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Dr. Kareem Crayton: The Courts, Gerrymandering, and Voter Suppression

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Dr. Kareem Crayton: The Courts, Gerrymandering, and Voter Suppression

In this interview, Dr. Crayton discusses gerrymandering, supermajorities, the impact of the courts, and voter suppression.

Dr. Kareem Crayton is an attorney, law professor, and academic whose work explores the effects of state-sanctioned racial discrimination on campaigns, elections, and governance. He recently joined the Brennan Center for Justice, a nonpartisan law and policy institute, where he manages efforts to implement pro-voter reforms.

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Dr. Kareem Crayton:

There is now, it seems, a political strategy that some have to essentially openly defy what the courts have ordered, or at least consciously avoid the thing that the court is asking them to do. That's a real problem when it becomes infused in our politics.

Ken Harbaugh:

I'm Ken Harbaugh and this is Burn the Boats, a podcast about big decisions.

My guest today is Dr. Kareem Crayton, an attorney law professor, an academic whose work explores the effects of state sanction and racial discrimination on campaigns, elections, and governance.

He recently joined the Brennan Center for Justice, a nonpartisan law and policy institute, where he manages efforts to implement pro voter reforms.

Kareem, welcome back to Burn the Boats.

Dr. Kareem Crayton:

Thanks, Ken. Good to be with you.

Ken Harbaugh:

Let's start with gerrymandering. We are seeing some egregious cases around the country. We have fought this battle in Ohio, uphill the entire way.

What are some other examples that you are most concerned about?

Dr. Kareem Crayton:

Well, there are several states that right now, are working through revisiting the question of redistricting related to Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act which is a tool intended to prevent race discrimination from entering the crafting of voting districts.

Our state that we share in common, Alabama, is leading the way, not in the best way. But a case was decided by the Supreme Court sending a map that Alabama had drawn back for revisiting, and they are now, waiting to see whether the local district court will bless it.

My sense is it isn't going to, it's basically as bad or worse than the first one.

Similar cases in Georgia and Louisiana are pending. What we also, know is that in North Carolina, partly because of some of the kind of state legislative, well, I'll just call it wrangling with the State Supreme Court, the state legislature has now, been granted the authority to do redistricting pretty much any way that it wants, and with no holds barred on partisan gerrymandering.

The State Supreme Court there basically eliminated a prior decision that it made before an election with different personnel that banned partisan gerrymandering.

Now, it has been reversed by this current court, by the way, with members of the state legislature now on that court. And so, they're going at it.

There's some other pending issues too, in places like New York, Utah, but I think big concerns right now, in addition to Ohio are in the deep South.

Ken Harbaugh:

Alabama might be the most egregious case because the maps offered are in just total violation of the court ruling.

And I point to it because we had a similar confrontation up here in Ohio, five different times the courts said, “This isn't going to fly. This violates our state constitution.” And the legislature didn't tear.

How is that playing out in Alabama, and is this going to be a trend?

Dr. Kareem Crayton:

Well, I think, to take your last question first, it is in different ways I think being picked up as a strategy that unfortunately, Republicans have seen as viable when they don't have anything else. So, aspects of that resistance or defiant strategy, I think are cropping up in other places.

And Alabama in particular received about as strong a message as you're going to get from the federal court, certainly this Supreme Court, which is not a huge fan of race conscious remedies or a federal legislation like the Voting Rights Act.

They said in a case, Merrill v. Milligan, “We think that this case is a clear example of why Section 2 exists. We're not going to overturn existing precedent that's been on the books since basically the 1980s about how to deal with these cases. And therefore, Alabama, you haven't complied with the law, do better.”

And the state, as you say, turned its work into basically a charade in which they gave the same number of districts as they did before, and created a district that at least in their minds was compliant.

That involved the county of Montgomery with areas farther south, but didn't include enough African Americans, even give a semblance of a chance for black voters to have a chance to choose the candidate they want. And that's really the standard in Section 2.

