With just days left to go before the midterm elections, Dan Savage, Eli Sanders, and Rich Smith talk about how the fascist future now feels like a very real possibility—if Democrats don’t at least take back the House. Also: Trump’s toxic rhetoric, his terrible response to the Pittsburgh massacre, his dumb talk of shredding the Constitution when it comes to “birthright citizenship,” and his nonsense argument for sending thousands of troops to the US-Mexico border just as Americans are voting. Oh, and it looks like young voters may be set to turn out in large numbers after all! Just don’t talk to Dan about that New York Magazine profile of 12 young non-voters. After all that, Chase Burns is back to talk about the beautiful human communication in the new film BPM (Beats Per Minute) and what we should do about the ugly, violence-inciting human communication that’s now pervasive on social media. Then Katie Herzog has plea for Hillary Clinton and Jasmyne Keimig talks about the scariest movie you can watch this Halloween, A Night at the Garden. Plus, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo.
Dan Savage, Eli Sanders, and Rich Smith talk about the mad, scary dash toward Election Day, which now includes pipe bombs being mailed to Democrat leaders on top of Trump’s already escalating lies about tax cuts and migrant caravans. Would a simple, compelling election year slogan from Democrats help the party cut through the noise right about now? Why don't the Democrats have one? Is the absence of a slogan maybe a bit of accidental brilliance? After all that, Dan tells Chase Burns about how Republicans in Illinois are weirdly playing the “disavow Dan Savage” card in the run-up to Nov. 6, and Chase tells Dan about a beautiful way to stick one’s head in the sand and drown out all this insanity: a nice, deep click-hole. Chase just came back from one featuring Jane Fonda and he learned A LOT. Finally, Rich talks to Eli and Jasmyne Keimig about Francis Fukyama’s new book, “Identity.” Plus, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo.
The sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh keep piling up, with the latest stomach-churning claim landing just as we sat down to record this week’s show. Dan Savage, Eli Sanders, Rich Smith, and Katie Herzog talk about what’s sure to happen next (fantasy and reality edition). After that, The Great Ted Cruz Restaurant Chase and a book by Michiko Kakutani that just might help you navigate this insane moment. It’s called “The Death of Truth: Notes on Falsehood in the Age of Trump." Plus, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo.
The rush to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the US Supreme Court has been slowed by accusations from Chrstine Blasey Ford, who says Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her in high school. Dan Savage, Katie Herzog, and Eli Sanders talk about this very consequential #MeToo moment and what should happen next. After that, Rich Smith returns from a sojourn in Trump Country to tell us about a rural Congressional race that’s so surprisingly close it’s giving him new hope for the Democrats taking back Congress. Finally, Dan talks about all the great shows he watched while grudgingly taking some forced time on the couch. Plus, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo.
Dozens of people have now been arrested for protesting inside the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings. We talk to one of them: Tiffany Hankins. After that, Eli Sanders, Rich Smith, and Katie Herzog talk about whether Democrats are really showing enough spine in trying to stop Kavanaugh, and what more they can really do without a Senate majority. Next: The New Yorker’s decision to invite Steve Bannon to headline its annual festival, the subsequent Twitter furor, and the magazine’s decision to cancel Bannon's invitation. Who screwed up here? And finally, two books, one podcast, and one old Netflix series that offer quick, delightful escapes from our political hellworld. Plus, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo.
In Florida, there’s now a fascinating governor’s race match-up between one candidate who's backed by Bernie Sanders and another who’s backed by Donald Trump. The Democratic candidate, Andrew Gillum, could become the first African-American to lead the state. Eli Sanders, Rich Smith, and Katie Herzog talk about that, as well as the real legacy of John McCain, who died on Saturday at the age of 81. Plus: A tour through a magical list—drawn up by Republicans!—of all the things Democrats are likely to investigate if they retake control of the House in November. Also, Katie explores a thorny question: Is it too soon for Louis C.K.’s comeback? Finally, a few movies we love right now, including Eighth Grade and Crazy Rich Asians. Plus, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo.
No, it’s not the Trump tape we’ve all been waiting for. But the secret Trump recording released by Michael Cohen this week is pretty damn interesting, and Eli Sanders, Rich Smith, and Katie Herzog talk about all the weirdest details. (“Get me a Coke!” included.) After that, Charles Mudede and Katie debate how the left should respond to real-life trolls, like the MAGA-hat wearing guy who turned up in Seattle recently and, after recording himself being accosted, became a right-wing hero. Finally, a new book by Alice Bolin called “Dead Girls.” It’s a provocative exploration of a big question: Why are Americans so endlessly fascinated by the murder of young women? Plus, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo.
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Dan Savage, Rich Smith, and Eli Sanders talk about Judge Brett Kavanaugh, who President Trump nominated to the US Supreme Court this week. If Kavanaugh makes it onto the high court, Roe v. Wade seems likely to be repealed, along with important environmental protections, voting rights protections, and more. How did we arrive in this nightmare scenario, again? Who, exactly, is this guy? And what can be done? After that, Rich has a few words for Elon Musk and his mini-submarine, as well as a book recommendation with a super calming title: My Year of Rest and Relaxation. Plus, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo.
