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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.
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Will and Brian kickoff this week’s episode by discussing the death of Jeffery Epstein, the fascination with Clinton conspiracy theories, and the potential need for prison reforms across the United States. Will posits that the Clintons seem to have really bad luck with their acquaintances and sudden deaths. He does, however, firmly believe Epstein’s death shows a drastic need for both transparency in autopsies and some degree of prison reform. Brian doesn’t buy the conspiracy argument, but he does believe the public fascination with conspiracies is telling of political society today. He also thinks prison reform is not likely in response despite the very public nature of problems today due to lack of attention for particular offenses. Next, they turn to discuss Netanyahu’s decision to not allow Representatives Tlaib and Omar to enter Israel to visit the West Bank and Palestine. Will believe this is well within the nation’s rights given the obvious goal of the two to use the trip as a means for further protests, directly questioning Israel’s legitimacy. Brian points to the unusual actions of President Trump in suggesting they should not be permitted to enter and Netanyahu’s response. He also brings up the pressures faced by the two for not agreeing to sign the statement saying their visit wasn’t going to be politics. Will also points out how this decision could impact younger American Jews as they think about the nation of Israel. Next, they turn to discuss the decision by John Hickenlooper to resign from the Democratic nomination battle to run for Senate and Beto O’Rourke’s defiance when asked to consider the same. Neither Will nor Brian believe either candidate had a chance of winning, but Will believes this may better reflect O’Rourke’s Vice-Presidential aspirations. Brian discusses how Hickenlooper ran his campaign and failed to distinguish himself. Moreover, he believes O’Rourke is clearly living in a delusional world after plateauing during the Cruz debate. They also discuss Joe Biden’s continual gaffes in recent weeks. Will believes this is tried and true Biden and will help him appear genuine. Brian, on the other hand, questions if this may be a reflection of Joe’s age and ultimate ability to win a contested primary. Will and Brian then turn to discuss the Trump Administration’s new immigration rules, which limit the ability for individuals to receive visas for mailing to meet income standards or for receiving public assistance. He believes tradition should not dictate future direction, and that the president is exercising his legal and constitutional rights to do this. Brian agrees that Trump is within his rights and aiming to develop a self-reliant American citizenry. He does believe, however, that the public charge is being misapplied in this case given the data on who uses which policies. Brian believe this is symptomatic of a larger concern, however: the demise of the American Dream. He is concerned about what the image of America is today to the world and how it will impact our short- and long-term futures. As he posits, why are the companies using these workers not being punished, as well? 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 Jennifer Rauch, Professor of Journalism and Communication Studies at Long Island University Brooklyn. Dr. Rauch is an award-winning writer, educator and researcher whose work focuses on alternative media, media activism and popular culture. Her latest book is Slow Media: Why 'Slow' Is Satisfying, Sustainable, and Smart. Topics Mike and Jennifer discuss include: Neil Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death Jennifer’s extended digital media retreat the Slow Food movement’s influence on slow media the best slow journalism being produced today whether slow media is elitist liberal bias in slow media why Luddites get a bad rap the politics of time Check out Jennifer’s Slow Media BlogJennifer Rauch 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.
This week, Mike and Kristin discuss news of the tragic shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio. As the nation sinks deeper into political divide, what transpired was a conversation about white nationalism, whether political parties are “responsible” for hate and tragedy. Mike thinks President Trump should be held accountable for his ramped-up rhetoric, while Kristin says that both parties must take responsibility for violent language. Kristin and Mike both bring up points about mental health and gun control, as well as Red Flag laws and assault weapons bans. They agree that they aren’t hopeful anything would transpire – but that we should work towards solutions.  Next, they talk about the Treasury Department declaring China a currency manipulator. Mike thoroughly explains the terms and says that China may have manipulated currency in the past, but that recent devaluation of currency isn’t manipulation. Kristin brings up the fact that all nations engage in currency devaluation, and mentions President Trump’s increased tariffs on Chinese goods. Both Mike and Kristin maintain a “wait and see approach” – will the tariffs work to level the trade playing field, or will this declaration lead to a trade war? Time will tell.  