68 episodes

America faces challenges. But we’ve also got smart people who spend every day coming up with great ideas for how to meet those challenges. That's what this show is all about. Washington's top policy experts from across the ideological spectrum – the people that our leaders listen to – explain how an issue or a policy works, and then share their newest, most innovative ideas for making it work better. No shouting. No crossfire. Just ideas. Great ideas. Excerpts available in collaboration with PoliticusUSA.com.

Great Ideas Matt Robison

    • News
    • 5.0 • 10 Ratings

America faces challenges. But we’ve also got smart people who spend every day coming up with great ideas for how to meet those challenges. That's what this show is all about. Washington's top policy experts from across the ideological spectrum – the people that our leaders listen to – explain how an issue or a policy works, and then share their newest, most innovative ideas for making it work better. No shouting. No crossfire. Just ideas. Great ideas. Excerpts available in collaboration with PoliticusUSA.com.

    Why Are We So Miserable, And How We Can Be Happier?

    Why Are We So Miserable, And How We Can Be Happier?

    Something is wrong in America, and we’ve gotten so used to it, we don’t really talk about about, or not enough anyway. We are in a major happiness recession, and we have been for a long time. The highest proportion of Americans ever (80%) say they are satisfied with their family’s financial situation, while an all-time low reports being “very happy” in their lives (14%). Over the last 40 years, a median of 66% of Americans have told Gallup they were “dissatisfied.” In the decade or so before the pandemic sent our despair into overdrive, major depression was rapidly rising, the suicide rate was up 35%, drug use and death were skyrocketing, birth rates were down 23%, and Americans told Pew researchers that they had become deeply pessimistic about the future.

    Our guest today, Catherine Sanderson, has become a widely cited author for her contributions on positive thinking and achieving better parenting, happier aging, and more courage in our lives. Dr. Sanderson is the POLER Family Professor and Chair of Psychology at Amherst College. In 2012, she was named one of the country's top 300 professors by the Princeton Review. Her talks have been featured in numerous mainstream media outlets, including The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, USA Today, The Atlantic, CNN, and CBS Sunday Morning.

    • 42 min
    Is the 2022 Election Going to Work?

    Is the 2022 Election Going to Work?

    We've all heard about profound challenges facing American elections and the people who run them.  As we approach the 2022 midterms we wanted to check in with one of America's leading experts to see whether things are on track to run smoothly, or if maneuvers to harass election administrators, suppress votes, or even subvert elections are still coning to be a major concern.   Bob Brandon helped establish the Fair Election Center 16 years ago, and it continues to support election reform, litigation, advocacy, student engagement, and getting people to work at the polls to make the cogs and gears of our democracy run. 

    Photo by Parker Johnson on Unsplash

    • 40 min
    Is Big Tech Just Poison, or Can It Be Fixed?

    Is Big Tech Just Poison, or Can It Be Fixed?

    Recently the Center for American Progress issued a report that said “Online service companies have produced substantial wealth, but these gains have failed to reach the American workforce more broadly. Pervasive, ubiquitous digital surveillance has eroded Americans’ civil liberties. Exploitation of people’s data has created novel consumer threats around privacy, manipulation of consumer behavior, and discrimination. Americans face these and other harms from online services, including but not limited to widespread fraud, abuse of small businesses, abuse of market power, faulty algorithms, racist and sexist technological development, cybersecurity challenges, threats to workers’ rights, curtailed innovation, and challenges with online radicalization and misinformation.”

    But one of the authors of that reports says that despite this massive litany of destructive problems, big tech platforms can be fixed, and the Internet can be...good! Erin Simpson of CAP joins to explain.

    Photo by Rahul Chakraborty on Unsplash

    • 42 min
    Was Gorbachev...A Failure?

    Was Gorbachev...A Failure?

    What is the real legacy and meaning of the life and work of former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev? Erik Loomis, Associate Professor of History at the University of Rhode Island, says in a new article on The Editorial Board that "Despite what Americans want to believe about the man whom they credit with doing much to end the Cold War, Mikhail Gorbachev is probably best described as the greatest failure of a leader in Russian history." We unpack the complicated history and ongoing significance of one of the most important world leaders of the 20th century. 

    • 43 min
    Fixing the Broken, Backwards Bail System

    Fixing the Broken, Backwards Bail System

    The system of paying cash bail is so familiar to us in this country that it's faded into the background of our awareness. But in recent years, reform advocates have been sounding the alarm about the disastrous consequences of a system that is profoundly broken: more damaged lives, more economic ruin, and ironically, more crime. In fact, the practice of assigning cash bail as a condition of an individual’s pretrial release has led to a two-tiered system of justice. People with money can return to their communities while they await trial, while those without money are forced to choose between remaining incarcerated—and facing the harms that accompany pretrial detention—and entering into a predatory contract with a commercial bail company to obtain release.

    Rachael Eisenberg is the Senior Director of Criminal Justice Reform at American Progress, where she leads the organization’s efforts to shrink the footprint of the criminal justice system and promote justice and safety. 

    Photo by Tim Hüfner on Unsplash

    • 40 min
    The Rise of Christian Nationalism in America

    The Rise of Christian Nationalism in America

    In this crossover edition of Great Ideas and Beyond Politics, we take a closer look at Christian nationalism. Recently, controversial Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene said that she’s a Christian nationalist...and the Republican party should be too. In fact, increasing numbers of candidates have embraced the language of Christian nationalism, if not the outright label, in the past year. But what does it actually mean? Is Christian nationalism an extreme religious and political ideology as practiced by Viktor Orbán of Hungary, or simply an expression of patriotic fervor combined with religious identity that fits into long-standing American traditions? Our guest today, Dr. Paul Miller, is a political scientist and a professor at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. He is a devout Christian, a fervent patriot and military veteran, a conservative Republican, and the author of The Religion of American Greatness: What's Wrong With Christian Nationalism. And he explains why Christian nationalism is fundamentally un-Christian and un-American.

    • 42 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
10 Ratings

10 Ratings

JBP Dog ,

Great in-depth discussions!

This is a great show- interesting in-depth discussions on deserving topics that are well managed by host Matt Robison.

MikeWSMorton ,

Great Chats!

Matt is so great at making these podcasts sound conversational and keeping it going while chatting about important topics. Great content, easy to listen.

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