Elizabeth Warren: Nazi Hunter

We start off by looking at The Week The Mueller Probe Died in light of new information that’s been revealed since March. We go on to discuss the 2020 race, threats to election integrity, and the novelty of Elizabeth Warren.

Sarah Kendzior: I'm Sarah Kendzior, a journalist, anthropologist, and scholar of authoritarian states and the author of the book "The View from Flyover Country.”

Andrea Chalupa: I'm Andrea Chalupa, a writer and the screenwriter and producer of the upcoming journalistic thriller "Mr. Jones."

Sarah Kendzior: And this is Gaslit Nation, a podcast covering corruption in the Trump administration and rising autocracy around the world.

And so this week, our plan was originally to give you our feedback on Mueller's testimony which was supposed to happen yesterday on May 15. Mueller was a no-show. He's not scheduled to testify. His testimony was supposed to clear up a lot of questions including the incongruities between the Mueller report and the Barr memo, as well as allow Congress to ask questions about the content of the report and hopefully about its omission since, as we noted in previous episodes, the Mueller report left out mention of the entire organized crime apparatus that long supported Trump and his cohort. We also had questions about how Mueller conducted the probe, including why he made deals with people like Flynn that protected their freedom while giving Americans nothing in return but a traitor on the loose, why he didn't interview key players like Kushner or Ivanka or Assange, and why he punted to Congress a question that has become even more disturbing given the complicity of certain Democrats like Nancy Pelosi and their willingness to carry out the wishes of the GOP.

However, he did not testify, and so we don't have a full explanation for why he wouldn't appear before Congress or why he's remained silent despite his probe no longer being active. His reticence is part of a pattern of obfuscation, in which those who are supposed to enforce transparency and justice, are instead acting as participants, willing or unwilling, in a coalition of corruption.

We’ve been discussing this on Gaslit Nation for a long time. But I think the turning point for the U.S. and how it is now was early March of this year, though we didn't fully know it at the time. Now we do. So I want to lead off this show today by giving a little chronology of how events related to the Mueller probe, impeachment, and other crises played out in light of new information.

So let's start with March 4th. On March 4th, the House Judiciary Committee, with great fanfare, sent out requests for documents to 81 people and organizations as the panel opened an investigation into alleged obstruction of justice and other abuses of power by Trump and his administration. I'm going to read you some names from this list because I want you to remember that these people still exist and are still running around. I want you to imagine where we would be today had they actually testified, and had the House used their subpoena power and demanded their documents, refusing to bow down. I want you to imagine all these people at impeachment hearings, or at the least discussions of all these people's activities at impeachment hearings, and then ask yourself, "Why is the House Democratic leadership, including Nancy Pelosi and Jerry Nadler, protecting them?"  So here are some of the names from that list of 81 people: Brad Parscale, Cambridge Analytica, Carter Page, Corey Lewandowski, David Pecker, The Department of Justice, Don McGahn, Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust, Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, Erik Prince, the FBI, Felix Sater, Flynn Intel Group, George Nader, George Papadopoulos, Hope Hicks, Jared Kushner, Jeff Sessions, Julian Assange, Michael Caputo, Michael Flynn, Michael Flynn Jr., Paul Erickson, Paul Manafort, Peter Smith's Estate, Reince Priebus, Roger Stone, Steve Bannon, Trump Campaign, Trump Foundation, Trump Organization, Trump Transition, WikiLeaks, and The NRA.  And that is but a sampling of this "we didn't start the fire from hell", that we never had the glory of experiencing because no one will respond to these documents. As of today, May 16th, the only person from this list to testify in public is Michael Cohen. The rest have not faced a Congressional inquiry, but are instead, like George Papadopoulos, making money off their international crime spree through things like book tours. So it's some amazing 3-D chess there, Nancy Pelosi.

You may recall that when this list came out people got very excited. They were crowing about Pelosi's great plan, how Mueller's got it in the bag, et cetera, et cetera. We at Gaslit Nation were indeed glad to see the House Judiciary Committee actually show signs of life, but we were also wary. And one of the reasons that we were wary was Bill Barr.

Which brings us to March 5th. We did not know it at the time, but March 5th appears to be the day the Mueller probe ended. Though this was not announced until weeks later. Even now, we don't know the details of how it ended or if it was that Mueller's behest or Barr's. That's the kind of question Mueller should be answering under oath.

Here's an excerpt from an April 19th article in Politico describing how it went down: "A Justice Department official who spoke on background said there'd been little contact between the two men (Mueller and Barr) in the past two months. The only direct interaction Barr mentioned was on March 5th, when Mueller gave the new attorney general an update on the special counsel investigation. Mueller informed Barr and Rosenstein that he planned to close the investigation without resolving whether Trump obstructed justice, the official said. Barr and Rod were both surprised, the official said. It was unexpected."

Sarah Kendzior: So, do we believe this Politico article? I don't know. This is why we need hearings. But the timing of this interaction one day after the requests for documents by the House is notable. So why did they meet on this day? Why was the end of the probe so abrupt? After all, Michael Cohen had just testified the week before and we don't have an answer, but I need to point out another event that happened that day. I'm going to stress that this may well be a coincidence, but since it's worth examining in its own right as well, and it has been very under covered by the media I think it's worth inserting into this timeline.

So as we know, Russia did not just hack our elections. Since 2014, they've hacked the State Department, the DOJ, the DNC, the RNC, multiple corporations and the power grid. U.S. infrastructure is also subjected to hacks from other countries and from non-state actors. Infrastructure hacks are one of the major national security threats of the 21st century, but little is being done to prevent them. So, at 7:00 a.m. on March 5th, the same day that Barr met with Mueller, the U.S. experienced an unprecedented cyber event that interfered with operations, but stopped short of causing blackouts, according to a Department of Energy filing that was not released until May. According to the website "E&E News,” which is run by experts on energy policy, "The denial of service attack was significant enough for the utility to file an electric disturbance report with DOE, the same forums reserved for major interactions like storms, physical attacks, or fuel shortages. They said this was the first time in U.S. history that this sort of cyber event occurred writing that, ‘The March event doesn't even appear to be part of such a coordinating hacking campaign based on the limited information disclosed by DOE and several organizations in the anonymous utility service area of Utah, Wyoming and Southern California.’ Still, a malicious cyber event wasn't previously known to have interfered with U.S. grid operations, making the March 5th disclosure significant."

The author of that piece, Blake Sobczak, notes that federal officials are refusing to comment on it, but he compared it to the attack on Ukraine, which was used as a form of political intimidation, saying in December 2015 "suspected Russian hackers used stolen login credentials and a DDOS (distributed denial of service) attack to hit three distribution utilities in Ukraine, briefly cutting the lights to about a quarter million people in a first-of-its-kind cyber-attack."

