I don’t do politics
All politicians are the same
Democrats are as bad as Republicans
There is no real choice
Nothing ever changes
My vote doesn’t matter
That’s what the Autocrats want you to think. Not only is it a cancer at the Federal level, it enables and grows corruption in Statehouses across America, including ours.
David Pepper’s new book Laboratories of Autocracy examines the crisis of the Anti-democratic (small d) condition of Statehouses across our nation. Statehouses that are manipulated by lobbyists and dark money groups. Statehouses where power is entrenched through gerrymandering and voter suppression, so there is no chance to hold elected officials accountable. Statehouses that are so corrupt they are actively damaging their districts and real peoples lives.
And they do it in a cone of silence.
Using Ohio as his case study, Pepper also talks about many other states who have also succumbed to autocratic forces; specifically forces that work to do the OPPOSITE of what would benefit our communities and what the majority of people want. His book describes the concerted and organized effort made by radical Republicans whose goal it is to subvert our democracy.
David Pepper details the enormous powers Statehouses have, and the pitifully few checks on that power. The biggest reason they are able to act with impunity is that most voters don’t pay attention to who members of the Statehouse are and what they do. Safe in their gerrymandered districts, they can do whatever republican dark money tells them to do, often just copying wholesale the laws that these lobbyists have written.
The results are flagrant acts that defraud the state budget, suppress votes, and eliminate federal civil rights for women and LGTBQ people. There doesn’t seem to be a bottom either: At the supreme court hearing, it was even suggested that Loving (the decision allowing interracial marriage) should also be overturned, so that states can decide for themselves.
What can one person do? A lot actually! Take a look at David Pepper’s list for inspiration. But most importantly take action this week, and every week. Ask a friend to join you. Your Democracy is counting on you!
Recording of David Pepper’s presentation to Indivisible Mass Coalition (starts at 8 min)