Politics Is Everything Podcast

Democracy faces a wide range of pressing challenges – from extreme partisanship and divisive politics to persistent inequities in access, voice and participation in public institutions and decision-making processes, from civic unrest to institutions that aren’t responsive to public needs. It’s not enough to just identify problems, we also have to find solutions and work collectively to address them.

Politics Is Everything is a member of the Democracy Group and hosted by Kyle Kondik, Carah Ong Whaley, and other members of the Center for Politics team.

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Season 3 Episodes

Ep. 7 When It’s Good Because It’s Not Bad

Kyle Kondik and Carah Ong Whaley discuss recent political developments and new analyses on the Crystal Ball, including reduced split-ticket voting in Senate elections, updates on 2024 Senate contests, insights from the NY-3 special election results and the significance of New York redistricting for the House of Representatives. They also highlight the decreasing number of competitive House seats and the potential impact on future control of the House.

Links in this episode

Notes on the State of the Senate

Big NY-3 Win Brings Democrats Ever Closer in the House

Ep. 6: Is Roe Fertile Ground for 2024? And What’s the Potential Impact of Ticket-Splitting? 

In this episode, Kyle Kondik and Carah Ong Whaley discuss the recent Nevada caucus and primary results and dive into the potential impact of ticket-splitting in down-ballot House of Representatives elections this year. Rich Thau, president of Engagious, also joins Carah, Tyler Busch, Zoe Shook, and Etienne Ouellette to discuss focus groups with voters in key states for the 2024 elections. The 2024 Deciders is a project with Sago and Syracuse University’s Institute for Democracy, Journalism and Citizenship,


In the presidential elections:

The Race for the House, Part One

The Race for the House, Part Two

Engagious – 2024 Deciders

Ep. 5: ‘Huge Election, Huge Stakes’: Trump’s Trials and Political Implications ft. Darren Samuelsohn

Award-winning journalist Darren Samuelsohn joins Carah Ong Whaley and Ella Doddridge (UVA ‘26) to help make sense of the various Trump trials and their implications for politics and the upcoming election, what it’s really like covering the former president, and navigating journalism in the modern media landscapes. 

Ep. 4: How We’re Thinking About Presidential Primary Elections post-New Hampshire

In this episode, Kyle Kondik and Carah Ong Whaley discuss what they learned about voter turnout in the New Hampshire primary election and how they are thinking about the upcoming presidential primary elections. They also discuss the recent decision in Louisiana to create a second Black-majority Congressional district, ending a nearly two-year saga over adequate Black representation in the state. 


Links in this episode: 

The Fields Above the Graves: Louisiana 2024 Redistricting

Trump Clears the New Hampshire Hurdle

Ep. 3: A Guide to the New Hampshire 2024 Primary ft. Dante Scala 

Polls suggest that the New Hampshire Primary should be more competitive than Donald Trump’s large margin in Iowa’s low-turnout caucus. Just 4 of New Hampshire’s 10 counties will likely comprise 75% of the primary electorate. Dante Scala, University of New Hampshire, joins Kyle Kondik and Carah Ong Whaley to offer a guide to which New England hamlets offer the best clues to the outcome on Tuesday, January 23, 2024. Kyle also discusses among which key demographic groups Donald Trump did better in Iowa’s low-turnout 2024 caucus compared to 2016.  

Links in this episode 

A Roadmap for the New Hampshire GOP Primary 

Big Iowa Win Confirms Trump’s Stranglehold on GOP 

Ep. 2: Full Grassley: What We’re Watching in Iowa ft. Karen Kedrowski, Iowa State University

It’s a flurry of snow and presidential campaigning in Iowa this week in the leadup to the Hawkeye state’s caucuses on Monday, January 15, 2024. Although former president Donald J. Trump continues to hold the lead in polling averages by 30+ percentage points in Iowa, candidates and campaigns are inundating the public with ads, leaflets and rallies, hoping Iowans will brave the freezing temperatures and weather conditions to caucus for them. 

Dr. Karen Kedrowski, Director of the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics at Iowa State University, joins Kyle Kondik and Carah Ong Whaley to discuss campaign strategies, changes to the Democratic caucus, and how all the efforts might impact the outcome and what it means for the 2024 presidential election. They also discuss changing demographics in Iowa and key areas to watch as caucus results roll in. 

Links in this episode: 

Ep. 1: ‘It was an attack on democracy; it was terrorism’ ft. Officer Daniel Hodges

As we commemorate the third anniversary of the attacks on the U.S. Capitol, we talk with DC Metropolitan Police Officer Daniel Hodges. On January 6, 2021, Ofc. Hodges responded with Civil Defense Unit 42 to the attacks on the U.S. Capitol as Capitol Police units were overrun. Ofc. Hodges fought those who assaulted the Capitol on the west lawn, the west terrace, and in the tunnel leading out to the inaugural platform, sustaining many injuries in the process. While fighting in the tunnel he was crushed by rioters in the west terrace doors of the Capitol and beaten. He returned to full duty within a month and continues to serve as an officer. Not only does he continue to serve, he also has testified in court cases about January 6 and in a case in the Colorado Supreme Court, which recently ruled  that Donald Trump is disqualified from the state’s 2024 ballot under the Constitution’s “insurrectionist ban.” Former President Donald Trump formally asked the US Supreme Court to reverse that decision on January 3.  

Along with others who defended democracy on January 6, 2021, Officer Hodges received a Congressional medal, the Presidential Citizens Medal and the Center for Politics’ 2023 Defenders of Democracy award.  

Hodges joined the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police Department in 2014.  Hodges has also received multiple awards for his services with MPD, including a Commendation medal for responding to a man brandishing a gun and threatening MPD Officers and talking him into disarming and surrendering.  Civil Disturbance Unit 42 is a “rapid response” platoon that is equipped with non-standard defensive gear and is activated for policing a variety of First Amendment assemblies, protests, and riots. 

Links in this episode:  

Officer Daniel Hodges testifies to Congress about the January 6, 2021 attacks on the U.S. Capitol. 

Season 2 Episodes Below

Ep. 68 Looking Back, Looking Forward 

Kyle Kondik shares his new analysis on Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball that compares Trump’s approval in 2019 to Biden’s approval in 2023, the same point in each presidency. He finds that Biden’s lower approval is not driven by a higher level of antipathy from Republicans. Kyle and Carah Ong Whaley also reflect on the state of democracy and the upcoming 2024 elections.  

Links in this episode:  

Notes on the State of Politics: Dec. 13, 2023 

Ep. 67 Calling Out & Addressing Threats to Democracy ft. Barbara Comstock and LF Payne

Former Members of Congress Barbara Comstock (Republican) and LF Payne (Democrat), and Alex Theodoridis (UMass) join Carah Ong Whaley and Samuel Kipps to discuss the findings from a new survey on the perspectives, beliefs, and experiences of former members of Congress, with a specific focus on concerns about violence in 2024 and the differing narratives surrounding the events of January 6th. They also discuss the state of dysfunction and polarization in Congress and efforts to rebuild trust and civility in politics. 

Rep. Comstock is a senior adviser for the law and lobbying firm, Baker Donelson, a political commentator, and, most importantly, a resident scholar with us here at the Center for Politics, among many esteemed positions. Rep. Payne is president of Three Ridges Group in Charlottesville, VA and a member of the University of Virginia’s Board of Visitors. and also joining us is Alex Theodoridis, Associate Professor of Political Science & Co-Director of the UMass Poll at University of Massachusetts Amherst.  

Links in this episode:  

U.S. Association of Former Members of Congress and University of Massachusetts Amherst UMass Poll  

Ep. 66: Least Impactful Debates In American Presidential Nomination History?


Kyle Kondik and Carah Ong Whaley discuss the December 6, 2023 Republican primary debate, Nikki Haley’s moment, the dynamics of the race for the Republican nomination, and the challenges faced by the other candidates in their attempts to attract Trump’s voters. They also talk about the retirements of several members of Congress and the implications for lawmaking and upcoming elections, as well as the new congressional map in Georgia.  


Links in this episode:  

Notes on the State of Politics: Dec. 7, 2023 

The GOP Primary: Lowest-Hanging Fruit Remains Out of Reach for Trump Rivals

Ep. 65 ‘Tired of Winning: Donald Trump and the End of the Grand Old Party’ ft. Jonathan Karl

ABC News Chief Washington Correspondent Jonathan Karl joins Center for Politics Director Larry J. Sabato to discuss his new book, Tired of Winning: Donald Trump and the End of the Grand Old Party. Karl offers new insights and reporting in his third book on Donald Trump’s presidency and its aftermath with implications if he were to return for a second term. 

Ep. 64: ‘Party of the People’ ft. Patrick Ruffini 

In this episode, Kyle Kondik and Carah Ong Whaley talk with Patrick Ruffini, a Founding Partner of Echelon Insights and Republican pollster about his new book Party of the People: Inside the Multiracial Populist Coalition Remaking the GOP. The book examines an unfolding political realignment especially along class lines with implications for the 2024 elections and beyond. 

Ep. 63 Just Trying to Stop the Stupid Stuff ft. Congressman Ted Lieu

Representative Ted Lieu, named by Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in AI in 2023, joins us to discuss how the chaos in the House of Representatives is preventing progress on addressing the promises and challenges of generative Artificial Intelligence. He also shares his views on how AI might impact the workforce and elections. On the impact of deepfakes in the 2024 elections, Congressman Lieu says, “It’s going to be a problem and the best counter it is to urge everyone to not trust what they see.”  


Rep. Lieu represents California’s 36th Congressional District and is serving his fifth term in Congress and currently sits on the House Judiciary, Foreign Affairs, and Science, Space, and Technology Committees. He was also elected by his colleagues to serve as Vice Chair of the Democratic Caucus, making him the highest ranking Asian American to have ever served in House Leadership. He also has the distinction of being the first member of Congress to introduce legislation written by General Artificial Intelligence.  