We'll hear it on the 14th of August whether or not the local district court agrees, but I think the claims that they are anywhere close attempted to even comply with the law are silly.

And the arguments that range from, well, we have to really protect other parts of the state, to well, we're concerned about violating other racial standards if we do this too much. Those all fall flat.

And I think what we're going to hear is a very angry local district court in August push the state to try to explain itself.

Ken Harbaugh:

Give us a primer on Section 2 and what it is intended to achieve.

Dr. Kareem Crayton:

Sure. So, Section 2 is a part of the Voting Rights Act that really reflects the same structure of most civil rights statutes. When you find discrimination, plaintiff can go to court and say, “Look, we don't think in this case the state has done its job.”

The specific standard there is to say, “We think where redistricting is at play, district should have evidence that targeted voters, in this case African-American voters, have an equal opportunity to elect candidates.”

What that basically means in practice is the state or whoever's drawing the maps shouldn't artificially over concentrate or pack black voters into districts when they could have influence or actually control over driving the outcomes in other districts.

And they can't artificially crack divide concentrations of black voters where they could otherwise control at least the outcome in a district choosing whatever candidate that they want.

And ultimately, what the court found here is they did, in some ways, a little of both. They over concentrated in the existing district, a lot of African Americans, almost 60% in one district. And what it prevented them from doing was crafting a district elsewhere.

And one of the key findings to show that you're entitled to this kind of remedy is the evidence of what we call racially polarized voting. Which is where we have clear evidence, a pattern of white voters who overall in the state are a majority being unwilling to agree with the candidates of black voters.

And that's not necessarily a black candidate. Sometimes it is, sometimes it's not. But even with respect to white candidates, just take one example Doug Jones, the last statewide Democrat who won in the state, African Americans are over 90% supportive of democratic candidates in general.

The flip of that is not true. You rarely see white voters agreeing with the decisions of African Americans to support Democrats rarely, if ever.

And that's really the standard where if you can show that that's the evidence of how politics typically works, it's impossible to see that there's the kind of cooperation to elect a candidate absent a district like a majority black district.

And that's why the order from the local district court was so clear, you got to either create a majority black district or something quite close to it. That's not what they did here.

Ken Harbaugh:

The states that are going to such extreme lanes to marginalized black voters, you mentioned Georgia, Louisiana, Ohio, Alabama, these are Republican legislatures.

Now, I don't want to get you in trouble because I know the Brennan Center has to be non-partisan, but how do you do this work in a non-partisan way when the antagonists are so clearly coming at it from one side?

Dr. Kareem Crayton:

Well, I'll just say there are examples actually including in Ohio, where some people have stepped up and said, “Look, this is too much.” Witness the former Chief Justice in Ohio.

Look, when you apply the law, the law applies whether it's a Democrat or a Republican who's on the other side of it.

And what we've found is you're right, because politics have worked out the way that they have, the one-party state, if you will, or the heavily controlled governments that really Republicans rule the roost on for the most part have, I think, encouraged excesses.

And we are for politics where people get to choose what they want and not politicians, and that's really the issue.

So, yeah, it turns out in these cases we see republican legislatures in Alabama, a super majority has decided not just to sort of nibble at the edges to try to get an advantage, that's politics, but really run rough shot over existing law to maintain a super majority.

And that's just not how we think democratic systems ought to work. More important, that's not how the law establishes that democratic systems work.

So, that's our job. Our job is to, along with a lot of other allies, step in and push the arguments to force government to explain itself and where necessary get into court and get judges to enforce the law that unfortunately state legislatures won't follow.

And I think the other point to mention here is it is an important factor thinking about the votes of African-Americans who have not had a chance to elect candidates for a very long period of time, particularly in states with a long history. You know it, we won't have to review it now.

But the other part of this is the sanctity of respecting an independent judiciary. And that's the part that I think goes hand in hand with that same history. Witness George Wallace standing in the schoolhouse door.

