A weekly discussion about politics, hosted by The New Yorker’s politics editors.
The “Cynical, Disgusting” Migrant Flights to Martha’s Vineyard
Last week, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis flew roughly fifty migrants from San Antonio, Texas, to Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts. Some of these migrants said that they were actively misled about where they were being sent and what would await them when they arrived. They have since filed a lawsuit, accusing DeSantis and other state officials of executing “a premeditated, fraudulent, and illegal scheme” in which vulnerable people were used as political props. The New Yorker staff writer Jonathan Blitzer has written extensively about the politics and policy of the southern border. He speaks with the guest host Tyler Foggatt about the rogue practices of Border Patrol, the surge of asylum seekers from Venezuela, and why Republican governors are “calling the shots” on the Biden immigration agenda.
The Legal Fight for Democracy
Now seven weeks away, the midterms are often cast as a referendum on the President and his party. But, this year, some see democracy itself on the ballot. One of those people is the attorney Marc Elias, who has made the fight for voting rights his mission. The Supreme Court will hear two of his cases in its upcoming term, which starts next month. Earlier this year, the staff writer Sue Halpern profiled Elias for The New Yorker, and she spoke with him again recently about the legal fight ahead. “I really believe that when the history books are written,” says Elias, “what they write about our generation will be whether or not we were able to preserve democracy.”
Can King Charles III Capture the Queen’s Popularity?
Three quarters of a million people are expected to file past Queen Elizabeth II’s casket this week. After seven decades on the throne she was the only monarch most Britons have ever known. In that time she saw tremendous change within the United Kingdom and great turmoil within her own family. And yet, support for her among the British public barely wavered. In decades of polling, opposition to the monarchy in the U.K. has not risen above twenty per cent. The Queen accomplished something few political figures ever have: consistent, sustained popularity. But will King Charles III enjoy similar goodwill? John Cassidy is a New Yorker staff writer and a British expatriate. He joins the guest host Tyler Foggatt to discuss what the death of Queen Elizabeth II means for the U.K. and what he thinks the British public can expect from their new royal figurehead.
Keeping Score: A Year Inside a Divided Brooklyn High School
Nearly seventy years after the Brown v. Board of Education decision, our public schools effectively remain segregated. And, by some measures, New York City has the most segregated system in the country. For a group of high schools in Brooklyn, change has long seemed impossible. But now those schools are putting their hopes in an unlikely place: sports.
The John Jay Educational Campus in Park Slope, Brooklyn, houses four public high schools. Three of them have a student body with a Black-and-Latino majority; the fourth is disproportionately white and Asian. For a decade, students from all four schools shared a cafeteria and a gym but played on two separate sports teams—sometimes even competing against one other. Last year, the athletics programs merged, and the hope is that this change will break down some of the divisions between students. Angelina Sharifi, a student who plays volleyball, said that a team has to mesh in order to win. “And meshing is, like, the best feeling ever—having a pass, set, swing, that fits perfectly with one another,” she said. “That kind of unspoken connection that comes with volleyball is super-satisfying for me.
This is a story of how students and adults grapple with enduring inequities, and how the merger is playing out on the girls’ varsity volleyball team. “I want this to work. I really do,” the student Mariah Morgan said, “because it has the potential to be incredibly anti-racist.”
This reporting originally aired as part of the podcast “Keeping Score,” a co-production of WNYC Studios and The Bell.
How Will Liz Truss Govern a Britain in Crisis?
This week, Liz Truss became the United Kingdom’s newest Prime Minister. She comes into office following a string of scandals in the Conservative Party under her predecessor, Boris Johnson, and faces a nation in the midst of a bleak economic forecast, including talk of a recession. Although she has proven popular with her party’s most loyal members, that doesn’t insure success with the wider British public. Sam Knight joined the guest host Susan B. Glasser on Wednesday—before Queen Elizabeth II passed, intensifying the mood of alarm in the United Kingdom—to discuss Johnson’s legacy, Truss’s political style, and how she might address the state of the economy.
Jill Lepore on Why Biden Is No F.D.R.
Joe Biden has had a remarkable reversal of fortune this summer. He signed three bi-partisan bills, and the Inflation Reduction Act, a multi-billion-dollar combination of climate and healthcare legislation, was surprisingly revived and passed by Congress. That was accompanied by a drop in gas prices and a slowdown in inflation. Suddenly it seems like the Democrats could hold onto the Senate, and even the House, in the upcoming midterms. But, according to the Harvard historian and New Yorker staff writer Jill Lepore, these successes do not make Biden the equivalent of Franklin Delano Roosevelt or Lyndon Baines Johnson, as some—the President among them—have suggested. Lepore speaks with the guest host Evan Osnos about this turning point in the Biden Administration, and about the inextricability of a President and their historical moment. The two also discuss the looming question of whether the Justice Department should prosecute Donald Trump, whether over the hoarding of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago or the insurrection. Of January 6th, Lepore says: “the crime is much more dire than Watergate, which just looks goofy and low rent compared to this.”
Well researched and nicely presented