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The Ezra Klein Show

The Ezra Klein Show

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Winner of the 2020 Webby and People's Voice awards for best interview podcast.

Ezra Klein brings you far-reaching conversations about hard problems, big ideas, illuminating theories, and cutting-edge research. Want to know how Stacey Abrams feels about identity politics? How Hasan Minhaj is reinventing political comedy? The plans behind Elizabeth Warren’s plans? How Michael Lewis reads minds? This is the podcast for you. Produced by Vox and the Vox Media Podcast Network.

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Happy Thanksgiving! We will be back next week with brand new episodes, but on a day when so many of us are thinking about love and relationships I wanted to share an episode that has changed the way I think about those topics in a profound way.  Alison Gopnik is a professor of psychology and philosophy at the University of California Berkeley. She’s published more than 100 journal articles and half a dozen books, including most recently The Gardener and the Carpenter: What the New Science of Child Development Tells Us About the Relationship Between Parents and Children. She runs a cognitive development and learning lab where she studies how young children come to understand the world around them, and she’s built on that research to do work in AI, to understand how adults form bonds with both children and each other, and to examine what creativity is and how we can nurture it in ourselves and — more importantly — each other. But this conversation isn’t just about kids -- it's about what it means to be human. What makes us feel love for each other. How we can best care for each other. How our minds really work in the formative, earliest days, and what we lose as we get older. The role community is meant to play in our lives. This episode has done more than just change the way I think. It’s changed how I live my life. I hope it can do the same for you. Book recommendations: A Treatise of Human Natureby David Hume Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll The works of Jean Piaget Credits: Producer/Audio engineer - Jeff Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas. New to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere) Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
At the holidays, I wanted to share some of my favorite episodes of the show with you (we’ll be back next week with brand new episodes). My conversation with Vivek Murthy tops that list, and it has particular force this Thanksgiving, when so many are alone on a day when connection means so much. As US surgeon general from 2014 to 2017, Murthy visited communities across the United States to talk about issues like addiction, obesity, and mental illness. But he found that what Americans wanted to talk to him about the most was loneliness. In a 2018 report by the Kaiser Family Foundation, 22 percent of all adults in the US — almost 60 million Americans — said they often or always felt lonely or socially isolated. Murthy went on to write Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World, and was recently named one of the co-chairs of Joe Biden’s coronavirus task force. Those projects may sound different, but they connect: Coronavirus has made America’s loneliness crisis far worse. Social distancing, while necessary from a public health standpoint, has caused a collapse in social contact among family, friends, and entire communities. And the people most vulnerable to the virus — the elderly, the disabled, the ill — are also unusually likely to suffer from loneliness.  Murthy’s explanation of how loneliness acts on the body is worth the time, all on its own — it’ll change how you see the relationship between social experience and physical health. But the broader message here is deeper: You are not alone in your loneliness. None of us are. And the best thing we can do for our own feeling of isolation is often to help someone else out of the very pit we’re in. Book recommendations: Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom Conversations with God by Neale Donald Walsch Dear Madam President by Jennifer Palmieri Credits: Producer/Audio engineer - Jeff Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas. New to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere) Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Donald Trump has built his presidency on top of racial dog whistles, xenophobic rhetoric, and anti-immigrant policies. A core belief among liberals was that this strategy would help Trump with whites but almost certainly hurt him with Latinos, and people of color more broadly. Then the opposite happened: In 2020, Trump gained considerable support among voters of color, particularly Latinos, relative to the 2016 election. What happened? Ian Haney López is a legal scholar at UC Berkeley and the author of Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class. In 2017, he partnered with the leftist think tank Demos and various polling groups to better understand the effectiveness of racial dog whistles and how Democrats could combat them. The results were sobering, even to the experts who commissioned the polls. As Haney López documented in his 2019 book Merge Left: Fusing Race and Class, Winning Elections, and Saving America, 60 percent of Latinos and 54 percent of African Americans have found Trumpian dog-whistle messages convincing, right in step with the 61 percent of whites who did. This conversation is about the complicated reality of racial politics in America. It’s about the fact that the electorate isn’t divided into racists and non-racists — most voters, including Trump supporters, toggle back and forth between racially reactionary and racially egalitarian views — and a more robust theory of how race operates in American politics that follows. And it’s about the kinds of race- and class-conscious messages that Haney López’s research suggests work best with voters of all backgrounds. Book recommendations: Racial Realignment:The Transformation of American Liberalism, 1932–1965 by Eric Schickler The Line Becomes a River by Francisco Cantú Born a Crime by Trevor Noah  Credits: Producer/Audio engineer - Jeff Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas. New to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere) Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
