DiscoverFuture Hindsight
Future Hindsight

Future Hindsight

Author: Mila Atmos

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Now more than ever, the need to be an engaged citizen is critical. Future Hindsight presents interviews that explore how each of us has the power to shape our society and fulfill our shared civic responsibility.
126 Episodes
Proposition 22 Prop 22, the most expensive California ballot initiative in history, carves out app-based gig economy workers as a new employee class that lacks the benefits and protections that other workers in California get. Prop 22 also makes it more difficult for drivers and delivery workers to unionize. Uber, Lyft, Doordash, and other app-based services threatened their workers with lack of flexibility and job loss. They also spent more than $200M to persuade voters. The passage of Prop 22 is a significant loss for labor law, and copycat legislation in other states is already following. Taxi Unions The San Francisco chauffeurs’ union was powerful and effective because it had 100% participation from taxi drivers and built a strong collective identity for drivers. It even had a union hall! Unions negotiated fair contracts – wages and hours – and prevented oversaturation in the taxi market. For most of the 20th century, US taxi drivers were unionized. Today, most app-based drivers are completely atomized, lack tools to communicate with each other, and don’t see driving as a craft identity. Laws and Regulations Since the 1930s, taxi work was considered a public utility. In San Francisco, the Taxi Commission regulated fares and worker supply in order to ensure a living wage. Although the San Francisco Taxi Commission is disbanded, the Municipal Transportation Agency could again take up regulation and supply management. In addition, employment protection should be strengthened by including proper unemployment and work place insurance. Find out more: Veena Dubal is a law professor at UC Hastings. Her research focuses on the intersection of law, technology, and precarious work. Within this broad frame, she uses empirical methodologies and critical theory to understand (1) the impact of digital technologies and emerging legal frameworks on the lives of workers, (2) the co-constitutive influences of law and work on identity, and (3) the role of law and lawyers in solidarity movements. Professor Dubal has been cited by the California Supreme Court, and her scholarship has been published in top-tier law review and peer-reviewed journals, including the California Law Review, Wisconsin Law Review, Berkeley Journal of Empirical and Labor Law, and Perspectives on Politics. Based on over a decade of ethnographic and historical study, Professor Dubal is currently writing a manuscript on how five decades of shifting technologies and emergent regulatory regimes changed the everyday lives and work experiences of ride-hail drivers in San Francisco. Professor Dubal joined the Hastings Faculty in 2015, after a post-doctoral fellowship at Stanford University (also her undergraduate alma mater). Prior to that, Professor Dubal received her J.D. and Ph.D. from UC Berkeley, where she conducted an ethnography of the San Francisco taxi industry. The subject of her doctoral research arose from her work as a public interest attorney and Berkeley Law Foundation fellow at the Asian Law Caucus where she founded a taxi worker project and represented Muslim Americans in civil rights cases. You can follow her on Twitter @veenadubal We've started a referral program! Refer us to your friends to get a free button or Moleskine notebook. Please use this link to get your personal referral code:, which you can then forward to your friends.
Monopolies are Anti-Democratic A monopoly is a company that has the power to set the terms of interactions, from the pricing of consumer goods to interactions with suppliers and resolving disputes. The most insidious and anti-democratic example is private arbitration, a judicial system where the parties to the suit pay the judges. Large companies force employees and even customers to litigate all grievances through arbitration courts, making a mockery of justice and infringing upon our civil rights. In essence, monopolies exert a form of private governing power and control over citizens within our democracy. US History of Trust-Busting America has a long history of trust-busting, dating back to the late 19th century. At that time, thousands of antitrust leagues around the country verified that companies were not controlling large market shares. Anti-monopolism was once a vital facet of American political activism, and it could be again. US antitrust law still exists; it just isn't being enforced—and hasn't been since Reagan's administration. The Biden-Harris administration could start enforcing existing laws, which would create a sea-change in the antitrust landscape. We have the tools to break up monopolies, but we lack the political and organizational will-power. Chickenization Chickenization refers to the ways large poultry distributors subjugate independent chicken farmers who depend on them to bring their chickens to market. These regional monopolies exercise immense control over these farmers by forcing them to use their feed, abide by their coup house specifications, and accept the equivalent of poverty wages. They also require arbitration contracts, ban communication between farmers, and retaliate against farmers who break the rules. Other sectors of the economy are following suit: delivery apps control restaurants and ride-share apps control taxi drivers. Find out more: Zephyr Teachout is an Associate Law Professor and has taught at Fordham Law School since 2009. In addition to Break ‘Em Up: Recovering Our Freedom from Big Ag, Big Tech, and Big Money, she published Corruption in America: From Benjamin Franklin’s Snuff Box to Citizens’ United and has written dozens of law review articles and essays. Teachout was a death penalty defense lawyer at the Center for Death Penalty Litigation in North Carolina. She co-founded a non-profit dedicated to providing trial experience to new law school graduates. She is known for her pioneering work in internet organizing and was the Sunlight Foundation's first National Director. She grew up in Vermont and received her BA from Yale in English and then graduated summa cum laude from Duke Law School, where she was the Editor-in-Chief of the Law Review. She also received an MA in Political Science from Duke. She clerked for Chief Judge Edward R. Becker of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. She ran unsuccessfully for New York State Attorney General in 2018, for Congress's 19th Congressional District in 2016, and for the Democratic nomination of the Governor of New York in 2014. You can follow her on Twitter @ZephyrTeachout. We've started a referral program! Refer us to your friends to get a free button or Moleskine notebook. Please use this link to get your personal referral code:, which you can then forward to your friends.
Keynes's Goals Keynes concerned himself with his day's most significant problems: WWI and WWII, the rise of fascism and revolution, and the Great Depression in the United States. He believed that assuaging fears about an uncertain future was most important, and that a more equal society would also be more secure from deflation, deprivation, and dictatorship. He aimed for policies that would grapple with crisis and uncertainty. Economics as Politics Keynes firmly believed that economics was an extension of politics and government, not a separate entity that existed outside of the governmental sphere of influence. Governments needed to manage their economies to ensure success, by controlling wages and working conditions, as well as setting interest rates and fiscal policy. Economics and monetary policy were political tools to achieve healthy and stable societies. A Keynesian Future A Keynesian in the incoming Biden administration would prioritize solving the problems of climate change, COVID, and economic inequality through a large-scale project like FDR’s New Deal. Together with traditional infrastructure spending, decarbonizing our economy would require massive public works efforts similar to the New Deal’s WPA, creating millions of new jobs, buoying the working class, and mitigating income inequality. Find out more: Zachary D. Carter is a senior reporter at HuffPost, where he covers economic policy and American politics. He is a frequent guest on cable news and whose work has appeared in The New Republic, The Nation, and The American Prospect, among other outlets. He is also the author of The Price of Peace: Money, Democracy, and the Life of John Maynard Keynes, which was just selected as one of the Ten Best Books of the Year by Publishers Weekly. Carter began his career at SNL Financial (now a division of S&P Global), where he was a banking reporter during the financial crisis of 2008. He wrote features about macroeconomic policy, regional economic instability, and the bank bailouts, but his passion was for the complex, arcane world of financial regulatory policy. He covered the accounting standards that both fed the crisis and shielded bank executives from its blowback, detailed the consumer protection abuses that consumed the mortgage business and exposed oversight failures at the Federal Reserve and other government agencies that allowed reckless debts to pile up around the world. Carter graduated from the University of Virginia, where he studied philosophy and politics. He lives in Brooklyn, New York. You can follow him on Twitter @zachdcarter. We've started a referral program! Refer us to your friends to get a free button or Moleskine notebook. Please use this link to get your personal referral code:, which you can then forward to your friends.
Season 12 Trailer