Links in this episode:  

Bipartisan House members propose AI commission 

Ep. 62  What to Expect When You’re Expecting Election Results: 2023 Edition 

On Tuesday, November 7, 2023 voters in several states will go to the polls to cast ballots in state and local elections. Many voters have already cast a ballot early in-person or by mail. Kyle Kondik and Carah Ong Whaley discuss the Crystal Ball’s mega preview of some of the key elections we are watching: gubernatorial elections in Kentucky and Mississippi; the state legislative contests in Virginia; an abortion-related ballot issue in Ohio; and a state Supreme Court race in Pennsylvania.  

Links in this episode:  

A 2023 Election Mega-Preview 

Ep. 61 What Happens When Democracy Threatens to Unravel? ft. Liz Cheney 

Center for Politics Professor of Practice Liz Cheney sat down with Center for Politics Director Larry J. Sabato and other members of our team this week for a discussion about the challenges facing American politics and democracy. She speaks out for the first time about the new Speaker of House Mike Johnson (R-LA-4) and why he is dangerous. Cheney’s forthcoming book, Oath and Honor: A Memoir and a Warning, is now available for pre-order and will be released on December 5, 2023. Cheney, former chair of the House Republican Conference, joined the Center for Politics as Professor of Practice in March.

Ep. 60 Spoiler Alert? Third Party Wild Card & Perceptions of Women in Politics 

In this episode, we dive into a new analysis by Kyle Kondik, Managing Editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball, about where third parties run strong and where we should expect the third party vote to be meaningfully higher or lower in the most important states in the Electoral College in 2024. We also discuss the election of Representative Mike Johnson as Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Carah Ong Whaley also talks with Gretchen Barton, Principal of Worthy Strategy Group, LLC, about a new study of perceptions of leadership and what it means for women in politics. Natalie Jackson of the National Journal joins us for the conversation. After learning about Gretchen Barton’s new study, we wondered what images would come to mind about political leadership for UVA students and we conducted a little experiment. Let us know if the study or what students say resonate with you. Email us at goodpolitics @ virginia.edu 

Links in this Episode: 

Ep. 59  The Calculus of Choosing a Veep ft. Joel K. Goldstein

Joel K. Goldstein, a scholar on the vice presidency at Saint Louis University, joins Kyle Kondik and Carah Ong Whaley to discuss lessons from history on vice presidential selection. Despite headlines quick to suggest that the Republican primary debates are an audition to Donald Trump’s running mate, history suggests that whoever wins the Republican presidential nomination is unlikely to choose one of their rivals for the nomination as his or her running mate. They also discuss challenges for Vice President Kamala Harris.  

Links in this episode:

2024 GOP Rivals Teaming Up on the Ticket? Don’t Bet on It 

Ep. 58 Can AI Help Meet Voters Where They Are? Ft. Matt Hodges 

Matt Hodges, Executive Director of Zinc Labs at the Zinc Collective, joins Carah Ong Whaley and Ella Nelsen (UVA ‘25) to discuss the role of technology in campaigns and elections and what lawmakers should consider in frameworks governing the use of tech tools, including Generative Artificial Intelligence.  

Also in this episode, Kyle Kondik discusses his new analysis of how the 2024 election might be historic in that we could have a pair of presidential candidates who sweep their party nominating contests, even in spite of their weaknesses and liabilities. 

Links in this episode:  

Matt Hodges 

Zinc Collective 


Higher Grounds Labs 

Trump and Biden Seek Historic Combined Sweep 

Ep. 57 Every Time You Hear Us, You Feel A Little Bit Smarter From What We Say  

In this episode, Kyle Kondik and Carah Ong Whaley share takeaways from the second Republican presidential primary debate, held on September 27, 2023 at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California. They also talk about new analysis on the Crystal Ball by Carah and Kylie Holzman (UVA ‘26) about why the United States hasn’t had a woman president.  

Links in this episode:  

Why Haven’t We Had A Woman President? 

Ep. 56: What’s At Stake in Virginia Legislative Elections & the Crisis Among America’s Men ft. David Sirota

Virginia is one of just four states — Louisiana, New Jersey, and Mississippi are the others — that hold state legislative elections in odd-numbered years. It’s entirely plausible that following the 2023 elections, Virginia could join Georgia and New Hampshire as states that have one-party state government that is different from the party that won the state in the most recent presidential election. Since Spring, Virginians’ ratings of the Governor and of the president have been relatively stable – 51% of Virginians approve of the way Youngkin is handling his job as governor and 40% approve of the way Biden is handling his job as president. In this episode, Kyle Kondik and Carah Ong Whaley discuss new analyses on Sabato’s Crystal Ball regarding what’s at stake in the Virginia legislative elections.  

David Sirota, founder and editor-in-chief of The Lever, also joins Center for Politics interns Eli Weinger and Abigail Ronsonet to talk about the role of big money in politics, Biden’s chances for reelection in 2024 and the crisis amongst American men. 

Links in this episode:  

The Battle for the Virginia State Legislature  

The Lever 


Ep. 55: What Can Save Us from AI? Ft. Nick

“The QUESTION CIRCULATING around Silicon Valley isn’t if such a scenario is worth it, even with a 1 PERCENT CHANCE OF ANNIHILATION,” writes Nick Bilton in Vanity Fair, “but rather, if it is really such a bad thing if we build a machine that CHANGES HUMAN LIFE AS WE KNOW IT.” Bilton joins us to share his research on Artificial Intelligence and it’s implications for politics and society.  

Nick Bilton is a special correspondent at Vanity Fair, and his new article is: Artificial Intelligence May Be Humanity’s Most Ingenious Invention—And Its Last? at VanityFair.com and in Vanity Fair’s October issue, also on newsstands as of September 19.

Ep. 54: Flip Flops, Fact Checks & Republicans’ “Excess Seat” Edge in State Legislatures ft. Louis Jacobson

In this episode, Kyle and Carah talk with Crystal Ball Senior Columnist Louis Jacobson about his new analysis on “excess seats” in state legislatures as well as House Republicans’ recently-announced impeachment inquiry into President Biden, his journalism career with PolitiFact, and much more.  

Louis Jacobson is the senior correspondent with PolitiFact. Previously, he served as deputy editor of Roll Call and as founding editor of its legislative wire service, CongressNow. Earlier, he spent more than a decade covering politics, policy, Congress and lobbying for National Journal magazine. He is senior author of the 2016, 2018, 2020, 2022, and 2024 editions of The Almanac of American Politics.  

Links in this episode:  

Politifact articles by Louis Jacobson 

The Republicans’ ‘Excess Seat’ Edge in State Legislatures  

The Almanac of American Politics 

Ep. 53: Navigating Shifting Political Landscapes ft. Grace Panetta 

In this episode, Grace Panetta, a political reporter at The 19th, joins Kyle Kondik, Carah Ong Whaley and Kylie Holzman to discuss several key issues for the 2024 election, including media coverage of women candidates, voter turnout, dramatic shifts in election law landscape, and ongoing threats to democracy posed by election denialism.  

Also, in this episode, Kyle discusses his new analysis on Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball about how the most populous counties versus the least populous counties have voted in presidential elections from 1996-2020. In 1996, Bill Clinton won both the most (by 15.7 percentage points) and least populous counties (1.8 point margin). That means the difference between the two was 13.9 points. By 2020, the gap between the most vs. least populous counties was 39.2 points.  

Links in this episode 

How the Other Half Votes: The United States, Part Two by Kyle Kondik 

The 19th articles by Grace Panetta 

Nikki Haley’s Time for Choosing by Tim Alberta  

The Red Ripple: The 2022 Midterm Elections and What They Mean for 2024 

Ep. 52 ‘Just a Sideshow’: What the GOP Debate Tells Us About the Republican Party

On August 23, 2023, Republican candidates addressed questions on a range of issues facing the nation including the economy, abortion rights, and support for former President Trump even as he faces several indictments in the first presidential primary debate hosted by Fox News. Just 30 minutes into the debate, Chris LaCivita, a political consultant with the Trump campaign said the former president made the right decision to not participate and instead do his own interview with Tucker Carlson that was streamed on X (former Twitter).  

In this episode, Kyle Kondik and Carah Ong Whaley discuss the first Republican presidential primary debate, Donald Trump’s interview and what we can glean about the state of the Republican Party and issues facing the nation.  

Links in this episode:  

Explaining Republican Loyalty to Trump: The Crucial Role of Negative Partisanship 

Republicans view Reagan, Trump as best recent presidents 

Donald Trump is most Republicans’ first-choice candidate 

Younger evangelicals in the U.S. are more concerned than their elders about climate change 

Oliver Anthony – Rich Men North Of Richmond 

Ep. 51: The Atlas of Post-Dobbs Ballot Measures & the Power of the FEC to regulate AI

Since SCOTUS 2022 Dobbs ruling, seven states – California, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Montana, Ohio and Vermont – have voted on ballot measures that relate directly or indirectly to reproductive rights. Reproductive rights advocates have come out on the winning side in all seven. J. Miles Coleman discusses the first installment of his analysis on how these initiatives fared relative to other elections in Kansas, Michigan and Ohio. 

Dr. Craig Holman of Public Citizen also joins Carah Ong Whaley, Marina George and Keshav Hajarnavis to discuss a new public comment opportunity to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) on amending regulations to include deliberately deceptive Artificial Intelligence in campaign ads.  

Links in this episode:  

The Atlas of Post-Dobbs Abortion Ballot Measures: Part One 

Comments sought on amending regulation to include deliberately deceptive Artificial Intelligence in campaign ads 

Ep. 50: A Regulatory Regime for AI? ft. Congresswoman Yvette Clarke

A new generation of generative artificial intelligence heralds a new era of campaigns and elections with the potential for disrupting democratic institutions and processes. “What we are concerned about is the weaponization of information,” says Representative Yvette Clarke (D-New York-9), who joins Carah Ong Whaley, Marina George and Keoni Vega to discuss the promise and perils of Gen AI and efforts in Congress to set up guardrails. “I’m not content with where we are. I feel an urgency to get us to where we need to be. We have the knowledge and understanding, but we don’t have the regulatory regime that truly protects the American people.”

