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The Politics Guys

The Politics Guys

Author: The Politics Guys

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Tired of liberals and conservatives screaming partisan talking points? We were, and so we created The Politics Guys as a sane and civil alternative. Each week, a liberal and a conservative talk *to*, not at each other, in an attempt to better understand the week in politics & policy. We're not about scoring cheap partisan points or preaching to the ideological choir. We reject the notion that people who see the world differently are either stupid or evil. Our mission is to promote a shared, evidence-based understanding of American politics and policy. We hope you'll join us.
386 Episodes
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Mike and Kristin begin with a discussion about the recent immigration agreement between the U.S. and Mexico. They go into some depth about the details of the agreement, President Trump’s stance, the concerns about the short timeline for Mexico, and some of the larger issues that the U.S. may face down the road. Both agree to take a “wait and see” approach. They also question whether it would be wise to add a “sunset” provision to executive orders so that Congress can assess crisis situations with a more flexible timeframe, but without necessarily hindering the President’s ability to act quickly. Next up is another geo-political topic that picked up steam toward the end of the week – escalating tensions with Iran. This week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pointed the finger at Iran for involvement in attacks of tanker vessels in the Gulf of Oman. Mike wonders if this is something the U.S. should approach with “muscle”, essentially backing Iran into a corner, and whether that is a wise move. Kristin brings up historical context and the importance of unifying allies to address Iran’s aggression – as was the case under President Reagan. Mike also brings up questions about the connection between this and possible arms sales to Saudi Arabia. Turning to domestic issues, Mike and Kristin discuss the disagreement surrounding the citizenship question on the 2020 Census, as well as the House Oversight and Reform Committee’s vote to hold AG William Barr and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross in contempt for withholding related documents. Both Kristin and Mike surmise that there is more here than meets the eye, as the actions seem politically motivated on both sides. They discuss their views, and Mike brings up an interesting idea regarding the timing of the Census. Finally, Mike and Kristin wrap up with a discussion of some personnel changes and issues coming out of the White House, including White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and her departure, as well as issues surrounding Top Aide Kellyanne Conway’s violations of the Hatch Act. Listener support helps make The Politics Guys possible. If you’re interested in supporting the show, go to patreon.com/politicsguys or politicsguys.com/support.
Impeachment and 2020

