300 episodes

Winner of the 2020 Webby and People's Voice awards for best interview podcast.
Ezra Klein brings you far-reaching conversations about hard problems, big ideas, illuminating theories, and cutting-edge research. Want to know how Stacey Abrams feels about identity politics? How Hasan Minhaj is reinventing political comedy? The plans behind Elizabeth Warren’s plans? How Michael Lewis reads minds? This is the podcast for you. Produced by Vox and the Vox Media Podcast Network.

The Ezra Klein Show Vox

    • Philosophy
    • 4.5 • 600 Ratings

Winner of the 2020 Webby and People's Voice awards for best interview podcast.
Ezra Klein brings you far-reaching conversations about hard problems, big ideas, illuminating theories, and cutting-edge research. Want to know how Stacey Abrams feels about identity politics? How Hasan Minhaj is reinventing political comedy? The plans behind Elizabeth Warren’s plans? How Michael Lewis reads minds? This is the podcast for you. Produced by Vox and the Vox Media Podcast Network.

    Trumpism never existed. It was always just Trump.

    Trumpism never existed. It was always just Trump.

    In 2016, Julius Krein was one of Donald Trump’s most ardent supporters. In Trump’s critiques of the existing Republican and Democratic establishments, Krein saw the contours of a heterodox ideology he believed could reshape American politics for the better. So he established a pro-Trump blog and, later, a policy journal called American Affairs, which his critics claimed was an attempt to “understand Trump better than he understands himself.”

    Today Krein finds himself in an unusual position. Upon realizing Trump was not committed to any governing vision at all (but was as racist as his critics suggested), Krein disavowed the president in 2017. But as the editor of American Affairs, he’s still committed to building an intellectual superstructure around the ideas that were threaded through Trump’s 2016 campaign.

    This conversation is about the distance between Trump and the ideology so many tried to brand as Trumpism. We also discuss Krein’s view that the US has always functionally been a one-party system, the disconnect between Republican elites and voters, what a new bipartisan economic consensus could look like, whether Joe Biden and the Democrats take Trump’s ideas more seriously than Trump does, which direction the GOP will go if Trump loses in a landslide in November, why Republicans lost interest in governance, whether media coverage is the true aim of right-wing populists, why Krein thinks the true power lies with the technocrats, and more.

    References:
    “I Voted for Trump. And I Sorely Regret It." by Julius Krein
    "The Three Fusions" by Julius Krein

    Book recommendations:
    Innovation in Real Places by Dan Breznitz 
    History has Begun by Bruno Maçães
    The Hall of Uselessness by Simon Leys 


    Credits:
    Producer/Audio wizard - Jeff Geld
    Researcher - Roge Karma

    Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas.

    New to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere)

    Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com
     
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    • 1 hr
    What should Democrats do about the Supreme Court?

    What should Democrats do about the Supreme Court?

    If Democrats win back power this November, they will be faced with a choice: Leave the existing Supreme Court intact, and watch their legislative agenda — and perhaps democracy itself — be gradually gutted by 5-4 and 6-3 judicial rulings; or use their power to reform the nation’s highest court over fierce opposition by the Republican party.
    Ganesh Sitaraman is a former senior advisor to Elizabeth Warren and a law professor at Vanderbilt. He’s also the author of one of the most hotly debated proposals for Supreme Court reform, as well as the fairest and clearest analyst I’ve read regarding the benefits and drawbacks of every other plausible proposal for Supreme Court reform. So in this conversation, we discuss the range of options, from well-known ideas like court packing and term limits to more obscure proposals like the 5-5-5 balanced bench and a judicial lottery system.
    But there’s another reason I wanted Sitaraman on the show right now. Supreme Court reform matters — for good or for ill — because democracy matters. In his recent book, The Great Democracy, Sitaraman makes an argument that's come to sit at the core of my thinking, too: The fundamental fight in American politics right now is about whether we will become a true democracy. And not just a democracy in the thin, political definition we normally use — holding elections, and ensuring access to the franchise. The fight is for a thicker form of a democracy, one that takes economic power seriously, that makes the construction of a certain kind of civic and political culture central to its aims. 
    So this is a conversation about what that kind of democracy would look like, and what it would take to get there – up to and including Supreme Court reform.

