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Politics with Amy Walter

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Every Friday, Amy Walter brings you the trends in politics long before the national media picks up on them.

Known as one of the smartest and most trusted journalists in Washington, D.C., Amy Walter is respected by politicians and pundits on all sides of the aisle. You may know Amy her from her work with Cook Political Report and the PBS NewsHour where she looks beyond the breaking news headlines for a deeper understanding of how Washington works, who's pulling the levers of power, and how it all impacts you.

Politics with Amy Walter is a co-production of PRI and WNYC Radio in collaboration WGBH.
108 Episodes
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This week, Cori Bush defeated longtime Democratic Congressman Lacy Clay, in the primary for Missouri’s First Congressional District. A safe Democratic seat, Bush is all but guaranteed to win in November when she will become the first Black woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in Missouri.  Bush is one of more 100 Black women running for Congress this cycle, a record-breaking number, according to an analysis by the Center for American Women and Politics.  Women of color have also become the focal point of discussions around who Joe Biden will choose as a running mate. With this attention and scrutiny has come criticism and attacks, many from within the Democratic Party itself, which fall along familiar lines of racism and sexism.  Guests: Kimberly Peeler-Allen, a visiting practitioner at the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. Aimee Allison, is the founder and president of She the People.
While many countries have curbed their total number of coronavirus cases, the U.S. has recorded more than four and a half million, and more than 160,000 deaths. Inadequate national leadership has caused one of the easiest and simplest solutions to curb the spread of the disease, mask-wearing, to become the latest front in the culture wars  The White House has spread not only conflicting messages about the severity of the virus but also conspiracy theories about the science and the solutions to stopping the pandemic.  With no certainty to the end of the pandemic, many are relying on a vaccine as the only way back to the way things were but even a vaccine comes with its own set of issues. Finding a way to distribute hundreds of millions of doses of a vaccine in addition to convincing Americans that it is safe and effective could be an uphill battle. Communicating transparently is especially important with communities of color who have been disproportionately hurt by the coronavirus.   Guests: Umair Irfan, Staff Writer at Vox Carolyn Johnson, Science Reporter at The Washington Post Dr. Jesse Goodman, Professor at Georgetown University and the Former Chief Scientist at the Food and Drug Administration Gary A. Puckrein, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Minority Quality Forum
The Path to November