Impeachment and 2020

2019-06-0800:48:561

Will and Alexandra begin today’s show by discussing the state of impeachment talks. Will argues that impeachment at this moment would do nothing by divide Democrats and solidify Trump support. With the DCC publicly split already, it would just draw focus off of 2020 and risk alienating potential moderate voters. Alexandra, on the other hand, has shifted her views since the Barr performance and lack of willingness of Trump to cooperate. While she believes winning in 2020 is crucial for Democrats, she believes this is about protecting institutions and democracy more largely. Next, they turn to a general discussion of the 2020 election. Will continues to argue that 20 candidates in a debate is going to fracture the party more than help. Moreover, he points to the potential for donor fatigue based on debate performances and the general election. The September debates will produce more substance and nuance, but what damage will occur before then? Alexandra points to concerns about Democrats only participating when they are energized by a candidate and the impact octogenarian candidates may have here. She draws out comparisons between current female candidates and the flaws of Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Perhaps most importantly, she points out that the presence of Bernie Sanders on stage—who she identifies as not being a Democrat—as damaging the ability for other candidates to shine. Lastly, Alexandra and Will discuss topics of interest this week. Will chooses to discuss regulation and sport. After yet another small child was hit by a foul ball at a baseball game, there are increasing calls for enhanced safety measures. Will understands the wish to regulate for the name of safety but also posits that parents have a role to play here when deciding to sit with small children. Alexandra shared about her research describes a lot of what is occurring in American politics before our eyes today by focusing on how dissent against leaders by group members is viewed—both by leaders and those who dissent. This is relevant for framing discussions within both the Republican and Democratic parties today. Listener support helps make The Politics Guys possible. If you’re interested in supporting the show, go to patreon.com/politicsguysor politicsguys.com/support.
Will and Alexandra begin by discussing President Trump’s trip this week to Europe. While Will believes the trip got off to a rocky start thanks to the tweets directed at Mayor Kahn, he also argues that the Normandy Address was the highlight of Trump’s presidency thus far. Alexandra posits that there were a number of concerns about the trip, including the inclusion of Trump’s extended family on the trip. The conversation ends with a detailed conversation about media coverage and perceptions of individual reality. Next, they turn to discuss the recently released job report, which failed to meet expectations of the administration. Alexandra points to concerns about how quick the Fed can (or is wiling to) move. More importantly, she feels the unemployment numbers are not the best evidence of how well society is doing because of the type of jobs that are available. Will believes the Fed will drop interest rates quite soon to help make up the gap but also points to stable unemployment and overall healthy economy continuing to buoy the Trump Presidency. Yet, a slowing economy will need to be addressed. For the next topic, Alexandra and Will talk about Trump’s Mexican tariff threats. Will believes Trump needs to ensure support of his base before moving unilaterally. Will the average Midwestern voter sacrifice from their own income to limit immigration at our Southern border? Maybe more importantly, can he handle detractors within his own party over this issue? Alexandra points to the brokered deal not likely leading to success. Moreover, she posits that the initial tariff threat could have led to a complete destabilization of the Mexican government and economy, leading to more efforts for individuals to enter to the United States. Lastly, they turn to a discussion of recent ICE actions and the decision to cut educational opportunities and legal aid for children in custody without parents. While budget was cited as the main cause, there are plenty of political arguments. Alexandra finds the actions to be illegal despite pleasing Trump’s base and supporters. Will argues that we technically owe nothing to these individuals beyond stated rights, he recognizes there is no benefit to not helping children in these situations. Both agree that depriving children of basic emotional stability has long-term consequences. Listener support helps make The Politics Guys possible. If you’re interested in supporting the show, go to patreon.com/politicsguysor politicsguys.com/support.
Trey and Ken take on listen questions in this midweek episode. First the pair answer a question on why liberals seemingly support Israel. Second they weigh in on if the Democrats have a successful electoral strategy to create a new “blue wall.” Third they address a question on the changes in climate change language coming from the White House. Specifically what they think of the term “freedom molecules.” Fourth they explore a listen question on if and why presidents cannot be charged with a crime. Is it policy or is it a constitutional reason? Fifth, how much power does the president really have? Specifically, how much economic power? Finally, is it possible to give moderates more power in American political parties? Listener support helps make The Politics Guys possible. If you’re interested in supporting the show, go to patreon.com/politicsguysor politicsguys.com/support.
This week Trey & Ken start the show by analyzing Robert Mueller’s brief statement to the press. Specifically they address why Mueller spoke and why there were no charges brought. They also parse his words on the question of crimes and the lack of support he offered to Barr. Trey thinks that Mueller has opened a greater possibility of impeachment proceedings. Next is a discussion of Mexico tariffs over immigration. Trey hypothesizes the timing of this conversation is directly related to Mueller’s statement. Ken largely agrees. On the policy side they discuss the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, which is the supposed basis for President Trump’s tariffs. Ken sees there being no emergency and therefore not valid, Trey wonders if the act would even apply to a mechanism such as tariffs. After that it is to the newest abortion restrictions coming from Louisiana. Both agree that one of the unique aspects of this week’s potential restrictions are they originate from Democrats and was signed by a Democratic governor. Trey wonders if this doesn’t point to a larger set of schisms while Ken sees it as regional politics as usual. Finally, Trey & Ken discuss the new DNC debate thresholds. While some are arguing this makes the Democratic Party a filtering device Ken and Trey argue that is precisely what political parties were designed to do. Trey takes aim at the progressive and populist tendencies that have put too much power into the wrong hands, despite good intentions. Trey sees both the rise of punditry and the decline of parties as bad unintended outcomes to progressive initiatives to end backroom deals. Listener support helps make The Politics Guys possible. If you’re interested in supporting the show, go to patreon.com/politicsguys or politicsguys.com/support.
