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Politics in Question
63 minutes | 6 days ago
What is the future of the Republican Party?
In this week’s episode of Politics In Question, Rachel Blum joins Julia, Lee, and James to discuss the future of the Republican Party. Blum is an Assistant Professor in the Carl Albert Congressional Research and Studies Center and the Department of Political Science at the University of Oklahoma. Her research examines how political parties interact with and shape U.S. political institutions. She is the author of How the Tea Party Captured the GOP: Insurgent Factions in American Politics (University of Chicago Press, 2020). What is the TEA Party? How did it come to dominate the Republican Party? Is it a radical force in American Politics? And to what extent is it connected with the rise of Trumpism in recent years? These are some of the questions Rachel, Julia, Lee, and James discuss in this week’s episode.
62 minutes | 22 days ago
Will Congress change how it operates in 2021?
In this week’s episode of Politics In Question, Ruth Bloch Rubin joins Julia, Lee, and James to consider how Congress may work in the new year. Bloch Rubin is an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Chicago. She studies American politics, with a substantive focus on legislative institutions, political parties, and American political development. Bloch Rubin is the author of Building the Bloc: Intraparty Organization in the U.S. Congress (Cambridge University Press, 2017). She earned her PhD in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley.How will the 117th Congress function differently? Can the House and Senate change the way they operate? Will intraparty factions challenge both chambers’ centralized party structure? These are some of the questions Ruth, Julia, Lee, and James discuss in this week’s episode.
73 minutes | a month ago
What is the best way to pick United States senators?
In this week’s episode of Politics In Question, Wendy Schiller joins Julia, Lee, and James to talk about how we elect senators in the United States. Schiller is Professor of Political Science, Professor of International and Public Affairs, and Chair of Political Science at Brown University. She has also experienced politics as a practitioner, having served on the staffs of Daniel Patrick Moynihan in the Senate and Governor Mario Cuomo in New York. Schiller is the author of several books, including Electing the Senate: Indirect Democracy before the Seventeenth Amendment (Princeton University Press) and Partners and Rivals: Representation in U.S. Senate Delegations (Princeton University Press). And she has published articles in the American Journal of Political Science, Legislative Studies Quarterly, Studies in American Political Development, and the Journal of Politics.What is the best way to pick United States senators? What are the consequences of different modes of electing senators? Does direct election of senators impact their behavior inside the Senate differently than indirect election? What would happen if Americans repealed the 17th Amendment? And why are there two Senate seats up for grabs in Georgia at the same time? These are some of the questions that Wendy, Julia, Lee, and James discuss in this week’s episode.
60 minutes | a month ago
How did losing to Trump in 2016 help Democrats win the presidency in 2020?
In this week’s episode of Politics In Question, Seth Masket joins Julia, Lee, and James to discuss the future of the Democratic Party. Masket is professor of political science and director of the Center on American Politics at the University of Denver. He is the author of numerous books and articles about political parties, elections, state politics, and, on occasion, Star Wars. He is also the founder of the political science blog, Mischiefs of Faction. His most recent book, Learning From Loss: The Democrats, 2016-2020, examines how Democrats’ perceptions of why they lost in 2016 shaped their behavior in the 2020 presidential election.How did Hillary Clinton’s 2016 loss to Donald Trump influence Democrats’ decision to nominate Joe Biden in 2020? To what extent do broad narratives impact voters’ perceptions of what is at stake in elections? Do those narratives also impact the behavior of elected officials in-between elections? And if election narratives have this kind of power, does that create a feedback loop that inhibits serious change? These are some of the questions that Seth, Julia, Lee, and James discuss in this week’s episode.
44 minutes | a month ago
Does it really matter which party controls Congress next year?
In this week’s episode of Politics In Question, Philip Wallach joins Julia, Lee, and James to consider how the 2020 elections will impact Congress. Wallach is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute where he studies and writes about the administrative state, Congress, and the separation of powers. He is the author of To the Edge: Legality, Legitimacy, and the Responses to the 2008 Financial Crisis (Brookings Institution Press) and has published articles in numerous publications, including in the Brookings Center on Regulation and Markets, Studies in American Political Development, Fortune, National Affairs, National Review, Law & Liberty, The Los Angeles Times, RealClearPolicy, The American Interest, The Bulwark, The Hill, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post. Most recently, Wallach examines how Congress fell behind the executive branch in a chapter in the forthcoming edited volume, Congress Overwhelmed: The Decline in Congressional Capacity and Prospects for Reform.Does it really matter which party controls Congress next year? Will the House and Senate still be dysfunctional if Democrats control both chambers in the 117th Congress? Or is a change in Congress’s partisan balance of power just what it needs for its members to get back to work? These are some of the questions Philip, Julia, Lee, and James ask in this week’s episode.