The Path to November

2020-08-0138:25

This week, President Trump renewed his commitment to questioning the integrity of our election system and the Senate left town on Thursday without reaching an agreement on a new stimulus bill, leaving millions of unemployed Americans in economic limbo. At the same time, the U.S. surpassed 150,000 deaths caused by the coronavirus as confirmed cases in many states continue to climb. With less than 100 days until the general election, Jane Coaston, a senior politics reporter at Vox, and Tim Alberta, Chief Political Correspondent for Politico, share how voters are processing this moment and their options for November. Joni Ernst is a Republican Senator from Iowa whose seat was considered relatively safe until recently. Today, she’s fighting off a challenge from Democrat Theresa Greenfield, an Iowan who like Ernst has farm-girl roots. Ernst describes how campaigning has shifted as a result of COVID-19 and what she thinks of the president's response to the pandemic. You can listen to Amy's interview with Theresa Greenfield here. Check out our ongoing coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic here. Check out our local leader series here.
Perhaps, no state better embodies the polarization and partisanship with which we approach election administration than Georgia. After a messy primary in June with long lines and shuttered polling locations, election officials in the state have been working to improve and restore faith in the process for what is certain to be a contentious election in November. And, in a little over a week, they’ll get another try. On August 11th, more than half of Georgia’s 159 counties will hold runoff elections giving voters and election staff another test run prior to the election.  Efforts to recruit and train more poll workers are underway and more early voting locations are open in Fulton County, the epicenter of Election Day problems. Situated in metro Atlanta, Fulton County is also the state’s most populous. 45 percent of the population there is African American. It is also heavily Democratic. Hillary Clinton carried the county with almost 70 percent of the vote and 2018 Democratic gubernatorial nominee Stacy Abrams won it with 72 percent.   Guests: Robb Pitts, Chairman of the Fulton County Board of Commissioners  Evan Malbrough, a 2020 graduate of Georgia State University and founder of The Georgia Youth Poll Worker Project Stephen Fowler, a political reporter, Georgia Public Broadcasting  
Conventional wisdom had most people thinking that any gains that Democrats made in the Senate would be nominal. But, unexpected events over the last six months have turned a long-shot into the very real possibility that Democrats take control of the Senate in November. Seats that were formerly considered safe for the GOP are now in play as a result of the Trump administration’s failure to handle the coronavirus crisis and provide a national plan for recovery while simultaneously stoking racial tensions at a moment of national reckoning. In Iowa, a state that President Trump easily won in 2016, Democrat Theresa Greenfield is challenging Republican Senator Joni Ernst, where the latest polling has her up by a few points. Greenfield shared her motivation for getting in the race and what she thinks Iowans want to see in Washington.  You can listen to Amy's conversation with Senator Joni Ernst here. Also, this week President Trump announced new guidelines for school reopenings. He said that public schools in coronavirus hotspots could delay reopening for a few weeks but ultimately that decision will fall to governors. As many schools across the country are expected to begin the academic year in the next month or so, school districts have been grappling with how to manage the reality of COVID-19 with the expectations for curriculum.   In Iowa, Republican Governor Kim Reynolds recently announced limitations on remote learning and mandated that at least 50% of the time students spend on learning core subjects must take place in person. Grant Gerlock, a reporter for Iowa Public Radio, shares how schools are dealing with balancing the governor's latest requirements against the well-being of their students and staff. Guests: Theresa Greenfield, Democratic Candidate for Senate in Iowa Grant Gerlock, Reporter for Iowa Public Radio
Remembering John Lewis