Mike talks with Beth Silvers and Sarah Stewart Holland, hosts of the Pantsuit Politics podcast about their new book, I Think You’re Wrong (But I’m Listening): a Guide To Grace-Filled Political Conversations. In this conversation, Mike, Sarah, and Beth discuss: why they became political podcasters the role of faith in political discussion ‘taking off your jersey’ before talking politics why the left and the right often view politics as more important than it is, and how that makes productive dialog more difficult how to have grace-filled political conversations cultivating a sense of curiosity ‘embracing the paradox’ partisan echo chambers and lots more! follow Pantsuit Politics on Twitter Listener support helps make The Politics Guys possible. If you’re interested in supporting the show, go to patreon.com/politicsguys or politicsguys.com/support.
Mike & Jay open the show with a look at the latest development in the various investigations and requests for information surrounding President Trump. They agree that while the president’s legal strategy isn’t the strongest, his political strategy - delaying until after the 2020 election and goading the Democrats into impeachment - is a smart one. They also discuss New York’s recently passed law that would allow Congress to receive President Trump’s state tax information. Next is a discussion of the recent tensions with Iran. Mike points out that this all stems from the Trump administration pulling out of the multilateral Iran nuclear agreement under the assumption that they could get a better deal by squeezing Iran’s economy. Jay largely agrees with the strategy and while Mike understands it, he wonders how successful sanctions are likely to be given our decided lack of success in over half a century of sanctions against Cuba and North Korea. After that, the Guys talk about the health care conscience rule, which allows providers, insurers, and employers to refuse to provide or pay for health services that violate their religious or moral beliefs. 20 states are suing the administration over this rule, and Mike believes they have a good point, in that it’s likely to result in discrimination against certain groups, especially in underserved rural areas. Jay is more sympathetic to the new rule and feels that if there’s a legitimate need for certain services, the market will find a way to provide it. Finally, Mike & Jay discuss the ‘Tobacco Free Youth Act’ introduced by tobacco-state Senators Mitch McConnell and Tim Kaine. Mike sees it as a positive step, but not that big of one, arguing that the real fear for the tobacco industry is a ban on flavors, which might hurt the growth of their youth market. Jay’s uncomfortable with the raised restriction, feeling that people can make an informed choice about whether or not to use tobacco. It’s not an argument Mike really buys, given the addictive nature of tobacco - he’d like to see the U.S. move to a total ban of tobacco products over time. Listener support helps make The Politics Guys possible. If you’re interested in supporting the show, go to patreon.com/politicsguys or politicsguys.com/support.
Mike talks with political scientist Matt Grossmann, Director of Michigan State University's Institute for Public Policy and Social Research, about his book Artists of the Possible: Governing Networks and American Policy Change Since 1945. Topics Mike & Matt discuss include: how much of a role the public has in policy change the flaws in our standard notions of how policy change happens how Matt examined every major policy change from 1945 - 2004 why policy favors the status quo - and liberal interests President Trump as a policymaker and lots more Follow Matt Grossmann on Twitter Listener support helps make The Politics Guys possible. If you’re interested in supporting the show, go to patreon.com/politicsguys or politicsguys.com/support.
Mike & Jay start this week’s show by talking about the escalating tensions between the United States and China. Mike actually agrees with President Trump that China may pose a significant security threat and that the time to act is now. But Mike feels that the US can’t act unilaterally and hope to succeed. Jay, as a committed free-trader, views trade wars as ultimately self-defeating and believes that President Trump will end up making a deal with China. Next is a discussion of the recent anti-abortion law in Alabama, which was expressly designed to provide the Supreme Court an opportunity to overturn Roe v Wade. Mike believes that the Court largely got it right in Roe, while Jay sees the decision as judicial overreach. Neither of them think that the current court is likely to overturn Roe, though if President Trump gets any more appointments , that could change. Following that is a look at the Supreme Court’s decision allowing a major class-action lawsuit against Apple to go forward. Both Mike and Jay believe the five justices in the majority made the right call, though Jay felt that the dissenters also made some strong points. Mike thinks that, regardless of the decision on the merits, the Court allowing this suit to go forward could cause Apple and other tech giants to act less anti-competitively, for fear of future legal action. The show closes with a discussion of President Trump’s new immigration plan, which calls for a shift from a largely family ties based system to one focused on education and job skills. Mike thinks it’s a reasonable idea, but only if the overall permanent residency caps are significantly boosted, which would make it something that at least some Democrats could support. Jay is less sanguine about the possibility of any deal, but he agrees that there’s a strong case to be made for more legal immigration. Senate Republican Policy Committee paper on the Trans Pacific Partnership Listener support helps make The Politics Guys possible. If you’re interested in supporting the show, go to patreon.com/politicsguys or politicsguys.com/support.
Will and Alexandra open the show discussing Trump’s current approval numbers and potential reasons they have reached a high during his administration. They then discuss the state of the Democratic field for 2020 and how the number of candidates could impact the electability of the eventual nominee. Next, they discuss Alexandra’s research on in-group control and leadership and how it relates to the modern political narrative. They end with listener questions on Trump’s foreign policy legacy and the future of Spygate investigations. Listener support helps make The Politics Guys possible. If you’re interested in supporting the show, go to patreon.com/politicsguys or politicsguys.com/support.
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Comments (43)

