Ralph welcomes Maxim Thorne director of the non-partisan Civic Influencers, an organization that trains young people to inspire their peers to vote and therefore swing elections toward issues they care about and also fights “generational gerrymandering,” efforts by certain states to make it harder for 18 to 29-year-olds to vote. Plus, Ralph gives his take on some recent news items, answers your questions, and comments on your recent feedback.
Maxim Thorne is a lawyer, activist, philanthropist, and a Lecturer at Yale. He has worked with the NAACP, Human Rights Campaign, New Jersey Head Start Association, GLAAD, the Executive Committee of the Yale Law School, and the Yale Alumni Task Force on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. He currently serves as Chief Executive of Civic Influencers, a nonpartisan organization dedicated to inspiring young people to make their voices heard—and their votes count.
When we think about how important young people are to saving our democracy, and voting on pro-democracy candidates, and voting on issues like climate change and abortion rights and LGBTQ rights— what are we giving them? If you are not moving to relieve their student debt, and you are not moving to allow them to organize so they get better paid jobs that allow them to lead a decent life, you’re not giving that most important part of our electorate what they need and what they’re demanding.
We can show [young people] the power of their vote— that’s the marching band, the glee club, the gospel choir, the football team, the cheerleaders alone could swing that election. One dorm could swing that election. That is power.
It’s really amazing how, after the civil rights battles and the civil rights laws in the 1960s and ‘70s, most people thought, “That battle is over, it’s up to you to vote, and no one’s going to obstruct you.” And along come some of these rightwing corporate lawyers for the GOP. And they say, “Hey, we can develop all kinds of ways to harass, delay, expunge, purge, and not count votes!” And that’s what a lot of Republican governors are doing from Florida to Texas.
In Case You Haven’t Heard with Francesco DeSantis
1. For the first time in 20 years, Israel has attacked the Jenin Palestinian refugee camp, the New York Times reports. Less than two weeks earlier, far-right Israeli defense minister Itamar Ben Gvir went on record saying “We have to settle the land of Israel and at the same time need to launch a military campaign, blow up buildings, assassinate terrorists. Not one, or two, but dozens, hundreds, or if needed, thousands.” This brutal attack has reignited international outcry against Israeli apartheid, including from the United Nations, but few expect the Biden administration to impose serious penalties in response.
2. A group of congressional progressives is speaking out in response to the White House’s decision to transfer cluster munitions to Ukraine. In a statement, this group wrote “Cluster munitions have been banned by nearly 125 countries…because of the indiscriminate harm they cause, including mass civilian injury and death.” This statement also notes that the administration is circumventing clear directives from Congress restricting the transfer of these weapons. This statement was signed by Reps. Pramila Jayapal, Barbara Lee, and Ilhan Omar, among other progressives.
3. Per Ryan Grim of the Intercept, on the other side of the aisle, Matt Gaetz – the dissident House Republican – has committed to cosponsoring the amendment to bar the transfer of cluster munitions. One hopes this Left-Right coalition can expand and stop this move.
4. The Verge reports that Microsoft has won the first round of its legal battle with the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC sought a preliminary injunction to prevent the tech giant’s acquisition of the video game conglomerate Activision Blizzard. The ruling follows “five days of grueling testimony.” Despite their victory, Microsoft still...