• Laboratories of Autocracy with David Pepper

    Air Dates: March 14-20, 2022

    Politics, at its best, is about getting things done.  At its worst—it’s something much more sinister.  David Pepper warns that some politicians are experimenting, now, with autocracy in statehouses across the United States.

    Pepper is a lawyer, writer, political activist, former elected official and professor, and served as the Chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party between 2015 and 2021, where he was engaged in litigation over voter suppression and election laws in the Buckeye State.  Pepper subsequently appeared in the documentary “All In,” which highlights Stacey Abrams’ nationwide fight for voting rights.  He has written four novels that merge real-world politics and fiction, including “A Simple Choice” and “The People’s House.”  The Wall Street Journal named Pepper “one of the best political-thriller writers on the scene.”  Previously, he served on Cincinnati City Council from 2001-2005.  In 2006, he flipped Hamilton County blue for the first time in 40 years.  He then served on the Commission from 2007-2010, including as its president in 2009-2010.  Pepper was the Democratic candidate for Ohio Auditor in 2010 and Ohio Attorney General in 2014.

    On this episode of “Story in the Public Square,” Pepper discusses his latest book, “Laboratories of Autocracy: A Wake-Up Call from Behind the Lines.”  He said, “we’re in an era where statehouses are using the levers they have over democracy, they draw up the rules of elections, they draw the districts.”  Pepper adds that state elected officials have leveraged this power with their anonymity on the national level to further their agendas.

    “Story in the Public Square” continues to broadcast each week on public television stations across the United States. A full listing of the national television distribution is available at this link. In Rhode Island and southeastern New England, the show is broadcast on Rhode Island PBS on Sundays at 11 a.m. and is rebroadcast Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. An audio version of the program airs Saturdays at 8:30 a.m., 4:30 p.m. ET, and Sundays at 2:30 a.m. & 2:30 p.m. ET on SiriusXM’s popular P.O.T.U.S. (Politics of the United States), channel 124. “Story in the Public Square” is a partnership between the Pell Center and The Providence Journal. The initiative aims to study, celebrate and tell stories that matter.

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