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election

Flag artwork from "The Perfect Weapon" film poster
HBO MAX / HBO MAX

“The Perfect Weapon” is a new HBO Documentary based on the best-selling book of the same name by New York Times National Security Correspondent David Sanger.

The film draws on interviews with top military, intelligence and political officials for a comprehensive view of a world of new vulnerabilities, particularly as fear mounts over how cyberattacks and influence operations may affect the 2020 U.S. election.

As news breaks this week about ransomware hitting the nation’s hospitals, there are also fears over vulnerable power grids, America’s nuclear weapons arsenal, and the global networks that are the backbone of private enterprise.

The film also explores how the US government is struggling to defend itself from cyberattacks while simultaneously stockpiling and using the world's most powerful offensive cyber arsenal.

David Sanger is a national security correspondent and a senior writer at The New York Times. In a 38-year reporting career for The New York Times, he has been on three teams that have won Pulitzer Prizes, most recently in 2017 for international reporting.

This interview was recorded as a socially-distanced conversation at The Brick House, the Presidential Residence of Bennington College on Wednesday, October 28.

When the young Alfred Charles Sharpton told his mother he wanted to be a preacher, little did he know that his journey would also lead him to prominence as a politician, founder of the National Action Network, civil rights activist, and television and radio talk show host. His ability and willingness to take on the political power structure makes him the preeminent voice for the modern era, a time unprecedented in its challenges.

In "Rise Up," Reverend Sharpton revisits the highlights of the Obama administration, the 2016 election and Trump's subsequent hold on the GOP, and draws on his decades-long experience with other key players in politics and activism, including Shirley Chisholm, Hillary Clinton, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and more.

Joe Donahue: New York Times best-selling author AJ Baime's new book "Dewey Defeats Truman" gives us the story of what happened to Truman's presidency after the bomb was dropped. The chronicles the story of the 1948 presidential election, one of the greatest election stories of all time, as Truman mounted a history-making comeback and staked a claim for a new course for America. On the eve of the 1948 election, America was a fractured country, racism was rampant foreign relations were fraught and political parties were more divided than ever.

Americans were certain that President Harry S. Truman's political career was over. The only man in the world confident that Truman would win was Mr. Truman himself, and win he did. AJ Baime is the author of "The Accidental President: Harry S. Truman and the Four Months That Changed the World," and is a longtime regular contributor to The Wall Street Journal. 

Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

New York is taking a look at how its first experiment with early voting went in a quiet election year.

The new book, "Represent," is an interactive and inspiring step-by-step guide showing women how to run for the approximately 500,000 elected offices in the United States.

Co-written by former chief of staff at EMILY’s list Kate Black and actress, comedian, screenwriter, producer, podcaster, and activist June Diane Raphael, "Represent" is structured around a 21-point document called “I’m Running for Office: The Checklist.” Doubling as a workbook, "Represent" covers it all, from the nuts and bolts of where to run, fundraising, and filing deadlines, to issues like balancing family and campaigning, managing social media and how running for office can work in your real life.

Kate Black joined us.

In the 2018 election cycle, women across the country were running in - and winning - local and national office in higher numbers than ever before.

In “See Jane Win: The Inspiring Story of the Women Changing American Politics,” award-winning journalist Caitlin Moscatello provides an insider look at this pivotal time in women’s history.

Closely following four candidates throughout the entire campaign process, Moscatello takes readers inside their exciting, winning campaigns and the sometimes thrilling, sometimes brutal realities of running for office while female.

Professor Joshua A. Douglas, an expert on our electoral system, joined us to present an encouraging assessment of current efforts to make our voting system more accessible, reliable, and effective. His new book is: "Vote for US: How to Take Back Our Elections and Change the Future of Voting."

In contrast to the anxiety surrounding our voting system, with stories about voter suppression and manipulation, there are actually quite a few positive initiatives toward voting rights reform. Douglas says regular Americans are working to take back their democracy, one community at a time.

