Kavanaugh Hearings, ‘Resistance’ Inside the White House, Arizona’s New (Old) Senator, Tech Threats

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This week, Mike and Jay open the show with discussion of the Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Judge Brett Kavanaugh. They agree that the hearings are almost entirely political theater at this point and that everyone’s mind is made up. Mike argues that despite this, Democrats’ claim that they should be given sufficient time to review all of the potentially relevant documents relating to Kavanaugh’s career in public service is a good one. Jay is skeptical.

Next is a look at leaked material from journalist Bob Woodward’s upcoming book on the Trump administration as well as the bombshell New York Times Op-Ed in which an anonymous senior White House staffer suggested that he and others like him are actively working to frustrate parts of President Trump’s agenda. Mike and Jay think it would be in the best interests of the country if this anonymous source revealed himself. While Mike is strongly against almost everything that President Trump has done, he doesn’t believe that Senator Elizabeth Warren and others on the left are right in calling for the potential removal of Trump through the 25th Amendment, as in Mike’s reading of the amendment, it doesn’t apply to President Trump (though impeachment and removal might).

After that the Guys evaluate the choice of former Arizona Senator John Kyl as the replacement for John McCain. They share the views of almost everyone outside the extremes that this was a solid choice, though Mike of course laments that McCain wasn’t replaced with someone equally if not more liberal (a relative term, to be sure).

Finally, Mike and Jay discuss the testimony of Facebook and Twitter on Capitol Hill regarding free speech and government regulation, potentially anti-competitive behavior, as well as the threat posed by voting systems lacking paper trails.

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

Do Never-Trumpers Skew the Numbers? and other questions answered

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Do Never-Trumpers Skew the Numbers? and other questions

In this week of Ask the Politics Guys supporters ask Trey and Mike their most pressing questions. First they address the issue of if Trump’s support among Republicans is so high because never-Trump Republicans are leaving.

Next the Guys turn to a question about how alternative voting methods might effect the number of parties that exist, they also address the seeming impersonal nature of voting in a proportional representation system.

After that Trey and Mike respond to a more personal question and explain how they ended up as political scientists. Both connected in college, but fascinatingly Mike was Trey’s professor!

Next the Guys look to how tariffs will impact midwestern farm states in the upcoming midterms and, unfortunately, think it is unlikely to have an immediate impact.

Finally Trey and Mike talk about why the show has not addressed more of the polling and the horse race of the campaign yet.

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

McCain’s Legacy, NAFTA, Google, and Printed Guns

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Trey and Mike open this week looking at Senator John McCain’s legacy in the American political system. Whether you gave money to his campaign like Mike, or disagreed with his policies like Trey, both Guys agree that McCain was a honest Senator who worked tirelessly for his vision of a better United States. The question remains how the Senators of the future will — or can — carry on that legacy.

Next Mike and Trey turn to NAFTA renegotiation. It appears that Mexico and the U.S. are close to a bilateral deal. Canada, although it missed a deadline on Friday, could still be part of an agreement. It is unclear what all the specifics will be or if it will be a new multinational trade deal or two bilateral agreements.

The Guys then turn to Trump and Google’s spat this week. Trump accused Google of advancing Obama over himself and Google quickly fired back that it has followed an identical policy for all Presidents. This spat may have been good cover for the Google and MasterCard agreement coming out this week.

Finally Trey and Mike turn to the ongoing legal questions surrounding 3D printing guns. As the stay continues on releasing them Trey argues it may be time to look to the history of pornography as a blueprint for how to address the issue.

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

Glen Weyl on Radical Markets: Uprooting Capitalism and Democracy for a Just Society

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Mike talks with E. Glen Weyl, a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research New York City, about his recent book with Eric Posner, Radical Markets: Uprooting Capitalism and Democracy for a Just Society.

Mike and Glen discuss:

  • why private property is a form of inefficient monopoly and how to fix it
  • the problem with ‘one person, one vote’ and a proposed alternative
  • a radical alternative to our current immigration system
  • how big institutional investors discourage innovation and growth
  • the massive amount of unpaid labor we willingly provide to Facebook, Google, Amazon, and other Big Tech companies

Google’s The Selfish Ledger (YouTube)
Glen Weyl on Twitter

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

Manafort & Cohen, Kavanaugh Confirmation, Hunter Indictment, EPA & ‘Affordable Clean Energy’

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Mike and Jay open the show with a discussion of President Trump’s very rough week. First was the conviction of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort on eight counts of bank and tax fraud, followed by a plea deal between federal prosecutors and former Trump attorney Michael Cohen. The Guys discuss both the legal and political ramifications, as well as President Trump’s seeming inability to surround himself with ‘the best people’.

Next is a look at Senate Democrat arguments for delaying the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. One argument is that the Michael Cohen plea means that any new Justice could be essentially a juror in a potential case against President Trump, an argument both Mike and Jay don’t believe holds much water. The second argument has to do with Republicans trying to push through confirmation before the midterms without allowing for adequate time to fully review Kavanaugh’s paper trail, particularly from his time as White House Staff Secretary in the George W. Bush administration. This claim has more merit, but Jay and Mike see it more as a stalling tactic than a truly legitimate reason to delay confirmation proceedings.

