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Amanda brings Battleground fans a very special series finale, featuring guest co-host Addisu Demissie and a conversation with Maggie Haberman of The New York Times. Addisu is the CEO of More Than a Vote, a voting rights organization started by LeBron James. He has spent decades in politics, most recently as a campaign manager for Senator Cory Booker’s presidential run, and California Governor Gavin Newsom’s gubernatorial campaign in 2018. Maggie is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and the Washington correspondent for The New York Times. She is currently writing a book about the former president. In the last episode of Battleground, the three friends argue and agree about all things Twitter, the media, and politics. Plus, Amanda and Addisu discuss election results across the country, with progressives securing some big wins at the municipal level, while other Dems got served a rude awakening at the state level. But stay positive, folks, as we head into 2022 — teamwork makes the dream work. A big thanks to everyone who’s supported the show — now get out there and run for something. See for privacy and opt-out information.
“In conservative media, there’s an incentive to put out misinformation, and to essentially lie.” David Brock, founder of Media Matters — a rightwing media watchdog group — knows exactly how the conservative media ecosystem works, because that’s where he cut his teeth. For the first half of his career as a journalist, David got caught up in what he now describes as a cult, working at places like the Washington Examiner and the Heritage Foundation, until he managed to break ranks and turn against them. David joins Amanda this week to discuss the unconscionable actions of Fox News, his efforts to create robust media infrastructure for Democrats and progressives, and the struggle to get investors on the left to pay attention to Virginia’s elections, despite their massive importance to the Democratic party heading into 2022. Plus: while the rest of the world enjoys an average of 26 weeks paid maternity leave, the great USofA and our highly functional legislative branch can’t even manage a measly four. Cool. See for privacy and opt-out information.
Amanda’s Twitter fav, Luppe B. Luppen — also known as @nycsouthpaw — joins "Battleground" to analyze some of the biggest stories in politics. First, Amanda and Luppe dissect the secret agreement, between Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, that capped overall spending on the Democrats' reconciliation bill at $1.5 trillion. They pick apart the draft materials released by Biden’s SCOTUS Commission and discuss what legal options the January 6th committee has when it comes to enforcing subpoenas. Finally, Luppen breaks down a topics he's researching for an upcoming book: the 2020 Iowa Democratic caucus debatable and the (unlikely) chances for reform. Plus: it’s Striketober! See for privacy and opt-out information.
Julián Castro, former Mayor of San Antonio and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development for the Obama administration, joins the show this week to shed light on a range of issues troubling America. The groundbreaking 2020 presidential candidate and Amanda discuss the ongoing housing affordability crisis; the transformational impact universal pre-K could have on our society; and the small group of conservative Texas politicians desperately clinging to their gerrymandered power, one regressive state bill at a time. Plus: why understanding the media ecosystem in which Democratic candidates operate is just as — if not more — important than the message they’re running on. See for privacy and opt-out information.
More than half of Americans are under the age of 40, and according to Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez, President and Executive Director of NextGen America, they are facing three crises simultaneously — a climate catastrophe, a democracy in decline, and grotesque income inequality. Cristina is a progressive labor organizer and former 2020 U.S. Senate candidate who truly understands the complexity of the youth vote, especially in her home state of Texas, and particularly within the Latino community. She joins Amanda this week to pull apart the Democrats’ mistaken assumption that young voters are all college kids; discuss why campaigns clinging to the ‘young people don’t vote’ myth after impressive turnout in 2020 do so at their own peril; and, as always, they tackle money in politics. Plus, breaking up Facebook: it’s time. See for privacy and opt-out information.
