On this podcast episode, Richard Gephardt and Scott Miller sift through the evidence and speculate on the future of democracy in America. Is the absence of wild allegations of fraud too low a bar for a country that likes to think of itself as the gold standard of representative democracy? What are the implications of the massive amounts of money—almost $17 billion—that candidates raised and spent during their campaigns?
The US mid-term elections are (almost) over. We know the headlines: Democratic Senate, Republican House, many election deniers denied election. Democrats win by not losing; Republicans prove that when bad candidates deserve to lose, they do. Perhaps most importantly—after all the sturm und drang of the last election cycle—voters voted, ballots were counted, winners celebrated and losers conceded. In other words, America had a normal election.
But is it too early to say that democracy has healed itself? Is the absence of wild allegations of fraud too low a bar for a country that likes to think of itself as the gold standard for representative democracy? What are the implications of the massive amounts of money—almost $17 billion—that candidates raised and spent during their campaigns? Does the way-too-early launch of the 2024 presidential election cycle signal that politicking, rather than governing, is what American politicians are best at?
We invited Richard Gephardt, former Democratic congressman and long-time party leader, and Scott Miller, one of America’s most successful political strategists, to sift through the evidence and speculate on the future of democracy in America.
ABOUT OUR GUESTS
Richard Gephardt served for 28 years in the United States House of Representatives, from 1977 to 2005, representing Missouri’s 3rd Congressional District. He served as House Democratic Leader for more than 14 years, as House Majority Leader from 1989 to 1995, and Minority Leader from 1995 to 2003. In his role as Leader, Mr. Gephardt emerged as one of the leading strategists of the Democratic Party’s platform and chief architect to landmark reforms in healthcare, pensions, education, energy independence and trade policy.
Mr. Gephardt is President and CEO of Gephardt Government Affairs, serves on public and private sector boards of directors and is the founder of the Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement at Washington University in St. Louis. Widely known for his advocacy for international human rights, Mr. Gephardt served as Chairman of the National Endowment for Democracy, a private, nonprofit organization that endeavors to strengthen democratic institutions around the world through nongovernmental efforts, from 2009 to 2013.
During 2020, Mr. Gephardt actively worked to prevent an array of threats to the integrity of the election and transition through an organization he helped create: Keep our Republic. (https://keepourrepublic.com/)
After graduating from Washington & Lee University, and a five-minute shot at the AFL, Scott Miller worked in advertising as Creative Director of McCann-Erickson, then founded Sawyer/Miller Group with David Sawyer. This strategic consulting group developed communications strategy for many political campaigns, corporations and institutions. Among Sawyer/Miller Group’s clients: Corazon Aquino, Vaclav Havel, Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Miller Brewing, Boris Yeltsin, Drexel Burnham Lambert, Kim Dae Jung, Goldman-Sachs, Apple Computer, Virgilio Barco, USA for Africa/Hands Across America, Lech Walesa and The Better World Foundation. Sawyer/ Miller also advised over 40 U.S. candidates for Governor or Senator and several Presidential campaigns.
In 2012 Scott founded RealLeader.com with Pat Caddell and Bob Perkins, and in 2013 with First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Partnership for a Healthier America” initiative. During the 2014 elections, he founded “WeNeedSmith.com” and “A Promise to America” with Pat Caddell and Bob Perkins. In the 2016 campaign, they provided message strategy support to President Donald Trump. He wrote Building Brandwidth with lkjhSergio Zyman, The Underdog Advantage with David Morey and One More Customer with Fran Tarkenton. Former Editor of the Times of London James Harding’s book Alpha Dogs is based on Miller’s work in politics. Scott is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and a member of the Emory Winship Cancer Institute advisory board.