Is fascism on the rise under President Donald Trump? Jason Stanley, a professor of philosophy at Yale University and author of the bestselling 2018 book, How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them, discusses the fascist tactics used by Trump to maintain power. Demonizing immigrants, delegitimizing political opponents, mobilizing paramilitary groups, undermining experts, attacking the press, and lying incessantly until there is no accepted truth are all classic tactics used by fascist leaders throughout history. Stanley, a frequent contributor to the New York Times and Washington Post, says, “Normalization is what I fear most. …We’ve normalized law breaking in the White House on a stunning level, corruption on a scale we’ve never seen before.” He asserts, “Right now, the idea that we’re a law and order state is a dim memory.”
What is at stake in the 2020 election? Is democracy on the ballot? Howard Dean has a unique perspective that extends from the Green Mountains to the nation. He served as governor of Vermont from 1991 to 2003, ran unsuccessfully for president in 2004, and served as chair of the Democratic National Committee from 2005 to 2009. He has worked as a political consultant and commentator in the years since. “What’s going on is just shocking,” he says. “We’re in really serious trouble. When you abandon the rule of law as a democracy, your democracy is gone. And it’s going to be gone before people realize if we don’t turn this thing around.” Dean also discusses his thoughts on running for office again if Sen. Patrick Leahy does not run for re-election in 2022, or Sen. Bernie Sanders retires in 2024.
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.”
Gov. Madeleine Kunin
Voter suppression could affect the outcome of the November presidential election. Will everyone get to vote in November, and will their votes be counted? “It could be a big mess,” warns Sue Halpern, a staff writer for The New Yorker magazine covering election security and a scholar in residence at Middlebury College. “There’s so many reasons why the simple act of voting has become so fraught.” She adds, “My biggest concern is that people won’t be able to vote.”
The presidential debate held on Sept. 30 will be remembered as the first time that an American president openly allied with white supremacists. “The remarks addressed to the Proud Boys stood out as a kind of bellwether of something pretty severe and to be taken seriously,” says Lawrence Rosenthal, the founder of the Center for Right Wing Studies at UC Berkeley and author of Empire of Resentment: Populism’s Toxic Embrace of Nationalism. “He was giving them orders: Stand down, stand by. He was also giving orders to his army of pollwatchers … a force of intimidation. Trump last night crossed the Rubicon.”
Trump also claimed that former Vice President Joe Biden is a socialist and part of the “radical left.” John Judis, editor-at-large of Talking Points Memo and author of The Socialist Awakening: What’s Different Now About the Left, asserts that Biden “is not in any sense a doctrinaire socialist.” But he adds that Biden, who may be forced by the pandemic to expand national health care and other social welfare programs, might “tend toward policies that put the public first, that put the public interest before profits and that shift the balance of power in America.” Judis also says that Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, together with Eugene V. Debs, are the “two great figures in the history of American socialism.”
Lawrence Rosenthal, founder, Center for Right Wing Studies at UC Berkeley; author, Empire of Resentment: Populism’s Toxic Embrace of Nationalism
John Judis, editor-at-large, Talking Points Memo; author, The Socialist Awakening: What’s Different Now About the Left
Timothy Snyder is a professor of history at Yale and a world renowned scholar of authoritarianism. His 2017 international bestseller, On Tyranny: 20 Lessons from the 20th Century, is a roadmap to how autocrats rise and democracies fall. Snyder’s newest book is Our Malady: Lessons in Liberty from a Hospital Diary. He describes his near death experience following a missed medical diagnosis last year, and he eviscerates America’s failed coronavirus response. He calls on us to rethink the fundamental connection between health and freedom. “Other countries look at us and for the first time ever, they sincerely pity us, but also wonder, how can you have so much wealth… and kill so many people?” He observes, “We’re at a tipping point. To say that it can’t go on like this is an understatement. Things could get much worse than they are — and they might.” He notes that if Joe Biden is elected president, he will have to undertake “a redo of the 21st century.”
Timothy Snyder, Levin Professor of History, Yale University, author, On Tyranny and Our Malady
This has been the most unconventional Democratic National Convention. It is taking place, not in Milwaukee as originally planned, but virtually, due to the coronavirus pandemic. We talk with five Vermont delegates to the 2020 DNC about their roles, their hopes and their fears for the 2020 presidential election. (August 19, 2020 broadcast)
Carolyn Dwyer, political advisor, managed last four campaigns for Sen. Patrick Leahy and also headed Rep. Peter Welch’s efforts in 2006 and 2008 (Biden delegate)
Jim Dandeneau, former House campaign director for Vermont Democratic Party, (Sanders delegate)
Lisa Ryan, Director of Rutland County Community Justice Center at BROC Community Action, serve on Rutland City Board of Aldermen, former first vice president of the Rutland Area NAACP (Sanders)
Rep. Mary Sullivan, longtime state rep from Burlington (unpledged)
Allison Leibly, 18 year old from Woodstock, VT, freshman at Stanford (Biden)
Vincent Stanley has been with Patagonia, the iconic outdoor clothing company, since its beginning in 1973, for many of those years in key executive roles as head of sales or marketing. He is co-author with Yvon Chouinard of The Responsible Company: What We’ve Learned From Patagonia’s First 40 Years. He currently serves as the company’s Director, Patagonia Philosophy, and is a visiting fellow at the Yale School of Management. He is also a poet whose work has appeared in Best American Poetry. He discusses the challenge of running a value-based business, why Patagonia is suing Pres. Donald Trump, and what the future holds for America’s best known socially responsible business. (February 13, 2019 broadcast)
Vincent Stanley, Director, Patagonia Philosophy