money interests. The big money interests have no interest in getting big money out of our political process.

    In order to pass legislation to get the big money out of politics we first have to replace the big money legislators with small donor legislators. The problem has to be solved BEFORE legislation to solve the problem can be passed.

    Citizens need to work together on this one issue to demand small donor candidates and enforce that demand with their votes.

    We need to demand the MPP candidates and all candidates from all parties run small donor campaigns (no more than 200 dollars from any one donor per election cycle-200 primary 200 general) to earn our votes and cast write in votes if there are no small donor candidates on the ballot to create and demonstrate demand for small donor candidates.

    I have set up a website (www.onedemand.org) for citizens to use to declare this is how they will be voting and to pledge contributions to small donor candidates.

    This will let other citizens know how they will be voting to encourage other citizens to participate and will inspire candidates to make the small donor commitment to get the votes and money of the participants.

    Basic democracy.

    Note: the money pledged to candidates on the website will not be funneled through the organization. The participants will contribute directly to candidates.

    This can also have an effect on gerrymandering before 2030.

    With just 10-20% of voters nationally participating in 2022 there will be some congressional districts below the 10-20% average and some districts above the average.

    In districts at or above the average there could be independent or third party small donor candidates running against the big money candidates from the Current Major Parties (or more accurately the two divisions of the one current major party). While most small donor candidates may not get enough to win in 2022, they could take enough votes to flip a gerrymandered district to the other CMP or come in second above the token candidate from the party in a district gerrymandered for the other party.

    This will demonstrate that the gerrymandered districts are not invincible and will inspire more citizens to participate in 2024 and make it possible for more small donor only candidates to win in 2024.

    It is even possible that small donor candidates can win primaries for both CMPs so citizens could choose between two or three small donor candidates in the general elections instead of only having a choice of two big money candidates (where only one has a realistic chance of winning), voting for an independent or third party candidate that can’t win or not voting at all.

    I have been trying to get you to comment on this approach since before there was an MPP.

    It is everything you often say citizens need to do.

    I have followed your advice on how to get someone such as yourself to address an issue/idea but it has not worked on you yet.

    You even said on your 10-24-2018 Washington Journal appearance (about 13 minutes in) that you would have me on the radio hour to discuss this idea. Over two years later you have not even addressed it through listeners questions as I was told you had decided to to do when I followed up as instructed.

    The 2022 elections currently provide the best opportunity to have this approach be effective in congressional elections as there is no presidential election to distract voters and turnout is generally lower making the 10-20% of presidential election cycle voters a bigger percentage of the vote. ( a better opportunity was 2018 but you decided to pass on that opportunity.)

    This is not something that can be fully effective in just one election cycle, but it can be fully effective much faster than the 10-20 years (best case scenario) it would take to make the MPP competitive.

    But we need to start it now so we can have at least 10% of voters registered to participate by January of 2021 to have an effect on the 2022 primaries.

    If you are not ready to take available action now, couldn’t you at least explain why you will not address this approach/idea?

  8. David Faubion says:

    Gerrymandering is a pejorative term code word for the wholesale vandalizing of democracy. The use of the word ‘re-districting’ tries to hide the fact that political hacks are doing serious injury to our democracy via the sedative name of such an innocuous noun. Voters know that there is nothing wrong with their district, but that the so-called implied repair of it will kill their democracy of it. No wonder so many of us don’t vote.

    Yeah for the sea-change organizing of Michigan’s Katie Fahey and The People.

    • David K Faubion says:

      “Hey Dave, Senator Mitch MCConnell here and I will raise your pejoratives by a coupla hyperboles. Yes, that’s absolutely right, I am the Re-dicker of Voting Districts in Chief. Check and mate to ya little feller!”
      “Mitch, I will see your re-dicking of our right to free and fair elections in the highest court of the land–the court of public opinion, which already reveals you to the world for what you are–a common variety of vandal greedhead trashing our democracy, The People’s forum.. Time for you, Mitch the terrible, to lawyer up, not that anything will help you save you but an about face.”
      “Say Dave, me and the missus is haven’ a Black Friday “Black Car Sale” over’t the Department as a sorta fundraiser for the Boss’ legal defense fund. See ya thar, little buddy? We got a fleet of some really fine jet black Hummer limos, some real atmosphere cooling smoke-mobile heatsinkin stinkers. Let’s rock n roll the ecology, eh?!?!

  9. David Faubion says:

    Boeing with its 737 Max scandal has gone from a source of corporate pride to become another blatant speculative gambler wagering with its consumer’s lives and sanity–for the sake of ugly, gross profit and market share. How do the Boeing execs, even the Boeing labor, sleep at night with all the wet, sticky blood on their hands?

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