Season 12 Trailer


This is a thought-provoking season of visionary and practical ideas to reimagine our future in a post pandemic and post trump world. We cover everything from needing to be civically engaged all the time, which is to say in between elections, education, policing our communities, and having the courage to think big when it comes to rebuilding our economy.
Civic Engagement Online and In-Person Technology can make participating in democracy easier than ever before because it’s scalable and makes it possible for everyone’s voices to be heard. However, civic engagement must also be done with human connection and in person, like in community conversations, town halls, and organizing. IssueVoter uses its online platform to motivate users to perform civic engagement in the real world. Thirty percent of IssueVoter users say the platform is the reason they voted, showing that the more information the user has, the more he or she is motivated to take action. Fostering Accountability IssueVoter fosters civic engagement in between elections by making it easier for users to know what bills are being proposed in Congress, and sending their opinions on those bills to their representatives. Then, users are informed how their representatives voted. It turns out that representatives aren’t always in alignment with their constituents. Knowing how your elected representatives voted is key to holding them accountable. In fact, 33% of users have changed their voting decisions based on IssueVoter information. IssueVoter stresses the importance of primary elections to vote for candidates in line with your values. Policy Impacts Lives We need to do a better job of connecting the dots between public policy and politics. Policies are created and enacted by the politicians we elect. All policies, ranging from healthcare to education, impact all of us, regardless of who we voted for or whether we voted at all. IssueVoter helps us understand how our elected politicians vote on policy matters and bills in Congress so that we know whether they are representing us and whether we should vote for them again. Find out more: Maria Yuan is the Founder of IssueVoter. an innovative non-profit and non-partisan platform that offers everyone a voice in our democracy by making civic engagement accessible, efficient, and impactful. The time between elections is when the work that impacts our lives gets done. IssueVoter answers the question, “The election is over, now what?” Individuals use IssueVoter to get alerts about new bills related to issues they care about, send opinions to their Representative before Congress votes, and track how often s/he represents them. In partnership with companies, organizations, and candidates, IssueVoter encourages year-round civic engagement with their employees, customers, members, or constituents. Maria’s political experience includes introducing and passing a bill as a constituent, working in a State Representative’s office in Texas, and managing and winning one of the most targeted races in Iowa – an open seat in a swing district. Maria earned degrees from The Wharton School at The University of Pennsylvania and The University of Texas at Austin. Maria’s writing has appeared in Huffington Post and The Hill, and she has spoken at SXSW, The Social Innovation Summit, Shearman & Sterling, UBS, NYU, and the University of Pennsylvania. You can follow IssueVoter on Twitter @IssueVoter. We’re starting a referral program this week! Refer us to your friends to get a free button or Moleskine notebook. Please use this link to get your personal referral code:
October Surprise The term ‘October Surprise’ refers to a type of dirty trick that comes so late in the election calendar that a candidate does not have the time or space to respond, and voters don’t have the time to consider what it might mean. Comey’s letter to Congress a mere 11 days before Election Day 2016, announcing a renewed investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails, is one of the most significant October Surprises on record. Trump contracting COVID-19 in October does not fit the description because a political opponent or third party did not orchestrate it; it was merely a surprising event in October. Restoring Trust in the FBI In the aftermath of 9/11, the FBI pivoted from criminal justice to national security. National Security agents soon came to run the bureau, instead of agents whose focus was on law enforcement, including in high-profile political cases. Comey’s security-focused inner circle lacked the insight of agents with such expertise, who might have cautioned him against his investigations and actions in 2016. To regain America’s trust, the FBI must reinvest in their public corruption and public integrity offices, demonstrating they have the leadership to stay impartial in elections, political investigations, and high-profile cases of public importance. Lessons from 2016 Though Comey’s ill-advised letter helped tip the scales in Trump’s favor, some of the onus falls on the voting public who were prone to believing in conspiracy theories and fake news stories. We need to bolster a healthy skepticism of our leaders, teach more civic engagement, and reemphasize the importance of critical thinking over blind devotion. Giving Americans the tools to rationally analyze news stories is vital to remedying our collective failure in 2016 and providing a better future for our democracy. Find out more: Devlin Barrett writes about the FBI and the Justice Department for the Washington Post and is the author of October Surprise: How the FBI Tried to Save Itself and Crashed an Election. He was part of a team that won a Pulitzer Prize in 2018 for National Reporting, for coverage of Russian interference in the U.S. election. In 2017 he was a co-finalist for both the Pulitzer for Feature Writing and the Pulitzer for International Reporting. He has covered federal law enforcement for more than 20 years, and has worked at The Wall Street Journal, The Associated Press, and the New York Post. You can follow him on Twitter @DevlinBarrett. We’re starting a referral program this week! Refer us to your friends to get a free button or Moleskine notebook. Please use this link:
