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Politics is Everything Podcast

Ep. 17: What’s Happening with Four Weeks Until Election Day 2022?

It’s just four weeks until the last day to vote, a.k.a. Election Day 2022. What’s happening that may be affecting the electoral environment now that people are paying closer attention to the elections? Kyle Kondik and Carah Ong Whaley discuss ads, the prospect for women candidates, and ballot measures, and they answer listener questions.

Links in this Episode:

Sabato’s Crystal Ball

Ep. 16: Can we regain the ability to come back together after elections?

“Everything has changed,” says CNN political contributor and Center for Politics scholar Paul Begala about campaigns and elections since he was the senior strategist for Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign. “Partisanship is now part of our identity and social media has really put jet fuel behind all the fissures in our society…Elections have always been about dividing. We’re losing the ability to come back together afterward.” 

We talk with Mr. Begala about the changing nature of political campaigns, the 2022 elections, political organizing, Texas politics, the Democratic Party and more.

Links in this Episode:

About Paul Begala
Books by Paul Begala

Ep. 15: “What an Injustice’ ft. Senator Tim Kaine

Senator Tim Kaine joined the Center for Politics on September 23, 2022 to honor law enforcement who defended the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021 for the first annual Defender of Democracy Awards. The J6 insurrection interrupted the proceedings of the House and Senate as they met to fulfill their Constitutionally prescribed duty to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election and forced members to evacuate to safe locations, including Senator Kaine.

Senator Kaine recalled his reaction on January 6 as he was hunkered down in the Capitol with other Senators and staff and seeing Virginia State Troopers arrive on the scene, “The last time there was domestic insurrection against the government of the United States, Virginia was leading it. Now we’re in a domestic insurrection that’s being led by the commander-in-chief of the United States, and Virginia is coming to the rescue of the union.” Senator Kaine also noted that Charlottesville and January 6 are connected in so many ways as both were: “motivated by a fear of replacement, amplified by disinformation, and were an attack on democracy.”

Senator Kaine has helped craft bipartisan legislation to honor the public service of police officers, firefighters, and emergency responders by supporting the families of public safety officers lost to trauma-linked suicides, including families of Officers Jeffrey Smith and Howard Liebengood who were honored by the Center for Politics as Defenders of Democracy.

Ep. 14: Outside Spending, Rating Changes & Ads…Oh My!

The cost of elections is on the rise. Adjusted for inflation, the 2022 congressional elections are set to cost $9.3 billion dollars, compared to $6.7 billion in 2018, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics. And the average cost to win a seat has doubled since 2004. In this episode Kyle Kondik shares his outside spending analysis, where outside spending is targeted and how outside spending is influencing his assessment of races. Kyle and Miles Coleman also discuss updated Sabato’s Crystal Ball House and Gubernatorial ratings and what political ads tell us about some key races.

Links this Episode:

Following the Money: What Outside Spending Tells Us About the Race for the House 
Notes on the State of Politics: Sept. 28, 2022

Ep. 13: Hello, 2022. 1978 and 1982 are calling.

Sabato’s Crystal Ball has been tracking how 2022 is different from previous midterm elections years when the party that holds the White House is often punished. The 2022 midterm elections features both an unpopular president and there are also indications that the unpopular president’s party won’t be strongly punished. In this episode, Kyle Kondik discusses how echoes of the 1978 and 1982 midterm elections may be reverberating in 2022.

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Ep. 12: ‘I was just simply doing my job.’ Ft. Sergeant Aquilino Gonell

On Friday, September 23, the Center for Politics honored and recognized all of the police officers, state troopers, national guard, firefighters, and emergency responders who protected members of the U.S. Congress, their staff, journalists and other public servants at the Capitol on January 6, 2021 as the legislative branch of America’s democracy carried out the Constitutionally prescribed certification of the results of the 2020 presidential election.  

