Why the Electoral College? Why a Two Party System? Ranked-Choice Voting Systems Explained

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This episode features Trey and Ken’s responses to the following listener questions:

  • Why do we have the Electoral College?
  • Why isn’t there a way to invalidate fraudulent elections?
  • What would it take for a third party rise to national prominence?
  • Can you explain ranked-choice voting?
  • What do you think about ranked-choice voting in light of the recent Maine election?

What We’re Reading
A Spy Named Orphan: The Enigma of Donald Maclean by Roland Philipps

The Kennedy Brothers: The Rise and Fall of Jack and Bobby by Richard Mahoney

Listener support helps make The Politics Guys possible. If you’re interested in supporting the show, go to politicsguys.com/support.

Introducing Politics Plus

Mike talks about his new interview podcast, Politics Plus. On the show, he’ll be interviewing men and women from across the ideological spectrum about American politics, economics, history, and culture.

You can find and subscribe to Politics Plus by searching for it in your podcast app. If for for any reason that doesn’t work, you should also be able to subscribe by entering the show’s feed URL into your podcast app. You can also listen on the Politics Plus website.


DOJ Investigates FBI, Trump Meets Kim, Supreme Court Upholds Ohio Voter Purge, China vs U.S. on Tariffs

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Trey and Ken open the show by discussing the 500 page Justice Department finding on the FBI. They both largely agree the report shows former FBI Director James Comey was insubordinate, but they differ on who it helps most rhetorically. Trey thinks that the FBI agents didn’t express their political positions in a responsible way while Ken thinks that the report understates the amount the FBI helped Trump.

Then it’s a discussion of Trump’s meeting with Kim Jung-Un in Singapore. The Guys generally agree that the outcome didn’t amount to much. They agree that the more discussion is better, but they’re pessimistic on the long-term benefits of the meeting.

Next, Trey plays devil’s advocate and asks Ken what he liked or didn’t like about the Supreme Court decision upholding Ohio’s method of purging non-voters. Ken thinks it pointlessly culls the rolls of voters without netting much of a benefit to the state.

Finally Trey and Ken talk free trade and the increasingly angry trade war emerging between the U.S. and China, spearheaded by Trump. The two spar a bit about the benefits of free trade and when trade barriers might be a good thing.

Listener support helps make The Politics Guys possible. If you’re interested in supporting the show, go to politicsguys.com/support.

Pro-Choice Healthcare, North Korea, Voter Mobilization, GOP Strategy, Trade Philosophy, Good Regulations?

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This episode features Mike and Jay’s responses to the following listener questions:

Jay says he’s pro-choice with it comes to people choosing their own health care. Is he also pro-choice when it comes to a woman’s right to choose whether or not to end her pregnancy?

Jay suggested that President Trump’s hardball negotiating style brought North Korea back to the bargaining table. But President Trump was the one who initially cancelled the summit, meaning that Jay’s comment is factually inaccurate. Can Jay explain this?

How can both parties energize voters to participate and turn out in 2018 and beyond?

Aside from judicial nominations, is the Republican Party too short-term oriented in its thinking?

What’s the justification for free trade with emerging economies, especially if the result is lost American jobs? Don’t emerging economies need the U.S. more than the U.S. needs them?

Government regulation ended child labor, provided us with a safer food supply, and has led to many other societal goods. Does Jay really oppose government regulation? Can he explain his position on regulation?

Listener support helps make The Politics Guys possible. If you’re interested in supporting the show, go to politicsguys.com/support.

G7 Meet, Masterpiece Cakeshop, Immigration, Trump’s Pardons

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Mike and Jay open with a look at the G7 meeting in Quebec, Canada. They agree that President Trump’s protectionism is bad policy, though Jay still thinks that the president might be using his tough talk as a negotiating tactic and may not impose long-term tariff barriers. Mike says that President Trump’s call to readmit Russia to the group is a horrible idea because, unlike the G7 countries, Russia is not a real democracy.

