Democracy in America Now – Election 2020: UC Berkeley Big Ideas

(upbeat music) (eerie music) – So let’s talk about where things are at. This photograph was taken on November 5th, as Trump attempted to declare victory in an election that he hasclearly demonstrably lost. This is what we would thinkof in the photo journalism industry as Pulitzer fodder. This is the kind of photographthat wins you prizes just by simply standing on the edge of the White House press room. And you know that this personhad this angle worked out probably years ago, and finally had the opportunity to snap. Kept it secret for years,and then finally just snapped the photo that all of us kind of needed. And indeed it is true that Donald Trump lost the2020 presidential election by a considerable amount. And we’ll talk about thatjust by how much in a moment. But we are in a situationwhich Trump has lost the presidential race.There is zero chance of hislegal pursuits successfully finding the hundreds of thousands of votes in at least three statesthat he would need, to overturn this election. And yet he is openly declaringhimself to be the winner and in so doing, not onlyfueling conspiracy theories but doing what in the end mayprove to be irreparable damage to our democracy on his way out the door. And so this is a dangerous moment.I am not gonna lecture to you today about how Ithink Donald Trump is trying or will successfullypull off acoustic tie. I don’t think that he will. I am still convinced that Joe Biden will beinaugurated president on January 20th, that this willall eventually find its way to some kind of resolution. But every day that Donald Trump remains in the White House denyingthe fact that he lost, is doing ongoing damage to this country. And the evidence forthat was on the streets of Washington DC this weekend. And I wanna sort of talkabout some of those things. But we should also make note, as if it were somethingthat could easily be evaded or escaped, that the United States is in the midst of the mostrapidly accelerating phase of the pandemic in our history. It’s been since February and March that we have been sufferingthe impacts of this disease, and they are only getting worse. It has been five monthssince Donald Trump attended the pandemic task force meetings.He is effectively denying the existence of this pandemic and itis rapidly accelerating. You can see the charts here. We are well into a thirdwave with the arrow pointing asymptotically upward,accelerating well past 150,000 cases a day. It’s estimated that we will be at more than 200,000 cases a day,possibly by the end of the week with a 15 day lag between insetcases and hospitalizations and deaths, we are going torapidly see the death rate from coronavirus spiral wellbeyond a thousand deaths a day which is what itscurrent rate is, well upwards to 2000 deaths a day plus. Hospitals in placesparticularly the upper Midwest are already overrun with this disease.And we will see increasingly the breakdown of our healthcare system. And this is all headed inthe teeth of not just winter, but Thanksgiving andthe Christmas holidays in which Americans wouldexpect to be celebrating with friends and family,in which we now know that the single most effective means of spreading coronavirus is either in eating in an indoor restaurant,or having dinner parties with friends in intimate spaces inside. Which is exactly what is aboutto wash over this country. So we have every expectationthat not only is the crisis in our democracy about to worsen but so too is the coronavirusalmost in lockstep. So this kind of contexthas to be acknowledged that the tragedy thatis actively unfolding before our eyes issomething that is difficult to comprehend.It’s truly a difficult to comprehend. Let’s just talk about the election returns for a moment here. You may have seen thismeme floating around. I think it’s a solid visualization, of just how much Joe Biden actually managed to win the presidential race by. But also this is the nationalpopular vote of course, but that Biden at this point has won and will win the presidential race by at this 5.4, probably5.5 million votes. One of the largest margins of victory in American history, it’s truly historic. He’s won the electoral college with exactly the same reversetally that Donald Trump won by in 2016.Something that Trumpreferred to as a shellacking, a landslide, somethingof historic proportions, you know the man’spropensity for hyperbole. Well, he lost by exactly the same amount that he claimed to have won by. So add whatever adjectivefeels appropriate. Biden wins over 5.4 million votes and counting is equal tothe combined population of at least six US states. Wyoming, Arkansas, NorthDakota, South Dakota, Montana, and Idaho. Those six states wereone quarter of the states won by Donald Trump,and constitute but 1.7% of the US population, yet at the same time the 19 electoral votes of those six states equals 3.5% of the electoral college.So the radical ill representative nature of our democracy, remainsa frontline issue. Similarly, we all knowthat while the presidency is been essentially decided by the voters and will soon be confirmed by state legislatures inthe electoral college, the United States Senate remains very much up for grabs, and thatis control in Washington. Whether Mitch McConnell will be able to block every conceivablelaw passed by the House and desired by Joe Bidenremains very much to be seen, and we’ll hang on a Georgiarunoff on January 5th. Vox News over the weekend calculated that if Republicans win in Georgia, the Senate Democratic minority, will represent 20 million morepeople than the GOP majority. Because of the imbalancein the United States Senate in which Wyoming has two senators and California’s 55 millionpeople have two senators. If the Dems win, and theSenate is in a 50/50 balance with Vice President KamalaHarris, deciding the balance in the Senate, the Dems willthen represent 41 million more people than the Democrats and have a 50/50representation in the Senate.So the radically undemocratic nature of the American governmentremains very much on display. It is true that the Democratsare very much underperformed on down-ballot races, buteven in this circumstance 41 million more voters inthe Democratic majority, in the Senate than the Republicansand yet it could end up 50/50 in those races. Over the weekend CNN and everybody else has effectively filledin the electoral map.That North Carolina was called for Trump, Arizona and Georgia havebeen called for Biden, and this is the finished electoral map. At the same time, that thenational media has decided that Joe Biden is the president elect, that the most state election boards have determined thewinner of their states, Donald Trump has spentthe last several days tweeting things like this. So this is while I was composingthis lecture last night Donald Trump just dropped his bomb of, “I won the election!” Full exclamation point. To which someone like,I won the power ball. I am iron man. I mean like just feel free to tweet whatever nonsense you want.And it’s good for a joke but it is in fact quite dangerous for thepresident of the United States to be behaving in this way. This, the second tweet you see, “He won because the election was rigged,” is the closest we’ve gotten sofar to Donald Trump admitting that Joe Biden won this election. He won but it was rigged. Of course there is, I shouldn’t have to say this but I will just to be on the record here. There’s exactly zero evidenceof massive voter fraud. None, none at all. There’s one or two casesthat they have found in Pennsylvania, some Republican voted, tried to use his dead mother’sballot, things like this. Two, three, votes, four, five votes. Most of the lawsuits that Trump is filing in these states are being thrown out with laughable lack of evidence. This is done. This is done. It has to get through and allof that has to be certified. But Trump insisting thatthis election was a scam, that he has been shafted,that all of this was rigged, is the damage being donein the current moment.And it has led to a number ofreally startling consequences. Elections are always turningpoints for both the winners and the losers. And we spent a lot of time lastweek, talking about how now that Joe Biden has won, acivil war sort of broke out inside the Democratic Partybetween the progressives and the centrists. Between Rahm Emanuel and AOC, and they’re at each other trying to fight over, didprogressive costs the Democrats or did the progressives winthings for the Democrats. And that debate isgonna continue to go on. Lesser considered by usand others is the outbreak of civil war inside theconservative movement, or on-site on the right. And I’m gonna spend most of today talking about the far right. There is a pronounced andaccelerating schism on the right that is articulating itselfthrough right wing media.And it begins on election nightwhen Fox News called Arizona for Joe Biden. It is unusual that Arizona got called by the decision desk atFox, because in the end Arizona was the closest in terms of, I think it was only a12,000 vote difference. It’s the closest of anyof the major swing states. And yet Fox called it on election night and insisted on it tothe point where Trump and Jared Kushner and otherswere calling executives at Fox News, according to press reports, Jared Kushner was on the phonewith Rupert Murdoch himself, the owner of Fox, the the New York Post the Wall Street Journallike big media mogul. The fact that Australian right wing tycoon that owns global right wing media. And Rupert Murdoch essentially telling him you’re done guys. This is over callingit up and you’re done. This has led to a profound schism inside of right when media, to the point where Fox voters are, excuse me, Fox most loyalviewers are fleeing the network and moving to more right wingmedia outlets like Newsmax, OAN and others andreturning to online sources.At the same time, Twitter and Facebookunwilling to be blamed again for helping subvert democracyas they were accused in 2016, have tried to take a muchmore proactive attempt at combating disinformationon the internet. And so every major tweetthat the president puts out, so this one, “I won theelection” you can see here, with a link that says”Official sources called “this election differently.” (laughs) So Twitter is basicallysaying the president is lying and while everybody moreor less lies on Twitter, some lies are more damagingthan others, of course. And so this being seenas a damaging lie Twitter is attempting to frame. At the same time, Facebookis cracking down on news on sites and Facebookgroups, that are attempting to push the conspiracy theory that this election is being stolen.So what you see here is, sorry, is a website thata Facebook page called Stop the Steal, and thered line through it