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Presidential Election Crisis

Ralph welcomes Constitutional scholar Alan Hirsch to talk about how best – amid a pandemic – we can still conduct a legitimate presidential election. And labor writer, Steven Greenhouse, asks the question: Are our grocery deliveries worth a worker’s life?

Alan Hirsch is a constitutional scholar and the chair of the Justice and Law program at Williams College. Dr. Hirsch is the author of numerous works of legal scholarship and many books, including For the People: What the Constitution Really Says About Your Rights,” “A Citizen’s Guide to Impeachment and his newest book “A Short History of Presidential Election Crises: (And How to Prevent the Next One)”.

“History teaches us…  [that] having these 51 separate elections and then just aggregating them – these winner-take-all elections – in every state and the District of Columbia is an invitation to a squeaker election, a very close election, which turns on a few hundred votes in one or two states. Because of that, it is an invitation to hackers or any other fraudsters… This is a hacker’s dream, the Electoral College. It just makes their lives so much easier to know they just have to change a few hundred votes and they have a decent chance of getting their candidate. And in the popular vote they would have to swing hundreds of thousands of votes.”

Alan Hirsch, author of “A Short History of Presidential Election Crises: (And How to Prevent the Next One)”

Steven Greenhouse is an award winning reporter, who covered labor and workplace issues for nineteen years at The New York Times. Mr. Greenhouse has written “Beaten Down, Worked Up: The Past, Present, and Future of American Labor”. He has also served as a business and economics reporter and a diplomatic and foreign correspondent. His latest opinion piece in the New York Times is entitled “Is Your Grocery Delivery Worth a Worker’s Life?”

“Donald Trump is not a friend of American workers. He pretends to be; he campaigned as if he was. One great unfortunate example is that Nancy Pelosi pushed for this new law that would extend paid sick leave to every American worker. But Donald Trump [and]the White House said wait a second, we need to put in a big fat exemption for all companies that have more than 500 employees… Corporate America pushes to exempt the largest, biggest, richest companies from a very basic protection, paid sick days, at a time more than any time in the last 100 years when we need a paid sick days law to protect not just workers, but the community and customers… The Trump Administration [and] Corporate America is very willing to give workers the shaft if it hurts their bottom line or if it’s politically convenient.”

Steven Greenhouse, reporter on labor issues for The New York Times

Ralph Nader Radio Hour Ep 317 Transcript(Right click to download)


  1. Afdal Shahanshah says:

    Hysterical Russian meddling allusions that have failed to stand up to four years of scrutiny on the one hand, denial of ACTUAL EVIDENCE OF STOLEN ELECTIONS IN 2016 on the other. Alan Hirsch is not an expert on stolen elections. He’s a totally misinformed buffoon at best, a gaslighting propagandist at worst. Steve, I know you read these comments. READ THIS:
    If you want, I can even give you a crash course on statistical inference to help you understand exactly how improbable some of these deviations are.

    The Democratic primary was stolen in 2016. The general election was stolen in 2016. The Democratic primary is currently being stolen in 2020. Russia didn’t have a damn thing to do with it. EVERY SINGLE ELECTRONIC VOTING AND COUNTING MACHINE currently in use in America has been demonstrably hacked with only days of access at the annual Defcon conference in Las Vegas. Unsurprisingly, the unadjusted exit polls in places with the least amount of counting oversight tend to exhibit the greatest, most improbable deviations from official results.

    So Ralph, not a word to say about the largest, most outrageous transfer of wealth upwards in human history? Nothing to say about the downright fascist bailout bill that not a single Democrat voted against? The Corporate Crime Report was the most important part of the show this week and it got 1 minute of air time. I guess that’s to be expected when you obsess over someone. Maybe it’s time to finally start calling this the Trump Watch Radio Hour.

