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Democracy Works

Democracy Works

Author: Penn State McCourtney Institute for Democracy/The Democracy Group

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Examining what it means to live in a democracy
135 Episodes
"Hope for Democracy" recognizes the primary problems that plague contemporary democracy and offers a solution. It tells the story of one civic innovation, the Citizens' Initiative Review (CIR), which asks a small group of citizens to analyze a ballot measure and then provide recommendations on that measure for the public to use when voting.It relies on narratives of the civic reformers who developed and implemented the CIR and the citizens who participated in the initial review. Coupled with extensive research, the book uses these stories to describe how the review came into being and what impacts it has on participants and the public.In this episode, we also discuss the ways that deliberative democracy challenges existing power structures and how it can change participants' thoughts on civic engagement and how they can impact government outside of partisan politics.Gastil is Distinguished Professor of Communication Arts and Sciences and Political Science and Senior Scholar in the McCourtney Institute. Knobloch is Assistant Professor in the Communication Studies Department at Colorado State University and Associate Director of the university's Center for Public Deliberation.Additional InformationHope for Democracy: How Citizens Can Bring Reason Back Into PoliticsMcCourtney Institute for Democracy Virtual Book Club on Hope for Democracy - August 31, 2020, 4 p.m. ETCitizens Initiative ReviewRelated EpisodesFrom political crisis to profound changeWinning the democracy lottery
At the end of its 2020 term, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling on what might seem like an obscure question in Constitutional law, but could have huge ramifications in elections this November and beyond. We dive into the ruling on "faithless electors" in this episode from The Democracy Group podcast network.Democracy Works podcast host and producer Jenna Spinelle leads a discussion with:Lawrence Lessig, Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Leadership at Harvard Law School, founder of Equal Citizens, and host of  the podcast Another Way by Lawrence Lessig. Lessig and Equal Citizens Executive Director Jason Harrow argued before the Supreme Court on behalf of the electors in Washington and Colorado.Meredith McGehee, executive director of Issue One and one of the nation’s foremost experts on Congress and ethics in politics. Issue One was part of an amicus brief filed by the Campaign Legal Center on behalf of the states.Michael Baranowski, associate professor of political science at Northern Kentucky University and host of The Politics Guys, a bipartisan American politics and policy podcast. Baranowski is an expert on political institutions and discusses the practical implications of the Supreme Court's decision with Lessig in the second half of the episode.The first half of the episode focuses on the Supreme Court's decisions in Chafalo v. Washington and Baca v. Colorado. Lessig and McGehee explain what led them to get involved in the cases and have a spirited discussion about the role special interests could play in the Electoral College.Then, Lessig and Baranowski discuss the Supreme Court's opinion written by Justice Elena Kagan, and how to make the Electoral College more democratic though measures like the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.A huge thank you to The Democracy Group Network Manager Katie DeFiore for editing this episode!Note: Severe thunderstorms hit Washington, D.C. when we recorded this episode on July 22, 2020 and Meredith McGehee lost power halfway through. We were not able to get her back on the line before the end of the recording session. We apologize and are grateful for the time she was able to join us!Additional InformationEqual CitizensIssue OneThe Democracy Group podcast networkThe Politics Guys podcast
This week, we're bringing you an episode from another podcast we think you might enjoy, Broken Ground from the Southern Environmental Law Center.Broken Ground digs  up environmental stories in the South that don’t always get the attention they deserve, and giving voice to the people bringing those stories to light. While the show focuses on the South, the conversations — including the one in this episode — resonate far beyond the region's confines.In the latest season, the podcast explores how Southerners living along the coast are navigating sea level rise as they race against the clock. How will people on the front lines protect themselves from the immediate and impending threats of rising tides?This episode features a conversation with Dr. Robert Bullard, widely considered the father of environmental justice. He talks with Broken Ground host Claudine Ebeid McElwain about how communities of color are disproportionally impacted by climate change, pollution, and environmental destruction. Bullard was scheduled to visit Penn State in April and organizers are hopeful that he'll be able to make the trip in April 2021.If you enjoy this episode, check out Broken Ground wherever you listen to podcasts.Additional InformationBroken Ground websiteDr. Bullard's websiteSouthern Environmental Law CenterRelated EpisodesMichael Mann's journey through the climate warsChanging the climate conversationThe ongoing struggle for civil rights