So, familiar. Did this have anything to do with the House finally going after witnesses or criminals or with Mueller shutting down the probe? I have no idea. It's something else we should be having hearings on since it poses a humanitarian threat and a national security threat. And it's certainly interesting in its own right.

And so, let's keep going with that week, and then I'll wrap up.

Two days later, we get March 7th. What happened on March 7th? That was the day that, in an abrupt reversal of expectations, a D.C. judge deemed crime machine Paul Manafort, a person who had "led an otherwise blameless life” and gave him a sentencing far short of guidelines. Andrea and I discussed this travesty in depth in our episode "Impeach Normalization" on March 14th. What we did not know at the time, was that the Mueller probe had secretly ended two days before.  So that information adds some frightening context to the week. And then finally, we get to March 11th. That was the day that Nancy Pelosi deemed Trump, who she admits poses an existential threat to democracy, and who she admits is committed an enormous number of impeachable offenses, as "not worth it." Not worth impeaching. The person most happy about this was Trump himself who tweeted, "I greatly appreciate Nancy Pelosi's statement against impeachment, but everyone must remember the minor fact that I never did anything wrong."

Pelosi went on to issue a number of idiotic statements and lies about impeachment. Among them, is her claim that Trump is goading the Democrats to impeach. The opposite is true. The GOP very much opposes it, which is why they're stonewalling at every turn. Pelosi says the Democrats can "impeach at the ballot box.” As constitutional law expert John Bonifaz noted in our last episode of Gaslit Nation, this is not an actual thing. This is not what impeachment is, and in the meantime, citizens and our rights are dying. Pelosi says Trump will "self-impeach." This is, again, not an actual thing. There is no such thing as self-impeachment. And if she's implying that Trump will step down, she knows he won't because she herself admitted he might not even step down in 2020 even if he loses the election. And finally, yesterday, Pelosi, after sharing a laugh with Bill Barr about his flagrant violations of law, capped this off by mocking those who called for impeachment, including, one assumes, those among the 10 million people who signed a petition for impeachment put together by Rashida Tlaib. Pelosi mocked them, saying, "Why aren’t we impeaching the president, why aren't we impeaching him? They get a little down."

As Pelosi mocked proponents of impeachment for being "down,” another child died in custody at the Texas border. Reproductive rights were taken away in Alabama, Georgia, and Missouri, and we moved closer to war with Iran. Wow, I wonder why we're down!

So, Andrea, what are your thoughts on that wonderful week in March?

Andrea Chalupa: That was one of the worst weeks of my life. I remember it very well. The world turned upside down with a blameless life verdict. Yeah, of that judge, right? Judge Ellis, a perfect demographic of one typical sort of Fox News viewer, the kind of judge that Mitch McConnell is now packing into America's courts, so we can enjoy these night terrors for a generation to come. So yeah, that was a really rough week.

I want to just clarify for everyone—you can admire Nancy Pelosi for all the work she has done in cracking through an important glass ceiling being the third most politically powerful person in America. You could admire her for her tenacity, all of it, everything that she's done, her track record. But we cannot ignore that her track record also includes missed opportunities in sort of skewing a bit more conservative, and there are examples of that. As the third most powerful person in the country, she abdicated that responsibility by providing an "all lives matter" answer to whether she supported Black Lives Matter or not. And you might think, I don't know, I can't understand why anyone wouldn't see the obvious problem in that. What she basically failed to do is, we keep repeating on this show, in a time where white-supremacy-terrorism is one of the greatest threats facing not only our country, but the world, and it's being strengthened by the president himself, and it's a threat that the FBI has called "one of the greatest threats we're facing."

So, not only is the FBI having to expose, investigate under great strain, and the purging of its own department, not only is the FBI having to take on the aggressive Kremlin infiltration of our democracy, but also white supremacy, and both forces are enabled by the President of the United States.

So here's Nancy Pelosi, who you could admire for a long list of reasons, and Sarah and I have certainly done that on the show and we've done that among each other. That still stands. I mean, if you admire her, we agree with you for many of the reasons to admire her. But the fact remains, you cannot give an "all lives matter" answer when lives are literally on the line, not only here in the U.S., but around the world with this growing threat of white terrorism that is targeting black lives and brown lives and places of worship of all kinds. And it's a serious threat. And so what we're saying is, why we repeatedly hold that up as an example, her "all lives matter" answer. It's dangerous, and it abdicates her responsibility to human rights, to further educating the country on all the shocking statistics of why we have to say "black lives matter" because slavery never really went away. It just changed into a different system, like the prison industrial complex, and well-documented, sadly, police violence, and also authorities largely targeting little boys and girls of color more than their white classmates and so forth.

So, she missed an opportunity to be a leader and educate the public on all these shocking statistics, so they can calm down and stop getting so defensive and saying and clinging to "all lives matter,” and understand why black lives matter and why we have to say that or else the human rights crisis doesn't go away. There's no healing, it doesn't get solved. So it's the same thing with Pelosi and impeachment. And I know maybe some people are tired of hearing about this, but we're here now with authoritarianism. This is what it looks like. There aren't going to be tanks rolling in, there’s nothing exotic and fun. They don't put a Hawaiian lei made of barbed wire around your neck and say, "Welcome, authoritarianism." So this is it. It's an aggressive purging of the enemy. It's a relentless targeting of the press. It is changing the rules so that they can consolidate power. It's everything that we're seeing.

So Nancy Pelosi may have been successful, of course, in helping pass big legislation like Obamacare, and she has a great track record that we have applauded on this show. Do not forget that. But at the same time, what is her track record on confronting actual authoritarianism? Because it is here. This is what it looks like. Of course, there are varying degrees of authoritarianism. But what we're seeing is very much the same playbook we've seen throughout time, and the whole rise of "Trumpism" getting to this point, all of this has been in the public domain developing right before our very eyes. And the press, of course, was completely asleep and misogynistic in all of this in 2016. Promising us that Trump would pivot, and normalizing Trump, and that includes a lot of press that have become targets of his, like Joe and Mika on "Morning Joe" and so forth.

But people have to understand that there is no finish line.  We're here. One thing that keeps playing in my mind, now that it's spring and the weather is changing, I keep thinking about this girl in Germany named Sophie Scholl, and she and her friends organized a resistance against the Nazis. And of course, they're rounded up and arrested. And in her last recorded words, when she was about to be executed, were the most just innocent words. I think about them a lot now because it's spring. And she said something along the lines of, “I hate to leave today. It's such a beautiful day.”

