Seth David Radwell and American Schism

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In this special midweek episode Trey interviews author Seth David Radwell on his new book American Schism which is coming out this week. The pair discuss the major theme of his book: how the enlightenment informs contemporary American politics.

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James Morone on our “Republic of Wrath”

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Mike talks with Brown University political scientist James Morone about his latest book, Republic of Wrath: How American Politics Turned Tribal, from George Washington to Donald Trump.

Topics they cover include:

  • the history of partisan conflict
  • how our current conflicts are different
  • states as “laboratories of authoritarianism
  • the dirty little secret of bipartisanship
  • recommendations for reform

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Rep. Rob Wittman on The Chinese Threat and US Strategic Preparedness

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Mike and Jay talk with Congressman Rob Wittman (R, VA-1), second ranking Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, about the growth in Chinese military strength (they now have the largest navy in the world), the threat posed by China to US interests, Taiwan, military spending, and more.

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What The Founders Learned from the Greeks & Romans and Why It Matters Today

Mike talks with Pulitzer Prize winning author Thomas Ricks about his latest book First Principles: What America’s Founders Learned from the Greeks & Romans and How That Shaped Our Country.
Topics covered in their discussion include:
  • how the 2016 election led Ricks back to ancient Greece & Rome
  • why we should care about what a small number of Dead White Males thought
  • the three big things the Founders were wrong about
  • the influences of Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and Madison
  • what the Founders would have thought about modern campaign finance
  • why modern Americans shouldn’t panic
  • the importance of waking up Congress
  • whether we can (or should) return to the vision of the Founders
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Dr. Brad Spellberg on Solving The Great American Healthcare Rip-Off

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Mike talks with Dr. Brad Spellberg, chief medical officer at the Los Angeles County+ University of Southern California Medical Center and the associate dean for clinical affairs at the Keck School of Medicine at USC. Dr. Spellberg is also author of the recently released book Broken, Bankrupt, and Dying: How to Solve The Great American Healthcare Rip-Off which they discuss on this episode.

Topics Mike & Dr. Spellberg Cover Include:

  • the very unsystematic nature of the American healthcare ‘system’
  • how the US compares to other rich countries in healthcare access, cost, efficiency, and effectiveness
  • where all the money goes in US healthcare spending
  • the myth of lavishly overpaid US doctors
  • the problem with ‘fee for service’ medicine
  • medical bankruptcies
  • the Affordable Care Act
  • the importance of considering American culture in proposing healthcare ‘fixes’
  • market-oriented healthcare reform proposals
  • if progressives states like California can act on their own to reform healthcare

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David Litt on Reforming American Democracy (in one book or less)

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Mike talks with David Litt who, from 2011 to 2016, was a speechwriter for President Obama. Mr. Litt is also the New York Times bestselling author of the book Thanks Obama: My Hopey, Changey White House Years. His latest book is Democracy in One Book or Less: How It Works, Why It Doesn’t, and Why Fixing It Is Easier Than You Think, which they discuss on this episode.

Topics Mike & David cover include:

  • If Mitch McConnell’s “blatantly transactional” politics make him a good Majority Leader
  • The legally disenfranchised -former felons and non-citizen immigrants
  • The “unofficially disenfranchised”
  • Discouraged voters
  • Gerrymandering
  • The (not so) Great Compromise
  • Electoral College reform
  • Why Democrats are so much more intent on changing the rules than Republicans

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Reforming Criminal Justice: Plea Bargaining, “Legal Fictions”, and Sentencing

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Mike talks with Ohio State Supreme Court Justice Michael Donnelly about reforming the plea bargaining process, the Michael Flynn case and “legal fictions”, the Paul Manafort case and sentencing guidelines, why we need sentencing databases, and more.

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Let Them Eat Tweets!

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Mike opens the show with some brief comments on Joe Biden choosing Kamala Harris, the USPS and the 2020 election, and the agreement between the UAE and Israel. After that is his interview with political scientists Jacob Hacker (Yale) and Paul Pierson (Berkeley) about their new book, Let Them Eat Tweets: How the Right Rules in an Age of Extreme Inequality. Following the interview, Jay joins Mike for some conservative commentary.

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Jeffrey Sachs on The Ages of Globalization

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Mike talks with economist Jeffrey Sachs, University Professor and director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University. Dr. Sachs is  also director of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network and has been advisor to three UN secretaries-general. In addition to being one of the world’s leading experts on poverty and economic development, he is the author of many influential, best-selling books, including The Age of Sustainable Development, The Price of Civilization, Building the New American Economy, and, most recently, The Ages of  Globalization, which they discuss on the show.

Topics discussed include:
– globalization over the course of human history
– the long historical dominance of China
– why China declined as a world power
– keys to sustainable development in the 21st century
– whether a non-democratic China is a threat
– prospects for development in Sub-Saharan Africa

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Lane Kenworthy on Social Democratic Capitalism

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Mike talks with Lane Kenworthy, a Professor of Sociology at UC San Diego.  They discuss his latest book, Social Democratic Capitalism.

Topics discussed include:
– what social democratic capitalism is
– if social democratic capitalism is only possible in rich countries
– economic growth and dynamism
– the Nordic example, and whether it can be applied elsewhere
– how the United States stacks up to other wealthy countries
– whether the United States can – or should – move toward social democratic capitalism

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