We're digging into the archives this week for another episode on race and criminal justice. Peter K. Enns, associate professor in the Department of Government at Cornell University, Executive Director of the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research, and author of Incarceration Nation: How the U.S. Became the Most  Like the conversation with Frank Baumgartner last week, we look at how public opinion around criminal justice has changed over the past two years and how that translates into public policy.Enns argues that, while public opinion around criminal justice continues to shift, we still don't have anything close to a clear picture about what's happening inside correctional institutions. That, he says, makes it tough for the public to fully grasp the gravity of how incarcerated people are treated and inhibits progress toward a more just, rehabilitative system. We also talk about whether it's possible to both deal with COVID-19 in prisons and jails while also pushing for long-term structural change — and how making conditions healthier and safer benefits everyone.Additional InformationIncarceration Nation: How the U.S. Became the Most Punitive Democracy in the WorldPeter K. Enns on TwitterRoper Center for Public Opinion ResearchThe Marshall Project - nonprofit journalism on criminal justiceRelated EpisodesSuspect citizens in a democracyCivil rights, civil unrestA roadmap to a more equitable democracy
This week marks the beginning of our summer break here on Democracy Works. We are going to be rebroadcasting a few episodes from our back catalog — with a twist. In fall 2018, we did two episodes on police, criminal justice, and race that are directly relevant to what’s happening today. We caught up with those guests recently to talk about what’s changed in the past two years and how they think about the research in our current moment. First up is Frank Baumgartner, Robert J. Richardson Distinguished Professor of Political Science at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. He directed the team that analyzed the data published the book Suspect Citizens: What 20 Million Traffic Stops Tell Us About Policing and Race.  In the book and in our initial conversation, Bamgartner makes the case that an empathy gap exists between people with political and social power and the people who are most likely to be pulled over. The result is that segments of the population who are already disenfranchised become even more distrustful of the police and the government and less likely to vote and otherwise engage with democracy. During our follow-up conversation in late June 2020, Baumgartner reflected on whether the empathy gap has closed over the past two years and how common-sense police reform can work — even in the midst of a pandemic. Additional Information Suspect Citizens: What 20 Million Traffic Stops Tell Us About Policing and Race Frank’s profile on the Scholars Strategy Network Related Episodes The full episode with Frank from October 2018 What Serial taught Sarah Koenig about criminal justice The clumsy journey to antiracism
Michael, Jenna, and Chris in the studio in summer 2019. Before we take a short summer break, Michael and Chris answer your questions about democracy in our current moment. Thank you to everyone who sent in questions; they were excellent! Some of the things we talk about in this episode include: The difference between federalism and the federal government The definition of an institution How media coverage of the 2020 election will compare to 2016 What mask wearing says about the health of American democracy What the U.S. can learn from other democracies Why the “hard work of democracy” is that way For the next few weeks, we’ll be revisiting some of the episodes in our back catalog (with a twist) and bringing you episodes from other podcasts that we think you’ll enjoy. We’ll be back with new episodes before the end of August. If you have suggestions for episodes topics or guests for us to tackle in the fall, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We would love to hear from you. Contact us Related Episodes Last summer’s listener mailbag A democracy summer reading list Federalism in uncertain times Free and fair elections during a pandemic Episode Credits This episode was recorded on June 18, 2020. It was engineered by Jenna Spinelle, edited by Jen Bortz, and reviewed by Emily Reddy.
As we bring this season of Democracy Works to a close, we’re going to end in a place similar to where we began — discussing the role of political parties in American democracy. We started the season discussing the Tea Party and the Resistance with Theda Skocpol and Dana Fisher, then discussed presidential primaries with David Karol and the role of parties in Congress with Frances Lee. All of those episodes looked at the party system as it currently stands. This week’s conversation invites all of us to imagine how we can break out of the status quo and create something very different. Lee Drutman is a senior fellow in the Political Reform program at New America. He is the author of Breaking the Two-Party Doom Loop: The Case for Multiparty Democracy in America and The Business of America is Lobbying, and winner of the 2016 American Political Science Association’s Robert A. Dahl Award, given for “scholarship of the highest quality on the subject of democracy.” He has a Ph.D. in political science from the University of California, Berkeley. Drutman  is also the co-host of the podcast Politics in Question, and writes for the New York Times, Vox, and FiveThirtyEight, among other outlets. He holds a Ph.D. in political science from the University of California. We have one more new episode next week before we take a summer break. We’ll close the season with the second annual Democracy Works listener mailbag. Additional Information Breaking the Two-Party Doom Loop: The Case for Multiparty Democracy in America Breaking the Two-Party Doom Loop audiobook Politics in Question podcast Political Reform at New America Uniting for Action America – registration deadline July 31 Related Episodes Does Congress promote partisan gridlock? Primaries, parties and the public How the Tea Party and the Resistance are upending politics Your guide to ranked-choice voting Congressional oversight and making America pragmatic again
