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Politics & Polls #91: Congress & the Class of ’74
May 17, 2018 08:41 AM PDT
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In 1974, a new wave of legislators entered Congress after the Watergate Scandal, determined to change the American political landscape. While these “Watergate Babies” inspired great change, some argue that they also contributed significantly to the growing divide between Republicans and Democrats.

Could a similar situation play out in today’s political landscape? John A. Lawrence, author of “The Class of ’74: Congress after Watergate and the Roots of Partisanship,” joins Julian Zelizer to discuss this and more in this episode of Politics & Polls.

Lawrence is a visiting professor at the University of California, Washington Center. He worked in the House of Representatives for 38 years, the last eight as chief of staff to then-Speaker and Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Politics & Polls #90: ‘Our Towns’ Featuring James Fallows
May 10, 2018 06:05 AM PDT
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Some feel these are the worst of times, that we’re living in an America fraught with political discord and governmental dysfunction. But how bad is it in American towns? Writers James and Deborah Fallows traveled 100,000 miles across the country to find out.

Using a single-engine prop airplane, the husband-wife team visited dozens of towns from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, to Allentown, Pennsylvania. They interviewed civic leaders, immigrants, educators, artists and more, turning their interviews into a book, “Our Towns,” released this week by Pantheon Books.

James Fallows joins Julian Zelizer and Sam Wang in this episode to discuss the book and an account of a country busy remaking itself.

James Fallows has been a national correspondent for The Atlantic for more than 35 years, reporting from China, Japan, Southeast Asia, Europe and across the United States. He is the author of eleven previous books. His work also has appeared in many other magazines and as public-radio commentaries since the 1980s. He has won a National Book Award and a National Magazine Award. For two years, he was President Jimmy Carter’s chief speechwriter.

Deborah Fallows is a linguist and writer who holds a Ph.D. in theoretical linguistics and is the author of two previous books. She has written for The Atlantic, National Geographic, Slate, The New York Times and The Washington Monthly, and has worked at the Pew Research Center, Oxygen Media and Georgetown University. She and her husband have two sons and four grandchildren.

Politics & Polls #89: What Happened at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner
May 03, 2018 08:04 AM PDT
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Comedian Michelle Wolf’s performance at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner sparked a flurry of controversy this week, as she took several jabs at members of the Trump administration, some of whom were in the audience and on the dais.

Julian Zelizer was in attendance at this year’s dinner hosted by the White House Correspondents' Association, which was founded in 1914 under President Woodrow Wilson’s tenure as president.

Zelizer and Sam Wang discuss this year’s dinner in this episode.

Politics & Polls #88: Voting Rights in America
April 26, 2018 06:13 AM PDT
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The battle over voting rights has been one of the most contentious issues in American politics over the past five decades. The country has celebrated a number of advancements and achievements, only for some of them to be overturned later. It’s an issue that continues to resurface, as it’s at the heart of the American democratic process.

Joining today’s episode to discuss voting rights is former civil rights attorney Gloria J. Browne-Marshall. She’s an associate professor of constitutional law at John Jay College of Criminal Justice at the City University of New York.

Browne-Marshall litigated cases for Southern Poverty Law Center in Alabama, Community Legal Services in Philadelphia, and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Inc. She’s the author of many articles and several books including “Race, Law, and American Society: 1607 to Present,” which includes a chapter on voting rights and race. Her forthcoming book is “Black Women and the Law: Salem Witch Trials to Civil Rights Activists.” An award-winning playwright of seven produced plays, her most recent work, “Diversity,” examines marriage choices.

Politics & Polls #87: Social Media and Politics
April 19, 2018 12:26 PM PDT
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In this special episode, Julian Zelizer and Sam Wang discuss social media’s influence on politics in front of a live audience. Their discussion was the keynote presentation at Princeton University’s Social Media Day held April 13 on campus. The episode was also broadcast on Facebook Live.

Politics & Polls #86: The Internet’s Dark Side
April 12, 2018 08:08 AM PDT
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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg appeared before Congress this week, answering questions about the platform’s use of personal data. The social media giant has been under fire regarding the spread of fake news on the platform throughout the 2016 U.S. elections, and revelations political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica harvested the data of 87 million Facebook users.

In this episode, Julian Zelizer discusses Zuckerberg’s testimony and the power of the internet in politics with award-winning journalist David Kushner.