means that Facebook has canceled,that they’ve eliminated this site and others. And what we’ve seen in recent days starting on electionnight, is a mass migration of right wing Facebookoutlets and Twitter feeds onto new sites. In particular site called Parler, Parlor. Parler would be the Frenchversion but somehow I think that they’re probablynot gonna pronounce it in the French. It means speak, and they’re probably not usingthe French pronunciation. So I’m gonna say Parlor. I don’t know but they’remigrating to this new bastion of free speech. Parlor is the most prominent free speech social media in the world. Which means free reign forracism, White supremacy, neo-Nazism, and the entiresort of right wing conservative establishment, is attemptingto abandon Facebook.Facebook traditionally hasbeen a right wing media bubble in which really amplifyingright wing voices throughout the election season and now, that Facebook, Twitter andother at Fox are committed to the reality that DonaldTrump lost this election, we’re seeing a fragmentingof the right wing media scape and the right wing movements. And people are moving towebsites that provide them with the facts such asthey imagine them to be, that they want to hear. Which is to say that thiselection is still up for grabs that if we fight, and particularlyif we pray really hard, Donald Trump can still win this election. I personally, the chances of this at least are non-existent, but yetthis is what’s growing on the right. Fox News itself has broken out into a full-scale civil war internally between the news division,which runs during the day, and their prime time stars,namely Hannity, Ingraham, and Tucker Carlson, whoare all deeply committed to the conspiracy theory thatthis election has been stolen, that this is a massive fraud committed against the American people, and that Donald Trump willeventually come to prevail.Whereas poor Chris Wallace over here, the head of the news division at Fox has to insist the Joe Bidenwill become the 46 president of the United States. So Fox has broken itself,has broken in half into open internal civil war on Fox news, as they attempt to address thequestion of how do we grapple with the fact that DonaldTrump lost this election. This is a very serious concern for them. They’re losing audience share. Telling the truth, islosing Fox its audience. Full stop. Telling the truth islosing Fox its audience.Now that I think it tells ussomething really quite dramatic about the kind of alternative reality, that most Trump supportersfind themselves living in. What you see in this space then is, the massive expansionof conspiracy theories. That we see withinparticularly on the far right, driving these kinds of this insistence that Joe Biden did not in fact win the presidential race, andthat it’s only a matter of time before the authorities find a way to make Donald Trump president. So as Trump, here’s, the NewYork Times tries to claim to power, fans unrest and conspiracies. Conspiracy theories have longbeen an essential feature of American politicaland intellectual life. They have been presentin the United States since the very beginning. In which idiots argued bysomeone like Bernard Bailyn here the great colonial historianof the United States, that it was indeed a conspiracy theory of British attempts to subvert the freedom in the colonies, that ledto the American revolution to set off in the first place.A fear of foreign subversion,a fear of foreign intervention led American Patriotsto create a new nation, so as to prevent theseEuropean conspiracies from subverting our freedom. In a sense the ideathat conspiracy theories have been present from theorigin of the United States and they’re indeed quite foundational, to the ways in which we thinkabout and understand politics. This has only become a greater and greater problem over time. And at the middle of the 20th century, one of the great theoreticians of paranoia and conspiracytheories in general, is that of Theodor Adorno.A German born Jewishintellectual who fled the Nazis in the 1930s and came to theUnited States, actually lived in Pacific Palisades for a number of years during World War II if you can believe, the high modernist German Marxists living in Pacific Palisades but there they are. And Adorno did a study in the post-war era called “The authoritarianPersonality” with a number of other indeed UC Berkeleypsychology professors, in which he writes quote “All modern fascist movements,including the practices “of contemporary Americandemagogues, have aimed “at the ignorant.”They have consciouslymanipulated the facts “in a way that could lead to success “only with those who were notacquainted with the facts.” On the one hand, the absence of facts is indeed where a lot of conspiracytheories kind of grow from. In the sense that thesetheories fill the vacuum of ordinary American ignoranceor ordinary ignorance. When people don’t understandthings when society or the systems of meaning,our history, society, culture, politics become so complex,that people simply are incapable of understanding. Making sense of it all. And indeed, none of us arereally capable of making sense of the totality of complexity that is our society, ourhistory, our civilization. And so many people choose to grab onto, the simple solutionsthat connect fact to fact to fact in quite tenuous ways, that constitute conspiracy theories. That are enormously attractivebecause of their explanatory capacity, especiallywhen systems of meaning and society overwhelm the individual. When we feel dwarfed by reality. When we feel incapable ofunderstanding what’s going on in the world around us,and we feel disempowered, we feel victimized by thisflow of human history.The tendency is to grabon to conspiracy theories that help us explain not onlyour sense of powerlessness, but where in fact things are going and how power actually operates. In the middle of the 20th century, the most importantexpressions or theorizations of conspiracy theory come,particularly starts in fact on the day after, excuseme, the day before the Kennedy assassination. November 21st, 1963, theColumbia University historian Richard Hofstadter gave atalk at Oxford University, that he entitled the paranoidstyle in American politics. It then went on to be anessay in Harper’s Magazine that you can see here published in 1963, and then went on to be thelead essay in a very important significant book.I don’t have a copy with as cool a cover as the one you see there, but call “The ParanoidStyle of American Politics”. For Hofstadter, The Paranoid Style, evidence what he calledI quote “state of mind “found in social movementsthroughout US history. “Evoking the qualities”of what he called quote “The qualities of heated exaggeration “suspiciousness, andconspiratorial fantasy.” According to Hofstadter quote, “The central preconceptionof the paranoid style “was the existence of a vast, insidious, “predator naturallyeffective international “conspiratorial network,designed to perpetrate acts “of the most fiendish character.” The paranoid style inHofstadter’s examples, does not simply fixate on devious crimes or political plots, but claims knowledge of an explicitly totalizing variety.Capable of explaining thewhole of society in history. The political paranoidbelieves in a quote, “Vast or gigantic conspiracy, “that is the motive forceof historical events.” “History is a conspiracy”writes Hofstadter, “sat in motion by demonic forces “of almost transcendental power.” “And though he makes no claimto offer a clinical definition “of paranoia,” this is Hofstadter. He does describe the paranoid style as evidence of what hecalls a political pathology that appears to be quote”All but ineradicable, “and has a greater affinityfor bad causes than good.” Hofstadter’s argumentexplicitly pathologizing largely right wing social movements. And indeed he writes in 1964, 65, about The GoldwaterMovement which he calls the pseudo conservative revolt, and the rise of the John Birch Society particularly far rightversion of anti-communism, that was very much advocating out of the Southern California far right.The Orange County far right in late 40s and 1950s. These are largely right social movements that helped intellectuals shapethe Hofstadter’s arguments, about right wingintellectuals helped shape what we think of as midst 20thcentury American liberalism. Merging the traditions ofan anti-fascist European critical theory, particularlyAdorno Herbert Mark who am I thinking of? Eric Fromm, a number of others. The Frankfurt school of American, of German, then exile theGerman critical theory, merging that with the kindof anticommunist Cold War American pluralism, that was dominant in the middle of the 20thcentury under the names of people like DanielBell, David Brian Davis, Bernard Bailyn, SeymourMartin Lipset, and others. These are prominent political scientists in the mid 20th century. Taken together, this approach was referred to as the consensus schoolof American historiography, or pluralist political science. And together they came to believe that they created acultural history around, the fears of a predominantlynativist, anti-Semitic, and xenophobic mass movements, employed by an explicitlypejorative political psychology. And so they sought then to argue, to analyze this political psychology. This mass psychology, that were dependent on conspiracy theoriesto explain the world.The effect of this isthen, that Hofstadter and others came to argue thatthe paranoid style exists on the margins of American politics. It exists on the fringes, on the edges. These are not mainstream ideas, these are wackos,lunatics, they’re paranoid. This kind of paranoia,this kind of pejorative psychopathologising a politicalideologies and beliefs. Hofstadter came to believe,that the price we paid for a free, liberal, capitalist society, was to tolerate theintolerance of the margins. So if there’s paranoia on the margins, that is the price we payfor what Arthur Schlesinger will call “The Vital Center.” The coherent, rational,capitalist democracy of American mid-century liberalism. In this sense, this is a kind of theoryof American exceptionalism that our democracy canwithstand the onslaughts of these paranoid nabobs on the outside. Despite the enduring influenceof Hofstadter’s essay and it is quite enduring indeed, Paul Krugman writes atleast two columns a year called “The Paranoid Style of X.” You’ll just look it up tight into the New York Times”The Paranoid Style” and you’ll get at least adozen Paul Krugman columns that will just pop up, becauseit’s quite a common argument.The paranoids are on the fringe, we hold the vital center. The problem with this, it’s most obvious flaw as apiece of political theory, also provides perhaps its deepest insight namely the conspiracy theories especially right wing conspiracy