I’ve been fascinated by the sharp change in how the tech platforms — particularly the big social media companies like Facebook, Twitter, and to some degree, YouTube — are acting since the 2020 election. It’s become routine to see President Donald Trump’s posts tagged as misinformation or worse. Facebook is limiting the reach of hyper-viral stories it can’t verify, Twitter is trying to guard against becoming a dumping ground for foreign actors trying to launder stolen secrets, and conservatives are abandoning both platforms en masse, hoping to find more congenial terrain on newcomers like Parler.  So is Big Tech finally doing its job, and taking some responsibility for its role in our democracy? Are they overreaching, and becoming the biased censors so many feared? Are they simply so big that anything they do is in some way the wrong choice, and antitrust is the only solution? Casey Newton has spent the past decade covering Silicon Valley for The Verge, CNET, and the San Francisco Chronicle. Today, he writes Platformer, a daily blog and newsletter focused primarily on the relationship between the big tech platforms and democracy. He’s my go-to for questions like these, and so I went to him. We discuss:  The lessons the platforms learned the hard way in 2016  What Facebook and Twitter got right -- and wrong -- this election cycle The dissonance between Facebook and Twitter’s progressive employees and broader user base  The problem of trying to be neutral when both sides really aren’t the same Whether Facebook and Twitter handled the Hunter Biden New York Post story correctly Whether major tech platforms are biased against conservatives Why YouTube has been so much less aggressive than Facebook and Twitter on moderation The recent rise of Parler, the Twitter alternative that conservatives are flocking to by the hundreds of thousands  What Biden administration’s tech agenda could look like  The Section 230 provision at the heart of the debate over content moderation  How the big tech CEOs differ from each other ideologically  The problems that antitrust enforcement against tech platforms will solve -- and the problems it won’t solve  And much more Book recommendations: Facebook: The Inside Story by Steven Levy No Filter: The Inside Story of Instagram by Sarah Frier Caste by Isabel Wilkerson  Credits: Producer/Audio engineer - Jeff Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas. New to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere) Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
If the past week — and past four years — have proven anything, it’s that we are not as different as we believed. No longer is the question, "Can it happen here?" It’s happening already. As this podcast goes to air, the current president of the United States is attempting what — if it occurred in any other country — we would call an anti-democratic coup. This coup attempt will probably not work. But the fact that it is being carried out farcically, erratically, ineffectively does not mean it is not happening, or that it will not have consequences. The most alarming aspect of all this is not Donald Trump’s anti-democratic antics; it’s the speed at which Republican elites have consolidated support around him. Some politicians, like Lindsey Graham, have wholeheartedly endorsed Trump's claims. On Monday, Graham said that Trump should not concede the election and that "Republicans win because of our ideas and we lose elections because [Democrats] cheat." Others — including Mike Pence, Marco Rubio, and Josh Hawley — have signaled solidarity with the president, while not quite endorsing his conspiracies. The message is clear: When faced with the choice of loyalty to Trump and the legitimacy of the democratic process, Republicans are more than willing to throw democracy under the bus. Anne Applebaum is a staff writer for the Atlantic, a senior fellow of international affairs at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, and most recently the author of Twilight of Democracy: The Seductive Lure of Authoritarianism. In it, Applebaum, once comfortable in center-right elite circles, grapples with why so many of her contemporaries across the globe — including right here in America — have abandoned liberal democracy in favor of strongman cults and autocratic regimes. We discuss:  How the media would be covering Trump’s actions — and the GOP’s enabling of him — if this were taking place in a foreign country  How the last four years have shattered the belief in the idea that America is uniquely resistant to the lure of authoritarianism Why most politicians under increasingly autocratic regimes choose to collaborate with the regime, and why a select few choose to dissent  The “apocalyptic pessimism” and “cultural despair” that undergirds the worldview of Trump’s most enthusiastic supporters  How Lindsey Graham went from outspoken Trump critic to one of Trump’s most vocal supporters in the US Senate  Why the Republican Party ultimately took the path of Sarah Palin and Donald Trump, not John McCain and Mitt Romney Why what ultimately separates Never Trumpers from Trump enablers is a steadfast commitment to American democracy What we can expect to happen if and when a much more competent, capable demagogue emerges in Trump’s place Whether the Biden administration can lower the temperature of American politics from its fever pitch  The one thing that gives me a glimmer of hope about the Biden presidency    References: "Trump is attempting a coup in plain sight" by Ezra Klein, Vox "History Will Judge the Complicit" by Anne Applebaum, The Atlantic “Laura Ingraham’s Descent Into Despair” by Anne Applebaum, The Atlantic My EK Show conversation with Marilynne Robinson Book recommendations: Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner  All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren  Gilead by Marilynne Robinson  Credits: Producer/Audio engineer - Jeff Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas. New to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere) Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
The Joe Biden experience