Politics & Polls #85: Democracy in the Modern Age
April 05, 2018 06:52 AM PDT
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Questions about democracy have been front and center in the United States, especially since the 2016 election. What is the state of democracy both in the United States and around the globe? How are our democratic institutions faring in the modern age — especially given new and emerging threats like “fake news?”

In this episode, Julian Zelizer and Sam Wang discuss the overall health of democracy — and whether it’s in danger — with Steven Levitsky, professor of government at Harvard University, and co-author of “How Democracies Die,” with Daniel Ziblatt.

Levitsky’s research interests include political parties, authoritarianism and democratization, and weak and informal institutions, with a focus on Latin America. In addition to “How Democracies Die,” he is author of “Transforming Labor-Based Parties in Latin America: Argentine Peronism in Comparative Perspective” (2003), co-author (with Lucan Way) of “Competitive Authoritarianism: Hybrid Regimes after the Cold War” (2010), and co-editor of “Argentine Democracy: The Politics of Institutional Weakness” (2005); “Informal Institutions and Democracy: Lessons from Latin America” (2006); and “The Resurgence of the Left in Latin America” (2011). He is currently engaged in research on the durability of revolutionary regimes, the relationship between populism and competitive authoritarianism, problems of party-building in contemporary Latin America and party collapse and its consequences for democracy in Peru.

Politics & Polls #84: A Psychiatrist’s View of Donald Trump
March 29, 2018 07:18 AM PDT
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President Donald Trump’s moods and temperament are a hot topic for journalists, lawmakers and academics. In fact, earlier this year, a psychiatrist from Yale University actually briefed Democratic lawmakers on president’s mental state, which she called “dangerous.”

The analysis, by Dr. Bandy Lee and others, received criticism given that she and others haven’t actually examined President Trump. She joins the podcast this week to explain her position, which is described in her book, “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President.”

Lee is an internationally recognized expert on violence. Trained in medicine and psychiatry at Yale and Harvard Universities, and in medical anthropology as a fellow of the National Institute of Mental Health, she is currently on the faculty of Yale School of Medicine’s Law and Psychiatry Division.

Politics & Polls #83: Trump, Russia and Mueller — What’s Next?
March 22, 2018 06:06 AM PDT
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President Donald Trump tweeted choice words last weekend about special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference with the 2016 presidential election. Trump then added another lawyer to his team — Joseph diGenova, a former U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, who has spoken aggressively against the Russia investigation. Both moves concern many lawmakers, who worry Trump may actually find a means to have Mueller fired in an attempt to quash the examination.

If Mueller is fired, has he positioned the investigation so it can continue without him? This and more is discussed in this episode of Politics & Polls as Fordham Law Professor Jed Shugerman joins the show.

Note: This episode was recorded on March 14, 2018, before President Trump posted tweets calling out Mueller for the first time. That same day, an opinion piece by Shugerman and his colleague Ethan Leib appeared in the Washington Post (link below), explaining how a part of the Constitution could stop Trump from abusing his pardon power or from firing Mueller. They also published a piece in Slate (link below) arguing Sessions also may not fire Mueller.

Jed Shugerman teaches at Fordham Law. He has a bachelor’s degree, a J.D., and a Ph.D. in American History from Yale University. He is the author of “The People's Courts: Pursuing Judicial Independence in America” (2012) on the evolution of judicial elections and politics in America. He is currently working on anti-corruption emoluments litigation against the Trump administration, and he is writing about American prosecutors, and the “faithfully execute” fiduciary limits on the executive branch. He writes about law and politics at shugerblog.com.

Washington Post: http://bit.ly/2GaWBvo

Slate: http://slate.me/2IGE74k

Politics & Polls #82: Rock-and-Roll, Progressive Politics & the Dirty South with the Drive-By Truckers
March 15, 2018 08:23 AM PDT
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Music has long been an important avenue for political discussion. This episode features Mike Cooley and Patterson Hood of the Drive-By Truckers, a Southern rock band whose music has tackled a number of contentious political issues from class to race and even partisan politics.

Cooley and Hood co-founded the Drive-By Truckers in 1996, and the band has produced nearly a dozen albums since. For decades, their hard-driving sound has blended the classic sounds of the South with literary skill and sonic power. Their latest album, “American Band,” is perhaps their most explicitly political yet, capturing the many tensions America faces in the age of Trump.

Cooley and Hood chat with Julian Zelizer and Sam Wang about rock-and-roll, progressive politics and the dirty South in this episode.

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