Remembering John Lewis

2020-07-2432:431

Last Friday, the world learned of the death of Congressman John Lewis. A civil rights icon and hero, John Lewis was known as the "conscience of the Congress," where he served for more than 30 years. In the week following his death, we’ve seen countless tributes across social media and from his colleagues on the House floor. There is a growing movement for Alabama’s Edmund Pettus Bridge to be renamed in his honor and on Wednesday, The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act was introduced in the Senate. Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence of Michigan, Congressman James Clyburn of South Carolina, and Congresswoman Lauren Underwood of Illinois share their remembrances and reflect on the legacy of John Lewis.  In the last year, the Congressional Black Caucus, one of the most powerful blocks in Congress, has lost three veteran members after the deaths of Elijah Cummings, John Conyers, and John Lewis. John Bresnahan, Congressional Bureau Chief at Politico, weighs in on this moment for the CBC as it sits at the forefront of the national effort to enact police reform.
It’s been four months since the U.S. economy shut down as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Since then, more than three million Americans have been infected by the virus and tens of millions have lost their jobs. In March, Congress passed a $2 trillion economic relief package tasked with getting money to individuals and businesses after coronavirus brought the global economy to a halt. The CARES act expanded unemployment benefits, provided direct stimulus payments, and assistance with federal student loans. And while wishful thinking had many hoping that by now we’d have a better grip on the virus and the economic downturn, the reality is just the opposite. At the end of this month the additional $600 per week in unemployment benefits that many have come to depend on is set to expire. Congressional reporters Nick Fandos from The New York Times and Li Zhou from Vox share what we can expect as Congress prepares to return from their July recess.      
With its 15 electoral votes, North Carolina is one of a handful of states truly up for grabs come November. Since 2008, no presidential candidate has carried the state by more than three points. The most recent polls show Vice President Joe Biden ahead of President Donald Trump by about two points. And, only one Democrat running for president has been able to build a winning coalition in the state in the last 10 elections, and that was Barack Obama in 2008. Associate Professor, Jarvis Hall from North Carolina Central University explains North Carolina’s political geography. North Carolina is significant for another reason, it is one of a handful of states with two other top offices on the ballot; Governor, Roy Cooper, a Democrat is up for reelection as is US Senator Thom Tillis, a Republican. The race for Senate is of national prominence, Republicans are fighting to hold onto the seat and Democrats are hoping a win here puts them on the path back to majority control. Cal Cunningham, the Democrat who is challenging Tillis tells us why he thinks he’s the right choice for North Carolinians. We’ve reached out to the Tillis Campaign for an interview but have yet to receive a response.  Of course, all of this is happening amid a global health crisis, putting increased scrutiny on the voting process in every state. Legislators and election officials in North Carolina have been working to ensure a safe and accessible election, Rusty Jacobs a political reporter at WUNC explains what changes have been made to both absentee and in-person voting ahead of the election.  Finally, recent polling has put President Trump behind Joe Biden in the general and re-energized Democrats about their chances for winning both the White House and Senate. Amy talks with Jessica Taylor, Senate and Governors Editor for The Cook Political Report about this year’s competitive Senate races and what the senate map might look like come November. Some of the music on this pod by Gypsy George. 
Lately, President Donald Trump’s speeches and tweets have become more pointed and divisive as he attempts to appeal to members of his base. There are four crucial months until election day and the president is spending them emphasizing racial divisions and defending symbols of white supremacy. The move is at odds with a cultural moment of awareness about systemic racism and police brutality. Maya King, campaign 2020 reporting fellow at POLITICO, David Nakamura, White House reporter for The Washington Post, and Clare Malone, senior political writer at FiveThirtyEight share what they've observed in their reporting on the President's reelection bid. The killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis sparked an uprising for racial justice and renewed demands for police reform. Across the U.S., calls to defund the police and reinvest the funds into schools and mental health services have grown louder as the mission of police departments is reconsidered. Daniel Nichanian, founding editor, The Appeal: Political Report, shares where these proposals are taking place and whether or not it’s just a liberal city phenomenon. Plus, Cincinnati Council Member Chris Seelbach and founder of the Cincinnati Black United Front, Iris Roley reflect on the state of policing in their city and how effective their community-based model has been since it was enacted in the early 2000s. Check out our ongoing coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic here.  Click on the 'Listen' button above to hear this segment. Don't have time to listen right now? Subscribe for free to our podcast via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts to take this segment with you on the go. Want to comment on this story? Share your thoughts on our Facebook page, Twitter or Instagram.  