The Joe Biden experience

2020-11-0701:10:2917

Joe Biden will be the 46th president of the United States. And — counting the votes of people, not just land — it won’t be close. If current trends hold, Biden will see a larger popular vote margin than Hillary Clinton in 2016, Barack Obama in 2012, or George W. Bush in 2004.  Commentary over the past few days has focused on the man he beat, and the incompetent coup being attempted in plain sight. But I want to focus on Biden, who is one of the more misunderstood figures in American politics — including, at times, by me.  Biden has been in national politics for almost five decades. And so, people tend to understand the era of Joe Biden they encountered first — the centrist Senate dealmaker, or the overconfident foreign policy hand, or the meme-able vice president, or the grieving, grave father. But Biden, more so than most politicians, changes. And it’s how he changes, and why, that’s key to understanding his campaign, and his likely presidency.  Evan Osnos is a staff writer at the New Yorker and the author of Joe Biden: The Life, the Run, and What Matters Now, a sharp biography of the next president. Osnos and I discuss:  The mystery of Joe Biden’s first political campaign Why the Joe Biden who entered the Senate in 1980 is such a radically different person than the Joe Biden who ran for president in 2020  What the Senate taught Biden Biden’s ideological flexibility, and the theory of politics that drives it The differences between Biden’s three presidential campaigns -- and what they reveal about how he’s grown The way Biden views disagreement, and why that’s so central to his understanding of politics  How Biden’s relationship with Barack Obama changed his approach to governance The similarities — and differences — between how Obama and Biden think about politics  Why Biden is “the perfect weathervane for where the center of the Democratic party is.”  Biden’s relationship with Mitch McConnell How Biden thinks about foreign policy Why Biden has become more skeptical about the use of American military might in the last decade  And much more. Book recommendations: Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman The Field of Blood by Joanne B. Freeman The Ideas That Made America by Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen  Credits: Producer/Audio engineer - Jeff Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas. New to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere) Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
This is not the post-election breakdown I expected to have today, but it's definitely the one that I needed. Chris Hayes is the host of the MSNBC primetime show, “All In," and the podcast "Why is this Happening? With Chris Hayes." He's also one of the most insightful political analysts I know. We discuss the purpose of polling, the problems of polling-driven coverage, the epistemic fog of the results, the strategy behind Trump's inroads with Latino voters, how Democrats might have won the presidency but lost democracy, what happens if Trump refuses to accept the election results, and much more. More than anything else, this conversation has helped me make sense of everything that's happened in the last 24 hours. I think it will do the same for you. References: "How Democrats Lost the Cuban Vote and Jeopardized Their Future in Florida." by Noah Lanard, Mother Jones Chris's podcast on "Understanding the 'Latino Vote' with Chuck Rocha" Credits: Producer/Audio engineer - Jeff Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas. New to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere) Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
We’re one day away from the election, though who-knows-how-many days from finding out who won it. But there’s more at stake than whether Donald Trump or Joe Biden will be our next president.  There is a fight behind the fight, a battle that will decide all the others. America is not a democracy, and Republicans want to keep it that way. America is not a democracy, and Democrats — at least some Democrats — want to make it more of one.  Democracy has, in particular, become Stacey Abrams’ animating mission. In 2018, Abrams lost the George gubernatorial race by a razor-thin margin amidst rampant voter suppression. Since then, as the founder of Fair Fight, she’s turned her attention to the deeper fight, the one that sets the rules under which elections like her plays out. In her recent book, Our Time Is Now: Power, Purpose, and the Fight for a Fair America, Abrams makes the case that the fight over democracy is the central question of our politics right now with more power and clarity than any other politician I’ve heard.  In my view, Abrams is right. And so she’s exactly the person to hear from on the eve of the election. We discuss the GOP’s turn against “rank democracy,” the role of demographic change, how Republicans have cemented minority rule across America political institutions, why we potentially face a “doom loop of democracy,” the changing face of voter suppression in the 21st century, what a system that actually wanted people to vote would look like, why democracy and economic equality are inextricably linked, and much more. One thing to note in this conversation: You won't hear Trump's name all that much. It's the Republican Party, not just Trump, that has turned against democracy, and that is implementing the turn against democracy. And it's the Democratic Party, not just Joe Biden, that will have to decide whether democracy is worth protecting, and achieving. Democracy is on the ballot in 2020 and beyond, but it's not just on the presidential voting line. References: "The fight is for democracy." Ezra Klein, Vox The Dictator's Learning Curve by William Dobson My previous EK Show conversation with Abrams Book recommendations: Ida by Paula Giddings  Charged by Emily Bazelon  The Intuitionist by Colson Whitehead  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