If you look around, it's springtime, the sun is shining, the birds are out. It's such a beautiful day. Life goes on, no matter where you live. It's such a beautiful day, but at the same time, the consolidation of power is happening. It may not be on your doorstep, but there are people, including journalists, including asylum-seekers, including Muslims, including Jewish communities, and so forth, that are living in fear of what's happening right now. And they have every reason to be concerned about what's to come. But there's so much happening, there's this firehose of terror hitting us in the face constantly. It's so easy to forget that there used to be this concept, one of the first things that Trump White House did was introduce a Muslim registry. Remember, they wanted to register Muslims in America. So just stay grounded on those little details like that of what authoritarianism looks like, and how it gets exponentially worse as time goes on. Especially if those who are the opposition party, like the Democrats, do not confront it and call it by its name in their actions. And that means bold action. That means being aggressive. That means being ruthless in the name of good. And you can't tiptoe around it, no matter how scared you are, no matter whatever special interests are coming in and assuring you to be cautious, you can't be a Chamberlain about things.

Chamberlain had a long, illustrious career. But what do we remember him for? The choices he made when he was faced with actual evil. And that is what defines everyone's legacy, the choices you make when you are faced with actual evil. So again, Nancy Pelosi, think of your legacy. You've done a lot of great things, but this moment right now in history, this very dangerous crossroads that will define your legacy. You have no control over that, history has the final say on that.

Sarah Kendzior: Yeah. History, if we're lucky. I mean, one of the things we've talked about this before in the show, that's most disruptive about living under burgeoning authoritarianism is that the very concept of time is removed. You see a lot of writing from Orwell about this, about "He who controls the past, controls the present, controls the future." So I'm not even sure the concept of legacy holds. Though I do think it is something Pelosi likes to bring up and that's on her mind.

But one of the things bugging me about what Pelosi has been saying, which is basically, "We're not going to do anything until 2020, when we're somehow going to impeach him at the ballot box or vote him out.” Which, one, ignores the broader structural problem of a GOP coupe. It ignores the fact that the election in 2016 was very likely illegitimate and is subject to many of the same problems that are plaguing us now, but that have obviously gotten worse when you have the Kremlin asset white supremacist extremist in office, including domestic voter suppression, foreign interference, cyber attacks.

You know, I brought up that cyber attack before. I'm kind of amazed no one in Congress is bringing that up or bringing up cybersecurity at all, court packing, the refusal, possibly of Trump to leave, is this real "kicking it down the line" kind of attitude. We saw Mueller kick it down to Congress and then Pelosi is putting it on the people. And while I'm all in favor of civic responsibility, I mean that's something that we constantly encourage on this show, we have an action guide online, we want people to vote, want people to get involved. We don't quite have the capacity as citizens to do this. And furthermore, it ignores the fact that so many people are suffering. They are living in terror, they are living in fear, and they can't just sit around and wait 18 months until 2020 for a very uncertain outcome. There are people being deported. There are people who are victims of hate crimes. There are people who just lost their reproductive rights. There are people who lost their healthcare.

The thing is, we have a president and an administration that has committed provable crimes, extremely obvious, provable crimes like lying on clearance forms, confessing to obstruction of justice on television. There are a million ways to go after them for these crimes. I mean, sometimes it seems like there's so many possibilities that they can't decide. And instead, they’re choosing to do nothing on the most criminal administration in history. And if they chose the road of impeachment hearings, they would have subpoena power that they wouldn't otherwise had, they would have an organization to the process that they wouldn't otherwise have, they would have ways to try to combat obstructionism. We're not saying this is some sort of magical cure. It's a long drawn out process, but just the utter disrespect for what people are going through, especially the most marginalized people in America, the prime targets of Trump and his administration and many of his backers, the utter disregard for that. I mean, it's sickening, it is dangerous, it's irresponsible and that will be their legacy. I think of the kid who died in Texas at the border this morning, and I'm like "You're going to wait for 2020?" Go tell that to his mom, Nancy Pelosi. Go tell the parents that you just wanted to wait until 2020.

Andrea Chalupa: Yeah. And I feel like saying this because you know you're a dear friend of mine and I emotionally depend on you, I can't stand it, the bots. I don't know who these bots are, if they're real people, I'm sure there's a big mix of that attacking you for attacking Nancy Pelosi. What we always say on this show is "nobody is sacred." This isn't like a Mets broadcast, we're not Mets fans who are ride or die for them, for the Mets, and whichever politician you want to fill in as a metaphor for the Mets. But no, it's every single public servant who signs up for the job who is paid with our tax dollars is clearly fair game, because institutions are only as smart as those who we elect to power. Our security depends on the individuals that fill our systems of checks and balances. So everyone is on the table, we hold nobody sacred. To be in a sort of "cult of personality" is completely dangerous. It's what we always call "savior syndrome." I just want to just tell everybody who might be offended because we attacked dear Nancy, and she's given us some great memes over the years, understand that Sarah, my dear friend here, comes from a place of extreme empathy. She's one of most empathetic individuals I've ever met in my life, and it's genuine. It's the real deal. And I promise you that she's somebody that I'd call anytime my life's falling apart and she immediately, unconditionally takes my side. It's amazing. It's like you've got the love of a mama bear towards anybody who's suffering or dealing with anything difficult. That's legitimately who you are. That's how you're wired. So for you, you don't have time for any 3D chess 4D chess. You don't have time for Mueller. You don't have time for Pelosi to catch up on impeachment. You are obsessively thinking about—I know this because I know you—the lives that are being destroyed, that have been destroyed. That for you is your whole driving force. I know how much it hurts you. And it's like you feel it in your gut and all of it.

So I just wanted to put that out there. I can't stand you having to repeat yourself all the time on Twitter and defending your position and people accusing you of ulterior motives and that's simply ridiculous and not who you are. You can tell an asshole by the way they write and your book "The View from Flyover Country" is like, you write like a blues singer. You have such [understanding of] the pain of the hidden casualties of income inequality that absolutely comes out in your writings. I wanted to say that because I think it's absolutely unfair that we know that Pelosi is a popular figure and she has a lot of fans and that she has done a lot of work in furthering certainly the visibility of women in power, which is necessary work. There's a whole generation coming up behind her that should obviously thank her for that work whether they agree with her politics or not. And we recognize that. We always have. At the same time, we do feel that none of this is normal. This is what it looks like, if you're paying attention, this is exactly what it looks like and it's a dangerous crossroads that unfortunately, many governments, including our own, were not prepared for and that's why we are in the crisis we are in today.

Sarah Kendzior: Yeah. Well, thank you for saying that. I mean, in many ways the Pelosi bots, and I do mean bots, some of them are automated, some are just people I disagree with. And you know folks disagree with me. They're welcome to do that, as long as it doesn't come with a threat or a photo of a severed hand if I dare to criticize Pelosi again, which was not fun to receive. Disagreement is healthy. Disagreement is part of a democracy. And on that note, I encourage people to continue to disagree with our leaders if they don't share your principles or they're not being accountable to the public.

