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Politics & Polls #68: Captivity and Survival in Syria
November 30, 2017 08:00 AM PST
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Photographers are often on the front lines of war, risking their lives to document deadly conflict zones. One such photojournalist is Jonathan Alpeyrie, a French-American photographer who was captured and held hostage by Syrian rebels in 2013.

In this episode, Alpeyrie describes his 81 days of being bound, blindfolded and beaten — an experience that forced him to question the value and risks of his career. He explains why, despite the violence thrust upon him, he chose to see the humanity in his captors, immersing himself in their culture, language and traditions.

This and more is explored in his new book, "The Shattered Lens: A War Photographer's True Story of Captivity and Survival in Syria,” published by Simon & Schuster in October 2017.

Politics & Polls #67: The Day the Donkey Roared
November 16, 2017 09:28 AM PST
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Democrats triumphed in the Virginia and New Jersey gubernatorial races Nov. 7, which some say is a strong rebuke to Republican President Donald Trump. Are the democratic victories a predictor of what’s to come in the midterm results next year?

Joining this episode are Larry Sabato and Geoffrey Skelley of Sabato’s Crystal Ball, a website run by the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics known for being a leader in the field of political predictions. The Crystal Ball keeps tabs on presidential elections, along with every Senate and gubernatorial race, as well as the tightest campaigns for the House.

Politics & Polls #66: A Year of Donald Trump
November 09, 2017 08:51 AM PST
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In this episode, Julian Zelizer and Sam Wang take a look back at the past year and analyze all that has unfolded since Donald Trump was elected president of the United States.

Politics & Polls #65: Alaskan Politics with Rep. Bryce Edgmon
November 02, 2017 08:47 AM PDT
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Given the news consistently coming out of Washington, it can be easy to forget what’s happening at the local level. In this episode, Julian Zelizer and Sam Wang turn their attention toward Alaska, a state whose budget has been especially affected by steep drops in oil prices. They discuss this and more with state Rep. Bryce Edgmon (D-Dillingham), Speaker of the Alaskan House of Representatives.

An Alaskan native, Edgmon represents the 37th District since 2006. He is the first Alaskan native to hold the position. He is currently serving as co-chair of the Health & Social Services Committee and chair of the Committee on Committees. He is also a member of the Commerce, Community & Economic Development; Legislative Council; Arctic Policy; and Economic Development, & Tourism committees for the 30th Legislature.

Politics & Polls #64: Congressional Races in 2018
October 26, 2017 08:19 AM PDT
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There are 468 seats up for grabs in Congress for the 2018 election, with the Republican Party currently holding a majority in both the Senate and the House. But will this hold after election day?
Joining today’s episode to discuss the congressional races is Levi Tillemann, the democratic candidate for Colorado’s 6th Congressional District. Tillemann is a Colorado native and expert on technology policy, renewable energy and autonomous cars.

Raised in a working-class Latino community in North Denver, Tillemann has kept in touch with his roots over the years by tutoring math, english and ESL in public schools and community centers.
While in graduate school, Tilleman founded IRIS Engines, Inc. to develop a more efficient engine -- a design for which he holds multiple patents. Later he shifted his focus to electric vehicles as a better solution to climate change.
He has served as a policy advisor to the Department of Energy under President Barack Obama and is currently managing partner at Valence Strategic. Tillemann’s commentary appears regularly in national publications including the New Yorker, The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times and on national and international radio and TV outlets.
He has bachelor’s degree in history from Yale and an master’s degree and Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies.
Levi is the author of “The Great Race: The Global Quest for the Car of the Future,” published by Simon and Schuster in 2015, and he speaks Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, and Portuguese. Last, but not least, he has a dog named Tesla.

Politics & Polls #63: How to be a Conservative in the Age of Trump
October 19, 2017 09:08 AM PDT
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Leading conservative thinker David Frum was one of the earliest and most prominent conservative voices to come out in opposition to President Donald Trump. A CNN contributor and senior editor at The Atlantic, Frum said in a public radio interview that Trump “is shattering the safeguards that protect democracy.”