This week, we are bringing you another interview that we hope will give some context to the discussions about racism and inequality that are happening in the U.S. right now. We’re  joined by Tehama Lopez Bunyasi, assistant professor at the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University and Candis Watts Smith, associate professor African American Studies and political science at Penn State. She was recently named the Brown-McCourtney Early Career Professor in the McCourtney Institute for Democracy. Bunyasi and Smith are coauthors of a book called Stay Woke: A People’s Guide to Making all Black Lives Matter, which looks at the history of structural racism in the U.S. and gives people information and tools to become antiracists. We talk about the clumsiness associated with changing patterns of thinking and behavior and how that’s playing out across our online and offline lives and among both individuals and companies. We also discuss the inherent messiness of the Black Lives Matter movement and why that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Additional Information Stay Woke: A People’s Guide to Making all Black Lives Matter Three Myths about Racism – Candis’s TEDxPSU talk from February 2020 24 podcasts that confront racism in America – list from the Bello Collective Uniting for Action: America – register by July 31 Related Episodes Breaking down black politics Civil rights, civil unrest A roadmap to a more equitable democracy The ongoing struggle for civil rights Episode Credits This episode was recorded on June 9, 2020. It was engineered by Jenna Spinelle, edited by Jen Bortz, and reviewed by WPSU News Director Emily Reddy.
As protests continue throughout the U.S. in the wake of George Floyd’s death, we’ve been thinking a lot about comparisons to the Civil Rights era and whether the models for demonstrations created during that era are still relevant today. As we’ve discussed on the show before, public memory is a fuzzy thing and we’re seeing that play out here amid discussions of how peaceful protests should be. Our guest this week is uniquely suited to speak to questions of civil rights and civil unrest. Clarence Lang is the Susan Welch Dean of Penn State’s College of the Liberal Arts and professor of African American Studies. He is a scholar in African American urban history and social movements in the Midwest and Border South. He is the author of Grassroots at the Gateway: Class Politics and Black Freedom Struggle in St. Louis, 1936-75, and Black America in the Shadow of the Sixties: Notes on the Civil Rights Movement, Neoliberalism, and Politics. In addition to his scholarly work, Lang also has a personal connection to what’s happening right now. He grew up on Chicago’s South Side and a family member who was a police officer. He’s a humanist at heart who believes that our country can pull together and overcome these trying times. Additional Information Lang’s website Grassroots at the Gateway Black America in the Shadow of the Sixties Between The World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates A list of podcasts about racism and inequality from the Bello Collective Uniting for Action: America Related Episodes The ongoing struggle for Civil Rights School segregation then and now What neoliberalism left behind Episode Credits This episode was recorded on June 2, 2020. It was engineered by Jenna Spinelle, edited by Jen Bortz, and reviewed by WPSU News Director Emily Reddy.
We are working on an episode about the social and democratic context for the protests taking place around the U.S. after George Floyd’s death; we’ll have it for you on Monday. In the meantime, we are going to share a few episodes from our archives that we hope can provide context for our current moment. One voice we want to lift up during this time is Aaron Maybin, a former Penn State and NFL football player who is now an artist, educator, activist, and organizer in Baltimore, which is where we interviewed him in August 2019. Maybin has been a tireless advocate for Baltimore’s black community long before protests over the death of George Floyd hit the city. His work will continue long after the protests end — whenever that might be. He believes that the hard work of democracy happens when the cameras and outsiders go away and community members can be empowered to fight for the change they want to see. He also seeks to move people through his art and his work as an art teacher in some of the city’s most underfunded schools. His perspective is worth listening to, or perhaps even revisiting if you’ve already heard it, as we all make sense of what’s going on and how we can do our part to confront structural inequalities and racism in the U.S Learn more about Aaron’s work on his website or by following him on social media: Twitter Instagram Facebook Finally, our colleagues at the Bello Collective also put together a list of 20 podcasts that confront racism in America. You can find it here.