Folks have lost, in a lot of ways the idea that public servants are there to serve us. That is their job. They're there to represent us and they're there to take calls from us, to take cues from us. And when authoritarianism is encroaching, and we've already lost so many of our rights and people are trying desperately to hang on to what they have left. This kind of cult mentality takes over where people begin to think if you attack this leader, if you criticize this individual, then somehow our unity is shattered, and everything is for naught. That is the opposite of what is true, because if you have false unity, if you don't have transparency, if you have people who are afraid, if they're acting in fear, if they're afraid to stand up for each other, if they're afraid to stand up for themselves, they're not going to go out on the street and canvass. They're not going to throw their heart into an election. They're not going to go out and protest. They're going to be afraid and they're going to wait for someone else to pick up the slack. And that is part of how authoritarianism prospers. It's part of how it takes root. That doesn't mean that it’s the fault of those individuals. This is a natural psychological reaction to intense fear and to panic, but you have the right to think for yourself. You have the right to criticize officials who you think are hurting people or who are making the wrong decisions. That is part of what being a democracy is. You're not in a cult, you are not in a completely consolidated autocracy yet.

So you should use the power you have to speak out and to fight back. And one of the things that's been frustrating is that these incredibly wealthy, powerful, resource-leading Democratic leaders, who also have subpoena powers, who have legislative powers, all these different things they're not using them to the fullest capacity, and we're not saying that it's easy. We're not saying that they're guaranteed to win. In fact, I think, on some things like getting a conviction in the Senate, they're extremely likely to lose. And we've talked about that. But what we do expect is that they try. That is the thing that is demoralizing people. That is the thing that has been thrown like a grenade into the hearts of Democrats and progressives and others who oppose the Trump administration is that they are not trying.

And we see others try. We see Elizabeth Warren trying, we saw Rashida Tlaib try. We see Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez trying. This is not some sort of tribal thing, I'm not part of some Democratic Movement or progressive movement. I'm not even registered for a party. I just see, well who's calling out the crisis? Who's looking out for other people? Who has a plan? Nancy Pelosi doesn't have a plan. If she had a plan, if she were to do impeachment hearings for example, my criticism of her for not doing impeachment hearings would go away by virtue of the fact that I would believe she's doing the right thing, because this is not about personalities. This is about principles. And so I really wish that the Democratic leadership would reconnect with their principles and with their constitutional duty to the public.

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Andrea Chalupa: Right. And principles are the Kryptonite against authoritarianism. We're in a war of values. Our enemy is an ideology of hate which is strengthened every time a mainstream media company like the Washington Post or NBC News gives a platform to the White Nationalist Steve Bannon. In a time of ideology, you need to fight with your own values and that is standing for human rights and being ruthless in the name of good, or good trouble as John Lewis calls. The civil rights movement was well-organized, principled, obviously, and aggressive, people forget. They asserted their power. The civil rights movement did not politely ask for their rights. I mean obviously they held themselves to a higher standard of conduct in their words and in their deeds, but they were aggressive in organizing. And that's how they took on the authoritarianism of the Jim Crow South, let's not forget. So you have to do good trouble; you have to be ruthless in the name of good to protect what you love. And that was even Sydette Only—Blackamazon on Twitter—who was on our show in an episode aptly titled "Robert Mueller Will Not Save You" where she said, “What do you love? You have to be ready to throw down for what you love because the lives are on the line of what you love.” So you get ready to fight for it.

And so I wanted to say really quickly about those wonderful Democratic field of candidates we have for president, I love that we have a crowded field. That is an absolute blessing. If you look at a country like Russia where they had just a handful of viable opposition leaders, including Boris Nemtsov, who was a wonderful fearless voice for human rights in not only Russia but also Ukraine, Boris Nemtsov was someone who stood for principles, and he united Russia and Ukraine through this shared longing and fight for democracy and freedom from authoritarianism. And of course, he was killed in the shadow of the Kremlin. So that was a huge loss for not only Russia but Ukraine as well. And so the opposition leaders that remain in Russia, there are some wonderful ones, but there's the one that everyone knows, Alex Navalny, who is problematic. He is problematic. Boris Nemtsov was very much on the right side of history when it came to Crimea and saying Russia should not have invaded Crimea. He's like, shrug, Crimea is ours. Who cares? Move on.

What I'm saying is, we should be grateful that we have so many viable passionate opposition leaders here in the U.S. who are willing to serve. So when I see a crowded Democratic field like this, I love it. I'm so excited about and I see it as one big giant conversation of all these exciting ideas on how we can move our country forward. And I think that we're all benefiting from this. So whoever is speaking to you, getting you excited, pay attention to why that is in terms of the plans they're presenting. And even if they don't win, take some of their ideas and implement them in your own state. There's plenty of groups that we list on the Gaslit Nation action guide, which you can find on our website, GaslitNationPod.com. We have the action guide right there and you can just join any of those groups and implement the ideas of some of your favorite candidates in your state, because that's the kind of work that is going to protect us. Right now, the most reliable power we have is grassroots power.

And so for anybody who's feeling a lot of helplessness and despair right now, one thing I want to assure you of, in my years of studying authoritarianism, one thing I've noticed is that movements are never wasted. Movements, even so-called "failed movements" fertilize the ground for future movements. And I've seen this in my own work. So, for instance, Audit the Vote, which Sarah and I got going, along with others on Twitter, Audit the Vote, which gave voice on social media and amplified the concerns of some of our country's leading computer scientists saying that we need to examine states like Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, states we found out later that Manafort and Gates deliberately targeted according to Mueller report. So we need to examine those states for possible election hacking because statistically the numbers demand this. So that Audit the Vote movement, which the Trump team came in and was very effective in shutting down in some places, while the Audit the Vote movement so-called "failed" because the recounts didn't stop Trump from becoming president, the Audit the Vote movement gave birth to a lot of great investigators like Jennifer Cohen. And I love Jennifer Cohen because she's absolutely tenacious and she's graciously, she's a very kind person, has thanked me on Twitter for some stuff that I wrote in early 2017 that helped her keep going.

And so what I'm saying is Audit the Vote gave birth to Jennifer Cohn and her important work in relentlessly educating people on election security. And Jennifer herself is amplified by some of these computer scientists that tried to warn us for years. So she does great work so that's just one little tiny example of how failed movements fertilize the ground for future movements. And so if you're feeling a lot of despair now and don't know what to do, just understand that always throughout history, there's always going to be people who are simply wired not to give up. When I study the life of George Orwell, is very much one of those people, there's so many instances in his life where Orwell should've just crumbled from his own despair. One simple example of that is he sent his manuscript of Animal Farm off to the great T.S. Eliot, who was running a publishing house in New York at the time, and Eliot sent it back with a lecturing rejection letter saying the only thing Animal Farm proves is that the world needs more publicly spirited pigs. So imagine this great giant of literature, T.S. Eliot rejecting a book he worked years on, and also just being on the wrong side of history when it came to what you were desperately trying to say and warn the world about. That must have been incredibly demoralizing. And he fought for years to get Animal Farm published and when it was about to come out, his wife died suddenly in routine surgery, leaving him the widow of the son they just adopted, whose parents were killed in the raid. So Orwell struggled. He had some difficulties, but he kept fighting. That's why we remember him today as this iconic writer, and his ideas, and the language he's given us to help frame these human rights abuses lives on. Because Orwell refused to give up. So understand that right now as we speak, no matter how in despair you are, there are people around the world, countless people, who are simply wired not to give up. They will refuse to give up and they will keep going.