theories. Do not exclusively populatethe extreme margins of American politics or history, rather than most dangerousconspiracy theories in American politics and history, emerged from the very centerof political power itself. In which the Whitesupremacist, anticommunist, and anti-terrorist ideologieseach defined by shifting fears of subversive conspiracies,are promoted and enacted by presidents, businessleaders, military men, judges, prosecutors, police, and vigilantes.The greatest source of conspiracy theories in American political historyare not marginalized groups like the populists, or9/11 truth, or even Qanon, but the centralized authorityof the state itself. Anti-communism, antiterrorism. The existence of the FBI, the CIA, Department of Homeland Security,the National Security State are all grounded in, stateoriented conspiracy theories of subversive enemies. That have to be contained,rounded up and destroyed. This question then has beencomprehensively theorized by the political scientist and former UC Berkeleypolitical scientist, Michael Paul Rogin as what he calls the counter subversive tradition. Rogin’s body of work beginning with a Seminole critiqueof Hofstadter imperialism, with the intellectuals and McCarthy. Oh, here we go. That’s Hofstadter’s excuseme, Rogin’s body of work, offers a history andtheory of what he calls political demonology, tocall attention to quote, “The creation of monstersis a continuing feature “of American politics by the inflation, “stigmatization anddehumanization of political foes.” The horrors of what Rogincalls the quote, “Dream life “that so often dominatesAmerican politics, “are easily listed as theyshape our national identity “and a periodize our history.”The India,” and this is Rogin again. “The Indian cannibal, the black rapist, “the papel whore ofBabylon, the monster Hydra, “United States Bank, demon Rome, “the bomb throwing anarchists, “the many tentacled communist conspiracy, “the agents of international terrorism.” Such fears are promulgatednot by fringe extremists but by presidents, politicalcandidates, newspaper editors, and business leaders who cometo name the subversive enemy, attach personal anxietiesto political projects, and to direct the repressive apparatus. Quote, “The demonologistssplits the world in two” writes Michael Rogin, “attributingmagical pervasive power “to a conspiratorial center of evil. “Fearing chaos and secret penetration, “the counter subversiveinterprets local initiatives “as signs of alien power. “The counter subversive needs monsters, “to give shape to his anxieties, “and to permit him to indulgehis forbidden desires. “Demonization allowsthe counter subversives “in the name of battling the subversive, “to imitate his enemy.” This is why the Ku Klux Klandresses in papel vestments.Why the John BirchSociety organized itself in anticommunist secret cells, Why urban police behave like street gangs, Why democratically electedconservatives hate governments, Why Islamophobs adopt ISIS terror tactics, and why this weekend wesaw the million MAGA match, in which far rightwingers adopt the language of the nation of Islam’s1990s era million man match. In which we see them the far right adopting left wing chantswhose streets, our streets. This is what democracylooks like, so on and so on. Why far right wing movements often adopt the idiom, language, appearance and tactics of the left that they claim to oppose. Part of it is because theydon’t actually have any ideas of their own.They see the left as decidedly successful in being able to build movements, but in organizing against the left. They adopt their strategies, tactics, identities, and slogans. So also in the words ofTheodor Adorno again quote, “Those who persistentlyblame others for indulging “in conspiracies have astrong tendency to engage “in plots themselves.” And so what we see though in this moment is something quite unique.And these tweets Ithink kind of sum it up. This one I showed you,he won the because like, and then I think this other one here is probably the most dramatic. “Of all the mechanicalglitches that took place “on election night, were really them,” all caps them. When we think about thelanguage of paranoia and the pronouns of paranoia, them, they, it’s this mysterious them. It’s a mysterious they. It’s always those folks that are doing this kind of the deepest damage. Them getting caught trying to steal votes, they succeeded plenty, so on and so on.In a sense this is what Trumpism is. Trumpism is when theparanoid margins conquer the counter subversive center. When the paranoid fringes actually win a presidential election,and take over state power. Because Trump came fromthese paranoid margins, and again remember, Donald Trump rose to political significancebecause of birtherism. Through birtherism. The conspiracy theory that Barack Obama was not born in the United States. This was his primary contributionto his political rise. So this is a man who’s always been engaged in fringe conspiracy theories. Who successfully took over the state. And in so doing has beenwaging a kind of war against the actually existingcounter subversive elements within the government. Namely Trump has beenat war for four years with the FBI, with theCIA, and with the Pentagon.And which is why Trump replacing the head of the Department of Defense, this immediately after anelection is both troubling and very much par forthe course for this man. What that means remainsvery much to be seen. I personally think hereplaced the head of DoD just out of vindictiveness. As a kind of immediate punishment. I just think this is another asterix. I don’t think that thisis evidence of a plot of a coup d’etat. I think if Donald Trumptries to seize power what have you the United States military will not go along with him. That’s really what it comes down to. And Saru spoke with thisquite eloquently earlier that it’s really a question is the army gonna along with him? And I don’t think they will, but what do I know. This is all in the future. And yet what this shows us is that conspiracy theories actually operate on a different level right now.And this is where I willadmit I was just reading from my own book, but thisis where I do wanna talk about my own book very briefly which is, a history of conspiracytheories and conspiracy laws in the late 19th and early20th century particularly, conspiracy laws as attached tolabor unions and labor laws. The first use of conspiracylaws in the United States were used in thePhiladelphia Cordwainers case in the early 19th century,to ban labor unions as criminal conspiracies. Labor excuse me, monopoly capitalism, monopolies were defined as a conspiracy in restraint of free trade. The conspiracy laws have been perennially and historically usedagainst social movements.Indeed the conspiracy laws in the United States offera mirror image of the laws of incorporation, so thatwhen social movements, unions, socialists, communists,anarchists, African-American, freedom struggle, organize themselves as social movements collectives, they often face a surplus legal sanction under the use of conspiracy statutes by which they are oftenprosecuted for crimes. In which guilt by associationhear say a whole series of legal loopholes are available to state prosecutors todestroy social movements. At the same time, the fictionof legal corporate personhood provides the modern business corporation with a surplus legal benefit,in which the collective and conspiring corporation is treated as a fictitious legal individual.So they are granted asurplus legal benefit. And so the mirror imagebetween the conspiracy laws and the laws of incorporationmirror each other, in the late 19th, early 20th century, in ways that we are stillvery much living with. But it’s important to think about when we talk about conspiracies, what we’re talking aboutis not just some whacked out theory, the tin foil hat man with this type shit. This, these are Qanon charts.About how like the grandQanon conspiracy works. This is the tin foil hat,Hollywood conspiracy theory mise en scene with the strings, you know that’s what this is. But in the end whatconspiracies are, it’s a crime. As Clarence Darrow famouslysaid in the early 20th century, the civil liberties lawyer Clarence Darrow famously said that, if a boy steal some candy he gets a slap on thewrist for as a punishment. But if two boys make aplan to steal some candy and don’t do it, they’venonetheless committed a felony which is the crime of conspiracy. Often plotting a crime, carriesa greater legal sanction than even carrying out the crime itself. So this is a legal space in which collective actionis rigorously criminalized.But if we think about conspiracies and here I give you the definition. I mean literally, conspiracymeans in Latin conspiratio, it means to breathe together. And think about what that means. We’re not allowed to do that. Like the COVID preventsus from conspiring. And of course Zoom is watching. So we’re all permanently undersurveillance all the time. Are we paranoid yet? But in a sense then, conspiracy is in mysense three interrelated, interlocking horizons. A conspiracy is a criminal act, it is a political plot, andit can be a theory of history. And so when we think aboutthe great conspiracy theories of American history,they usually start on one of these horizons, and thenbleed out into the other two.So Dallas, Texas, November22nd, 1963, John F. Kennedy is murdered in the streets of Dallas. It is a crime. It is a criminal act thatquickly evolves intellectually into a series of argumentsof political plots, of the CIA, of the Mafia,of others who wanna whack the president. Who wanna kill the presidentthat which rapidly grows into a kind of conspiracytheory, about how the deep state or the secret state,wields political power and wanted to eliminate John F.Kennedy because he was gonna pull out of Vietnam, and the military industrialcomplex one of that war and so they murdered theirown commander in chief. And besides, how could one guy one loser, Lee Harvey Oswald impactan older American history so demonstrably, whenclearly his aim was terrible when he was one of the worstshots in the Marine Corps. This is the Kennedyassassination conspiracy theory but then you need to take Watergate. Most popular conspiracy. The second half of the 20th century, that began with what Nixoncalled the Third Rate Burglary. In which a number of Republicanswere arrested breaking into the DNC headquartersat the Watergate hotel, which rapidly spiraled intoa political plot that brought down president Richard Nixon. On the flip side though what we have with something like Qanon,I’ll come to them in a moment, is a lot of people who then come at this from a theory of history. Qanon comes at this questionwith a theory of history that there are theseelites, the secret cabals, that