Legitimacy Hitler is one of the early modern autocrats for whom legitimacy was crucial to his claim to power. He recognized the importance of including the people and representing himself as presenting the will of the people. Being legitimately elected provided Hitler with a mandate to propagate Nazi ideology within Germany and beyond, and build a popular mass movement. Hitler’s example continues to serve as a model in fascist politics today. Popularity Hitler enjoyed immense popularity, which he carefully cultivated and constantly orchestrated in public appearances. He built a reputation as a mythic Führer who could do no wrong. If something were wrong, his followers would commonly say that Hitler must not know about it because if he did, he would fix it. He portrayed himself as always striving for Germans on Germany’s behalf. General belief of Hitler's greatness was so impeccably maintained that it became nearly impossible to shake in the masses. Ideology Hitler firmly believed in the superiority of National Socialism as an ideology. In fact, he wanted to fundamentally change his society's norms to align with those of Nazism – such as the primacy of Aryans and euthanasia for useless eaters – and replace Christianity as the dominant belief system in Germany. By using propaganda and the aesthetics of consensus around National Socialist thought, he and his ministers worked to ensure Germans were deeply internalizing Nazi beliefs so they would be Nazis both in public and even in private when no one was watching. Find out more: Nathan Stoltzfus is the Dorothy and Jonathan Rintels Professor of Holocaust Studies at Florida State University and author or editor of seven books, including Hitler’s Compromises: Coercion and Consensus in Nazi Germany and Resistance of the Heart. Resistance of the Heart was the Fraenkel Prize co-winner and a New Statesman Book of the Year and prize winner of Munich’s Besten Liste for nonfiction. His work has been translated into German, French, Swedish, Greek, Turkish, and Russian. Stoltzfus has been a long-term member of the faculty of the National Judicial College. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard in 1993, and has been a Fulbright and IREX scholar in East as well as West Germany, a Friedrich Ebert Stiftung grantee, a DAAD research scholar, a Humboldt German American Center for Visiting Scholars grantee, and a H.F. Guggenheim Foundation Scholar as well as a Florida State University “Developing Scholar.” His work has formed a basis for several films, and he has published in the Atlantic Monthly, the Daily Beast, Der Spiegel, The American Scholar, and Die Zeit.  His current book projects include the study of the memories of World War II as a basis for national myths and social cohesion. You can follow him on Twitter @nate_stoltzfus.
Hashtag Activism Black Lives Matter is the epitome of ‘hashtag activism.’ #BLM is a native social media activist movement that started on the internet and builds support for itself there. #BLM combines traditional protest with online activism, allowing people to express support on social media without necessarily going to a protest. This has proven to reveal wide-spread support for #BLM, amplifying and mainstreaming the group’s cause. Low overhead actions like retweets, Instagram stories, and Facebook posts helped the movement grow meaningfully. Politicians on Social Media Lawmakers are increasingly turning to social media as a campaign strategy. The most successful congressmembers, like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, are able to humanize themselves, put forth policies, connect with constituents, and build a broader base of support. Others, such as Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, have struggled to gain a solid footing online. The COVID-19 pandemic has intensified the need for a powerful social media presence, which has been challenging for new candidates who cannot capitalize on in-person events to grow their online following.  Social Media and Politics Social media has opened up new ways to participate in politics. Previously, gate-keeping legacy media controlled most of the coverage surrounding politics. Users can now directly analyze and interpret world events, policies, and politics. Unfortunately, social media also accounts for a vast array of misinformation, disinformation, and hyper partisanship. While social media can make us feel more involved and optimistic about what’s possible in demanding accountability and good governance, it can also feel overwhelming to be inundated with an endless stream of bad news. Find out more: Alice E. Marwick is Associate Professor of Communication and a Principal Researcher at the Center for Information Technology and Public Life at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she researches the social, political, and cultural implications of popular social media technologies. Marwick is also a Faculty Advisor to the Media Manipulation project at the Data & Society Research Institute, which studies far-right online subcultures and their use of social media to spread misinformation.  Her first book, Status Update: Celebrity, Publicity and Branding in the Social Media Age (Yale 2013), draws from ethnographic fieldwork in the San Francisco tech scene to examine how people seek social status through attention and visibility online. Marwick was formerly Director of the McGannon Communication Research Center and Assistant Professor of Communication and Media Studies at Fordham University, and a postdoctoral researcher in the Social Media Collective at Microsoft Research New England. You can follow her on Twitter @alicetiara.
Democracy at Work Our work lives are an important place to practice democracy. Union members learn negotiation and problem solving skills to determine wages and working conditions. They have a voice when voting on a contract. The decline in union participation coincides with the decline in American civic life. Promoting more workplace democracy also increases civic engagement in America. Digital Labor Organizing offers digital tools to help non-union workers mobilize around the country. Digital organizing has successfully won wage increases, scheduling reform, and parental leave benefits. Digital advocacy is meant to work in tandem with more established trade unions and regulatory bodies. Organized labor has a long history of experimenting with different paths to success, and digital organizing represents an exciting new chapter. Worker Voice Workers should have a say in their working conditions, industry standards, mechanisms for whistleblowing, and in negotiating their wages. Making worker voices heard, especially in the gig economy, is key to eliminating precarity in the workplace. Almost all Americans are currently “at-will” employees, meaning they can be fired at any time without cause. Removing this status would create more stable work environments and give workers agency. Find out more: Jess Kutch is the co-founder of, a platform that deploys digital tools, data, and strategies to help people improve their work lives. Since its founding in 2013, has catalyzed the growth of global, independent employee networks advancing wins like paid parental leave benefits at Netflix, scheduling reform at Starbucks, and wage increases for workers at a Southern restaurant chain. In 2015, hosted the first-ever digital townhall at the White House on the future of worker voice with President Obama. A digital innovator, Kutch has 15 years’ experience working at the intersection of technology and social change. Prior to launching, she led a team at in raising the company’s profile around the world and inspiring hundreds of thousands of people to launch and lead their own efforts on the platform. Kutch also spent five years at the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) where she pioneered digital strategies for the labor movement. Jess Kutch is an Echoing Green Global Fellow and J.M. Kaplan Innovation Prize winner. You can follow Jess on Twitter @jess_kutch
Civics Club: Adam Cohen

