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The Argument

Strongly-held opinions. Open-minded debates. A weekly ideas show, hosted by Jane Coaston.

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  • 22.09.2021
    32 MB
    34:08
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    How They Failed: C.A. Republicans, Media Critics and Facebook Leadership

    In a special Opinion Audio bonanza, Jane Coaston, Ezra Klein ( The Ezra Klein Show ) and Kara Swisher ( Sway ) sit down to discuss what went wrong for the G.O.P. in the recall election of Gov. Gavin Newsom of California. “This was where the nationalization of politics really bit back for Republicans,” Jane says. The three hosts then debate whether the media industry’s criticism of itself does any good at all. “The media tweets like nobody’s watching,” Ezra says. Then the hosts turn to The Wall Street Journal’s revelations in “ The Facebook Files ” and discuss how to hold Facebook accountable. “We’re saying your tools in the hands of malevolent players are super dangerous,” Kara says, “but we have no power over them whatsoever.” And last, Ezra, Jane and Kara offer recommendations to take you deep into history, fantasy and psychotropics. Read more about the subjects in this episode: Jane Coaston, Vox: “ How California conservatives became the intellectual engine of Trumpism ”Ezra Klein: “ Gavin Newsom Is Much More Than the Lesser of Two Evils ” and “ A Different Way of Thinking About Cancel Culture ”Kara Swisher: “ The Endless Facebook Apology ,” “ The Medium of the Moment ” “ ‘They’re Killing People’? Biden Isn’t Quite Right, but He’s Not Wrong. ” and “ The Terrible Cost of Mark Zuckerberg’s Naïveté ”

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  • 15.09.2021
    32 MB
    33:25
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    Is Being a Football Fan Unethical?

    It’s the start of another N.F.L. season, the time of year Americans turn on their televisions to watch their favorite teams make spectacular plays and their favorite players commit incredible acts of athleticism. But is America’s favorite pastime actually its guiltiest pleasure? Can fans ethically enjoy watching a football game? The effects of the tackles on players’ brains is one reason you might feel guilty for watching. The injuries come on top of long-running disagreements between players and the league. How do you balance the brutality of the sport with the athleticism and beauty? Steve Almond gave up watching football because of the values he sees it embracing. Kevin Clark watches football as part of his job as a writer and reporter at The Ringer. Mentioned in this episode: “ Paper Lion: Confessions of a Last-String Quarterback ” by George Plimpton (1966) “ Against Football: One Fan’s Reluctant Manifesto ” by Steve Almond Kevin Clark’s recent reporting at The Ringer

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  • 08.09.2021
    34 MB
    36:26
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    'I Fear for My Country Today:' Vets Reflect on 9/11

    As the world reflects on the anniversary of Sept. 11, what does the day of the attacks — and the 20 years of war it precipitated — feel like to America’s veterans? With the Afghanistan withdrawal suddenly reclaiming attention for the “forever” wars, is the 9/11 era finally over, on the home front and in America’s foreign policy? Jane Coaston brings together Kenneth Harbaugh and Michael Washington, two friends and veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom, to discuss the pax Americana, the 9/11 roots of today’s divide in the veteran community and the political weaponization of service members’ patriotism. Harbaugh is a former Navy pilot and is a podcaster and veterans’ advocate. Washington is a former Marine and firefighter who today works as a licensed therapist for veterans and emergency workers. Resources mentioned in this episode: Ken Harbaugh’s podcasts, “ Burn the Boats ” and “ Warriors in Their Own Words .” Call, text or chat online with the Veterans Crisis Hotline . Team Rubicon , a nonprofit that utilizes the skills and experiences of military veterans to rapidly deploy emergency response teams to disaster zones. Find a Veterans Affairs location and explore other available benefits and services . If you or someone you know may be considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741-741. You can also visit speakingofsuicide.com/resources .

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  • 01.09.2021
    33 MB
    34:50
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    Is It Time to End Capital Punishment?

    The death penalty — and the morality behind it — has long divided America. Joe Biden is the first sitting president in our nation’s history to openly oppose capital punishment. By comparison, his predecessor oversaw the executions of 13 people between July 2020 and the end of his tenure. In light of the Department of Justice’s recent moratorium on federal executions, Jane and her guests question the morality of capital punishment through a religious lens. Elizabeth Bruenig, a staff writer at The Atlantic, is Roman Catholic and stands against it, while David French, the senior editor of The Dispatch, argues that there are situations where it is the only just form of punishment. Mentioned in this episode: “ The Man I Saw Them Kill ,” by Elizabeth Bruenig for The New York Times Opinion section in December 2020. “ Not That Innocent ,” by Elizabeth Bruenig for The Atlantic in June 2021. “ The Death Penalty Helps Preserve the Dignity of Life ,” by David French for National Review, published in August 2018. (A full transcript of the episode will be available midday on the Times website.)

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  • 25.08.2021
    35 MB
    36:47
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    Vaccine Mandates Won’t Save Us

    Requiring proof of vaccination isn’t a novel idea. Schools across the United States require students to get certain vaccinations before the age of 6 . You need a yellow fever vaccine to travel to parts of Africa and South America. Now, with a global pandemic, the conversation has shifted to Covid vaccination requirements. With little more than 50 percent of the United States fully vaccinated against Covid-19, and the Delta variant leading to increased case counts, it’s no surprise that our focus has shifted to vaccine mandates. This week, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was granted approval by the Food and Drug Administration, which likely means more mandates and boosters. Cities like New York and San Francisco already have mandates in place, for accessing indoor dining, gyms and concerts. But do these requirements really help those on the fence? Will the F.D.A.’s declaration sway the roughly 30 percent of Americans who said they’d be more likely to get the vaccine after it was fully approved? Or will it just alienate an entire population of people already hesitant to get the vaccine? In this episode, Jane Coaston and her guests discuss the benefits and risks of vaccine mandates. Angela Rasmussen is a virologist at the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO) at the University of Saskatchewan. And Marcella Tillett is the vice president of programs and partnerships at the Brooklyn Community Foundation, an organization that’s helping those in the area get vaccinated. Mentioned in this episode: “ Do Mandatory Vaccines Violate Human Rights? ” published in Quartz “ Everybody I Know Is Pissed Off ” in The Atlantic, which gathers together some of the latest polling on vaccine mandates. (A full transcript of this episode will be available midday on the Times website.)

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  • 18.08.2021
    33 MB
    35:05
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    What Should We Be Teaching When It Comes to Racism and America’s Past?

