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Voter Suppression

Ralph invites filmmaker, Robert Greenwald, to talk about his new film, “Suppressed: The Fight to Vote,” about all the creative ways Republicans use to discourage people of color from voting. And the University of Redlands’, Shelli Stockton, joins us to promote the “tree plant-a-thon” organized in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Plus, Ralph talks Super Tuesday!

Robert Greenwald is the founder of Brave New Films, a nonprofit film studio, whose work is distributed for free, to educate and mobilize for progressive causes. The studio is currently working with a coalition in California to end the unjust money bail system, with films like Debunking Bail Myths. His work has won him 25 Emmy Award nominations, two Golden Globe nominations, the Peabody Award and the Robert Wood Johnson Award. Mr. Greenwald directed and produced the film, “Suppressed: The Fight to Vote.”

“The political will from the Democratic and the progressive and the liberal side has not been there. Look, the conservatives and the right wing and Republicans have spent millions and millions of dollars and years and years designing smart and legally defensible, but morally and totally indefensible ways to suppress the vote. We know what they’re doing. We show the tactics, we show it. Now it’s on us to come up with [a solution]. But it requires people being angry, being upset.”

Robert Greenwald, producer, director of “Suppressed: The Fight to Vote.”


Shelli Stockton is the Director of Alumni and Community Relations at University of Redlands, in Redlands, California. University of Redlands, Esri, and the Redlands Unified School District are teaming up to give every elementary student in the district a tree for Earth Day 2020, which will be the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. During this tree plant-a-thon, through planting their own trees the goal is to teach students the benefits of planting trees and about how trees help mitigate climate change and reduce air pollution.

“The absorption of carbon dioxide is one of the major [benefits of planting trees] that helps in the climate crisis, but they also reduce rainwater runoff and improve the quality of runoff water. They provide cooling… They reduce noise pollution, but the figure that we have really honed in on is that one acre of forest absorbs about six tons of carbon dioxide and puts out about four tons of oxygen… There certainly are climate scientists out there that feel like this is something that really could make, on a grand scale, a big difference. We’re trying to do our part locally. I think it’s really important, especially for kids, to understand that there’s something that they can do.

Shelli Stockton, Director Community Relations at University of Redlands on their tree-plant-a-thon

Ralph Nader Radio Hour Ep 313 Transcript (Right click to download)


  1. Kraig says:

    No Podcast?

  2. Gabe says:

    I believe that this is an important topic, but from a sociological not political perspective. I could be wrong, but I don’t think progressives will likely succeed politically until we create party of unity that largely abandons racial and identity politics, at least as part of an ideological agenda. In doing so, it seems to me that left leaning ideologues engage in divide and conquer strategies almost as much as do the right. Issues of class are becoming ever more important, and voting disparities are fundamentally an outcome of class disparities. The occupy movement had it more or less right, though I don’t think it’s the 1 percent vs the 99 percent. Probably more like the 30 percent vs the 70 percent – after all, some trickle down does in fact happen!! What must be emphasized over and again in progressive politics is the enormous wealth disparity that divides social classes and the predatory collusion between money and politics that only widens that divide.

    • Mark Hughes says:

      Good post, Gabe. In capitalist societies, especially those of a hyper-capitalist nature as ours, the topic of class will go increasingly ignored the more that wealth and income gaps widen. It’s the elephant in the room, yet no one meaningfully talks about it. Every so often it gets brought up, but when it does it feels more accidental than intentional. And IMO the more this topic goes willfully ignored, the more our society will have eruptions and burps about identity politics. Identity politics can be important but it’s become clear to me that they have become a deliberate diversion from the core issues of the country, those that affect the most people, and those are of the economic realm. Indulging in identity politics alone will not change America. Except for the worse perhaps.

  3. Ernest Wittenbreder says:

    When will you be putting up the audio for your show on your website?

  4. Don Harris says:


    Please listen to Robert Greenwald when he said there are multiple ways to get things done.

    I am not convinced that your approach to defeating Trump by starting to work on a Bloomberg financed voter turnout effort in July will get the job done.

    It will be too late too help Bernie in the primaries and probably wouldn’t help Bernie in the primaries if it started sooner.

    Please consider exploring the idea of encouraging Bernie (with the help of citizens) to declare now that he will run a small donor only campaign in the general election. This could inspire some of the non-voters to vote in 2020 and could help Bernie in the primaries where independents can vote.

    Nothing in July will help Bernie if he is not the nominee.

    As the nominee Bernie should be able to get 3-5% of presidential election cycle voters to contribute an average of 100 dollars in contributions of no more than 200 dollars from any one donor.

    That would 500-800 million dollars.

    The Knight Foundation report on non-voters found the main reason citizens did not vote included 17% that didn’t like the candidates, 12% thought their vote doesn’t matter and 8% thought the system was corrupt.