We are at a point where I think courts are going to have to ask themselves if what you are doing is judging, and if you think your orders ought to be respected, what does it mean when a state basically reconfigures or reinterprets the words that you've issued, where most reasonable people hearing it understand that to mean you have to draw to or very close to, to majority black districts.

That's not what they did here. And I think the court needs to, at this point, consider what's necessary to make sure its orders are effectuated.

Ken Harbaugh:

I definitely want to talk about that independent judiciary and the attempts to undermine it. But people who've watched this show long enough know I have a real affinity for Alabama, having spent my formative years there. You and I are classmates, high school classmates, of course.

I'd love your thoughts on that Alabama super majority. You wrote this on Twitter about the redistricting charade that they are pulling.

“The more we learn about the various interests at play and the Republicans drawing these remedial maps, the more it's clear that respecting the rights of black voters per the court order was the lowest priority, if it was a priority at all.”

What is the response of Democrats in Alabama? What is the organizing plan to push back, not within the court system, but on the ground?

Dr. Kareem Crayton:

Well, in a prior life, I worked with some of those Democrats in the state legislature, and what I can tell you is it is not easy when you're a minority in a super majority.

And I think they are working as hard as they can, given a very limited structure to speak as they did actually in this process to show all the different faults and harms.

They really also, importantly, presented alternative maps that I think are going to be useful when you get to the district court to address that matter.

But I think the point that you're raising is another important one, which is, again, one of the jobs of the super majority, any super majority, is to dispirit the other side, to prevent the other side from thinking it's important to show up and vote or important to even run for political office.

In Alabama right now, I forget what the number is, but it's easily over 40 to 50% or so of the state legislative seats in the last election weren't contested.

That suggests to me that people have either decided, look, the game to be played is in the primaries and that's it, or that look, it doesn't make a difference anyway. And I think actually that makes a super majority, any super majority, quite comfortable, they want to maintain themselves.

But I think the challenge with lawsuits like the ones that are pending in Alabama, Louisiana, and Georgia are testing the resolve of that. You can't maintain a super majority if, for example, you have to create more districts where people who don't agree with you get opportunities to be represented.

And that's the real challenge, I think in a lot of these states. It is sort of an art form to try to present a legislature that looks like, well, essentially in that state with one exception, all of the Republican party is white. And so, if you're white, this is your place. And most, if not all of the Democratic party is black. So, maybe that's your place.

That's actually not the reality. Even though it's true that African Americans are strong supporters of the Democratic Party in that state, it's not solely that.

And I think that's the piece that again, this sort of gerrymandering, how that encourages, and I don't think that's really good for democracy.

Ken Harbaugh:

Your framing of the role of a super majority to despirit the opposition is just so moving to me because it evokes a century of that. I mean, the super majority Alabama has today is an artifact of a hundred years of voter suppression and voter intimidation.

And I think about the KKK's campaign post reconstruction, 100 Years of Terror, which I mean, the legacy is so clear today in that dispiritness and the continuing suppression of that vote.

I am wondering if between states, there are opportunities to come together to look at places like Georgia and learn how to fight back.

Dr. Kareem Crayton:

Well, I think one of the key pieces of this is to recognize that by the time you get to the state legislature, a lot of politics are sort of played out, if you will, which is to say the real action is local.

A lot of these people long before they get to the state legislature, or Congress, or the governors’ mansions, they start off in local communities.

And so, I'd like to remind people that notwithstanding what is currently true in your legislature, that might be terribly gerrymandered, that might have not enough candidates running to challenge people that you think don't need to be surveyed or aren't doing a good job of representing the community.

Local government is a place where there's still space for new thought and often involve constituencies that are more diverse than larger gerrymander districts.

So, starting there, getting to know networks of people who think things can be different and also, just trying new ideas can be really useful.