    For many politicians and parents, there’s growing concern over critical race theory. It maintains that race and racism in America are about not individual actors and actions as much as bigger structures that lead to and maintain gaps between racial groups. The theory started in the legal academy, and some fear that it has begun to take over the American education system. How concerned should you be? Jane Coaston and her guests disagree. Chris Rufo is a senior fellow and the director of the initiative on critical race theory at the Manhattan Institute. Professor Ralph Richard Banks is a co-founder and the faculty director of the Stanford Center for Racial Justice. Mentioned in this episode: “ Critical Race Theory: An Introduction ” by Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic, published in 2001 “ How a Conservative Activist Invented the Conflict Over Critical Race Theory ” in The New Yorker “ Does Teaching America It’s Racist Make It Less Racist? ” podcast episode by “The Argument” “ Critical Race Theory: On the New Ideology of Race ” panel discussion from the Manhattan Institute

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  • 11.08.2021
    40 MB
    42:36
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    Are Workplace Diversity Programs Doing More Harm Than Good?

    It’s time to rethink what’s working in the modern workplace and what’s failing. Amid a pandemic that overturned how so many work, increased calls for racial and social justice put a new pressure on companies to ensure — or at least to seem as if they ensure — equality among their employees. Diversity, equity and inclusion (D.E.I.) programs are an increasingly popular solution deployed by management. But do these initiatives do marginalized employees any good? And who are the true beneficiaries of diversity programs, anyway? Jane Coaston has spent years on the receiving end of diversity initiatives, and for that reason, she’s skeptical. To debate D.E.I. programs’ efficacy, she brought together Dr. Sonia Kang, the Canada Research Chair in Identity, Diversity and Inclusion at the University of Toronto, and Lily Zheng, a D.E.I. strategy consultant and public speaker, to argue what works and doesn’t when it comes to making workplaces fair for all. Mentioned in this episode: Sonia Kang’s podcast, “ For the Love of Work, ” episode “ Leaning Into Diversity, Equity and Belonging ” Lily Zheng, Harvard Business Review, “ How to Show White Men That Diversity and Inclusion Efforts Need Them ” Kim Tran, Harper’s Bazaar, “ The Diversity and Inclusion Industry Has Lost Its Way ” Frank Dobbin and Alexandra Kalev “ Why Diversity Programs Fail ” The Washington Post, “ To improve diversity, don’t make people go to diversity training. Really. ”

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  • 04.08.2021
    32 MB
    33:34
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    Should We Stop Talking Politics at Work?

    The ousting of Donald Trump, the election of Joe Biden, a ransacking of the Capitol, a summer of protests in the wake of George Floyd’s murder and a pandemic that is still raging in parts of the United States and abroad. It has felt like a very political few years. But should we not be allowed to talk about it at work? Some bosses would strongly prefer that you stayed away from politics at work. A number of companies have proposed policies that would ban or significantly reduce political discussions at the workplace. But who gets to decide what’s political? And does it really benefit the company or its employees to keep these conversations from happening? Liz Wolfe is an editor at Reason and Johnathan Nightingale is an author and a co-founder of Raw Signal Group. They join Jane to debate whether eliminating politics is possible and how it would change the future of the workplace. Mentioned in this episode: “ Basecamp Becomes the Latest Tech Company To Ban Talking Politics at Work ,” by Liz Wolfe at Reason. “ Fundamentally, this is a story about power ,” in Johnathan Nightingale’s newsletter. “ Breaking Camp ,” by Casey Newton at The Verge.

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  • 28.07.2021
    34 MB
    35:43
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    The Great Debate of 2021: WFH or RTO?

    You might be someone who has spent a majority of the past year working from home. A survey from October 2020 found 71 percent of American workers turned their apartments into office spaces. But starting this fall, companies are opening up their offices again. The C.E.O. of Morgan Stanley made it clear that its employees have to be back by September . Amazon is hoping for the same . But is returning to in-office work the right move for everyone? Over the next three weeks, we’re going to be focusing on what work could and should look like as we begin to emerge from the pandemic. This week, Jane Coaston is joined by Sean Bisceglia, the C.E.O. of Curion, a consumer insights company, and Anne Helen Petersen, the writer of the newsletter “Culture Study” and the author of “Can’t Even: How Millennials Became the Burnout Generation,” to debate the pros and cons of returning to the office. Mentioned in this episode: Sean Bisceglia’s interview with CNN: “ Why Some Companies Want Everyone Back in the Office ” “ Imagine Your Flexible Office Work Future ,” by Anne Helen Petersen The Slate podcast episode of “What Next: TBD”: So, What Happens to WFH Now?

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  • 21.07.2021
    34 MB
    36:03
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    No, But Really. Should We Contact Aliens?

    With the U.S. government puzzling over U.F.O.s , and potentially habitable exoplanets in our telescopes, earthlings are closer than ever to finding other intelligent life in the universe. So the existential question is: Should we try to communicate with whatever we think might be out there? That’s the argument this week between Douglas Vakoch and Michio Kaku. Vakoch, the president of the research and educational nonprofit METI (Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence) International , has dedicated his life’s work to intentionally broadcasting messages beyond our solar system. Kaku, a professor of theoretical physics at the City College of New York and a co-founder of string field theory, thinks reaching out to unknown aliens is a catastrophically bad idea and “would be the biggest mistake in human history.” Together, they join Jane to debate the question of making first contact and our place in the cosmos. Mentioned in this episode: Adam Mann, The New Yorker: “ Intelligent Ways to Search for Extraterrestrials ” Gideon Lewis-Kraus, The New Yorker: “ How the Pentagon Started Taking U.F.O.s Seriously ” Arik Kershenbaum, The Wall Street Journal, “ Alien Languages May Not Be Entirely Alien to Us ” “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” Season 4, Episode 15: “ First Contact ” (Netflix) The Ezra Klein Show: “ Obama Explains How America Went From ‘Yes We Can’ to ‘MAGA’ ”

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  • 14.07.2021
    33 MB
    34:32
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    Joe Biden and the Communion Wars

    Could the Catholic Church pressure a politician into changing his or her stance on abortion? A debate has erupted in the Catholic community over whether a politician, like President Joe Biden, should be denied communion for supporting abortion rights. This week, Jane Coaston debates the pros and cons of using communion as punishment with Ross Douthat, a Times Opinion columnist, and Heidi Schlumpf, the executive editor of National Catholic Reporter. Mentioned in this episode: Ross’s column “ The Bishops, Biden and the Brave New World ”National Catholic Reporter’s editorial “ Why We Support the Bishops’ Plan to Deny Communion to Biden ”“ United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Vote to Write a Document on the Meaning of the Eucharist in the Life of the Church ” and its subsequent Questions and Answers page that says, “There will be no national policy on withholding Communion from politicians.”

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  • 07.07.2021
    32 MB
    34:02
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    Sway: Exercise, and Accept Your 'Inevitable Demise'

    We're off this week! So we're bringing you an episode of another great Times Opinion podcast, Sway. The fitness industry has exploded into a nearly $100 billion sector, and Alison Bechdel is among the exercise-obsessed. Bechdel, the cartoonist whose comic strip inspired the Bechdel Test for female representation in Hollywood, says she has found transcendence in everything from yoga and karate to weight lifting and biking. Her new book, “The Secret to Superhuman Strength,” examines the exercise craze, and what it exposes about our attitudes around self-care, the booming fitness economy and even our mortality. In this conversation, Kara Swisher and Bechdel discuss the evolution of workout culture (“yoga boom” included), the politics of art (especially during the Trump era) and how mainstream cultural norms have finally caught up to, as Bechdel puts it, “where lesbians were back in the ’80s.”