Odin

Sounds like it was recorded underwater with a potato

Jun 14th
Reply

Odin

Michael Baranowski Haha, thanks for the reply. I'll be sure to check out some more episodes.

Jun 14th
Reply

Michael Baranowski

Odin Sorry about that - a one-time glitch that we've fixed. (But I loved your description!)

Jun 14th
Reply

Bonnie Taylor-Warren

mandatory

Jun 13th
Reply

Brian Brussard

I was really struck by Alexandra's comment(and I agree that it is truthful)"Leaders encapsulate the identity of the party." In relation to her attack of the vapors, and her apocalyptic pearl clutching, by AG Barr deciding to stand by his CIC..... ...one can only wonder how she remains oblivious to the Trump Executive merely being the continuation of the equally(I generously give the benefit of the doubt here) lawless Obama Executive? If she wishes to seem anything other than the uber partisan hypocrite her screed shows her to be.....she can post links to show her taking the Obama Executive to task for destroying our democratic norms when Obama refused to obey laws and took extra constitutional actions as she has done here with Trump. Just to get started.. here are some actions she can address..... https://www.politico.com/blogs/politico44/2013/04/eric-holder-im-still-the-presidents-wingman-160861 "I’m still the President’s wing-man, so I’m there with my boy." https://www.politico.com/story/2012/06/holder-held-in-contempt-of-congress-077988 "The House has voted to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress over his failure to turn over documents related to the Fast and Furious scandal, the first time Congress has taken such a dramatic move against a sitting Cabinet official. The vote was 255-67, with 17 Democrats voting in support of a criminal contempt resolution, which authorizes Republicans leaders to seek criminal charges against Holder. This Democratic support came despite a round of behind-the-scenes lobbying by senior White House and Justice officials - as well as pressure from party leaders - to support Holder." In the likely event that she in particular, and the program in general, fails to offer any such links....we will have no choice but to see her as she portrays herself here...as an uber partisan hypocrite. OTOH.....Please, please, please prove me wrong, and address this glaringly obvious dichotomy!

Jun 10th
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Rex Drexler

Love the show. Thanks for all your efforts! However, in my opinion, you guys totally missed the boat in regards to the Apple issue. Your analogies about flags and Singapore don't address (what in my mind) is the central issue, namely that their is no alternative to iTunes for Apple users to buy their apps. Imagine if you bought a computer from Dell and found out that there was software on the computer which prevented you from installing any software except those programs which you could buy on the Dell website. I tend to feel like once I buy my phone, it should no longer be Apple's right to tell me what I can or can't install on it. Much like an auto manufacturer can't tell me what after-market extras I can use on my new car. Placing software in the operating system which prevents app developers from selling their wares directly to Apple phone users and forces users to buy them through the company store is unquestionably (in my opinion) a monopolistic practice.