Then it’s a discussion of the Supreme Court’s 7-2 ruling in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case. The Guys agree that this was a very narrow ruling (in scope, not vote split) and that the Court should have addressed the key free expression issue that was raised. Although Mike is a strong supporter of LGBTQ rights, he thinks the concurrence of Justices Gorsuch and Thomas, which argues that forcing the baker to create a cake for a same-sex wedding is a form of unconstitutional compelled speech, makes some strong points.

After that, it’s immigration – first the move by House GOP moderates to force a vote on allowing Dreamers to stay in the country legally, and then a discussion of rising illegal border crossing arrests, the wisdom of the Trump administration’s ‘family separation’ and ‘zero tolerance’ policies, and a big-picture look at what U.S. immigration policy should be.

Finally, Mike and Jay talk about President Trump’s commutation of Alice Marie Johnson’s sentence and his view that he can pardon himself, if he so chooses.

Listener support helps make The Politics Guys possible. If you’re interested in supporting the show, go to politicsguys.com/support.

Robert Sutter on US China Relations

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Mike talks to Dr. Robert Sutter, a Professor of International Affairs at the Elliott School of George Washington University. Dr. Sutter has worked both in government and in academia, including positions with the CIA, State Department, and Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He’s published 20 books, over 200 articles and several hundred government reports dealing with contemporary East Asian and Pacific countries and their relations with the United States. His most recent book is US-China Relations: Perilous Past, Uncertain Present.

Mike and Dr. Sutter discuss how China is like Prussia, China’s investment in Africa, the US / China trade deficit, China & North Korea, if the 21st century will be the ‘Chinese Century’, and lots more.

We’d really appreciate it if you could take the short, super-easy Politics Guys libsyn survey. Here’s the link: survey.libsyn.com/politicsguys

Listener support helps make The Politics Guys possible. If you’re interested in supporting the show, go to politicsguys.com/support.

Trade Wars, Trump-Kim Summit, Jobs Report, Arkansas Abortion Law, Trump’s Pardons

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This week, Mike and Jay start with a look at the Trump Administration’s announcement that it would be imposing hefty steel and aluminum tariffs on U.S. allies Mexico, Canada, and the European Union on ‘national security’ grounds. The administration is also considering a major tariff on imported cars (also ostensibly for national security). Both Mike and Jay think this protectionism is one of the worst things to come out of the Trump administration, though Jay is more hopeful that it’s more bluster from the president that won’t end up as set policy.

After that, they discuss the off-again, on-again summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jung Un. Mike says that President Trump is exactly the sort of person least suited to carry out the sort of careful, patient negotiations that could defuse the threat posed by North Korea. Jay feels that the president’s show of strength is the right approach for North Korea, though both he and Mike wish the president understood the importance of dealing with U.S. allies differently than he deals with adversaries.

Next is a look at the extremely good jobs report. Mike points out that while the U.S. is in the midst of the second longest expansion in modern history, wages are still somewhat stagnant and economic growth is far slower than it’s been at many points in the post World War II era. Both Jay and Mike agree that President Trump can’t claim responsibility for the expansion any more than President Obama could, and they lament the tendency of the media to overemphasize the importance of government when it comes to economic growth.

Then they turn to the Supreme Court’s decision to not hear a case involving an anti-abortion law from Arkansas. While Mike and Jay differ on the wisdom of abortion rights restrictions, they agree that the Court was correct on procedure. In the end, they expect Arkansas’ law to be overturned as unconstitutional, as the Court did with a similar Texas law in 2016.

Finally, the Guys discuss President Trump’s pardon of conservative provocateur Dinesh D’Souza, and whether the president is using his pardons to send a message to people Robert Mueller has indicted in his Russia investigation. Mike doubts it, believing that it’s simply President Trump being his impulsive self for the most part. Mike somewhat surprises Jay by favoring the president’s pardon of D’Souza, who Mike says is an awful person, but who was unfairly singled out by the Obama administration for prosecution. Jay points out that it’s the awful people who are most in need of protection – and sometimes pardons.

If you haven’t yet filled out the super quick and easy (literally no more than a minute) Politics Guys survey, we hope you will. It will help libsyn, our new podcast host, grow our audience and keep the show financially viable. Here’s the link: survey.libsyn.com/politicsguys

What Mike’s Reading
Mind Control: Barbara Ehrenreich’s radical critique of wellness and self-improvement.