Judd Legum, author of the progressive newsletter, Popular Information, and former founder of ThinkProgress, can tell you with certainty that there’s too much money in politics, that legislators prioritize corporations over people, and that the media does a pretty bad job at covering all of it. He joins Amanda this week to discuss what the major news outlets are missing, getting wrong, and forgetting too quickly, and why. They get into which corporations pretend to champion gender equality and social justice; why so many public servants eventually join lobbying firms; and what’s wrong with political newsletters “brought to you by Chevron.” Plus, your weekly dose of Manchin shit-talking. See for privacy and opt-out information.
Third parties are famous for siphoning off votes from the major parties and ruining elections. While this phenomenon, known as the spoiler effect, is real, America's two-party system makes for strange bedfellows. It's not obvious what a democratic socialist like AOC has in common with a conservative Democrat like Joe Manchin, other than a "D" after their names.So what can reform-minded progressives do? How can they advocate for systemic change without tilting the field in the Republicans’ favor? Maurice Mitchell, a seasoned organizer and National Director of the Working Families Party, joins Amanda this week to discuss the WFP’s decades-long effort to build substantive, multiracial political power for the working class. The WFP emerged in 1998 as a direct response to the conservative-corporate takeover of American politics. Maurice details his party’s multifaceted approach that has its sights set not only on conservative Republicans, but on establishment Democrats in very blue districts who are out of step with the needs of their communities. In other words, the WFP is providing progressives, the working class, and people who don’t identify with either party a path to representation in government through collective organization. Just how effective are they? Ask now-former Governor Andrew Cuomo. See for privacy and opt-out information.
America’s lack of media literacy and historical affinity for conspiracy theories have allowed QAnon to move from the dark corners of the web to violence at the US Capitol. Now, much like the Tea Party efforts of last decade, the movement is attempting to take over local governments at a disconcerting pace. Journalist Mike Rothschild (The Storm Is Upon Us) has spent his career investigating how internet culture impacts American politics, and he is one of the go-to resources regarding all things QAnon. Mike joins Amanda on Battleground to discuss how QAnon has been shedding its fringier messaging post-insurrection and organizing politically to capture school boards and easily winnable local seats across the country.  If you’re tempted to dismiss the movement as a passing ‘Boomer fad,’ you might be surprised to learn that every age group and socioeconomic class is represented in QAnon.  Mike calls it the “umbrella of conspiracy theories,” and it  includes 2020 election results deniers, anti-vaxxers, anti-CRT diehards, and the forced-birth brigade. Mike points out (as Amanda does every week) that while many of us get distracted by the shimmer and drama of national politics, the real work of preserving a functional, multicultural democracy is at the unglamorous, hyper-local level. Conservatives are already putting up huge roadblocks to participating in state and national elections; adding a super-motivated band of conspiracy theorists running for school board and town mayor will not bode well for democracy. See for privacy and opt-out information.
The American dream disappeared generations ago, but we still operate under the myth that ascending the socio-economic ladder is simply a matter of hard work. In reality, America has become a caste system, where those born into privilege will likely stay privileged, while those born into poverty get stuck at the bottom. What’s worse, according to political philosopher Michael Sandel, are the attitudes accompanying this system. Many of those at the top truly believe they’ve ‘earned’ their place, a type of ‘winners and losers’ messaging that gets carried into politics. And to no one's surprise, Republicans are making it work to their political advantage.Professor Sandel joins Faiz on Battleground this week to discuss what he calls the “rhetoric of rising”; how dividing society into winners and losers cost Democrats the working-class vote; and what they can do to break the meritocratic spell that’s driving our country into the ground. Hint: electing more working-class people to office is a good start. See for privacy and opt-out information.



