Podcasts As A Tool To Protect Democracy? It’s The Aim Of New Coalition.


The nonpartisan Pro-Democracy Podcast Coalition, an initiative among some of America’s leading podcasters, is launching its second campaign. For the next several weeks, participating podcasts have committed to run a series of nonpartisan messages on their shows to give listeners actionable tools to protect free and fair elections ahead of the 2022 midterms. Each podcast message will direct listeners to a website where they can learn more about the threats America’s elections face and take action.


The Coalition, created by RepresentUs and coordinated by Jody Avirgan—host of the Radiotopia podcast This Day in Esoteric Political History -- officially launched in February. The partnership currently consists of 13 podcast networks that oversee more than 200 shows, including Radiotopia from PRX, Pushkin Industries, and Sonoro Media. The participating shows and hosts run the gamut in terms of topics, format, and demographic reach. Since the launch, the Coalition’s pro-democracy messages have reached at least 1.6 million listeners across at least 14 individual shows, driving thousands of listeners to the RepresentUs website. Notable podcasters recorded spots for the first campaign, including Malcolm Gladwell, Dan Pashman, Kellie Carter Jackson, and Avery Trufelman.


“I had a hunch that the podcast community would be able to rally around these critical issues, and watching the first campaign bore that out,” said Avirgan. “The messages that our hosts recorded were passionate, convincing, and I think will cut through the noise to let listeners know that yes, this is a perilous moment. But there are things we can all do to fix it. I hope and believe that our listeners will be motivated to go to the front lines of protecting our democracy.”


The focus of the effort is supporting America’s election workers. The Coalition says extremists are trying to take over elections by bullying the nonpartisan officials into resigning, and then replacing them with authoritarian-minded people who might not accept election results. Some signs indicate that their strategy is working. In a recent survey, one in fiveelection workers said they’re likely to quit before 2024 – due in large part to relentless harassment.


“America’s election workers are the backbone of our democracy, and they deserve our gratitude and support. It’s appalling to see public servants experiencing harassment and even death threats,” said RepresentUs National Organizing Director Jenny Zimmer. “Whether you send your election clerk a letter of support, push back against election misinformation in your community, or sign up to be an election worker yourself – all of us can play a part in protecting our democracy.”

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