Links in this episode: 

H.R. 3044: REAL Political Advertisements Act / S.1596 – REAL Political Advertisements Act

Statement on Biden-Harris Administration Securing Voluntary Risk Commitments from Leading AI Companies

Huster Magazine, Inc. V Falwell

Algorithmic Accountability Act

Ep. 49: Ohio’s Issue 1 Smackdown

This week, Ohio voters rejected a Republican-led measure that would have increased the threshold required to change the state’s constitution. Significantly, more than three million voters turned out for the special election, which is about 75% of 2022 midterm turnout in the state. More than 640,000 people voted early — a number that could still rise from late-arriving mail ballots — outpacing overall turnout for a 2022 August special election in the state. The struggle over Issue 1 drew more than $35 million in spending, with most of the funding coming from out-of-state groups. The whole point of this process was to erect an impassable barrier in front of a looming constitutional amendment on the ballot in November 2023 that would enshrine reproductive rights protections into the state constitution. Issue 1 would have made it much harder for redistricting reformers to successfully present a constitutional amendment to voters, perhaps in 2024, to establish a new, independent redistricting system in Ohio, which Republicans would oppose. 

Links in this episode:  

Ohio’s Issue 1 Smackdown: The left scores another win in an abortion rights proxy fight; apparent turnout and persuasion edge drives Democratic success

Ep. 48  How the Most vs. Least Populous Counties Vote & Trump’s Third Indictment  

In this episode, Kyle Kondik discusses his new analysis of how the most populous vs. least populous counties in the United States have voted in recent presidential elections. Kyle and Carah Ong Whaley also discuss the third indictment of former president Donald J. Trump and implications for the 2024 presidential election.    

Links in this episode:  

How the Other Half Votes: The United States, Part One 

Ep. 47: Dwindling Crossover Governorships & 24 Hours in Charlottesville ft. Nora Neus

Will the number of split partisan results between presidential and gubernatorial outcomes continue to decline in 2024?  Kyle Kondik discusses the dwindling crossover governorships. We also look at “beer track vs. wine track” Republican voters, and how both tracks remain supportive of the former president in the primary despite his weak spots, with the other candidates trying to claw away from DeSantis who remains distant second.

Carah Ong Whaley and Skylar Tessler also talk with Nora Neus, Emmy nominated producer, writer, freelance journalist and author of 24 Hours in Charlottesville: An Oral History of the Stand Against White Supremacy. Neus is an alumna of the University of Virginia and field-produced Anderson Cooper’s coverage of the 2017 white nationalist riot in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Links in this episode: 

Notes on the State of Politics: July 27, 2023

The Dwindling Crossover Governorships

24 Hours in Charlottesville: An Oral History of the Stand Against White Supremacy

Ep. 46: It’s Not Just the Weather That’s Hot in Arizona: A Deep Dive Into Arizona Voters & Their Views of Elections ft. Thom Reilly 

In the new Center for Politics Crystal Ball ratings for the 2024 presidential election, Arizona is just one of four initial toss-up states. In this episode, Carah Ong Whaley and Skylar Tessler talk with Thom Reilly, co-director of the Center for an Independent and Sustainable Democracy at Arizona State University, about a new survey of Arizonans and their views about elections and election systems.  

Links in this episode:  

Consensus and Concern in Arizona’s Hot Political Climate: Voter Attitudes About Elections 

Ep. 45: Demographics Is not Destiny: The Changing Latino/a/x Electorate ft. Mark Hugo Lopez 

A hot-off-the-press Pew Research Center report finds that Latino/a/x voters continued to support Democrats in 2022, but by a much smaller margin than in 2018. However, Latino/a/x voters were most likely to have not voted in any of the most recent three general elections than other demographic groups. In this episode, we talk with Mark Hugo Lopez, director of race and ethnicity research at Pew Research Center, about issues that matter to Latino/a/x voters and what candidates and campaigns can do to reach the Latino/a/x population. He also discusses the broader turnout story of the 2022 midterm elections.  

Links in this episode:  

Republican Gains in 2022 Midterms Driven Mostly by Turnout Advantage 

The Red Ripple: The 2022 Midterm Elections and What They Mean for 2024 

Equis Research 2022 Post Mortem 

Ep. 44: Expect Another Highly Competitive U.S. Presidential Election in 2024 

This week, the Center for Politics published its first Electoral College ratings for the 2024 presidential election on Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball. As it stands now, it looks like fewer states than ever could pick the next president. In this episode, Kyle Kondik discusses why we should expect a narrow but competitive election in 2024.  

Links in this episode:  

Electoral College Ratings: Expect Another Highly Competitive Election 

How the Other Half Votes: The Southwest 

Ep. 43: Why Partisan and Racial Gerrymandering Should Be Abolished ft. Mitchell Brown 

The coverage of the Moore v. Harper Supreme Court case has primarily focused on its implications for partisan gerrymandering. But the ruling also has significant implications for racial gerrymandering. Mitchell D. Brown, Senior Counsel for the Voting Rights Section of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, one of the organizations involved in Moore v. Harper, joins us to discuss why checks and balances on state legislative activity are critical to safeguarding the rights of Black voters.  

Links in this episode:  

Moore v. Harper  

Shelby v. Holder 

Gonidakis v. Ohio Redistricting Commission 

Allen v. Milligan 

Brooks v. Abbott  

Stephenson v. Bartlett  

The Purcell Principle:  An Explainer from Democracy Docket 

Ep. 42: The Journey to the Supreme Court & What Comes After Moore v. Harper ft. Becky Harper 

Becky Harper, the named plaintiff in Moore vs. Harper, is a citizen-activist who cares deeply about free and fair elections.  She joins us to tell her story about the journey to the Supreme Court and what lies ahead for  

In a 6-3 ruling in the case Moore v. Harper issued June 27, 2023, the U.S. Supreme Court has rejected an extreme version of the so-called “independent state legislature” theory that posed serious challenges for the conduct of elections and would have allowed state legislatures to engage in election subversion (something that was attempted in the 2020 election). In its opinion, the Supreme Court upheld the long-running interpretation of the term “Legislature” in the Elections Clause in Article I, Section IV, Clause 1 and in the Presidential Electors Clause in Article II, Section 1, Clause 2 of the Constitution, making clear that state legislatures do not wield free floating power in the conduct of elections and that their power must be understood in the context of the system of state government, including judicial review. The court also affirmed its 2015 ruling in Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission that states legislatures do not violate this interpretation when they use voter initiatives to create independent redistricting commissions to draw congressional lines. 

Rebecca Harper is a citizen-activist who cares deeply about free and fair elections.  She was the named plaintiff in Moore vs. Harper and in the two prior cases that led to Moore v Harper: Harper v Hall, and Harper v Lewis.   

Links in this episode:  

Moore v. Harper  

Harper v. Hall  

Harper v. Lewis 

Rucho v. Common Cause 

Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission 

Ep. 41: The Politics of a Public Health Crisis & Caregiving ft. Luke Albee & Karen Garner 

June is Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month and our guests for this episode have personal and professional experience with Alzheimer’s Disease. Luke Albee worked in the Senate for 27 years, including as a chief of staff for both Senators Patrick Leahy (VT) and Mark Warner (VA). Karen Garner is the Advocacy Manager for the Alzheimer’s Association for all of Virginia. Co-hosting this episode is Dr. David Goldberg, Assistant Clinical Professor at Virginia Commonwealth University. 

Links in this episode:  

Alzheimer’s Association 

UVA Memory and Aging Care Clinic (MACC) 

Missing Jim 

Executive Order on Increasing Access to High-Quality Care and Supporting Caregivers 

A lifetime of racism makes Alzheimer’s more common in Black Americans 

Social Determinants of Health 

What Does the New Congress Mean for Family Policy? 

Ep. 40: Hot Takes: Virginia Primary Elections 

The June 20, 2023 primary elections in Virginia were the first time voters encountered the state’s new electoral maps, which were drawn under supervision of the Supreme Court of Virginia after a bipartisan panel appointed by the legislature failed to reach agreement. Kyle Kondik, J. Miles Coleman and Carah Ong Whaley discuss turnover, turnout, fundraising, key issues and what to watch in the general election later this year. 

Ep. 39: How Congress Is Addressing the Harmful Effects of A.I. ft. Anna Lenhart

In response to a false narrative perpetuated by mainstream media suggesting that Congress has yet to propose legislation “to protect individuals or thwart the development of A.I.’s potentially dangerous aspects,” Anna Lenhart shows in a new report that Congress is working to address the harms of Artificial Intelligence. She joins us to discuss A.I., data, privacy, transparency and accountability, and the many legislative proposals Congress has introduced to address harmful content.  

Anna Lenhart is a Policy Fellow, Institute for Data, Democracy & Politics (IDDP) at George Washington University.She most recently served in the House of Representatives as the Senior Technology Legislative Aide to Rep Lori Trahan (117th Congress) and as a Congressional Innovation Fellow for the House Judiciary Digital Markets Investigation (116th Congress).  

Prior to working for Congress, Anna was a Senior Consultant and the AI Ethics Initiative Lead for IBM’s Federal Government Consulting Division, training data scientists and operationalizing principles of transparency, algorithm bias and privacy rights in AI and Machine Learning systems.  


Links in this episode:  

Federal AI Legislation: An Analysis of Proposals from the 117th Congress Relevant to Generative AI tools 

As A.I. Booms, Lawmakers Struggle to Understand the Technology,” New York Times 

Ep. 38 How Single Member Districts Are Weakening the Foundations of American Democracy & Policy Options for Reform ft. Grant Tudor

First-past-the-post is not baked in the U.S. Constitution and single-member, winner-take-all elections have not always been a given in Congressional elections. But why did Congress mandate single-member districts for U.S. House of Representatives elections in 1967 with the passage of the 1967 Uniform Congressional District Act (UCDA)? And, could replacing current winner-take-all elections with a proportional system of representation curb political extremism and gerrymandering, restore competition to congressional races and expand opportunities for racial representation? Grant Tudor from Protect Democracy joins Kyle Kondik and Carah Ong Whaley to discuss the evidence from decades of research and a new report. 

Links in this episode: 

Towards Proportional Representation for the U.S. House 

There’s a way to fix gerrymandering (and it’s not through the courts) 

Is Ranked Choice Voting a Cure for What Ails Politics?