pull the strings towhich this world dances, and that they are activelymanipulating the world.And so if you have thisconspiratorial vision of how history happens,then you go looking for political plots thatprove that this is the case, and then you go looking for crimes that prove the politicalplot, that provide evidence for the theory of history. And thus you go from a theory of history that says there is thissecret cabal rules the world, that they are run by Democratswho have child molesting cabals, that are operatingout of the basement of a pizza parlor in Washington, DC. That leads some gun totingnot from North Carolina, to show up at comet pingpong in Washington, DC, looking for a basementin which John Podesta and Hillary Clintonare molesting children. So you start with a theory of history and go looking for a crime. And so we can understand conspiracies in this multiple layered way. As crimes, as political plots, and as a theory of history, that may or may not disappear into essentially high-end surreal fantasy. Which is I think byand large where we are. Conspiracy theories areindeed really attractive and necessary and in acertain sense because, the world is in fact so complex.And the theoreticianFredric Jameson the Marxist, literary critic Fredric Jamesonis one of the great thinkers around conspiracy theory. Defines conspiracy thinkingas a kind of what he calls cognitive mapping. And he defines this he says, conspiracy is the poorperson’s cognitive mapping. It is a degraded figure of thetotal logic of late capital, a desperate attempt to representthe system whose failure is marked by the slippageinto sheer theme and content. And so what this is the understanding that everyone needs a modelof how the world works. Ideology. Conspiracy theory is a form of ideology. It is a narrative. It is a story we tell ourselvesabout how power operates and what role power plays in our lives.And it helps us map out the social system. That mapping is always going to fail but it’s gonna fail inways that become knowable, articulatable, critiquable,understandable. Conspiracy theories areone of the most popular and populace, of these formsof mapping a political reality. And so we come to something like Qanon. We know who Q is. Someone was already in the chat. There’s a great Reply All,166 Reply All it’s a podcast I highly recommend it. It was basically the inventor of 8chan. There’re group of peoplewho invented 8chan and who came to own 8chan,they’re online laughing as the kind of high end, secret agent who’s gonna drop clues, and what you begin toget quickly out of Qanon, is a kind of hyper partisan theory about how the deep state operates, that puts Donald Trump as thecentral player in a drama.In which Donald Trump is the heroic figure waging a secret war, against satanic child molesting Democrats, who are using the deep stateto wield political power and the Donald Trump is thegodlike figure of light waging a war against the darkness,at the darkness found at the center of the state, the Democratic Party, andliberal culture in general. With the defeat of Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election, it would appear as if bothGod and his prophet Q, have failed. And indeed Q has not lefta drop since November 3rd. Q has effectively disappeared. No one using Q’s trip codehas left a drop on 8kun which is the new psych as 8chan down after the El Paso shooting. When the El Paso shooting, they published his manifesto 8chan got shut down,8kun has picked it up.Their most popular sites,Qanon has disappeared. And this is leaving millions,literally millions of people around the world utterly bereft. Not only has their god Donald Trump failed but their prophet Q hasdisappeared on them. And we’re seeing aphenomenon on the right akin to a doomsday cult, whose endof the world date has come and gone without the fire and brimstone. And those leftover in thecult are either searching for a new date, searchingfor a new deity, searching for a new sense of meaning,or they are awakening from this conspiratorialslumber, and shattered by the reality that iscrashed down upon them. But it is important torecognize quite clearly that Trump and hisorganization have always been grounded in conspiracy theories. I mentioned this at the beginning with the birther movement,where Trump really found his legs politically, whichhas then led to Trump building his coalition. Out of increasingly paranoidconspiratorially attached right wing White people. White male voters becamean essential component of his constituency. White female voters becamean essential component of his constituency.So too, did the growingranks of the old right. The Alternative Right that emerged really during the late years of the Obama era, to emerge to become the kind of voice of the sort of we’re not Nazis far right. Even though most of them actually end up being quite sympathetic to Nazis. These are photographs that I took. These are all my picturesfrom civic center in Berkeley on April 19th, when Ann Coulterwas supposed to come to Cal, but because she didn’t getpaid or $30,000 speaking fee she decided not to show up. But all of these rightwingers who were paid to come, receive free bus tickets,from Orange County. I talked to people who hadbeen paid to arrive there, all the way from Colorado, from Oregon, from Orange County and elsewhere. As you will notice, I am White. You see, I am White. So I can go amongst thesepeople and talk to them.Whiteness is my passport. So I went and talked tothese people and I asked them can I take your picture, hey, what does thatsymbol mean on your shirt? What is that the three percenter, the oath keepers, the Proud Boys, who are you? What does this mean? All of this stuff. All of these things. And then I found a substantive subsets of Palo Alto tech bros, who are also there quiteconvinced that liberalism is some kind of disease pathology that is infecting the youth. These were all down at Civic Center. They were actively fighting with Berkeley High School students which I thought was fascinating. But I will tell you that to a man, all of these people thought they were on the Berkeley camp. (laughs) I was not going todisabuse them of that idea let alone tell them who Iam, because I am the fantasy that they all have of whata Berkeley professor is. The Jew who riles up people of color. That’s their fantasy. AKA the trolls in the comment section of the YouTube page.These are the same people. This was April 19th, 2017. We saw these people actually dominate, come to the center ofAmerican politics later in the summer, on August 12th, 2017 at Charlottesville, Virginia,followed the next day by the unite the rightrally in Charlottesville, in which neo-Nazis, clansmen, Proud Boys, and armed militiasattempted to come together to hold a rally, in defenseof the Confederate monuments scheduled to be taken down in Virginia. This was of course the moment in which DonaldTrump called the people these people, very fine people. And I think that this photograph here, this is my I think themost telling photograph from Charlottesville,because it reveals in a sense where we are as a nation.In which anti-fascist organizers at the top of the frame areconfronting fascist organizers at the bottom of the frame. And American liberalism isa thin piece of plastic, decorated with rainbowsand a slogan attempting to keep these people apart. Utterly incapable ofbeing heard or effective in the increasing warthat Americans are waging on each other. We know how the Unitethe Right Rally ended. With the murder of anti-racistactivist Heather Heyer, this sort of murder of this moment. And Unite the Right endedreally in complete failure. It broke apart, the right was not united, it crumbled, and Trumptook a huge hit by trying to defend these people.This has remained a longsort of undercurrent for a long time, and has thenre-emerged in a certain sense. It was submergent then re-emerged, with the murder of GeorgeFloyd in the explosion of the Black Lives Matter protests. The right wing was quite defeated by this, they took a kind of backstage position, and were overwhelmed. This is why we call them reactionaries because they react to events. They’re not leadingevents, they’re reacting. So when millions andmillions, tens of millions of Americans came out and protested the murder of GeorgeFloyd, it took the right several weeks to get theiract together, to mobilize and begin to push particularly in the form of defensive police violence, and the rise of the Blue Lives Matter flag. This flag was invented in2014, by some right wing kid I think in in Wisconsin or Minnesota. And it is this kind of thedraining of the US flag of its multicolored nature. The red, white, and blue are drained away, what is left is a flagthat is black and white with a thin blue linein which a white stripe, is replaced with a blue stripe.With a black stripe aboveand a black stripe below. And the stripes above arethose that follow the law and the predominantly black stripes below, are those that are incontravention of the law who must be held in checkby the thin blue line. Trump has increasingly adopted this flag during the campaign. What you see here is a Trump rally in Waukesha, Wisconsin, inwhich the thin blue line flag hangs above the entire crowd. And so with this kind of politics brewing, it should have surprised no one when we see police assaultpeople here in Alamance County, North Carolina, in which blackfolks attempting to match to the polls in asanctioned permitted match, are attacked and teargassedby police attempting to prevent Black people from voting. As we see here in fact they teargassed a three year old child, so as to prevent herparents from being able to vote in North Carolina.We see then again, fueledequally by conspiracy theories and White supremacy, wesaw during the campaign Donald Trump embrace avigilante attempt to, we don’t know what, but attack essentially a BidenHarris campaign bus in Texas on October 31st to whereTrump could post this. And we get the- – [Band Member] Three, two, one, – [All] Go! Welcome to the, Great kingdom Yeah Great kingdom – So this is Donald Trump with music and video endorsingvigilante intimidation of the Biden Harris campaign in Texas. Openly endorsing white power violence against his political opponents. So already we are in a dangerous place.This of course became very popular on the internet, particularlyamongst sort of liberals who are like oh, look,here’s a bunch of Republicans in trucks, and they start calling them Y’all Qaeda, vanilla ISISand things like this. To depict Trump supporters as foreign Islamic terrorists. This is naive, dangerous and wrong. Why do we need to compare these people to foreign terrorists. When there’s a long andreadily available history of American terrorism, to which of these people find themselves in complete