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Episode Info: Michael Bennet is an accidental senator. He was unexpectedly appointed to fill an open seat after Ken Salazar joined the Obama administration. He had never run for elected office before, or served in a legislative body. Perhaps that’s why he’s always, in my experience, been appropriately shocked by how the US Congress actually works. Since joining the Senate (and winning reelection in 2010 and 2016), Bennet has become one of its more effective members. He was part of the Gang of Eight that authored the immigration reform plan that passed the body, and he’s known for working well with both Republicans and Democrats. And yet, he is despairing over the state of the institution in which he serves. This is a conversation about why Congress is broken, and what broke it. We discuss money, partisanship, the media, the rules, the leadership, and much more. We talk about what Bennet thinks House of Cards gets right (hint: it’s the sociopathy) and whether President Trump’s antics are creating some hope of institutional renewal.There’s a lot of good stuff in this conversation, and I don’t want to spoil it. Suffice to say, if you care about the US Congress in this age — and you should — this is a discussion worth hearing. Books:Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew DesmondBehind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine BooThe Retreat of Western Liberalism by Edward LuceRead more »

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