62 minutes | 2 months ago
Can a new agency improve national elections in America?
n this week’s episode of Politics In Question, Charlotte Hill joins Julia, Lee, and James to consider how Americans conduct national elections. Charlotte is a Ph.D. candidate at the Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley. She studies how election and voting laws impact political engagement. Her current research examines how voting barriers reduce youth turnout and how electoral reforms can increase voter participation. Outside of academia, Charlotte previously served as Vice President of the San Francisco Elections Commission and currently sits on the boards of nonpartisan advocacy organizations FairVote and RepresentUs. She recently co-authored a New America white paper and a New York Times op-ed with Lee advocating for establishing a nonpartisan and independent agency to oversee federal elections.How do Americans conduct elections at the federal level? Why are they so confusing? Would a national elections agency have improved the 2020 election? These are some of the questions Charlotte, Julia, Lee, and James ask in this week's episode.
64 minutes | 2 months ago
How should Americans interpret the results of the 2020 election?
In this week’s episode of Politics In Question, Julia, Lee, and James discuss what happened in this year’s election and what it means for American democracy. How should Americans interpret the results of the election? Should they be worried about Republicans’ ongoing efforts to change the outcome? And what do the election results reveal about the future of the Democratic and Republican parties? These are some of the questions Julia, Lee, and James ask in this week’s episode. Julia Azari, “For 4 years I’ve written that Trump was a disjunctive leader. Now I’m not so sure,” Mischiefs of Faction (November 10, 2020).
74 minutes | 2 months ago
Did American democracy win on Election Day?
Ezra Klein joins Lee and James to discuss what the 2020 election reveals about the present state of American democracy. Klein is the editor-at-large and founder of Vox. He is the host of The Ezra Klein Show and the author of Why We’re Polarized. Klein has also written for the New Yorker and the New York Review of Books. He has appeared on Face the Nation, Real Time with Bill Maher, The McLaughlin Report, the Daily Show, and many more.How well did democracy do on Election Day? Will Donald Trump’s post-election behavior have long-term consequences for the health of America’s political system? Will Democrats try to capitalize on their Election Day gains? And how will Republicans respond to their efforts? These are some of the questions Ezra, Lee, and James ask in this week’s episode.Ezra Klein, “Trump is attempting a coup in plain sight,” Vox (November 7, 2020).
46 minutes | 3 months ago
Do presidential debates help Americans make better choices when they vote?
In this week’s episode of Politics In Question, Julia, Lee, and James debate presidential debates. What role do they play in campaigns? In their current form, do they really help people to evaluate candidates? If not, how should debates be administered? And how should people evaluate presidential candidates? These are some of the questions Julia, Lee, and James ask in this week’s episode.Show NotesLee Drutman, “There is a better way to run presidential debates. Actually, there are several.” Vox (November 5, 2015). Lee Drutman, “Want to be president? Show us how you’d handle a disaster.” Washington Post (July 30, 2015).
56 minutes | 3 months ago
Should the Democrats play hardball in 2021?
In this week’s episode of Politics In Question, Matt Green joins Julia, Lee, and James to consider whether Democrats should play constitutional hardball if they control Congress and the presidency in 2021. Matt is a professor (and chair) of the Department of Politics at the Catholic University of America. His research focuses on political institutions (especially Congress), state and local politics, and federalism. Matt is the author of numerous books and articles on Congress and is currently working on a research project examining cases of legislative hardball at the state and federal levels. He is also a staff writer at Mischiefs of Faction.What is constitutional and legislative hardball? Is it a bad thing in and of itself or does that depend on what Democrats use hardball to accomplish? Is it possible to undermine the political system by using the rules authorized by that system? These are some of the questions Matt, Julia, Lee, and James discuss in this week’s episode.Show NotesSteven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt, How Democracies Die (New York: Broadway Books, 2018).Mark V. Tushnet, “Constitutional Hardball,” Georgetown University Law Center (2004).Lee Drutman, Breaking the Two-Party Doom Loop: The Case for Multiparty Democracy (New York: Oxford University Press, 2020).Keith E. Whittington, Political Foundations of Judicial Supremacy: The President, the Supreme Court, and Constitutional Leadership in U.S. History (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2009).Jacques Derrida, Negotiations: Interventions and Interviews, 1971-2001 (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2002).David Hume, Political Essays, ed. Knud Haakonssen (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1994).Hannah Arendt, Between Past and Future (New York: Penguin Books, 1977).James Madison, “Federalist 58,” in The Federalist Papers.
53 minutes | 3 months ago
How should the United States select its judges?