Partly of course, because the people and the policies that are closest to you are things that should reflect your interest and it's easier to change them. Turn out in local elections is usually lower, so it actually doesn't take a massive change often to change leadership.

The other thing is, of course, it's a proving ground for training new leaders. So, if you really want to build up to change things at the state on the national level, I always encourage people to figure out how it is that decisions get made in your local community and show up and get other people to show up. That's really the building block for all of this.

And whether the question is on gerrymandering or reproductive rights, or the environment, things that are right at the top of mind of people, there are things that each of us can do in our local government as much as we can also in the state and the national government, we should say present there.

But you can have a more immediate impact there in your local government in ways that can, I think build up to have much broader effect when you're thinking about contacting your state senator or your state legislator. They pay attention when you have power behind you.

Ken Harbaugh:

Right. Well, I appreciate your optimism. I actually share it.

But I don't want to be naive. Are you familiar with the story which has just come out of the mayor of the small town in Mississippi, a overwhelmingly majority black town with a white government that finally elected the black mayor. Do you know the one I'm talking about?

Dr. Kareem Crayton:

So, I think it was just across the line in Newbern, Alabama actually, right in the heart of Black Belt. Yeah. But that region has the same flavor as you know. But I'm familiar with the story.

Ken Harbaugh:

Yes. And I mean, can you give us the primer on that and the window it provides into some of the structures that even in majority black communities limit representation?

Dr. Kareem Crayton:

Sure. So, Newbern is a small town in the Black Belt, kind of west of Montgomery. Probably halfway between Montgomery and the state line of Mississippi. And it is a city, as you said, that has a solid majority of African Americans in it now.

It has changed over time, but until this year, it had always had white mayors. And so, for the first time a black mayor gets chosen. He attempts to do the things one would do as mayor. Start to appoint people, try to get access to his office and he's blocked at every turn.

And there are these extraordinary efforts-

Ken Harbaugh:

Like literally, they lock doors down.

Dr. Kareem Crayton:

Physically not allowed. Correct.

He is not allowed to get in. He is not allowed to do any of the ministerial basic things that you would need to do to function as mayor of this town, even though he had been duly elected as mayor.

And in fact, the old guard who clearly were not happy with this outcome turned to the local probate judge to try to block a lot of this activity. And so, there's now, a problem that has now found its way into federal court to try and get some remedy to this.

And I was reading that, and I thought absolutely to your point, numbers only do part of the work. There are always instances where people who have held onto power, even illegitimately so, will not relinquish or share that power.

It's a sad reality, but I think it sometimes means we have to go to courts to enforce the law.

And one wonders if there are other places, I'm sure there are where essentially there out of the public view, little small towns, hamlets where this kind of dynamic is going on.

But that's why it's so important to have A, attention to these matters. But B, courts to back up what the law requires us to do because otherwise people say, “Well, that might be the law outside of this town, but here, we're in charge.” And that just isn't how democracy should work.

I'd say one more thing about that. One of the other weird and odd parts of where the Supreme Court has been about this was in 2013, they announced to the world that, “Well, we no longer have this present need for having Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.”

Which would prevent changes in law in places like Alabama. And without it, I think it is sent a signal. We have a lot of evidence in the Brennan Center about how new suppressive laws have gone on in the books.

It's also given, I think, aid and comfort to this kind of defiance. So, now, in order to get some answers and some remedy, this individual who is duly elected has to go to federal court, which takes time and money.

And again, the voters in the meantime elected a person to do a thing and nothing is getting done.

So, it could easily be that this case doesn't get resolved until well into this person's term. Or if at the end of it, you sort of look at that and think, “Is that sort of the justice that we think our democracy demands?” I think not.

Ken Harbaugh:

Tell us about the actual power of courts to deliver those remedies. I mean, you said the power of the courts to back up the laws that exist. I mean, that power is really a figment though of our trust in the courts and our faith in the courts.