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  • 30.06.2021
    32 MB
    33:23
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    Is Fox News Really All That Powerful?

    Sometimes, it takes just one tweet to spark a debate. This month, the journalist Matt Taibbi suggested that the “financial/educational/political elite” hold real influence in America — not Fox and its viewers. According to Taibbi, America is controlled by the sensibilities of the few — especially those who run tech companies like Facebook, Google and Twitter. But where does that leave politicians, or the media, in the struggle for power in America? This week, Jane Coaston debates who’s really wielding power in America right now and to what ends, with Matt Taibbi, author of several books, including “Hate Inc.: Why Today’s Media Makes Us Despise One Another,” and writer of the newsletter “ TK News ”; and Michelle Cottle, a member of the Times editorial board. Mentioned in this episode: The book “ Dignity: Seeking Respect in Back Row America ” by Chris Arnade.Jane’s 2020 piece in Vox, “ Trump was supposed to change the GOP. But the GOP changed him. ”

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  • 23.06.2021
    32 MB
    34:16
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    Not Everyone Is Worried About America's Falling Birth Rates

    U.S. birthrates have fallen by 4 percent, hitting a record low. And it’s not just America — people around the world are having fewer children, from South Korea to South America. In some ways, this seems inevitable. From an economic standpoint, there’s the expensive trio of child rearing, education and health care in America. From a cultural perspective, women have more financial and societal independence, delaying the age of childbirth. What might be troubling are the consequences on our future economy and what an older population might mean for Social Security. This week, Jane Coaston talks to two demographers who have differing levels of worry about the news of our falling birthrate. Lyman Stone is the director of research at the consulting firm Demographic Intelligence, an adjunct fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a research fellow at the Institute for Family Studies, a Robert Novak Journalism fellow and a Ph.D. student in population dynamics at McGill University. Caroline Hartnett is a demographer and an associate professor of sociology at the University of South Carolina. Mentioned in this episode: Ramesh Ponnuru’s interview with Lyman Stone in Bloomberg, titled “ Want More American Babies? Make the U.S. More Livable .”“ Why We Shouldn’t Worry About Falling Birth Rates ” in The Washington Post“The Daily” episode “ A Population Slowdown in the U.S. ”Ezra Klein’s interview with the psychologist Alison Gopnik on what adults can learn from children, on “The Ezra Klein Show.” You can listen to this episode of “The Argument” on Apple , Spotify or Google or wherever you get your podcasts . A full transcript of the episode will be available midday on the Times website.

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  • 17.06.2021
    20 MB
    21:24
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    Trevor Noah: ‘We Live in a World Where Having a Conversation Is Punished’

    In this bonus episode of “The Argument,” Jane Coaston has an extended chat with the late-night host Trevor Noah. They discuss taking on the mantle of “The Daily Show” from Jon Stewart, cancel culture and why you can’t take old jokes out of the context of the society in which they were made. Mentioned in this episode: Trevor Noah’s memoir, “ Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood ”

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  • 16.06.2021
    31 MB
    32:28
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    Should It Be This Hard to Sue the Police and Win?

    One of the strongest calls for police reform is to end a legal doctrine called qualified immunity. Advocates for change argue it would be one of the most immediate ways to hold officers more accountable for their actions. But critics say it would leave police vulnerable when they’re faced with life-threatening situations. Qualified immunity protects government officials from some lawsuits if they violate a person’s constitutional rights in the course of their duties. If you’ve heard of police officers getting away with unconstitutional behavior and wondered how, it might have been because they had qualified immunity. This week, Jane Coaston talks to two lawyers who strongly disagree about whether qualified immunity needs to go. Lenny Kesten is a leading defender of police officers with Brody Hardoon Perkins & Kesten, and Easha Anand is the Supreme Court and appellate counsel for the MacArthur Justice Center. Mentioned in this episode: “The Cops Who Killed Tony Timpa Are Unfit to Serve. But Courts Ensure They Keep Their Jobs” by James Craven at the Cato Institute “Police Responded to His 911 Call for Help, He Died. What Happened to Tony Timpa?” in The Dallas Morning News The decision in the Timpa v. Dillard case “Qualified Immunity: A Debate” hosted by the Federalist Society

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  • 09.06.2021
    27 MB
    28:19
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    Whose Pride Is It Anyway?

    It’s Pride Month, which means cities across the country will be having parades and other festivities, albeit scaled-down versions. In New York and several other cities, parade organizers have said uniformed police officers may not march as a group. Organizers say the move acknowledges that a Pride march isn’t just a celebration and that it began as a statement about police violence against L.G.B.T.Q. people at the Stonewall Inn. This week, Jane Coaston speaks to André Thomas, a co-chair of NYC Pride, which organizes the parade, and Brian Downey, a New York Police Department detective and the president of the Gay Officers Action League. Mentioned in this episode: The documentary “ We Were Here ” about the H.I.V./AIDS crisis in San FranciscoThe podcast “ Making Gay History ”The New York Daily News headline after the Stonewall uprisingThe New York Times video “ Pride March in New York Protests Police Brutality ” showing the Queer Liberation March that gathered in Washington Square Park in 2020

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  • 02.06.2021
    40 MB
    41:48
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    Could Spilling Big Pharma’s Secrets Vaccinate the World?

    Just 12.5 percent of the world has been inoculated against Covid-19. To protect every country from the pandemic, regardless of economic level, there are many approaches global leaders could take. But they have to act fast. In this state of planetary emergency, should pharmaceutical companies that make vaccines be forced to break their patents? Is that the best or fastest way to get lower-income countries to catch up with vaccination rates? Weighing the pros and cons of a vaccine intellectual property waiver with Jane Coaston this week is Rachel Silverman, a policy fellow at the Center for Global Development, and Tahir Amin, a co-founder and co-executive director of I-MAK, the Initiative for Medicines, Access & Knowledge. Mentioned in this episode: Tahir Amin and Rohit Malpani’s article for STAT, “ Covid-19 has exposed the limits of the pharmaceutical market model ”The.Ink newsletter, “ Of Patents and Power ”Harvard Law Bill of Health blog, “ The Covid-19 Vaccine Patent Waiver: The Wrong Tool for the Right Goal ”The Economist, “ Michelle McMurry-Heath on maintaining intellectual property amid Covid-19 ”Times Opinion Guest Essay, “ The West Has Been Hoarding More Than Vaccines ”