Civics Club: Adam Cohen


Wondering what being a member of our Civics Club is like on Patreon? Well, here’s a free look at our bonus content from our talk this week with Adam Cohen! Each week we take time to ask our guests personal questions about their involvement with democracy, why they’re so engaged, and maybe even who inspired them. The questions change every week, so make sure to join The Civics Club so you never miss another round of bonus questions.
Supreme Court’s Agenda Although we are taught to believe the Supreme Court is a neutral institution whose primary concern is justice, it is actually an extremely powerful legal body with its own agenda. For the last 50 years, that agenda has been staunchly conservative. Instead of functioning as a check on executive and legislative powers, it operates as its own power building machine, often making decisions that favor itself or the conservative lawmakers who put a majority of the justices in power. The Supreme Court is confident in its position and its conservative views, and has no qualms about overruling democratic decisions to keep itself—and conservative lawmakers—in power. Far-Reaching Impacts Decisions made by the Supreme Court have long and far-reaching consequences. On the positive side, single Supreme Court decisions helped desegregate American schools, create due process protections like Miranda Rights, and legalize same-sex marriages. At the same time, the conservative Supreme Court has greatly inflated the power of corporations over ordinary citizens; consistently ruled against the poor and welfare rights; and allowed our electoral system to become overrun by powerful interests with their campaign finance rulings. Their decisions have very real consequences for everyday Americans, whether we all understand that or not. Anti-Poor With the exception of the progressive Warren Court of the 1950-60s, the Supreme Court has showed itself to be antagonistic towards America’s poor. It has continually ruled against welfare rights, labor rights, voting rights, and even equal funding for education. The court has also refused to give poor Americans the protected minority status they so desperately need. Instead, the court has repeatedly ruled in favor of America’s rich and on behalf of corporations, further exacerbating the plight of the poor. Companies have substantially increased protections in their power over workers, while organized labor has lost much of their ability to protect workers. Find out more: Adam Cohen, a former member of the New York Times editorial board and senior writer for Time magazine, is the author of Supreme Inequality: The Supreme Court's Fifty-Year Battle for a More Unjust America. He is also the author of  Imbeciles: The Supreme Court, American Eugenics, and the Sterilization of Carrie Buck and Nothing to Fear: FDR's Inner Circle and the Hundred Days That Created Modern America. A graduate of Harvard Law School, he was president of volume 100 of the Harvard Law Review. You can follow Adam on Twitter @adamscohen. Thank you to Podcorn for sponsoring this episode. For more information, visit
Self-Determination Self-determination empowers those who are most affected to be in the driver’s seat of policy-making decisions. For example, if an oil company wants to run a pipeline through Indigenous land, Indigenous communities themselves would decide based on their values and the impact on their families, water, air, and land. NDN collective works to restore self-determination through three pillars: defense, development, and decolonization. Decolonization European colonization was a system of white supremacy that annihilated complex Indigenous populations, cultures, languages, beliefs, land, and governing systems. The work of decolonization includes dismantling white supremacist systems of economic extraction and governance; education about the totality of colonial history; and the revitalization of Native languages and ways of being. Reclaiming Indigenous heritage is also an act of healing past traumas from colonization. Land Back A key tenet of self-determination and decolonization is the “land back” movement. Theft of Indigenous lands was one of the fundamental ways Europeans colonized America. Stealing land and extracting its resources decimated both the land and the people who lived on it. The land back movement aims to right this wrong by returning public lands, like National Parks and National Forests, to the care of Indigenous People. Land back does not mean removing Americans from their homes. Instead, it means returning the land to Native stewardship focusing on preservation and rejuvenation. Find out more: Nick Tilsen is the President & CEO of NDN Collective, and a citizen of the Oglala Lakota Nation. Tilsen has over 18 years of experience building place-based innovations that have the ability to inform systems change solutions around climate resiliency, sustainable housing, and equitable community development. He founded NDN Collective to scale these place-based solutions while building needed philanthropic, social impact investment, capacity and advocacy infrastructure geared towards building the collective power of Indigenous Peoples. Tilsen has received numerous fellowships and awards from Ashoka, Rockefeller Foundation, Bush Foundation and the Social Impact Award from Claremont-Lincoln University. He has an honorary doctorate degree from Sinte Gleska University. You can follow him on Twitter @NickTilsen And you can follow NDN Collective on Twitter @ndncollective