So, the next time you want to curl up in a ball and stay in a ball. Well, you've got to remind yourself is, what you have to say to yourself is, that you refuse to abandon those who are refusing to give up. Because together, if you join them and whatever work you're able to do, wherever you are, together you can go farther. Those people who refuse to give up, they're planting important seeds that are going to help us get out of this. Understand that if you rise up and join them in your little corner of the world and do whatever work you can do in your little corner of the world that you could allow them collectively, all of us to go even farther. And that's what we need right now. What we desperately need is for everybody to shake off their despair. We understand the human reaction. Just don't stay in it too long. Again, we have that action guide that you could read and get ideas on where to get started. Just pick one little garden and start sowing away and planting your seeds and trust that those seeds will outlive you. They will outlast you and that even failures fertilize the ground for success. Success is not a straight line. Success goes up and down, up and down. We're going to have moments of terror, of course, for years to come through all of this that we're dealing with right now in the world. But there's also going to be breakthroughs of success, and that's going to create a very powerful ripple effect over time. You need to be a part of that because if you choose to be a part of that, if you choose hope over despair, you will allow that ripple effect to be even more powerful. So remind yourself of that when you want to give up, just say, "I refuse to abandon you. I'm going to show up, because showing up is how we win."

Sarah Kendzior: Yeah, I agree. I saw this quote the other day. It was Susan Sontag that said, "Ten percent of any population is cruel no matter what. And 10 percent is merciful no matter what. And the remaining 80 percent can be moved in either direction,” which seems to correlate with what you just said. And that's the thing, people have a choice. When we are losing law, when we're losing rights, when we're losing resources, you still have your values. You still have your principles. You still can control the way you treat others, you still can somewhat control the way that you participate in society and what kind of person you want to be and what kind of life you want to have in terms of how you relate to others, and so that's something to just not give up.  Don't kick back and think that people are going to solve problems for you. Don't become complacent and don't become compliant because that is something else that does happen when societies transition from democracy to autocracy is people become used to this. I think in many ways people can both become used to it and remain outraged by it. They come to expect it but not to accept it. And so the line that you should be careful not to cross is don't accept it, even if it's something that you're seeing over and over again. Like for example, all the obstruction, all the complete disregard for the Constitution and for the demands of law that we're seeing on the Republican side that do have a direct effect on people's life and people's liberty. Even if you think, "Oh, that's the GOP being the GOP," you have to demand more. You have to acknowledge that the law exists even if you don't expect it to be followed.

I've spent a lot of time working with dissidents and with exiles from authoritarian states, particularly in the Soviet Union. And that was one of the things that they would mention most, is basically behave as if the law matters, behave as if these constitutional principles are real because ironically most authoritarian states have a democratic constitution. They brag about their freedom of speech. They brag about their human rights, even as they're completely decimating them so that's actually pretty common. That's the same thing that we're seeing here. So try to see with clarity. The other thing people always say is to be honest and often being honest is very hard. There are things that people understandably, want to close their eyes to, and I encourage you not to do that. It's fine to step away for a little bit. It's fine to take a little break and take care of yourself, but don't close your eyes to an atrocity because you think that it's just hopeless and it can't be solved, because that, in fact, is how it's not solved.

Andrea Chalupa: And in terms of this exciting Democratic field that we have running, all these talented people, keep in mind that the races, the presidential races that the Democrats have managed to win in recent years have been won by outsiders. Outsiders. And it was those moments where the Democratic candidate for president tried to bend himself into shape to appeal to the most people as possible that we lost. When you water yourself down like a banal pop song to try to create a hit. You don't create a hit. It's the same sort of concept. So for instance, you had this young guy from Arkansas, Bill Clinton, who had this outspoken feminist wife. Yes, they were charming, yes, they were dynamic. But they came with all sorts of baggage. Every single candidate has baggage, but they were just this refreshing burst of new energy coming into the party and they knocked George Bush, Senior from having a second term. They were disruptors. So keep that in mind.

And Hillary Clinton, back then, that was the 1992 election. She was an anomaly. She was like a freak show by American standards at that time. She was just a radical. Hillary Clinton was a radical in 1992. Okay. So don't be afraid of the difficult women, the radicals, the disrupters. That is who has won the presidential elections for the Democrat Party. Okay. Then the next example of that is, of course, that guy with the big ears who has Hussein as a middle name, which freaked out a lot of Republicans. Barack Hussein Obama, the first black viable candidate for president who, of course, won. And so you saw a big disruptor, a disruptor candidate and he had his own baggage. He was young, lack of experience. He had a middle name that launched a thousand racist email forwards among Republicans, and yet he won.

Then if you look at Al Gore, who was following the impeachment hearings of Bill Clinton, Al Gore try to bend himself into shape to distance himself from Bill Clinton as much as possible. He brought in Joe Lieberman, a closet Republican to be his running mate. No charisma, Joe Lieberman. Conservative, traditional, sort of, "I stand for all those Republican Family Values,” Joe Lieberman. They lost. I mean they barely lost because you had that whole stolen election bit in Florida in 2000. But it shouldn't have been that close against an actual idiot as George W. Bush. Do you remember that election? He was an idiot. People were laughing at him like they laughed at Trump. And so Al Gore really went above and beyond to reject Bill and Hillary and try to sort of mold himself into this "I'm trying to win Republican and conservative votes," even though the people at the time didn't like the impeachment hearings. They didn't like Newt Gingrich. But there was the Democrats being afraid of their own shadow, afraid of their values, afraid of standing up for something and just trying to wear this Republican costume, which sabotages them every time in the big presidential elections.

And then, Hillary Clinton. The world had already caught up with Hillary Clinton and to accept that women's rights are human rights, and Obamacare started off as Hillarycare. So unfortunately, a lot of people forgot history that Hillary Clinton was a radical, but Hillary Clinton did come out and she did make some mistakes like name checking war criminal Kissinger in a speech. I don't know who on her team did not side tackle her to make her stop or allow that to move forward. But she did do some things in trying to blatantly appeal to Republicans and wear that Republican costume.