In this episode, we talk with one of the recipients of the award, U.S. Capitol Police Sergeant Aquilino Gonell. Sergeant Gonell served in Iraq with the U.S. Army during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Even with the threat of bomb-filled roads, he volunteered to conduct supply missions for U.S. and allied forces and local Iraqi schools. On January 6, 2021 while on American soil, he said he was more afraid of the violence that took place at the Capitol than he ever felt while serving in Iraq. On the west side of the Capitol, he spent hours trying to stop the wave of assailants from entering the building. He was hit with an American flag pole and a bat, and at one point fell to the ground and was dragged by a group that beat and insulted him.  

“I had to work for my citizenship. I had to earn my citizenship. Having so many people who were born in this country attacking the very same thing I swore an oath to protect and attacking the place I call home, that is what bothers me so much,” Sergeant Gonell tells us. “I bought into the American system, into American values. The things we hear when we live overseas – that America is the land of opportunity, that everyone is treated equal, that no one is above the law. And all this was tested on January 6 and onward… Without what we did, there would have been a lot of people who died. It would have been a massacre. When they were trying to get into the Capitol, they were telling us that they were there to hurt people. They told me that they were going to execute anyone in there that deserves it. Some of them yelled at me that I wasn’t an American…but, what is more American than protecting the Capitol?”

Links this Episode:

Donate to support the documentary about January 6, 2021 from the perspective of the law enforcement who responded to the call of duty to defend democracy.  
UVA Center for Politics Awards Officers Defending Capitol on Jan. 6 As ‘Defenders of Democracy’

Ep. 11: Why Is the U.S. Constitution in Jeopardy

Activists have been campaigning behind the scenes for years now to change the U.S. Constitution to limit the federal government, with implications for education, health care and the environment. In this episode, we talk with former Senator Russ Feingold, President of the American Constitution Society, and Peter Prindiville, a non-resident fellow at the Stanford Constitutional Law Center about their new book, The Constitution in Jeopardy

Feingold and Prindiville trace the origins and developments of Article V of the U.S. Constitution and its provision and the ways in which it embodies an underappreciated tension that the Constitution both reflected and embedded between institutionalist theories of democracy and governance and more radical grassroots theories of resistance and change. They caution that a Constitutional Convention could run away and fundamentally alter our nation’s laws and civic life.

Links in this Episode:

The Constitution in Jeopardy Public Affairs Books 

Ep. 10: What Is the Role of the News Media in this Critical Moment for American Democracy?

Robert Costa, chief election and campaign correspondent for CBS News and a scholar at the Center for Politics this academic year, shares his approach to covering campaigns, elections and politics to help the public make sense of the complex issues facing the nation. “It can become a blizzard that’s hard to follow,” says Costa, “You have to report deeply and you want to break news…Unless it’s breaking ground on the biggest players, it’s important, but not THE story.”

Links in this Episode:

Watergate at 50: The political scandal that changed Washington
Rep. Liz Cheney Speaks joins Robert Costa, CBS Sunday Morning, June 5, 2022

Ep. 9: Are Republican Chances for the Midterm Underrated?

There’s been some mixed electoral indicators – including the recent rise in President Biden’s job approval rating and Democrats doing better in the generic ballot – that are making the 2022 elections more challenging to analyze. Henry Olsen, Senior Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and Washington Post columnist joins us to discuss why the Republicans are now being underrated, including through persistent and unaddressed biases in survey research, and what that means for the 2022 elections. “We should be very careful when we’re looking at state-level polling,” says Olsen.

Links in this Episode:

Ethics and Public Policy Center
The Midterms Swing Voter: People who Disapprove of Biden Only a Little
Yes, the Polling Warning Signs Are Flashing Again, Nate Cohn, New York Times

Ep. 8: House Ratings: ‘What the Hell’s Going On Out Here?

Kyle Kondik, Managing Editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball at the Center for Politics, talks about redistricting, the special election in Alaska and new ratings for House of Representative seats.

Links in this Episode:

Notes on the State of Politics: Sept. 7, 2022