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Politics is Everything Podcast

Ep. 7: Where Have Trump’s Endorsements Mattered and Why? ft. Leah Askarinam

In August, Representative Liz Cheney (R-WY) became the seventh House Republican to fall to a Donald Trump-backed challenger since 2018. Rep. Cheney has taken a prominent role in calling for accountability for the January 6, 2021 insurrection and calling out false election narratives. In this episode, we talk with Leah Askarinam, senior editor at Grid News, about the extent to which and where have Mr. Trump’s endorsements mattered in the 2022 election and why. “Trump undoubtedly is the most important endorser in the Republican Party, but even that has its limits,” says Askarinam.  Askarinam also discusses the role of candidate quality, the impact of the Dobbs decision, the economy and other issues and why this might not be a typical midterm election year.  

Before joining Grid, Leah was co-author of the On Politics newsletter for the New York Times and editor in chief of National Journal’s Hotline.

Links in this Episode:

Leah Askarinam on Twitter 
Lea Askarinam, “Senate candidates might not be able to ride a red wave. Can they paddle their way to the majority?,” Grid News 
Elena More, Tracking Trump’s endorsements: Here’s how his picks have fared in primaries, NPR

Ep. 6: How Has the Political Environment Changed & What Does It Portend for Senate Races?

In Sabato’s Crystal Ball this week, Kyle Kondik and J. Miles Coleman write that Democrats are hoping to make the 2022 election more of a choice than a referendum and that they are benefiting from some damaged Republican candidates in several key races as well as the emergence of abortion as a key issue in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision. In this episode, they discuss how the political environment has changed and what it portends for Senate races.

Links in this Episode:

“Senate Rating Changes: Arizona, Pennsylvania to Leans Democratic,” Sabato’s Crystal Ball
Election Spending Overview, Center for Responsive Politics

Ep. 5: What would American democracy look like if everyone participated?

Americans turned out to vote in record numbers in the 2020 presidential election and turnout has been on the rise in other recent elections. However, voter turnout in the United States still lags behind other countries. In this episode, we discuss 100% Democracy: The Case for Universal Voting with co-authors Miles Rapoport, executive director of 100% Democracy: An Initiative for Universal Voting and the Senior Practice Fellow in American Democracy at the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the Harvard Kennedy School, and E.J. Dionne, Jr. senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, a syndicated columnist for the Washington Post, university professor at Georgetown University, and visiting professor at Harvard University.  

Universal voting is in effect in 26 democratic countries in Europe, Latin America, Asia. Most notably, Australia adopted nationwide mandatory voting almost 100 years ago, in 1924. The participation rate immediately jumped from 60% to 90% and has stayed there in almost every election since.  

Rapoport and Dionne make the case that universal civic-duty voting would make the voting electorate more fully representative of the universe of American citizens and that campaigns would significantly improve, since candidates and parties would have to appeal to all voters. “When the electorate is fully reflective of the population as a whole, the responsiveness of government is likely to increase,” Rapoport says during our conversation. Instead of the “enrage to engage” that comes with great cost to our democracy, universal voting “would almost certainly produce a less ideological electorate,” says Dionne. The implementation of universal voting could also significantly improve civic culture in the United States.

Links in this Episode:

100% Democracy:  The Case for Universal Voting
It’s Time for Universal Voting
Beyond Turnout: How Compulsory Voting Shapes Citizens and Political Parties by Shane P. Singh 
Civic Duty to Vote Act, Introduced by Representative John Larson (D-CT-1) 
Compulsory Voting Around the world, IDEA International

Ep. 4: Is Ticket Splitting Still Alive?

In the lead up to the 2020 election, the Pew Research Center asked voters whether they would split their ticket, that is to select a Republican for one office and a Democrat for another. Just 4% of registered voters said they would do so. Less than four percent of members of the House of Representatives (16 of 435) represent districts that voted for the opposing party’s presidential nominee in 2020. At the state level, 90 percent of state Senate and state House districts around the country voted for the same party for president as they did for the legislature. In 2022, six states – Alabama, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Oklahoma and South Carolina – will offer voters the opportunity to choose a party’s entire slate of candidates with just a single ballot mark in general elections that applies to all partisan offices on the ticket, including federal, state and local races.

There has been a precipitous decline in voters who split their ballots as the political parties have sorted ideologically and sharpened their differences over issues and policies. Despite this trend, J. Miles Coleman discusses which states that have elections in 2022 for senate and governor might see split outcomes and why.

Read Miles’ full analysis on Sabato’s Crystal Ball.

Ep. 3: Can We Fix the Rage Machine?

Tim Miller is an MSNBC analyst, writer-at-large at The Bulwark, and the host of “Not My Party” on Snapchat. Tim was communications director for Jeb Bush’s 2016 presidential campaign and spokesman for the Republican National Committee during Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign. He has since left the GOP and become one of the leaders of the “Never Trump” movement. He is author of Why We Did It: A Travelogue from the Republican Road to Hell.

that aims to explain why Washington DC politicos who knew better went along with Trump and he joins us on Politics is Everything to discuss his book and what we can do to fix the rage machine he helped to create.

Ep. 2: What’s at Stake in Gubernatorial Elections?

The president’s party has lost governorships in 16 of the 19 midterm elections since World War II. In this episode, Kyle Kondik, Managing Editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball discusses the most competitive gubernatorial races in 2022. He shares how a variety of factors – including presidential approval, incumbency, the state of economy and other issues, the year in which gubernatorial elections are held – converge to shape the outcome of gubernatorial elections.

Links this Episode:

The Gubernatorial Races: Look to the West
Sabato’s Crystal Ball Gubernatorial Race Ratings 2022
Notes on the State of Politics: August 3, 2022

Ep. 1: Does political experience matter?

The difference in experience among Senate candidates is one of the story lines Kyle Kondik, Managing Editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball, is following in the 2022 midterm elections. As a group, Republican Senate (and gubernatorial) candidates have less experience running for office and winning general elections than do Democratic candidates. How will experience and candidate quality impact election outcomes?

Also in this episode, Ahmed, a student who participated in the Center’s Global Perspectives in Democracy Program, shares about his experience in the United States this summer and his views on democracy in Iraq.

Links in this Episode:

The Long Red Thread, by Kyle Kondik