In this episode, Julian Zelizer interviews Frum about being a conservative in the age of Trump.

In 2007 and 2008, Frum was a senior policy adviser to the presidential campaign of Rudy Giuliani. From 2001 to 2002, he served as a special assistant and speechwriter for President George W. Bush. He is the author of nine books, including the first “insider” book about the Bush presidency: “The Right Man: An Inside Account of the Bush White House.” After leaving the White House, Frum was a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. In 2005, he formed and led the group Americans for Better Justice, which spearheaded the opposition to the nomination of Harriet Miers to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Frum is a member of the board of directors of the Republican Jewish Coalition; the British think tank, Policy Exchange; and vice chairman and an associate fellow of the R Street Institute, an American conservative and libertarian think tank. His most recently published book is “Patriots: A Novel.” Frum’s forthcoming book, “Trumpocracy: The Corruption of the American Republic,” will be released early next year.

Politics & Polls #62: Does Gerrymandering Leave Voters Without a Voice?
October 12, 2017 11:00 AM PDT
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This episode is about one of Sam Wang’s favorite topics: gerrymandering.

Wang visited the U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 3 to hear arguments in Gill v. Whitford, a case challenging Wisconsin’s 2011 redistricting plan as being the product of partisan gerrymandering. With the Princeton Gerrymandering Project, Wang and collaborators are studying how voting districts are created, giving insight into how it works and offering ideas on how it can be and is being addressed.

In this episode, Julian Zelizer and Wang discuss the case, Wang’s day in D.C. and whether this case could potentially put guardrails on the partisan gerrymandering process.

Politics & Polls #61: Identity Politics & the Democratic Party
October 05, 2017 12:11 PM PDT
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Are identity politics hurting the Democratic Party? Some argue Democrats have strayed away from core economic issues, favoring religion, race, sexuality, gender or social background (to name a few) to form their political alliance – thereby undercutting the party’s effectiveness.

Joining this episode is an author who has written extensively on the rise of identity politics: Mark Lilla, professor of humanities at Columbia University and regular contributor to the New York Review of Books. He describes how identity politics are shaping voters, politicians and the democratic process.

Lilla specializes in intellectual history. He is the author of “The Once and Future Liberal: After Identity Politics,” published this year, as well as several other books. He is currently writing a book titled, “Ignorance and Bliss,” and another on the history of the idea of conversion.

Politics & Polls #60: Are We Seeing the Watergate of Today?
September 28, 2017 09:06 AM PDT
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With special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, some have drawn comparisons between the Russia investigations and the Watergate scandal. How are the two events similar? In what ways do they differ? And is it too early to really link the two?

Elizabeth Drew discusses her reporting of the Watergate scandal as it relates to today in this episode of Politics & Polls.

Drew has been covering American politics since the 1970s. She has written for the Atlantic Monthly, the New Yorker, the New York Review of Books, among other publications. She is the author of 15 books including “Washington Journal: Reporting Watergate and Richard Nixon's Downfall,” which provides a first-hand account of Watergate, a scandal that shaped American politics.

Politics & Polls #59: Is Free Speech Alive and Well on College Campuses?
September 21, 2017 09:29 AM PDT
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Is free speech under threat at colleges across America? Some argue campus environments are no longer conducive to open dialogue. Others say debates on campus are alive and well.

A recent nationwide survey of younger voters shows their commitment to free speech is reduced. Of 1,500 undergraduate students across U.S. universities, a fifth of them responded that it’s acceptable to use physical force to silence a speaker who makes “offensive and hurtful comments.”

In this episode, Julian Zelizer and Sam Wang discuss the survey with Catherine Rampell, who wrote about it in a recent opinion piece in The Washington Post.

Rampell frequently covers economics, public policy, politics and culture, with a special emphasis on data-driven journalism. Before joining The Post, Rampell wrote about economics and theater for The New York Times. She has received the Weidenbaum Center Award for Evidence-Based Journalism and is a Gerald Loeb Award finalist. She grew up in South Florida (the New York part) and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Princeton University in 2007.

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