Mike and Kristin often find themselves discussing immigration law, and this week is no exception. After ICE officials raided seven plants in MS and arrested 680 undocumented workers, both agree that the system is broken. Mike remains skeptical that anything will be done, citing powerful business interests. He also argues that businesses are often put in positions where they are forced to hire undocumented workers, who are then mistreated and separated from their families. Kristin agrees and both say that there must be a middle ground, an easier pathway for obtaining work visas or citizenship. Kristin argues this would help everyone - the government could vet immigrants and account for them, and the workers would be kept with families and they would have recourse for payment disputes and unsafe working conditions.  Finally, they move to the topic of Rep. Joaquin Castro’s alleged “doxxing” of Trump donors and their businesses in his district. Was it an effort to be transparent, or was it “dog-whistling”? Mike thinks that Republican critics are being overly sensitive, and mentions that this information is public record and easily found. Kristin brings up motive and the fact that these donors and their employees are constituents, but Mike argues that the tweet won’t affect businesses much. They discuss connections Castro made between the El Paso shooter and Trump donors.  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.
Trey welcomes David Hawkings to the show to discuss his latest media project The Fulcrum. Topics discussed include: What is the current fundamental problem or problems in the American system? Why do we need a news outlet like The Fulcrum? What makes The Fulcrum different? The problems with Congress. The problems with Congressional transparency. 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.
Trey and Mike begin the show by discussing the Democratic primary debates. Mike outlines his rubric for picking the best candidate, listen to find out who, and then rank orders the options. Trey, an outsider to the party, argues that Democrats are not running strongly enough against a powerful presidency and are unfortunately embracing the trade policies of President Trump with better packaging. Next, they talk the federal interest rate cut, the first since 2008. Mike argues this is more of the same erratic behavior predictable of the Trump era and, further, limits the tools the Fed has to deal with a real crisis. Mike’s economic data is found here. Trey suggests Powell is bowing to political pressure and that this is precisely the problem with the current Fed. He also doesn’t understand how, even if you agree with Keynesianism the rate cut is a bad idea. After that, Trey and Mike move to the related topic of Chinese tariffs. Mike is in large agreement with the underlying goals of the Trump administration, but concerned that they are not using the best tools to get Chinese compliance on issues including intellectual property rights. Trey sees the consumer fallout as being a potential electoral question in the 2020 presidential election. The show closes by discussing the drama surrounding the exit of Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and the withdraw from consideration of Congressman John Ratcliffe. 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.  
Trey welcomes Lee Drutman, Vanessa Williamson and Felcia Wong to the show to discuss their latest report and study through the democracy fund voter study group: On the Money. Topics discussed include: why study voter’s economic policy preferences why Republicans do not share an economic policy position the difference for people’s individual policy preferences and their overall policy goals the role of luck in economic policy views the predictive power of economic policy views in American elections Donald Trump and Republican economic policy views 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 and Jay kick off the show by looking at the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision allowing construction of a Mexico border wall to move forward pending litigation. The Court’s five conservatives didn’t rule on the substance of President Trump’s action but indicated that the plaintiffs were unlikely to have standing to sue. Jay feels that the court got it right, though Mike is more inclined to side with the four liberals who dissented, arguing that once the wall is up, the harm that’s been done cannot be undone and so building should be on hold until the matter is resolved. Next, they talk about the testimony of former special counsel Robert Mueller before Congress. It was certainly political theater, but Mike feels it was a worthwhile ‘Hail Mary’ shot and bringing the often dry contents of the Mueller Report to life, even if it was unlikely to sway many people. Both Jay and Mike agree that Mueller’s performance in this political theater wasn’t very strong, though Jay still believes there will be both an impeachment inquiry and impeachment proceedings. Mike doesn’t see that happening. After that, the Guys discuss a rare bit of bipartisanship - the two year budget and debt ceiling deal. Jay, like many fiscal conservatives, doesn’t like the fact that it raises spending by nearly a third of a trillion dollars without providing any way to pay for it. Mike points out that not all deficit spending is bad, and that the U.S. is able to borrow at extremely low rates of interest - investing that money in things with a higher return is smart, though he admits that this doesn’t happen nearly as often as it should. He also points out that we’d be in much better shape if not for the massive GOP tax cut. Following that is a look at the deal Facebook made with the FTC, agreeing to pay an unprecedented $5 billion fine as well as comply with a