    • Skro35 says:

      Afdal, you’re a very smart, well-informed dude. And I do read your posts. But, your condescending attitude is becoming tiresome. Maybe you didn’t listen to the extras in the podcast when I clarified Hirsch’s point about Russian interference. And I’m sorry not every episode hits on everything you are concerned about at the moment, but I think you know the show well enough and Ralph’s record well enough to know that although we have not dealt with this particular “stimulus” bill, yet, we have often spoken about bailouts and tax policies that redistribute wealth upward and along with a ridiculous minimum wage are the leading causes of income inequality. When you get your own radio show/podcast, you can talk about anything you want anyway you want. Steve

      I’M PROPOSING MANDATORY VOTING. THE VOTING PERIOD WILL BE FOR A WEEK, with Monday being a Federal holiday. (That gives every person an EXTRA day to VOTE!) That should be everyone time to MANDATORY vote! I do NOT care about the TV networks getting the FIRST results! (Who gives a blank about NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, Fox “Blanking” news or MSNBC?) Everyone NOT voting will NOT be able to register their car or get a drivers license OR???????
      I’LL MAKE IT EASY; there will be a write-in line AND a NONE of the above line. All voting machines will have MANDATORY PAPER TRAIL. In fact, I may ELIMINATE [internet] voting machines! Unfortunately, the voter will have to have identification with photo which I will make SUPER EASY! Gerrymandering will NOT be in effect! Based on population counties will get 1, 2 or 3 representatives.
      MANDATORY VOTING per Ralph Nader article “Universal Voting Dissolves the Obstacles Facing Voters”. Per Nader; It’s called UNIVERSAL VOTING. In Australia and a few other nations, VOTING is a DUTY, OVERWHELMINGLY ACCEPTED by the public. That makes OBSTRUCTION of the VOTERS A SERIOUS CRIME. GET A NEW AMENDMENT.
      Here’s an idea; MANDATED VOTING! Everyone Should Vote! There is a PENALTY IF you do NOT Vote. My idea is for Mandatory Voting for ALL people. Make it like this for every office; put ALL the names of each political party plus add two lines for a write-in vote AND none of the above. The penalties are; you will not be able to register your vehicle or apply for a drivers license OR some significant fine….NOT $25.00…something that hurts people SO THEY WANT to VOTE. My point is you should vote AND hold onto your voter confirmation in order to re-new your drivers license AND to re-register your vehicle! The point is to get people to vote, man! It is a duty, especially considering the amount of people who don’t vote like ME who did NOT vote in 2018.
      The voting “period” should be a holiday with MANDATORY EARLY VOTING ON THE WEEKENDS AND BY MAIL. Oregon has MAIL-IN VOTING, right? The networks are “The Public Airwaves”, right? “We the People” own the Public Blanking Airwaves, right?

  2. Don klepack says:

    As an a Ex-Registered Democrat, mostly a 3rd party presidential voter, I agree with Alan Hirsch about our broken election system. To me the most glaring problem that happened in 2016 was how the DNC cheated Bernie Sanders and we have documented proof of this in the wikileaks email dumps. Some changes were made in 2020 but no one was prosecuted, went to jail and Bernie did not sue. Ralph Nader, how can we correct this using our court system and is it too late?

  3. Mark Hughes says:

    In defense of Hirsch, and I could have overlooked it but in his talk about hacking, I don’t recall him invoking Russia. He could have implied it, since it’s unfortunately always assumed, but I never heard it stated outright. Which is good, because whatever anyone believes about Russia and their alleged involvement, fact is they have meddled nowhere near the amount that Wall Street, corporate America and their lobbies have. So I’m willing to give Hirsch a pass.

    While we’re on the topic of constitutional scholars and the fact we’re in a presidential election year, I’d like for RNRH to schedule one of its scholars (Hirsch, Napolitano, Fein) to discuss Electors. In this episode, there was talk of the Electoral College and the fact that it awarded Trump the Oval Office despite Hillary winning the popular vote. Hopefully this catches fire because it is the core reason Trump ‘won’, but I fear too many middle-class liberals still harp on Russia and Jill Stein and everything else because of the propaganda they were subjected to. Anyway, Electors need to be discussed big-time. Who are they? How to they achieve office? Are the elected or appointed (I’m guessing the latter)? Why? Because while the Constitution itself mentions them sporadically, it doesn’t delve into them at all. Here are a few gems from archives.gov:

    “The U.S. Constitution contains very few provisions relating to the qualifications of electors.” (I’m not seeing where it contains any, other than the elector can’t be dead.)

    “The first part of the process is controlled by the political parties in each State and varies from State to State.” (surprise!)