When the COVID-19 swept the U.S. in March, it was hard to fully understand how society would fundamentally change. Since then, more than 40 million Americans have filed for unemployment. As states grapple with the uncertainty that comes with reopening their economies, Politics with Amy Walter returns to a conversation from April about what it's like to be entering the workforce at this time. Hannes Schwandt, assistant professor at Northwestern University School of Education and Social Policy, shares how cohorts unlucky enough to join the workforce during a recession see a loss in lifetime earnings. Amanda Mull, a staff writer at The Atlantic, describes how disasters like pandemics alter the worldview of those transitioning into adulthood and how the current economic downturn has the potential to do the same for Generation C.  Judah Lewis was finishing the second semester of his senior year at Howard University when COVID-19 caused the school to close and classes to move online. The path to his last semester was not an easy one and now he feels like the rug has been pulled out from underneath him. Lewis talks to us about how the pandemic has jeopardized his post-graduation prospects and provides an update on his career plan. In May, activist and playwright Larry Kramer died at age 84. He'd devoted his life to advocating for the gay community during the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Kramer was an outspoken critic of the government's response to the crisis and famously criticized Dr. Anthony Fauci, who at the time was the face of the federal government's response, in the pages of the San Francisco Examiner. Dr. Fauci reflects on his friendship with Larry Kramer and how their bond influenced the rest of his career in public health. 
The uncertainty caused by COVID-19 has resulted in a record number of people requesting to vote-by-mail. While increased access to mail ballots will stem the spread of the disease, waiting for ballots to arrive will delay the final result. Kentucky and New York are among the states that hosted primaries this week. In both states, several candidates of color, many who ran on progressive platforms, had strong performances. While officials wait for absentee ballots to arrive so they can provide a final tally, the delayed outcome has raised questions about future elections. Amy Gardner, National Political Reporter at The Washington Post and Astead Herndon, National Political Reporter at The New York Times, share how Tuesday's elections bode for November. The general election will likely come down to a handful of swing states. In Pennsylvania, where a primary was held on June 2, the process of counting votes lasted until days after. Montgomery County Commissioner Ken Lawrence weighs in on the looming pressure regarding the upcoming presidential contest. Plus, Democratic Congressman Conor Lamb flipped his seat from red to blue in a special election in 2018. A pro-second amendment, pro-fracking moderate, Lamb was cautious to weigh in on President Trump in a district he'd won in 2016. Congressman Lamb describes how his campaign has shifted its messaging for 2020. The ongoing protests against police brutality have prompted a national reexamination about the role of the police. In Philadelphia, Larry Krasner was elected as District Attorney in 2017. He ran as a reform candidate and promised to reduce the number of people in jail by overhauling the sentencing process and the bail system, in addition to holding officers accountable for misconduct. He weighs in on the culture of policing and police unions as we move towards a national tipping point. As protesters continue to demand justice for George Floyd and accountability for police brutality, public symbols of white supremacy have become a target. Confederate statues have long held the ire of those who’ve said they elevate those who fought (and lost) to keep slavery alive. As the demands to remove public reverence to confederate generals become more widespread, historians are requesting that schools modify textbooks that romanticize what confederates were fighting for. James W. Loewen, historian, sociologist, and author of "Lies My Teacher Told Me," and Keisha N. Blain, Associate Professor of History at the University of Pittsburgh, join Politics to discuss. Check out our ongoing coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic here.  Click on the 'Listen' button above to hear this segment. Don't have time to listen right now? Subscribe for free to our podcast via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts to take this segment with you on the go. Want to comment on this story? Share your thoughts on our Facebook page, Twitter, or Instagram.
In the weeks since George Floyd was killed by police officers in Minneapolis, we’ve been watching uprisings take place against police brutality. What many Americans have finally woken up to is what Black Americans have known for years: That it’s impossible to separate police brutality from the racism that is baked into the structure of every American institution. Institutions, like schools, healthcare, housing, and policing have failed to give Black Americans a level playing field.  99 years ago, Tulsa, Oklahoma was the site of one of the deadliest and most destructive race massacres in U.S. history. On that day, violent white people took it upon themselves to murder Black Americans and loot their businesses. Black homes, churches, restaurants, drugstores, and doctors offices were razed. In the end, Black Wall Street, one of the most prosperous Black communities, was destroyed.  At a time when Americans are grappling with the role white supremacy played in shaping modern society, President Donald Trump chose to hold a rally in Tulsa during the weekend of Juneteenth. We take look at how the holiday resonates differently this year.  Guests:  Karlos K. Hill, Chair of the African and African American studies department at the University of Oklahoma RJ Young, Host of the RJ Young Show. Excerpts from his audio diary were provided to us by KOSU. RJ's story is part of the America Amplified initiative.    How Progressive District Attorneys Are Approaching Criminal Justice Reform It’s been almost a month since George Floyd was brutally killed by police officers in Minneapolis. Protester's demands for police accountability have not waned, forcing officials to address the role of racism in policing and policy. As calls to defund the police grow louder, mayors, police chiefs, and local law enforcement step into the spotlight. At the same time, officials that attempt to reprimand officers for misconduct must face the wrath of powerful police unions. We speak with Kimberly Gardner, the Chief Prosecutor for the City of St. Louis, who was elected on the promise of reform on what it's like to go toe-to-toe with the police.  