Postcards From The Great Divide
Postcards From The Great Divide is a series of short documentaries produced by leading American independent filmmakers that will be released in a digital partnership between PBS' Election 2016 initiative and The Washington Post, with a subsequent PBS broadcast on the World Channel. New episodes coming in September and October.
A film by Laura Pacheco and Jackie Mow
Nevada used to be a deep red state, but things have changed. Thousands of Latinos have moved there, many to work in the gaming industry, and now the state has turned purple. With retiring Senator Harry Reid's seat up for grabs, what can the state GOP do in the year of Donald Trump to get enough Latino votes to put themselves over the top? The answer may hold the key to the balance of power in the next Congress.
While Nevada has always had two party competition in state elections, it has been a reliably red state in presidential years. Jimmy Carter only received 27% of the vote against Ronald Reagan in 1980, but Democratic totals rose from the 30’s in the 1980’s, to the 40’s by the 1990’s, until Barack Obama won the state twice with majorities of the vote in 2008 and 2012. Read more
Purple Reign | Washington
A film by Laura Nix
In the fight to win control at the state level, Republicans have reached an historic high, capturing thirty-one legislatures in the past several years. Now the Republicans are looking for more, even in a supposedly left-leaning state like Washington. With divided knife-edge majorities in both chambers, we follow a GOP strategist as he works with socially moderate candidates, including a Latino Navy vet, to win swing districts and change the statehouse balance of power.
In the aftermath of the Republican off year election landslides in 2010 and 2014, where Democrats lost over a thousand state legislative seats across the nation, there are now Republican majorities in 68 of 98 state legislative bodies, with the GOP control in thirty-one states (including the nominally non-partisan Nebraska), the highest number in the party’s history. Republicans have total control, with the legislature and the Governor, in 23 states, versus just 7 for Democrats. Read More
A film by Louis alvarez, Andrew Kolker and Paul Stekler
A humble school board race in suburban Denver becomes a proxy battle between national political groups like the Koch Brothers and the teachers’ union, as even down ballot races become nationalized. We follow both right and left leaning members of the community as they tumultuously battle to gain control of the Jefferson County school board and by extension, the state of Colorado.
Since the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision in 2010, the flood of money in American political campaigns has been a constant topic of media attention, besides also being a staple of Bernie Sanders’ speeches and even part of Donald Trump’s worldview on corrupt politics. That said, nothing is slowing down the increasing amount of money being donated and spent. With the current trends, even dark untraceable money will go over the $1 billion dollar spent since 2010 this cycle. Read More
A film by Cyndee Readdean and Deborah Hardt
In 2008 and 2012 African-Americans in Florida turned out in record numbers for Barack Obama even when voting hours and registration rules were tightened. What are the challenges among the black electorate that the Democratic candidate in 2016 will face in this must-win state? To find out, we visit a number of African-Americans in the city, from a black chamber of commerce meeting, to a picnic of friends, and ending at a lively black heritage celebration.
One of the hallmarks of the Barack Obama’s two national victories was the enthusiasm of African-American voters to elect the first black President and then to back him for a second term. In 2012, black turnout exceeded white turnout (66.2% to 64.1%) for the first time in a national American election. Read More
The Big Sort | Minnesota
A film by Heather Courtney
There’s a political self-sorting process that is happening across America. Blue voters are choosing to live in “creative-class” urban oases, as red voters remain in rural areas. Minnesota native Aaron Spading, conservative church-goer turned far-left Powderhorn Park resident, guides us as we explore one of those blue-dots-in-a-sea-of-red. Meetings with family and old neighbors illustrate just how deep the political gulf between people can be, but the film ends on a hopeful note; where there is dialogue, there can still be community.
In 2004, Bill Bishop coined the term ‘the big sort” (also the title of his book), describing the migration of Americans inspired by lifestyle choices. “We have built a country,” Bishop wrote, “where everyone can choose the neighbors (and church and news shows) most compatible with his or her lifestyle and beliefs. And we are living with the consequences of this segregation by way of life: pockets of like-minded citizens that have become so ideologically inbred that we don’t know, can’t understand, and can barely conceive of ‘those people’ who live just a few miles away. Read More
The Giant Still Sleeps | Texas
A film by Miguel Alvarez
Pundits seem convinced that a purple Texas is just around the corner due to its burgeoning Latino population, yet the state gets redder and redder. One factor is that Latino turnout remains low. Our study case is Pasadena, a city just outside the limits of Houston, where Oscar Del Toro is registering and motivating potential voters as he plans his own city council race. This film is also available to view with Spanish subtitles here.