    “They [electors] are the only ones who actually vote for President, which they do at the meeting of the electors (the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December).”

    “When you vote for a Presidential candidate, you aren’t actually voting for President. You are telling your State which candidate you want your State to vote for at the meeting of electors. The States use these general election results (also known as the popular vote) to appoint their electors. The winning candidate’s State political party selects the individuals who will be electors.”


    Crap like that. This needs to be discussed in-depth. Calling this undemocratic is laughable, it’s flat-out anti-democratic.

  4. Donna says:

    I would like to second (however not with the same tone) a need to look into these exit poll disparities. Almost no one will discuss this. Although Greg Palast does offer some insight. Also Jimmy Dore interviewed Tim Canova who primared Debbie Wasserman Schultz. I would just like to know if I am wearing tinfoil. Why is there no discussion of this?

  5. Donna says:

    Follow up to earlier comment. I don’t usually write a comment before listening. I have to admit I did this time. I absolutely appreciated this discussion of paper ballots and vote by mail which could definitely help with the exit poll problems. I also appreciated the important discussion on the electoral college. I am one of the citizens who fell for the argument that we need to ensure that smaller states get input. I can see now that the electoral college isn’t a solution. Thanks for all you do. Look forward every week to this hour and have shared your link with others.

    Oh by the way I was in Florida and voted for Gore in 2000. I think he totally mishandled the recount and believe that if all votes had been counted he could have won Florida by a small margin. In retrospect wish I had voted for you, Ralph. At the time I bought into the “not wanting to waste my vote” propaganda.

  6. Ann Garrison says:

    Why is the Ralph Nader Hour airing more anti-Russian bs?

  7. EPluribusFeline says:

    The United States Postal Service wasn’t specifically mentioned regarding the treatment and protection of essential workers. The quote about “risking your life for chicken” causes me to ask the question how would I like to risk my life so that sex toys and scented candles and all manner of other nonessential items can be delivered in less than 2 days? Amazon has a highly exploitative contract with the Usps and despite what they say to the public, they aren’t restricting shipping of nonessential items. The postal workers employed in processing, distribution and delivery are currently being forced to work in highly unsanitary and unsafe conditions with no protection, no hazard pay and being threatened with loss of job if they miss work due to illness. They are struggling to still meet Amazon’s ridiculously unrealistic deadlines, requiring large numbers of workers (many of whom are working while displaying obvious symptoms) to be mere inches from each other for prolonged periods of time and sharing equipment which is not disinfected in any way. Gloves, masks and other basic protective equipment is scarce or unavailable. Management has actively withheld information from staff about workers who have tested positive for covid19 and continues with their policy of routinely sending certain workers to multiple facilities during the same workday further spreading any infection. I am a registered nurse and I fully understand that some of us have to make personal sacrifices which includes our own safety at times but it should be for something that is absolutely necessary. My brother works for the post office and I’m sickened by the situation he and his coworkers are facing. His only options are to continue to work in these conditions or forfeit his job. The fact that people are ordering nonessential items and have no thought or concern for all who will then have to risk their lives in order to get their order to them is unacceptable during this crisis and shouldn’t be allowed to continue. Not only are we endangering postal workers unnecessarily, we and the companies profiting from these policies are helping to spread to spread the virus.

  8. Don Harris says:

    As I already covered what is needed, Emergency Political Contribution Vouchers and Ralph running for president in 2020 to put pressure on Biden and the Dems in previous comments the past few weeks, I will simply ask Ralph not to say ever again immigrants are taking jobs American citizens don’t want.

    Immigrants are taking jobs that employers are not willing to pay American citizens enough to feel the pay is worth the work. Immigrants are more vulnerable and employers that hire them are exploiting the vulnerability.