Ep. 37: Did the Roberts Court Really Just Uphold Voting Rights? Ft. Dave Daley 

Legal scholars, voting rights and racial justice advocates alike are expressing surprise at the Supreme Court’s 4-3 ruling in Allen v. Milligan on June 8, 2023 that upholds Section 2 of Voting Rights Act. The court upheld a lower court’s decision to strike down an Alabama congressional map because it discriminated against Black voters in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. Dave Daley, Senior Fellow at Fair Vote, joins Kyle Kondik and Carah Ong Whaley to discuss the ripple effects of the ruling for representation, redistricting and the 2024 elections.  

David Daley is the author of “Ratf**ked: Why Your Vote Doesn’t Count” and “Unrigged: How Americans Are Battling Back to Save Democracy.” His work has appeared in CNN, the New Yorker, New York Times, Atlantic and Washington Post, among other publications.  

Links in this episode:  

Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act 

Allen v. Milligan 

Bronovich v. DNC 

Ruccho v. Common Cause 

Shelby v. Holder 

Thornburg v. Gingles 

Fair Vote 

Ep. 36: What’s Keeping Us Up At Night About Candidate Polling ft. Natalie Jackson 

In this episode, Natalie Jackson, who writes the “Leading Indicators” column at the National Journal, joins Kyle Kondik and Carah Ong Whaley to discuss what polling tells us about whether anyone from the crowded field of Republican presidential candidates really has a chance against Donald Trump and critiques the new debate rules the Republican National Committee released for the first debate set for August 2023. Jackson also shares her research on the role that reproductive rights played in the 2022 elections and the role it might play in 2024.  

Links in this episode:  

Herding Cats and Polls  

“Leading Indicators” at the National Journal 

Ep. 35: Manufactured Crisis Averted & Radical Centrism ft. Paul Hobby  

On May 31, the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation to increase the debt limit by a vote of 314-117, with more Democrats supporting it than Republicans. The debt limit simply allows the United States to spend money on programs that have already been authorized by Congress. However, this debt ceiling deal includes provisions to restrict non-defense spending, amends the National Environmental Policy Act, approves a controversial natural gas pipeline, ends the pause on student loan payments, and imposes work requirements on some people who receive SNAP benefits. Out of 100 members of the House Progressive Caucus, 60 voted yes and 40 voted no; while of the 43 hard-right Republicans who are either members of the House Freedom Caucus or voted no against McCarthy as speaker, 8 voted yes, 34 voted no and 1 didn’t vote. Kyle Kondik and Carah Ong Whaley discuss the U.S. House of Representatives vote on legislation to increase the U.S. debt limit and what it means.  

Also in this episode we talk with Paul Hobby, UVA ‘82 and co-founder of the private equity firm Genesis Park, about Texas politics, including the impeachment of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and about his new book Glorious Tension: Rediscovering Our Sacred Middle Ground in an Age of Extremism

Ep. 34: What Will It Take to Get Republicans Out of the Red with Black Voters? ft. Ted Johnson 

Just one in seven Black voters cast a ballot for Republican House candidates in 2022, and while that represents a nearly 50 percent increase from 2018 (14 percent up from 9 percent), Black Republicanism remains the red, according to new analysis of Black voter behavior by Ted Johnson, a contributor to our 2022 post-election book The Red Ripple: The 2022 Midterm Elections and What They Mean for 2024.

Black voters have largely been and remain a uniform voting bloc because the parties have organized themselves around civil rights – either taking a proactive stance or by opposing or remaining silent on civil rights issues. Johnson joins us to discuss what Black Americans want and need from both political parties and from our political system in order to realize the ideals set out in the Declaration of Independence.

Ted Johnson is a Senior Advisor at New America leading its flagship Us@250 initiative and contributing columnist at The Washington Post.

Links in this episode: 

Us@250 Initiative

When the Stars Begin to Fall: Overcoming Racism and Renewing the Promise of America (Grove Atlantic, 2021)

The Anger Gap by Davin L. Phoenix (Cambridge University Press, 2019)

Ep. 33: A Tale of Two Electorates ft. Michael Frias and Haris Aqeel 

The 2022 election defied conventional wisdom and historical trends. Michael Frias and Haris Aqeel with the firm Catalist join Kyle Kondik and Carah Ong Whaley to discuss why and share findings from a new report analyzing what happened in the 2022 midterms elections.  

Michael Frias is the CEO of Catalist with over twenty years combined experience in politics, state government, and the federal government. Prior to joining Catalist, Michael was at the Department of Homeland Security.  

Haris Aqeel is Senior Advisor at Catalist and the report lead author. He has a decade of experience in political analytics, campaigns, and organizational strategy.  

Links in this episode:  

What Happened™ in 2022: An Analysis of the 2022 Midterms  

Leaning Into State Trends: The West Coast – Sabato’s Crystal Ball 

Ep. 32: Neverending Cat and Mouse: Are Online Companies Prepared for 2024 Elections?  

With some 65 elections across 54 countries slated for 2024, how can social media and other online companies prepare? Katie Harbath, Chief Executive for Anchor Change and a fellow at the Bipartisan Policy Center, shares how companies, individuals and government entities can support election integrity, increase transparency around artificial intelligence, and combat mis- and malinformation.  

Previously Katie was a public policy director at Facebook (now Meta) where, over the course of ten years, she was credited with building out and leading a 30-person global team responsible for managing elections. Prior to Facebook, Katie held senior strategic digital roles at the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, DCI Group and multiple campaigns.  

Links in this episode:  

Integrity Institute, Elections integrity best practices 

A Brief History of Tech and Elections 

EU Regulatory Framework on AI 

EU Digital Services Act  

Ep. 31: Saving Democracy From & With AI ft. Nathan Sanders

In this episode, Nathan Sanders joins us to discuss how Artificial Intelligence technologies are impacting political processes in complex ways, including increasing disruptive risks to legislative processes but also providing enforcement mechanisms. Sanders also addresses what regulatory frameworks and Codes of Ethics should include.  

Nathan Sanders is a data scientist and an Affiliate at the Berkman Klein Center at Harvard University where he is focused on creating open technology to help vulnerable communities and all stakeholders participate in the analysis and development of public policy.  

Cover art for this episode was generated by DALL-E. 

Links in this episode:  

How ChatGPT Hijacks Democracy (NYT) 

We Don’t Need to Reinvent our Democracy to Save it from AI 

Large Language Models as Lobbyists 

How AI could write our laws 

Massachusetts Platform for Legislative Engagement 

White House AI Bill of Rights 

Share GPT 

Ep. 30: Can We Fix America’s Financial Crises? ft. Steve Laffey

“We need the next president to be a financial expert,” says Steve Laffey, two-term former mayor of Cranston, Rhode Island, financial expert and 2024 Republican presidential candidate. Laffey joins us to discuss America’s financial crisis and what he would do to address it, most importantly by tackling entitlements.  

Laffey is a Harvard Business graduate and has served as a financial executive and a university professor. When he was mayor of Cranston, the city experienced the fastest economic turn around for a city in American history. Laffey also ran for Congress, for Colorado House District 4 in 2014 and for U.S. Senate in Rhode Island in 2006.  

Links in this episode:  

Fixing America 

Steve Laffey on Substack 

Ep. 29: Can Generative AI Move Politics from ‘Shout with Scale’ to ‘Communications with Scale’? Ft. Jeff Berkowitz and Anthony Sowah 

Both political parties and candidates are already using AI technology. Where is the technology at this stage, how is it being used and how might generative AI impact elections and politics?  Anthony Sowah and Jeff Berkowitz join us to answer these questions and help us go beyond the hype cycle to understand what AI is and what it might become.  

Jeff Berkowitz is the founder and CEO of Washington’s preeminent competitive intelligence and risk advisory firm, Delve. Berkowitz previously served as the Research Director of the Republican National Committee (RNC). He also served on staff or advised five major presidential campaigns and has shepherded research and messaging operations at The White House, the U.S. Department of State, and several prominent private sector and non-profit organizations 

Anthony Sowah is Vice President & Chief Technology Officer at The Hawthorne Group, a firm that specializes in strategic communications, issue advocacy and crisis management. 

Links in this episode:  


The Hawthorn Group 

American Association of Political Consultants (AAPC) Condemns Use of Deceptive Generative AI Content in Political Campaigns 

Ep. 28 Which States Will Have the Most Important Elections Downballot in 2024? 

Which states will have the most important elections downballot in 2024? David Nir and David Beard, co-hosts of The Downballot, join Kyle Kondik and Carah Ong Whaley to share their expert insights. They also discuss how Donald Trump continues to impact candidates down ballot and what new turnout data by demographics from the Census Current Population Survey tells us about the 2022 midterm elections and how should candidates and campaigns be thinking about their approaches to different constituencies looking ahead to 2024. 

David Nir is the Political Director at Daily Kos and publisher of Daily Kos elections, and David Beard is contributing editor at Daily Kos Elections.  


Links in this episode:  

The Downballot 

McConnell details GOP efforts to not ‘screw this up’ in 2024 Senate battle, CNN 

CBS News/YouGov poll on how 2024 GOP presidential primary race could be Donald Trump v. Trump fatigue 

Turnout rates by key demographics on the U.S. Election Project 

Ep. 27  Which States Will Be the Battleground States in 2024? ft. J. Miles Coleman

How have voting patterns in the Midwest & interior West trended relative to the national popular vote in presidential elections since 2000? Hint: we’re seeing a lot of red. This week on the podcast we’re discussing part two of J. Mile Coleman’s’ analysis on trends in two party voting in presidential elections since 2000. Part 1 covered the Northeast and South and you can go back and listen to that episode for more.  

Links in this episode:  

Leaning Into State Trends: The Midwest and Interior West – Sabato’s Crystal Ball
Part 1 Podcast 

Ep. 26 Is Joe Biden’s approval too weak for him to win the 2024 Presidential Election? Ft. Kyle Kondik

Across more than 230 years of American history, 26 presidents have run for re-election after a full term and only 10 have lost. A mere four have lost in the past century – Herbert Hoover in 1932, Jimmy Carter in 1980, George Bush in 1992 and Donald J. Trump in 2020. Based on recent history, a key question for Biden is whether a president can win reelection with an approval rating in the low-to-mid 40s.

