Apr 30, 2022 • 1HR 1M

Universal Civic Duty Voting

Open in playerListen on);

Appears in this episode

Ralph Nader
Ralph Nader talks about what’s happening in America, what’s happening around the world, and most importantly what’s happening underneath it all.
Episode details

Political journalist and author, E. J. Dionne, joins us to argue that voting - like jury duty - is a civic duty and should be mandatory in the United States like it is in Australia and as outlined in the new book he co-authored entitled “100% Democracy.” And peace advocate, Colman McCarthy, drops in to pitch his bold idea of how to make peace between Russia and Ukraine.

E.J. Dionne is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, University Professor in the Foundations of Democracy and Culture at Georgetown University, and visiting professor at Harvard University. He writes about politics in a twice-weekly column for the Washington Post, and he is co-author with Miles Rapoport of the book 100% Democracy: The Case for Universal Voting.

[Universal civic duty voting] shouldn’t be a partisan idea. There’s no guarantee that if everybody votes, Republicans lose. I think it’s their worst advertisement for themselves whenever they say, “We can’t win if the electorate is big.”

E.J. Dionne, co-author of 100% Democracy: The Case for Universal Voting

When people talk about “rights and responsibilities,” they often think of the responsibility, as some kind of limit on the right. In fact, the responsibility can reinforce the right… The right to a fair trial depends on everyone being willing to serve on juries. And one of the greatest victories of the Civil Rights Movement was to block discrimination against Black Americans from serving on juries, which really meant that Black Americans were required to serve on juries just like white people were. So, rights and duties can really reinforce each other, and that’s what we think is true of this system [universal civic duty voting].

E.J. Dionne, co-author of 100% Democracy: The Case for Universal Voting

When you look at what the Roberts Court did, at one and the same time, with Shelby v. Holder, they undercut the Voting Rights Act, which means they disempowered less-advantaged Americans— less privileged Americans— and they made it harder for the Justice Department to enforce voting rights. And then with the other hand, they did Citizens United v. FEC, which empowered the already very wealthy and empowered. So, you’re talking about two court decisions that push away from “small d” democracy, and towards something like oligopoly, or whatever you want to call it— a system that is less and less democratic.

E.J. Dionne, co-author of 100% Democracy: The Case for Universal Voting

[Jeannette Rankin] flew down and she sat around a table with all kinds of college interns, and I introduced her, and I wanted to give the college interns an idea of stamina. Because, when you’re very young, you tend to think if you work a few weekends to try to stop a polluter, that’s about all you can do. And I asked her “Ms. Rankin, when did you start supporting this idea?” And she said, “Well about 58 years ago.” That drove the point home of civic stamina all right.

Ralph Nader

Colman McCarthy is a journalist, teacher, lecturer, pacifist, progressive, and long-time peace activist who directs the Center for Teaching Peace in Washington, D.C. Washingtonian magazine has called him “the liberal conscience of The Washington Post.”  Mr. McCarthy’s books include I’d Rather Teach Peace

It makes you wonder, why are we so blind to our own militarism? We’ve had endless wars going back to as far as you can count. And Jimmy Carter once said, “there’s no nation that’s as militaristic as the United States.” That’s our background. We’ve got to examine– why are we doing this? We have endless wars, endlessly supporting dictators, and the death toll goes up, and so does military spending increase.

Colma McCarthy, Center for Teaching Peace

Ralph Nader Radio Hour Ep 425 Transcript
158KB ∙ PDF file