  9. Clarence Wortmanberg says:

    Hirsch casually stated during the Wrap Up, as many liberals seem to do reflexively, that we know Russians hacked the election. I would like to hear anywhere a short and plain statement of how this is known, based on what evidence. Is the evidence in the Mueller Report? Perhaps, but this would be a more problematic foundation than has been portrayed on which to draw the conclusion it is said to support. The report, in fact, told an elaborately detailed story about Russian hacking that seemed definitive, but its relationship to the criminal indictment that preceded it by one year, which contained substantially the same allegations, has never been remarked upon sufficiemtly. That indictment was never subjected to any testing in any court by any defense attorney or forensic expert analysis, much less required, as in any criminal case, to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. This would seem to be elementary, before any confident conclusions could be drawn about such highly politically charged allegations with potentially explosive consequences. In other words, the report, by virtue of Mueller’s prestige, was permitted to make an end run around what would normally be criminal allegations that are not considered established simply by virtue of their being alleged. But stranger things have happened. Many bedrock principles of U.S. democracy have sunk into desuetude, so this peculiarity may be all of a piece. At any rate, I expect more from the Ralph Nader Radio Hour than this, and request either a corrected statement about what is known with any uncontroversial confidence about Russian hacking and what rhe basis of that knowledge is, whether it’s the Mueller Report or something else. I think Aaron Mate would be a good guest to discuss these issues.

    • Skro35 says:

      Dear Clarence, thanks for the comment. You may not have listened all the way through to the podcast extras, but Hirsch clarified his statement that the Russians didn’t “hack” the election.

      • Clarence Wortmanberg says:

        Thanks Steve, appreciate it

      • Clarence Wortmanberg says:


        After rereading the transcript of the show and listening to the Wrap Up, I believed it necessary to follow up my initial comment above. It is true that Hirsch said that Russia did not hack the election, but by this he only meant that there is no evidence that vote totals were altered by Russian hacking. He did not disavow, nor did he attempt to support, the broader claim, which he casually affirmed, that Russians hacked the emails of the DNC and DCCC and broke into their computers (and by implication gave them to Wikileaks, which then destroyed Hilary Clinton’s campaign by publishing them). This broader claim is what most people believe has been established as a fact by Mueller and is accordingly what most people think of when they hear the term “Russian hacking” in connection with the 2016 election, not to mention when they hear virtually every claim that has been made since 2016 about the possibility of Russian hacking in future elections (although altering vote totals is not necessarily excluded from that idea).

        Therefore, I think that my initial comment stands. To date, the general claim that “Russia hacked the election” (meaning the Russian government) is simply a consensus view that has been repeated by the media, the Democratic Party (including, I’m sorry to say, Bernie Sanders), and think tanks like the Atlantic Council and other public intellectuals within the so–called the foreign policy establishment without ever having been put to the slightest public proof, even though the allegation and all its subsidiary claims have been the subject of a criminal indictment that has not been proven to any degree, much less beyond a reasonable doubt.

        Based on how this issue was just handled on the podcast, I have reason to doubt that the Ralph Nader Radio Hour is sufficiently informed on this question to platform these claims, implicitly or explicitly, as if they were given, and I expect more skepticism from the podcast about them. Needless to say, for the reasons that Professor Stephen Cohen has discussed ad nauseum in his books and interviews, accusing Russia of messing with the U.S. presidential election, particularly in the exact manner that Mueller has alleged, i.e., stealing damning emails about Hilary Clinton and giving them to Wikileaks to be published, is politically explosive – literally, as in increasing the chances of nuclear war (or just plain WWIII, the desirability or inevitability of which seems lately to be on a lot of powerful people’s minds). Under the circumstances, it is crucial that the factual basis for such claims not be the least controversial or questionable, not least because even a casual observer can recognize their resemblance to Cold War propaganda.

        Again, please consider having Aaron Mate on the show to discuss these issues, if the podcast intends to advert to them at all. Mate and, to a lesser extent, Matt Taibbi and Glenn Greenwald, are several of the vanishingly small number of journalists today who have courageously interrogated the vociferous ranting about Russian hacking (or “Russian Interference”) from the beginning, and whose professionalism in this respect has been exemplary. Mate in particular can speak authoritatively to what is known and not known about how the Russian government did or did not attempt to interfere with the 2016 election, not just with respect to hacking but with respect to the social media prong of the alleged “Russian interference”.

        All of this is not to say that I think that Hirsch’s larger point about the vulnerability of U.S. election architecture to hacking is invalid. It is certainly not invalid. It is a problem, but not necessarily more to be feared from the “Russians” than from any other source.

        Thank you for the podcast. It is always a stimulating to listen, and I always leave more informed.

        Stay safe and sane,

        Clarence Wortmanberg

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