Links in this episode: 

Is Biden’s Approval Rating Too Weak for Him to Win?

Ep. 25 Leaning Into State Trends Pt. 1 ft. J. Miles Coleman 

How do state voting trends compare to the national popular vote in presidential elections since 2000? J. Miles Coleman shares his new analysis that contrasts two regions –  the North and South. 

Links in this episode: 

Leaning Into State Trends: The Northeast and Greater South

Ep. 24: Can We Become Re-sensitized to Crazy? Ft. Tara Setmayer

This has not been a great week for Fox News or Ron DeSantis. Tara Setmayer joins us to discuss the fallout from the Dominion Voting Systems settlement with Fox News and weighs in on the 2024 presidential election. She expresses deep concern for the way in which the media is contributing to the “desensitization of crazy” and how some channels are already covering 2024 presidential election as if it were a regular election. “It feels like Groundhog Day,” says Setmayer, about the media making the same mistakes as they did in 2016. This is the time for journalists and media to seriously consider the way they approach coverage and content of politics generally and elections specifically. Tara also discusses what the Republican Party should do to rebuild. “People don’t change until they’ve paid enough of a price. Republicans need to get with it. They can’t continue to shrink their voting base.” 

Tara Setmayer is contributor to ABC News, MSNBC and former GOP Communications Director on Capitol Hill. She’s appeared on ABC‘s The View, ABC’s Good Morning America, and on HBO‘s Real Time with Bill Maher. In January 2020, she joined The Lincoln Project as a senior advisor and hosts the live show The Breakdown along side co-founder Rick Wilson, on the organization’s streaming channel, LPTV.

Ep. 23: How Can We Defend Against Cybersecurity Threats? ft. Chris Krebs

Chris Krebs, the first director of the federal Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), joins us to discuss a range of pressing national security and cybersecurity threats, AI, neural network models, machine learning, leaked classified information and more.

The way to overcome election denialism, says Krebs, “is to push good policy ideas and good policy outcomes. Grievance politics, negative politics, fear politics, has a shelf life. Keep focusing on the positive and people will be more attracted to that in the long term. Yes, it looks pretty dark now, but there are positive policy concepts we can focus on.” 

Mr. Krebs is a Scholar at the Center for Politics and a CBS political analyst. He and former Facebook Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos co-founded and head the Krebs Stamos Group, a cybersecurity consultancy. 

Links in this Episode: 

CISA Security Advisors

Cybersecurity High-Risk Series:Challenges in Securing Federal Systems and Information, GAO 2023

Lawfare Podcast

Ep. 22: Deep In the Heart of Texas…There’s a Growing Democratic Trend? 

What are the voting trends in the Southwest states of Texas, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Nevada? As recently as 2004, George W. Bush carried all 5 of these states, but there’s been a Democratic trend in the region more broadly in the years since. Kyle Kondik continues the deep dive of how voters in the most populous versus the least populous counties vote in presidential elections. We also discuss the Tennessee Republican supermajority’s expulsion of two Black Democratic state legislators – Justin Pearson and Justin Jones and Senator Tim Scott’s announcement that he’s forming a presidential exploratory committee. 

Links in this episode: 

How the Other Half Votes: The Southwest

Elected Officials Expelled from State Legislatures

Ep. 21: Flying Close to the Sun

In this episode, we discuss the indictment of Donald J. Trump, the Wisconsin State Supreme Court election, and the presidential election voting trajectories in the Eastern states of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Virginia and Pennsylvania.

Links in this episode: 

With Protasiewicz win, Democrats flip the Wisconsin Supreme Court

How the Other Half Votes: The East

Night Train

Ep. 20: Doing Everyday Democracy ft. Jamelle Bouie  

New York Times columnist Jamelle Bouie joins us to discuss a range of issues facing American politics, misinformation, the fantasies of political separation, and what he would do to strengthen democracy. “Politics is about collectively deciding how we’re going to solve problems and how we’re going to govern ourselves. As that gets divorced from how people experience politics, it can have the perverse effects we’re seeing now,” Bouie tell us. Political conflicts aren’t going away, but reforming party politics and the structures that incentivize party competition may lower the temperature, Bouie argues. 

Jamelle Bouie is also a political analyst for CBS News and a scholar at the UVA Center for Politics. 


Links in this episode 

Jamelle Bouie’s website  

Columns at New York Times 

Ep. 19: What Are the Driving Forces Behind Shifting Voting Patterns in the Midwest?

What are the factors driving shifts in presidential voting patterns in the Midwest states of Michigan, Minnesota, Iowa, Ohio, Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana? In this episode, Kyle Kondik provides an in-depth look at the partisan split and direction of counties in these states. Carah Ong Whaley and Kyle also discuss the high-stakes supreme court contest in Wisconsin. 

Links in this episode: 

How the Other Half Votes

What to Watch for in the Wisconsin Supreme Court race

A First Look at 2024 State Supreme Court Contests


Ep. 18: What Is the Future of Republican Party? Ft. Barbara Comstock 

In this episode, we talk with former Republican Representative Barbara Comstock about why a red wave didn’t materialize in the 2022 elections, the state and future of the Republican Party, and potential indictments of Donald Trump. 

Barbara was elected to Congress in 2014, and served two terms representing Virginia’s Tenth Congressional District, making her the first woman elected to that seat. She was named as one of the “Top Ten Most Effective Lawmakers” in the 115th Congress by the Center for Effective Lawmaking, a joint effort of the University of Virginia and Vanderbilt University. Barbara also serves as an ABC News political contributor and appears regularly on CNN, PBS, and MSNBC. 

Links in this episode: 

Barbara Comstock on Twitter

Baker Donelson

Issue One 

Sarah Longwell, The Focus Group

Ep. 17: How Women Are Showing Up for Justice and Democracy

At a time when political rights are being contested, we talk with Dahlia Lithwick about the women who are working tirelessly through the law and legal system in pursuit of justice and a more democratic society.

Dahlia Lithwick is the senior legal correspondent at Slate and host of Amicus, Slate’s award-winning biweekly podcast about the law.  Her work has also appeared in The New York Times, Harper’s, The New Yorker, The Washington Post, The New Republic, and Commentary, among other places. Lithwick won a 2013 National Magazine Award for her columns on the Affordable Care Act. She was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in October, 2018.

Links in this episode: 

Lady Justice: Women, the Law and the Battle to Save America (Penguin 2002)

Ep. 16: A Tricky Dance ft. Kyle Kondik 

In this episode, Kyle Kondik discusses the 2024 Republican presidential primary field even though we’re still about a year away from actual voting. In the RealClearPolitics average of national polls, Donald Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (who has yet to declare a bid) together get about 75% of the total support. And Trump is leading by 25 percentage points among potential Republican primary voters, 53% to 28%. Is the Republican Party ready to move on from Trump?  

Links in this episode:  

The Republican Presidential Primary: Still Early, but Maybe Getting Late – Sabato’s Crystal Ball 

Ep. 15: What Kind of Society Do We Want ? Ft. Senator Bernie Sanders 

“What I wanted to do in the book, It’s OK to Be Angry About Capitalism (Penguin Random House 2023), is to break through the irrelevant discussion that takes place,” Senator Bernie Sanders told an audience at UVA Center for Politics event on March 2, 2023. He continued, “Politics is more than polls, more than elections, more than Democrats attacking Republicans or Republicans attacking Democrats. Real politics to me is about what’s going on in American life today.”  To the young people in the crowd, Senator Sanders encouraged them to stay engaged, “Change is not easy. It’s part of a long struggle for justice.” 

In this episode, we share Senator Sanders’ remarks and interview with Center Scholar Robert Costa, Chief Election and Campaign Correspondent for CBS News.  

Ep. 14: How Likely Is an Electoral College Tie in the 2024 U.S. Presidential Election? 

How likely is an Electoral College tie in the 2024 U.S. presidential election? What are plausible paths to an Electoral College tie? What would happen if there’s an Electoral College tie and the House of Representatives has to decide the election? Kyle Kondik, Managing Director of Sabato’s Crystal Ball walks us through the history, scenarios, and procedures we should be paying attention to in the event no candidate receives a majority of Electoral College votes.  


Links in this episode:  

Notes on the State of Politics: March 1, 2023 

Republicans Retain Edge in Electoral College Tie 

Ep. 13: Battle for House Majority in 2024 Starts As Toss-up ft. Kyle Kondik 

Kyle Kondik, Managing Editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball, discusses House Ratings for 2024, why control of the House of the House Representatives begins as a Toss-up,  the most competitive seats and the role that redistricting and gerrymandering will play in determining outcomes.  


Links in this episode:   

Initial House Ratings: Battle for Majority Starts as a Toss-up, Kyle Kondik, Sabato’s Crystal Ball 

The hidden dynamic that could tip control of the House, Ronald Brownstein, CNN 

Limits of Partisanship in Citizen Preferences on Redistricting, Devin McCarthy 

Ep. 12: What Happened in Virginia Special and Wisconsin Supreme Court Elections? ft. J. Miles Coleman

On February 21, 2023, Jennifer McClellan handily won the special election to serve Virginia’s Fourth Congressional District, making her the first Black woman to represent Virginia in Congress, and Wisconsin held a primary for the most important judicial race of the year in the closely-divided state. In this episode J. Miles Coleman and Carah Ong Whaley discuss the elections and why they matter.

Links in this episode: 

Notes on the State of Politics: February 22, 2023

Ep. 11: Democracies in America ft. Greg Laski and Bert Emerson  

Greg Laski, civilian Assistant Professor of English at the United States Air Force Academy, and Bert Emerson, Associate Professor of English and Director of the Honors Program at Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington join us to discuss their new book, Democracies in America (Oxford University Press). The book features twenty-five essays written by a diverse group of leading intellectuals in history, literature, religious studies, political philosophy, rhetoric, and other disciplines, and it is organized around enduring dilemmas for society and governance, including republic versus democracy, citizenship and representation.  


Links in this episode:  

Ep. 10: Try Before You Buy! Primaries, Primaries and More Primaries ft. Kyle Kondik 

Why has it been over a decade since an incumbent senator was successfully primaried in a regularly-scheduled election? Which Senators might be vulnerable to a primary challenge in 2024? What are the primaries that merit watching? How will changes in the Democratic presidential primary schedule play out? How should the Republican Party consider changes it might make to the way it nominates presidential candidates? Kyle Kondik, Managing Editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball addresses these questions and more in this episode.  