Douglas is a professor at the University of Kentucky College of Law. His most recent scholarship focuses on the constitutional right to vote, with an emphasis on state constitutions, as well as the various laws, rules, and judicial decisions impacting election administration.

In "Try Common Sense: Replacing the Failed Ideologies of Right and Left ," Philip K. Howard attacks the failed ideologies of both political parties and proposes a radical simplification of government to re-empower Americans in their daily choices. Nothing will make sense until people are free to roll up their sleeves and make things work.

Americans are a practical people. They want government to be practical. Washington can’t do anything practically. Worse, its bureaucracy prevents Americans from doing what’s sensible. Conservative bluster won’t fix this problem. Liberal hand-wringing won’t work either. Frustrated voters reach for extremist leaders, but they too get bogged down in the bureaucracy that has accumulated over the past century.

Ian Shapiro is Sterling Professor of Political Science and director of the MacMillan Center at Yale University, with Frances McCall Rosenbluth (Damon Wells Professor of Political Science at Yale University), he's written the book "Responsible Parties: Saving Democracy from Itself."

In recent decades, democracies across the world have adopted measures to increase popular involvement in political decisions. Parties have turned to primaries and local caucuses to select candidates; ballot initiatives and referenda allow citizens to enact laws directly; many places now use proportional representation, encouraging smaller, more specific parties rather than two dominant ones.Yet voters keep getting angrier.There is a steady erosion of trust in politicians, parties, and democratic institutions, culminating most recently in major populist victories in the United States, the United Kingdom, and elsewhere.

Frances Rosenbluth and Ian Shapiro argue that devolving power to the grass roots is part of the problem. Shapiro joins us.

Lawrence O’Donnell has been a student of American politics for most of his life. A former senior advisor to Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, chief of staff of two Senate committees, an Emmy Award-winning executive producer and writer for “The West Wing,” and now host of his own MSNBC show “The Last Word,” O’Donnell has a coveted front row seat to American democracy in action.

While recent elections, still fresh in all our memories, produced many crazy headlines and tumultuous debates, “Playing With Fire: The 1968 Election and the Transformation of American Politics” vividly recreates an even darker, more chaotic time in our nation’s history, in which one election was literally a “matter of life and death - nothing less.”

For more than a year now, journalists Michael Isikoff and David Corn have been devoted to covering the Trump campaign's ties to Russia.

Isikoff was the first reporter to reveal that there was a U.S. intelligence investigation into Russian ties to a figure in the Trump campaign: Carter Page. Corn was the first to reveal the existence of the infamous Russia dossier, the unverified collection of reports alleging connections between the Trump campaign and Russia compiled by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele.

Now, in their new book, "Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin's War on America and the Election of Donald Trump," the two men attempt to put all the pieces of the story together. The book chronicles and explores this bizarre scandal, explains the stakes, and answers one of the biggest questions in American politics: How and why did a foreign government infiltrate the country's political process and gain influence in Washington?

Lawrence O’Donnell has been a student of American politics for most of his life. A former senior advisor to Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, chief of staff of two Senate committees, an Emmy Award-winning executive producer and writer for "The West Wing," and now host of his own MSNBC show "The Last Word," O’Donnell has a front row seat to American democracy in action.

While the 2016 election, still fresh in all our memories, produced many crazy headlines and tumultuous debates, "Playing With Fire: The 1968 Election and the Transformation of American Politics" recreates an even darker, more chaotic time in our nation’s history, in which one election was literally a “matter of life and death—nothing less”: 1968.

"Playing With Fire" tells the gripping story of 1968 election with a remarkable cast of characters, from the candidates themselves - Nixon, Johnson, Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, Nelsen Rockefeller - to the staffers whose fame has only grown in retrospect: Henry Kissinger, Alan Greenspan, Pat Buchanan, a young Bill Clinton, and even Roger Ailes.

National Voter Registration Day is on Tuesday, September 26th this year. Organizations all over the state will be participating in the event day by holding voter registration drives. 