In this week’s episode of Politics In Questions, Judith Resnik joins Julia, Lee, and James to consider how a democracy should select its judges. Judith is the Arthur Liman Professor of Law at Yale Law School and the Founding Director of the Arthurs Liman Center for Public Interest Law. Her scholarship focuses on the relationship of democratic values to government services; the roles of collective redress, class actions, and arbitration; contemporary conflicts over privatization; the relationships of states to citizens and non-citizens; the forms and norms of federalism; and equality and gender. Judith has written numerous books and articles, including: Representing Justice: Invention, Controversy, and Rights in City-States and Democratic Courtrooms (with Dennis Curtis, Yale University Press, 2011); Federal Courts Stories (co-edited with Vicki C. Jackson, Foundation Press, 2010); Migrations and Mobilities: Citizenship, Borders, and Gender (co-edited with Seyla Benhabib, New York University Press, 2009); “Punishment in Prison: Constituting the ‘Normal’ and the ‘Atypical’ in Solitary and Other Forms of Confinement” (with Hirsa Amin, Sophie Angelis, Megan Hauptman, Laura Kokotailo, Aseem Mehta, Madeline Silva, Tor Tarantola, and Meredith Wheeler; Northwestern Law Review, 2020); “(Un)Constitutional Punishments: Eighth Amendment Silos, Penological Purposes, and People’s ‘Ruin’” (Yale Law Journal Forum, 2020); and “Collective Preclusion and Inaccessible Arbitration: Data, Non-Disclosure, and Public Knowledge” (with Stephanie Garlock and Annie J. Wang; Lewis & Clark Law Review, 2020).How should a democracy like the United States select its judges? Why do we need judges in the first place? How do we ensure that the president and Senate appoint good judges? Is there a single best way? Or does the ideal process change across time? And what reforms can address the dismal state of today’s confirmation process? These are some of the questions that Judith, Julia, Lee, and James ask in this week’s episode. Show NotesJudith Resnik, “Judicial Selection and Democratic Theory: Demand, Supply, and Life Tenure,” Cardozo Law Review Vol. 26, no. 2 (2005).
56 minutes | 3 months ago
How well do our political parties represent us in government?
In this week’s episode of Politics In Question, Ted Johnson joins Julia, Lee, and James to consider the role that political parties play in perpetuating popular dissatisfaction with politics. Ted is a senior fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice. His work explores the role that race plays in electoral politics, issue framing, and disparities in policy outcomes. Previously, Ted was a national fellow at New America and a research manager at Deloitte. He is also a retired commander in the U.S. Navy following a two-decade career that included service as a White House fellow, military professor at the U.S. Naval War College, and speechwriter to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Ted’s work has appeared in the Washington Post, Atlantic, New York Times Magazine, Wall Street Journal, National Review, and Politico, among other publications. He teaches law and public policy to master’s and doctoral students and is currently working on a book about national solidarity and race relations.How well do the Democratic and Republican parties represent Americans in general and black Americans in particular? What options do the two parties offer Americans once in government? And what can voters do when Democrats and Republicans ignore their concerns in office? These are some of the questions that Ted, Julia, Lee, and James ask in this week’s episode.
65 minutes | 4 months ago
What can we learn from other nations about pernicious polarization in the United States?
In this week's episode of Politics In Question, Jennifer McCoy joins Julia, Lee, and James to discuss political polarization in the United States and worldwide. McCoy is a professor of political science at Georgia State University. Her research examines democratization, polarization, mediation and conflict prevention, election processes and election observation, and Latin American politics. McCoy is the author of several articles and books, and recently co-edited a volume of The Annals with Murat Somer exploring pernicious polarization in eleven countries (Polarizing Polities: A Global Threat to Democracy). Her current research project on Polarized Democracies seeks to determine the causes, consequences, and solutions to polarized societies worldwide, including Venezuela, Turkey, Hungary, Thailand, Hungary, Greece, Bangladesh, the Philippines, and the United States.What is pernicious polarization? How worried should we be about it? How does populism fuel the phenomenon? What lessons can we learn from efforts to combat it in other nations? How does the American political system differ from the nation-state model? And does that difference alter how we should think about the influence of pernicious polarization on American politics? These are some of the questions that Jennifer, Julia, Lee, and James ask in this week’s episode.
51 minutes | 4 months ago
How will the debate to replace Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg end?
On this week’s episode of Politics In Question, Julia, Lee, and James consider the legacy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the fight to replace her on the Supreme Court. Coming just weeks before the presidential election, the debate over whether Donald Trump or Joe Biden should get to pick who will replace Ginsburg on the Supreme Court has injected new controversy into an already controversial campaign. How will Ginsburg’s death impact the 2020 election? How much time does the Senate really need to consider a Supreme Court nomination? And what does this controversy say about the role that the Court plays in our politics today? These are some of the questions that Julia, Lee, and James ask in this week’s episode.