We're taking a break this week at Battleground, and will be back on September 9 with a new episode. Amanda's got some thoughts on how you can stay informed in the meantime. See for privacy and opt-out information.
In 2014, Republicans won around 4.3 million more votes in House contests than Democrats, which netted them 247 congressional seats. In 2020, Democrats got approximately 4.7 million more votes, but won only 222 seats. For that unfair advantage, you can thank REDMAP: a Republican project to take state legislatures and then gerrymander districts, in order to win and hold power – even when they get fewer votes.David Daley is a senior fellow at FairVote, a nonpartisan organization focused on making elections better, the author of two books on gerrymandering and voting rights, and the former editor-in-chief of With the August release of the 2020 Census data, Daley joins Battleground to sound the alarm on what’s looking more and more like the end of majoritarian rule. He and Amanda discuss the Roberts Court’s decision to stay out of states’ partisan redistricting efforts; the Democrat’s prospects in 2022; and how the party has mostly watched from the sidelines as these anti-democratic efforts unfold. See for privacy and opt-out information.
It doesn’t matter to Ai-jen Poo whether you call it ‘care infrastructure,’ or something else, as long as it gets funded properly. With Baby Boomers aging and Millennials having kids, we’re heading towards a crisis, thanks in large part to how we’ve neglected the critical role caregivers play in our economy.Ai-jen is the Co-founder and Executive Director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, a labor advocacy group that works to elevate the rights of domestic workers in the US. She’s been sounding the alarm and pushing for policies that will meet the impending care shortage. The goal is to give families the support they need, and to redefine the care work industry so that it provides quality jobs for an overwhelmingly female workforce that’s also majority women of color. Amanda and Ai-jen discuss the historical devaluation of women’s labor, how technology has changed both the care industry and organizing, and the potentially transformative effects of Biden’s infrastructure plan. Plus, Ai-jen shares a downright inspiring vision of the future, which we could all use right now. See for privacy and opt-out information.
If Americans voted the way the Founders intended, most of us wouldn’t get to vote. Amanda talks to Jessica Huseman, the editorial director of Votebeat, to learn about our country’s tortured, and unending, fight for voting rights. Jessica is a former high school history teacher who has spent the last five years reporting on voting administration – the ins and outs of what goes into putting on an election and counting the votes. Votebeat is a nonprofit newsroom that covers voting and also funds and trains journalists to report out that beat for local newsrooms. Jessica gives a crash course on the history of voting in America and then breaks down the battle over voting rights in her home state of Texas. It turns out that Texas’ voting laws are already so restrictive that the bill currently being pushed by Republicans is more likely to disenfranchise voters through incompetent bill writing than through actual design. Jessica also explains why a lot of Texas Democratic voters aren’t impressed by their legislators' decision to flee the state. Finally, Amanda and Jessica talk about local journalism and why it’s absolutely essential for democracy. See for privacy and opt-out information.
Last year, roughly 8000 election departments across the country pulled off the near-impossible task of holding safe and secure elections in the middle of a global pandemic. They did it despite gross underfunding from Congress, crumbling infrastructure, and threats of violence. In a wealthy democracy like the United States, local election administrators shouldn’t have to rely on private grant money to cover the cost of things like pens or postage for mail-in ballots, but that’s exactly what happened last year. In order to find out why America's election infrastructure is so neglected, and what needs to be done to fix it, Amanda talks to Tiana Epps-Johnson, the founder and executive director of the Center for Tech and Civic Life, a national, nonpartisan org that helps local election administrators across the country modernize their processes and cover the budget gaps left by inadequate funding. See for privacy and opt-out information.
It’s no surprise that the Supreme Court has a 6-3 conservative majority: progressive legal elites have been telling Democrats for decades that the judicial branch must remain apolitical, while for decades, Republicans have been successfully reshaping the courts. Brian Fallon, the co-founder and executive director of Demand Justice (and a recovering establishment Democrat), explains the history behind the Republicans’ decades-long judicial strategy and how Democrats can counter it. He and Amanda also discuss Stephen Breyer’s decision to remain on the court; what Democrats should do about the FBI’s bungled investigation into Brett Kavanaugh; and term limits for Supreme Court justices. (Amanda flies solo this week as Faiz continues to hang with his very cute new baby.) See for privacy and opt-out information.
ExxonMobil, and other major polluters like it, would love for you to feel like your personal choices are what will make or break this climate crisis, but the truth is, global warming can only be slowed through massive, systemic changes to the energy, transportation, and building sectors. Legislators must pass new laws curbing emissions, and the reconciliation bill winding its way through Congress is the best, and possibly last, chance to get this right. Amanda and Faiz talk to Jamal Raad, the co-founder and executive director of Evergreen Action, a climate advocacy group fighting to ensure that real action on climate change doesn’t get derailed by politicians bought by the oil and gas industry. The trio discusses why clean energy standards need to be in the reconciliation bill; how Republicans aren’t interested in good faith negotiations; and whether climate advocacy groups should continue to focus their energy and ire at Biden and the Democrats, or pivot towards Republicans. See for privacy and opt-out information.
Campaigns spent $8.5 BILLION on political advertising in the 2020 election cycle. That may seem astonishing, excessive, or even absurd, but if you want to know how campaigns win (and lose), you need to understand ad dollars. Danielle Butterfield is the executive director of Priorities USA – the largest Democratic super PAC. Before Priorities she ran digital advertising campaigns for Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in 2016 and 2012.Amanda and Faiz talk with Danielle about the challenge of convincing Democrats to fully fund digital advertising campaigns (as opposed to TV); why Donald Trump does so well online; and why new privacy changes will make it difficult to target voters. See for privacy and opt-out information.
Americans are being treated to a new and improved version of last decade’s infamous Tea Party movement. It’s another astroturfed moral panic, sponsored by conservative think tanks, brought to you by Fox News, and designed to win votes for Republicans: the war on “critical race theory.” Faiz and Amanda talk to Tyler Kingkade, a national reporter for NBC News who has written extensively on the subject, about how a term from the world of legal scholarship is on the tip of everyone’s tongues – and what progressives should do about it. See for privacy and opt-out information.
Every morning on The Recount Daily Pod, host journalist Reena Ninan will break down the most important news of the day, both domestically and abroad. In 5 minutes or less, you’ll walk away feeling smarter and more in sync with the world. Then, tune in for an interview with journalists who are on the forefront of the stories that affect us all.  Learn more about your ad-choices at See for privacy and opt-out information.
Amanda and Faiz are joined by Michelle Goldberg, a Pulitzer Prize-winning Op-Ed columnist for The New York Times. The three of them rate the Biden administration's performance, discuss the Democrat's branding problem, and get into a debate over how Biden should deal with Senators Manchin and Sinema's intransigence on filibuster reform. They also consider whether the Democrats should strategically pick a fight in order to motivate their base and how the party can recruit more candidates from working class backgrounds – like India Walton, its recently elected mayoral nominee in Buffalo. They end the episode on an optimistic note, as Goldberg explains what it's like to see New York City begin to emerge from the pandemic. See for privacy and opt-out information.
Comments (9)