Guest: Kimberly Gardner, Chief Prosecutor for the city of St. Louis    How the Economy Fails Black Americans Not only has the coronavirus pandemic disproportionately hurt Black Americans who've been infected at a higher rate, but the economic uncertainty it's created has set them back in terms of employment. Black Americans are concentrated in parts of the economy that have been designated as essential, like grocery store workers and transit operators. Still, Black unemployment almost tripled from February to May to almost 17 percent. Today, Black households have one-tenth of the wealth compared to white families and are much less likely to own their homes. Historically, recovering from recessions is tougher for Black people. We sit down for a conversation about the unemployment rate for Black Americans and what an economic recovery might look like. Guest: Amara Omeokwe, Economics Reporter at The Wall Street Journal
Georgia’s Primary, George Floyd’s Funeral, and Congress’ Approach to Police Reform As the coronavirus pandemic has created uncertainty for the upcoming general election, many Americans are reconsidering how they’ll cast their ballots. This week, many primary voters in Georgia were greeted by long lines and malfunctioning voting machines. The chaos surrounding Georgia’s recent election has raised questions about whether or not the same issues will reoccur in November.  Also, George Floyd was laid to rest in Houston following weeks in which thousands of Americans took to the streets to decry police brutality in his name. Meanwhile, Congress is reckoning with how to respond to the protests and calls for police accountability. Two national reporters join Politics with Amy Walter to discuss the Justice in Policing Act of 2020, how Republicans are responding to calls for police accountability, and Georgia’s flawed elections.  Guest Host: Matt Katz, WNYC Guests: Nick Fandos, Congressional Correspondent for The New York Times Laura Barron-Lopez, National Political Reporter at POLITICO  Congressman James Clyburn on his Time in the Civil Rights Movement and Addressing Systemic Racism  This week, Democrats introduced the Justice in Policing Act on Capitol Hill.  If passed, the bill would prohibit chokeholds, ban some no-knock warrants, tracking police misconduct at the national level, and make it easier to pursue legal and civil action against the police. The momentum for the bill stems from the uprisings against police brutality after George Floyd was brutally killed by police officers in Minneapolis. Congressman James Clyburn of South Carolina reflects on his time in the civil rights movement and what he hopes to accomplish through the Justice in Policing Act.  Guest: James Clyburn, Congressman from South Carolina’s 6th Congressional District and Majority Whip How “Defund the Police” has Become More Palatable to the Mainstream The killing of George Floyd by police officers in Minneapolis has shifted the way Americans see policing. Recent polling from The Washington Post found that 69 percent of Americans found “the killing of Floyd represents a broader problem within law enforcement.” While many high-ranking members of the Democratic Party don’t support calls to defund the police entirely, the notion of some form of defunding is picking up traction. A conversation about the politics of defunding the police. Guests: Alex Vitale, Author of "End of Policing" and Professor of Sociology and Coordinator of The Policing and Social Justice Project at Brooklyn College Andrea Ritchie, Researcher at the Interrupting Criminalization Initiative and author of "Invisible No More: Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color" How Minneapolis Plans to Dismantle Their Police Department Minneapolis has been in the national spotlight since George Floyd was killed by police on video. Although the events there sparked protests across the nation, the city is also a catalyst for change. One progressive city leader, Steve Fletcher, has been working on police reform since he took office in 2018. He was among nine members of the Minneapolis city council that recently announced their commitment to dismantling the city’s police department.  Guest:  Steve Fletcher, Minneapolis City Council, Ward 3
How a Legacy of Racist Policies and Police Brutality Contributed to the Mass Disenfranchisement of Black People The death of George Floyd, an African American man, at the hands of police officers in Minneapolis has ignited protests and conversations surrounding the mistreatment of Black Americans at the hands of the state against the backdrop of a pandemic that is disproportionately affecting Black people. Americans in every state have taken to the streets to protest police brutality and chant "Black Lives Matter." A look at the history of Black disenfranchisement, failures in leadership and policy, and the role ongoing protests will play in the general election.   Guests: Adam Serwer, Staff Writer at The Atlantic covering politics Elizabeth Hinton, incoming Professor of History, law and African-American studies at Yale and the author of “From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime: The Making of Mass Incarceration in America” Carol Anderson, Charles Howard Candler Professor of African American Studies at Emory University and author of "White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide" Mayors, Past and Present Since George Floyd was killed by police officers in Minneapolis, demonstrations against police brutality have taken place across the United States. For mayors, listening to the protester's grievances and balancing them against the responsibility of engaging with police chiefs is a challenging task.  A conversation with Michael Tubbs, the first Black Mayor of Stockton, California, about addressing police brutality at the local level and what he hopes will come from the protests. Plus, a conversation with former San Antonio Mayor, Julián Castro. As a candidate for the Democratic nomination, Castro spoke often about the pattern of police brutality and how bias in the criminal justice system disproportionately impacts Black Americans. He reflects on his time as mayor, ending police brutality, and the future of the movement.  Guests:  Michael Tubbs, Mayor of Stockton, California Julián Castro, former Mayor of San Antonio and former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development How Demonstrations Across the U.S. have changed the Vice Presidential Selection Process A national conversation about race and the lack of police accountability has shifted the trajectory of the VP selection process for the Biden campaign. With the disparities in health care that coronavirus has underscored and the brutal killing of George Floyd, the selection process faces heightened scrutiny.  Guests:  David Siders, National Political Correspondent at Politico
