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Politics is Everything Podcast

Ep. 56: What’s At Stake in Virginia Legislative Elections & the Crisis Among America’s Men ft. David Sirota

Virginia is one of just four states — Louisiana, New Jersey, and Mississippi are the others — that hold state legislative elections in odd-numbered years. It’s entirely plausible that following the 2023 elections, Virginia could join Georgia and New Hampshire as states that have one-party state government that is different from the party that won the state in the most recent presidential election. Since Spring, Virginians’ ratings of the Governor and of the president have been relatively stable – 51% of Virginians approve of the way Youngkin is handling his job as governor and 40% approve of the way Biden is handling his job as president. In this episode, Kyle Kondik and Carah Ong Whaley discuss new analyses on Sabato’s Crystal Ball regarding what’s at stake in the Virginia legislative elections.  

David Sirota, founder and editor-in-chief of The Lever, also joins Center for Politics interns Eli Weinger and Abigail Ronsonet to talk about the role of big money in politics, Biden’s chances for reelection in 2024 and the crisis amongst American men.

Links in this episode:  

The Battle for the Virginia State Legislature
The Lever

Ep. 55: What Can Save Us from AI? Ft. Nick

“The QUESTION CIRCULATING around Silicon Valley isn’t if such a scenario is worth it, even with a 1 PERCENT CHANCE OF ANNIHILATION,” writes Nick Bilton in Vanity Fair, “but rather, if it is really such a bad thing if we build a machine that CHANGES HUMAN LIFE AS WE KNOW IT.” Bilton joins us to share his research on Artificial Intelligence and it’s implications for politics and society.

Nick Bilton is a special correspondent at Vanity Fair, and his new article is: Artificial Intelligence May Be Humanity’s Most Ingenious Invention—And Its Last? at and in Vanity Fair’s October issue, also on newsstands as of September 19.

Ep. 54: Flip Flops, Fact Checks & Republicans’ “Excess Seat” Edge in State Legislatures ft. Louis Jacobson

In this episode, Kyle and Carah talk with Crystal Ball Senior Columnist Louis Jacobson about his new analysis on “excess seats” in state legislatures as well as House Republicans’ recently-announced impeachment inquiry into President Biden, his journalism career with PolitiFact, and much more.

Louis Jacobson is the senior correspondent with PolitiFact. Previously, he served as deputy editor of Roll Call and as founding editor of its legislative wire service, CongressNow. Earlier, he spent more than a decade covering politics, policy, Congress and lobbying for National Journal magazine. He is senior author of the 2016, 2018, 2020, 2022, and 2024 editions of The Almanac of American Politics.

Links in this Episode:

Politifact articles by Louis Jacobson
The Republicans’ ‘Excess Seat’ Edge in State Legislatures
The Almanac of American Politics 

Ep. 53: Navigating Shifting Political Landscapes ft. Grace Panetta

In this episode, Grace Panetta, a political reporter at The 19th, joins Kyle Kondik, Carah Ong Whaley and Kylie Holzman to discuss several key issues for the 2024 election, including media coverage of women candidates, voter turnout, dramatic shifts in election law landscape, and ongoing threats to democracy posed by election denialism.

Also, in this episode, Kyle discusses his new analysis on Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball about how the most populous counties versus the least populous counties have voted in presidential elections from 1996-2020. In 1996, Bill Clinton won both the most (by 15.7 percentage points) and least populous counties (1.8 point margin). That means the difference between the two was 13.9 points. By 2020, the gap between the most vs. least populous counties was 39.2 points.

Links in this episode: 

How the Other Half Votes: The United States, Part Two by Kyle Kondik 
The 19th articles by Grace Panetta
Nikki Haley’s Time for Choosing by Tim Alberta
The Red Ripple: The 2022 Midterm Elections and What They Mean for 2024

Ep. 52: ‘Just a Sideshow’: What the GOP Debate Tells Us About the Republican Party

On August 23, 2023, Republican candidates addressed questions on a range of issues facing the nation including the economy, abortion rights, and support for former President Trump even as he faces several indictments in the first presidential primary debate hosted by Fox News. Just 30 minutes into the debate, Chris LaCivita, a political consultant with the Trump campaign said the former president made the right decision to not participate and instead do his own interview with Tucker Carlson that was streamed on X (formerly Twitter).

In this episode, Kyle Kondik and Carah Ong Whaley discuss the first Republican presidential primary debate, Donald Trump’s interview and what we can glean about the state of the Republican Party and issues facing the nation.  