As you may have heard, there's a pretty important election coming up. That means it's time to bring back the one and only Nate Silver.  Silver, the founder and editor-in-chief of FiveThirtyEight, boasts one of the best election forecasting records of any analyst in the last 15 years. His forecasting models successfully predicted the outcomes in 49 of the 50 states in the 2008 US presidential election and all 50 states in 2012. And in 2016, Silver’s FiveThirtyEight gave Donald Trump a 28 percent chance of victory — a significantly higher percentage than virtually any other prominent analyst at the time. He knows what he’s talking about, and it shows in this conversation. We discuss:  What went wrong with the polls in 2016 — and whether pollsters today have corrected for those mistakes  Why a 2016-sized polling error in 2020 would still hand Joe Biden the election Why the 2020 race has been so incredibly steady despite a global pandemic, an economic crisis, and the biggest national protest movement in US history  The possibility of a Biden landslide   The not-so-small chance that Biden could win Texas and Georgia  The massive Republican advantage in the Senate, House, and Electoral College — and how that affects our national politics  Why the Senate would still advantage Republicans, even if Democrats added five blue states.  Whether the Bernie Sanders left took the wrong lessons from 2016  Why Biden’s unorthodox 2020 campaign strategy has been so successful  Whether Sanders would be doing just as well against Trump as Biden is doing  How a more generic, non-Trump Republican would be faring against Biden  Why Silver is generally optimistic that we will avoid an electoral crisis on November 3  And much more. References: “How FiveThirtyEight’s 2020 Presidential Forecast Works — And What’s Different Because Of COVID-19." Nate Silver, FiveThirtyEight "The Senate’s Rural Skew Makes It Very Hard For Democrats To Win The Supreme Court." Nate Silver, FiveThirtyEight Let the People Pick the President: The Case for Abolishing the Electoral College by Jesse Wegman "Toby Ord on existential risk, Donald Trump, and thinking in probabilities." The Ezra Klein Show "The Real Story of 2016" by Nate Silver Book recommendations: The Biggest Bluff by Maria Konnikova Superintelligence by Nick Bostrom The Precipice by Toby Ord   Credits: Producer/Audio engineer - Jeff Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas. New to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere) Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
There are few issues on which the stakes in this election are quite as stark as on health care. Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden plans to pass (and Democrats largely support) a massive health care expansion that could result in 25 million additional individuals gaining health insurance. The Trump administration, as we speak, is pushing to get the Supreme Court to kill the Affordable Care Act, which would strip at least 20 million Americans of health care coverage.    There's no one I'd rather have on to discuss these issues than Sarah Kliff. Kliff is an investigative reporter for the New York Times focusing on health care policy, and my former colleague at the Washington Post and Vox where we co-hosted The Weeds alongside Matt Yglesias. She's one of the most clear, incisive health care policy analysts in media today and a longtime friend, which made this conversation a pleasure. We discuss:  The legacy of Obamacare 10 years later Why the fiercely fought over “individual mandate” isn’t all it’s cracked up to be  What Biden’s health care plan would actually do — and where it falls short  Whether a Biden administration would be able to pass massive health care reform — and why it might still have a chance even if the filibuster remains intact  The ongoing Supreme Court case to dismantle Obamacare  Whether Donald Trump has a secret health care plan to protect those with preexisting conditions (spoiler: he doesn’t)  The hollow state of Republican health care policy  The academic literature showing that health insurance is literally a matter of life and death  Which social investments would have the largest impact on people’s health (hint: it’s probably not expanding insurance)    And much more References: "If Trump wins, 20 million people could lose health insurance. If Biden wins, 25 million could gain it." by Dylan Scott, Vox “Obamacare Turns 10. Here’s a Look at What Works and Doesn’t.” by Sarah Kliff, et al. New York Times "The I.R.S. Sent a Letter to 3.9 Million People. It Saved Some of Their Lives." by Sarah Kliff, New York Times "Republicans Killed the Obamacare Mandate. New Data Shows It Didn’t Really Matter." by Sarah Kliff, New York Times "Without Ginsburg, Supreme Court Could Rule Three Ways on Obamacare" by Sarah Kliff and Margot Sanger-Katz, New York Times Book recommendations: The Healing of America by TR Reid  And the Band Played On by Randy Shilts  Dreamland by Sam Quinones  I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen Credits: Producer/Audio wizard - Jeff Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas. New to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere) Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
In 2016, Julius Krein was one of Donald Trump’s most ardent supporters. In Trump’s critiques of the existing Republican and Democratic establishments, Krein saw the contours of a heterodox ideology he believed could reshape American politics for the better. So he established a pro-Trump blog and, later, a policy journal called American Affairs, which his critics claimed was an attempt to “understand Trump better than he understands himself.” Today Krein finds himself in an unusual position. Upon realizing Trump was not committed to any governing vision at all (but was as racist as his critics suggested), Krein disavowed the president in 2017. But as the editor of American Affairs, he’s still committed to building an intellectual superstructure around the ideas that were threaded through Trump’s 2016 campaign. This conversation is about the distance between Trump and the ideology so many tried to brand as Trumpism. We also discuss Krein’s view that the US has always functionally been a one-party system, the disconnect between Republican elites and voters, what a new bipartisan economic consensus could look like, whether Joe Biden and the Democrats take Trump’s ideas more seriously than Trump does, which direction the GOP will go if Trump loses in a landslide in November, why Republicans lost interest in governance, whether media coverage is the true aim of right-wing populists, why Krein thinks the true power lies with the technocrats, and more. References: “I Voted for Trump. And I Sorely Regret It." by Julius Krein "The Three Fusions" by Julius Krein Book recommendations: Innovation in Real Places by Dan Breznitz  History has Begun by Bruno Maçães The Hall of Uselessness by Simon Leys  Credits: Producer/Audio wizard - Jeff Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas. New to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere) Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