Civic Power Civic power puts communities most impacted by legislative decisions in the drivers’ seat of making public policy. Community members get to have a say in areas like policing, zoning, education, taxation, voting rights, and more. Participatory budgeting creates a structure of representative decision making that is responsive and reflective of the affected communities. This form of civic power exists around the world and can be replicated in the United States on a large scale. Radical Democracy True bottom-up democracy is a radical but simple concept that fully espouses civic power. The representative democracy in the US puts bureaucrats, not affected communities, in control of many aspects of public policy. To achieve true democracy, we need to demand a policy shift in institutions, which creates more power for citizens in the long run. It’s a demand about changing the way policy is made tomorrow, and not just today. An Inclusive and Equitable Society The markers of a society’s success must include the flourishing of low-income workers and black and brown communities. It would require restructuring work and capital that does not exploit workers; investing in universal public services like health care and education; ending predatory lending practices as well as the system of crippling debt, especially for education; and dismantling systemic and systematic racism. Find out more: K. Sabeel Rahman is the President of Demos, a dynamic think-and-do tank that powers the movement for a just, inclusive, multiracial democracy. Rahman is also an Associate Professor of Law at Brooklyn Law School, where he teaches constitutional law, administrative law, and courses on law and inequality. He is the author of Democracy Against Domination, which won the Dahl Prize for scholarship on the subject of democracy. His academic work explores the history, values, and policy strategies that animate efforts to make our society more inclusive and democratic, and our economy more equitable. His new book, Civic Power, looks at how to build a more inclusive and empowered bottom-up democracy. He has previously served as a Special Advisor on economic development strategy in New York City, a public member of the NYC Rent Guidelines Board, and the Design Director for the Gettysburg Project, an initiative working with organizers, academics, and funders to develop new strategies for civic engagement and building civic capacity. You can follow him on Twitter @ksabeelrahman.
Capturing State Legislatures State capture refers to the idea that a set of organizations, businesses, and movements can capture a political office and dictate its agenda, decisions, and resource allocation to benefit their interests. Capturing state legislatures is especially effective because state governments – as opposed to the federal government – have control over significant aspects of our daily lives: taxes, minimum wage, health insurance, and administering elections.  The Troika Three powerful conservative organizations, commonly referred to as the troika, work in tandem to capture state legislatures: the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the State Policy Network (SPN), and Americans for Prosperity (AFP). ALEC works with lawmakers directly to pass legislation it often writes and provides. SPN is a network of think tanks that works outside of government, creating reports, legislative testimony, and polling that champion conservative bills often created by ALEC. AFP operates like a political party with national, state, and local offices, all aimed at electing conservative lawmakers around the country. Public Policy Changes Politics Public policy can and does change politics. The troika has successfully promoted the adoption of so-called “right-to-work” laws, which weaken labor unions. These laws make it more difficult to unionize, collect dues, and support pro-labor candidates for office. In fact, they are a direct response to the unionization of public sector workers and their successful organizing, specifically the National Education Association in the 1960s-70s. Once anti-labor policies were in effect, it became easier for conservatives to continuously win elections and cement their political power. Find out more: Alexander Hertel-Fernandez is Associate Professor at Columbia University’s School of International and Public affairs, where he studies the political economy of the United States, with a focus on the politics of organized interests, especially business and labor, and public policy. His most recent book, State Capture: How Conservative Activists, Big Businesses, and Wealthy Donors Reshaped the American States—and the Nation, examines how networks of conservative activists, donors, and businesses built organizations to successfully reshape public policy across the states and why progressives failed in similar efforts. Hertel-Fernandez received his B.A. in political science from Northwestern University and his A.M. and Ph.D. in government and social policy from Harvard University. You can follow him on Twitter @awh.
Political Learning In response to the elections of Obama and Trump, grassroots political movements sprung up on the right and the left. Members of these groups demonstrated an eagerness to learn about and understand local and state politics, which is where they are most actively engaged. After the 2016 election, Resist groups used many of the Tea Party movement’s tactics, like writing to law makers, running local candidates, and knocking on doors to get out the vote. Impact on Politics Grassroots movements are highly impactful across the political spectrum, often revitalizing local capacities of both political parties. Resist groups on the left are dominated by women, who are organizing and insisting on a more open and inclusive Democratic Party. Increasing voter turnout has had the strongest impact on both sides. Boosting the margins for the Democratic candidate in a swing state could lead to electoral victory in 2020. Organized Groups Swing Elections Organized groups helped swing the 2016 election. Donald Trump met with select groups who hold power over large swaths of voters, notably far right evangelical ministers, the Fraternal Order of Police, and the NRA. In the case of the Fraternal Order of Police, Trump pledged to protect white officers, leading to an endorsement from the Order—something Mitt Romney did