So what we're saying is, the Democratic presidential contender in 2020 will follow a pattern of failure if he or she wears a Republican costume in order to beat Trump. The only thing that is going to beat "Mr. Authentic" Donald Trump, because he is authentic, he does represent the deplorables. Okay? He is authentically deplorable. The only thing that wins against authenticity is authenticity. So again, look at radical Hillary and her husband in 1992, look at Barack Obama in 2008. Democratic winners for the race for president are disruptors. In 2004, it was Howard Dean who set the people's souls on fire, you were living abroad in Turkey at the time, but I'm telling you, Howard Dean. He did the same thing that Bernie Sanders did creating this whole grassroots army of supporters, even my own father. I remember vividly, we were on vacation somewhere in the south, watching my dad watch Howard Dean on TV. My dad's an independent. My dad is that independent that everyone at all the parties salivates over and tries to win over. And my dad is watching Howard Dean on TV being authentic, telling it like it is, and my dad goes "you know what? I'm going to take time off from work and volunteer for that guy." My own father, Mr. Independent Voter. So Howard Dean created this whole grassroots excitement and the Democratic Party establishment sort of freaked out over him, and they didn't really come to his aid when the media stupidly crucified Howard Dean over some goofy scream at a campaign rally. If Twitter had existed at the time, I firmly believe that it would have pushed back, and Howard Dean would have survived that non-scandal of a scream and he could have stood a better chance of being the elected candidate for the Democrats in 2004. Instead, we got polling last place or something like that John Kerry, who had cell phones to both ears because he was taking advice from everyone because he couldn't lead himself. He didn't know what he stood for. He was very much a boring Democratic presidential candidate wearing the Republican costume. And so that's another example of Democrats pre-losing the election by trying to go with someone safe. People want a disrupter. That's the pattern again and again.

Sarah Kendzior: Yeah, I think that's completely true, and you could even see this in 2016 as Clinton's campaign progressed and then in the aftermath. Clinton, when she was pandering to the media, who, of course hates her, and attacked her relentlessly or possibly to donors, she was quiet. She was nervous. She was buttoned up. When she was in her element, like when she was debating and especially when she's given interviews after the fact, whether it was after her defeat in 2008, when it was after 2016, she's funny, she's quick, she's much more forthright in having very progressive beliefs and not being afraid to express them. I think if she's not running for anything, and the standards to which women are held, and especially Hillary Clinton is held, you cannot win by appealing to those kind of people.

I keep thinking of this tweet that's been reemerging lately where Amy Siskind last year was warning about the loss of reproductive rights, and she was saying we are heading for a Handmaid's Tale situation. And Stelter, who is the media critic of CNN writes, "We are not a few steps from the Handmaid's Tale. I don't think this kind of fear mongering helps anybody."  And so of course now we're in this situation with the most repressive anti-abortion laws we've ever had in several states in Alabama and Georgia, in my own state of Missouri. Siskind was absolutely right to be concerned. Women are often on the frontlines of expressing these worries, seeing these threats, of seeing these flaws because we don't have the luxury of just kicking back and relaxing. And I think that one of the dangers we face going into 2020, in addition to all the various national security and humanitarian crises I've mentioned, is the media coverage of these candidates and is the fact that as we've said repeatedly on this show, 80 percent or so of journalists writing about politics in the US are white men, and they overwhelmingly kind of see things through that lens. I think sometimes it's not even purposeful, it's an unconscious bias. And so when a candidate emerges like Elizabeth Warren, but also Kamala Harris and others, who is talking about policy, who is identifying threats, who is calling people out by name, like Warren is with, for example, the Sackler family. [A candidate] who is standing up on principle, who is not pandering, it's going to be very confusing I think for this male dominated press, much in the way that Hillary Clinton in 1992 was confusing for them and upsetting for them. And so again, it kind of falls to us, you and I as independent journalists, but also just as citizens. If you like a candidate, whether it's Warren or whether it's somebody else, we're not telling you what to do here, if you like a candidate, especially if they're a woman, get them out there. Promote them yourself, promote them on social media, promote them locally because you cannot rely on cable news or national media to give these candidates a fair shake or to understand them in a meaningful way.

Andrea Chalupa: So I just watched an interview with Margaret Atwood who said that everything in the Handmaid's Tale was based on actual research. Nothing was invented. Of course, she took from the Bible and so forth. But she was paying attention to a lot of these anti-women movements of these conservatives saying that women should go back into the house, and so with writing the Handmaid's Tale her attempt was to try to show, well, how do you get women back into the house? That's the question that the book answers. And so just keep that in mind. The Handmaid's Tale was based on real research according to Margaret Atwood. Nothing in it was invented by her.

So do you remember that time when you and I used to kid ourselves by saying we're gonna take a vacation and every location we chose ended up getting hit by some disaster? We wanted to go to Tennessee. We were gonna go to Nashville, and suddenly all these fires hit Tennessee. Then we were going to Houston and then, of course, the hurricane. Yeah and then we're like oh maybe we should choose the Kremlin, but nothing happened to the Kremlin anyway. So I was so tired. You know I like to build things and launch things. I was so tired of you and I just talking about taking a vacation for so long that when a random opportunity came up and I was pitched by a major hotel brand a timeshare weekend, which was gonna be super cheap, I jumped on it because I thought there's going to be no excuse. We can go away to this place. It's gonna be affordable. All we have to do is sit through a timeshare together, which is going to be hilarious because we're basically waiting to see us get kicked out of a timeshare presentation. So I knew we were going to get asked all of these probing questions and just terrorize the guy and the ladies. "You need to leave now." So that was the whole fantasy. So I ended up sitting on that because I never got around to using it and dragging my poor husband. And the place we chose was in Massachusetts. It ended up becoming the timeshare of destiny because I ended up connecting with a long-lost friend who had just ran for office in Massachusetts shared all these incredible inspiring stories and reconnecting with her which was wonderful by chance because she just happen to live there. And then the other incredible thing happened, I caught Elizabeth Warren on live TV in a debate for the Senate race and I got to see her without any media filter and she was up against some little like Kavanaugh frat boy who was sweating bullets, in her presence, sweating bullets and Elizabeth Warren would just patiently wait for her turn to talk and when it was her turn, the entire room filled with a soft glow and it became hushed and even the frat boy listened reverently in awe. And I remember thinking, my God, Elizabeth Warren is presidential. I had no idea. And so I was just so grateful for that opportunity to witness her without any filter whatsoever. And just to see her in action and she really does move people. She is presidential. And if you go back to the interview that we did with FutureNow, which is a great organization that's focused on the critical battleground of local races and building a progressive infrastructure from the ground up. One thing that Melissa Walker, community organizer who works with FutureNow, one of the things she said from her experience with that group is when you are on the ground in any of these states, and you get in front of people who are independents and conservatives without any sort of media filter between you, person to person everybody is scared. Person to person, everyone is exhausted. Person to person, people tend to fear income inequality and global warming and all of those things. So when we get on the ground, the grassroots level, even among independents and conservatives, there is a connection there. And it's up to that corporate owned media to divide us and create this reality show of terror that they profit from. They literally profit from to pit us against them. But in reality, that's why grassroots organizing is so powerful and so important and the last reliable power we have. Because when you get person to person, you realize that we're a lot more like than we are different. Everybody's exhausted, everybody is scared. And so that's why it's so critical groups like Future Now and Every District are doing on the grassroots level they’re on our Action Guide check them out. And so that's why I think Elizabeth Warren on the ground, person a person, I think she's going to do phenomenally well. I've seen it and I know she's of that caliber to speak to be authentically voicing these very real crises that we're being hit with at the same time,