This is another episode that we recorded in our final days together in the office before COVID-19. However, the topic is just as relevant — if not more so — in our new reality. The topic is free speech and our guest is Stephen D. Solomon, Marjorie Deane Professor at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at New York University and founding editor of First Amendment Watch. He is the author of Revolutionary Dissent: How the Founding Generation Created the Freedom of Speech. Stephen lays out how the Founding Fathers, particularly James Madison, thought about free speech, free press, and the freedom to assemble. The ways we communicate have changed drastically in the past 250 years, but the concerns about protecting the free expression of ideas remains the same. We also discuss free speech on college campuses and how social norms around speech can be just as powerful as laws in place to protect it. It’s too soon to tell how the virtual environment will impact this dynamic, but it will be interesting to watch as colleges prepare for whatever the coming academic year has in store. Additional Information Stephen’s website Revolutionary Dissent Uniting for Action: America Related Episodes Defending the First Amendment and the Fourth Estate Facebook is not a democracy Jonathan Haidt on the psychology of democracy
Today we’re bringing you a special episode produced by Nicole Gresen, our intern on Democracy Works during the spring 2020 semester. Nicole spoke with Bob Buckhorn, who was mayor of Tampa, Florida from 2011-2019, about the role that mayors have played during COVID-19 and how they have to put partisans allegiances aside during times of crisis. As Bob says, people look to mayors for empathy and solidarity in the face of uncertainty — whether it’s a natural disaster or a pandemic. Bob also talks about his history in politics, which began not long after he graduated from Penn State. Under his leadership, Tampa became known as a city on the rise for startups and economic development. Though he’s no longer mayor, he continues an active role in the city’s government. Nicole graduated from Penn State in May and is currently pursuing career opportunities in digital media. We  really appreciate all of her help behind the scenes on the show over the past few months and wish her success in her career.
These days, it can feel like some politicians are working against experts in public health and other fields when it comes to actions surrounding COVID-19. There’s always been a tension between populism and expertise, but our media landscape and strong partisan polarization are pushing that tension to its breaking point — or so it seems, anyway. As with many issues we’ve covered on this show, there’s more to it than meets the eye, and we are digging into the relationship between expertise and democracy this week in a  collaborative episode with our colleagues at Penn State’s Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences. The Huck Institutes produce The Symbiotic Podcast, a show that explores how scientists are collaborating in new ways to solve complex global problems. In this episode, you’ll hear Symbiotic Podcast host Cole Hons and Democracy Works host Jenna Spinelle in conversation with Taylor Scott, associate director of the Research-to-Policy Collaboration, and Democracy Works host Michael Berkman. We discuss how organizations like the Research-to-Policy Collaboration seek to promote engagement between researchers and legislators and what both groups can do to make the relationship stronger. We also talk about why expertise is important in a democracy and what happens when it is undermined. Don’t forget, we are still taking questions for the second annual Democracy Works listener mailbag episode. We’ll read your questions on the show and choose three submissions to win Democracy Works mugs. Submit your question here. Additional Information The Symbiotic Podcast Research-to-Policy Collaboration Listener mailbag questions Related Episodes Does Congress promote partisan gridlock? How conspiracies are damaging democracy Michael Mann’s journey through the climate wars Episode Credits This episode was recorded on May 6, 2020. Thank you to Cole Hons of The Symbiotic Podcast for engineering the recording session. The episode was edited by WPSU’s Mark Stitzer and reviewed by WPSU News Director Emily Reddy.
As if the COVID-19 pandemic wasn’t enough to deal with, the World Health Organization says we’re now in an infodemic alongside it. We’ve seen this play out as misinformation and conspiracy theories move from digital to mainstream media and cast a shadow of doubt about information coming from the government and public health experts. Our guests this week have been tracking China’s role in this infodemic and argue that Beijing is taking a few pages out of Russia’s playbook for interfering in the 2016 U.S. election and its broader efforts to undermine democracy around the world. Jessica Brandt and Bret Schafer are part of the Alliance for Securing Democracy, which tracks online information manipulation through its Hamilton 2.0 dashboard. Early on in the pandemic, they saw an uptick in tweets from Chinese diplomats and embassies that were amplifying conspiracy theories about the virus’s origin and casting doubt on information from the World Health Organization and other official sources. The goal is not necessarily to have people believe these claims, but to stir up enough doubt to discredit democratic norms and institutions. If you enjoy this episode, we recommend checking out the Out of Order podcast, produced by the German Marshall Fund of the United States and part of The Democracy Group podcast network. Finally, it’s time for the second annual Democracy Works listener mailbag episode! In a few weeks, we will record an episode answering your questions before we take a summer break. Send us your question about democracy and we’ll answer it on the show, plus you’ll have the chance to win a Democracy Works mug. Additional Information Jessica and Bret’s article on China’s COVID-19 disinformation efforts Hamilton 2.0 Out of Order podcast The Democracy Group podcast network Listener mailbag question submission Related Episodes Protecting democracy from foreign interference How conspiracies are damaging democracy Episode Credits This episode was recorded on April 28, 2020. It was engineered by Jenna Spinelle, edited by Jen Bortz, and reviewed by Emily Reddy.
