Moneyball for Politics: Sasha Issenberg’s ‘The Victory Lab’

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Mike talks to Sasha Issenberg, a political journalist whose work has appeared in Slate, Washington Monthly, The Atlantic, and lots of other places. He’s a contributor to Bloomberg Politics and the author of multiple books, including the widely praised The Victory Lab: The Secret Science of Winning Campaigns which Politico called ‘Moneyball for Politics’.

Follow Sasha on Twitter

Climate Change Politics & Policy after Paris

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Mike and Jay received so much listener feedback on our discussion of President Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Accord (in episode 102) that they decided to do this special follow-up. In it, they cover the ‘We Are Still In’ movement, what states – especially California – are doing, whether or not Jay believes human activity is responsible for climate change, and why Mike wants us to significantly slow emissions today, whereas Jay feels that we’re better off growing the economy and waiting for what he believes will be better and cheaper emission control and climate change mitigation technology in the future. They also respond to listener comments.

PG103: Comey Testifies, Trump’s FBI Pick, The Kansas Experiment

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Mike and Jay start the show talking about the story that dominated the news this week: the testimony of former FBI Director James Comey. Neither of the Guys think that Comey dropped any bombshells, though Mike believes that this is still early days in an investigation that will go on for years and cripple the Trump administration. Jay thinks it might wrap up sooner than that, but that once again, Donald Trump’s biggest obstacle seems to be Donald Trump.

After that, they talk about Trump’s pick for FBI Director. They agree that Christopher Wray is a sane and sensible choice (which is hardly a given in the Trump administration) but that the delay of nearly a month in naming a replacement for Comey is yet another example of how Donald Trump is in over his head.

A story that didn’t get the coverage it deserved this week was Kansas’ experiment with radically lower taxes, and experiment the state legislature forced conservative governor Sam Brownback to abandon this week. Mike and Jay talk about what this might tell us about the effects of deep tax cuts and the impact it might have on similar proposals both in other states and at the national level.

What Jay’s Reading
Just Mercy. Bryan Stevenson

What Mike’s Reading
The Sixth Extinction. Elizabeth Kolbert

The Economist’s Ryan Avent on The Wealth of Humans

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Mike talks with Economist senior editor and columnist Ryan Avent, author of The Gated City and, most recently, The Wealth of Humans: Work, Power, and Status in the Twenty-First Century.

In addition to The Economist, Mr. Avent’s work has appeared in outlets such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, the New Republic, the Atlantic, and the Washington Examiner. Prior to coming to The Economist, he worked as an economic consultant and an industry analyst for the Bureau of Labor Statistics. He has an economics degree from North Carolina State University, and an Masters of Science in economic history from the London School of Economics.

Mike and Ryan talk about where the jobs are going, who’s at risk, the effects on economic inequality, the social and psychological effects of a largely jobless future, and lots more.

Ryan Avent Recommends
FT Alphachat
The Weeds
Marginal Revolution University

Follow Ryan Avent on Twitter

PG102: Paris Accord Exit, Afghanistan, Suing Big Pharma

This week, Mike and Jay start off by talking about President Trump’s announcement that the United States will be leaving the Paris Climate Change Accord, making it one of only three countries in the world to not be participating (the other two are Syria and Nicaragua). Mike, who was hoping against hope that US would stay in, is disappointed, feeling that President Trump is stuck in the past and that his actions may have a negative effect on the environment, future job growth, and US global leadership. Jay, on the other hand, thinks President Trump made the right call.

Then it’s a look at the US role in Afghanistan in the wake of a major terrorist attack last week that left 90 dead and hundreds wounded. Should the United State up its military commitment to the country and try to turn the tide against the Taliban, or would it be best to cut our losses, given the potentially unwinnable situation?

After that, the Guys look at Ohio’s recently announced lawsuit against Big Pharma for allegedly misleading doctors and the public about the dangers of prescription opioids. The state’s move is part of a growing trend of states and counties taking legal action against pharmaceutical companies. Mike feels this is a step in the right direction but Jay, who agrees that the opioid crisis is extremely serious, says he’s not crazy about the approach Ohio is taking.

What Mike’s Reading This Week:
The Conversation

What Jay’s Reading This Week:
The Case for Nations. Roger Scruton (WSJ – paywall)

Fighting Trump State by State & Mapping Police Violence

Mike talks to Samuel Sinyangwe, co-founder of OurStates, an initiative that connects communities to actionable information and tools to reject the Trump / GOP agenda in every state and protect communities from harm.