The Future of the Democratic Primary At the beginning of the Democratic nominating contests, the party faced a number of challenges. The field being crowded with candidates with such varied politics demonstrated that there were different visions for the future of the party. And today, while Joe Biden is the presumed nominee, there is concern that he won't drive excitement and turnout in the way a candidate like Senator Bernie Sanders might've been able to. The Democratic Party's foremost goal is to remove President Donald Trump from office, but they'll need to respond sufficiently to questions surrounding racial and economic inequality in addition to the fault lines exposed by the coronavirus pandemic. A roundtable discussion about the future of the Democratic Party and the role progressive candidates will play within the larger institution.  Also, a conversation about the killing of George Floyd during an arrest in Minneapolis and how Trump's response demonstrates his need to exploit division. Guests: Joel Payne, former aide to Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign and host of "Here Comes the Payne" Maya King, Campaign 2020 Reporting Fellow at Politico Dave Weigel, National Political Reporter at The Washington Post Jamaal Bowman, Democratic Primary Candidate for New York’s 16th Congressional District  The Legacy of Larry Kramer with Dr. Anthony S. Fauci This week, activist and playwright Larry Kramer died at age 84. He devoted his life to advocating for the gay community during the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Kramer was an outspoken critic of the government's response to the crisis and famously criticized Dr. Anthony Fauci, who at the time was the face of the federal government's response, in the pages of the San Francisco Examiner. Dr. Fauci reflects on his friendship with Larry Kramer and how their bond influenced the rest of his career in public health.  Guest: Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
How Political Identities Have Become About What We Hate Instead of What We Love Individual reactions to the coronavirus pandemic and the public health restrictions that have accompanied it have underscored how powerful negative partisanship can be in the formation of political opinions. In past crises, national shocks have urged partisans to put aside their personal grievances in pursuit of the greater good, but today, that doesn't seem to be the case.  A look at how the perception of risk influences our political behavior and the impact it has on public opinion. Guests: - Jonathan Haidt, social psychologist and Thomas Cooley Professor of Ethical Leadership at New York University’s Stern School - Lynn Vavreck, Hoffenberg Professor of American Politics and Public Policy at UCLA and contributor to The Upshot at The New York Times  Georgia's Reopening Last month, Georgia became one of the first states to begin easing restrictions associated with COVID-19. The decision was criticized by health officials as moving too quickly and risking a potential surge in cases. Across the state, citizens, business owners, and mayors hold mixed feelings regarding how Governor Brian Kemp has approached the public health crisis. While many governors across the U.S. have seen a bump in approval for their handling of the crisis, just 39% approved of Governor Kemp's handling of the pandemic.  A look at how Georgia residents and business owners are navigating the reopening and what they need to see before they decide to participate.  Guests: - Andra Gillespie, Associate Professor of Political Science at Emory University and Director of the James Weldon Johnson Institute - David Bradley, President and CEO of the Athens Chamber of Commerce  Back to School Parents can't go back to work if they're also responsible for co-teaching and childcare throughout the day. Any return to normalcy for families across the U.S. will be impossible without schools reopening. And while online learning has become the norm, it's exacerbated inequality as having a computer and reliable internet access have become precursors to learning from home.  A look at how schools in Colorado are approaching what a return might look like and the steps that would be necessary to get students back in the classroom.  Guest: Katy Anthes, Commissioner of Education for the State of Colorado
The coronavirus pandemic has taken a serious toll on not only our health, but on the economic well-being of cities and states across the country. As leaders grapple with how best protect the health of their constituents in addition to mitigating the economic fall out caused by stay-at-home orders, preparation for future elections is in front of mind. Recently, California became the first state to modify its plans for the general election after Governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order that said the state's 20 million-plus registered voters would receive ballots in the mail. California Secretary of State Alex Padilla explains the logistics behind getting ballots to voters and what precautions will be taken for those who need to vote in person. John Myers, the Sacramento Bureau Chief of the Los Angeles Times, shares why it's so easy to vote absentee in the state. David Wasserman, House editor for The Cook Political Report, dissects what a primarily vote-by-mail election looks like and uses the special election in the state's 25th District as a case study.  In April, Wisconsin held its primary and local elections in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Many voters who did not receive their absentee ballots in time had to choose between risking their health to vote in person or not voting at all. This week, the state's Supreme Court struck down the stay-at-home order signed by Democratic Governor Tony Evers in March. Amy shares her thoughts on the partial reopening. Heather Long, economics correspondent at The Washington Post, and Betsey Stevenson, Professor of Public Policy and Economics at the University of Michigan, explain what the economic downturn means for small businesses and the American middle-class long term. 