agreementand direct alignment. There’s very little difference between, and I’ll give you. There’s very littledifference between what we saw in Texas, and what we seeDW Griffith’s 1915 film “Birth of a Nation.” In which White Klansman riseup in vigilante violence against African-American voters, and an African-American electedofficials in a recreation of the civil war andreconstruction from 1915.This is not Y’all Qaeda. This is not Vanilla ISIS. This is just the run ofthe mill, White supremacist vigilantism, that hasalways been a deep strain in American political life. Why compare these people to foreigners, when there are readilyavailable terrorist equivalents that these people are clearlydirectly in line with. And indeed, between 1915 and 2020 the parallels are pretty exact. And I would just simplyadd that Woodrow Wilson’s imprimatur given to birth of a nation is very much akin toDonald Trump re-tweeting, images of vigilante violence that we saw in Texas, in Wisconsin and elsewhere.The one key difference,and I think the totality of American politicalhistory can be summarized in the fact that the one key difference between birth of a nationin 1915, and Donald Trump’s I love Texas tweet of 2020,is that the vigilantes in 1915 were Democrats, andin 2020 they’re Republicans. And so we should not be surprised then. In Detroit, we see White mobsoutside the counting center in Wayne County, demanding that White mobs telling Black people, tostop counting the votes of Black voters.This is not surprising. This is absolutely in linewith American history. And we see Black folks counting votes, counting the votes of Black people, White mobs assembled outsideto try and stop the vote. And so we similarly then see quite clearly the million MAGA matchwhich happened this weekend, in which Proud Boys, and anumber of other organizations came together to match through DC, to engage in violence indeedthree people were hospitalized with stab wounds, includinga journalist was stabbed by a Proud Boy on Saturday. And we see quite clearlythese are Proud Boys here. Proud Boys keep America great again, offering the White supremacist symbols. So if there ever was a question, these are the peoplethat Donald Trump told to stand back and stand by. And now they have emergedto defend their man. And so while the Unite theRight Rally in 2017 fractured the American right, whatwe’re seeing now in the wake of Donald Trump’s refusalto concede this election, is a re-coalescence of thefar right behind Donald Trump himself, and the RepublicanParty in general.They are rapidly becoming the party of the vigilante terrorist right. And this, I think is the realfear that most of us have. Indeed you can see thislike talking to you reminds me to clean my gun, black rifles matter allof that kind of language. But I think perhaps themost chilling, most central in all of this is what Isaw on Fox, on Saturday, which was this sign. It was being carried by somebody at the million MAGA matchthat said, “Coming for Blacks “and Indians first, welcometo the new world order.” This makes it absolutely plain.Who these people are, what their political goals are, and where they think they’re going. And indeed this is the oldest problem we have in American democracy. And I think I probably beganthis class with W.E.B. Du Bois and so I want to end it here as well. This is again, Du Bois’s masterpiece, “Black Reconstruction.” In which he writes quote, “The true significance ofslavery in the United States “to the whole socialdevelopment of America, “lay in the ultimate relationof slave to democracy. “What were to be the limitsof democratic control “in the United States? “If all labor, Black aswell as White became free, “we’re given schoolsand the right to vote, “what control could or shouldbe set to the power and action “of these laborers? “Was the rule of the mass of Americans “to be unlimited, and therights to rule extended “to all men, regardless ofrace and color, or if not, “what power of dictatorship would rule, “and how would propertyand privilege be protected.”This was the great and primary question “which was in the mindsof the men who wrote “the constitution of the United States, “and continued in theminds of thinkers down “through the slavery controversy. “It still remains withthe world as the problem “of democracy expandsand touches all races “and nations.” Du Bois then goes on toexplain that the force that he is supporting,that he stands behind, is what he calls abolition democracy. The belief that a democraticforce can bring about the abolition of slavery. And that abolition democracy squared off against the history ofAmerican White supremacy, and we find ourselves inexactly that moment now. In which we are confrontedby an organized force of White power, thatoperates in contravention to and above the legalauthority of the state, and the desire of the American people for a multiracial democracy, a reconstruction of our democracy.We are faced with quite simply a fight between democracy, and the White Republic. Between White power and abolition, between a far right minoritarian movement and the overwhelming majorityof Americans of all races, genders, and identities. And the one thing that I do know, that is all of us areinvested in that will continue and that sorrow I’m sure,we’ll take up and push to a conclusion, is wewill not stop the cause of a multiracial democracygoes on, the fight continues because quite simplyour lives depend on it.All right, thank you. I’m sorry I went on fortoo long there Saru. I have things to say. (laughing) – No worries. – Let me turn over to you please. – Okay, so we wanna move nowfrom White men to Black women. – Yeah.(laughing) – I mean literally this is what I wanted to talk about today. Oh man, can you see my screen? The black woman who flipped Georgia. I want to thank you Professor Cohen that was super helpfuland really good context. And I think it lays out whatwe have to be worried about. And then what I wannatalk about is I think what we have to be hopefulabout and where we go from here. I mentioned to you guyslast week I believe, that it took CNN and others, Pelosi, and others in the Democratic Party literally seconds to move from we won to this was not avindication for progressive’s quote unquote progressive’s.This is about moving to thecenter, but nobody could deny that something extraordinary had happened in the State of Georgia,led by Black women and on those same networks, they kept talking about theseorganizers, these organizers. And it’s funny ’cause peoplemay have named Stacey Abrams, have credit Stacey Abramsfor a lot of what happened in Georgia, but they keeptalking about these organizers, these women of colororganizers in Georgia, in Arizona, in Pennsylvania. So in Georgia, I thought itwould be really important for us to actually say their names rather than just calling them organizers. This is not even the full list, but I did wanna spend some time talking about what these womendid to flip this state, that has been red and Republican for a long, long time, that is the only state in the Southeast to flip in this way, what did they do? How did they do it? It was not traditionalDemocratic Party mechanisms.It was not following the advice of the traditionalDemocratic Party pundits, honestly some of whom share some of the same, even ifthey would never say it. White supremacist believes that Professor Cohentalked about on the right. There is a real White supremacy patriarchy and neo-liberalism in the Democratic Party that has stopped women like these women, that I’m gonna talk about right now from actually lettingtheir wisdom lead the way. And thank God in Georgia,the Democratic Party, traditional DemocraticParty had to step aside when Stacey Abrams came through. Even she will say it was not just me and I want to name these folks. I know a lot of these folks,they are incredible organizers, and they’ve been workingon this in Georgia for a decade or more. So Stacey Abrams you knowhas been the minority leader in in the Georgia legislature.She ran for governorand in my opinion one, but was cheated out of the election and we’ll talk more aboutthis by the secretary of state who was running against her and controlled his own election. Latasha Brown is thisincredible organizer who started Black Voters Matter whichis a national organization, but also the New Georgia Project has been an incredible organizationthat Stacey helped to co-found, that reallyregistered tens of thousands of people and so on and so forth.I’m gonna actually go throughseveral of these organizations and people in a minute because,I think it’s so important for, we’re teaching an electionsclass and in the middle, I talked to you about social movements. And we talked a littlebit about the intersection between social movementsand electoral politics. But nothing so beautifullyexplains the most effective ways in which social movement organizing led by that multiracialcoalition that Professor Cohen just talked about, can actuallybe the most effective way to win electoral politics. More effective than thepeople who’ve been doing electoral politics fordecades the old way. This is the new way. And it is deeply tied toorganizing, issue organizing, and social movements. And it is networked. It is not one person, oneleader, one candidate.It is many organizations working together. This is what happens when women and women of color lead. They don’t uplift one person. Yes, they’ll have theirleaders like Stacy, and Lucy McBath who as you all know one house seat actually oneNewt Gingrich’s house seat out of Georgia. Yes, there will be leaders,but everybody will tell you among these organizers it wasall about working together. The network, understandingthat we are stronger together, we are a coalition andwe can get this done. So before we say how theydid it, I think the fact, I mean a lot of people did recognize that they were responsiblefor this election. This is Pramila Jayapal wholeads the progressive caucus in Congress saying,”Whatever happens in Georgia, “everyone should get on their knees “and thank strong Black womenlike fearless Stacey Abrams “and so many who slog awaywithout appreciation.” Which is why I want it to say their names.”And then we should pass realpolicies that benefit them. “This might all come downto Georgia and Arizona.” I wanna just highlight thisone part of her sentence. “We should pass realpolicies that benefit them.” Because again one of the things that these women organizersknow is that getting people out to vote was aboutissues, not about candidates. And then if it was aboutissues, if we don’t deliver on those issues now, Godhelp us in the next election. This is Ben Wikler whoused to lead Move On, and has been the headof the Democratic Party in Wisconsin, saying “There’sa lot of totally correct “talk about how Stacey Abrams “was