The League of Women Voters operates a non-partisan electronic ballot website www.vote411.org. The ballot site provides non-partisan election information about all the candidates New Yorkers will be voting on in November.

We welcome Jennifer Wilson - Program and Policy Director for The League of Women Voters of New York State and Kathy Koebrich from the Saratoga League and Patricia Sibilia of the Albany League. 

Voice Theatre is a professional company based at the historic landmark Byrdcliffe Theater in Woodstock, NY. They create new productions and explore relevant dimensions of classic works.

Their production of Thornton Wilder’s The Skin Of Our Teeth opens tonight. In it - the prehistoric world meets Suburbia. The Antrobus family – George and Maggie, their children, Gladys and Henry, and Sabina, a maid who is also George’s mistress – survive the Election, Climate Change and the End of the World. Combining tragedy with comedy, wit, intelligence and imagination the play is one of the defining moments in American Theater.

To tell us more – we welcome actors: Christa Trinler playing Sabina and Phil Mansfield who is playing George Antrobud along with Shauna Kanter - director and artistic Director of Voice Theatre. 

How much weight should we give to a special election in Georgia?

In today’s Congressional Corner, Tim Vercellotti of the Western New England University poll and professor of political science speaks with WAMC’s Alan Chartock.

Why is America living in an age of profound and widening economic inequality? Why have even modest attempts to address climate change been defeated again and again? Why do hedge-fund billionaires pay a far lower tax rate than middle-class workers?

In Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right, Jane Mayer illuminates the history of an elite cadre of plutocrats—headed by the Kochs, the Scaifes, the Olins, and the Bradleys—who have bankrolled a systematic plan to fundamentally alter the American political system.

The book is now available in paperback with a new preface that discusses the results of the most recent election and Donald Trump's victory, and how, despite much discussion to the contrary, this was a huge victory for the billionaires who have been pouring money in the American political system.

Matt Taibbi, author of the New York Times bestsellers The DivideGriftopia, and The Great Derangement, is a contributing editor for Rolling Stone and winner of the 2008 National Magazine Award for columns and commentary.

The 2016 presidential contest as told by Taibbi, from its tragicomic beginnings to its apocalyptic conclusion, is in fact the story of Western civilization’s very own train wreck. Years before the clown car of candidates was fully loaded, Taibbi grasped the essential themes of the story: the power of spectacle over substance, or even truth; the absence of a shared reality; the nihilistic rebellion of the white working class; the death of the political establishment; and the emergence of a new, explicit form of white nationalism that would destroy what was left of the Kingian dream of a successful pluralistic society.

Taibbi's new book is Insane Clown President: Dispatches from the 2016 Circus.

Ralph Nader knows a thing or two about running for President of the United States.

Named by The Atlantic as one of the hundred most influential figures in American history, and by Time and Life magazines as one of the most influential Americans of the twentieth century, Ralph Nader has helped us drive safer cars, eat healthier food, breathe better air, drink cleaner water, and work in safer environments for more than four decades.

In his new book, Breaking Through Power, Ralph Nader draws from a lifetime waging--and often winning--David vs. Goliath battles against big corporations and the United States government. He highlights the success stories of fellow Americans who organize change and work together to derail the many ways in which wealth manipulates politics, labor, media, the environment, and the quality of national life today.

Another national election, another case of bad polling.

In today’s Congressional Corner, Tim Vercellotti of the Western New England University poll and professor of political science, tells WAMC’s Alan Chartock what happened.

WAMC

It all comes down to today for Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. It’s been one heck of a campaign season unlike any other. The candidates have the lowest favorability ratings of any in history. That’s just one of the reasons people are expressing anxiety, worry and uncertainty over the outcome. So how are you feeling on this Election Day? Are you nervous? Excited? Tell Dr. Alan (not a medical doctor) Chartock all about it! 

New York is poised to elect Hillary Clinton for president and give Chuck Schumer a fourth term as U.S. Senator, but down ballot races for Congress and state Senate are less certain.

Is this a post-truth election?