Sarah Kendzior: yeah, I agree, and I think one of the things that stands out most is the fearlessness, because as we've already remarked the House is being very fearful. You know Pelosi is afraid of her donors. She's afraid of Paul, right? And then on the GOP side, they like to portray themselves as these bold risk takers who never acknowledge rules, but in reality, they are rigging things. That is not fearlessness, that is corruption. And what we have with Warren is somebody who is actually unafraid in a very sincere and meaningful way to stand up for these credibly powerful companies on behalf of just ordinary people. And she seems to mean it. And you know honestly like there's this tremendous sense of relief that I feel when Elizabeth Warren has put out some new kind of policy plan and I just wake up to like a stream of tweets, or she does something that's unexpected but absolutely should be expected, like refusing to appear on Fox because she doesn't want them to be able to profit off of her name. She doesn't want hate-for-profit, you know, and she said it's not about the audience or the voters. She's fine with Fox coming to events. She goes, and she seeks out voters who have different views from her to hear what they're going through in their daily life. She went to a West Virginia town of 400 people to hear about their experiences with the opioid crisis. She's just not willing to let them monetize her. And I think that's absolutely commendable. That's what all the candidates should be doing, and they should be able to recognize that kind of distinction, but they don't because they're afraid, and you know we've had a lot of people asking us ever since we did that episode where you were saying in a time of Nazis we need a Nazi hunter. Is Elizabeth Warren that person? Honestly, I feel like, yes, I don't want to come out and endorse anybody before the debates. But this is the first time, I think in my life that I've been this impressed by a candidate, where I feel like we have the possibility of getting something that I didn't think we could. Which is not just getting not Trump. Because to be clear, I'm going to vote for whoever runs against Trump, even if it's somebody I really don't like, for example, Joe Biden. And I will still vote for Joe Biden, but we have the possibility of getting somebody who understands the crises we face on so many levels economically, environmentally, national security, immigration, humanitarian issues. She understands how they connect. She understands that the nexus of that connection is corruption and she is absolutely willing to go for the throat. We should not let that opportunity pass us by. I encourage everyone, make up your own minds. Watch the debates, read the policy platforms, don't just go by what I say or what Andrea says or by what anyone says. You'll find the person that's right for you. But I have to say she's worth hearing out even on just issues even if it's not about the election because that's the other thing she gets is that this is just it's not about 2020. It's about what's happening now. You know we might not have a 2020. We might not have a president who steps down. So this is our time to speak freely. This is our time to say what we value, what we will fight for. Who are we as a country? Elizabeth Warren actually has answers to those questions and it's just been just a profound relief to hear them.

Andrea Chalupa: Yeah, I completely agree. I actually sleep better at night now that she's unrolling all these policies again. She's sending a very powerful ripple effect. She's laying out strategies to deal with all these crises that we're being hit with and there's people in power that are paying attention to that and just seeing what ideas they can enact where they are. I'm sure of that. And so if you're concerned about what do we do with Mitch McConnell packing all these courts, with Judge Ellis's we're gonna living with that for a generation what do we do with this whole onslaught of this coordinated campaign to take away pro-choice rights which are going to endanger the lives of women. What do we do with all these horrific things happening like the Republicans stealing more elections and 2020 including the presidential, what do we do? You fortify where you live. If you are in a progressive state, you make it even more progressive. Look at the example of Kansas. We did an episode called Kansas rising, which holds up how progressive miracles took place in Kansas. So fortify your state, work on the local level. And if you are a compassionate person who believes in science and facts, then you're obligated to run for office. You're absolutely obligated to run for office, and I assure you that the hardest step is that first step of taking yourself seriously and seeing yourself as a candidate for office. It's like standing up to that little vicious voice in your head that lists all the reasons why you can't do something and how you're going to be exposed as a fraud and all that. If you can stand up a little vicious voice in your head, you can stand up to anything that comes after that. And so on our action guide, we give you a gateway drug on how to start taking yourself seriously and running for office, because part of the protection we need against Mitch McConnell and Trumpism is the systems from the local level all the way up being flooded with good people. So if you're compassionate, you believe in science, you're morally obligated to take yourself seriously and run for office. If that makes you sweaty, that's fine. But go, just go. We hold your hand on the Gaslit Nation action guide to get you started. Just take baby steps and just get out there and go, because we have to flood the system with good people now. There's a lot of great people that have come into the system because of this crisis, and we need more of them. That's the only way we're going to protect ourselves.


Andrea Chalupa: We are living in abnormal times right now and you need a new strategy, and you need to evolve. And you did pivot, and you need to confront the challenges face-on. Not come out with this out dated strategy that makes you look so tone deaf to the crisis that not only the U.S., but the world is up against right now. So to deal with these abnormal times we find ourselves in, we hear a gasoline nation take a strong stance of saying no to Savior Syndrome. The only thing that's going to get us out of this is self-reliance and holding our leaders accountable. And the only power we have left that we can rely on is grassroots power. To illustrate our point, here's Cher providing a useful metaphor for these times. Rely on no one but your own hard work and dedication. That's the only way out of this. Awaken your inner Cher.

Interviewer: You said a man is not a necessity. A man is a luxury like dessert.

Cher: Yeah, a man is absolutely not a necessity.

Interviewer: Did you mean that to sound mean and bitter?

Cher: Oh, not at all. I adore dessert. I love men and I think men are the coolest. But you don't really need them to live. My mom said to me, “You know sweetheart, one day you should settle down and marry a rich man.” I said, “Mom I am a rich man."

Andrea Chalupa: Welcome to the Gaslit Nation action guide available on our website, gaslitnationpod.com. Democracy is a lifestyle. Trump is a symptom of the corruption, institutional failure and indifference that we can no longer tolerate.

Sarah Kendzior: Okay, so number one, get a guide. Stride toward freedom, the Montgomery Story by Martin Luther King, Junior is an essential guide to self-management, managing others and building teams. This inspirational case study of resistance written by a young MLK after successfully leading the Montgomery bus boycott shows how smart organization took on the authoritarianism of the Jim Crow south. Never forget the MLK was considered a radical in his day, even though there's nothing radical about demanding human rights and dignity. Today, the same remains true. It's not radical or socialist to demand that corporation stop polluting for profits and to call for an end to tax breaks like for sending jobs overseas that worsen the income inequality crisis. To help communicate these urgent issues, another essential guide is the all new Don't Think of An Elephant. Know your Values and Frame the Debate by George Lakoff.