pivotal to winning Georgia. “Folks Stacy and her team were pivotal “to flipping Wisconsin too,and every other battleground. “They worked with us to build massive “supercharged voter protectionteams starting early.” So the wisdom they brought, the different way ofdoing things in Georgia was not limited to Georgia.It helped battleground states nationwide. How did they do it? The first thing they didwas recognize a decade ago that Georgia’s demographicswere starting to change. The New Georgia Project whichStacy started helped us start, reports that nearly 2million people have moved to Georgia over the lastdecade and over 80% of them are people of color. They are younger, they are more diverse. There’s a growing immigrant population. And there’s a lot of folks inthis reverse great migration African-Americans returning to the South, and in particular to Atlanta. Atlanta and the Atlanta suburbs, have been a real placewhere a lot of people have come back to in the thousands. And Rockdale County is an example of that.This is an Atlanta suburb that in 2000 was 18% African-American, and this year in Januarywas reported to be 55% African-American. In the middle of that 20 year period, in 2012 as the countystarted to turn more black, majority black, a slate ofeight, these were local, board and city council, local elected officials replacedan all Republican majority in the county elected official world. And so you saw even at the local level, politics starting to shift as a result of demographic change. And in addition to moreand more people of color, younger, more diverse,more immigrants moving to the suburbs, it’s alsotrue that the suburbs have grown more populous whilerural counties have declined. As I was preparing for this last night I remembered that I taughtfood policy for many years. And the history of I’m sure you all I mean, many of you will know, the history of farming andagriculture in this country is that the right, I mean it wasn’t just the right it was just neoliberal policy.There was a very intentionalmove to get people out of farms and into cities. And out of get them off the farm, get them off the farm,get them into cities, have them work for low wage work. And that has been anongoing since 50 years ago when that was a very intentional program, that has been an ongoing phenomenon of people leaving ruralareas, leaving farms, the population declined in rural areas as Atlanta suburbs havegrown more populous. So in some ways that neo-liberalprogram hurt the right. And that these ruralcounties have declined in population just as Atlanta suburbs are becoming more diverse. As people are moving back to them, people of color are moving back to them and they’re growing morepopulous at the same time. So 10 years ago, Stacey Abrams and many of these other women in Georgiasaw this demographic change which had started really in 2000, started to get more and more.So about 10 years ago theysaid, there is a new Georgia on the way. They recognize this a decade ago. And they said there’s anew Georgia on the way, we can flip the stateif we engage new voters in these changing suburbs,if we protect their access to the polls. Because they were alreadystarting to see pretty horrific voter suppression of peopleof color 10 years ago. And most importantly if yougive them a reason to vote, what does that mean? You don’t just say thiscandidate is so great he’s gonna be betterthan the other candidate, or this candidate is so badyou really don’t want him.No, you say your wages are going to go up because this elected officialhas prioritized your wages. Healthcare is going to be available because this candidate is promising to actually prioritizemore universal healthcare. Climate change is gonna be addressed. Some of the key issuesthat communities of color, younger people, growingimmigrant populations care about, are reasons to voteissues that are reasons to vote much more so thancandidates or parties. And they watched. Stacey Abrams and theseother women watched as they were developing this 10 year plan, they watched as secretaryof state Brian Kemp who then ran for governor and is the current governor,purged 1 million voters, and enacted this exact matchrule where the signature on your voter card has toexactly match the signature on your ballot otherwisethey throw out the ballot. So he purged all of thesevoters mostly people of color, and then in an attempt because look, the right was also seeingthe demographic change. There are countless press pieces of the right warning of thiscoming demographic change. Coming demographic change in Georgia.It’s gonna be bad. It’s gonna be bad. And so in response theystarted in 2012 to try to throw out these votes and suppress the votes. And what did the Democratsdo at the time in response, they ran centrist for office. Jason Carter, PresidentJimmy Carter’s grandson ran. They ran and Nunn, SenatorSam Nunn’s daughter. These folks failed miserablyover and over again. The Republicans kept winning because centrists were not exciting any new voters or givinganybody a reason to vote. So Stacey Abrams and the crew, these many women, Stacy herself she had a PowerPointpresentation on the 10 year plan that she’s been tryingto tell everybody about for the last 10 years, wemust engage these new voters in changing suburbs. We must protect their access to the polls, and we mustgive them a reason to vote. And 10 years later you see the impacts. So in 2016 as this 10 year plan developed, Stacey Abrams founded Fair Fight.This is before she ran for governor because they saw that22% of eligible voters in the state were not registered to vote. So they startedregistering people to vote, and protecting voters rights. Fair fight was a network ofattorneys actually supporting lawsuits, when people wasvotes were being suppressed or they were being thrownup off of the voter rolls. So she started this work in 2016, in 2018 of course she ran for governor, the secretary of stateoversaw his own election and frankly just cheated. He just cheated. People’s votes were thrown out, polling places were mysteriously changed or shut down in black communities. He just cheated. And Lucy McBath though, It isimportant to note in the midst of all of this, a momwhose son had been killed by the police, who madegun reform her issue won the seat that Newt Gingrich had held for 20 years in Georgia,which was a huge win for Democrats in Georgia,and in the house.So clearly Stacey’s workand the work of these women over 10 years was having an impact even if Brian Kemps still cheated. Finally in 2020, peopletalked to Stacy about running for Senate, doing so manythings, but she decided to focus on, she saidnobody’s gonna win in Georgia as long as we don’t takecare of this 10 year plan. Of engaging new voters, protecting voters access to the polls andgiving them a reason to vote. So that’s what she focused on. They went in 2020 from 22% eligible voters not registered to vote,to 2% of eligible voters not registered to vote.They registered 20% ofeligible voters in this year. If anybody who’s everdone voter work in a state that is an enormous feet toregister that number of people. And they had a 67% turnout rate in Georgia that broke a 40 year record in Georgia. And look, there was thehighest record turnout across the country. I mean Georgia was part ofan overall wave of record turnout this year, butthere’s just no comparison.Georgia had a higher registration and turnout rate than allother battleground states. It is so important to notethat they won in this new way of doing things, which I wannaexplain now how is it new. How is it different. And I wanna go through each of these and talk about the womenwho made this happen. So Georgia Stand Up, a Black women ledorganization if you go back to my list here, Georgia Stand Up is led by Deborah Scott, I’mgonna through each of these so you who these people are, and their organizations and what they did. So Georgia standup callsitself a Think and Act Tank for working communities,working on housing, transit and voter engagement. At first they were just doingvoter registration online but with the pandemic,they started just seeing just massive need among people. And so they starteddoing voter registration at food giveaways and food banks, at COVID-19 testing centers, at the racial justice protests, they started their own food giveaways. And then they launched a huge early voting program where they drove around in vans with food andwater and necessities. They started doing outdoorparties at polling locations with DJs and street performersthat started drawing people to these early voting polling locations, which was very very different.Again the traditional Democratic Party way of doing things. Working Families Party. Working Families Party is a national organization. It is not technically a third party. It is a party that runs kindof they call them fusion candidates. Candidates who are both Democrats and Working Families Party candidates. And so they run progressive candidates who would support progressive issues like the minimum wage, and climate change, and other labor issues itwas started by labor folks. And they did run theseprogressive candidates from school boards all theway up and down the ticket. But in Georgia, they alsowork closely with Sunrise, and the Movement for Black Lives and Rising Majority, toreally shift the election.So you had one group doing all this non-traditional voter registration, you had one group running,all run by black women. All of these organizationsI’m talking about one group running progressive candidates up and down the ballot. The Georgia Coalition for thePeople’s Agenda was engaged in civic participation, voterregistration, civic education. They did a massive amountof voter registration and they also had these, theycall them Tuesday afternoon meetings which turned into candidate fora, where they would bring candidates again up and down the ticket, and they’d have at least 50 to 100 peoplein each of these meetings, and they would start connecting elections to people’s everyday lives. And the leader of the Coalitionfor the People’s Agenda talks about how, again, you have to givepeople a reason to vote, Particularly younger people,growing communities of color, immigrant voters.And so connecting the elections and voting to what people were reallyworried about at the moment, was was their contribution to getting a lot more people registered. Latasha Brown is a friend of mine who runs Black Voters Matter. It’s a national group founded in 2016 to build Black political power. They’ve been supportingBlack voter registration and civic engagement all over the country. In Georgia they really threw down and provided funding and coordination for over 40 grassroots groups, including helping thempurchase voter files which are really expensive andsystems to do like call