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.”
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
Dr. Bernard LaFayette, a close associate of Dr. Martin Luther King who was with him the day he was assassinated and was the leader of the 1968 Poor People’s Campaign, discusses the rise of President Donald Trump and white supremacists. He talks about why he predicted Trump would win, and the key to fighting white supremacy successfully–in the 60s, and today. (June 27, 2018 broadcast)
Dr. Bernard LaFayette, civil rights leader, aide to Dr. Martin Luther King