number of checks on its practices to better ensure user privacy. Mike wishes the deal had pushed Facebook more, but feels that on balance it may have been preferable to a long, drawn out legal battle with a highly uncertain conclusion. Jay agrees, though he’s less conflicted about it than Mike, and more reluctant to call for action such as breaking up Facebook or other big tech companies. The show closes with a discussion of an emissions deal the state of California made with four auto manufacturers who together make up 30 percent of the US auto market. The car companies agreed to increased emissions standards that are lower than called for by Obama-era regulations, but higher than the freeze in standards the Trump administration is pushing for. Mike’s a bigger supporter of higher emission standards than Jay, but they both agree that California has a legal right to set its own standards and that if the Trump administration wants to change that, they should do so through the legislative process, not via administrative fiat. 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. Thanks to the great folks at Total Recorder. (This isn’t an ad, just appreciation for some help they recently gave us. Great recording software and excellent customer service.)
Will and Brian begin by discussing Mayor Peter as a Democratic candidate this week given his last quarter fundraising showing. While Will argues that Mayor Pete is an intriguing candidate—even for someone who leans right—he also suggests his polling numbers with African-American voters could be problematic in the primaries. Brian suggests Mayor Pete may be quick to collapse in the race given that other candidates—namely Biden—actually brought in more per day during the cycle. Further, Brian is not convinced he is ready for continued primetime pressure, which he didn’t face in the first debate. Next, Will and Brian discuss the upcoming second Democratic debate. Both believe the field remains too large to allow for nuanced policy discussions. Having the debates over two nights, Will asserts, prevents voters from seeing interactions and discussions they may need to see to differentiate between candidates. Thus, donations will possibly split and general uncertainty will continue to rise to the surface. Brian worries about the longer-term impact given that all demographic data suggests Democrats should be looking to stronghold a long-term gain rather than in-fighting for the next two years. Lastly, Will and Brian discuss the role of capitalism in the United States today. This discussion was brought on by Abigail Disney’s undercover trip to Disneyland and comments regarding Bob Iger’s wages compared to the average worker at the park. Will advocates strongly for the system as it is today while Brian ponders whether it’d be possible to change the economic infrastructure of society even if we decided we wanted to. 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 Brian begin by discussing the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. Brian sees great value in space and exploration as a means to advance scientific knowledge and understanding. Even more importantly, he finds that interest in STEM can help motivate children to pursue careers that will continue to move the world forward. Will also sees value in space exploration but wants to remind everyone of the political push behind many early endeavors. Moreover, he also posits the good that could be done with the same budget money today to help citizens across the United States. Next, they move to a lengthy discussion around Trump’s Tweets aimed at the Squad and fallout surrounding it. Brian argues the tweets are explicitly racist and problematic for democratic governance in the country. Will, on the other hand, believes that while the intention was clear, the message itself was not as direct as many are claiming. Both believe the move was quite strategic. Will posits that Trump used this to move the news media off of other areas while also forcing Speaker Pelosi to defend the Squad, consequently positioning the left as being more extreme than they currently are in reality. Both agree that this issue will continue to be discussed but will not lead to any noticeable shifts in public opinion and pushes for impeachment are wasted efforts today. Will and Brian then discuss the contempt charges brought against Attorney General Barr and Secretary Ross by the House over the citizenship Census question. Will points out that the entire debate is not about the actual question, since it has existed in some format for decades, but instead about how the information could and would be used. Brian believe the contempt charges are largely political theater but still send an important message regarding the current state of Congressional relations with the President. Lastly, they briefly discuss the testimony of Secretary McAleenan regarding border conditions today. Will begins by saying that Mike Pence’s comments on the conditions got his attention more than anything else in the news recently given his political leanings and honest assessment. Moreover, Will worries that presidential candidates are using the border as a photo opp which undermines the plight of the individuals currently held there. Brian is concerned both with the conditions and the way that Americans are responding. Both wonder if McAleenan was suggesting to the House that this could all be solved if they were willing to more actively take other measures to curb immigration. 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.
Kristin & Mike Take a Test