hub and other text messaging systems.And one of the things Latashatalks about is that the groups on the ground that theyfunded, as opposed again to the traditional DemocraticParty way of doing things were not just running TV ads. In fact they weren’t running TV ads at all ’cause they couldn’t afford them. They were the onesdoing on the ground work in the communities, talking to people, again connecting theelection to the issues that mattered most, thecommunities of color.Then SouthWest Georgia project for Community Educationis really interesting because Southwest Georgia is amore rural part of the state, and this organization focusedon tying the elections to food security, andissues facing family farmers and their civic engagementin Southwest Georgia. They were doing grassrootsorganizing, and voter canvasing. They relied on a network ofattorneys from Fair Fight Stacey Abram’s organization,and Latasha’s organization Black Voters Matter andthe Working Families Party to address any individual voter problems that came up, and theyhave said that for them in Southwest Georgia veryrural part of the state, the network that was created of these black women ledorganizations was key, cooperation among allthe groups was so key, to ensuring that if they weredoing the voter registration and they ran into somebodywhose name had been taken off the voter file theycould call Fair Fight, or any one of these other organizations to get representation. ProGeorgia.Another statewide coalitionabout 30 grassroots groups including labor unions thatwas tying voter registration and again, issue organizing. Issue organizing meansorganizing around raising the minimum wage, organizingaround healthcare, organizing around reproductive rights, organizing around theissues that people care about in their everyday lives, tying voter registration to that. And they registered ahundred thousand voters over the last six years, by embedding the voterregistration into the everyday work of these grassrootsgroups, including English as a second languageclasses for immigrants.There were clinics thatthey brought them to. There were again, food giveaways. If there were programs that these grassroots groups were running, they would bring the voterregistration into them. And the director talks about how we need to make voter registrationa part of everyday work, not being transactional. Transactional is the key word that a lot of organizers use tocritique the traditional way of doing voter work.Voter work in the pastled by the traditional Democratic Party has been transactional. Transactional means I’m gonna come out and talk to you about youdoing something for me, which is voting, just vote. We just need you to vote. We don’t actually careabout you after you vote. We don’t care about you forthe next four years just vote. But for these organizations they weren’t coming in from outside.They weren’t talking topeople just about voting. They were organizations that had been with members that they’d been talking to for years and years and years. They were folks who were runningEnglish classes for years. There were folks who were running, organizing aroundvarious issues for years. So they made voter registrationa part of the work. A natural outgrowth of the conversations and relationship buildingthey were already doing. And then the New GeorgiaProject led by Nse Ufot, that Stacey Abrams helpedto start nonpartisan effort to register and civicallyengage thousands of Georgians. And they ended upregistering 800,000 voters. They were focused on BiPOCcommunities and youth, and they did all kinds of thingsto keep voters entertained. They created a video game on Twitch, and they had celebritiesget on the video game and on Twitch to talk aboutthe importance of voting. They did all kinds of creative things, they had to be ready for theshenanigans of the rights.So on election day at5:00 am, November 3rd, it was announced in Georgiathat a hundred polling places were changed. So New Georgia Project went out to these hundred polling places the original spots with sandwich boards, to tell voters where theycould go to the new spot. The thing about this networkis they worked together, they shared information, they were cooperative, not competitive. They were focused on issuesthat mattered most to people. They gave people a reason to vote and they were ready for theshenanigans of the right. They were ready for thesekinds of let’s shut down this place and send people somewhere else, in the right’s attempt to repress votes. So they were ready.They had been ready for 10 years. And so what happened as a result? What happened? Georgia had historic turnout. As you can see Georgiawent from 22% eligible but not registered in 2016, to 2% eligible but not registered. That’s out of a population ofmore than 7.3 million people. That is extraordinary. Extraordinary. And you could see theywent from 2016 to 2020, 59% voter turnout to 67% voter turnout. So huge voter turnout. Huge, huge work to geteverybody registered. I mean just an extraordinaryaccomplishment. And then this is from the Washington Post which noted that, Democrats haven’t won Georgia since Bill Clinton in 1992 and 96. And that you can see that, I’m sorry not in 96 only in 92. As you can see from these dots which are population centers, the circles you can see atthe top are the differences in votes between first andsecond place in each county. All of those blue dotswhich were more rural areas that went for Clinton in 1992,obviously shifted over time became more and more red. And it really ended up beingthe Atlanta suburbs, Columbus, Savannah, these urban areaswhere Black people had returned people of color had returned,growing immigrant populations, youth younger voterswere coming into these, not just the cities themselves, but the suburbs surrounding the cities that really changed what endedup winning Georgia for Biden.And so this is just more of the same that really the votes forBiden came from Atlanta, and it’s suburbs in large large numbers. So what are the lessons of this? Stacey Abrams says, “I thinkwhere the Democratic Party “has gotten into trouble isthat we’ve created a binary, “whether it’s either the normative voter “we remember fondly from 1960” AKA, the White working class man “or it’s the hodgepodge,”meaning everybody. “The reality is that we are capable “as a society of having multiplethoughts at the same time.” What does that mean? Sure, go work on if youwant to winning back that White working class voter but there is a multiracial coalition of folks as professorCohen mentioned that, is frankly growing in demographics and just needs to be givena good reason to vote for in their own interests.For the issues thatmatter to them the most. This is Nse Ufot of NewGeorgia Majority saying that “Organizing is the accelerant “that has pushed this along. “And that it’s not about a candidate. “It’s never been about a candidate. “It’s about long-term investment in people “and infrastructure.” In other words, the way theywon was not about talking about Joe Biden and not eventalking about Donald Trump. It was about talk. It was about long-termrelationships these folks had built with thousands of peoplein their communities, all over at the Atlanta suburbs and growing metropolitan areas in Georgia even in Southwest Georgiaand rural Georgia. Long-term relationships wherethey had been organizing around issues that mattered.And then talking to people about how voting andorganizing are connected. Winning on these issues is connected. And lastly, “When you’retrying not only to harness “demographic changes butleverage low propensity voters, “you cannot simply hope thatthey’ll hear the message. “You have to treat themas persuasion voters. “Only the message is nottrying to persuade them “to share democratic values. “Your message is to persuade them “that voting can actually yield change.” What does that mean? So again the DemocraticParty has for so long focused on high propensity voters, likely voters, again mostly White people or people who are have atendency to already vote.They’re gonna focus on them. They’re going to focuson their donors who tend to be also White wealthier people. There were so worried about the White workingclass man in particular, after 2016. And they either tookfor granted communities of color, or assuming thatthey would vote the right way, or they just ignored them. They just ignored them. And what Stacy is saying is that look, demographic change is key. Demographic change could bethe future of our country, but it’s not gonnaactually change politics as we saw in Florida, unlessyou actually provide you think of these voters as persuasion voters. Meaning you’ve got to think of them. It’s not just that a cityor a metropolitan area turns more black. As you heard from Alicia Garza, that’s not enough. (chuckles) That’s not enough becausepeople can be persuaded towards conservative valueseven people of color, if they’re not treatedwith dignity and respect and long-term relationships are developed. So the message to persuade,you can take advantage of demographic change, butonly if you can persuade put people in places wheredemographics are changing, that voting can actually yield change.That the people you’re asking them to vote for will actually deliver for them on the issues thatmatter to them the most. So the hopefulness for me of the future is that Stacey Abrams isseriously being considered for the chair of the Democratic Party. That would be a groundbreaking demo, just a earth shattering change in the future of the Democratic Party. Because again we can continue the old-school democratic party thinking of focusing on the White working class, or more likely focusingon donors, focusing on high percent propensityvoters, doing transactional work, just getting people outto vote every four years. We can do that. And then moving on to a Neo liberal agenda without delivering for thepeople who delivered the election or, we can listen to Stacy, seewhat she and the Black women in Georgia did, which itwasn’t just the right thing to do for God’s sakes I hope people see it was the more effective thing to do. It actually was the only attempt in the last 40 years toflip a Southern state that succeeded. The only one. The only one.Democrats in their wisdom have not flipped any Democratic state in the South. It took Black women in the South to say, we’ve gotta do this differently. We’ve gotta engage in organizing. We’ve got to talk to people and listen and talk about the thingsthat they care about the most, and then for God’s sakes deliver. For God’s sakes deliver. So if she were to become thehead of the Democratic Party I think you’d see a verydifferent kind of organizing, kind of voter engagement,kind of partnership with groups on the ground,grassroots organizers, a very different world for 2022, 2024. And that is the hope that I had. And I leave this class with that we, you, the next generation, youcan help us reshape politics so that we are not stuckwith two parties stuck in a neo liberal mindset that we actually have a party thatrepresents working people, people of color, and thenew growing multiracial feminists, really kind ofpro climate justice coalition that we need for the future.