How can the left fight back against a sure-to-be-terrible Supreme Court pick? Dan Savage, Rich Smith, and Eli Sanders count the ways. Then Katie Herzog celebrates the supposedly patriotic gift that Michael Cohen’s giving America this Fourth of July. She also helps Dan and Eli ponder the question: Is chanting “Abolish ICE!” a wise strategy for Democrats when it comes to winning back the US House? Finally, an official quiz from the US government, taken by Dan and Rich, in honor of the Fourth of July. Plus, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo.
Dan Savage, Rich Smith, and Eli Sanders dissect the latest lies and evasions from the Trump administration as it tries to justify separating mothers from their children along the southern border. Also: Should Democrats have been shouting about the family separation policy sooner? After that, Katie Herzog talks about a controversial cover story in the current issue of The Atlantic. It’s about children who identify as trans, and the backlash over the Atlantic story reminds Katie of the online pushback she received for a piece she wrote last summer on “detransitioners." Finally, something about borders and migration that’ll set your mind right—courtesy of Rich. Plus, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo!
This week, amid all the usual falsehoods and buffoonery, President Donald Trump struck a blow against US militarism and upended the proceedings of the “Group of Seven” industrialized countries. Take Trump out of it and… aren’t these outcomes that the left has long wanted? Can Trump occasionally be right for all the wrong reasons? And what’s a lefty to do when this happens? Charles Mudede, Rich Smith, and Eli Sanders try to figure it out. After that, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal talks about what she saw inside an ICE detention center where migrant mothers seeking asylum in the US have been separated from their children. Jayapal shares these women’s stories and talks about what listeners can do to end this inhumane practice. Finally, another primary night! Charles talks about Wisconsin, Rich talks about Virginia, and Eli talks about South Carolina. Then Rich offers a quick take on the new, very funny Michelle Wolf series on Netflix. It’s called “The Break.” Plus, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo!
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California’s “jungle” primary may be over, but the arguing over what it means is not! Dan Savage, Eli Sanders, and Rich Smith bicker about whether the generally good results for Democrats in California on Tuesday could—gasp—be a sign that the national party, which sunk $8 million into shaping the outcome, might have, maybe, been onto something. After that, Trump’s pardon bonanza, Katie Herzog’s internal wrestling with whether to be nice to Melania Trump, and Dan’s take on the US Supreme Court cake case. Finally, Chase Burns and Eli talk again about their personal odysseys in a world that’s been eaten by Facebook. This week Eli’s reporting about Facebook and political ads led to a major lawsuit against the company, while Chase’s job promoting posts with “political content” got a lot harder. Plus, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo!
Well, that’s the end of Roseanne! (The re-boot, anyway.) Charles Mudede, Dan Savage, and Eli Sanders talk about the racist outburst that finally crossed the line, their own personal Roseanne-watching limits, the strong similarities between Roseanne and Trump, and the inevitable right-wing complaint that cancelling Roseanne equals stifling free speech. After that, Katie Herzog breaks down a recent US Supreme Court decision on abortion that you need to be tracking and then considers the renewed talk of a Bernie Sanders presidential run re-boot. Is Bernie just too fucking old for this shit? Finally, Rich Smith digests new, anger-fanning news from Puerto Rico and the US southern border—and then considers Jeff Bezos’s easy, one-step answer to all the world’s problems. Plus, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo.
Stacey Abrams wins in Georgia! (Becoming the first black woman in history to be a major party’s choice for governor.) And former fighter pilot Amy McGrath wins in Kentucky! (Becoming the latest badass to defy the Democratic establishment's hopes.) Dan Savage, Rich Smith, and Eli Sanders talk about what it all means. Plus: Is the Bernie Sanders army really imploding? After that, Katie Herzog joins to talk about the Republicans’ latest effort to help big banks—by rolling back Dodd-Frank. Will the Republican voters who chanted “Drain! The! Swamp!” ever catch on? And then: Who was right during last week’s argument between Rich and Katie over how to actually persuade hard-core Trumpers? Listeners weigh in. Finally, Philip Roth is dead at 85. What do we make of this man, who the New York Times calls “the last of the great white males”? Plus, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo!
Did the wrong Democrats win some of Tuesday’s primaries in Nebraska, Idaho, and Pennsylvania? The Washington Post suggests yes, but Rich Smith isn’t having it and Eli Sanders and Katie Herzog hear him out. Then: Are liberals dumb to call Trump voters stupid? A big argument over an argument that won’t stop until at least 2020. Finally, twinks. According to The New York Times, we have just recently entered “The Age of the Twink.” Not everyone agrees, including Chase Burns, self-described “lead twink” at The Stranger. There is a lot to consider here, including whether "straight twinks" are a welcome answer to the “crisis in masculinity.” Plus, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo!