Today on The BradCast: There is a great deal to be concerned about between now and November 8, when American holds its first nationwide elections since Donald Trump tried to steal the last one. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]
Since then, his unrelenting lies that the 2020 election was stolen from him (ironically enough) have resulted in, among other things, newly restrictive voting laws adopted by GOP-controlled states, a shortage of poll workers following death threats from disinformed rightwingers, and concerns of both intimidation and the potential of violence at polling places (and ballot drop-boxes.)
But the Election Defenders vow to be out in force, as they were in 2020, attempting to make sure everyone can vote freely and fairly.
"One of my biggest concerns is the impact the attempts at intimidation may play on the electorate," my guest today, the group's Campaign Director, ANGELA PEOPLES, tells me. "In some places, these threats of violence are very real, and we're preparing folks to be responsive to those." But, she adds, "a lot of this is just talk, and attempts to create an atmosphere of fear. So we are planning to counter that fear with joy, with enthusiasm, to make sure that people can cast their ballot with safety and dignity."
Election Defenders is a coalition formed in 2020 by The Frontline, a joint campaign of the Working Families Party, the Movement for Black Lives Electoral Justice Project, United We Dream and Rising Majority. They deployed some 2,000 volunteers trained in de-escalation techniques to polling places in all 50 states in 2020. This year, they hope to station about 1,250 in key battleground states including Wisconsin, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Georgia and Arizona.
"We are trained not only in de-escalation, but also in what we call Voter Care --- to support folks at the polls, making sure folks have information about what those new laws may be and how to make sure that, if they feel like they are denied their ability to vote, they have a chance to address that and to not be denied their ability to cast their ballot, whether it's provisional or otherwise, on Election Day," Peoples explains.
"We'll be making sure that things stay calm, stay joyful, stay energetic and are the type of experience that can keep people engaged all the way through to casting their ballot," she says. The group hopes to counter so many who have been lied into rage on the Right over the past two years. "A lot of their playbook is about intimidation [and] fear tactics. So we have really focused on the joy that we can bring to people and reminding folks that, as much as some may try to make voting seem like something that is privileged, or something only a few should be able to do, that everyone that has the right to vote in this country should be able to exercise that."
Critically, she adds, "we are reminding our volunteers that this Election Defense opportunity is something that we need to do from voting, to counting, all the way to certification."
And, yes, the group is still welcoming volunteers and helping to train them all over the country. If you'd like to join the effort, you can get more details and sign up for trainings here or text FRONTLINE to 20403.
Also today, the outer bands of the coming Trump Accountability Hurricane continue to blow in...
- Steve Bannon was sentenced to 4 months in prison for Contempt of Congress after refusing to answer subpoenas for testimony and documents from the House January 6 Committee. He remains free for now pending appeal.
- Donald Trump was sent his own subpoena by the same House Committee today, seeking documents from the disgraced former President by November 4 and under oath deposition testimony beginning on or about November 14. If he refuses, he could face similar charges to those Bannon has now been found guilty of and sentenced to prison for.
- On Thursday, Sen. Lindsey Graham was ordered by a three-judge panel (two of whom are Trump appointees) at the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to testify to the Special Grand Jury in Atlanta set up by Fulton County, Georgia Prosecutor Fani Willis. She is investigating an alleged criminal conspiracy led by Donald Trump to force state officials to falsify the 2020 election results. Today, Graham, who has lost every court battle to avoid testimony so far, asked SCOTUS to intervene. Even though the denies any wrongdoing, it appears he really really doesn't want to testify to that end under oath for some reason.
- Also this week, Trump was forced to testify under oath in the defamation case against him by author E. Jean Carroll, who alleges he raped her in a department store dressing room in the 1990s and then lied about both her and it while serving as President. But, because he can't help himself, Trump really screwed himself over regarding the only quasi-legit defense he had left to try and duck Carroll's defamation complaint. SAD!
(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)