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Politics & Polls #126: Journalism in a Trump World with Mara Liasson
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February 15, 2019 09:32 AM PST
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How has the state of journalism changed during President Donald Trump's tenure? Seasoned journalist Mara Liasson joins this episode to discuss what is and isn't working in the media realm as well as the trajectory of her own career at NPR.

Liasson is the national political correspondent for NPR. Her reports can be heard regularly on NPR's award-winning newsmagazines Morning Edition and All Things Considered. Liasson provides extensive coverage of politics and policy from Washington, DC — focusing on the White House and Congress — and also reports on political trends beyond the Beltway.

Politics & Polls #125: As a City on a Hill
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February 07, 2019 07:49 AM PST
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Certain speeches and sermons linger in the minds of Americans, often becoming part of our national imagination and history.

One oft-quoted sermon that remains both provocative and timeless was given by John Winthrop in 1630 at New England’s founding. In his lay sermon, he warned his fellow Puritans about the power of exceptionalism, saying, “For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill.”

Historian Daniel Rodgers unravels Winthrop’s words in a new book published by the Princeton University Press: “As a City on a Hill: The story of America’s Most Famous Lay Sermon,” which he discusses in this episode.

Daniel Rodgers is the Henry Charles Lea Professor of History, Emeritus, at Princeton University. His books include “Age of Fracture,” winner of the Bancroft Prize; “Atlantic Crossings”; “Contested Truths”; and “The Work Ethic in Industrial America.”

Politics & Polls #124: The Battle for America
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January 31, 2019 08:17 AM PST
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Candidates have begun launching their 2020 presidential campaigns, prompting many to look a look back at Donald Trump’s presidential victory in 2016.

In this episode, Sam Wang interviews Michael Tesler, co-author of a compelling book about how the 2016 election was not just a battle for the White House, but for what America “should be.”

Tesler co-authored “Identity Crisis: The 2016 Presidential Campaign and the Battle for the Meaning of America Hardcover,” with John Sides and Lynn Vavreck. The book was published in October 2018 by Princeton University Press.

Tesler is associate professor of political science at the University of California, Irvine, and author of “Obama’s Race,” also published by the University of Chicago Press. He studies American politics, ethnicity and politics, and quantitative methods.

Politics & Polls #123: Shutdown Politics
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January 24, 2019 09:52 AM PST
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The government shutdown is now in its 33rd day, with the Senate ready to vote today on proposals to reopen government. Both are expected to fail.
Julian Zelizer and Sam Wang discuss the implications of the shutdown in this episode.

Politics & Polls #122: American Global Leadership
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January 24, 2019 09:28 AM PST
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Some say the United States is heading down a road toward isolationism. In this episode, Julian Zelizer and Sam Wang discuss the uncertain future of American global leadership with Ivo Daalder and James Lindsay. They are authors of a new book: “The Empty Thrown: America’s Abdication of Global Leadership.”

Daalder and Lindsay describe the key aspects of the rules-based international order the United States helped to create after the unprecedented destruction wrought by World War I and World War II. The guests analyze how this order has largely endured, despite periods of American foreign policy mistakes. They feel, however, that the persistence of this order is not assured under President Trump.

Politics & Polls #121: The ‘Fault Lines’ of Modern America
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January 10, 2019 07:17 AM PST
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In his farewell address, President Barack Obama identified a number of “fault lines” in American society from politics to economics to race. In this episode, Sam Wang discusses these societal divisions with regular podcast co-host Julian Zelizer and guest Kevin Kruse — co-authors of a new book on contemporary American history.

Released this week, “Fault Lines: A History of the United States Since 1974,” examines how these political divides evolved into what they are today from what they were during the upheaval of the 1970s.

Kruse is a historian and professor at Princeton University where he studies the political, social and urban/suburban history of the 20th century.

Politics & Polls #120: Immigration Then & Now
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January 03, 2019 07:55 AM PST
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Issues related to immigration have occupied a central role in political debates, especially during the Trump presidency. Although the current focus tends to be on on Central and Latin America, backlash unfolded throughout American history, including among Chinese immigrants in the 19th century. Much of what took place then has shaped the contours of immigration policy today.

Joining today's episode to discuss immigration is Beth Lew-Williams, assistant professor of history at Princeton University.

Lew-Williams is a historian of race and migration in the United States, specializing in Asian American history. Her book, "The Chinese Must Go: Violence, Exclusion, and the Making of the Alien in America," maps the tangled relationships between local racial violence, federal immigration policy, and U.S. imperial ambitions in Asia.

Politics & Polls #119: The Role of First Lady
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December 20, 2018 08:52 AM PST
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First ladies often play big roles in the White House, either behind the scenes or in the public eye.

In this episode, Julian Zelizer and Sam Wang discuss the highly variable roles played by first ladies with Lauren Wright, a lecturer in politics and public affairs at Princeton University.

Wright is the author of “On Behalf of the President: Presidential Spouses and White House Communications Strategy Today” and is a regular contributor to The Hill and The Huffington Post. She’s currently working on a book about celebrities running for elected office, which will be released next year.

Politics & Polls #118: The Politics of Climate Change
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December 13, 2018 11:25 AM PST
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Climate change is one of the most pressing issues facing the world today. In this episode, Julian Zelizer and Sam Wang discuss the politics of combating climate change with author Jeff Nesbit.

Nesbit examines the consensus in the scientific community concerning climate change. He explains how the U.S. is effectively shielded from the worst effects of climate change because of its wealth and situation in a temperate zone. This is not the case in the rest of the world.

Nesbit sees a bipartisan opportunity to address climate change through clean energy, but it's a race against time.

Nesbit is the author of several books, including “This is the Way the World Ends,” which was published in September. He was the director of public affairs for two science agencies: the National Science Foundation and the Food and Drug Administration. He now serves as the executive director of Climate Nexus and is a regular opinion contributor to several national publications.

Politics & Polls #117: Thunderdome Politics with Greg Sargent
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December 06, 2018 07:12 AM PST
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Donald Trump’s presidency has been unsettling to some, often spurring controversy while testing our country’s political institutions. Some argue he is at the root of the problem while others say he is simply a symptom of an already broken system.

To unravel this a bit more and to offer possible ways out, Greg Sargent of the Washington Post’s Plum Line Blog joins this episode of Politics & Polls with Julian Zelizer and Sam Wang. Sargent has written a new book on the subject, “An Uncivil War: Taking Back Our Democracy in an Age of Trumpian Disinformation and Thunderdome Politics.”

Sargent is an opinion writer covering national politics at the Washington Post. Previously, he wrote for New York magazine, the New York Observer, Talking Points Memo and numerous political websites. He lives in Maryland with his family.

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