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The Political Wire Podcast

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Engaging interviews and discussions of elections and the political issues of the day. Updated weekly.

Engaging interviews and discussions of elections and the political issues of the day. Updated weekly.
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Engaging interviews and discussions of elections and the political issues of the day. Updated weekly.




Steven Brill: The Fifty-Year Fall of America

In the face of jailing immigrant children, questions about capitalism amid tariffs and possible trade wars, and concerns about democracy as we reject western allies and warmly welcome authoritarians and dictators, a lot of us are wondering not just who are we, but also, how in the world did we get here?


Scott Jennings: What’s Happening to the Republican Party?

For many on the right and left, the question has been “what’s happening to the GOP?” Free Trade? Gone.Budget deficits? No problem


Harry Litman: Does President Trump Think He’s a King?

Does President Trump think he’s a king? That was the provocative headline to a recent piece by Harry Litman, a former U.S. Attorney and Deputy Assistant U.S. Attorney General [...]


Bill Browder: Vladimir Putin’s Public Enemy No. 1

If you know Bill Browder’s story already, you surely won’t mind hearing it again. It’s extraordinary. If you haven’t heard it before, get ready.


Gen. Michael Hayden: Trump’s Assault on Intelligence

Of the many institutions that Donald Trump has attacked – Courts, Congress, media, political parties, diplomats, former Presidents – perhaps the most surprising and unnerving has been the relentless attacks on our intelligence community. Even before that second day in office – the one where he stood before the 117 stars honoring the CIA’s fallen and said we should’ve kept Iraq’s oil, claimed almost everyone in the room voted for him, and, of course, raved about the inauguration crowd size...


Amy Walter: Six Months Until Midterms… What Do We Know?

Can we talk politics? In the last weeks on this podcast, we’ve talked about racism, our shrinking diplomacy, the Mueller investigation, how democracies die, and more. But we ought not forget: it’s the political elections that deliver the policies that define our democracy. Not happy with how things are going? You might want to vote. Thrilled? Well, you may want to, also. So where’s our Midterm vote headed? Who’s up, who’s down, where’s the Blue Wave – and how much do particular...


Mitch Landrieu: A White Southerner Confronts History

Usually we drop these conversations on Friday mornings – you know, something to look forward to since the workweek excitement is about to end. But we’re posting this on Monday, May 7 because of my guest: It’s his last day as Mayor of New Orleans. Did you see the speech? It was about a year ago and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu stood up and explained to his city and the nation, really, why he removed four statues that honored the Confederacy: Robert E. Lee; Jefferson Davis; P.G.T....


Ronan Farrow: Inside the War on Peace

Iran, North Korea, Syria, Brexit, Paris Agreement, China. Prime Minister Abe, Macron, Merkel, Xi, a fellow named Putin. At a time when U.S. foreign policy – when diplomacy itself – requires as much clarity and coordination and skill as it has in decades, ours has been going through – to put it diplomatically – a major transition.


Stuart Eizenstat: Taking Another Look at the Carter Years

Forget everything you think you know about President Jimmy Carter and get ready to ask yourself: Was he an ineffective, overwhelmed outsider who oversaw four of the worst years in our history… or, as my guest today argues, was Carter’s presidency one of the most consequential in modern history. I confess – I forgot just how much occurred during Carter’s four years – and how much of what he did set the stage for politics and policies today: Ideas like protecting the environment, putting...


Asha Rangappa: How Will the Mueller Investigation End?

How will it end? For any of us following the Mueller investigation — hanging on the latest leaks around the mood inside the White House and who might get fired or not [...]


Jennifer Palmieri: Who Will Be the First Woman President?

Why is Hillary Clinton not the first woman President? Many people, political types, historians and sociologists will consider that question for many years to come. But besi [...]


Rick Hasen: How Antonin Scalia was the Donald Trump of the Supreme Court

Perhaps this is how the Framers wanted it, but has there ever been a time where more issues with the potential to more deeply divide us – has there ever been a time where more of them seemed so likely to head to the same place: The U.S. Supreme Court? I’m talking about the 2nd Amendment, and the inevitable gun rights issues surely to come out of the growing #enoughisenough movement. I’m talking about gerrymandering, the crazy geographical games that determine who sits in our state...


David Wasserman: The House Outlook for 2018

For the last several weeks, regular listeners will know that I’ve been pretty focused on the state of our democracy. We all need to pay attention. At the heart of democracy, of course, is elections… and so today we get to focus on the politics and pro [...]


Michael Isikoff and David Corn: The Inside Story of Putin’s War on America

With the daily headlines on Russia – Nunes memos, Mueller indictments, Trump denials, continual cable TV panels – it’s easy to miss a powerful and – as it turns out, complicated – question: How did Russia happen? How did we get here? For many of [...]


Chris Whipple: How the Trump White House Is the Most Dysfunctional Ever

I’ve just got one thing to say: Thank goodness for John Kelly! I bet that’s not the one thing you expected me to say. But here’s why: With Kelly so much in the news – for the Rob Porter disaster, inexplicable non-existent security clearances, insult [...]


Steve Coll: Inside America’s Secret Wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan

About 13 years ago, I climbed on the bandwagon and, like lots of other folks, read several books to better understand our history in Afghanistan and Iraq and with Al Quaeda — how we got into the mess and, maybe how we’d get out. You may recall – it w [...]


How Democracies Die

I might not have a more important political conversation this year than the one I just had with Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt. You’ll be tempted to look at the title of their book How Democracies Die and – particularly if you sit on the left side of things – think that it’s purely about President Trump. It’s not. Yes, of course, it covers Trump. Specifically, by looking at authoritarians across continents and throughout history, the authors outline four key indicators of...


Peter Enns: Where Polls Live Forever

If you’ve ever wondered: Where do public polls go to die, today we bring you the answer: They don’t. They live on forever at the Roper Center. One of the things I love most about doing this podcast is the opportunity to talk with incredibly smart people in fields where, under normal circumstances, our paths might not cross. I just finished talking with one of them. Peter Enns is Executive Director of The Roper Center at Co [...]


McKay Coppins: What Is God’s Plan for Mike Pence?

McKay Coppins, Staff Writer at The Atlantic, joins Chris to discuss religion and politics, and his recent piece: “God’s Plan for Mike Pence.” If we want to understand just how divided the country is – and if we want to consider whether it will ever be repaired – we better dig deeper into the role of religion and politics. One question: How do evangelicals today reconcile the [...]


Chris Matthews: Looking at Today’s Politics Through the Perspective of RFK

First, where to begin? Roy Moore? Al Franken? Tax bill? Jerusalem? Government shutdown? Russia? The pace of politics is relentless – fatiguing, really – so you need someone of relentless energy to talk about politics with. And few have more relentless energy than Chris Matthews. But these times also call out for perspective and context. What in the world is going on? To many of us, it feels like there’s an all-out war – on decency, good behavior, justice – even democracy. What does...