Texas is one of the reddest of red states, a place where Republicans have won every statewide office easily for two decades. It’s big enough to have boosted five Texans and former Texans in the race for President this primary cycle (Cruz, Bush, Perry, Fiorina, and Paul). It’s state legislature, with overwhelming GOP majorities, has passed some of the most conservative legislation – restricting abortion, cutting taxes, Voter ID, open carry – in the country. Read More
Whatever Happened To Wisconsin Nice? | Wisconsin
A film by Brad Lichtenstein
Once the poster child for bipartisan practical politics, the Badger State has become an ideological battleground in recent years. What happened to the middle? Wandering around the state to find out are former state Senators Dale Schultz and Tim Cullen--one a Republican, one a Democrat. Visiting a gun show, an anti-Trump protest, and a conservative talk radio gathering, they look for insight into what to expect for the state’s political future.
Whatever happened to the politics of Wisconsin nice? During the administration of Governor Scott Walker, bitter partisan and ideological bloodletting has become the norm in Madison. But the elements of the politics of division were already there. Small town and rural resentment of the big cities, Milwaukee and Madison, where voters felt their problems with unemployment and poverty were being ignored, reinforced an existing suburban anger in places like Waukesha County, where the radio hosts like Charlie Sykes are conservative stars. Read More
Chris Cillizza of The Washington Post wrote a blog post tied to each of the episodes on his The Fix blog:
Purple Reign | How West Coast Republicans are planning a comeback
The Giant Still Sleeps | Why turning Texas blue is A LOT harder than it looks
Million-Dollar School Board | How $1 million got spent on a Colorado school board election
Post-Obama Drama | What happens if black voters just don’t turn out this fall?
Whatever Happened to Wisconsin Nice | How 'Wisconsin Nice' ceased to exist
For more information visit the official website
How The Deck Is Stacked
“How the Deck Is Stacked” is a collaborative and multiplatform series, jointly funded by PBS and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
Helmed by Kai Ryssdal, we investigate the new American economy, the forces that are shaping it, and the lives of the people living in it as we head into the 2016 elections and beyond.
Eight years ago, the country was in financial free fall. Now, with the 2016 presidential election looming, America’s economic landscape is much different: unemployment is below five percent; job growth is rising; and corporate profits and housing prices are booming.
But not far below the surface is a much less glowing economic reality: an America where wages are stagnant, and more work is temporary and part-time. If you’ve been unemployed for a long time, you’re likely to stay that way — and the gap between the rich and everyone else is wider than ever.
1 - Introducing How The Deck Is Stacked
These stories will explore different facets of the individual economic unease that persists across the country, despite booming big-picture indicators.
Here's a sneak peek at our new collaboration, "How the Deck is Stacked."
Though the nation’s unemployment rate is at its post-recession lowest.
2 - Why The Middle Class Matters
Are you in the middle class? The numbers might say otherwise.
There’s less middle in the middle class as income inequality grows, Pew analysis finds.
Marketplace’s Kai Ryssdal reports on the struggles facing millions of American families.
The middle class is the most talked about group in the 2016 presidential election. But who are they?
It's called the "middle-class squeeze" — that feeling that it's harder and harder for a middle-class family to make it in today's economy.
About two thirds of America's gross domestic product is generated by consumption. That means our economy runs on people buying stuff. And who buys the most stuff? The middle class.
3 - The Recovery's Racial Divide
The American economy is recovering, but not everyone has felt it equally.
For two people, Senator Robert Kennedy's 1967 tour of the Mississippi Delta wasn't just a historical moment, it was a serendipitous one.
Kai Ryssdal takes a look at the storied and complex history of the Mississippi Delta.
Instead of going to the RNC, to listen to the speeches, observe the pageantry and watch the electoral process at work, we decided to do something a little different.
The old railroad tracks that divide the east side and west side of Cleveland, Mississippi meet downtown on Sharp Street in an area called Cotton Row.
Philadelphia is a small town made up of approximately 7,000 people in Neshoba County, Mississippi.
Licensed photos from Getty Images and The Associated Press. Courtesy images via Gage Skidmore/Flickr