Join hosts Lee Drutman, Julia Azari, and James Wallner, three lively experts on American political institutions and reform, as they imagine and argue over what American politics could look like if citizens questioned everything.
How do congressional elections fuel dysfunction in Congress?
In this week’s episode of Politics In Question, Katherine Gehl joins Julia, Lee, and James to take a fresh look at how Americans conduct their elections and to discuss the prospects for reform. Gehl is the founder of the Institute for Political Innovation, a non-profit, cross-partisan public policy organization that aims to reform American politics by using private-sector insights to improve congressional elections and - by extension - fix Congress. She is the author of The Politics Industry: How Political Innovation Can Break Partisan Gridlock and Save Our Democracy and the leading proponent of Politics Industry Theory.
How do members of Congress get (and keep) their jobs? Does it help (or hurt) Congress’s ability to do its job? Is there a better way to elect lawmakers? What is Final Five Voting? Can it change how the House and Senate operate? And what is Politics Industry Theory? These are some of the questions that Katherine, Julia, Lee, and James discuss in this week’s episode.
What can Congress’s present dysfunction teach us about our politics and how to make it better?
In the season four opener of Politics In Question, Julia, Lee, and James unpack the rampant dysfunction on Capitol Hill. Why did Congress wait until the last minute to fund the government and raise the debt limit? What is Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s, R-Ky., endgame? And will Democratic divisions prevent Congress from passing President Joe Biden’s agenda moving forward? These are some of the questions that Julia, Lee, and James ask in this week’s episode.
How much conflict is too much conflict in politics?
In this episode of Politics In Question, Amanda Ripley joins Julia, Lee, and James to discuss political conflict. Ripley is an investigative journalist and New York Times bestselling author. Her most recent book is High Conflict: Why We Get Trapped and How We Get Out (Simon & Schuster, Inc., 2021). Ripley's writing has appeared in the Atlantic Magazine, Time Magazine, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, Slate, Politico, the Guardian, and The Times of London.
What is high conflict? How does it impact politics? Can participating in politics in institutions like Congress help solve the problems high conflict causes? And what exactly is a conflict entrepreneur? These are some of the questions Amanda, Julia, Lee, and James ask in this episode.
What is affective polarization?
In this episode of Politics In Question, Noam Gidron joins Julia and Lee to discuss political polarization. Gidron is an assistant professor at the Department of Political Science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is the co-author of American Affective Polarization in Comparative Perspective (Cambridge University Press, 2020). His writing has appeared in the American Political Science Review, Annual Review of Political Science, Journal of Politics, and Social Forces.
What is affective polarization? How does it differ from ideologically polarization? And how does American political polarization compare to politics in other nations? These are some of the questions Noam, Julia, and Lee ask in this week’s episode.
Should lawmakers be afraid of taking votes?
In this week’s episode of Politics In Question, Tony Madonna joins Julia and James to discuss voting in Congress. Madonna is an Associate Professor in the Political Science Department at the University of Georgia. He received his PhD in political science from Washington University in St. Louis. His research interests include American political institutions and development, congressional politics and procedure and presidential politics. His work has appeared in such journals as the American Journal of Political Science, Political Research Quarterly, the Journal of Politics, Presidential Studies Quarterly and the Illinois Law Review.
Why don’t lawmakers like taking votes? What goes through their heads when they think about voting? Have lawmakers always been afraid of taking votes? When did things change? And why? How can lawmakers conquer their fear of taking votes? These are some of the questions Tony, Julia, and James discuss in this week’s episode.
Should House Republicans fire Liz Cheney?
In this week’s episode of Politics In Question, Julia, Lee, and James discuss Liz Cheney and whether House Republicans should remove her from their leadership team. What role do party leaders play in Congress? Has that role changed over time? How does the party leader job change when a president of the same party is in the White House? And when is it ok for rank-and-file members to change leaders? These are some of the questions that Julia, Lee, and James discuss in this week’s episode.
Praise from Democracy in Danger
This was a great episode that makes the listener not only think critically about the questions and arguments presented by the hosts and their guest, but also about their own position on the topics being discussed.
The conversation about how our politics is strained by a group of people who not only peddle dangerous conspiracies that have no theory behind them – unlike your classic conspiracy theories about Area 51 and the moon landing – but also use conspiracies to delegitimize their political opponents was thought-provoking and necessary. But the most crucial question was the one presented by Mr. James Wallner: Is dismissing one's conspiracy-theory-peddling political opponents just another version of the delegitimization that we want to avoid? Furthermore, as Mr. Wallner alluded to: Is dismissing someone who wants to implement voter ID laws as racist the same as dismissing someone who knows that the 2020 election was secure as anti-American? As Professor Rosenblum states, one should not equate dangerous conspiracies that have no real end goal to legitimate concerns about the motives of someone who wishes to see less people vote, but these are crucial questions to ask -- our democracy will only be strengthened by doing so.
I like the way the group asks questions of their guests from the hosts different viewpoints.
Well thought out questions by the hosts. The listener is let in on an in depth conversation about the challenges we face as a society from some of our top scholars.