An Honest Trumpversation is the political podcast series for the rest of us. Follow along with host Carl Wilson as he tries to make sense of the upcoming election, understand the other side, and answer once and for all, could I really vote for Donald Trump? Leave the yelling, spin, and bias behind and take a fun, straightforward look at the candidates (including Hillary Clinton, Gary Johnson, and Jill Stein), issues, big questions, and ourselves. Whether you're a Republican, Democrat, something else, or you've been avoiding all things political at all costs, this podcast is for you.
Episode 11: WHAT. JUST. HAPPENED?
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The results are in and the wide myriad of thoughts and emotions sweeping over the country couldn’t be more diverse. So while my plan had been to peacefully ride off into the sunset of an overwhelming Clinton win as projected, that’s not what happened. Half the country is happy. The other half is soiling themselves and rocking back and forth in the corner. So I decided to pour myself a larger-than-normal glass of whiskey and talk through this. Let’s have An Honest Trumpversation about the election.
Exit Polling Stats & Voter Breakdown (CNN)
Episode 10: DysTrumpian Future
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In less than 24 hours millions of Americans will officially cast their vote, and tomorrow night we’ll finally have the answer we’ve anxiously been awaiting… “Who will be the next President of the United States?” If we believe the polls, that means about half of the country will at least be mildly relieved, and the other half? Angry, afraid, incredulous? Regardless of who you vote for, when those election results start rolling in the question on everyone’s mind will quickly turn to, “So now what?” What does life look like after the election? On this election-eve episode, we’re looking ahead to what life looks like in a post-election world.
Imagine for a moment it’s Wednesday, November 9th. You wake up and feel what? Go ahead. Close your eyes. Just think about it. Now tuck that away in the back of your brain because we’re going to come back to it later.
Election years are filled with emotions…hope, fear, anger, frustration, confusion…and so much of these come not really from one candidate or another, one political party or another, but most of our emotions surrounding the election find their roots in the unknown—that dark tomorrow just out of reach and the possibilities, opportunities, dangers, and challenges we can’t yet see. So we’re left to imagine, to speculate about what could be. The hard part about the election is that both sides will tell you their future is the only good one and the other is catastrophic. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, from both sides, if the other side wins, it’s the end of the United States.
I don’t believe this. And I’m pretty sure deep down most of you don’t either. But the reality is, someone is going to win and one of these futures is going to happen. Trump winning is a very real possibility. Fivethirtyeight had trump with a 10% chance of winning. Now at 35%. Your vote matters.
So while we can’t know exactly what the world of a Trump or Clinton presidency will look like, unfortunately I haven’t mastered the power of seeing into the future…yet, there are some things we do know, or at least some elements from the campaign we can draw from to make some educated guesses.
We’re slow to talk about the election, and Trump’s run specifically, in extremes. It can’t be as bad as we’re made to believe. There’s no way that could happen right? But as we look ahead, we can’t deny some of these things are happening before our eyes and whether fueled by the extreme rhetoric or causing it, many of the things we doubted or even feared would happen, are. No, this episode isn’t just some macabre, “the sky is falling”, insert sad trombone here prediction after another, but I do want to take a real look at what things could look like and not downplay some very real possibilities.
So, it’s November 8th…what’s going on? Listen to find out!
How The West Might Soon Be Lost (Financial Times)
Episode 9: Antisocial Media
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Over the past few weeks I’ve made great personal sacrifices for this podcast. I’ve subjected myself to abuse, hate speech, and overwhelmingly close-minded rhetoric, all in the name of understanding. In search of the pro-Trump perspective, I went deep undercover into the dark underbelly of American culture – Twitter. I’ll tell you all about what I discovered and why it matters on this episode of An Honest Trumpversation…
When I started this podcast, I said that the goal was to try and take a step back from the flood of typical election coverage, start with the basics, and objectively look at the candidates, issues, and stories to find out what’s really going on—to ask difficult questions, challenge my own assumptions, and to try to see how others, especially those who don’t share my views or beliefs see the world. To “walk a mile” in the other side’s shoes, see things through their lens, in the hopes that doing so would not only lead me to the truth, but help me better understand both those who are different from me, and myself. With that goal in mind, I recently put my sanity and faith in humanity directly in harm’s way and dove down into the deepest, darkest bowels of twitter in search of Honest Trumpversation.
It was absolutely eye-opening, fascinating, disturbing, and overall ridiculous, and I’m really excited to talk to you about it because as we’ve talked about before, this is not a normal election. The candidates themselves are unique to what we’re used to. It’s the first female major-party candidate ever, who has lived the vast majority of her adult life in the public political eye, against a polarizing business tycoon who is the embodiment of capitalism and has leveraged his success and bravado into a global brand and a political movement.
But this election is also unique in the way we, as a country, view it. Sure we still have the traditional media, network news outlets, newspapers, etc. But social media is reshaping many aspects of our lives and this election is no exception. Some of those ways we see in our Twitter and Facebook feeds every day, but some others are less obvious. Taking a look at all these influences, and a few others, may just make us smarter, saner, and even more tolerant of the “other side.”
Here are a few of the key sources referenced in this episode:
Blue Feed, Red Feed (Washington Post)
Hyperpartisan Facebook Pages Are Publishing False and Misleading Information at an Alarming Rate (Buzzfeed)
How Social Media Creates Angry, Poorly Informed Partisans (Vox)
Third-Party Voters Are “Trading Votes” With Clinton Voters to Defeat Trump (Vox)
The Illusion of Truth (PsyBlog)
Donald Trump: The Subliminal Marketing Behind the Campaign (New Style)
Meme Warfare: How The Power of Mass Replication Has Poisoned the US Election (The Guardian)
How Macedonia Became a Global Hub for Pro-Trump
Episode 8: October Surprise
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With all the leaks, stories, allegations, and rumors emerging over the last month, a common phrase has come to the forefront of election talk: “October Surprise.” But what exactly is an October Surprise? What are the top stories heading into next Tuesday’s election, and what impact, if any, do these surprises have on voters? We’re answering these questions, and a few others, on this episode of An Honest Trumpversation…
85% of Americans polled recently had read, heard, or seen something about Clinton in the past day or two. 75% had read, heard, or seen something about Trump. Naturally, some of this is everyday campaign news and updates. Some is conversations with friends, family, coworkers. But a lot of it, especially right now, is something a bit more pointed. October surprises.
So what is an “October surprise”? It’s a piece of news deliberately created or timed, though sometimes occurring spontaneously, to influence the outcome of an election, particularly in a presidential election. The phrase is first found in the 1972 presidential election between Richard Nixon and George McGovern in reference to Henry Kissinger’s announcement that “peace is at hand” in the Vietnam War just 12 days before the election. Nixon had promised to end the war 4 years earlier during his first campaign, and American involvement wouldn’t officially end until 1975, but the strategically-timed announcement all but insured a Nixon re-election. What are some examples from recent elections?
Mitt Romney’s remarks about the 47% of Americans not paying taxes, or Chris Christie praising the Obama Administration’s handling of Hurricane Sandy in 2012. In 2008, a story came out just four days before the election that Barack Obama’s half-aunt was living as an illegal immigrant in Boston after refusing to leave the country after being denied asylum in 2004.
So do you remember any of these? Me either. This election and the level of unsavory media surrounding both candidates has blown the vast majority of these past “scandals” out of the water. Maybe the most similar event we can compare recent stories to is the 2000 election when a police report was released showing George Bush had a drunk driving arrest on his record back in 1976. Bush promptly confirmed the arrest, and then went on to win the presidency, defeating Al Gore, though it was one of the closest and most controversial elections ever.
Throughout the election, and this podcast, when things like this have come out I’ve typically waited for the dust to settle. Let the hype blow over and see what sticks that might have some relevancy. Well, we’re down to the wire and things aren’t slowing down, so at this point, let’s just get it all out in the open.
Today we’ll discuss recent stories, what’s really going on, and what, if any, impact they might have on next Tuesday’s result.
Episode 7: Trump vs. Clinton, Round 3
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Debate #3 is finally over and all that’s left to do is vote. Actually, it’s not that simple and a lot can happen over the next couple weeks, but as far off in the distance as the election seemed when we started this podcast, it’s now just two weeks away. Yes, in two weeks this will all be over…or will it? If Trump has anything to say about it, this could just be the beginning…
On today’s episode, we’ll recap and react to the final debate and try to paint a clearer picture of the decision we’ll all be making in just a few short weeks, complete with a produce-inspired metaphor I’m sure you won’t get anywhere else.
Last Wednesday night, nearly 72 million people tuned-in to the third and final presidential debate from Las Vegas. Early polling shows, for the most part, results consistent with the first two: Mainstream outlets are reporting that Hillary “won” the debate, and the question remains of whether or not Trump did enough to win over independent and undecided voters. One interesting CNN poll immediately following the debate showed 24% of people decided to vote for Clinton following her performance, while 25% said Trump did enough to make them supporters. The big number though? 50% said the debate didn’t impact their decision.
That was my takeaway. As badly as we all want some magical moment to arrive that will make the decision resoundingly clear, odds are if nothing has convinced you one way or the other yet, that moment isn’t coming.
Those still waiting for Trump’s presidential demeanor to appear are probably still waiting. Those looking for clarity on Clinton’s trustworthiness are most likely equally disappointed. New issues and positions were discussed, but as relatively civil and policy-focused as the first 40-or-so minutes felt, the lasting feeling for most hasn’t changed. So what do we do? What are we really deciding? Take a listen to hear about all this and more.
+ Washington Post Fact Checker
+ NPR Fact Checker
+ Politifact Fact Checker
Got a question you just can’t shake? An issue you’re still wrestling with? Shoot me an email to email@example.com tell me about it. I’d love to hear what’s still on people’s minds and maybe even chat through it together on an episode!
Episode 6: Trump vs. Clinton, Round 2
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The second Presidential debate is in the books and if you’re anything like me, or most people, you’re finding it both unbelievable and difficult to watch. Just days after the double-whammy of Trump’s leaked audio tapes and the Clinton WikiLeaks, the debate climate was set for a perfect storm of chaos, thinly-veiled jabs, and all the fact-checking you can handle. Today I’m joined by my good friend Jordan Short who’s here to hopefully help me pull some life, and maybe even some hope, from the wreckage that was Sunday night’s debate.
+ Live Analysis from the Wall Street Journal
+ NPR Fact Check & Transcript
+ 3 Winners & 2 Losers from the Second Presidential Debate (Vox)
+ Check out some of the awesome work Jordan has done.
A refreshing change of pace!
I've been meaning to listen to this podcast since it was first released, but I kept forgetting to download it and dive in. I just binged 5 episodes back to back, and I can't wait for more! It is truly so refreshing this election season to find an unbiased resource to provide some much needed perspective on the candidates and their campaigns. Carl's narrative is informative and engaging, and I would highly recommend this podcast to voters on both sides of the political spectrum!
I follow Carl's wife on social media and she encouraged her followers to give this a listen. Being someone who is not behind either candidate, I was excited to listen. However, this is not as unbiased as advertised. It's very much so leaning toward HRC. Which is fine, had it not been advertised as an unbiased podcast. Some of the "facts" mentioned in this podcast are laughable actually. Just another podcast advertised as something than what it actually is to get you to listen.
More of the same
The podcast slants more towards HC so the podcast feels more of the same.