If Democrats win back power this November, they will be faced with a choice: Leave the existing Supreme Court intact, and watch their legislative agenda — and perhaps democracy itself — be gradually gutted by 5-4 and 6-3 judicial rulings; or use their power to reform the nation’s highest court over fierce opposition by the Republican party. Ganesh Sitaraman is a former senior advisor to Elizabeth Warren and a law professor at Vanderbilt. He’s also the author of one of the most hotly debated proposals for Supreme Court reform, as well as the fairest and clearest analyst I’ve read regarding the benefits and drawbacks of every other plausible proposal for Supreme Court reform. So in this conversation, we discuss the range of options, from well-known ideas like court packing and term limits to more obscure proposals like the 5-5-5 balanced bench and a judicial lottery system. But there’s another reason I wanted Sitaraman on the show right now. Supreme Court reform matters — for good or for ill — because democracy matters. In his recent book, The Great Democracy, Sitaraman makes an argument that's come to sit at the core of my thinking, too: The fundamental fight in American politics right now is about whether we will become a true democracy. And not just a democracy in the thin, political definition we normally use — holding elections, and ensuring access to the franchise. The fight is for a thicker form of a democracy, one that takes economic power seriously, that makes the construction of a certain kind of civic and political culture central to its aims.  So this is a conversation about what that kind of democracy would look like, and what it would take to get there – up to and including Supreme Court reform. References: Jump-Starting America by Jonathan Gruber and Simon Johnson  "How to save the Supreme Court" by Daniel Epps and Ganesh Sitaraman Sitaraman's tweet threads about expanding the court , term limits , the 5-5-5 Balanced bench, lottery approach, supermajority voting requirements, jurisdiction stripping, legislative overrides, and what the best approach is. Book recommendations: The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn The Public and Its Problems by John Dewey The Anarchy by William Dalrymple  Credits: Producer/Audio wizard - Jeff Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas. New to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere) Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Marilynne Robinson is one of the greatest American novelists alive today. She’s the author of the Pulitzer-prize winning Gilead — one of my favorite books, ever — as well as Housekeeping, Home, Lila, and her latest, Jack. She’s also produced four brilliant collections of nonfiction essays.  But Robinson is not simply a beautiful writer; her work is inextricably bound up with the most important issues of our times: race, religion, education, geography, and democracy — so much so that in 2015, Barack Obama chose to interview her on the state of the country while he was still the sitting president. This was a joy of a conversation to have right now, and it covers vast amounts of ground, including: • Robinson’s obsession with the doctrine of predestination  • What we know -- and all we don’t know -- about the nature of reality  • The power of loneliness • How, for all the talk of polarization, there are certain ideas that Americans widely, quietly share • How the logic of efficiency and growth has come to invade every aspect of our lives • The differences between writing fiction and nonfiction  • How to train yourself to notice the world around you • The sobering purpose of studying history • What it will take to keep American democracy alive and well   • The particular problem that Donald Trump poses • The baseline assumptions and practices a democracy demands we share And much more. I found this conversation a tonic to have in this moment. I hope it’s the same for you. Book recommendations: Birdman of Alcatraz by Thomas E. Gaddis Credits: Producer - Jeff Geld Audio engineer - Jackson Bierfeldt Researcher - Roge Karma Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas. New to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere) Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
As we approach the 2020 election, I want to make sure the conversation on this show reflects the actual choice the country is facing. So we are going to be doing a few episodes, including this one, with guests who believe Donald Trump is the better candidate this November.  I wanted to start with foreign policy because that’s where Trump has been most influential. Trump has successfully broken the previous bipartisan consensus on key foreign policy issues. The way Republicans — and now even Democrats — talk about trade, alliances, Russia, and China has changed dramatically over the last four years. That’s an important shift, whether or not you agree with it.  Rebeccah Heinrichs is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute where she specializes in nuclear deterrence and missile defense, a former adviser to congressional Republicans, and one of the sharpest defenders of Donald Trump’s foreign policy. Heinrichs sees a clear foreign policy worldview animating the Trump administration — one with more successes to its name than critics are willing to admit. I see a worldview that is inconsistently applied, and whose goals are often undermined, by the President’s impulsive, anti-strategic behavior on the world stage. So I asked Heinrichs to come on the show and persuade me that I’m wrong.  