59 minutes | 4 months ago
What did the political conventions tell us about the state of the 2020 presidential campaign?
In this week’s episode of Politics In Question, Julia, Lee, and James discuss the Democratic and Republican presidential campaigns. Why do party conventions matter? Do they still have a place in our politics? What did the recent conventions tell us about the state of the Democratic and Republican parties? And what is this election really about? These are some of the questions Julia, Lee, and James ask in this week’s episode.Julia Azari, “The GOP Convention Violated Plenty of Norms, But Did It Undermine Democratic Values?” FiveThirtyEight (September 1, 2020).
49 minutes | 4 months ago
How important is expertise and experience in Congress?
On this week’s episode of Politics In Question, Alexander C. Furnas joins Julia, Lee, and James to consider the importance of expertise and experience in making Congress work. Alexander is a postdoctoral fellow at the Center of Science and Innovation at the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University. He studies the use of information, science, and expertise in policymaking, interest groups, and elite political behavior using survey, text analysis and network methods. Alexander has published articles in the American Political Science Review, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and Legislative Studies Quarterly. Most recently, he coauthored “Congressional Brain Drain: Legislative Capacity in the 21st Century” with Timothy M. LaPira.What role do staff play in making Congress work? Does the ongoing decline in issue-area expertise and experience among staffers explain today’s political dysfunction. Or is the problem a decline in members’ ability to legislate? What reforms can address these issues? These are some of the questions Alexander, Julia, Lee, and James consider on this week’s episode.
68 minutes | 5 months ago
What Are the Pillars of Democracy?
On this week’s episode of Politics In Question, Suzanne Mettler and Robert Lieberman join Julia and Lee to discuss the state of democracy in the United States. Suzanne is the John L. Senior Professor of American Institutions in the Government Department at Cornell University. Her research and teaching interests include American political development, inequality, public policy, political behavior, and democracy. Robert is Krieger-Eisenhower Professor of Political Science at Johns Hopkins University. He studies American political development, race and American politics, and public policy. Robert also writes about the development of democracy in the United States. Suzanne and Robert are the authors of Four Threats: The Recurring Crises of American Democracy (St. Martin’s Press, 2020).Why has democracy persisted in the United States? Is it still secure today? If not, what threats does it currently face? And when did they arise? These are some of the questions Suzanne, Robert, Julia, and Lee discuss on this week’s episode.
58 minutes | 5 months ago
How did the suffrage movement win the right to vote for all women in the United States?
Tennessee made history on August 18, 1920, when it became the 36th state to ratify the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. The amendment, guaranteeing all women the right to vote in the United States, was officially added to the Constitution a few days later on August 26, 1920. It was a momentous event, capping off more than seven decades of organized action by a diverse group of women from across the nation to secure political equality.To celebrate that historic campaign, Congress created the Women’s Vote Centennial Commission (www.womensvote100.org) to commemorate the heroic struggle of those who took part in it to ensure that future generations will remember the events that helped women to secure the right to vote. Throughout the month of August, the Commission is coordinating a nationwide celebration with partners from across the country to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment through innovative and educational programming.
63 minutes | 5 months ago
When should Americans remove statues of historical figures from the nation's public square?
On this week’s episode of Politics In Question, Greg Weiner joins Julia, Lee, and James to consider the controversy surrounding recent efforts to remove monuments and memorials from the public square that commemorate the Confederacy and other prominent historical figures. Greg is the Provost and Academic Vice President at Assumption University, where he is also an Associate Professor of Political Science. He specializes in the study of American politics and history, political theory, the Founding, Congress, and constitutional law. Greg is the author of several books including, most recently, The Political Constitution: The Case Against Judicial Supremacy (University Press of Kansas, 2019) and Old Whigs: Burke, Lincoln and the Politics of Prudence (Encounter Books, 2019). He is also a regular contributor at the New York Times and a contributing editor of Law & Liberty. When should Americans remove monuments from the proverbial public square? Should all of those targeted come down? How do citizens make that decision? Where do they make it? And what exactly is a National Garden of American Heroes? These are some of the questions Greg, Julia, Lee, and James discuss on this week’s episode.
61 minutes | 6 months ago
How is identity politics impacting the 2020 presidential election?
Perry Bacon Jr., “How Biden Is Winning An Identity Politics Election So Far,” FiveThirtyEight (July 10, 2020).James Wallner, “Make America Diverse Again,” Law & Liberty (June 11, 2019).
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