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Politics & Polls #105: This Week in Washington
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August 31, 2018 08:37 AM PDT
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Between the death of Senator John McCain, recent developments in the Trump-Russia investigation, and Congressional upsets, quite a bit has unfolded in the political sphere. Julian Zelizer and Sam Wang discuss all that's happened in this week's episode.

Politics & Polls #104: What is the 25th Amendment?
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August 23, 2018 06:33 AM PDT
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The 25th Amendment has returned to national dialogue and become a popular topic during Donald Trump’s presidency. The amendment, adopted in 1967, addresses what happens if the President of the United States is removed, dies, is incapacitated, or otherwise unable to fulfill the powers and duties of the presidency.

A leading law expert, Harold Hongju Koh joins today’s episode to explain the intricacies of the 25th Amendment. Earlier this year, Koh worked with the Rule of Law Clinic at Yale Law School to publish, “The Twenty-Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution: A Reader’s Guide,” which provides thorough guidance on the 25th Amendment.

Koh is Sterling Professor of International Law at Yale Law School and one of the country’s leading experts in public and private international law, national security law and human rights.

Politics & Polls #103: Blue State Federalism
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August 16, 2018 07:47 AM PDT
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In recent history, federalism has been favored by the Republican party, while Democrats have aimed to nationalize certain policies. But given Republicans’ current control of the federal government, progressive Democrats may need to aim to achieve their policy goals at the state level.

Daniel Hemel joins this episode to discuss what he calls “blue state federalism” and how states themselves can be “laboratories of democracy.” Hemel, a law scholar, explains how states can set precedents for the federal government with regard to social issues. For example, Massachusetts did this by legalizing gay marriage and through adopting Romney-care, a precedent to the Affordable Care Act.

Hemel is assistant professor of law at the University of Chicago Law School. His research focuses on taxation, nonprofit organizations, administrative law and federal courts.

Politics & Polls #102: Baseball and the American Presidency
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August 10, 2018 01:05 PM PDT
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Sports have a long history of being intertwined with American politics.

Drawing on his experience as a former presidential speechwriter, Curt Smith examines the relationship between baseball and the American presidency in a new book: “The Presidents and the Pastime.”

In this episode, he joins Julian Zelizer to discuss the book, which provides a narrative of how American leaders from Theodore Roosevelt to Donald Trump have treated baseball, making it a quintessentially American sport.

Smith was the speechwriter for President George H.W.Bush. Smith is also America's "leading voice of authority on baseball broadcasting," author of 15 books, GateHouse Media columnist and National Public Radio affiliate series host. He's currently a senior lecturer at the University of Rochester.

Politics & Polls #101: The Centrist Paradox
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August 02, 2018 06:33 AM PDT
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The United States and Europe have seen a rise in outsider political movements, with more voters supporting populist authoritarian leaders who buck traditional cultural values than in the recent past.

In this episode, Sam Wang interviews researcher and writer David R. K. Adler, who argues, contrary to contemporary belief, that centrists — not those on the political left and right extremes — are the driving force behind this hostility toward democracy.

Adler explains how this “centrist paradox” may be influencing elections, weakening democratic institutions and sharpening political divides.

Adler is a writer and researcher based in London, United Kingdom. His work focuses on the political economy of urban development: how cities grow, how their demographics change, how movements resist these changes, and how governments respond to those movements. He has written about these themes for a variety of publications, including Foreign Affairs, The Guardian, Foreign Policy, Jacobin Magazine, and Current Affairs.

Politics & Polls #100: The Trump Presidency
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July 26, 2018 06:48 AM PDT
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In this special 100th episode of Politics & Polls, Julian Zelizer and Sam Wang reflect on aspects of Donald Trump’s presidency that have surprised them both individually.

Zelizer is surprised by public tolerance of Trump’s most controversial actions, especially his immigration policies and behavior during the Helsinki summit with Vladimir Putin. Wang is surprised by what he sees as the passivity of the judicial branch, including the Supreme Court on issues like the travel ban.

Both hosts also analyze the stability of our democratic institutions and explain why this is both a positive and a negative aspect of our government.

Politics & Polls #99: Who is Atticus Finch?
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August 23, 2018 06:57 AM PDT
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Fictional work often stimulates a broader debate about politics and history. This was the case following the release of Harper Lee’s “Go Set a Watchman” in 2015. A beloved literary hero, Atticus Finch was remade into a bigoted antagonist.

In today’s episode, historian and author Joseph Crespino joins Julian Zelizer to discuss the controversy that sparked following the release of “Go Set a Watchman.” Crespino, who’s written a book about Harper Lee’s writing, argues that her second book raised a number of questions about race relations and the American South.

Politics & Polls #98: A Review of the Carter Presidency
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July 12, 2018 07:38 AM PDT
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Every so often, a presidency comes to be seen in a new light. An example of this is President Jimmy Carter, a man viewed by some as part of a troubled period in Democratic politics. A series of new books are shedding light on the Carter presidency, his legacy and what was happening in the 1970s.

In this episode, Julian Zelizer is joined by Amb. Stuart Eizenstat, who offers a comprehensive history of the Carter presidency. Amb. Eizenstat has held several key positions, including chief White House domestic policy adviser to President Jimmy Carter, U.S. ambassador to the European Union, undersecretary of commerce for international trade and deputy secretary of the treasury in the Clinton administration.

In his new book, “President Carter: The White House Years,” Eizenstat draws on more than 5,000 pages of notes and hundreds of interviews to give a close view on how the presidency works, Carter’s successes and failures and his lasting impact on the country.

Politics & Polls #97: “Any Man” Featuring Amber Tamblyn
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June 28, 2018 01:21 PM PDT
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The #MeToo movement has transformed American political debate, having a huge influence on prominent figures in a number of arenas. Many believe it could play a role in voter turnout during the midterm campaigns and even carry weight with the 2020 presidential election. Regardless of its specific effects, one thing is certain: America is experiencing a stunning period in the history of gender politics.

Award-winning actress Amber Tamblyn, author of a new book, “Any Man,” joins this episode with Julian Zelizer to discuss this period in American history. Released this week by Harper Collins, the fictional book sheds light on the nightmare of sexual assault.

Tamblyn first came to national attention in her role on the soap opera “General Hospital” as Emily Quartermaine, followed by a starring role on the prime-time series “Joan of Arcadia,” portraying the title character, Joan Girardi for which she received Primetime Emmy and Golden Globe nominations.

Tamblyn’s feature film work includes roles in “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” (2005), “The Grudge 2” (2006), “The Ring” (2002), and “127 Hours” (2010); she had an extended arc as Martha M. Masters in the medical drama series House. She also had a starring role as Jenny on season eleven of the CBS sitcom “Two and a Half Men.”

Politics & Polls #96: A Historical Review of Anti-Semitism in Eastern Europe
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June 21, 2018 06:26 AM PDT
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With the recent rise in anti-Semitic rhetoric and violence in Europe and parts of the United States, the history of anti-Semitism has gained renewed academic interest. To understand this phenomenon, academics often study the late 19th and early 20th centuries in Eastern Europe, where pogroms devastated the Jewish community and helped lay the foundation for the Holocaust that took place during World War II. In this episode, Julian Zelizer and Sam Wang interview Steven J. Zipperstein, the Daniel E. Koshland Professor in Jewish Culture and History at Stanford University. Zipperstein discusses violence against Jews in the Russian Empire and the mass emigration of Jews to the United States, England, South Africa and other parts of the world.

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