A weekly discussion about politics, hosted by The New Yorker's executive editor, Dorothy Wickenden.
Can "Partygate" Bring Down Boris Johnson?
Late last year, the British press reported that, at the height of the COVID lockdowns in the U.K., Prime Minister Boris Johnson and members of his staff hosted a series of parties and gatherings at 10 Downing Street, defying the strict protocols instigated by Johnson’s own government. What seemed at first like a tabloid story has erupted into a crisis of confidence in Johnson’s leadership, and some believe that he could be ousted by his party and removed from power. Rebecca Mead, a New Yorker staff writer based in London, joins Dorothy Wickenden to discuss the turmoil in the British government, the future of Boris Johnson’s political career, and how the pandemic has changed the way we think about our elected leaders.
The Biden Presidency, Year One
President Biden took the oath of office in a moment of deep crisis—the pandemic in full swing and just weeks after an unprecedented attempt to overturn the election by violence. Merely a return to normalcy would have been a tall order. But Biden was promising something more: a transformational agenda that would realign American economics and life on a scale rivalling Franklin Roosevelt’s long Presidency. Yet Biden never commanded Roosevelt’s indomitable popularity and electoral advantages. A year into the Administration, Evan Osnos takes stock of its successes, failures, and ongoing challenges, along with four New Yorker colleagues: Susan B. Glasser on legislation, Jonathan Blitzer on immigration, Elizabeth Kolbert on climate, and John Cassidy on the economy.
Can Biden Revive Martin Luther King, Jr.,’s Vision of Voting Rights?
Since the 2020 election and the January 6th insurrection, nineteen states have passed laws that restrict access to voting. Two bills currently before Congress could overturn some of those laws, but neither seems likely to make it through a divided Senate. Earlier this week, President Biden and Vice President Harris travelled to Atlanta to speak about the urgency of protecting voting rights. Jelani Cobb joins Dorothy Wickenden to discuss the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., and the urgent threats to American democracy.
A New Civil War in America?
When rioters, encouraged by the President, stormed the Capitol, one year ago, to overturn the results of the election, the idea that such a thing could play out in America was stunning. But the attack may have been just the beginning of an ongoing insurrection, not a failed attempt at a coup. David Remnick talks with Barbara F. Walter, the author of the new book “How Civil Wars Start: And How to Stop Them.” Walter is a political scientist and a professor at the University of California, San Diego, and a co-director of the online magazine Political Violence at a Glance. She has studied countries that slide into civil war for the C.I.A., and she says that the United States meets many of the criteria her group identified. In particular, anti-democratic trends such as increased voting restrictions point to a nation on the brink. “Full democracies rarely have civil wars. Full autocracies rarely have civil wars,” she says. “It’s the ones that are in between that are particularly at risk.”
The Great Resignation and the New Office Politics
This week, the U.S. Labor Department reported that 4.5 million people left their jobs in November—the most since the government began collecting data, two decades ago. A major reason is the COVID-19 pandemic, which has changed the relationship between office workers and their workplaces, and exacerbated challenges faced by workers in health, hospitality, education, and other sectors. Some also argue that the Great Resignation is part of a larger movement against employers who ask more of their employees while providing less in terms of work satisfaction. Cal Newport, a New Yorker contributing writer, joins Dorothy Wickenden to discuss the Great Resignation, the future of work across professions, and how employees and managers can ease burnout.
Amanda Gorman on Life After Inauguration
One year ago, Amanda Gorman delivered the inaugural poem on the day that Joe Biden became President. Gorman was just twenty-two years old, and it was just two weeks after Trump supporters had assaulted the Capitol in an effort to stop Congress from certifying the election. At the ceremony, Gorman herself seemed to cast light on a dark situation. Her poem “The Hill We Climb” reads, “When day comes, we ask ourselves: / Where can we find light / In this never-ending shade? / The loss we carry, a sea we must wade. / We’ve braved the belly of the beast.” The New Yorker’s poetry editor, Kevin Young, wrote that her poem was “as vibrant and elegant as her yellow coat against the cold.” After that very public début, Gorman found the stakes of writing the poems for her new collection, “Call Us What We Carry,” to be impossibly high. (It was excerpted in The New Yorker with readings by Gorman.) She spoke with Young about being an inaugural poet—following in the footsteps of Maya Angelou and Elizabeth Alexander—in a conversation from The New Yorker’s Poetry Podcast.
excellent discussion with susan glaser. thank you
Love everything about this podcast
Especially Dorothy's voice, lovely timbre. I see the ire of not so left leaning people, sorry they can’t see their own bias.
Vocal fry? It’s the Pandemic of Podcasting
The subject matter and interview were of high-quality, as usual, but even a publication as reputable as The NYer cannot find a host who doesn’t inflict ‘vocal fry’ upon its listeners.
Do you self a favor: if you see the name ‘Carla Blumenkranz’ in the show notes, delete and spare yourself 20 minutes of aural discomfort!