    References:
    Jump-Starting America by Jonathan Gruber and Simon Johnson 
    "How to save the Supreme Court" by Daniel Epps and Ganesh Sitaraman
    Sitaraman's tweet threads about expanding the court , term limits , the 5-5-5 Balanced bench, lottery approach, supermajority voting requirements, jurisdiction stripping, legislative overrides, and what the best approach is.


    Book recommendations:
    The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn
    The Public and Its Problems by John Dewey
    The Anarchy by William Dalrymple 


    Credits:
    Producer/Audio wizard - Jeff Geld
    Researcher - Roge Karma

    Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas.

    New to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere)

    Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 1 hr 26 min
    Marilynne Robinson on writing, metaphysics, and the Donald Trump dilemma

    Marilynne Robinson on writing, metaphysics, and the Donald Trump dilemma

    Marilynne Robinson is one of the greatest American novelists alive today. She’s the author of the Pulitzer-prize winning Gilead — one of my favorite books, ever — as well as Housekeeping, Home, Lila, and her latest, Jack. She’s also produced four brilliant collections of nonfiction essays. 
    But Robinson is not simply a beautiful writer; her work is inextricably bound up with the most important issues of our times: race, religion, education, geography, and democracy — so much so that in 2015, Barack Obama chose to interview her on the state of the country while he was still the sitting president. This was a joy of a conversation to have right now, and it covers vast amounts of ground, including:
    • Robinson’s obsession with the doctrine of predestination 
    • What we know -- and all we don’t know -- about the nature of reality 
    • The power of loneliness
    • How, for all the talk of polarization, there are certain ideas that Americans widely, quietly share
    • How the logic of efficiency and growth has come to invade every aspect of our lives
    • The differences between writing fiction and nonfiction 
    • How to train yourself to notice the world around you
    • The sobering purpose of studying history
    • What it will take to keep American democracy alive and well  
    • The particular problem that Donald Trump poses
    • The baseline assumptions and practices a democracy demands we share
    And much more. I found this conversation a tonic to have in this moment. I hope it’s the same for you.

    Book recommendations:
    Birdman of Alcatraz by Thomas E. Gaddis


    Credits:
    Producer - Jeff Geld
    Audio engineer - Jackson Bierfeldt
    Researcher - Roge Karma

    Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas.

    New to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere)

    Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 1 hr 15 min
    The case for Trump’s foreign policy

    The case for Trump’s foreign policy

    As we approach the 2020 election, I want to make sure the conversation on this show reflects the actual choice the country is facing. So we are going to be doing a few episodes, including this one, with guests who believe Donald Trump is the better candidate this November. 

    I wanted to start with foreign policy because that’s where Trump has been most influential. Trump has successfully broken the previous bipartisan consensus on key foreign policy issues. The way Republicans — and now even Democrats — talk about trade, alliances, Russia, and China has changed dramatically over the last four years. That’s an important shift, whether or not you agree with it. 

    Rebeccah Heinrichs is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute where she specializes in nuclear deterrence and missile defense, a former adviser to congressional Republicans, and one of the sharpest defenders of Donald Trump’s foreign policy. Heinrichs sees a clear foreign policy worldview animating the Trump administration — one with more successes to its name than critics are willing to admit. I see a worldview that is inconsistently applied, and whose goals are often undermined, by the President’s impulsive, anti-strategic behavior on the world stage. So I asked Heinrichs to come on the show and persuade me that I’m wrong. 

    In this conversation Heinrichs and I discuss how Trump shattered the foreign policy consensus that preceded him, why he sees China as such a central threat to American interests, the trade-offs that come with engaging in multilateral agreements and institutions, whether the threats America faces require global cooperation to address, the importance (or lack thereof) of how other countries view America, the ways that Trump undermines his own purported foreign policy aims, Trump’s ally-bashing, the US-Saudi Arabia alliance, the Trump administration's stance on human rights, what we can expect from Trump in his second term, and much more.

    Book recommendations:
    The World America Made by Robert Kagan 
    The False Promise of Liberal Order by Patrick Porter 
    Exercise of Power by Robert Gates 


    Credits:
    Producer - Jeff Geld
    Audio engineer - Jackson Bierfeldt
    Researcher - Roge Karma

    Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas.

