Every week Chris Hayes asks the big questions that keep him up at night. How do we make sense of this unprecedented moment in world history? Why is this (all) happening?
This podcast starts to answer these questions. Writers, experts, and thinkers who are also trying to get to the bottom of them join Chris to break it all down and help him get a better night’s rest. “Why is this Happening?” is presented by MSNBC and NBCNews Think.
The Down-Ballot Democrats with Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell
What happened to the down-ballot Democrats? Going into election day, Democrats were expecting to pick up seats and expand their control of the House. Instead, they suffered consequential blows, still managing to hold the majority but ultimately losing seats. It was a shock that launched a bevy of post-mortems trying to figure out what went wrong. For Florida Congresswoman Debbie Mucarsel-Powell it was impossible to sit back and listen as folks diagnosed from the sidelines what she had experienced firsthand; elected to office in part of the 2018 blue wave, Rep. Mucarsel-Powell lost her re-election bid this November. In fact, her majority-Hispanic district swung 22 points to Trump this year. While there are no straightforward clean cut answers about what unfolded in the election, Congresswoman Mucarsel-Powell offers a clear-eyed take of what she witnessed in Southern Florida and what she thinks the biggest lesson is for the Democratic Party.
The Problem with Political Hobbyism with Eitan Hersh
Has online activism and doomscrolling through twitter turned politics into just a hobby for people? At what point is it just a way to spend time rather than affect meaningful change? This week Tufts University professor, Eitan Hersh, joins to talk about what he diagnoses as “political hobbyism”, what real political engagement looks like, and argues how this self-gratifying online hobbyism can be detrimental to the real political activism needed to create change.
Politics is for Power: How To Move Beyond Political Hobbyism, Take Action, And Make Real Change
How Red is Texas with Abby Livingston
Are Republicans losing their grip on Texas? Election night saw Democrats largely unable to build on the gains made in 2018 when an insurgent Beto O’Rourke ran a grassroots senate campaign that gained national attention. But despite frustrations from Democrats that they didn’t perform as well as they hoped this November, there’s still cause for concern among Texas Republicans. The population in metro areas is growing rapidly and demographics are moving to the left. So just how strong is the Republican hold on Texas? Abby Livingston is the Washington bureau chief for The Texas Tribune and just so happens to be a seventh generation Texan. She lays out the origins of the Republican domination of the Lone Star State, what clues she picked up on that things were starting to change, and what to keep an eye on in future elections.
Introducing: Do No Harm
As a bonus for Why Is This Happening? listeners, we’re sharing a special preview of “Do No Harm”, a new, six-part original podcast series from NBC News and Wondery. “Do No Harm” is the terrifying true story of one family’s fightagainst a system so committed to protecting children, it sometimes fails to protect innocent parents. Hosted by NBC News Investigative Reporter Mike Hixenbaugh. Listen to the first two episodes and subscribe to the series: https://link.chtbl.com/dnh_drop
What We Got Wrong with Zeynep Tufekci
The U.S. just surpassed 10 million confirmed cases of coronavirus as infection rates spike across the country. If you look at the charts tracking the reported cases, hospitalizations, and deaths, it shows the country on a dangerous trajectory. How did we get to this point? Sociologist Zeynep Tufekci has spent time studying the sociology of pandemics and says her alarm bells were going off all the way back in January. She’s spent months writing with an almost unparalleled clarity about the many interlocking aspects of the pandemic, often with insights than turn out to be well ahead of the curve. Tufekci lends her insights on the early missteps in containing this pandemic and what a success story would look like.
How Zeynep Tufekci Keeps Getting the Big Things Right (New York Times, Aug 2020)
Follow Zeynep on Twitter
Twitter and Tear Gas by Zeynep Tufekci
Donate Now with Michael Whitney
What is the deal with all those fundraising emails? The ones with increasingly dramatic subject lines and maybe a dash of emotional manipulation – they’re everywhere, but do they work? There’s a science to the fundraising email, a lot of data, research, and trial and error. It’s something Michael Whitney’s spent a lot of time thinking about, first in ‘03 on the Howard Dean campaign, and most recently on both the ‘16 and ‘20 Sanders campaigns where he worked as digital fundraising manager. Online fundraising is a massive source of Democratic funds and this year it has exploded, with campaigns taking in record breaking sums. So what are the strategies at play? Whitney breaks down the power of small dollar fundraising, what works and what doesn’t, and when campaigns go too far. Plus, hear Chris describe his campaign stress dreams for some #relatablecontent.
Follow Michael Whitney on Twitter