Had to turn it off. Can't stand the voice fry overkill

Jun 27th


David it is your podcast. But please let your guest talk. We wanted to hear from Rachael the guest and not you.

May 3rd


I appreciate you David. But will miss Steve Schmidt! You both make a great team together! 🇺🇲 ❤ Good podcast with Adam!

Mar 3rd

Dore Sutton

love this podcast. I never miss it. and, please, give my best wishes to steve schmidt. we miss him.

Mar 2nd

Jerome Robinson Jr.

This is an AWESOME podcast! My friend/neighbor & I sometimes watch him on MSNBC. That's when I first learned that he was with the Lincoln Project. He tells it like it is! And Plouffe is pretty cool as well.👍🇺🇸

Jan 22nd

Kelly Schrodi

This is one of the best podcast! Steve & David are two of the voices I listen to for real, truth talk today. And hearing their experience, wisdom and unfiltered thoughts on today's madness is a must every week. I wish each episode was 2hrs long!

Nov 23rd
Reply (1)

Dore Sutton

Great podcast. Highly recommend this program.

Oct 13th

Kathleen Marshall

#SteveSchmidt2028 sounds like a brilliant ticket. Campaign Slogan, "Pot got me through Trump Presidency" Vetting shouldn't prove a problem, I think a fair amount of Americans partook of the green during the Covid Lockdown. Katie, Radical Leftist from Glasgow Scotland.

Sep 29th
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