COVID-19 has exposed longstanding racial and economic inequalities in American life, which is evident in the fact that communities of color are being hit the hardest by both the medical and the economic impacts of the virus. Our guest this week argues that now is the time to empower those communities to have a stake in building a better future for themselves and making our democracy stronger in the process. Our guest this week is K. Sabeel Rahman, president of Demos and co-author of the new book Civic Power: Rebuilding American Democracy in an Era of Crisis. He is also an associate professor of law at Brooklyn Law School, where he teaches constitutional law, administrative law, and courses on law and inequality. His last book, Democracy Against Domination, won the Dahl Prize for scholarship on the subject of democracy. Rahman argues that the old ways of thinking about and participating aren’t working for under-represented groups. His book lays out a framework for how to make democracy reform more inclusive and how to balance liberalism and democracy by making institutions more representative of the communities they serve. The book was written before the pandemic hit, but feels even more relevant today. After the interview, you’ll hear an ad for Future Hindsight, one of our fellow podcasts in The Democracy Group podcast network.  The show’s new season on misinformation and democracy launches Friday, May 15. Additional Information Civic Power: Rebuilding American Democracy in an Era of Crisis Demos Future Hindsight The Democracy Group It’s time for the second annual Democracy Works listener mailbag episode! Send us your question about democracy and we’ll answer it on the show. Related Episodes Civic engagement, social distancing, and democracy reform Doing the hard work of democracy in Baltimore The ongoing struggle for civil rights Episode Credits This episode was recorded on April 16 and May 5, 2020. It was engineered by Jenna Spinelle, edited by Jen Bortz, and reviewed by Emily Reddy.
This episode was recorded before COVID-19 changed everything, but many of the themes we discuss about public opinion polling and the importance of trust and facts to a democracy are perhaps more relevant now than ever before. We talked with Michael Dimock, president of the Pew Research Center, about how the organization approaches polling in a world that increasingly presents competing partisan visions of reality. Trust in the media and government has been declining for years, if not longer, and may be exacerbated by COVID-19. What’s more concerning for democracy, Pew’s Trust Facts, and Democracy project found, is that our trust in each other is also declining. People don’t trust their peers to use good judgement when comes to evaluating information or making political decisions — especially when it comes to people from the opposing political party. Polling done as part of Trust, Facts, and Democracy found that about 60% of adults said they have little or no confidence in the wisdom of the American people when it comes to making political decisions. What does that mean for democracy? Dimock doesn’t shy away from talking about the grim realities of our current political climate, but does offer a few glimmers of hope from the Trust, Facts, and Democracy work. Additional Information Pew’s Trust Facts and Democracy project Pew polling on COVID-19 After the Fact podcast from the Pew Charitable Trusts The McCourtney Institute for Democracy’s Mood of the Nation Poll The McCourtney Institute for Democracy is starting a virtual book club! Our first selection will be How Democracies Die by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt. Join us for online meetings May 20 and 21. Visit to learn more and RSVP. Episode Credits This episode was recorded on March 10, 2020. It was engineered by Jenna Spinelle, edited by Jen Bortz, and reviewed by Emily Reddy.
Democracy is very much a group activity. Inside, we come together to debate, discuss, do the work of government, and make laws. Outside, we protest and hold rallies. But much of this is not possible. Social distancing presents a tremendous challenge. In this episode from The Democracy Group podcast network, we look at the barriers and the opportunities as we all deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.  “COVID, the pandemic … has really brought to bear not just the inequities and the inequalities, but also the necessity to have a much more active sense of democracy as a verb — democracy as an action that we can all be part of.” -Juleyka Lantigua-Williams, 70 Million Host Richard Davies Co-host, How Do We Fix It? @DaviesNow Guests Mila Atmos Host, Future Hindsight @milaatmos Juleyka Lantigua-Williams, Founder and CEO of Lantigua-Williams and Co. Creator and Executive Producer, 70 Million @JuleykaLantigua Carah Ong-Whaley, Associate Director at James Madison Center for Civic Engagement at James Madison University Co-host, Democracy Matters @CarahOng Lee Drutman, Senior Fellow at New America Co-host, Politics in Question @leedrutman
