Former Vermont Gov. Madeleine Kunin, who just turned 87, remains a keen participant in politics. Kunin is the first and only woman to be elected governor in Vermont, serving from 1985 to 1991. She was also deputy secretary of education and ambassador to Switzerland in the Clinton Administration.
Kunin continues to be actively engaged in urging women to run for office. She is founder of the Vermont chapter of Emerge, which trains and supports Democratic women candidates. She speaks and lobbies in support of issues such as death with dignity, universal pre-K and paid family leave. She is the author of four books, most recently, Coming of Age: My Journey to the 80s.
Kunin, the first Jewish woman governor in the U.S., was born in Zurich, Switzerland. Her family emigrated to the U.S. as the Nazis began to sweep across Europe. She views President Trump’s signal to white supremacist and anti-Semitic groups to “stand by” with deep concern. “This opens a Pandora’s Box that we’ve got to close as quickly as possible,” she warns. “This is not America.”
Most people might assume that the greatest threat to the media is President Trump’s relentless assaults on what he falsely calls “fake news.” But Washington Post media columnist Margaret Sullivan argues, “Another crisis is happening more quietly. Some of the most trusted sources of news—local sources, particularly local newspapers—are slipping away, never to return. The cost to democracy is great.” Sullivan is the former public editor at the New York Times and the former editor of the Buffalo News. Her new book is Ghosting the News: Local Journalism and the Crisis of American Democracy. She documents how nearly half of newsroom staffs have lost their jobs since 2008, the forces working against journalism, the dire implications for democracy, accountability and public participation, and where she finds hope (hint: Vermont’s own vtdigger is one). (July 15, 2020 broadcast)
Is America on the brink of authoritarianism? Steven Levitsky has been wrestling with that question. Levistky is professor of government at Harvard University and is co-author, with fellow Harvard Professor Daniel Ziblatt, of the international bestselling book, How Democracies Die. “There’s lot to worry about,” says Levitsky. (June 10, 2020 broadcast)