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  • 26.05.2021
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    32:11
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    'Republicans Are Very, Very Close to Driving Democracy Into a Ditch'

    The clock is ticking for President Biden. He’s got a choice to make: compromise with Republicans or forgo them to push his agenda through with fellow Democrats. He has emphasized bipartisanship, but we’re now just days away from his self-imposed deadline of Memorial Day to strike a deal with Republicans on his infrastructure package. While negotiations continue, the parties are deadlocked on the size of the bill. It’s perhaps not surprising, given that this month the Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, said that “100 percent of our focus is on stopping this new administration.” This week, host Jane Coaston is joined by two people who disagree on whether Biden’s push for bipartisanship is the right move. Jason Grumet is the founder and president of the Bipartisan Policy Center, and Aaron Belkin is the director of Take Back the Court, which advocates expanding the Supreme Court. Mentioned in this episode: The Times Opinion guest essay “ You Don’t Actually Need to Reach Across the Aisle, Mr. Biden ” by John Lawrence, a former chief of staff for the speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi The Bipartisan Policy Center’s infrastructure proposal “ From Sea to Shining Sea: A Bold Bipartisan Plan to Rebuild American Infrastructure ” Jane’s podcast recommendation “ Impostors: The Spy ”

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  • 19.05.2021
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    34:13
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    Does Teaching America It’s Racist Make It Less Racist?

    Who would have guessed that a school of thought from the 1970s could cause controversy in a handful of states among politicians, on school boards and in college classrooms in 2021? Critical race theory originated as a way of examining racism within the structures of American society. But now, for some it is synonymous with school curriculums and workplace diversity training. It has also become the battleground for a new culture war between conservatives and liberals who disagree on how helpful or harmful these teachings are. This week, Jane Coaston talks to John McWhorter, a linguist at Columbia University who has written extensively on race and language, and Michelle Goldberg, an Opinion columnist at The New York Times. Mentioned in this episode: “ Why the Right Loves Public School Culture Wars ” and “ The Campaign to Cancel Wokeness ” by Michelle Goldberg in The New York Times. “ How the N-Word Became Unsayable ” by John McWhorter in The New York Times. “ Critical Race Theory: An Introduction ” by Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic, published in 2001. “ Faces at the Bottom of the Well ” by Derrick Bell, published in 1992.

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  • 12.05.2021
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    36:13
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    Is This the Year D.C. Becomes a State?

    The District of Columbia can almost taste statehood. Last month, House Democrats passed a bill that would make it the 51st state. This is the second time in history that such a legislation has been passed in the House. But it’s not only a question of representation: Making D.C. a state would add two probably Democratic senators and one Democratic representative, at a time when Democrats could use all the votes they can get. And Republicans aren’t willing to give in that easily. This week, we’re debating the future of D.C. and the trade-offs of potential statehood. Dan McLaughlin is senior writer for National Review and a former attorney. George Derek Musgrove is an associate professor of history at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and a co-author of “Chocolate City: A History of Race and Democracy in the Nation’s Capital.” Mentioned in this episode: “ The District of Columbia Should Not Be a State ,” by Dan McLaughlin in National Review “ The 51st State America Needs ,” by George Derek Musgrove and Chris Myers Asch in The New York Times “ The 51st State? ” on the “Today, Explained” podcast by Vox.

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  • 05.05.2021
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    Grading Biden on the F.D.R. Curve

    If you’re fully vaccinated, you might give President Biden an A-plus on his first 100 days. But how’s he doing on everything else? A president’s first 100 days are considered a major milestone. Franklin D. Roosevelt came out with legislation that became part of his New Deal. Lyndon B. Johnson started a war on poverty. In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and Donald Trump, what can we expect from the rest of Biden’s presidency? This week, Jane Coaston talks to two progressives who have different takeaways: Anand Giridharadas, author of The Ink newsletter and “Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World,” and Osita Nwanevu, writer at The New Republic. Mentioned in this episode: “ Joe Biden Isn’t Close to Being a Historic President Yet ,” by Osita Nwanevu in The New Republic. “ Welcome to the New Progressive Era ,” by Anand Giridharadas in The Atlantic.

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  • 28.04.2021
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    Police Reform Is Coming. What Should It Look Like?

    Derek Chauvin has been found guilty of the murder of George Floyd. But whatever bittersweet feelings the rare outcome elicited were short-lived, since instances of police brutality compound almost daily. There’s no debate: Policing is broken in America. But how do we fix it? To answer that question, Jane brings together a round table to debate solutions ranging from modernizing training, stronger ties between police misconduct and financial culpability, and divesting from policing to invest in community-based services. Joining Jane is Randy Shrewsberry , a former police officer and the executive director of the Institute for Criminal Justice Training Reform ; Rashawn Ray , a professor of sociology at the University of Maryland and a David M. Rubenstein fellow in governance studies at the Brookings Institution; and Ash-Lee Woodard Henderson, a leader in the Movement for Black Lives and the co-executive director of the Highlander Research and Education Center in Tennessee. Mentioned in this episode: The George Floyd Justice in Policing bill of 2021 and the Breathe Act proposal From The New York Times Magazine: “ Police Reform Is Necessary. But How Do We Do It? ”“ Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America ” by Jill Leovy

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  • 21.04.2021
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    34:42
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    Should America Go Nuclear?

    President Biden has set an ambitious goal for the United States to be carbon-neutral by 2050. Achieving it means weaning the country off fossil fuels and using more alternative energy sources like solar and wind. But environmentalists disagree about whether nuclear power should be part of the mix. Todd Larsen, executive co-director for consumer and corporate engagement at Green America and Meghan Claire Hammond, senior fellow at the Good Energy Collective, a policy research organization focusing on new nuclear technology, join Jane Coaston to debate whether nuclear power is worth the risks. And then the Times columnist Bret Stephens joins Jane to talk about why he thinks America needs a liberal party. Mentioned in this episode: “ Why Nuclear Power Must Be Part of the Energy Solution ,” by Richard Rhodes in Yale Environment 360.“ I oversaw the U.S. nuclear power industry. Now I think it should be banned ,” by Gregory Jaczko in The Washington PostThe TV mini-series “Chernobyl,” a depiction of the 1986 explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant“ America Could Use a Liberal Party ,” by Bret Stephens Share your arguments with us: We want to hear what you’re arguing about with your family, your friends and your frenemies. Leave us a voice mail message at (347) 915-4324. We may use excerpts from your audio in a future episode. You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of "The Argument" at nytimes.com/the-argument , and you can find Jane on Twitter @janecoaston . “The Argument” is produced by Phoebe Lett, Elisa Gutierrez and Vishakha Darbha and edited by Alison Bruzek and Paula Szuchman; fact-checking by Kate Sinclair; music and sound design by Isaac Jones.

