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Politics & Polls #111: How Technology Changed Illicit Trade
October 18, 2018 08:32 AM PDT
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Technological innovations have fundamentally altered the landscape of illicit trade.

From war lords to state actors, top-down forces have harnessed technology to expand illicit trade in everything from pesticides to rhino horns.

In this episode, Julian Zelizer and Sam Wang discuss the current state of the global illicit economy with expert Louise Shelley of George Mason University. Shelley explains the roles of market forces, criminal actors and non-criminal actors in the illicit trade market.

Shelley is the Omer and Nancy Hirst Endowed Chair for Civil Intellectuals, a professor in the Schar School of Government at George Mason University and the founder and director of the Terrorism, Transnational Crime and Corruption Center. She also is the author of a new book, “Dark Commerce: How a New Illicit Economy is Threatening Our Future.”

Politics & Polls #110: The Aftermath of the Kavanaugh Confirmation
October 11, 2018 06:36 AM PDT
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Following a bitter and contentious confirmation process, Justice Brett Kavanaugh has been sworn in to the Supreme Court. Could his confirmation galvanize Republican support in the upcoming midterm elections? And what effect will it have on the reputation of the Court?

Julian Zelizer and Sam Wang dive deep into the aftermath of Justice Kavanugh’s confirmation in this episode. They discuss Kavanaugh’s career, the increasingly politicized Supreme Court and whether this confirmation process was, indeed, historically divisive.

Politics & Polls #109: What’s Next for Kavanaugh?
October 04, 2018 08:20 AM PDT
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Questions abound regarding what impact the recently opened FBI investigation will have on Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation process.

In this episode, Julian Zelizer and Sam Wang discuss Kavanaugh’s prior political career, recent testimony and prospects for confirmation with research journalist Marcy Wheeler.

Wheeler discusses Kavanaugh’s role in both the Ken Starr investigation of President Bill Clinton and the national security legislation of the George W. Bush administration. Wheeler also discusses her unique approach to journalism, which relies predominantly on document analysis rather than human sourcing.

Politics & Polls #108: How Money Restricts Access to Political Office
September 27, 2018 12:47 PM PDT
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Working-class citizens have been historically underrepresented in American politics.

In this episode, Julian Zelizer and Sam Wang discuss the influence of money in politics — both in terms of who rises to elected office and how those elected govern — with political scientist Nicholas Carnes.

Carnes asserts that government would be more responsive to what the general public wants if the socioeconomic backgrounds of politicians were more in line with those of the general public. Carnes then explains the cash barriers that exist, which bar working-class Americans from running for office.

Politics & Polls #107: The Kavanaugh Saga
September 20, 2018 07:53 AM PDT
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Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has been accused of sexual assault. How might this play out? And what effect will it have on the midterm elections? Professors Julian Zelizer and Sam Wang discuss this and more in today's episode. (Note: This episode was recorded on Tuesday, Sept. 18.)

Politics & Polls #106: How the Conservative News Media Shaped History
September 13, 2018 09:33 AM PDT
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The conservative news media has had a historical role in shaping national politics.

In this episode, Julian Zelizer discusses the influence of conservative news media, both then and now, with historian Laurence Jurdem.

Jurdem goes into detail about how conservative publications were created as a means to influence policymakers and as an alternative to the liberal news media. These outlets influenced presidents like Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and Ronald Reagan.

Jurdem is the author of a new book, “Paving the Way for Reagan: The Influence of Conservative Media on US Foreign Policy 1964-1980.” He also is a regular contributor to numerous national publications including The New York Times, The Washington Post, and the National Review.

Politics & Polls #105: This Week in Washington
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?
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
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
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.

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