Kristin & Mike Take a Test

2019-07-1700:47:074

Now for something a little different and fun – Mike and Kristin take a test! Before they take the Pew Research Center’s Political Typology Quiz, Kristin responds to a question from listener Martin about why she plans to vote for President Trump in 2020. After that, Mike and Kristin get right down to business and take the test, which consists of choosing between a series of two statements on a variety of issues. They discuss the binary nature of the test and both feel that it’s important to choose the statement that is closer to their beliefs. They run into trouble with a few questions and the phrasing, but have a great time discussing each and challenging each other’s positions along the way. To hear the results, where each host fell on the ideology scale, and to take the test right along with them, be sure to tune in until the end! 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 (72)

ZRob ThaDertBerd

Ol girl Kristin and her "both sides-isms" .... she reminds me of my dad in her conflating and straw-manning about how a response from the Left in calling out the Right is just as bad as the Right first saying some wild shit that deserves calling out. plus, did see really say there were no stats to bear out that the assault weapon ban of 1994 had no affect on shootings?? wow, spoken like a true "feelings, not facts" person.

Aug 12th
Reply

William M Westcott

ZRob ThaDertBerd Agreed. Her and Jay I feel like sometimes just say things they think conservatives should say rather than risk saying something that may be outside party orthodoxy. In doing so they minimize the reasons like I want the show as they are just parroting talking points. Sometimes mike and trey piss me off but at least they generally seem to be unafraid to say what they think.

Aug 12th
Reply

Kevin

Kristin. It's okay. We know you're a Republican, but you can still call Trump out for saying objectively horrible things on a regular basis. Plenty of other Republicans do it. You can too. You don't have to engage in "Both Sides-ism." Some people are just awful regardless of their political party.

Aug 11th
Reply

Punkfake

Kevin She’s barely a republican, seems not to really stand for anything

Aug 13th
Reply

Sawyer  Martinez

Kevin I agree!

Aug 12th
Reply

Andrew Dias

Quit this stupid and damaging labeling of Midwestern, rural, apolitical types as "real people" as if the rest of the country are not legitimate. It happens entirely too often and it reenforces the myth of the distant "liberal elite" for those in decisive electoral districts.

Aug 11th
Reply

Sawyer  Martinez

Andrew Dias Yes, you are right...

Aug 12th
Reply

Linda Susan Erickson

How dare Mike approve of harming donors who have a different point of view who don't see the Trump administration as just a bunch of haters. Kristen, please don't let Mike get away with punishing others because they don't agree with him. That's the whole problem in this country; we must learn to tolerate different points of view without demonizing! 😞

Aug 10th
Reply

fresh mannn

Yang2020

Aug 3rd
Reply

Alex

Daily reminder that what started the Trump investigation was NOT the dossier, but when Australian officials informed American officials that in May 2016, a Trump presidential campaign adviser, George Papadopoulos, told the Australian High Commissioner to Britain, Alexander Downer, that Russian officials were in possession of politically damaging information relating to Hillary Clinton.

Jul 29th
Reply

Andrew Dias

Alex thank you, I was just about to comment that. why has this conspiracy persisted? Sure, it was a bombshell when it came out, but it was certainly NOT what started this whole investigation.

Jul 29th
Reply

Laura Darnell

I love your summary of the state of our country. yes some things have improve but there is still alot of improvement to make

Jul 24th
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Lars Wood

Laura Darnell yes, I agree! There is still a lot of improvement to make!

Jul 25th
Reply

Anthony Gendin

every question is left vs right, no nuance in any of the choices. A "fun" quiz and interesting conversation but does not move the conversation forward.

Jul 23rd
Reply

Heather Morrison

Anthony Gendin I agree with your first sentence

Jul 24th
Reply

Kevin

Great hosts.

Jul 22nd
Reply

Fido Wood

Kevin yes, same feeling with you!

Jul 23rd
Reply

Kevin

I enjoyed taking the political quiz along with you guys, and I have to agree that a lot of those binary choices were just brutal. I too ended up with "Solid Liberal" despite my generally moderate views and mostly hawkish foreign policy stance.

Jul 17th
Reply

Kimberley Cotton

Kevin 👍👍👍

Jul 18th
Reply

Zac Zalles

Some weird audio jumping around the center/end of this one. Watch out for that

Jul 3rd
Reply

Robi

Check out the research done by Fairvote for a lot of information about multi-member districts and rank choice voting.

Jul 1st
Reply

Robi

Michael Baranowski I interned with then a number of years back and wrote a number of good blog post for them. If the post are no longer available let me know and I can send you copies.

Jul 29th
Reply

Michael Baranowski

Robi Thanks for the tip - they have tons of great resources!

Jul 26th
Reply

Diane Dvorak Griesenauer

I could not listen to the whole thing. The sound quality was really bad, and both men seemed so out of touch.

Jun 27th
Reply

Chelsea

You guys are so disconnected and keep asking obvious questions that you wouldn't be asking if you were in touch with the true electorate and especially with your views of the economy. You sound like old out dated news.

Jun 24th
Reply

Michael Baranowski

Chelsea Thanks for taking the time to comment! I'd love to know what questions you feel we should be asking, and possibly ask and discuss our answers to them on an upcoming episode.

Jun 24th
Reply

Autumn Skeen

At last! Intelligentsia that isn’t snobbish or anti left, anti right, anti religion, anti anything other than anti morality.Thank you

Jun 20th
Reply

Michael Baranowski

Autumn Skeen Thanks much for the comment!

Jun 24th
Reply

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
Reply

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
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