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  • 14.04.2021
    33 MB
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    Why the Anti-Abortion Side Will Lose, Even if It Wins

    The Supreme Court — and its post-Trump conservative majority — is currently deciding whether to take up a case that could be the final blow to Roe v. Wade. Overturning Roe, the 48-year-old decision protecting the right to an abortion in America, would leave abortion regulation up to the states. But some abortion opponents think that’s not far enough and are pushing the movement to change its focus to securing a 14th Amendment declaration of fetal personhood. Ross Douthat wrote about the diverging anti-abortion movement and why both factions are doomed to fail as long as the movement is shackled to a Republican Party that refuses to enact public policy to help struggling families. Michelle Goldberg wrote a response column to Ross’s, claiming his argument was a fallacy. To bring their dueling columns to life, Jane Coaston brought the two writers together to debate the future of abortion protection and restriction in America. Mentioned in this episode: Ross’s Sunday Review column “ What Has the Pro-Life Movement Won? ”Michelle’s responding column, “ The Authoritarian Plan for a National Abortion Ban ”John Finnis’s article in the Catholic journal “First Things,” “ Abortion Is Unconstitutional ”Emma Green’s article in “The Atlantic” “ The Anti-Abortion-Rights Movement Prepares to Build a Post-Roe World ”“ Defenders of the Unborn ” by Daniel K. Williams Share your arguments with us: We want to hear what you’re arguing about with your family, your friends and your frenemies. Leave us a voice mail message at (347) 915-4324. We may use excerpts from your audio in a future episode. You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of "The Argument" at nytimes.com/the-argument , and you can find Jane on Twitter @janecoaston . “The Argument” is produced by Phoebe Lett, Elisa Gutierrez and Vishakha Darbha and edited by Alison Bruzek and Paula Szuchman; fact-checking by Kate Sinclair; music and sound design by Isaac Jones.

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  • 07.04.2021
    28 MB
    30:09
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    The Reality of Vaccine Passports

    More than 19 percent of Americans are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus and upward of 665 million vaccine doses have been administered worldwide. As these numbers continue to rise, countries have begun issuing or considering “vaccine passports.” Vaccine passports — proof through a phone app or on a piece of paper that you’ve had your shots — are a potential ticket to freedom for millions of vaccinated people around the world. Israel already has them . The European Union and China have also announced a version of them. In the United States, there’s talk about what such a certification might look like. But vaccine passports also raise huge ethical questions, with 85 percent of shots worldwide having been administered in wealthier countries. And with private tech companies working on creating these passports in the United States, there’s worry about the risks of sharing health records with third-party apps. Both Texas and Florida have prohibited government-mandated vaccine passports. On today’s episode, our guests debate the concept of a vaccine passport and discuss the ethical and privacy considerations that come along with them. Natalie Kofler is a molecular biologist and bioethicist at Harvard Medical School. Ramin Bastani is the founder and chief executive of Healthvana, a patient platform that delivers test results and is supplying vaccine passports. He says we should think of them more like an everyday health record. Then, we turn to listener voice mail messages as they share their thoughts on the reopening of schools. Mentioned in this episode: “ Vaccine Passports Won’t Get us Out of the Pandemic ,” in The Times.“ Vaccinated Workers Are Getting Benefits That Those Without Covid Shots Won’t ,” in Bloomberg, about vaccine passports in Israel.WBUR’s episode on the pros and cons of vaccine passports. Share your arguments with us: We want to hear what you’re arguing about with your family, your friends and your frenemies. Leave us a voice mail message at (347) 915-4324. We may use excerpts from your audio in a future episode. You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of "The Argument" at nytimes.com/the-argument , and you can find Jane on Twitter @janecoaston . “The Argument” is produced by Phoebe Lett, Elisa Gutierrez and Vishakha Darbha and edited by Alison Bruzek and Paula Szuchman; fact-checking by Kate Sinclair; music and sound design by Isaac Jones.

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  • 31.03.2021
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    What's Wrong With Our Hate Crime Laws?

    This month a gunman killed eight people at three Atlanta-area spas, including six women of Asian descent. Authorities say it’s too early to declare the attacks a hate crime. Forty-seven states and the District of Columbia have hate crime laws on the books, designed to add further penalties for perpetrators whose biases led to their crime. But the recent mass shooting has prompted the question of when a crime is called a hate crime and who decides. It’s also unclear whether charging someone with a hate crime is the best answer we have as a society for punishing people who commit these kinds of crimes. On this episode of “The Argument,” we discuss whether hate crime laws are working and what our other options are, with Kevin Nadal, professor of psychology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and Steven Freeman, vice president for civil rights at the Anti-Defamation League. Mentioned in this episode: Anti-Defamation League’s “ Introduction to Hate Crime Laws ”N.A.A.C.P.’s state-by-state database of hate crime laws Sarah Lustbader’s article “ More Hate Crime Laws Would Not Have Prevented the Monsey Hannukkah Attack ” in The Appeal. Share your arguments with us: We want to hear what you’re arguing about with your family, your friends and your frenemies. Leave us a voice mail message at (347) 915-4324. We may use excerpts from your audio in a future episode. You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of "The Argument" at nytimes.com/the-argument , and you can find Jane on Twitter @janecoaston . “The Argument” is produced by Phoebe Lett, Elisa Gutierrez and Vishakha Darbha and edited by Alison Bruzek and Paula Szuchman; fact-checking by Kate Sinclair; music and sound design by Isaac Jones.

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  • 24.03.2021
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    40:16
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    Is It Time to Cancel Cancel Culture?

    Whether it’s Mr. Potato Head, Dr. Seuss or Roseanne, allegations of cancel culture seem to have a regular spot among the trending topics of the internet. Almost every other week, someone’s cancellation becomes the subject of prominent discussion on Twitter, Substack and cable news. Yet its exact meaning is up for debate. What counts as a cancellation? Who gets to decide? On today’s episode, we argue over what being canceled means and if it’s time to get rid of the idea entirely. Robby Soave, a senior editor for Reason, has been sounding the alarm about cancel culture. And he wrote a piece about our other guest, Will Wilkinson, titled “Cancel Culture Comes for Will Wilkinson.” Wilkinson was arguably canceled after he wrote a tweet that led to his firing from the Niskanen Center, where he was the vice president for research. But he thinks the label of cancel culture is misleading, even when it’s used in his defense. Mentioned in this episode: Read Will Wilkinson’s “ Undefined Cancel Game ” at his Substack.Robby Soave in Reason: “ Cancel Culture Comes for Will Wilkinson ” Share your arguments with us: We want to hear what you’re arguing about with your family, your friends and your frenemies. Leave us a voice mail message at (347) 915-4324. We may use excerpts from your audio in a future episode. You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of "The Argument" at nytimes.com/the-argument , and you can find Jane on Twitter @janecoaston . “The Argument” is produced by Phoebe Lett, Elisa Gutierrez and Vishakha Darbha and edited by Alison Bruzek and Paula Szuchman; fact-checking by Kate Sinclair; music and sound design by Isaac Jones.