(laughs) – That was amazing. Thank you. Outstanding. What questions do you have for us? Your second last shot here. Mike all the things that sort of described I think are essential to understanding what’shappened in Georgia. I also think, that there’sa parallel case to be made about what happened in Arizona as well. And I think this is the kindof fascinating exploration that Anna and Karengave us a few weeks ago or last week, about what’sgoing on in Arizona. I think that part of thedemographic shift also in a sense is that Arizonaand Georgia flipped because New York andCalifornia are too expensive. And people have been leaving New York and leaving California for decade now because it’s too expensive to live here, and have been moving toAtlanta and to Phoenix and to Tucson and to these places.And they bring an open-mind,they bring liberal voting, Ben democratic voting patterns liberal sensibilities with them. That’s been part of the shift as well. But the organizing onthe ground is essential. And I have to believe if Georgia delivers two Senate races in this runoff, Stacey Abrams is getting there. There’s no way they couldkeep her out of that job. Min, let me go ahead and get you to ask your first question. – Yeah, thank you so muchfor the amazing lecture today to both of you.My question is what would the path for the Democratic Party’s leadership to change look like. Like we’ve been talking about how we want to have the leadership to change but how would that processactually look like? – Saru, you probably knowthe answer to this better than I do. I mean the head of the DNC gets put up for renominationreelection every few years. And so this is a natural fallout of presidential election cycles or a bit it’s part ofthe process, go ahead. A more detailed- – Pretty closed process. It’s not like all Democrats in the country get to voteon the head of the electors. – We don’t get to vote on this, (laughing) – The electors and a lot of people, it’s a fairly closed process among Democratic Party kind of leaders.I know in the last cycle Iwas supporting Keith Ellison who ended up becoming the AG of Minnesota. He was a Congressman whowas more progressive. Tom Perez who was the headof the Department of Labor in Obama’s first term ended up becoming the head of the party, and led the party back intothis more conservative way of doing things. Even though we all can’tvote in the process, it’s fairly closed among these folks that have power in the Democratic Party. We certainly as people canweigh in, on everything. My belief that I think wehave the power to weigh in and I’m gonna say it again ’cause I’ve said itthroughout the semester, people in the streetsdemanding change on issues like climate change, andminimum wage, and healthcare. That is what is going to have an impact on who the Democratic Party picks. Because if they think we’veall just breathed a sigh of relief and backed off as we did during the Obama years,we’re gonna get a Tom Perez. But if we’re out in thestreets demanding change, if there’s the kind of levelactivity we saw like the summer on a wide range of issues,it will be much harder for the DemocraticParty to select somebody that is so out of touch withthe rest of the country.So we can organize, we can mobilize, we can call DemocraticParty officials to demand that Stacey Abrams whodelivered this election in Georgia, should be named the next chair of the Democratic Party. – Right, and if you know anywealthy donors go lobby them. They’re really the ones who inthe end make these decisions. All right, let’s Cameron, go ahead. – [Cameron] All right, thank you. I actually had a question in regards to the comment you just made about California, the New Yorkers, leaving for Wisconsin and Arizonaand that sort of thing. I want to know like howwidespread is that phenomenon, because I actually havelike a counter example. In Texas, people have been saying that Texas is gonna flip blue for a while and I’m actually, I thinkthat that’s unlikely simply if people keep movingout California simply for the reason that in2018 during the midterms, at least for the race of Beto O. And I think once we getlike better information on the 2020 elections,we’ll see a similar trend.But despite the fact that BetoO Democrats lost in Texas, he actually won amongstpeople who were lifelong like Texas natives. And actually what we’re seeingin Texas is Texas is being I think held red byconservatives leaving California, and other states to come to Texas because they see it as asort of conservative past. So I don’t know if youhave more info on the add on like, what’s the sort ofdemographic change internally like inside the US movementwhat that looks like. Because I think there’s also a possibility that some states are being flipped blue but some are also being flipped red or staying because of traveland that sort of stuff. – Yeah. I think that’s a solid read. I mean that makes sense to mein a number of different ways. I think Americans do movearound a tremendous amount. Some of you are doingit right now. (laughs) You know like college students especially in California, like there aren’t enough colleges and universities inCalifornia for everyone. So large numbers ofCalifornians go out of state and they move to whereverthey’re going to college and they stay there.Some of the migratorypatterns that the movement of Black Americans out of NewYork to Atlanta is very real. For the first time, it wasprobably five, six years ago. There was data that showed thatthere were more Black People leaving New York than moving in. And this is the difference in some cases between African-Americansand Black immigrants from the Caribbean or Africa or elsewhere. My own in-laws moved from New York. African-American in-lawsmoved from New York to Atlanta and which is why I havean authentic Stacey Abrams for governor sign that I brought back.But you’re probably right about Texas. That the low taxes, andright wing government to do attract their own people. And there have been outflows of people from Orange County and elsewhere. In mean in my own stateof Colorado, in 1992, a hundred plus thousand peoplefrom Orange County moved to Colorado after the Rodney King riots. The Rodney King riotsscared White people so badly that they just fled the state. And within a few years, Coloradohad a right wing governor, had a right-wing state legislature and elected right wing senators. That has sense resolveditself by other people again Californians, andpeople from the East coast and elsewhere who wanna wear yoga pants to dinner which is the style in Colorado, have turned the state back to blue. So these migratory patterns do shift and they don’t all move inexactly the same direction.So Cameron, I think yourpoint is well taken. It is well-made. I think what we see in Georgiaand Arizona represented the possibility of flipping constituencies as opposed to preservingsomething otherwise. So you may be right abouttaxes time will tell. – Can I just add thatagain I wanna repeat. Demographic change is not enough. People all are moving to thesecommunities is not enough. You can’t assume that peopleare just gonna vote Democrat because there are people of color, especially if theDemocrats give them nothing to believe in. (laughs) So it’s hard work. It isn’t just demographic change. And in Texas, there is an amazing other organization that maybestarted a little bit later than Stacy’s work called TOP,a Texas Organizing Project. They’ve been leading an incredible statewide effort to flip thestate blue for a long time. There’s amazing people I could put you in touch with if you’reinterested in talking to them, but they have been doingthis work of both people of color building thismultiracial coalition of folks that it’syounger, and more diverse, especially in the metropolitan areas.And I just wanna say,I think it’s very true that conservative Californiansleaving California. When conservativeCalifornians leave California they tend to go to the Whiter places. Not places where they’re gonnafind more people of color. So if they’re going to Texas, they’re not necessarilygoing to very highly people of color concentrated places. A lot of what conservative Californians are going to Montana, Idaho,places where they wanna win. Yes, and be among other white people.- White flight is real. All right. Thank you for that. Demographics are not destiny. They do provide a playing field but demographicspolitically are not destiny. You have to organize folks. That is a point well madeand worth reiterating. So thank you for that. Mason, go ahead. – I have a question toprofessor Jayaraman, especially with our election2020 group project coming up. I’ve been thinking a lot about merge left in the race classnarrative and the necessity for a race class narrative. Now remarking on what you’re talking about with voter mobilization in Georgia and in other states, howimportant are those two ideas and how do they work together? – I would say that Ithink the women in Georgia were using a race class narrative without all the fancy, I’m not fancy but I think Ian clarifiedsomething very helpful and that research clarifiedsomething very helpful, that a lot of these Blackwomen organizers knew innately which is that you haveto talk to people about, race and class, and the peoplewho are keeping us apart as the key motivatorto get people to vote.So I think they’re very interconnected and it’s helpful tonow have a name for it, but it’s something thatthese organizers were doing for a long time. – Great. Any other questions? Okay. Well thank you everybody. This has been a lot of fun. Yes, so we should have a memberof the Berkeley City Council and a former ASUC presidentwho’s gonna be our last speaker on Wednesday. So we will be talkingabout local politics. We’ll be talking about student politics. We’ll be talking about whatit actually means to be in governance to one degree or another. And how one goes from beinga UC Berkeley students to the rather small, butnonetheless significant halls of power in Berkeley City hall. So I think it should be areally fun way to end this. Rijel is a great fellow. He knows who you all are andwhat your experience here at Cal is, but notnecessarily the Zoom one but all the same, it should be a lot of fun.And so I thank you all foryour attention, your time and your brilliantquestions and participation. Thank you all. We will see you all on Wednesday. (eerie music).

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