And as we're seeing when that crumbles, the courts don't have the enforcement mechanism. And I'm reminded of, I believe it was Andrew Jackson's quote about the Supreme Court having delivered its decision now, let them enforce it.

How worried are you about this mindset shift in which the executive branch is starting to realize that I mean, in places like Ohio and Alabama, not everywhere, but in places that we should really be worried about, that the court actually can't deliver on its judgments?

Dr. Kareem Crayton:

Well, your observation to start is absolutely right. The court's orders are only as strong and meaningful as we, the public are willing to follow it.

And by that I mean, we accord court's respect and credibility because we believe the work that they're doing is on the up and up. The law is the law no matter who's showing up to invoke it.

And I think you're right, there is now, it seems, a political strategy that some have to essentially openly defy what the courts have ordered or at least consciously avoid the thing that the court is asking them to do.

That's a real problem when it becomes infused in our politics. That was certainly not the case once we got past George Wallace. It was one of those things that look, we fight in court about what the law is once the court settles it, whether we like it or not, we move on. And that's not what's happening here.

And also, point out though, some of this is self-inflicted, and it's not to say all courts are this way, but we have a United States Supreme Court that is in the midst, in my view, of an ethical and existential crisis.

It's hard to demand respect when not only you have members of the court being overtly in my mind, partisan in a lot of their activity, but also, not following codes of ethics that any other member of the federal judiciary would be bound to follow.

So, when you're going on planes with billionaires or on a yacht with people who have interests before the court, it leaves a very strong indication that maybe you're not actually deciding it based on the merits that are brought in front of you, but on who's showing up. And that's just not judging.

And I don't think that the court has, it's fair to say — the chief justice respects his position, but I don't think he's done half of what he should do to demonstrate that he takes this seriously and he's going to demand of his colleagues that they do as well.

And so, I think that's one reason Congress has moved to adopt ethics rules. I've mentioned is also, one reason why the Brennan Center has taken the view that term limits are one solution to address this court gone amok strategy.

Ken Harbaugh:

I'm really glad you're bringing up the Supreme Court because I have this internal dilemma about the fear of delegitimizing the court and what that would mean long-term.

I mean, if a Trump 2.0 administration decides to ignore the orders of the court, God help us.

On the other hand, I see the corruption you're referring to, granted, it's on one side of the bench, Alito and Thomas. You look at the precautions that the progressive and liberal judges take to not give any appearance of impropriety and it's striking the differences between the two sides.

But you have a corrupt court, by any definition, at least parts of it on one hand and on the other, the desperate need within our system to value the court's rulings as a society, not because they have the power of an army behind them, but because they have built up this trust.

And I don't know where to land, especially as a commentator on criticizing the court versus upholding its legitimacy. I guess I'm asking for insight and advice.

Dr. Kareem Crayton:

Well, I don't know that I have the perfect answer to that, but I will say I think it is our job (I know you also, went to law school) as officers of the court to hold the court accountable, respectfully.

But to say we are entitled to criticize decisions of the court even as we recognize that the decision is due respect.

But we don't. The court, as I've said in a lot of places, gets the last say on a constitutional controversy. It doesn't get the last say on an issue. They operate as officers of our government that we elect and form and follow because it has legitimacy.

And when that legitimacy is threatened, in my mind, I think it is right and proper to say that we think that there needs to be structural change.

I think the other challenge as you point out is there are currently structural challenges in pretty much every part of our government right now. We have a gridlocked Congress, we have a presidency in some ways because of the Supreme Court that's been limited in what they can do to address big problems.

And we have a Supreme Court, as we mentioned, that has ethical challenges. I don't know that we get out of this unless we think seriously about how to change the entirety of the structure.

And I think it means that the members of each one of these branches has to acknowledge that too. Otherwise, I think it's the crisis that leads us ultimately maybe to oblivion. I hope not.

But I think the unwillingness to address this and acknowledge that the court is suffering from a lack of, in my mind, adherence to ethical rules and standards and institutional deficiency, then I think we are in big trouble, especially as these bigger and bigger structural questions get put to the court.