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  • 17.03.2021
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    33:31
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    To Fight Poverty, Raise the Minimum Wage? Or Abolish It?

    The federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour hasn’t changed since 2009. Workers in 21 states make the federal floor, which can be even lower for people who make tips. And at $7.25 an hour, a person working full time with a dependent is making below the federal poverty line. States such as California, Florida, Illinois and Massachusetts have approved gradual minimum wage increases to reach $15 an hour — so is it time to do it at the federal level? On Wednesday 20 senators from both parties are set to meet to discuss whether to use their influence on minimum wage legislation. Economists have argued for years about the consequences of the hike, saying employers who bear the costs would be forced to lay off some of the very employees the minimum wage was intended to support. A report by the Congressional Budget Office on a proposal to see $15 by 2025 estimates the increase would move 900,000 people out of poverty — and at the same time cut 1.4 million jobs. On today’s episode, we debate the fight for $15 with two people who see things very differently. Saru Jayaraman is the president of One Fair Wage and the director of the Food Labor Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley. Jeffrey Miron is a senior lecturer in the department of economics at Harvard University and the director of economic studies at the Cato Institute. Mentioned in this episode: The Congressional Budget Office’s February 2021 report on the budgetary effects of the Raise the Wage Act of 2021.The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ April 2020 report “Characteristics of Minimum Wage Workers.” Share your arguments with us: We want to hear what you’re arguing about with your family, your friends and your frenemies. Leave us a voice mail message at (347) 915-4324. We may use excerpts from your audio in a future episode. You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of "The Argument" at nytimes.com/the-argument , and you can find Jane on Twitter @janecoaston . “The Argument” is produced by Phoebe Lett, Elisa Gutierrez and Vishakha Darbha and edited by Alison Bruzek and Paula Szuchman; fact-checking by Michelle Harris; music and sound design by Isaac Jones.

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  • 10.03.2021
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    46:59
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    Cancel America’s Student Loan Debt! But How?

    The problem of student loan debt has reached crisis proportions. As a college degree has grown increasingly necessary for economic mobility, so has the $1.7 trillion in student loan debt that Americans have taken on to access that opportunity. President Biden has put some debt cancellation on the table, but progressive Democrats are pushing him for more. So what is the fairest way to correct course? Astra Taylor — an author, a documentarian and a co-founder of the Debt Collective — dukes it out with Sandy Baum, an economist and a nonresident senior fellow at the Center on Education Data and Policy at the Urban Institute . While the activist and the economist agree that addressing the crisis requires dramatic measures, they disagree on how to get there. Is canceling everyone’s debt progressive policy, as Taylor contends? Or does it end up being a regressive measure, as Baum insists? Jane hears them both out. And she offers a royal history tour after Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry. Mentioned in this episode: Astra Taylor in The Nation: “ The Case for Wide-Scale Debt Relief ”Sandy Baum in Education Next: “ Mass Debt Forgiveness Is Not a Progressive Idea ”Astra Taylor’s documentary for The Intercept: “ You Are Not a Loan ”Sandy Baum for the Urban Institute: “ Strengthening the Federal Role in the Federal-State Partnership for Funding Higher Education ”Jane’s recommendation: Lucy Worsley’s three-episode mini-series “ Secrets of the Six Wives ” Share your arguments with us: We want to hear what you’re arguing about with your family, your friends and your frenemies. Leave us a voice mail message at (347) 915-4324. We may use excerpts from your audio in a future episode. You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of "The Argument" at nytimes.com/the-argument , and you can find Jane on Twitter @janecoaston . “The Argument” is produced by Phoebe Lett, Elisa Gutierrez and Vishakha Darbha and edited by Alison Bruzek and Paula Szuchman; fact-checking by Kate Sinclair; music and sound design by Isaac Jones.

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  • 03.03.2021
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    ‘Vandalism With a Purpose’ and the Future of the G.O.P.

    Republicans will spend the next 20 months debating and deciding whether Trumpism will be on the ballot in 2022. Will party leaders continue to embrace Donald Trump’s populist rhetoric? Can it resonate with voters if Trump isn’t the one saying it? Ross Douthat, an Opinion columnist at The New York Times, and Michael Brendan Dougherty, a senior writer at National Review, offer their own definitions of populism and debate with Jane populism’s merits, if Trumpism is real and whether Trump allies in the Republican Party will be the future or the demise of the Grand Old Party. Mentioned in this episode: Michael Brendan Dougherty in National Review: “ The End of Populism? Don’t Bet on It. ” “ Trumpism After Trump. ”Ross Douthat on how Trumpism ate populism , whether there is a Trumpism after Trump and, in a prescient 2013 column, “ Good Populism, Bad Populism .”Jane Coaston on why Trumpism has no heirs and, in National Review: “ What If There’s No Such Thing as Trumpism? ”Christopher Caldwell in The New Republic: “ Can There Ever Be a Working-Class Republican Party? ”Ken Burns’s series with Stephen Ives “ The West ,” chronicling America's process to become a continental nation.Ross Douthat’s book Grand New Party , on how Republicans can win the working class. Share your arguments with us: We want to hear what you’re arguing about with your family, your friends and your frenemies. Leave us a voice mail message at (347) 915-4324. We may use excerpts from your audio in a future episode. You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of "The Argument" at nytimes.com/the-argument , and you can find Jane on Twitter @janecoaston . Special thanks to Shannon Busta. “The Argument” is produced by Phoebe Lett, Elisa Gutierrez and Vishakha Darbha and edited by Alison Bruzek; fact-checking by Kate Sinclair; music and sound design by Isaac Jones.

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  • 24.02.2021
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    39:24
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    Should We Put the Filibuster Out of Its Misery?

    The first episode of “The Argument” with Jane Coaston gets right into the heart of the cyclical debate: Should the filibuster be killed once and for all? Democrats control the White House and Congress for the first time in a decade, giving them the opportunity to pass major new legislation, and the only thing standing in their way is the filibuster. That parliamentary procedure effectively pushes the number of votes needed to pass a bill in the Senate from 51 to 60. Which is why the filibuster is typically beloved by the party in the minority, and railed against by the majority. If Democrats kill the filibuster now, what happens when they’re not in power? Arguing against the filibuster is Ezra Klein, a Times Opinion columnist and policy wonk. Defending the procedure and its merits is Jessica Anderson, the executive director of Heritage Action for America. And Jane doesn’t trust either of them. Mentioned in this episode: Kevin D. Williamson in National Review on how filibusters are useful in a democracy .Ezra Klein on ending the filibuster , and in conversation with a former Senate staff member, Adam Jentleson, on that chamber becoming a legislative black hole.Heritage Action for America on rejecting efforts to abolish the legislative filibuster.Joe Coscarelli on Daft Punk’s breakup after 28 years and six Grammys. Share your arguments with us: We want to hear what you’re arguing about with your family, your friends and your frenemies. Leave us a voice mail message at (347) 915-4324. We may use excerpts from your audio in a future episode. You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of "The Argument" at nytimes.com/the-argument , and you can find Jane on Twitter @janecoaston . Special thanks to Viki Merrick and Shannon Busta. “The Argument” is produced by Elisa Gutierrez, Phoebe Lett and Vishakha Darbha and edited by Alison Bruzek; fact-checking by Kate Sinclair; music and sound design by Isaac Jones.