In this conversation Heinrichs and I discuss how Trump shattered the foreign policy consensus that preceded him, why he sees China as such a central threat to American interests, the trade-offs that come with engaging in multilateral agreements and institutions, whether the threats America faces require global cooperation to address, the importance (or lack thereof) of how other countries view America, the ways that Trump undermines his own purported foreign policy aims, Trump’s ally-bashing, the US-Saudi Arabia alliance, the Trump administration's stance on human rights, what we can expect from Trump in his second term, and much more. Book recommendations: The World America Made by Robert Kagan  The False Promise of Liberal Order by Patrick Porter  Exercise of Power by Robert Gates  Credits: Producer - Jeff Geld Audio engineer - Jackson Bierfeldt Researcher - Roge Karma Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas. New to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere) Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Fareed Zakaria is the host of CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS, a columnist for the Washington Post, and one of the most astute foreign policy thinkers of our time. So much of this conversation is focused on just that: How Biden and Trump respectively see the world and want to shape it. In particular, the ways Biden’s foreign policy differs from Obama’s and has changed over the years, whether Trump has a coherent foreign policy at all, and why the most important US foreign policy question is “What is an acceptable level of influence for China to have?” But I also wanted to talk to Zakaria about some broader trends — trends he’s been tracking for some time. Zakaria’s 2003 book The Future of Freedom anticipated the rise of illiberal democracies across the globe long before anyone paid it much attention. His 2008 book The Post-American World described the multipolar international order that, in many ways, we now inhabit. And just recently he authoredTen Lessons for a Post-Pandemic World which forecasts how Covid-19 will change the trajectory of our world.  So in this conversation we also discuss the state of journalism, the dangers of great power war in the 21st century, why Zakaria believes rise of China is far less of a threat than either Republicans or Democrats seem to believe, why a global spike of economic inequality in an already unequal world is perhaps the most important pandemic trend, whether Zakaria has lost faith in America, whether anything short of violent catastrophe can upend concentrations of wealth, how the world’s views of China and America are changing, and much more. References: "The definitive case for ending the filibuster" by Ezra Klein The Great Leveler: Violence and the History of Inequality from the Stone Age to the Twenty-First Century by Walter Scheidel Book recommendations: Cultural Evolution by Ronald F. Inglehart  American Politics: The Promise of Disharmony by Samuel P. Huntington The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon Credits: Producer - Jeff Geld Audio engineer - Jackson Bierfeldt Researcher - Roge Karma Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas. New to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere) Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Helluva week in politics, huh? And yet, in the background, the world is still warming, the fires still burning, the future still dimming. There will be plenty of episodes to come on the election. But I wanted to take a step back and talk about a part of policymaking that is often ignored, but which our world may, literally, depend on. In campaign season, candidates make extravagant promises about all the bills they will pass. The implicit promise is the passage of those bills will solve the problems they’re meant to address. But that’s often not how it works. Between passage and reality lies what Leah Stokes calls “the fog of enactment”: a long, quiet process in which the language of bills is converted into the specificity of laws, and where interest groups and other actors can organize to gut even the strongest legislation. This is where wins can become losses; where historic legislative achievements can be turned into desultory, embarrassing failures. Stokes is a political scientist at UC Santa Barbara, and author of Short Circuiting Policy: Interest Groups and the Battle Over Clean Energy and Climate Policy in the American States. Her book tracks the fate of a series of clean energy standards passed in the states in recent decades, investigating why some of them failed so miserably, and how others succeeded. But her book is more than that, too: It’s a theory of how policymaking actually works, where it gets hijacked, how power is actually wielded, and how to do policymaking better. So this is a conversation that’s about policymaking broadly — we talk about far more than climate, and the principles here apply to virtually everything — but is also about the key question of the next few years narrowly: How do we write a climate bill that actually works? Book recommendations: Rising by Elizabeth Rush The Education of Idealist by Samantha Power War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy Credits: Producer - Jeff Geld Audio engineer- Jackson Bierfeldt Researcher - Roge Karma Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas. New to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere) Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
In this special episode of the Future Perfect podcast, neuroscientist Lori Marino helps us understand how arbitrarily we draw the lines between animals as pets and animals as food, and how we might redraw those lines. Subscribe to Future Perfect on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast app to automatically get new episodes of the latest season each week. Further listening and reading:  Lori Marino has done in-depth round-ups of all the research on chicken cognition and pig cognition. You might also enjoy this study, where students who worked with chickens were surprised by their intelligence In the piece, we used clips from this BBC Earth segment on how pig intelligence compares to toddler intelligence, and a Compassion in World Farming piece on pigs and video games Dylan Matthews has written in depth about unnecessarily painful pig castration. He’s also written about the practice of mass-culling male chicks.  For more on what labels like “wild caught,” “organic,” and “grass-fed” actually mean for the food you eat, Rachel Krantz wrote a comprehensive guide. We also have more information on what it means for eggs to be “cage-free.”  We always want to hear from you! Please send comments and questions to futureperfect@vox.com.  This podcast is made possible thanks to support from Animal Charity Evaluators. They research and promote the most effective ways to help animals. Featuring: Lori Marino, Kimmela Center for Animal Advocacy Sigal Samuel (@SigalSamuel), staff writer, Vox  More to explore: Follow all of Future Perfect’s reporting on the Future of Meat. Subscribe to Vox’s Future Perfect newsletter, which breaks down big, complicated problems the world faces and the most efficient ways to solve them. Follow Us: Vox.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
A dark, dangerous debate