Mr. Sinyangwe is a policy analyst and data scientist who also co-founded Mapping Police Violence, which collects and analyzes data on police violence in the United States. He’s been featured on MSNBC, CNN, BBC, LA Times, the Forbes ’30 under 30′ and The Root 100.

– Follow Samuel Sinyangwe on Twitter

Show Links

PG101: Trump’s Travels, Fantastical Budgets, SCOTUS on Redistricting

This week’s show opens with Mike and Jay talking about something they won’t be covering – the continuing drip, drip, drip of Trump scandal leaks. That doesn’t mean that they aren’t concerned with the serious allegations that have been raised (especially true in Mike’s case) but that the leaks don’t tell us much of anything. For the most part, they’re going to hold off until there’s substantive news on the leak investigations, as opposed to juicy tidbits leaked from anonymous sources.

After that, Mike and Jay talk about what President Trump accomplished on his first foreign trip, and whether he was right to downplay human rights in Saudi Arabia and push NATO allies to pay up.

They also take a look at a recent Supreme Court decision on redistricting, in which the very conservative Justice Thomas sided with the Court’s liberals. There’s a reason why that happened, and Mike and Jay discuss it, as well as the bigger picture of redistricting challenges over the last few years.

What Mike’s Reading (and listening to) This Week:
The Daily Standard Podcast
Profile of Secretary of Defense James Mattis

What Jay’s Reading This Week:
Why History Will Repay Your Love. Peggy Noonan (WSJ – paywall)
The American Spirit. David McCullough

Die-Hard Independent Matthew Dowd on ‘A New Way’

Mike talks to author, ABC News chief political analyst, and die-hard independent Matthew Dowd. Mr. Dowd has extensive experience in politics where he’s worked for candidates and officeholders on both sides of the aisle, including Democrats Dick Gephardt & Lloyd Bentsen and Republicans George W. Bush – on whose campaign he was chief strategist – and Arnold Schwarzenegger. He’s co-author of the bestselling book Applebees America and his latest book, which just came out this spring, is A New Way: Embracing The Paradox as we Lead and Serve. He’s also founded multiple companies, including, a community of independent minded people sick and tired of gridlock and the lack of common-sense leadership and dedicated to putting the ‘united’ back in United States.

Follow Matthew Dowd on Twitter

PG100: Special Counsel, Trump’s Trip, NAFTA Renegotiation

This week, Mike is joined by Trey, filling in for Jay. They start the show with an overview of a tumultuous week for President Trump, featuring the president revealing classified information to Russia, allegations that Trump asked then FBI Director Comey to drop the investigation against Mike Flynn, and the appointment of former FBI Director Robert Mueller as a special counsel to head the investigation into potential ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Then, Mike and Trey take a look at Donald Trump’s first foreign trip as president, where he’ll be visiting the Middle East and Europe. They discuss why those countries were chosen and what, if anything, is likely to come out of the trip.

After that it’s a look at NAFTA, in the wake of the Trump administration formally notifying Congress that it will be renegotiating the treaty. Mike and Trey discuss whether NAFTA is really as bad as President Trump has said it is, who’s won and who’s lost under the agreement, and the strange political alliances it’s forged.

What Mike’s Reading
GOP Senator Ben Sasse on NPR’s Morning Edition
American Greatness

What Trey’s Reading
– James Madison: A Biography. Ralph Ketcham
The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon. Brad Stone

Donald Trump: Threat to Democracy?

Mike talks to journalist and researcher Dr. Sarah Kendzior about the threat posed by the Trump presidency, media elites & ‘flyover country’ and lots more.

Dr. Kendzior is a columnist for Canada’s Globe and Mail, and her work has has appeared in multiple national outlets in the U.S. including Politico, Slate, The Atlantic, and the New York Times. She’s also the author of the best-selling essay collection, The View from Flyover Country.

Dr. Kendzior has a PhD in anthropology, with her academic work focusing on the authoritarian states of the former Soviet Union and how the internet affects political mobilization, self-expression, and trust.

She also maintains an always-fascinating Twitter account and was named one of “the 100 people you should be following on Twitter to make sense of global events” by Foreign Policy magazine.

Follow Dr. Kendzior
Twitter | her website

Show Links
Evan McMullan
Rick Wilson