PG134: Government Shutdown, March for Life, NC Gerrymandering

This week’s show starts off with the story everyone’s been talking about – the government shutdown. Mike and Jay largely stay away from the blame game consuming most of the media, and try to focus on why both parties did what they did and the role President Trumps leadership (or lack thereof) played.

Next, Mike and Jay discuss the 2018 March for Life, as well as some recent actions taken by the Trump administration and the House of Representatives in support of the pro-life movement. While Mike believes that women have a fundamental right to make reproductive decisions prior to fetal viability, he’s sympathetic to pro-life people who see essentially all terminated pregnancies as needless deaths. Jay makes the case that in this area, the law is on Mike’s side, but that he doesn’t find the fundamental right Mike does in the Constitution.

Finally, the Guys turn once again to gerrymandering, in light of the Supreme Court overturning the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals’ order that North Carolina redraw its Congressional districts by the end of January. Mike agrees with Jay that the Supreme Court made the right call, though they disagree concerning how the Court should ultimately rule.

What Mike’s Reading
Trump’s Basic Instincts About the Political War Are Essentially Right, and The Establishment’s Sense of It Is Essentially Wrong.

What Jay’s Reading
Bad Weather Is No Reason For Climate Alarm.

Today’s show is sponsored by SeatGeek. Politics Guys listeners get $20 off their first SeatGeek purchase. Just download the SeatGeek app and enter promo code POLITICSGUY.

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GOP vs Facts, Politics Guys vs Diversity, Jay’s Burkean Ideals, 2020 Contenders

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In this listener mail episode (really more of a listener mail, Facebook, Twitter, and site comment episode) Mike and Jay respond to listener comments concerning:

  • Why Republicans like Jay aren’t nearly as respectful of facts as Democrats are (Jay disagrees, as you might expect.)
  • Why The Politics Guys isn’t more diverse, and whether or not the lack of a liberal further to the left of Mike is a problem.
  • How Jay’s Burkean ideals match up to the modern-day GOP. (And Mike points out that he’s got Burkean ideals too!)
  • Who Mike and Jay think might run for president in 2020

During this episode, Mike waxed rhapsodical about the amazing economic data site put together by the St. Louis branch of the Federal Reserve – here’s the link.

Listener support helps make The Politics Guys possible. If you’re interested in supporting the show, go to and click on the Patreon or PayPal links.

The Politics of Farm Labor

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Mike’s back with his second food politics episode. This time, he reads his post on the politics of farm labor , getting into who works on America’s farms (mostly immigrants), how willing Americans are to do farm labor (not very, for understandable reasons), why nearly half of all farm labor is done by undocumented immigrants, abuses of immigrant laborers, and the connection between immigrant labor and food prices.

If you’d like to let Mike know what you think about this episode, or if you have any ideas, suggestions, or you just want to say ‘hi’, you can reach him at

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PG133: Immigration, Is Trump a Racist?, Medicaid, Surveillance Law

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Mike and Jay open the show with a discussion of everything that’s been happening on the immigration front this week, including the Trump administration’s decision to not extend temporary protected status to nearly 200,000 Salvadorians, a federal judge’s ruling that DACA must continue until the courts rule on it, and the potential immigration deal that blew up amid President Trump’s remarks about ‘shithole’ countries. Mike argues that President Trump is both a racist and an impediment to the Republican party. Jay agrees that Trump makes the job of Congressional Republicans much harder, but won’t go so far as to call the president a racist.

After that, it’s a look at the administration’s announcement that it will allow states to impose work requirements on Medicaid recipients. Mike says that this is the Trump version of Obama’s DACA – implementing a program that contravenes legislative intent. Further, he argues that the work requirements arise more out of states’ desire to save money (at the expense of the poorest and most vulnerable) than out of concern for the people who will be affected. Jay disagrees, arguing that there are significant differences between DACA and this, and that states are ultimately helping people by imposing a work requirement.

Next, Mike and Jay discuss the bipartisan House vote approving a six-year renewal of the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping authority. Mike says this is not only bad for civil liberties, but is yet another example of President Trump’s disturbing lack of policy knowledge and his equally disturbing ability to be influenced by the last person he hears. Jay agrees with Mike’s point about President Trump, but feels that the NSA program is important and that renewing it without significant changes was the right move.

What Mike’s Reading:
The Decline of Anti-Trumpism. David Brooks

What Jay’s Reading:
The Cold War: A World History. Odd Arne Westad

Today’s show is sponsored by DaVinci, providing you with incredibly affordable access to meeting rooms in every city. Politics Guys listeners get 50% off their first purchase at

Listener support helps make The Politics Guys possible. If you’re interested in supporting the show, go to and click on the Patreon or PayPal links.

Whistleblowing, Leaking, and Employment Discrimination

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Mike talks with attorney Scott Oswald, a managing principal at The Employment Law Group. Scott has extensive experience with whistleblower, employment discrimination, and wrongful termination cases, regularly lectures on employment and whistleblower law, and has authored numerous articles on federal and state whistleblower and employment law protections.