Links in this episode:

Explaining Republican Loyalty to Trump: The Crucial Role of Negative Partisanship 
Republicans view Reagan, Trump as best recent presidents 
Donald Trump is most Republicans’ first-choice candidate 
Younger evangelicals in the U.S. are more concerned than their elders about climate change 
Oliver Anthony – Rich Men North Of Richmond 

Ep. 51: The Atlas of Post-Dobbs Ballot Measures & the Power of the FEC to regulate AI

Since SCOTUS 2022 Dobbs ruling, seven states – California, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Montana, Ohio and Vermont – have voted on ballot measures that relate directly or indirectly to reproductive rights. Reproductive rights advocates have come out on the winning side in all seven. J. Miles Coleman discusses the first installment of his analysis on how these initiatives fared relative to other elections in Kansas, Michigan and Ohio.

Dr. Craig Holman of Public Citizen also joins Carah Ong Whaley, Marina George and Keshav Hajarnavis to discuss a new public comment opportunity to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) on amending regulations to include deliberately deceptive Artificial Intelligence in campaign ads.

Links in this Episode:

The Atlas of Post-Dobbs Abortion Ballot Measures: Part One
Comments sought on amending regulation to include deliberately deceptive Artificial Intelligence in campaign ads 

Ep. 50: A Regulatory Regime for AI? ft. Congresswoman Yvette Clarke

A new generation of generative artificial intelligence heralds a new era of campaigns and elections with the potential for disrupting democratic institutions and processes. “What we are concerned about is the weaponization of information,” says Representative Yvette Clarke (D-New York-9), who joins Carah Ong Whaley, Marina George and Keoni Vega to discuss the promise and perils of Gen AI and efforts in Congress to set up guardrails. “I’m not content with where we are. I feel an urgency to get us to where we need to be. We have the knowledge and understanding, but we don’t have the regulatory regime that truly protects the American people.”

Links in this Episode:

H.R. 3044: REAL Political Advertisements Act / S.1596 – REAL Political Advertisements Act
Statement on Biden-Harris Administration Securing Voluntary Risk Commitments from Leading AI Companies
Huster Magazine, Inc. V Falwell
Algorithmic Accountability Act

Ep. 49: Ohio’s Issue 1 Smackdown

This week, Ohio voters rejected a Republican-led measure that would have increased the threshold required to change the state’s constitution. Significantly, more than three million voters turned out for the special election, which is about 75% of 2022 midterm turnout in the state. More than 640,000 people voted early — a number that could still rise from late-arriving mail ballots — outpacing overall turnout for a 2022 August special election in the state. The struggle over Issue 1 drew more than $35 million in spending, with most of the funding coming from out-of-state groups. The whole point of this process was to erect an impassable barrier in front of a looming constitutional amendment on the ballot in November 2023 that would enshrine reproductive rights protections into the state constitution. Issue 1 would have made it much harder for redistricting reformers to successfully present a constitutional amendment to voters, perhaps in 2024, to establish a new, independent redistricting system in Ohio, which Republicans would oppose. 

Links in this Episode:

Ohio’s Issue 1 Smackdown: The left scores another win in an abortion rights proxy fight; apparent turnout and persuasion edge drives Democratic success

Ep. 48: How the Most vs. Least Populous Counties Vote & Trump’s Third Indictment

In this episode, Kyle Kondik discusses his new analysis of how the most populous vs. least populous counties in the United States have voted in recent presidential elections. Kyle and Carah Ong Whaley also discuss the third indictment of former president Donald J. Trump and implications for the 2024 presidential election.

Links in this Episode:

How the Other Half Votes: The United States, Part One

Ep. 47: Dwindling Crossover Governorships & 24 Hours in Charlottesville ft. Nora Neus

Will the number of split partisan results between presidential and gubernatorial outcomes continue to decline in 2024?  Kyle Kondik discusses the dwindling crossover governorships. We also look at “beer track vs. wine track” Republican voters, and how both tracks remain supportive of the former president in the primary despite his weak spots, with the other candidates trying to claw away from DeSantis who remains distant second.

Carah Ong Whaley and Skylar Tessler also talk with Nora Neus, Emmy nominated producer, writer, freelance journalist and author of 24 Hours in Charlottesville: An Oral History of the Stand Against White Supremacy. Neus is an alumna of the University of Virginia and field-produced Anderson Cooper’s coverage of the 2017 white nationalist riot in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Links in this Episode:

Notes on the State of Politics: July 27, 2023
The Dwindling Crossover Governorships
24 Hours in Charlottesville: An Oral History of the Stand Against White Supremacy