The White House has deferred to states about reopening their economies. This week, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper announced that his state would move to phase one of their plan to reopen. Phase one will begin at 5 p.m. on Friday, May, 8th. While the stay-at-home order will still be in effect, there will no longer be a distinction between essential and non-essential businesses.  Dr. Mandy Cohen, Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, shares what metrics the state used to determine that it's the right time to begin phase one.  Phase one of North Carolina’s reopening includes a relaxation of restrictions on social gatherings, including worship services. Services with more than 10 people can take place as long they are outside and social distancing is respected. Spence Shelton, lead pastor at Mercy Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, shares what it's like to lead group worship remotely and how he's navigating phase one.  Dr. Lucian Conway is a professor of Social Psychology at the University of Montana studying what shapes human thoughts and communications at the Political Cognition Lab. He shares what's driving the gap between what liberals and conservatives think about how seriously to take the threat of COVID-19 and how the government should respond to it. Small business owners have been saddled with the enormous responsibility of managing their businesses during the pandemic. They've seen a sharp decline in sales with no end to the public health crisis in sight. This week, we hear from two small business owners trying to navigate the new normal. Lenore Estrada is the owner of Three Babes Bakeshop in San Francisco and Abigail Opiah is the cofounder of Yeluchi by Unruly, a mobile hairstyling service.  This week, the Justice Department announced that they were dropping the criminal case against Michael Flynn, President Trump’s first national security adviser. Flynn had pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI twice regarding conversations he’d had with a Russian diplomat in 2016. Katie Benner, who covers the Justice Department for The New York Times, shares how the decision came about and whether or not it undermines the credibility of the Russia investigation. 
The Great Depression, 9/11, and the 2008 financial crisis dealt serious shocks to the nation and resulted in the expansion of government.  When a crisis happens, leaders in Washington try to mitigate financial ruin and to boost morale which often results in the creation of programs that have a lasting impact. The creation of Homeland Security, unemployment benefits, and new regulations on banks have stemmed from national disasters. The coronavirus pandemic is no exception as more than 30 million Americans have applied for unemployment insurance over the last six weeks.   This week, Politics with Amy Walter examines how the government response to the coronavirus pandemic compares to dilemmas of the past. Tony Fratto, deputy assistant to President George W. Bush and Jason Furman, top economic adviser to President Barack Obama share what it was like to lead the country through an unprecedented shock. Jerry Seib, the executive Washington editor of The Wall Street Journal, explains why there’s more widespread support for government intervention today versus during the 2008 financial crisis.  Erica Werner, a congressional reporter for The Washington Post, describes how members of Congress have been working together on multiple COVID-19 recovery packages and how likely it is that the partnership lasts. Annie Linskey, a national political reporter at The Washington Post, shares how Joe Biden’s campaign is adjusting to the realities of campaigning from home as a result of the pandemic. Finally, Mayor Quentin Hart of Waterloo, Iowa shares how his constituents are dealing with the coronavirus outbreak and how a local outbreak is tied to the city's Tyson Foods plant. 
Rallies, conventions, and press conferences were once the primary method for campaigns to connect with voters. The coronavirus pandemic has forced politicians and strategists to rethink how they approach campaigning. Stephanie Cutter, deputy campaign manager for President Barack Obama in 2012, and Matt Rhoades, campaign manager for Mitt Romney in 2012, share how campaigns will need to rely heavily on digital efforts. Recent graduates seeking to get involved in field campaigns have also had to shift expectations. Sam Aleman, a digital organizer for the Democratic National Committee, and Kiran Menon, a senior at the University of Virginia studying politics, discuss what it's like to pursue campaign jobs during the pandemic.  States have scrambled to adjust long-planned elections because of the public health risk posed by COVID-19. Earlier this month, the governor of Wisconsin attempted to postpone in-person voting but was ultimately unsuccessful. So on April 7, Wisconsin voters stood six feet apart in long lines to cast their ballots while respecting social distancing. Since then, a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel investigation found systemic problems with the state's absentee ballot request process. Reporter Daphne Chen described the electoral shortfalls.  Also, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose describes how he's navigating the changes of the state's upcoming all vote-by-mail primary. As part of our series on governing during a pandemic, we spoke to Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry. He shared how his constituents are holding up and how he's advising the governor on reopening the state.     Music by J. Cowit. Additional music by Gypsy George and Lisa Ekdahl. Check out our ongoing coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic here.
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Comments (11)