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  • 17.02.2021
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    Introducing ‘The Argument’ With Jane Coaston

    There are all kinds of arguments, many of them pretty unproductive. Either nobody listens, or nobody wins, or you go around in circles, or you bring up old baggage that should’ve stayed in storage. But the best arguments, and the ones I like to have, are the ones that make me think differently. They help inform my opinions, or challenge them. And they help me understand the people who have other points of view. Starting Feb. 24, I’ll be the new host of “The Argument.” Every week, people who disagree with one another will come together on the podcast to hash it out. I’ve reported for years on conservatism and the American right. I’ve talked to people from all points on the political spectrum, and I’ve heard a lot of “the other side doesn’t get it,” and “the other side is evil.” In my opinion, none of this productive. I want people to hear one another out, before writing them off. I think respectful, civil debate makes us all smarter. And I think for democracy to work, we need to listen, especially when we don’t agree. Things on the program might get awkward, and that’s the whole point. We’re going to have real conversations and real disagreement. To those of you who have been listening for years, I hope you’ll find this is still the place for respectful debate that opens minds. And to those of you tuning in for the first time, welcome. I’ll see you next Wednesday. Share your arguments with us: We want to hear what you’re arguing about with your family, your friends and your frenemies. Leave us a voice mail message at (347) 915-4324. We may use excerpts from your audio in a future episode. You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of "The Argument" at nytimes.com/the-argument , and you can find Jane on Twitter @janecoaston . “The Argument” is produced by Phoebe Lett, Elisa Gutierrez and Vishakha Darbha and edited by Alison Bruzek; fact-checking by Kate Sinclair; music and sound design by Isaac Jones.

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  • 10.02.2021
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    27:30
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    From the Archives: Climate Change and Free College for All

    This week we return to two of our favorite debates from “Arguments” past. First, a debate from Nov. 29, 2018, in which Ross Douthat, Michelle Goldberg and David Leonhardt debate climate change and how to deal with it. Then, the trio discuss whether public colleges should be tuition free, and if all student loan debt should be canceled, from the Dec. 5, 2019, episode, “Should College Be Free?” And finally, a return to that time Ross sang Lady Gaga. A note for our listeners: On Feb. 24, Jane Coaston will take the reins as host of “The Argument.” The show started in 2018 as a place for civil debate, a place that’s as much about listening as it is about talking. This mission isn’t changing. Jane will bring her years of reporting on politics (and sports!) to examine the issues shaping our politics and society. She’ll invite guests who disagree with her and one another, and encourage you to consider — or maybe even reconsider — your point of view. A huge thanks to our original team: David Leonhardt, Ross Douthat, Michelle Goldberg and Frank Bruni. Keep listening, and you’ll hear them on the show as guests and sometimes agitators.

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  • 03.02.2021
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    Dreaming Of Our Post-Pandemic Lives. Plus: An Announcement

    Michelle and Ross dream of a post-pandemic world. Michelle is ready to meet with friends again once vaccinated, and Ross wonders if the psychological stress of the pandemic has forever changed U.S. politics. Then they reflect on what they’ve learned from arguing with each other for more than two years. A note for our listeners: On Feb. 24, Jane Coaston will take the reins as host of “The Argument.” The show started in 2018 as a place for civil debate, a place that’s as much about listening as it is about talking. This mission isn’t changing. Jane will bring her years of reporting on politics (and sports!) to argue the issues shaping our politics and society. She’ll invite guests who disagree with her and one another, and encourage you to consider — or maybe even reconsider — your point of view. A huge thanks to our original team: David Leonhardt, Ross Douthat, Michelle Goldberg and Frank Bruni. Keep listening, and you’ll hear them on the show as guests and sometimes agitators.

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  • 22.01.2021
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    The 46th: Joe Biden to the Rescue (Plan)

    For the final episode in “The 46th” series, Michelle and Ross commemorate the inauguration of the 46th president with a debate about America’s post-Trump future. Ross compliments the ceremony’s “vague Hunger Games vibe,” and Michelle exhales for the first time in four years. Then, the pair discuss the uphill task for President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris to govern a country devastated by a pandemic, extreme political division and a staggering economy. Biden economic adviser Jared Bernstein joins the duo to allay their doubts and volley questions about the new president’s “Rescue Plan” to resuscitate America’s work force and even out an inequitable economy. Finally, Jared offers the show a little class in a classical favorite. For background reading on this episode, visit nytimes.com/theargument .

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  • 15.01.2021
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    The 46th: Will A Second Impeachment Change Republican Minds?

    It’s impeachment season all over again on “The Argument,” and Michelle and Ross debate whether Republicans will, at long last, turn their backs to President Trump, or confirm that their party is resolutely his. Will Mitch McConnell really consider delivering enough Republican votes to convict Trump? The duo discuss the events of the last week and a half and the deepening fracture in the Republican Party, and Michelle is surprised to long for “the party of cruel Ayn Rand-ism” in exchange for “Qanon and guerrilla warfare.” Ross admits how wrong he’s been in analyzing violent extremism in recent years. Then, the hosts take up the question of deplatforming Trump, and the rabid hordes he foments. And finally, Ross suggests you find some escapism in a grim, dark, revisionist fantasy. For background reading on this episode, visit nytimes.com/theargument .

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  • 14.01.2021
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    I Love Section 230. Got a Problem With That?

    In this special bonus episode, Jane Coaston makes her hosting debut on “The Argument” to discuss one of her favorite subjects: Section 230 . As scholar Jeff Kosseff defined it, the “26 words that created the internet” is part of the Communications Decency Act of 1996, and it protects websites from liability. The law also allows internet companies to moderate third-party content on their sites. The banning of President Trump from many social media platforms has led to renewed calls from both political parties to amend or revoke Section 230. Jane debates what changing the law might mean with Klon Kitchen, director of the Center for Technology Policy at the Heritage Foundation, and Danielle Keats Citron, a professor at the University of Virginia School of Law and author of “Hate Crimes in Cyberspace.”

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  • 08.01.2021
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    The 46th: The End of Trump or the End of American Democracy?

    Ross Douthat and Michelle Goldberg debate whether the events that unfolded on Wednesday should be classified as a “coup.” Then, Michelle Cottle deploys her expertise on Congress to analyze the Georgia election results and predict what a Democratic Senate means for Joe Biden and how conservative Democrats might play a role in Republicans’ long-term plans. Finally, Michelle Cottle recommends a series to watch that while not apolitical may help give respite from the current moment.