not receive. Research shows that endorsement led to extra Republican votes in key battleground states like Pennsylvania. Find out more: Theda Skocpol (PhD, Harvard, 1975) is the Victor S. Thomas Professor of Government and Sociology at Harvard University. At Harvard, she has served as Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (2005-2007) and as Director of the Center for American Political Studies (2000-2006). In 2007, she was awarded the Johan Skytte Prize in Political Science for her "visionary analysis of the significance of the state for revolutions, welfare, and political trust, pursued with theoretical depth and empirical evidence." Skocpol's work covers an unusually broad spectrum of topics including both comparative politics and American politics. Her books and articles have been widely cited in political science literature and have won numerous awards, including the 1993 Woodrow Wilson Award of the American Political Science Association for the best book in political science for the previous year. Skocpol's research focuses on U.S. social policy and civic engagement in American democracy, including changes since the 1960s. Caroline Tervo is a research coordinator in the Harvard Government Department, working with Theda Skocpol and others on studies of citizen grassroots organizing, state and local party building, and the local effects of federal policy changes. A native North Carolinian, Tervo holds a BA in government from Harvard University. You can follow her on Twitter @CarolineTervo.
Building Precincts Precincts are critical to building local and regional party power. Kromer started Davidson’s Democratic party precinct with only four other people. Once established, they gained political legitimacy as well as access to state and county voter databases. This allowed them to organize and knock on doors, inform their constituents about the candidates who are running, and get out the vote. As a result, Davidson had a higher voter turnout rate than other local towns. Politics Flows Up The road to high-ranking state or federal positions often begins with local offices where only tens or hundreds of votes decide elections. Holding local office serves as validation for a candidate’s run for higher office. The mayor of your small town could become your congressional representative in the next election cycle. Focusing on local politics and seriously opposing bad candidates makes it harder for them to succeed and climb the political ladder. Showing Up We often think of party politics as exclusive clubs or murky organizations full of political operatives, but this is not the case. According to Kromer, 90% of becoming civically engaged is simply showing up. The best way to make sure your voice is heard is by attending local group or precinct meetings. Most local political organizations will welcome you to their initiative, to be engaged, and help solve the issues of your community. Find out more: Drew Kromer studied at Davidson College in North Carolina, where he became involved in the local College Democrats and built the local Democratic precinct in the town of Davidson, NC. He has served as the Vice-Chair of the National Council of College Democrats and currently serves as a DNC delegate in North Carolina. He is now in law school at UNC Chapel Hill. You can learn more about the work Kromer did to revitalize his community here.
Politics Begins with Service Political power starts with service to others. For instance, Russian immigrant and Boston resident Naakh Vysoky began his political career by helping his fellow Russian immigrants gain citizenship and keep their government benefits. He also advocated on their behalf in Washington. Members of his community recognized his leadership and initiative, and began to follow his lead politically. They voted according to his recommendations. By building a voting bloc, Naakh created lasting political power to make government more responsive to his community. Politics Solves Problems Politics is about working together to solve problems. Uniting like-minded citizens through political organizing builds political power, which can be used to ask the government to help resolve the particular issues facing communities. Naakh Vysoky created a voting bloc of more than 1,000, and his precinct voted at three times the state average. When he called the governor’s office, the governor called back. The politics of empowerment helps a community grow and thrive, addressing issues like government benefits, the relationship of the police with the community, and communications between parents and the school district. Political Hobbyism Political hobbyism is distinct from power building: it is time spent thinking or worrying about politics without actually doing anything to change it. Political hobbyism includes news binges, political tweets, petition signing, and other forms of "shallow" activism. Further, this makes us look at politics from the "horserace" perspective, entrenching tribalism and making politicians misbehave. By engaging in political hobbyism, we learn the wrong lessons and acquire the wrong skillset, like paying attention to significant national issues. Instead, we should be engaged in local politics, where we can actually have an outsized influence. Find out more: Eitan D. Hersh is Associate Professor of Political Science at Tufts University, focusing on American politics. He studies US elections, civic participation, and voting rights. Much of his work utilizes large databases of personal records to study political behavior. His second book, Politics is for Power, was published in January 2020. His first book, Hacking the Electorate, was published in 2015 (Cambridge UP). His peer-reviewed articles have been published in venues such as the American Political Science Review, American Journal of Political Science, Journal of Politics, and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. His next major research project, now underway, is about the civic role of businesses and business leaders. You can follow him on Twitter @eitanhersh.
