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Politics & Polls #95: Behind the Big Screen
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June 14, 2018 07:05 AM PDT
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The entertainment industry is an endless source of fascination among Americans. Movies and films offer keen insights into American society while also exposing its undersides. At the heart of the industry are writers, producers, and directors determining how to put these stories together.

In this episode, Zelizer sits down with Bonnie Timmermann, one of the most prominent casting directors over the past four decades. Timmermann has cast nearly 100 eclectic films including “The Insider,” “Armageddon,” “Dirty Dancing,” “The Karate Kid,” “Black Hawk Down,” “Miami Vice,” “Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” “Bill Durham,” “Quiz Show,” and many more.

Politics & Polls #94: Peace in the Middle East?
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June 07, 2018 10:17 AM PDT
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The United States moved its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem last month, raising questions for some about whether the United States can still be a neutral negotiator for peace in the Middle East. The future of the Middle East seems more unstable than ever before.

Is a two-state solution still possible with Israel and the Palestinians? Joining this episode to discuss this and more is Yossi Klein Halevi, author of the new book, “Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor.” The book explores what the key points of tension have been on this issue and what might be a path forward.

Politics & Polls #93: What-Ifs
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May 31, 2018 12:04 PM PDT
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In politics, like sports, moments arise that beg the question, “What if?” In baseball, some think, “What if the runner on third had made it home?” Politics is not quite different. Winners and losers in both, pivotal moments leave us wondering: what if it had happened differently?

Joining this week’s episode to discuss the great what-ifs - of both sports and politics - is Mike Pesca, a radio journalist who is host of Slate magazine's daily podcast, The Gist.

Pesca recently published a book, “Upon Further Review: The Greatest What-Ifs in Sports History,” about a number of counterfactual sporting scenarios. The book includes a number of historical and political essays, including one penned by Julian Zelizer, co-host of Politics & Polls with Sam Wang.

Politics & Polls #92: The Politics of the Russia Investigation
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May 24, 2018 10:40 AM PDT
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Where is the Russia investigation going and what will the political impact be? While some wonder whether the investigation will soon come to a close, President Donald Trump has launched a counterattack by charging the FBI with having attempted to spy on his 2016 presidential campaign. The political implications of this are unclear, but one thing is clear: they will loom large over the midterm campaigns.

In this episode, Julian Zelizer and Sam Wang discuss the politics of the Russia investigation going into the middle of 2018 — and what may be yet to come.

Politics & Polls #91: Congress & the Class of ’74
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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.

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