    New to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere)

    Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 1 hr 14 min
    Fareed Zakaria on how Biden and Trump see the world

    Fareed Zakaria on how Biden and Trump see the world

    Fareed Zakaria is the host of CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS, a columnist for the Washington Post, and one of the most astute foreign policy thinkers of our time. So much of this conversation is focused on just that: How Biden and Trump respectively see the world and want to shape it. In particular, the ways Biden’s foreign policy differs from Obama’s and has changed over the years, whether Trump has a coherent foreign policy at all, and why the most important US foreign policy question is “What is an acceptable level of influence for China to have?”

    But I also wanted to talk to Zakaria about some broader trends — trends he’s been tracking for some time. Zakaria’s 2003 book The Future of Freedom anticipated the rise of illiberal democracies across the globe long before anyone paid it much attention. His 2008 book The Post-American World described the multipolar international order that, in many ways, we now inhabit. And just recently he authoredTen Lessons for a Post-Pandemic World which forecasts how Covid-19 will change the trajectory of our world. 

    So in this conversation we also discuss the state of journalism, the dangers of great power war in the 21st century, why Zakaria believes rise of China is far less of a threat than either Republicans or Democrats seem to believe, why a global spike of economic inequality in an already unequal world is perhaps the most important pandemic trend, whether Zakaria has lost faith in America, whether anything short of violent catastrophe can upend concentrations of wealth, how the world’s views of China and America are changing, and much more.

    References:
    "The definitive case for ending the filibuster" by Ezra Klein
    The Great Leveler: Violence and the History of Inequality from the Stone Age to the Twenty-First Century by Walter Scheidel
    Book recommendations:
    Cultural Evolution by Ronald F. Inglehart 
    American Politics: The Promise of Disharmony by Samuel P. Huntington
    The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon


    Credits:
    Producer - Jeff Geld
    Audio engineer - Jackson Bierfeldt
    Researcher - Roge Karma

    Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas.

    New to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere)

    Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 1 hr 21 min
    How a climate bill becomes a reality

    How a climate bill becomes a reality

    Helluva week in politics, huh? And yet, in the background, the world is still warming, the fires still burning, the future still dimming. There will be plenty of episodes to come on the election. But I wanted to take a step back and talk about a part of policymaking that is often ignored, but which our world may, literally, depend on.

    In campaign season, candidates make extravagant promises about all the bills they will pass. The implicit promise is the passage of those bills will solve the problems they’re meant to address. But that’s often not how it works. Between passage and reality lies what Leah Stokes calls “the fog of enactment”: a long, quiet process in which the language of bills is converted into the specificity of laws, and where interest groups and other actors can organize to gut even the strongest legislation. This is where wins can become losses; where historic legislative achievements can be turned into desultory, embarrassing failures.

    Stokes is a political scientist at UC Santa Barbara, and author of Short Circuiting Policy: Interest Groups and the Battle Over Clean Energy and Climate Policy in the American States. Her book tracks the fate of a series of clean energy standards passed in the states in recent decades, investigating why some of them failed so miserably, and how others succeeded. But her book is more than that, too: It’s a theory of how policymaking actually works, where it gets hijacked, how power is actually wielded, and how to do policymaking better.

    So this is a conversation that’s about policymaking broadly — we talk about far more than climate, and the principles here apply to virtually everything — but is also about the key question of the next few years narrowly: How do we write a climate bill that actually works?

    Book recommendations:
    Rising by Elizabeth Rush
    The Education of Idealist by Samantha Power
    War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

    Credits:
    Producer - Jeff Geld
    Audio engineer- Jackson Bierfeldt
    Researcher - Roge Karma

    Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas.

    New to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere)

    Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 1 hr 27 min

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5
600 Ratings

600 Ratings

Arj1818 ,

Nuanced, insightful interviews.

Come for the interesting podcast guests, stay for Ezra’s nuanced and interview style.

Bones_55 ,

This is who Thomas Sowell speaks about

Simplyu put the far left self annointed that simply like to feel good about themselves.

KateGraceMer ,

Straight-up Brilliant

I’m obsessed with the mental framework of this podcast. I think Ezra is straight-up brilliant. At times, I can get “tired” of various issues of current public discourse, often because I find them to be depressing and persistent, with not change in sight. This podcast provides a provocative platform to dissect the root causes of the issues of our time and reasons for genuine optimism.

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