What Jay’s Reading
Worried About Incivility? Start With Yourself.

Listener support helps make The Politics Guys possible. If you’re interested in supporting the show, go to politicsguys.com/support.

Trump’s Unconstitutional Twitter Feed, The Supremes & Arbitration, House GOP Mini-Rebellion, Is Mike Too Moderate?

Mike and Jay kick off the show by discussing a federal court ruling that President Trump was violating the 1st Amendment by blocking some critics from his Twitter feed. Neither of the Guys is exactly comfortable with the courts telling people how to run their social media lives, but they agree that because President Trump is using Twitter as an essentially official presidential communication tool, different rules might apply.

Then it’s a look at the Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling permitting companies to require employees to settle disputed through individual arbitration instead of banding together. Jay says it was the right call and a good policy, and while Mike agrees that the conservative majority made the right interpretation of the law, he absolutely hates the policy outcome and wishes Congress would act to make things less unfair to workers.

After that, the Guys discuss the move by around 20 moderate House Republicans to force a series of votes on immigration, in the hope of giving permanent status to Dreamers. They’ve been opposed by the House GOP leadership, which doesn’t want to risk a politically dangerous vote before the November elections, as well as the House Freedom Caucus, which wants nothing to do with even an indirect path to citizenship for Dreamers.

Finally, Mike responds to a listener who says he’s too easy on Republicans like Paul Ryan who support policies that will hurt and potentially even kill Americans.

Our new host company, Libsyn, has put together a super short and very important survey which will help them help us reach a larger audience and keep the show sustainable. If you haven’t already filled it out, we hope you will. You’ll find it here: survey.libsyn.com/politicsguys

Listener support helps make The Politics Guys possible. If you’re interested in supporting the show, go to politicsguys.com/support.

PG151: North Korea, Dodd-Frank Rollback, ‘Right to Try’ Act, Fixing the VA, Spygate & Mueller

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This week, Mike and Jay start off with a look at the North Korea summit, which President Trump canceled, but later suggested might be back on after all. The Guys discuss why the president canceled, what his plan is, and whether we’re moving in the right direction.

Then it’s a domestic policy bonanza. First is a look at a rollback of the Dodd-Frank law passed in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. Mike and Jay agree that smaller banks needed some regulatory relief, but Mike argues that the rollback does much more than that, and its loosened restrictions on larger banks put us in danger of another financial crisis. This is followed by discussion of the ‘Right to Try’ Act, which allows terminally ill patients to try largely unproven treatments, and a major VA bill that will give veterans more options for private care. Mike argues it goes too far down the road to privatization. Jay doesn’t disagree, but he supports further privatization.

Finally, Mike and Jay discuss the latest developments in the Robert Mueller investigation, particularly the ‘Spygate’ claims coming from President Trump and some of his supporters.

What Mike’s Reading
The Hedges of the Garden of Liberty.

Why does Trump get away with corruption? Because Bill and Hillary Clinton normalized it.

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Listener support helps make The Politics Guys possible. If you’re interested in supporting the show, go to politicsguys.com/support.

Herbert Hoover – the most fascinating, under-appreciated man of the 20th century (Seriously!)

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Mike talks with journalist, editor, and publisher Kenneth Whyte, author of The Uncrowned King: The Sensational Rise of William Randolph Hearst  and most recently, Hoover: An Extraordinary Life in Extraordinary Times. If you think Herbert Hoover was a boring conservative presidential nonentity, you’re in for a pleasant surprise.

In this conversation, Mike and Ken discuss Hoover’s swashbuckling and sketchy business career, his amazing humanitarian efforts in World War I (it was a crime that he didn’t win a Nobel Peace Prize), how Hoover can amazingly lay claim to being the father of modern progressivism and modern conservatism, and lots more.

Kenneth Whyte on Twitter

Listener support helps make The Politics Guys possible. If you’re interested in supporting the show, go to politicsguys.com/support.