If everything becomes political and it isn't viewed as a matter of law that we all respect, I see the whole enterprise being in grave jeopardy.

Ken Harbaugh:

Well, its entire legitimacy is based on that respect. So, when that begins to erode, especially if it's self-inflicted, the system comes down.

Can you talk about the reforms that the Brennan Center is researching and advocating for? You mentioned term limits.

Dr. Kareem Crayton:

Sure. And I'll kind of briefly acknowledge that we have a wonderful team, we have a judiciary team that has done a lot of work looking partly at state courts for some answers as to what works and doesn't work.

But our president, Michael Walman, has just completed a book that makes the argument that term limits actually among the structures that have been considered. He was actually on the commission that the president put together to think about the future of the court.

As he experienced it, it was the one thing, term limits, were that everybody agreed to. They didn't like a lot of different things. But the one thing people tended to embrace was the idea that we shouldn't have any person holding that much power for the entirety of their lives.

One thing to note about it is that the American system is actually aberration. Most modern democracies all have limits on their highest court at constitutional courts in terms of the number of time, number of years that they can serve.

And it's good for refreshing the bench. It's good because it prevents a lot of the manipulation that we see in trying to get people on the bench. But more than that, it just assures that we have representativeness.

And so, the specific reform that's being presented, one that our president has argued, does that require a constitutional amendment, which is a big hurdle to cross? Is just to change the structure of the court through typical congressional statute, just to say, “Look, you're on the court, you are a member of the court for life.”

But in terms of the people who hear cases, after a number of years, people rotate off and we appoint new people in a regular process that again, doesn't wait on the actuarial unavailability (let me put it diplomatically) of a justice.

But instead assures every president has one or two appointments so that there's, again, not the sort of existential threat everybody sees at every election about whether you can get on the court or not.

But the idea again, is to make sure that people, once they've served on the court, continue to give service to the judicial system. But then we get new different voices in the Supreme Court so that we can make sure that rules are keeping up with the times, first.

But also, that you see groups of people who can hear different points of view. And I think that's really an important piece that hasn't really gotten as much attention.

The latest appointment, Justice Brown Jackson was the first person who's actually been a defense attorney or public defender at that. That's a perspective that takes you in a different direction when you're on the court.

Sometimes you look at the same facts, you think of the same law, but you have experience that can inform how you think about that. That's probably true along a number of dimensions.

And I think we should take advantage of that in this country as big and broad as ours, to bring in talent and experiences to help inform the Constitution and the rules that govern all of us.

Ken Harbaugh:

I'm glad you addressed the question of the requirement of a constitutional amendment for something like this because I think a lot of people assume that the structure of the court, not a respect for it, but the structure of the court is sacrosanct. It's far from that.

I mean, the numbers of judges have changed, I don't know how many times over history, but a lot, right?

Dr. Kareem Crayton:

Yep, that's right. We've only had nine since I think the early 20th century. But the pay of the court, the cases that the court can hear, all of those things are subject to because of the Judiciary Act of 1789, Congress is given the authority to make that decision.

Now, this is part of the checks and balances of each one of the branches. The Supreme Court and ideally works cooperatively to get laws that sort of support what the court does.

But this is one of those places where if the court isn't willing to regulate itself, this is exactly the place where you would expect Congress and the other branches to assure that the system works well on behalf of the people, have every right to do it.

And by the way, it's the same set of powers that Congress uses to change the federal system.

To bring Alabama back into the mix. Alabama used to be a part of what's called the Fifth Circuit, used to cover all of the South partly because of growth, partly because the experience with civil rights.

And I think it was 1981 or 1983, I think it was ’81, the Congress and its wisdom decided to defy the Fifth Circuit into the 11th Circuit, which now has Alabama, Georgia, and Florida. And the Fifth Circuit was the remainder of the south Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi.