Links in this episode:  

The Senate Primaries to Watch So Far 

Both White and Nonwhite Democrats are Moving Left 

Ep. 9: What Is the State of Biden’s Next Campaign? ft. Kyle Kondik 

Should we rethink State of the Union addresses, which have become pretty formulaic? This year, President Joe Biden touted bipartisan accomplishments and focused primarily on the economy and domestic issues. He didn’t really delve into some of the cultural issues on which the parties differ, which was in stark contrast to Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ response for Republicans. Even in his discussion of policing, he centered the voices of the parents of Tyre Nicols and the talks that Black parents must have with their kids. But, President Biden also discussed the strains that law enforcement are under. What did the content of Biden’s speech reveal about where he and party are headed as we look to 2024?  

Kyle Kondik, Managing Editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball, joins Carah Ong Whaley for a discussion of President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address and the state of his 2024 campaign.  

Links in this episode:  

The State of Biden’s Next Campaign 

Transcript of President Joe Biden’s State of the Union Address 

Ep. 8: The Importance of Defending Democracy ft. Ambassador Juan Gabriel Valdés

In Chile, a special assembly spent more than two years writing a new constitution to replace the current one that dates back to the country’s military dictatorship. The proposed constitution, which some called the world’s most progressive, would have put a focus on social issues and gender parity, enshrine rights for the indigenous population, and address climate change. In September, Chilean voters rejected the proposal, and on January 11, 2023, Chile’s Congress passed a bill that starts a new process to replace the country’s Pinochet-era constitution.  

In this episode, His Excellency Juan Gabriel Valdés, Ambassador of Chile to the United States joins Carah Ong Whaley and Caterina Perez Siino for a conversation about the state of democracy in Chile, Latin America and around the world, and discusses the importance of institutional accountability to protect from authoritarianism. “To defend democracy is very important,” says Ambassador Juan Gabriel Valdés. He also discusses solutions to a wide-range of challenges facing Chile and the world – from migration to policing reform to health system access. 

His Excellency Juan Gabriel Valdés was sworn in most recently as Ambassador to the U.S. in spring 2022 and previously served as Ambassador to the U.S. from 2014 to 2018. In addition to Ambassador to the U.S., he has served as Chile’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the U.N. and Minister of Foreign Affairs, among other positions. He was a visiting professor at Columbia University in New York, Sorbonne in Paris, and served as Director of Institutional and Strategic Affairs at the University of Chile in Santiago. 

Ep. 7: Why Have Presidential and Senate Results Become More Aligned in Recent Elections? Ft. J. Miles Coleman

Outcomes in the Senate races have increasingly become aligned with the presidential vote. Senate candidates frequently performed better a decade or two ago, with 40-point or more performance better than that of the presidential candidate occurring in 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012. J. Miles Coleman explains this trend and what it portends for the 2024 elections.  

Links in this episode:  

Ep. 6: 2024 Senate: Democrats Have a Lot of Defending to Do

The Crystal Ball released its 2024 Senate Ratings this week. With 34 Senate contests, Democrats are defending 23 of these seats, while Republicans are defending just 11. That Democratic tally includes the 3 states with independents who caucus with the Democrats. In this episode, Kyle Kondik, Managing Editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball, provides an overview of the initial ratings and why Democrats will be playing defense.  


Links in this episode:  


Ep. 5:  A First Look at 2023 & 2024 Gubernatorial Contests Ft. J. Miles Coleman

Miles Coleman, Associate Editor of Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball, discusses the 2023 gubernatorial elections in Kentucky, Louisiana and Mississippi. Kentucky has a popular Democratic governor, and Republicans will likely retain control of the executive branch in Louisiana. In Mississippi, Democrats have not won a gubernatorial contest this century, but a credible Democratic candidate joined the contest last week. Miles also shares an early forecast of 2024 gubernatorial contests and predicts that North Carolina will be the most contested election.

Links in this episode: 

Ep. 4: How the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attacks Impacted Politics ft. Luke Broadwater

The biggest impact of the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attacks was on public understanding to realize that the attacks weren’t just a single day, says Luke Broadwater, a Congressional reporter in the Washington bureau of The New York Times.  Broadwater has written hundreds of articles covering the causes and consequences of the January 6, 2021 attacks on the U.S. Capitol and the House Select Committee’s investigation.  

Prior to joining The Times, Luke worked for nearly a decade at The Baltimore Sun, where he covered the Maryland State House and Baltimore City Hall. He broke a story last year about a self-dealing scandal at the state’s largest hospital system that resulted in the resignation of Baltimore’s mayor and top hospital officials and the passage of sweeping reform legislation. That series of investigative articles won the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for local reporting and a George Polk Award for political reporting. 

Links in this episode:  

Jan. 6 Transcripts Detail Failures in Surveillance and National Guard Response 

January 6 committee wraps up, withdraws Trump subpoena 

Jan. 6 Transcripts Reveal Disagreements That Divided Trump Camp 

Jan. 6 Committee Withdraws Its Subpoena of Trump 

Jan. 6 transcripts shed new light on how Trump considered blanket pardons 

With Detailed Evidence and a Call for Accountability, Jan. 6 Panel Seeks a Legacy 

Inside the Jan. 6 Committee 

Jan. 6 panel’s final report blames riot on ‘one man:’ Trump 

The Capitol Police and the Scars of Jan. 6 

How the Jan. 6 committee used TV tactics and dark humor in its case against Trump 

House Select Committee Archive (links to Final Report, Witness Testimonies and Hearings)  

Ep. 3: ‘Our democracy is really at risk’ ft. Sandra Garza  

For the second anniversary of the violent attacks on the U.S. Capitol, we spoke with Sandra Garza, a clinical social worker, veteran, and partner of Private First Class Brian Sicknick, a U.S. Capitol Police officer who died of injuries sustained during the insurrection on January 6th, 2021.  


Ms. Garza shares her experiences attending the House Select Committee hearings and what more needs to be done to achieve justice and accountability. She says everybody has a responsibility to ensure this never happens again. Ms. Garza is the plaintiff on a lawsuit filed on January 5, 2023 in the United States District Court in the District of Columbia against Donald J. Trump, Julian Khater and George Tanios for the wrongful death of Pfc Brian Sicknick. The lawsuit includes claims for relief for 1) wrongful death; 2) conspiracy to violate civil rights; 3) common law assault against Khater and Tanios, 4) Negligence Per Se against all defendants; 5) Aiding and Abetting Common-Law Assault (against Trump). 


On January 6, 2023, PFC Sicknick was awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal for having made “exemplary contributions to our democracy” and shown “courage and selflessness” around the events of January 6, 2021. The medal is one of the country’s highest civilian honors, given to American citizens deemed to have “performed exemplary deeds of service for their country or their fellow citizens.”  


PFC Brian D. Sicknick served with the United States Capitol Police from July 2008 until his passing in the line of duty on January 7, 2021 due to injuries sustained during the attack on the United States Capitol. PFC Sicknick spent the majority of his career with the department’s First Responder Unit, where he served as a mountain bike officer as well as a member of the Civil Disturbance Unit. 


Links in this Episode 

Ep. 2: The Case for Justice ft. Mark Zaid

On the second anniversary of the January 6, 2021 attacks on the U.S. Capitol, we talk with Mark S. Zaid, an attorney with a practice focused on national security law, freedom speech, constitutional claims and government accountability. Mr. Zaid represents Sandra Garza, the partner of fallen Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, in a new lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court on January 5, 2023 against Donald J. Trump and two rioters. The lawsuit includes claims for relief for 1) wrongful death; 2) conspiracy to violate civil rights; 3) common law assault against Khater and Tanios, 4) Negligence Per Se against all defendants; 5) Aiding and Abetting Common-Law Assault (against Trump). Mr. Zaid also represents U.S. Capitol Police Pfc. Harry Dunn and Sergeant Aquilino Gonell, and represented Julie Farnam, the Acting USCP Director for Intelligence who warned in the intelligence assessment before the insurrection, dated January 3, 2021 that warned, “Bottom line. Protestors … plan to be armed.”  


Mr. Zaid discusses the lawsuit, representing law enforcement, the politics of investigating the January 6, 2021 attacks on the Capitol, and the ongoing consequences of the attacks.  


Links in this episode:  

Ep. 1: McCarthy’s Headaches & What Rebels Want 

There has not been multiple ballots in a speaker election in 100 years, as Kyle Kondik wrote for the Crystal Ball earlier this week. On Thursday, January 5, Representative Kevin McCarthy of California offered new concessions to a group of conservative Republicans that have prevented him from winning the majority of votes needed to secure Speaker of the House. Mr. McCarthy has not yet been able to lock in the 218 votes he needs to win the Speakership. In the seventh, eighth, and ninth rounds of voting, held on Thursday, 20 Republicans voted for other candidates, and one voted “present.”  

In this episode, we discuss what the House election for Speaker and McCarthy’s detractors tells us about the Republican governing coalition and what might be in store for the 118th Congress.  

Links in this Episode:  

The Political Profile of McCarthy’s Detractors 

McCarthy, Santos, and a Tenuous GOP Majority 

Season 1 Episodes Below

Ep. 31: What Were the Best and Worst Political Moment of 2022?  

From the authentic to the hyperconstrued, from taking serious public issues and concerns to the utterly nonsensical and absurd, Kyle Kondik, Miles Coleman and Carah Ong Whaley share what they think are the best and worst of campaign ads, campaign moments and candidate moments of the 2022 midterm elections. What made your best and worst political moments of 2022? Share them with us by email goodpolitics@virginia.edu or Tweet at us at @Center4Politics.  

Ep. 30: A New Era of Competitive Presidential Elections & Shifting Voting Patterns 

In this episode, Kyle Kondik and Miles Coleman discuss the two eras in the Republican-Democrat two-party system that really stand out for competitiveness because of how close consecutive presidential elections were: the 6 elections between 1876-1896 and the elections in the 2000-2020 time period. They also discuss shifts in voting patterns In the 2000-2020 time period and the patterns that emerge regionally. “The most competitive states in 2020 may be the most competitive in 2024: Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin in the Great Lakes region and Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, and North Carolina in the Sun Belt,” Kyle asserts.  