sirenasd

Meanwhile they have no equal concern about having a paper trail for their digital screen voting.

Apr 3rd
Reply

sirenasd

And maybe the reason "voters" think mail in ballots will result in fraud is because the right wing propaganda promotes this idea to justify voter suppression and making it harder to vote.

Apr 3rd
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sirenasd

When 70% of your economy relies on people spending money... raising the minimum wage helps the economy!!

Apr 3rd
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sirenasd

I love the Biden song! So funny and appropriate.

Apr 3rd
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sirenasd

I appreciate the guests on this show. Dispassionate analysis. So good.

Apr 3rd
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sirenasd

The very, very, least they could do, to show they are not deliberately using this crisis to increase voter suppression (ie. poor people of color), is the legislature could take emergency action to expand Louisiana's "65 and older program" to all eligible voters in the state. It's everyone's right to vote if they are born or naturalized here, and over 18. Nowhere does it say only 65 and over have the right to vote, it's a discretionary privilege for the rest of us.

Apr 3rd
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sirenasd

Dispassionate analysis, it's called journalism. We definitely need people to create more of this, but dispassionate doesn't get ratings. Thank goodness for public and nonprofit media.

Aug 9th
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sirenasd

I love Amy for doing the footwork in Michigan to tell us the story of what is happening there, instead of just recapping highlights of the debates. Great episode.

Aug 3rd
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sirenasd

Thank you Amy for including Manuel Pastor, California is not only a harbinger of what's to come it's a laboratory for how we can respond. Dr. Pastor's research is seminal in understanding the impact the demographic shift and immigration have on our politics.

Jul 19th
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Ralph Weber

see if you and your guests can get through a segment without punctuating every sentence with at least one You Know annoying to the extreme! ya know !

Mar 23rd
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Donnie Phillips

Excellent!

Jan 2nd
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