From Maine to California, people across the country have gathered at their state capitols over the past few weeks to protest stay at home orders issued by their governors in response to COVID-19. Protest is a hallmark of any democracy, but what happens when doing so comes with health risks? What is motivating people to take to the streets? How should media organizations cover the protests, and how do the people protesting feel about the media? Joining us this week to explore some of those questions is Chris Fitzsimon, director and publisher of States Newsroom, a collective of nonprofit news sites that cover state politics in many of the places where the “reopen” protests have occurred. Fitzsimon talks about what his organization’s reporters have observed on the ground and the challenges that states face in deciding when to lift stay at home orders and restart economic activity. We also discuss how this movement came together and whether it might have staying power beyond the immediate concerns related to COVID-19. Additional Information States Newsroom Visit to leave a rating or review for Democracy Works. The McCourtney Institute for Democracy is starting a virtual book club! Our first selection will be How Democracies Die by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt. Join us for online meetings May 20 and 21. Visit to learn more and RSVP. Related Episodes Federalism in uncertain times COVID-19 exposes democracy’s tensions Tracing the past, present, and future of protests How the Tea Party and the Resistance are upending American politics Episode Credits This episode was recorded on April 22, 2020. It was engineered by Jenna Spinelle, edited by Chris Kugler, and reviewed by Emily Reddy.
We are excited to collaborate with our partners in The Democracy Group podcast network to bring you a bonus episode on how COVID-19 is impacting democracy in the United States and around the world.  COVID-19 brings together several issues that have long been talked about separately — political polarization, misinformation, international cooperation, democratic norms and institutions, and many others. We dive into some of those issues in this episode and discuss how we can all work together to protect, and even strengthen, democracy as we emerge from the first wave of the pandemic. For more information about The Democracy Group podcast network, visit Thank you to Democracy Group Network Manager Katie DeFiore for producing this episode! Host: Jenna Spinelle, Communications Specialist at the McCourtney Institute for Democracy Host, Democracy Works @JennaSpinelle Guests: Luke Knittig, Senior Director of Communications at the McCain Institute Host, In The Arena @LukeKnittig Jeremi Suri, Mack Brown Distinguished Professor in the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas Austin Host, This is Democracy @JeremiSuri Rachel Tausenfreund, Editorial Director at the German Marshall Fund of the United States Host, Out of Order @thousandfriend Weston Wamp, Senior Political Strategist and Consultant at Issue One Host, Swamp Stories @westonwamp
With each passing day, the relationship between states and the federal government seems to grow more complicated. States are forming coalitions and working together to chart a path out of COVID-19, while sometimes competing with one another for resources. A lack of clear guidance from the federal government will likely lead to a fragmented return to business and social life state by state in the coming weeks and months. This situation is unique in many ways, but brings to light the complexities of American federalism — our topic of discussion this week. Charles Barrilleaux, Leroy Collins Professor and Political Science Department Chair at Florida State University, is an expert on American federalism and joins us to discuss the relationship between states and the federal government, and how that manifests itself during the response to COVID-19. The episode begins with Michael and Chris explaining the history of federalism and what powers the Constitution gives states and the federal government. Related Episodes COVID-19 exposes democracy’s tensions When states sue the federal government Episode Credits This episode was recorded on April 13, 2020. It was engineered by Jenna Spinelle, edited by Chris Kugler, and reviewed by Emily Reddy.
Comments (7)

Linda Susan Erickson

Your discussion is too simplistic. The science keeps changing. Medical professionals differ. Different policy makers can look at the same data and form different policy conclusions based on other factors. So please be more balanced. Your Liberal bias is showing. 😐

May 25th

Linda Susan Erickson

This guy is so partisan that it's sickening. How about some balance? 😐

Apr 28th

Linda Susan Erickson

So let me get this straight: I am supposed to stay at home, but our borders should be open to foreign travelers? Ridiculous!

Mar 25th

Linda Susan Erickson

It would really help if the podcast wasn't so partisan!

Jan 14th
Reply (1)

Jenna Spinelle

Hi Linda, Apologies for not seeing this sooner. Agree 100 percent about presenting multiple sides of an issue. Was there a particular episode or issue you were referring to?

Oct 1st

Linda Susan Erickson

It sure would be nice if you also presented the other side of this issue. Democracy works best when people are educated about both sides of an issue.

Sep 24th
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