So, these are things that are just as common and, in my mind, as changing the sort of function of the members who sit on the court at the number of people at any given moment, who give service and can do other things that are useful to the federal judiciary.

Ken Harbaugh:

By the way, I love your phrase actuarial unavailability. I'm going to-

Dr. Kareem Crayton:

That was off the cuff, but yeah.

Ken Harbaugh:

Very good.

Dr. Kareem Crayton:

I wish everyone a life of health, but to the extent that things change, you have to have a system.

Ken Harbaugh:

But it is crazy that we have a system in one branch of government that depends on the death of its agents to effectuate any kind of change.

I mean, it's evocative of like dynastic rule. That kind of thing. You think about North Korea, I'm not comparing SCOTUS to the Kim family, but it is another weird artifact that doesn't really fit with the times.

Dr. Kareem Crayton:

Yeah. I think right. You talk about the Windsors, for example, but that's the same thing. And actually the idea of accountability is important. When you don't have accountability, you do start to engage in decisions that are out of touch.

It may be questionably not quite in adherence to what we think ethical rules require. We want judges to understand that their role is to follow the law, but we also, want judges to understand they're public officials and that they are subject to review, oversight, and frankly, accountability from not just other branches of government, but from the American people.

Ken Harbaugh:

Yeah. Let's revisit politics just for a second in the time we have left. Is it true that Republicans are about to recapture the governor's mansion in all of the Confederate states for the first time since the Confederacy?

Dr. Kareem Crayton:

I saw that presentation. I suppose they have done quite well. Republicans have in a lot of the states of the former Confederacy, I guess, yes. Given the potential outcomes, the governor's chairs, I think, at least in Louisiana, and I forget where the other one is, but yeah, that's … oh, North Carolina.

Those are the two states that are in the south that have democratic governors. They will be heavily contested this year and next. And Mississippi is up as well, but it's possible.

And you'll have to think a little bit about what that means and what the modern Republican party means. It was the Republican party that essentially effectuated the union side. And we are now, at the point where depending your perspective, you can say there has been a realignment.

Ken Harbaugh:

There has indeed been a realignment. I wish we had time to dive into it. I think we'll do an entire show on that. We've been talking a lot about civil conflict and (I even hate using the phrase) what a new civil war would look like.

But that very fact that these governorships are about to revert or might revert to Republican control is just mind blowing to me.

Kareem, it's been great having you on. Thanks.

Dr. Kareem Crayton:

Thank you. Take care.

Ken Harbaugh:

Thanks again to Kareem for joining me. You can learn more about the Brennan Center for Justice via the link in the show description.

Thanks for listening to Burn the Boats. If you have any feedback, please email the team at [email protected]. We're always looking to improve the show.

For updates and more, follow us on Twitter @Team_Harbaugh. And if you enjoyed this episode, don't forget to rate and review.

Burn the Boats is a production of Evergreen Podcasts. Our producer is Declan Rohrs and Sean Rule-Hoffman is our audio engineer. Special thanks to Evergreen executive producers, Joan Andrews, Michael DeAloia, and David Moss.

I'm Ken Harbaugh and this is Burn the Boats, a podcast about big decisions.


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Journalist Tim Alberta discusses his book, The Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory, and his personal experiences with the evangelical movement....
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Dr. Steven Hassan: MAGA is a Cult

Burn the Boats | S:1 E:159
Dr. Hassan explains how cults indoctrinate members, and how the radical right has copied these strategies....
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Dr. Bandy Lee: A Duty to Warn

Burn the Boats | S:1 E:158
Psychiatrist Dr. Bandy Lee discusses Trump’s mental state, and the danger he poses to the country....
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Tristan Snell: Trump’s Legal Strategy

Burn the Boats | S:1 E:157
Tristan, who prosecuted Trump as the Assistant Attorney General of New York, talks about Trump’s legal strategy, our current judicial system, and ...
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