PG97: 100 Days of Trump, Trump’s Tax Plan

This episode marks a return to our roots, with a focus on deeper analysis of what’s most important, and less coverage of the ephemeral events that so often dominate the weekly news cycle.

Mike and his fellow political scientist Trey – who’s guest-hosting this week for Jay – start with a look at Donald Trump’s first 100 days. They consider how ‘100 days’ became such a big deal, what a president’s first 100 days can tell us about the rest of his term, what it means to be a successful president (and how much of that is in the president’s control), and how likely they think it is that Donald Trump will have a successful presidency.

Next is their discussion of the Trump tax plan. Mike outlines the basics of the plan after which Mike and Trey talk about whether the plan would be good for the United States, what it would do the the national debt, and the political realities of enacting tax reform.

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Larry Sabato & Listener Mail

First up is Mike’s interview with political scientist Larry Sabato. Professor Sabato is the director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, which includes Sabato’s Crystal Ball – the foremost election forecasting site in the United States. Professor Sabato is the author of many books, including A More Perfect Constitution, The Kennedy Half-Century and, most recently he was the lead editor on Trumped: The 2016 Election That Broke All The Rules. He regularly appears on national news outlets such as Fox, CNN, and MSNBC offering invaluable insight and analysis of polls and elections.

After the interview, Mike and Jay respond to listener mail.

Episode Links
– Follow Professor Sabato on Twitter: @LarrySabato
Sabato’s Crystal Ball
Decision Desk HQ
CQ Almanac
Almanac of American Politics
Dave Leip’s Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections
Daily Kos Elections
Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire
The Bellwether: Why Ohio Picks the President. Kyle Kondik

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PG96: Elections, Bill O’Reilly, Executive Orders, Ann Coulter

This week’s show starts with Mike and Jay talking about the ‘not-quite’ Democratic win in the special election in Georgia. Mike thinks it could be a (positive) sign of things to come for Democrats in Congress, but Jay isn’t so sure.

After that, the Guys talk about whether Fox was right to give Bill O’Reilly the boot, President Trump’s executive orders on steel, the H-1B visa program, and Wall Street regulation, and whether Berkeley is trying to silence Ann Coulter.

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The Indivisible Guide: Being Heard in the Age of Trump

Mike talks to Jeremy Haile, co-author of the Indivisible Guide – a practical guide to influencing Members of Congress, written by a team of former Congressional staffers. From 2008-2012, Jeremy served as a legislative aide to Rep. Lloyd Doggett along with Indivisible board members Ezra Levin and Sarah Dohl. Since then, Jeremy has worked in criminal justice reform advocacy at The Sentencing Project and as a public interest lawyer in San Francisco.

A longtime activist, Jeremy’s advocacy has appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, and NPR’s All Things Considered. His writing has appeared in such publications as The Marshall Project, The Nation, and The Hill. Jeremy has given talks to numerous audiences, including students at Harvard Law School and Princeton University.

Jeremy’s Recommended Reading (and Listening)
The Unwinding. George Packer
Evicted. Matthew Desmond
The New Jim Crow. Michelle Alexander
Pod Save America

After we went off air, Jeremy also mentioned OurStates, which “connects communities to actionable information and tools to reject the Trump / GOP agenda in every state and protect communities from harm.”

PG95: Trump’s Foreign Policy, Dem House in 2018?, Healthcare Chicken, Is Trump Learning?

This week, the Guys start out by looking at President Trump’s foreign policy in a dangerous world. First it’s Syria, where Assad’s chemical attacks and the U.S. retaliatory missile strike has brought US / Russia relations to their lowest level in quite a while. Then it’s North Korea, the unstable regime getting ready for it’s sixth nuclear test. Can the U.S. exert enough pressure on China to deter a potential disaster in North Korea?

After that, Mike and Jay turn to domestic policy – special elections that seem to bode well for Democrats (though November 2018 is a long way off) and whether President Trump is willing to sabotage Obamacare in order to force its repeal and replacement. And why are we seeing a return to this issue anyway, given that mere weeks ago, Speaker Paul Ryan said Obamacare would be the law of the land for the foreseeable future.

Finally, the Guys discuss Steve Bannon’s fall from grace and consider whether President Trump is evolving and learning on the job, or if instead he’s a largely empty vessel, wholly incurious about policy details, into which any significantly smooth talker can pour his or her ideas.

Polling, The Selfie Vote, & Data Driven Government

Mike talks to Republican pollster and political analyst Kristen Soltis Anderson. Ms. Anderson is co-founder of the research and analytics firm Echelon Insights, a contributor at ABC News, a Washington Examiner columnist, a regular guest on shows like Morning Joe, Fox News Sunday, and Real Time with Bill Maher, author of The Selfie Vote: Where Millennials Are Leading America (And How Republicans Can Keep Up), and the co-host of The Pollsters, a bipartisan weekly podcast.

Show Links
– The Pollsters Podcast
The Weekly Substandard Podcast
Huffington Post Pollster
– The Lost Majority, by Sean Trende
– Sean Trende’s RealClearPolitics articles

Follow Kristen
Her Website

PG94: Syria, Gorsuch, Susan Rice, Devin Nunes, China

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It was a crazy week in foreign policy, and the guys start with the biggest of all the big stories – the missile strike on Syria authorized by President Trump in response to Syria using illegal chemical weapons on its own people. The move was a major departure both from policy under President Obama and President Trump’s own prior statements on the wisdom of military involvement in Syria. Mike and Jay discuss whether the president made the right call and what this might mean for the future.

Next, the Guys discuss the visit of Egyptian President / military strongman Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who President Trump not only welcomed, but embraced. Mike sees this as a mistake, while Jay believe it’s good diplomacy.

After that is some domestic policy – the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. Just as everyone predicted, Democrats filibustered his nomination, Republicans changed the rules to disallow filibusters of Supreme Court nominees, and Gorsuch was then confirmed on a largely party-line vote. Senators from both parties, as well as Mike and Jay, regret that things have come to this point, but the confirmation process is yet another example of how very polarized our politics has become.

But wait – there’s more! The Guys get into the latest developments in the Russia / Trump investigations, and then wrap things up by talking about the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Politics and Policy in a Second Machine Age

Mike talks to Professor Andrew McAfee, Co-Director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Initiative on the Digital Economy and a Principal Research Scientist at MIT’s Sloan School of Management. Professor McAfee’s work has appeared in numerous academic and popular publications, including the Harvard Business Review, The Economist, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times. He is the author of a number of books, including The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies (co-authored with Erik Brynjolfsson).

Professor McAfee on Twitter

PG93: Russia, Trump vs Freedom Caucus, GOP vs EPA, NATO Slackers

This week, the Guys start out by looking at the latest news on the multiple Russia probes. The House investigation has slowed to a crawl amid claims from Democrats that Intelligence Committee chair Devin Nunes can’t be trusted to conduct an impartial probe. The Senate investigation seems to be far more bipartisan to this point. Mike and Jay talk about why this is, along with what to make of former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn’s willingness to testify – if he’s given immunity.

Then it’s a look at what Mike calls the Republican ‘circular firing squad’ with President Trump calling out the House Freedom Caucus, and the Caucus and it’s conservative supporters blasting right back at the president.

Following an update on the Gorsuch confirmation process, the Guys get a chance to talk policy – why Republicans don’t seem to like the EPA, what President Trump’s new executive order on the environment means, and whether or not our NATO allies are pulling their weight.