Episode

11/16 The State of the States After The Midterms w/ Ari Berman & Aaron Kleinman

November 16, 2022

Sam hosts Ari Berman, writer at Mother Jones, to discuss his the midterm elections and his recent piece “How Wisconsin Became the GOP’s Laboratory for Dismantling Democracy”. Then, Sam is joined by Aaron Kleinman, director of research for the States Project at Future Now, to discuss how Democrats did in the midterms at the state level across the country. First, Sam runs through updates on the missiles fired into Poland yesterday, Donald Trump officially launching his 2024 candidacy, federal and state judiciary ongoings, and more, before walking through Mitch McConnell’s response to Rick Scott challenging his Senate leadership position. Ari Berman then joins, diving right into the severe shift in Wisconsin politics that followed the election of Scott Walker in 2010, as a Koch-backed Republican trifecta launched their case study for attacking democracy on the state level, going after the core of the swing state’s progressive base by undermining unions and voting rights, reforming campaign finance laws, and instituting intense gerrymandering. This brings Ari to parsing through the dichotomy that ensued over the next decade, as Wisconsin’s demos continued to vote narrowly between the two parties while the GOP majorities in the state houses continued to grow, best seen in the 2018 midterms where Democrats won 54% of votes statewide, yet Republicans still held 64% of seats. Next, they tackle the future of gerrymandering as the Supreme Court tiptoes closer and closer to undermining the involvement of either independent commissions or state courts in the matter, before wrapping up the interview by walking through the role of governors in fighting back against gerrymandered legislatures (it’s getting increasingly difficult) and why this will continue to be a major issue until we get a new Supreme Court. Aaron Kleinman and Sam then parse through the various victories by the Democrats at the state level, including flipping both chambers and achieving a trifecta in Michigan, flipping the Senate and retaining the House in Minnesota, and performing incredibly well (with votes still coming in) in Pennsylvania and New Hampshire, also touching on results from Arizona, Colorado, and Maine. After addressing the upcoming Moore v. Harper case and its likely impact on the power of state legislatures, they wrap up the interview by tackling the importance of the 2024 elections and where the States Project’s work is likely going next.

And in the Fun Half: Sam and the crew dive into Trump officially announcing his 2024 candidacy, Mitch McConnell coming out victorious in the Senate leadership battle, and Ben Shapiro’s response to discussions of codifying same-sex marriage. Chris from Brooklyn dives into the Majority Report’s role as a vocal piece for activists, Thomas from Raleigh discusses the recent NC elections, and Brennan from Kentucky explores Moore v. Harper. El Conipción talks about Texas police brutality, Nick from LA gives updates from his city’s election, and A Square debates whether this really is DeSantis’ moment. Plus, your calls and IMs!

Check out Ari’s work at Mother Jones here: https://www.motherjones.com/author/ari-berman/

Check out the States Project here: https://statesproject.org/

Check out Future Now here: https://www.futurenow.org/

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