May 22nd
Reply

Kimberly Nicole

TRUMP 2020

May 9th
Reply

Terry W

At least Ben Shapiro is capable of talking about leftist without ANY name calling. I'm guessing its because he's an adult.

May 8th
Reply

Terry W

Rene Vargas Thank you, I think I will.

May 27th
Reply

William M Westcott

Terry W Yes because hiding your inane comments behind self fulfilling generalizations is so very adult. Allows you the constant room to backtrack.

May 27th
Reply

Terry W

This is not an equal 50/50 left right discussion. This is a leftist podcast with a few token comments from the right. The leftist host can't even have a discussion without name calling. The right side can have an entire discussion without calling anyone a single name. The left loses ALL credibility in ANY argument when they are unable to call someone a name. Talk about uneducated and childish! Buh Bye.

May 8th
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Terry W

William M Westcott Does your mommy or daddy know you are on their computer?

May 27th
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William M Westcott

Terry W Also almost every episode has a cultural conservative or a libertarian on it. Sometimes both. I know leaving your Breitbart bubble can be tough at first Terry, but push through. You can do this.

May 27th
Reply

Jay Carson

LIVE SHOW! BigTech won't let me join live!

May 4th
Reply

Terry W

Jay Carson you aren't missing anything

May 8th
Reply

Jay Carson

So, I'm here. But nothing happening on the live end.

May 4th
Reply

Shane Septon

Oh my god, empty talking around homelessness. It shows the disconnect on the topic has that has Progressives upset. Clearly they missed the point. I love you guys, I truly do, but the disconnect from the information that shows that fighting homelessness is good business and then the basic human decency aspect as well.

May 1st
Reply

Michael Baranowski

Shane Septon Thanks for commenting - I'm hoping that Jay and I can discuss this on our next show.

May 1st
Reply

Brian Brussard

Sadly, my previous go-to political program for well over a decade, NPR's "Left Right, and Center" descended into insanity, delusion and rampant in-your-face unthinking, unreasoning bias after the election of Orange Man Bad, and forcing me to flee the rampant vitriol and hatred they unceasingly spewed. Since then I have been looking for "civil" political discussion based in reality and fact rather than hatred, emotion and delusion. I stumbled across this program and the description had me excited! After listening to episodes 363 through to 370....I will have to resume the search. The description of the program is quite misleading. If you are looking for a program where the host very clearly has an ax to grind with Trump, and instead of in-your-face incivility....resorts to stating things that are clearly uber-biased, unproven or outright lies shrouded as "civil" debate....then look no further! This is your show. However, if you are, like me, looking for a program where the fact that Trump is a douche, and a horrible person....while unequivocally true.... can rightly be compartmentalized and be kept out of policy and governmental discussion...keep looking, you have not found that yet. This, like NPR's LRC, is just more ultra partisan mewlings posing as civil discourse.

Apr 23rd
Reply

Brian Brussard

Michael Baranowski Mike, can you give me a couple of specific examples of positions that the Republicans have abandoned and the Democrats now hold to reinforce your point? I agree with you that there was a hard leftward lurch during the FDR years, but I would submit this lurch was merely a continuation of the Wilson administrations lurch to the left. Recall FDR was Sec. of the Navy under Wilson and was his protege for years in politics as well as ideology. As an aside... I have always been astounded by the Progressive Left and their adulation of FDR. The man was an absolute monster! Putting aside his dubious distinction of being one of only two CIC's to ever suspend the Right of habeas corpus to US citizens, his outlandish persecution of the homosexuals under his command, during the repugnant Newport Scandal, should rank him among the intolerable in the annals of history. Yet the Left reveres him, and Wilson(shockingly enough,) to this very day. Go figure! While you are correct that we all benefit from infrastructure, unfortunately we must part ways at the fact that that not everyone pays for that infrastructure. In fact, a very large portion of "us" do not join us in paying for "their fair share." What percentage of peoples money do you feel government is entitled to take( yes this is how we should look at taxing issues...and most certainly the words we should be using in the discussion, as anything else is word games designed to obfuscate the very intent of taxes[and, incidentally, IMHO....why you chose to back away from that phrase in the previously referenced episode...as you rightly saw how phasing it this way may affect how they view the issue.] to pay for the "common fund?" I also agree with you that civil discourse, most particularly with those who hold differing viewpoints to our own, is crucial to the health of our Republic. One of the signs that said health is deteriorating is the shocking and distressing lack of diversity of thought in the halls of our Academia. Those not worried by what we see on our campuses today are not paying attention.