After that, the Guys discuss the indictment of California Republican Duncan Hunter on multiple counts of misuse of campaign funds. Mike points out that Hunter is likely to keep his House seat due to the Democrats nominating a candidate who is a poor fit for Hunter’s district. Both Mike and Jay think that Hunter is exactly the sort of ‘grab what you can’ officeholder who offends the sensibilities of all small-r republicans.

The episode closes with a look at the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed ‘Affordable Clean Energy’ rule. Mike argues that it’s bad policy that puts corporate profits above public health, whereas Jay sees it as the federal government rightly giving more discretion to the states and the market to deal with power generation and pollution.

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

Joshua Cohen on Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, and Attention

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Mike talks to novelist and essayist Joshua Cohen about his latest book, Attention: Dispatches from a Land of Distraction. In this talk, Mike and Joshua discuss:

  • Donald Trump and the Fall of Atlantic City
  • What people who have worked with Donald Trump have to say about him
  • Ethnic whites and the Trump coalition
  • Contrasting Donald Trump and Barack Obama
  • The appeal of Bernie Sanders
  • Distraction and Attention

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

Behind the Scenes in the Obama (and Trump) White House with Beck Dorey-Stein (Politics Plus)

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(There was a very short period in Mike’s life where he thought he could handle his teaching job, write a book, host The Politics Guys, and start a new podcast – Politics Plus. It soon became evident to Mike how insane trying to do all this at once was, and so he quickly shut down Politics Plus. But before he did, he’d posted four interviews – all of which he thinks are pretty good and are worth sharing with you as Politics Guys bonus episodes.)


Mike talks with Beck Dorey-Stein, who worked as a White House stenographer from 2012 – 2017. She’s written about her experiences in the recently released book, From the Corner of the Oval. They discuss:

  • What White House stenographers do
  • How being in the White House changed how Beck felt about politics
  • If the White House is anything like the TV show The West Wing
  • The insane hours and workloads of White House staffers
  • What happens behind the scenes during crises
  • ‘Living the dream’ in the Obama administration
  • Her view of President Obama
  • What it was like to come to work the day after Donald Trump was elected
  • What it was like working in the Trump administration
  • And lots more

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

Democratic Diversity, Pulling Security Clearances, Strzok Fired, Predator Priests, For-Profit Schools

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Mike and Jay open the show with a look at the recent primary elections in Vermont, Connecticut, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Kansas. Mike is pleased to see his Democrats nominating diverse candidates, while Jay points out that while diversity is a good thing, being well-qualified, regardless of race, creed, or color is what’s most important.

Next is a look at President Trump pulling former CIA Director John Brennan’s security clearance, with the administration planning more security clearance revocations in the future. Mike argues that this politicizing of security clearances is essentially unprecedented and is yet another example of how President Trump’s disregard for custom and unwritten law is damaging the United States. Jay doesn’t disagree, though he points out that what the president has done is not legally impermissible.

After that, the Guys discuss the sickening revelations concerning predator priests coming out of a Pennsylvania grand jury report. Mike hopes there will be similar investigations in every state that shake the Catholic Church to its core and force a change in what many say is a deeply corrupt culture of cover-up. Jay agrees that the Church’s culture needs to change, but he feels that some of the legislative proposals aimed at helping victims may have serious unintended consequences.

The show closes with a look at Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ plan to rescind a rule that forces for-profit colleges and vocational schools to demonstrate that graduates are able to get decent-paying jobs. Mike argues that this rule has gone a long way to cleaning up the fraudulent excesses of for-profit education and should be maintained. Jay counters that there should be one rule to cover both for-profit and not-for-profit schools.

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

Libertarians, Medicare for All, GOP Racism, 3rd Parties, Obama Spying Scandal

In this listener comment episode Trey and Mike discuss:

  • Trey’s take on what a Libertarian is
  • How Democrats could pay for Medicare for all
  • Why the GOP has trouble with racism
  • How Mike would run Trump and Trey would run a Democratic opponent
  • Why 3rd Parties struggle in the U.S. even when people seemingly hate the two major political parties
  • Why we  haven’t covered the Obama spying scandal

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

Neuroscientist Tali Sharot on Political Influence, Persuasion, and Donald Trump (Politics Plus)

(There was a very short period in Mike’s life where he thought he could handle his teaching job, write a book, host The Politics Guys, and start a new podcast – Politics Plus. It soon became evident to Mike how insane trying to do all this at once was, and so he quickly shut down Politics Plus. But before he did, he’d posted four interviews – all of which he thinks are pretty good and are worth sharing with you as Politics Guys bonus episodes.)


Mike talks to Tali Sharot, director of the Affective Brain Lab and an Associate Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience in the department of Experimental Psychology at University College London. Dr. Sharot’s research integrates neuroscience, behavioral economics, and psychology to study how emotion influences people’s beliefs, decisions and social interactions. She’s the author of The Optimism Bias and, most recently, The Influential Mind: What the Brain Reveals About Our Power to Change Others.

Mike and Dr. Sharot discuss:

  • how some information is like sex and plum pie
  • why Donald Trump was so much more influential than his Republican presidential rivals
  • how our attempts to persuade others can actually boomerang on us, leaving them less persuaded than they were to start with
  • how to go from getting someone to agree with you to getting them to act
  • when crowds are wise and when they’re not
  • and lots more

Follow the Affective Brain Lab on Twitter

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