It’s finally summer, and you know what that means? It means more outdoor time, long hikes (watch out for ticks), laying at the beach, enjoying the AC indoors, and the perfect time to catch up on what’s happening with democracy in our country. To help you out, we compiled some podcasts focused on voting rights, civil rights, student activism, gerrymandering, and other issues around voting. Enjoy the summer and stay engaged!
An interview with John Lewis, On Being with Krista Tippet
Commonly known for his slogan of “good trouble,” Representative John Lewis was a student activist for the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and president of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) until he lost his re-election to Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Ture). In this interview, Rep. Lewis is interviewed on his faith and its relationship to the role he played in the Civil Rights movement. He talks about the studying and practice he and his fellow students undertook for his student activism, with the overarching theme of love and peaceful nonviolence.
Quote from the Podcast: “I would say it to the young people and others sometime, ‘Don’t get in a hurry. Our struggle is not a struggle that lasts for one day, one week, one month, or one year, or one lifetime. It is an ongoing struggle.’”
Voting Rights in the Courts, Constitution Daily
Constitution Daily is a nonpartisan group designated by Congress to disseminate information about the Constitution. In this episode, they feature two experts from both the Heritage Foundation and Brennan Center for Justice on recent voter-related issues. They discussed various court rulings such as Shelby County v. Holder, as well as federal ID laws in Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina, and overarching voter suppression (or lack thereof) trends. Though this is a pre-election of 2016 podcast, it still talks about federal court cases that are critical to expanding voter rights.
EPISODE 7: Can Online Voting Defeat the Broken Electoral College? Predicting Our Future
Have you ever wondered why US elections are held on Tuesdays? Also, why do we have the electoral college? This 30-minute podcast examines these questions and more, as well as explaining potential modern-day solutions to low voter turnout in the United States. More importantly, it briefly explains each of the different potential outcomes of increasing voter accessibility.
Quote from the Podcast: “So what are the other options to defeat the Electoral College and introduce a form of a participatory democracy where the popular vote will more likely correlate with the electoral vote? The efforts that seem to offer the greatest promise for change center around increasing voter turnout.”
One Vote, Radiolab
Do you know anyone who thinks their vote doesn’t count? This podcast researches situations where one vote has made a difference in elections, and tells listeners these important stories. The stories they tell reach places like India, Texas, and Nashville, Tennessee. While this podcast is less information based, their lively storytelling style will keep listeners engaged and intrigued as they listen.
Quote from the Podcast: “Fine, you think one vote matters? Prove it! Make your own fact-checked list where you can prove that this isn’t a pipedream. This is a realistic thing.”
Who’s Gerry and Why Is He So Bad at Drawing Maps? More Perfect
Over the years, the Supreme Court has heard many cases involving gerrymandering, but have never given an explicit ruling on how partisan redistricting can be unconstitutional. In this episode, More Perfect takes on gerrymandering in preparation for the Gill v. Whitford Supreme Court ruling later this year. By talking about the “efficiency gap,” this podcast offers a way to measure the impact of partisan gerrymandering.
Quote from the Podcast: “After the census in 2020, all sorts of different bodies will redraw all sorts of different lines and this case will help decide how and where.”
Citizens United, More Perfect
One of the most disrupting and loathed Supreme Court cases in modern history is Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission. This hour-long episode unpacks the Who, What, Why, and How of this controversial SCOTUS ruling through explaining both arguments from both sides as well as the Justices’ line of questioning on this case.
The Architect, More Perfect
Edward Blum has organized over two dozen lawsuits to delegitimize laws concerning race – even those which are to help marginalized communities. Six of those cases have gone to the Supreme Court. He is behind the Shelby County v. Holder and Fisher v. University of Texas Supreme Court rulings, dealing with the Voter Rights Act and affirmative action, respectively. In this podcast episode, More Perfect interviewed Blum to learn about his recent activities.
An Interview with Dr. Vincent Harding: Is America Possible? On Being.
Dr. Vincent Harding was a prominent Civil Rights activist who worked alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In the days after the 2016 election, host Krista Tippett recalls a 2014 conversation with Dr. Harding. In the context of the divisive modern political and cultural environment, the two discuss the importance of storytelling, listening to our elders, and learning from one another. Dr. Harding speaks about combining faith and action in order to create a more compassionate, understanding community.
An Interview with Ruby Sales: Where Does It Hurt? On Being.
Activist and theologian Ruby Sales discusses her experience growing up during the Civil Rights Movement and the role spirituality has played throughout her life. She makes a compelling argument for choosing love instead of hate, for showing compassion for those around you, and for choosing to see the good in everyone. Examining the social movements of today, Sales stresses the need for intergenerational dialogue and shares a message of love and understanding that is as needed now as ever before.
Did you enjoy our podcasts? Share your favorite episode with us, and be on the lookout for our upcoming post “What is CVP Watching?”