May 16th
Reply

Michael Baranowski

Brian Brussard Hi Brian - thanks for that great response! The research on ideological change over time almost always finds that it's actually the right that's moved further from the center than the left. You can see this by examining what were fairly mainstream Republican positions in the 1960s and 1970s, and how they've become mainstream Democrat positions. Essentially, from the 1980s on, the whole field has shifted to the right. Now, that was in response to a previous major shift to the left dating from the FDR days, which is something that too many people on the left don't mention when talking of modern Republicans as 'insurgent outliers'. As for my comment on taxes, you're correct that I meant what I said. I understand and can respect the libertarian view of 'it's my money'. My view is that nobody succeeds on their own, not really. There's a vast network of infrastructure, programs, protections, and services provided by government that are instrumental in the success of almost everyone. From that premise, I conclude that taxation is simply contributing to that common fund that helps everyone (or at least it potentially does). That's not a very individualist philosophy, which I get. And I understand that people starting from different first principles are going to disagree with me on this. That's okay - in fact, I'd say it's more than okay. Healthy, civil airing of alternate viewpoints is, in my view, crucial. One final thing - I totally agree that some on the left have gone *way* too far. While they don't represent the majority of us, they're the ones who get the most media coverage. It happens on the right as well - the loudest, most extreme people attract the most attention, even though they're not a fair reprsentation of the vast majority of Americans.

May 15th
Reply

Linda Susan Erickson

Thank you, Jay, for pushing back on Mike's religious intolerance. 🙂

Apr 19th
Reply

Chris Nigro

As a registered Democrat, this is one of the worst podcasts I’ve ever heard.

Feb 16th
Reply

Linda Susan Erickson

And I think that Nancy Pelosi is only interested in Democrat power and therefore, is a tragedy for our country. Jay, will you please give me e Mike some decent push back! 😐

Feb 3rd
Reply

Samuel Honeycutt

Can you tell me what crime was broken by the Trump campaign that was not broken by the Clinton campaign? If the trump campaign was trying to get opposition research what difference was there from the Steele opposition research?

Jan 30th
Reply

Vol Disciple

I love you guys! It's great to hear 2 people debate respectfully and state points and be adults when you don't agree. More people need to act this way.

Jan 22nd
Reply

Shanaya Painter

This fella is definitely a more firm conservative lol. Also, Trump was not elected by the people - the EC put him there. "Democratic election" might be technically accurate, but it was not an accurate representation of the citizens' choice.

Jan 14th
Reply

Shanaya Painter

I believe, I read that putting the wall up endangers 111 natural species.

Jan 14th
Reply

Linda Susan Erickson

Hmmm, 2 Liberals. I thought that the format was supposed to be 1 Liberal and 1 Conservative. I like and learn from that format the best.😞

Dec 22nd
Reply

Kenyon Thorp

First time listening to the show. I don't know if she's a regular commentator, but the woman appearing on the "Kavanaugh, NAFTA 2.0, the Big Hack" episode made me feel like my brain cells were dying. Horrendously under-educated, under-referenced and poorly articulated, her input had an unabashed leftist agenda and she pursued it relentlessly. The man was far better, far more nuanced and far more knowledgeable, but a 1 for 2 batting record means I probably won't tune in again.

Oct 6th
Reply

Peter Cappello

Kenyon Thorp Her first time on the show and hopefully last. They were testing out co hosts. Im a regular listener and I felt the same way.

Nov 7th
Reply
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