    The main reasons non-voters lacked confidence in our electoral system included 20% citing the influence of big money, 27% said the system is rigged/corrupt and 7% said influence of special interests.

    A candidate such as Bernie making the small donor only commitment should be able to get one in ten of non-voters to vote for him in the general election that would not vote for the current Bernie. That’s 6% of the total vote in addition to the votes current Bernie would get.

    It is unlikely that anyone that would vote for the current Bernie would abandon him because he made the small donor only commitment.

    And what if it inspired two out of ten non-voters to vote? And maybe even some of the around seven million people that voted third party in 2016 to also vote for small donor only Bernie?

    Now it’s 10% or more of the vote in addition to what Bernie already would have.

    And all by calling on ordinary citizens to work together and be small donors instead of depending on billionaires.

    But it has to be done TODAY.

    You have to be “THE MAN OF THE MOMENT”. (Thanks for choosing that. It was absolute GOLD for this comment.)

    P.S.- whoever moderates these comments before posting has to also be the man of the moment and make sure Ralph sees this and it is not just posted without Ralph seeing it as he cannot take action as THE man of the moment if he doesn’t see this.

    • Mark Hughes says:

      Up front, I do like Bernie. Certainly he is far and away better than any other candidate outside of perhaps Tulsi. However as Chris Hedges correctly pointed out 4 years ago, Bernie missed his political moment by staying with the Democratic Party after he was cheated and not going independent. He was intensely popular, and it therefore would have been very difficult to ignore him if he ran as an Indie. The MSM most definitely would have either ignored him or skewered him with lies, but he still would have been very much in the race. One might say he would have split the ticket and paved the way for a mandated Trump presidency, but I’m not so sure considering many polls had him beating Trump in a head-to-head battle during the general election. But alas, he insists on sticking with the Democratic Party, and frankly I’m not sure I can vote for him. Both parties are equally detestable to me, I can’t bring myself to vote for either. At this moment I’d likely vote for Howie Hawkins.

  5. Afdal Shahanshah says:

    Ralph, are you really going to pretend that Republicans are the only ones who suppress the vote? Republicans do it during the general elections while Democrats like to do it during primary elections. 200,000 people in Brooklyn alone were kicked off the voter rolls ahead of the Democratic primary in 2016. There was a big lawsuit over it. Widespread reports by Sanders supporters in states across the country of being mysteriously moved to independents or third parties so they had to vote with provisional ballots (which aren’t counted a majority of the time). This stuff is happening again right now in 2020. Listeners should also look up Greg Palast, he does a lot of reporting on this stuff. Check out his documentary and book The Best Democracy Money Can Buy.

    And voter suppression is NOT why the Carter Foundation refuses to bother ever auditing elections in the US, it’s because the electoral process itself is totally opaque with our mishmash of electronic voting and counting machines. Every single one of these machines currently in use has been hacked at the annual Def Con conference in Vegas, with only a few days of access to them each time. Some states like Texas, Louisiana, and Indiana are covered in districts using unaccountable voting machines without even the most basic courtesy of a voter-verified paper trail. Votes go in to a machine, are run through a gantlet of closed source proprietary software, firmware, and hardware, and out pops something else. Even the recount process is comically undemocratic, where in many states they simply run ballots through an insecure optical scan machine over again and call that an audit. Countries throughout Europe have banned electronic voting equipment for a good reason. Even the exit polling process is a caricature of how it works in the rest of the world. Edison Research performs exit polls around the world using the same methods and when the exit polls predict a result that is too far removed from the reported counts, it’s an indication of fraud and the entire election is subject to extra scrutiny. The State Department even has a standard: 2% out of the exit polls margin of error and the US will not certify foreign election as “free and fair”. But when it happens here, we do something special: Edison Research actually ADJUSTS their exit poll results when they don’t match. Then the pundits with their poor statistical training make up absurd excuses to justify the Law of Large Numbers not applying on American soil, such as the idea that thousands of people in exit poll surveys are simply lying about whom they voted for. Americans simply can’t handle the truth: we have had an epidemic of serial election fraud since at least the Help America Vote Act.

    • Mark Hughes says:

      Indeed Democrats are horrendous when it comes to electoral fraud. I’m not convinced that their fraudulent behaviors are relegated to just the primaries.

      It’s also clear to me that election fraud epidemic has been around far longer that 2002. LBJ would not have been able to navigate Texan politics successfully without the scourge of ballot box stuffing, which brings me to another point: printed, non-electronic ballots are not the solution for what goes on now. If they went back to that, they’d go back to the old box stuffing but do it perhaps more sophisticatedly. Indeed it is better but, as Noam Chomsky points out, America’s biggest electoral problems won’t be solved with things like that and eliminating the Electoral College. Our system is one in which corruption is in its DNA, but that’s what you get with a capitalist society.