A dark, dangerous debate

2020-09-3001:14:3513

In a special, post-debate episode, I'm joined by Matt Yglesias to discuss the most unnerving presidential debate I've ever seen. Hosts: Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias), Senior correspondent, Vox Ezra Klein (@ezraklein), Editor-at-large, Vox Credits: Producer/Editor - Jeff Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas. New to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere) Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
We talk a lot on this show about the problems with American political institutions. But what if all those problems are actually just one problem: the two-party system. Lee Drutman is a political scientist, senior fellow in the Political Reform program at New America, co-host of the podcast Politics in Question, and most recently the author of Breaking the Two-Party Doom Loop: The Case for Multiparty Democracy in America, which makes the best case against America’s two-party system that I’ve ever read.  In Drutman’s telling, the reason our politics have gotten so toxic is simple: Toxicity is the core incentive of any two-party system. American democracy was only stable at mid-century because we functionally had a four-party system that kept the temperature of political combat from overheating, and the only way to achieve a similar homeostasis is by recreating that kind of system (which Drutman has a four-part plan to do). I'm convinced by a lot of Drutman’s analysis, but I tend toward skepticism that the two-party system is the source of our political ills, which makes this a really fun, dynamic conversation. Book recommendations: The Semi-Sovereign People by E.E. Schattschneider Uncivil Agreement by Liliana Mason  A Different Democracy by Steven L. Taylor, Matthew Soberg Shugart, Arend Lijphart, Bernard Grofman  We are conducting an audience survey to better serve you. It takes no more than five minutes, and it really helps out the show. Please take our survey here: voxmedia.com/podsurvey.  Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas. New to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere) Credits: Producer/Editor - Jeff Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
The death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, just weeks before a presidential election, leaves us in dangerous waters. It’s easy to imagine a scenario in which the election outcome is contested by one side and is ultimately determined by a Supreme Court with the deciding vote cast by Trump's recent appointee. Indeed, both Sen. Ted Cruz and President Donald Trump have named this scenario as driving their urgency to replace Ginsburg. At that point, a legitimacy crisis looms. Suzanne Mettler is the John L. Senior Professor of American Institutions at Cornell University. Her work has focused on trust between citizens and their governments, but recently, she’s co-written, with Robert Lieberman, a book that is tailor-made for this moment: Four Threats: The Recurring Crisis of American Democracy. Its thesis is a dark one: America’s most dangerous political crises have been driven by four kinds of threat -- political polarization, democratic exclusion, economic inequality, and executive power. But this is the first time all four threats are present simultaneously.   “It may be tempting to think that we have weathered severe threats before and that the Constitution protected us,” they write. “But that would be a misreading of history, which instead reveals that democracy is indeed fragile, and that surviving threats to it is by no means guaranteed.”  We discuss where Ginsburg's passing leaves us, what 2020 election scenarios we should be most worried about, what the tumultuous election of 1800 can teach us about today, how this moment could foster exactly the democratic reckoning this country needs, whether court packing and filibuster elimination will save American democracy or destroy it, when people know they’re benefiting from government programs and when they don’t, and more. Book recommendations: Good Enough for Government Work by Amy Lerman  Fragmented Democracy by Jamila Michener With Ballots and Bullets by Nathan Kalmoe  We are conducting an audience survey to better serve you. It takes no more than five minutes, and it really helps out the show. Please take our survey here: voxmedia.com/podsurvey.  Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas. New to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere) Credits: Producer/Editor - Jeff Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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Comments (197)

Tom Rooney

This is the kind of opinion journalism that's turning me into a conservative. Why can't we wait for the legal process to play out? Why do we fulminate before the election is certified? Democrats 2016: Trump colluded with Russia to steal the election! Democrats 2020: How dare you question the integrity of the election!