Links in this episode:  

The Electoral College in the 21st Century 

Ep. 29: Is Free Speech Under Threat on Campuses?

In this episode, we talk with Bradford Vivian, Professor of Communication Arts and Sciences at Penn State University and author of Campus Misinformation (Oxford University Press), about how the idea that free speech is under threat on college campuses became a core political appeal and how it has been manufactured through misinformation, distortion, and political ideology.

Ep. 28: A Fighting Chance for 2024

Kyle Kondik and Miles Coleman react to the Georgia Senate election, discuss House crossover districts, split ticket voting in 2022 and the Democratic Party’s 2024 primary plan. Regarding the Republican candidate quality problem, Kyle suggests that the “Senate Leadership Fund needs to take a more active role in primaries going forward if Republicans want to do well in 2024.”

Ep. 27: Why are Americans so obsessed with fascism?  

Fascism has had a firm grip on the American imagination for one hundred years. “Increased polarization in the United States reflects Americans’ deepest fears of what might be happening in the polity,” says Bruce Kucklick, “The disruptive politics of Donald Trump has been grist for fascism-obsessed America.” Kuklick joins us to discuss the roots of fascism in American politics and popular culture based on his new book Fascism Comes to America: A Century of Obsession in Politics and Culture (University of Chicago Press).  

Bruce Kucklick is the Roy F. and Jeannette P. Nichols Professor Emeritus of American History at the University of Pennsylvania.  

Ep. 26: Is Ranked Choice Voting a Cure for What Ails Politics? 

Are ranked choice voting and multi-member districts a cure for the hyperpartisanship and partisan extremism plaguing politics? In this episode, we talk with Rob Richie, who has been the leader of FairVote since co-founding it in 1992. Richie shares evidence for how ranked choice voting is increasing representation and opportunities for new voices and new players in politics in places where it has been adopted. Mary Peltola, who is the first Alaska native to ever serve in Congress, is one such example. 


As a result of ballot Measure 26-228 passing in the 2022 election with 58% of voters approving, Portland is set to become the largest city in the United States to use both ranked choice voting and multi-member City Council districts, a combination known as proportional representation that political scientists agree is a “gold standard” of democratic systems. We also talk with Damon Motz-Story who was part of grassroots efforts to adopt the reforms in Portand. 


Links in this episode 


Portland Charter Review Commission  


Ep. 25: Looking Back on 2022 Elections & Looking Ahead to 2024 Elections

2022 was a great year for incumbents and a lot of things did matter – candidate quality, redistricting, reproductive rights and democracy. In this episode, Kyle Kondik, Managing Editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball, and Miles Coleman, Associate Editor, assess the 2022 election and why Republicans didn’t do as well as expected in an election that historically pointed to their advantage. They also discuss what divided government but narrow majorities mean for governance, and look ahead to the Georgia runoff and to 2024 elections.  

Links in this episode:  

Sabato’s Crystal Ball  

Ep. 24: This is a war on democracy and democratic principles.

“This is a war on democracy and democratic principles,” Dr. Yuna Potomkina, Advisor to Ukraine Minister of Defense tells us.  Armed conflict has been raging in Ukraine since early 2014 following Russia’s annexation of Crimea. On February 24, 2022, during a last-ditch UN Security Council effort to dissuade Russia from attacking Ukraine, Vladimir Putin announced the beginning of a full-scale land, sea, and air invasion of Ukraine targeting Ukrainian military assets and cities across the country. Since then, nearly 8 million Ukrainians have been forcibly displaced. An unknown number of Ukrainian children have been forcibly separated and deported to Russia, on top of other war crimes that will cause generational trauma. 

Joining Dr. Potomkina in this episode is Sabina Iliasova, Project Coordinator at Crimea SOS, Liubov Rakovytsia, Chief Operating Officer at Donetsk Institute of Information, and our interpreter is Peter Voitsekhovsky. 

“Ukraine’s success will tell the rest of the world that even a nonnuclear country can come out as a winner against a nuclear state that violated its international commitments and can continue as nuclear free and peaceful,” says Liubov Rakovytsia.   

Our visitors said two of the most important things Americans can do are to keep Ukraine in the public discourse and to send a message of support directly to the people of Ukraine. We have created a form to fill out and will deliver messages to them. 

Ep. 23: Wave Watch: Elections 2022

The Senate is coming down to a jump ball situation. Candidates need to avoid a bad toss, and can’t miss a foul or violation. Sabato’s Crystal Ball is still projecting a Republican gain in the House in the high teens or low 20s. 


In this episode, we share our live discussion initially held on Twitter Spaces with resident experts Kyle Kondik, Managing Editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball and Miles Coleman, Associate Editor. We talk about our latest projections, what to watch, and the state of play in key Senate, House and Gubernatorial races in the final days of Election 2022. 


Links in this episode: 

Center for Politics on Twitter

Sabato’s Crystal Ball 

Secretary of State and Attorney General: What to Watch for Next Week in Key Statewide Contests

Ep. 22: A Pumpkin Year for Democrats?  

Kyle Kondik discusses changes in Sabato’s Crystal Ball ratings to favor Republicans and he predicts the GOP will take control of the House of Representatives following the 2022 midterm elections. The Crystal Ball says the Senate remains a toss-up. We also talk about how the political environment matters and what to watch in the final week leading up to Election Day 2022. 

Ep. 21: ‘Democracy hangs there by a thread.’ ft. Clint Hill & Lisa McCubbin Hill 

“Democracy hangs there by a thread really,” Clint Hill says on this episode of Politics Is Everything. “It hangs there by the will of the people. Without the agreement of the people to live by those circumstances, it will not exist. When it has been jeopardized by individuals, or groups or power mongers, it’s very difficult to watch if you’re one of those like myself who accepts the wonders of democracy. Democracy is government of the people, by the people and for the people. And it is fragile. It can go either way. We must be careful.” 


Clint Hill will forever be remembered as the courageous Secret Service Agent who leapt onto the back of the presidential limousine in the midst of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, on November 22, 1963. For his actions that day, Hill received the nation’s highest civilian award for bravery. His primary responsibility was the protection of First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy. “I ended up with the best assignment in the secret service,” Hill tells us.  

Lisa McCubbin Hill, an award-winning journalist who has been a television news anchor and reporter for NBC, ABC, and CBS, also joins the conversation to discuss their new book My Travels with Mrs. Kennedy

Ep. 20: ‘Disagreement is healthy.’ ft. Dr. David Ramadan 

“Partisanship has become a problem on a personal level,” says Dr. David Ramadan, a Republican who served in the Virginia House of Delegates from 2012 to 2016 in “one of the most Democratic districts in the entire Commonwealth.” Dr. Ramadan discusses ways to reduce extremism in both parties.  

Dr. Ramadan is the Vice President of an innovative EdTech leader, Noodle, the world’s fastest-growing online and lifelong knowledge network of universities, corporations, and learners. He is also an adjunct professor at George Mason University (his alma mater) and is a 2022-23 scholar at the Center for Politics.  

Ep. 19: ‘The Only Way Anything Gets Better Is if You Lean In’ ft. Margaret Brennan 

Margaret Brennan, moderator of “Face The Nation” on CBS and the network’s chief foreign affairs correspondent based in Washington, D.C. joins us to discuss the crisis in confidence in the media and political institutions, and the importance of leaning in to fix the challenges facing our democracy and society. Brennan says we need to be paying more attention to what is happening around the world as “We are literally seeing the foundations of the global order shaken.”  

Links in this episode:  

Face the Nation 

Ep. 18: How many seats will Republicans end up with in the House of Representatives?

In this episode, Larry Sabato, Director of the Center for Politics, and Kyle Kondik, Managing Editor of the Crystal Ball, place the 2022 election in historical context, discuss which races are the hardest to predict and address the state of play as we head into the final three weeks of what is slated to be the most expensive election on record.  

Links in this episode: 

Sabato’s Crystal Ball  


Ep. 17: What’s Happening with Four Weeks Until Election Day 2022?

It’s just four weeks until the last day to vote, a.k.a. Election Day 2022. What’s happening that may be affecting the electoral environment now that people are paying closer attention to the elections? Kyle Kondik and Carah Ong Whaley discuss ads, the prospect for women candidates, and ballot measures, and they answer listener questions.  

Links in this episode:  

Sabato’s Crystal Ball 

Ep. 16: Can we regain the ability to come back together after elections? 

“Everything has changed,” says CNN political contributor and Center for Politics scholar Paul Begala about campaigns and elections since he was the senior strategist for Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign. “Partisanship is now part of our identity and social media has really put jet fuel behind all the fissures in our society…Elections have always been about dividing. We’re losing the ability to come back together afterward.” 

We talk with Mr. Begala about the changing nature of political campaigns, the 2022 elections, political organizing, Texas politics, the Democratic Party and more. 

Links in this episode:  

Ep. 15: “What an Injustice’ ft. Senator Tim Kaine 

Senator Tim Kaine joined the Center for Politics on September 23, 2022 to honor law enforcement who defended the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021 for the first annual Defender of Democracy Awards. The J6 insurrection interrupted the proceedings of the House and Senate as they met to fulfill their Constitutionally prescribed duty to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election and forced members to evacuate to safe locations, including Senator Kaine.  


Senator Kaine recalled his reaction on January 6 as he was hunkered down in the Capitol with other Senators and staff and seeing Virginia State Troopers arrive on the scene, “The last time there was domestic insurrection against the government of the United States, Virginia was leading it. Now we’re in a domestic insurrection that’s being led by the commander-in-chief of the United States, and Virginia is coming to the rescue of the union.” Senator Kaine also noted that Charlottesville and January 6 are connected in so many ways as both were: “motivated by a fear of replacement, amplified by disinformation, and were an attack on democracy.”