Mike and Scott discuss the differences between whistleblowing and leaking, protections for whistleblowers, leaking of classified information, the magnitude of the employment discrimination problem, whether things are getting better, and differences between the Trump and Obama administrations in employment discrimination enforcement.

The Employment Law Group on Twitter

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PG132: Korea Talks, Iran Protests, DOJ on Marijuana, Wolff’s Book and Offshore Drilling

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In our first show of 2018 Mike and Trey look at what they thought would be a quiet week in the news that quickly exploded. First they look at the unexpected offer by Kim Jong Un to talks between North and South Korea. Then the hosts turn their attention to the emergence of protests in Iran and look at the similarities and differences between the 2009 and 2018 protests. After this weeks foreign policy questions are finished Trey and Mike discuss domestic policy beginning with Session’s DOJ memo on marijuana. They briefly discuss the more substantive outcomes of Michael Wolff’s upcoming book on the Trump White House before turning their attention to changes to offshore drilling.

Mike’s Recommended ReadingNational Review: ‘Can America Survive as a Post-Christian Nation?

Trey’s Recommended Reading: The Storm Before the Storm

This episode of The Politics Guys is sponsored by Policy Genius the free way to compare insurance quotes made simple.

Political Bribery, Corruption, Secret Money, and Broken Elections

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Mike talks with Josh Silver, Director and co-founder of Represent.Us, a nonprofit organization that brings together conservatives, progressives, and everyone in between to pass powerful anti-corruption laws that stop political bribery, end secret money, and fix our broken elections.

Mike and Josh discuss why so many reformers take a left-wing approach, how big of a problem political corruption is, secret money and political speech, how to improve elections, and lots more.

Episode Links
The ‘Unrig the System’ Summit

The American Anti-Corruption Act

Lawmakers fighting Citizen Election Initiatives on Twitter

This episode of The Politics Guys is sponsored by SeatGeek, the easiest way to buy tickets to live events. Politics Guys listeners get $20 off their first SeatGeek purchase by downloading the SeatGeek app or going to and entering promo code POLITICSGUY

Listener support helps make The Politics Guys possible. If you’re interested in supporting the show, go to and click on the Patreon or PayPal links.

Avocado Politics

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Mike and Jay aren’t doing their regular Saturday show today, but instead of giving you nothing this weekend Mike thought he’d try an experiment.

As you might know, Mike started a blog not too long ago. One reader suggested that he do it as a sort of mini-podcast as well. That sounded like a reasonable idea, and so he gave it a try. This is the result – for better or worse. (If you’d like to read the article itself, it’s here.

We hope you enjoy this experimental Politics Guys episode, and that you let us know what you think – good, bad, or indifferent. Is this something you’d like to see on a regular basis (in addition to, not in place of, our regular Saturday and Wednesday shows)? Any suggestions, ideas, critiques? Whatever you think, we’d love to hear from you. You can contact Mike directly at or message us on the Politics Guys Facebook page

Listener support helps make The Politics Guys possible. If you’re interested in supporting the show, go to and click on the Patreon or PayPal links.

PG131: Tax Reform Law, UN vs US, Trump’s National Security Strategy, Shutdown Averted

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Mike, Jay, and Trey have been talking about the GOP tax bill since early November, and this week it finally became the GOP tax law, after President Trump signed the measure before departing for his Christmas vacation. Mike and Jay summarize their views on the legislation and make some predictions as to how it’s likely to play out.

After that they discuss the United Nations General Assembly’s vote opposing U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as the capitol of Israel. Mike thinks that when only a handful of tiny countries are on your side maybe it’s time to reconsider your stance whereas Jay feels that the UN has once again demonstrated its strong anti-Israel bias.

Next is a look at President Trump’s recently announced national security strategy. Mike points out that in many places the document seems to contradict what President Trump has actually said and done, whereas Jay thinks that the administration’s focus on ‘principled realism’ is a good thing. (Mike likes the term too, but wishes there was a bit more focus on the ‘principled’ part, especially concerning human rights.)

Finally, Mike and Jay point out some relatively good news to end the year – the government won’t be shutting down, at least not until late January, thanks to a stopgap funding measure passed by Congress and signed into law by President Trump. Importantly, the measure includes emergency funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which provides coverage to around nine million children from lower-income families. Had Congress not come to an agreement on extending this funding, up to two millions kids would have been at least temporally without insurance.

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Patients, Physicians, and Employers on Value in Health Care

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Mike talks with Dr. Bob Pendleton, Chief Medical Officer at University of Utah Health. They discuss the school’s recently released ‘Value in Health Care Survey‘ which asked patients, doctors, and employers across the country about about their perceptions of value in health care and how they prioritize quality, service, and cost of health care services.

Mike and Dr. Pendleton dig in to the survey’s findings, some of which were fairly astonishing – for instance, that patients ranked getting better as less important than the friendliness of the medical office staff. They also discuss what these findings mean for the healthcare system in the United States and how policymakers might use this information to improve the U.S. system.

Listener support helps make The Politics Guys possible. If you’re interested in supporting the show, go to and click on the Patreon or PayPal links.