Nov 12th
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dp

its right wing media, radio, tv and social media sowing misinformation and bile.

Nov 12th
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Yasmine C

F* that guy. F all pollsters.

Nov 7th
Reply

Sasha Anne Lyn

I think tou have to know that most of the rest of the planet is shocked that still so many Americans voted for that man, that party; it is unfathomable.

Nov 5th
Reply

LINDSEY GRAFF

Nate Silver says the word "right" far far far too much. Otherwise I really enjoyed the episode 🙂

Nov 1st
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zac wallace

I don't think she understands evolution. I was also surprised to hear her step into an appeal to ignorance. Pathetic.

Oct 31st
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dp

these are predominantly wish lists and fun mental exercises, but have zero chance of being implemented in a polarized political climate. The only real workable solution is to limit terms of Justices to 10 years, and, legislate mandatory retirement age of all Federal Employees, including Judges, Senators and Congresspeople at 75. Courts would have more turnover but for both parties, and would produce more people into the system, who bring more current experiences. 85 year olds almost all have cognitive declines and should not continue to serve as decision makers in a multigenerational, multi cultural, rapidly changing, society.

Oct 25th
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Sean Everett

1:07:42 in case my point wasn't clear what I'm trying to suggest is that if vox, like thousands of other professional organizations, hires a cleaning service that employs minorities to do the actual cleaning (not talking about the office staff), then isn't Klein and every other staffer at such an organization complicit in reinforcing or contributing to an oppression-influinced baseline that leads to these kinds of assumptions that are seen as micro-aggressions?

Oct 19th
Reply

Sean Everett

1:06:48 I'm curious if vox employs a cleaning service for their offices, and (assuming they do) what the racial makeup of that cleaning service is on terms of who is actually doing the weekly cleaning. let's further assume minorities do the actual cleaning. in which case someone would be reasonable in assuming the cleaning staff would be minority. what do we do about this? surely reality (the fact that "the help" is most often minority) and not racism is primarily the reason for such assumptions. if you change the reality you remove the basis for assumption. but how do you change it? quotas for cleaning companies?

Oct 19th
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Constance Moylan

this interview was outstanding- the discussion on time & on wasting loneliness were insightful & thought provoking.

Oct 19th
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Carola Clark

That woman is truly frightening. i don't have anything more to say

Oct 18th
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Sean Everett

Scornful comments aside, it is super refreshing to see to people with vastly different viewpoints have a productive and respectful conversation.

Oct 17th
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Mark Saltiel

MR says evolutionary theory is deterministic. Surely it is not at all deterministic. One could never work out in advance how species would change. Folks often talk about evolution using language that suggests a species studies a problem and then decides how it will change to fit the situation. The idea behind natural selection is actually almost completely opposite to that. EK thinks MR is very humble but what is humble about demanding evolutionary theorists answer the question of complexity properly. I have never come across a theological account of complexity that is not absolutely reductive to "that's the way God made it".

Oct 16th
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Jeff B

there are not nerves in the beak.

Oct 3rd
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Nicolas Brylle

please Matt, the voice.... excruciating. Also the reason why the Weeds is not listenable.

Oct 2nd
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ken riedl

I like the outdoor ideas but winter is coming and some of us live in midwest and northern states. the outdoor approach will soon be closed to most of us

Sep 13th
Reply

Chris Fountain

Probably my favorite episode of Ezra's show so far.

Sep 10th
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Carl Davidson

A really awesome interview! It lays out the nuances of the different factions of the Black vote, and the nuances of understanding why protesting is not only important, but a natural response to the failures within our democratic system. Also discussed is the history of why the Black vote fluctuated between the Democrat and Republican parties throughout the 20th century beginning in the Roosevelt administration, and how that has led to where we are today in 2020.

Sep 7th
Reply

Sasha Anne Lyn

What struck me about Yang was that he, while still personifying total professionalism, he neverbgave the audience the impression that he was steicing forbthe capital P- power that xomes with leadership and I think this emanates from his ability to be humble withought sacrifixing strength. Sincerity was also a distict charachter trait that I think most would apply to Yang and pne can really get behind a leader who you feel is ao authentic that you trust they could be deopped into any situation and kick ass.

Sep 6th
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Tamara Weikel

Something went really wrong on the editing or encoding of this. I really want to listen but the jumps and skips are out of control. anyone else have this trouble? I'm going to have to try again tomorrow.

Sep 3rd
Reply (1)
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