Andrea Chalupa: Number two of the Gaslit Nation action guide. Focus on state races. States decide key quality of life issues and local candidates help drive votes up ballot for federal races. EveryDistrict and Future Now are two excellent groups working to build a progressive infrastructure and turn states blue from the bottom up. Get involved by donating what you can or join or start your own group with their help in your state. We provide in our action guide interviews with EveryDistrict and Future Now for more background.

Sarah Kendzior: Number three, join. Grassroots power is one of the strongest forms of power we have left in America, especially with Mitch McConnell and Trump packing the courts. Don't succumb to savior syndrome by expecting Alexandria Ocasio Cortez or whomever else you admire to do all the work. Representatives are human and need our help fulfill the far right's worst nightmare by creating generations of AOC by helping build a more progressive union. Join a local group from any of these great national organizations for important action alerts like demonstrations or getting out the vote Indivisible, Swing Left, Sister District, MoveOn, Flippable.

Andrea Chalupa: Number four, fight global warming. Sunrise Movement is a grassroots organization demanding a green new deal. There are a lot of other groups working to adopt urgently needed green initiatives. C40 cities connect cities around the world committed to taking climate action. 350.org helps activists rise to the challenge of the climate crisis and there are more trusted organizations that need our support linked to on our action guide.

Sarah Kendzior: Number five, unionize. In the age of Trump, there should be no more fear of starting or joining a union. Just tell your boss that you saw how unions protected workers during the universally unpopular Trump shutdown. Fight for 15 and its local variants are working to ensure a fair wage and strengthen unions in the service sector. Don't know how to get started? Read organizing to win: new research on union strategies and No Shortcuts: organizing for power in the new gilded age, both of which are linked to the Gaslit Nation website.

Andrea: Andrea Chalupa: Number six, run for something. There are a lot of great groups out there that demystify the process of becoming a candidate and running a campaign. Run for something is one of our favorites. There's even a book to help you get started. Run for something: a real talk guide to fixing the system yourself by Amanda Litman. If you believe in facts and science and are a compassionate human being, you need to run for something and recruit others to as well. Even if it's a long shot, you can still create urgent conversations and treat your campaign like a platform for discussions you care about helping bring together like-minded people to work for change even long past the election. Just look at what a refreshing discovery long shot Mayor Pete has been and all the great work Andrew Gillum continues to do to register 1 million voters in Florida.

Sarah: Sarah Kendzior: Number seven, protect the vote. EveryDistrict action fund just launched a quote "report card" identifying states with enough progressive support and local governments to push through important voting reforms like automatic registration and the abolishment of racist voter ID laws. Is your state on the list? You can click a link and find out. If so, EveryDistrict action fund empowers you to help your state reach the gold standard of voting. Concerned about vote hacking and Ivanka Trump branded voting machines? Yes, that is a thing. Secure Our Votes provides background information and other resources to take action. Other groups to check out are Spread the Vote, Let America Vote, and Project ID which helped people get the information they need to register, vote and get an ID. And again, these are linked to on our site.

Andrea: Sarah Kendzior: Number eight, launch ballot initiatives and laws. Why not launch a ballot initiative? Kate Faghe turned her Facebook post into the movement Voters Not Politicians to end gerrymandering in Michigan. It passed overwhelmingly. We have a link on our action guide for you to read more of her story or you could build a grassroots coalition to get a law passed in your state. In our episode "how to pass a law," I interview my mother about how she, while pregnant with me and a young mother already without any political experience, mobilized a grassroots army to pass the child car seat law in California. Yes, it can be done.

Sarah: Andrea Chalupa: Number nine, end terrorism in America. Moms Demand works to elect candidates and lobby for sensible legislation to stop the gun violence epidemic driven by the blood money gun lobby, the NRA. Southern Poverty Law Center exposes white supremacy, a leading terrorist movement in America to help immigrant communities deliberately terrorized by Trump's cruel border policies. We have a list linked here of groups that you can support.

Sarah Kendzior: Number 10, make art. To say that art cannot make a difference stems from a tone-deaf attitude of privilege. Ukraine's Euromaidan Revolution of 2013 to 2014 relied on art and artists of all kinds to sustain protesters living in Arctic cold temperatures and under the threat of government sanctioned violence. North Korean dissident Yeon Mi Park said the Orwell's Animal Farm helped her heal after escaping the cult like dictatorship. And in our episode The Blue Wave continues, Kansas rising, we shared Davis Hammett's account of how painting a rainbow house created a ripple effect in Kansas leading to major electoral victories. We need the artists and storytellers of all kinds more than ever.

Sarah Kendzior: So this is not a comprehensive list of suggestions of how you can create a more progressive America and stop entrenched corruption. There are many paths you can take, and we encourage you to think for yourself and to work together. There is no one solution whether you're in a blue state or a red state, these ideas apply to you. Do not take any of the freedoms you have left for granted. Never underestimate the power of hard work. Additionally, we have a reading list linked to you from there because it's essential to read widely to understand how we got here and the best ways to navigate the challenges of the 21st century. So again, all of this is available on our site, GaslitNationpod.com

Andrea Chalupa: Gaslit Nation is produced by Andrea Chalupa and Sarah Kendzior. If you like what we do, leave us a review on iTunes. It helps us reach more listeners. And check out our Patreon. It helps keep us going. Our editor for this was Karlyn Daigle, Original music for Gaslit Nation is produced by David Whitehead, Martin Visenberg, Nick Farr, Damian Arriaga and Karlyn Daigle. Our phenomenal logo was designed by the genius that is Hamish Smith at the New York based design firm Order. Thank you so much Hamish. Gaslit Nation would like to thank our supporters at the producer level on Patreon, Allen Lew, Page Harrington, Adam Levine, Alexandria Lane Detweiler, David Porter, A.W. Nicholson, Lena De Guzman. Jared Lombardo, Jason Bainbridge, Jody Dewitt, John Ripley, Kate Cotton, Kelly Ranson, Kevin M. Garnette, Lorraine W. Todd, Phyllis Schroeder, Stephanie Brant, MD. Cary Brady, Zachary Lemon, Anne Marshall, Atila Halsey, Brian Tejuden, Carolyn Friend, Catherine Anderson, Corrina, Kathy Cavenaugh, Lorina Guardia, Ethan Man, Jason Rita, Jennifer Slavic, Yans Astrop Alinson, John Danverough. John Keane, Kenshiro Nakagawa. Kevin Christie, Kim Mellon, Christy Vital, Lawrence Graham, Luke Stranded, Margaret Mo, Matthew Copeland, Marine Murphy, Michelle Dash, Mike Beat Matheran. Mike Tropico, Ronda White, Rich Croft, Sonya Bogdanovic, Ted Gary Mitchell, Thomas Burns, Victoria Olsen and Zach Rowsdower. Thank you all so much for your help. We could not make this show without you.

Andrea Chalupa