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Sexual Citizenship The concept of sexual citizenship asserts that people have the right to sexual self-determination, including young people. Recognizing young people’s sexual citizenship prepares them to both say no and yes, as well as to be able to hear other people when they do or don’t want to have sex. It also recognizes their fundamental humanity. Establishing sexual citizenship and autonomy for young people is a critical step in preventing campus sexual assault and promoting relationships based on trust, kindness, and love. Power and Precarity Meaningful action against sexual assault in its many forms must be grounded in a general project of equality because experiences of assault are fundamentally about power and precarity. Studies show young people who have difficulty paying for basic needs are at a significantly elevated risk of sexual assault. The highest rates of sexual assault reports come from LGBTQ communities because of systemic invalidation of queer identities. Racism, gender discrimination, transphobia, homophobia, and income inequality exacerbate the occurrence of sexual assault. Comprehensive Sex Ed Comprehensive sexual education goes well beyond biology, teaching healthy habits and boundaries around consent and mutual respect. Women who have learned refusal skills are half as likely to be assaulted as their less educated peers. Multi-faceted sex education should begin at a young age, so that by the time they mature, young people are prepared to safely and responsibly explore their sexuality. Parents also play a critical role in how to bring values like trust and empathy to any sexual interaction. Find out more: Jennifer S. Hirsch is professor of socio-medical sciences at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University. Her research spans five intertwined domains: the anthropology of love; gender, sexuality and migration; sexual, reproductive and HIV risk practices; social scientific research on sexual assault and undergraduate well-being, and the intersections between anthropology and public health. She's been named one of New York City's 16 'Heroes in the Fight Against Gender-Based Violence.' In 2012 she was selected as a Guggenheim Fellow. You can follow her on Twitter @JenniferSHirsch. Shamus Khan is professor and chair of sociology at Columbia University. He is the author of dozens of books and articles on inequality, American Culture, gender, and elites. His work has appeared in the New Yorker, The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, and many other media outlets. In 2018 he was awarded the Hans L. Zetterberg Prize for "the best sociologist under 40." You can follow him on Twitter @shamuskhan. “Sexual Citizens reveals the social ecosystem that makes sexual assault a predictable element of life on a college campus. The powerful concepts of sexual projects, sexual citizenship, and sexual geographies provide a new language for understanding the forces that shape young people’s sexual relationships. Bringing attention to the importance of physical spaces, of peer influences and norms, of alcohol, and most of all, to the many forms of inequality on campus helps shine new and powerful light upon the ways in which young people experience and interpret sex and assault. The result is an innovative lens that transforms our understanding of sexual assault and provides a new roadmap for how to address it.
Surveillance Capitalism Surveillance Capitalism is the dominant economic logic in our world today. It claims private human experience for the marketplace and turns it into a commodity. Vast amounts of personal data are necessary -- often harvested without our knowledge or consent –- in order to predict future behavior. Surveillance capitalists create certainties for companies by modifying people's behavior. Instrumentarian Power Instrumentarianism seeks to modify, predict, monetize, and control human behavior through the instruments of surveillance capitalism, our digital devices. Having mined all of our data, instrumentarians can tune and herd users into specific actions through triggers and subliminal messaging. It is ultimately a political project intended to install computational governance instead of democratic governance. Protecting Your Privacy A myriad of programs and apps can block tracking and scramble your location, making your behavioral data less accessible or even inaccessible. Since instrumentarians gain their power through our use of their devices, limiting internet use and working in-person reduces the power they have over you. Find out more: Shoshana Zuboff is the Charles Edward Wilson Professor Emerita at Harvard Business School and a former Faculty Associate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School. Her masterwork, The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power, synthesizes years of research and thinking to reveal a world in which technology users are neither customers, employees, nor products. Instead, they are the raw material for new procedures of manufacturing and sales that define an entirely new economic order: a surveillance economy. In the late 1980s, her decade-in-the-making book, In the Age of the Smart Machine: The Future of Work and Power, became an instant classic that foresaw how computers would revolutionize the modern workplace. At the dawn of the twenty-first century her influential The Support Economy: Why Corporations Are Failing Individuals and the Next Episode of Capitalism (with James Maxmin), written before the invention of the iPod or Uber, predicted the rise of digitally-mediated products and services tailored to the individual. It warned of the individual and societal risks if companies failed to alter their approach to capitalism. You can follow her on Twitter @shoshanazuboff
Comments (9)