In today’s Congressional Corner, Tim Vercellotti of the Western New England University poll and professor of political science, concludes his conversation with WAMC’s Alan Chartock.

  Many Muslims have settled in Utica.

In today’s Congressional Corner, Republican New York state Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney, a candidate for the 22nd House district seat, tells WAMC’s Alan Chartock that she doesn’t appreciate Donald Trump’s recent comments even though she supports him.

  Upstate New York’s 22nd House district is getting a new representative.

In today’s Congressional Corner, Republican New York state Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney tells WAMC’s Alan Chartock why she’s running.

  John Dickerson is Moderator of Face the Nation and Political Director of CBS News and a columnist for Slate magazine. In the 2016 Election cycle he has interviewed every major candidate multiple times and was the chief moderator of CBS News' Democratic Debate.

The stakes are high. The characters full of striving and ego. Presidential campaigns are a contest for control of power in the most powerful country on earth. The battle of ideas has a clear end, with winners and losers, and along the way there are sharp turning points-primaries, debates, conventions, and scandals that squeeze candidates into emergency action, frantic grasping, and heroic gambles.

Whistlestop tells the human story of nervous gambits hatched in first-floor hotel rooms, failures of will before the microphone, and the cross-country crack-ups of long-planned stratagems.

  To outsiders, Florida seems baffling. It's a state where the voters went for Barack Obama twice, yet elected a Tea Party candidate as governor. Florida is touted as a care-free paradise, yet it's also known for its perils - alligators, sinkholes, pythons, hurricanes, and sharks, to name a few. It attracts 90 million visitors a year, some drawn by its impressive natural beauty, others bewitched by its man-made fantasies.

Craig Pittman's Oh, Florida! explores those contradictions and shows how they fit together to make this the most interesting state. It is the first book to explore the reasons why Florida is so wild and weird - and why that's okay. Florida couldn't be Florida without that sense of the unpredictable, unexpected, and unusual lurking behind every palm tree.

  Ever since Donald Trump entered the presidential race—in a press conference attended by paid actors, in which he slandered Mexican immigrants—he has dominated headlines, becoming the unrestrained id at the center of one of the most bizarre and alarming elections in American history.

It was not always so. In 1996, longtime New Yorker writer Mark Singer was conscripted by his editor to profile Donald Trump. At that time Trump was a mere Manhattan-centric megalomaniac, a failing casino operator mired in his second divorce and (he claimed) recovering from the bankruptcy proceedings that prompted him to inventory the contents of his Trump Tower home. 

In Trump and Me, Singer revisits the profile and recounts how its publication lodged inside its subject’s head as an enduring irritant—and how Singer (“A TOTAL LOSER!” according to Trump) cheerfully continued to bait him.

  In our Ideas Matter segment we take time just about every week to check in with the state humanities councils in our 7-state region.

Today, we will learn about the political impact of millennials and about a public lecture happening in August in Charlemont, MA, on the profound demographic transformation happening today, as characterized by the Millennial and Boomer generations.

We are joined today by Pam Porter, of The Charlemont Forum, and by Paul Taylor, who is the former Executive Vice President of the Pew Research Institute and the author of The Next America: Boomers, Millennials and the Looming Generational Showdown Paul will be speaking at the Charlemont Forum in Charlemont, MA, on Wednesday, August 10th. 

  In this most unusual election year, some voters say they have no one to back.

In today’s Congressional Corner, New York Representative Chris Gibson — a Republican from the 19th district — tells WAMC’s Alan Chartock why he’s still looking for a candidate. 

  Why is America living in an age of profound economic inequality? Why, despite the desperate need to address climate change, have even modest environmental efforts been defeated again and again? Why have protections for employees been decimated? Why do hedge-fund billionaires pay a far lower tax rate than middle-class workers?

The conventional answer is that a popular uprising against “big government” led to the ascendancy of a broad-based conservative movement. But Jane Mayer shows in her book, Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right, a network of exceedingly wealthy people with extreme libertarian views bankrolled a systematic, step-by-step plan to fundamentally alter the American political system.

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