Senator Kaine has helped craft bipartisan legislation to honor the public service of police officers, firefighters, and emergency responders by supporting the families of public safety officers lost to trauma-linked suicides, including families of Officers Jeffrey Smith and Howard Liebengood who were honored by the Center for Politics as Defenders of Democracy.  

Ep. 14: Outside Spending, Rating Changes & Ads…Oh My!  

The cost of elections is on the rise. Adjusted for inflation, the 2022 congressional elections are set to cost $9.3 billion dollars, compared to $6.7 billion in 2018, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics. And the average cost to win a seat has doubled since 2004. In this episode Kyle Kondik shares his outside spending analysis, where outside spending is targeted and how outside spending is influencing his assessment of races. Kyle and Miles Coleman also discuss updated Sabato’s Crystal Ball House and Gubernatorial ratings and what political ads tell us about some key races. 

Links in this Episode: 


Ep. 13: Hello, 2022. 1978 and 1982 are calling.  

Sabato’s Crystal Ball has been tracking how 2022 is different from previous midterm elections years when the party that holds the White House is often punished. The 2022 midterm elections features both an unpopular president and there are also indications that the unpopular president’s party won’t be strongly punished. In this episode, Kyle Kondik discusses how echoes of the 1978 and 1982 midterm elections may be reverberating in 2022.  


Links in this episode:  

Ep. 12: ‘I was just simply doing my job.’ Ft. Sergeant Aquilino Gonell

On Friday, September 23, the Center for Politics honored and recognized all of the police officers, state troopers, national guard, firefighters, and emergency responders who protected members of the U.S. Congress, their staff, journalists and other public servants at the Capitol on January 6, 2021 as the legislative branch of America’s democracy carried out the Constitutionally prescribed certification of the results of the 2020 presidential election.  

In this episode, we talk with one of the recipients of the award, U.S. Capitol Police Sergeant Aquilino Gonell. Sergeant Gonell served in Iraq with the U.S. Army during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Even with the threat of bomb-filled roads, he volunteered to conduct supply missions for U.S. and allied forces and local Iraqi schools. On January 6, 2021 while on American soil, he said he was more afraid of the violence that took place at the Capitol than he ever felt while serving in Iraq. On the west side of the Capitol, he spent hours trying to stop the wave of assailants from entering the building. He was hit with an American flag pole and a bat, and at one point fell to the ground and was dragged by a group that beat and insulted him.  

“I had to work for my citizenship. I had to earn my citizenship. Having so many people who were born in this country attacking the very same thing I swore an oath to protect and attacking the place I call home, that is what bothers me so much,” Sergeant Gonell tells us. “I bought into the American system, into American values. The things we hear when we live overseas – that America is the land of opportunity, that everyone is treated equal, that no one is above the law. And all this was tested on January 6 and onward… Without what we did, there would have been a lot of people who died. It would have been a massacre. When they were trying to get into the Capitol, they were telling us that they were there to hurt people. They told me that they were going to execute anyone in there that deserves it. Some of them yelled at me that I wasn’t an American…but, what is more American than protecting the Capitol?”  

Links in this episode:  

Ep. 11: Why Is the U.S. Constitution in Jeopardy

Activists have been campaigning behind the scenes for years now to change the U.S. Constitution to limit the federal government, with implications for education, health care and the environment. In this episode, we talk with former Senator Russ Feingold, President of the American Constitution Society, and Peter Prindiville, a non-resident fellow at the Stanford Constitutional Law Center about their new book, The Constitution in Jeopardy

Feingold and Prindiville trace the origins and developments of Article V of the U.S. Constitution and its provision and the ways in which it embodies an underappreciated tension that the Constitution both reflected and embedded between institutionalist theories of democracy and governance and more radical grassroots theories of resistance and change. They caution that a Constitutional Convention could run away and fundamentally alter our nation’s laws and civic life.  

Links in this episode:  

Ep. 10: What Is the Role of the News Media in this Critical Moment for American Democracy?

Robert Costa, chief election and campaign correspondent for CBS News and a scholar at the Center for Politics this academic year, shares his approach to covering campaigns, elections and politics to help the public make sense of the complex issues facing the nation. “It can become a blizzard that’s hard to follow,” says Costa, “You have to report deeply and you want to break news…Unless it’s breaking ground on the biggest players, it’s important, but not THE story.” 

Links in this episode: 

Ep. 9: Are Republican Chances for the Midterm Underrated?

There’s been some mixed electoral indicators – including the recent rise in President Biden’s job approval rating and Democrats doing better in the generic ballot – that are making the 2022 elections more challenging to analyze. Henry Olsen, Senior Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and Washington Post columnist joins us to discuss why the Republicans are now being underrated, including through persistent and unaddressed biases in survey research, and what that means for the 2022 elections. “We should be very careful when we’re looking at state-level polling,” says Olsen. 


Links in this episode:  

Ep. 8: House Ratings: ‘What the Hell’s Going On Out Here?

Kyle Kondik, Managing Editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball at the Center for Politics, talks about redistricting, the special election in Alaska and new ratings for House of Representative seats.  

Links in this episode:  

Ep. 7: Where Have Trump’s Endorsements Mattered and Why? ft. Leah Askarinam

In August, Representative Liz Cheney (R-WY) became the seventh House Republican to fall to a Donald Trump-backed challenger since 2018. Rep. Cheney has taken a prominent role in calling for accountability for the January 6, 2021 insurrection and calling out false election narratives. In this episode, we talk with Leah Askarinam, senior editor at Grid News, about the extent to which and where have Mr. Trump’s endorsements mattered in the 2022 election and why. “Trump undoubtedly is the most important endorser in the Republican Party, but even that has its limits,” says Askarinam.  Askarinam also discusses the role of candidate quality, the impact of the Dobbs decision, the economy and other issues and why this might not be a typical midterm election year.  

Before joining Grid, Leah was co-author of the On Politics newsletter for the New York Times and editor in chief of National Journal’s Hotline. 


Links in this episode:  

Ep. 6: How Has the Political Environment Changed & What Does It Portend for Senate Races?

In Sabato’s Crystal Ball this week, Kyle Kondik and J. Miles Coleman write that Democrats are hoping to make the 2022 election more of a choice than a referendum and that they are benefiting from some damaged Republican candidates in several key races as well as the emergence of abortion as a key issue in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision. In this episode, they discuss how the political environment has changed and what it portends for Senate races.  

Links in this episode:  

Ep. 5: What would American democracy look like if everyone participated? 

Americans turned out to vote in record numbers in the 2020 presidential election and turnout has been on the rise in other recent elections. However, voter turnout in the United States still lags behind other countries. In this episode, we discuss 100% Democracy:  The Case for Universal Voting with co-authors Miles Rapoport, executive director of 100% Democracy: An Initiative for Universal Voting and the Senior Practice Fellow in American Democracy at the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the Harvard Kennedy School, and E.J. Dionne, Jr. senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, a syndicated columnist for the Washington Post, university professor at Georgetown University, and visiting professor at Harvard University.  

Universal voting is in effect in 26 democratic countries in Europe, Latin America, Asia. Most notably, Australia adopted nationwide mandatory voting almost 100 years ago, in 1924. The participation rate immediately jumped from 60% to 90% and has stayed there in almost every election since.  

Rapoport and Dionne make the case that universal civic-duty voting would make the voting electorate more fully representative of the universe of American citizens and that campaigns would significantly improve, since candidates and parties would have to appeal to all voters. “When the electorate is fully reflective of the population as a whole, the responsiveness of government is likely to increase,” Rapoport says during our conversation. Instead of the “enrage to engage” that comes with great cost to our democracy, universal voting “would almost certainly produce a less ideological electorate,” says Dionne. The implementation of universal voting could also significantly improve civic culture in the United States.  

Links in this Episode:  

Ep. 4: Is Ticket Splitting Still Alive?

In the lead up to the 2020 election, the Pew Research Center asked voters whether they would split their ticket, that is to select a Republican for one office and a Democrat for another. Just 4% of registered voters said they would do so. Less than four percent of members of the House of Representatives (16 of 435) represent districts that voted for the opposing party’s presidential nominee in 2020. At the state level, 90 percent of state Senate and state House districts around the country voted for the same party for president as they did for the legislature. In 2022, six states – Alabama, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Oklahoma and South Carolina – will offer voters the opportunity to choose a party’s entire slate of candidates with just a single ballot mark in general elections that applies to all partisan offices on the ticket, including federal, state and local races. 


There has been a precipitous decline in voters who split their ballots as the political parties have sorted ideologically and sharpened their differences over issues and policies. Despite this trend, J. Miles Coleman discusses which states that have elections in 2022 for senate and governor might see split outcomes and why.

Read Miles’ full analysis on Sabato’s Crystal Ball.

Ep. 3: Can We Fix the Rage Machine? 

Tim Miller is an MSNBC analyst, writer-at-large at The Bulwark, and the host of Not My Party” on Snapchat. Tim was communications director for Jeb Bush’s 2016 presidential campaign and spokesman for the Republican National Committee during Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign. He has since left the GOP and become one of the leaders of the “Never Trump” movement. He is author of Why We Did It: A Travelogue from the Republican Road to Hell 

that aims to explain why Washington DC politicos who knew better went along with Trump and he joins us on Politics is Everything to discuss his book and what we can do to fix the rage machine he helped to create.  

Ep. 2: What’s at Stake in Gubernatorial Elections? 

The president’s party has lost governorships in 16 of the 19 midterm elections since World War II. In this episode, Kyle Kondik, Managing Editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball discusses the most competitive gubernatorial races in 2022. He shares how a variety of factors – including presidential approval, incumbency, the state of economy and other issues, the year in which gubernatorial elections are held – converge to shape the outcome of gubernatorial elections. 

Links in this episode:  

Ep. 1: Does political experience matter?

The difference in experience among Senate candidates is one of the story lines Kyle Kondik, Managing Editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball, is following in the 2022 midterm elections. As a group, Republican Senate (and gubernatorial) candidates have less experience running for office and winning general elections than do Democratic candidates. How will experience and candidate quality impact election outcomes?

Also in this episode, Ahmed, a student who participated in the Center’s Global Perspectives in Democracy Program, shares about his experience in the United States this summer and his views on democracy in Iraq.

Links in this episode:

Season 1