Trey Kirkpatrick

some of your comments and rhetoric about gavin mcginnis, and jordan Peterson are very negative opinions. though some of the views are radical,non of them have ever been homophobic,racist, or bigoted. Jordan Peterson is an asshole, but he doesn't hate anyone,nor has expressed hatred for anyone else. I personally used to be extremely liberal.until I actually started researching the actual events,persons,and stipulations of there speeches. many times the actual speech and message has been hijacked, edited and spun in a completely false narrative. both of the people that were discussed on your program refused to use gender pronouns, but they do not refuse the human rights of thses people or groups. in my opinion, there are far less people In this country that are actually racist,bigoted, or homophobic. most people I know just want to be safe,happy, and loved. the media on both sides,just wants to divide us as a country. knowledge is power, think for yourself,do research, find the real truth. then, and only then draw a conclusion. Question everything you are told and see. it's the only way we can rise up. love is the answer, and there is alot more of it ,that the media wants to hide from you. politics, and politicians are not your friends,hold them responsible. they do not have and fiduciary duty towards us. they work for their best interests. not ours. thanks for reading this , spread love every chance you get. "you could always be nicer "( Dalai Lama)

Sep 19th
Reply (1)

Christina Persyn


May 27th


A powerful episode. thankyou all

May 18th

Sharon Reimer

Let's do it!!!!

Apr 10th

Arielle Niss

🤩♥️ love this show

Mar 13th

Nha Cai 388bettop

so good

Mar 10th

Okamifan1 Productions

Never subscribed to this trash. Dont need notification #garbage

Mar 9th

Donald Moyer III

who are you?

Mar 9th
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