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  • 01.01.2021
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    How 2020 Changed Our Minds

    Happy New Year and good riddance, 2020! Ross and Michelle ring in 2021 with a reflection on how their opinions changed during “this wild and crazy and terrible and interesting and disastrous and a longer list of adjectives year,” as Ross so eloquently defines 2020. The hosts are joined by a bevy of thoughtful “Argument” listeners who share what — or who — made them look at the world in a new way this year. Then, Michelle and Ross offer their hopes for 2021, and recommend two streaming options that young and old can enjoy together. For background reading on this episode, visit nytimes.com/theargument .

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  • 18.12.2020
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    The 46th: Will Georgia's Races Change The Senate?

    As part of our series “The 46th,” The Argument’s hosts and guests are debating the events of the transition and what America under a Biden administration should look like. Now that we’re less than three weeks away from the Georgia runoff elections that will determine the balance of power in the U.S. Senate, Michelle, Ross and fellow Times columnist Jamelle Bouie take stock of the Democratic candidates and assess their strengths and weaknesses. Jamelle and Michelle make the case for a Warnock victory, while Ross makes a surprising prediction of the outcome. Then Michelle and Ross debate whether President Trump’s actions over the past four years constituted fascism or just looked like fascism. Michelle says Trump has insidiously invaded democratic institutions, while Ross argues that sometimes conservatism can look a little bit like fascism. And Michelle has a recommendation for last-minute holiday shoppers. For background reading on the episode, visit nytimes.com/theargument .

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  • 11.12.2020
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    The 46th: Who Will Replace Trump in the G.O.P.’s Heart?

    As part of our series “The 46th,” the hosts and guests on “The Argument” are debating what America under a Biden administration might and should look like. This week, Ross Douthat is joined first by Jane Coaston, formerly of “The Weeds,” and future host of “The Argument.” Together they discuss the reasons for widespread theories of voter fraud among the Republican electorate and what led to such a moment. Then, the senior elections analyst of Real Clear Politics, Sean Trende, joins the pair to discuss the future of Trumpism and whether anybody else can capture the Republican Party quite like Donald Trump. And finally, Jane recommends building your character and your calf muscles. For background reading on this episode, visit nytimes.com/theargument .

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  • 04.12.2020
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    The 46th: Biden’s First Catastrophes

    In the second episode of our pre-inauguration series, “The 46th,” Michelle and Aaron debate two countrywide crises that President-elect Joe Biden will inherit from Donald Trump: the coronavirus, and the economic chaos it’s causing. Jeneen Interlandi, the Times editorial board’s health, science and education writer, joins the podcast to discuss what Biden must do around mask mandates, vaccine deployment and public health messaging. Then, Binyamin Appelbaum, the editorial board’s economics writer, joins the debate around stimulus checks, and whether unthinkable human suffering can push Congress to action (spoiler: don’t count on it). And Binya offers recommendations for books — other than his own , of course — for people who want to understand how macroeconomics shapes their own lives, and not be bored doing it. For background reading on this episode, visit nytimes.com/theargument .

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  • 25.11.2020
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    The 46th: Progressive Democrats’ Next Moves Under Biden

    Introducing The 46th, a new series from “The Argument” charting the incredibly unconventional transition from President Trump to President-elect Joe Biden. Each week through inauguration, we’ll debate what — and how — Mr. Biden should prioritize in his first 100 days. With Ross Douthat on intermittent paternity leave, Michelle Goldberg is joined by Opinion editor Aaron Retica for an interview with Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal. As the Democrats are poised to reclaim the executive branch, how should the growing divide between the party establishment and its progressive members like Representative Jayapal find common ground? Then, Kara Swisher — tech reporter and host of the NYT opinion podcast, “Sway” — joins Michelle and Aaron to discuss what social media companies are doing (or not doing) to combat misinformation and conspiracy theories surrounding the election. For background reading on this episode, visit nytimes.com/theargument .

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  • 25.11.2020
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    What Happens if Trump Doesn’t Concede?

    After polling misses in the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections, Michelle and Ross ask Nate Cohn, domestic correspondent for The Upshot at The New York Times, whether we can ever trust polls again. They discuss Nate’s four theories of why polling may have been so off this year and how much the coronavirus pandemic affected results. Then, Michelle and Ross try to read the tea leaves for the next 10 weeks before inauguration with Rosa Brooks, a professor of law and policy at Georgetown University Law Center and a founder of the Transition Integrity Project, whose previous post election scenarios have proved eerily prophetic. Together they debate what the Republican strategy is right now and what happens if President Trump doesn’t concede. Plus, a trick for making all your video calls less painful, literally. For background reading on this episode, visit nytimes.com/theargument .

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  • 12.11.2020
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    Election Special: Nail-Biter Edition

    As a weary nation waits for mail-in ballots to be tallied, Michelle and Ross come together for a special election episode of “The Argument.” They debate the lessons and takeaways from a nail-biter of a race that is coming down to Georgia and Arizona. They discuss minority rule, and America’s failure to secure a governing majority. Michelle asks Ross where a narrow Biden victory and the clear continued appeal of Trumpism leaves the Republican Party, and Ross fears a Trump 2024 campaign. Plus, getting through this week of waiting with sedatives and Wiffle ball bats. For background reading on this episode, visit nytimes.com/theargument .

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  • 12.11.2020
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    What If America Gets a Divorce? And Other Final Election Predictions

    With just days left until Election Day, Michelle and Ross are joined by the Time magazine columnist and senior editor of The Dispatch, David French. Together, they revisit last year’s conservative brawl over “David Frenchism,” give the Lincoln Project more airtime than it deserves, and debate the impact Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation will have on the religious conservative vote. All three make their election predictions, including in some surprisingly competitive Senate races. Then, how likely is the re-election of Donald Trump to spur the dissolution of the United States as we know it? David makes the case for a relatively bloodless “Calixit,” and Michelle prefers a “velvet divorce” to a violent civil war. But how likely is either? And finally, David recommends what “may be the last unifying piece of pop culture left in the United States of America,” available now on Apple TV. For background reading on this episode, visit nytimes.com/theargument .

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  • 12.11.2020
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    David Leonhardt Returns for a Debate Debate

    David Leonhardt returns to the podcast to celebrate its 100 episodes and two years on the air. Together, the O.G. “Argument” hosts dissect the final presidential debate, argue over the validity of the Hunter Biden allegations, and discuss Joe Biden’s campaign strategy in its final 11 days. Then, David looks into his crystal ball and makes election predictions — both national and state. Finally, David recommends finding the joy of a daily routine with family through the soothing tones of Alex Trebek. For background reading on this episode, visit nytimes.com/theargument .

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  • 12.11.2020
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    Packed Courts, Undecided Voters and 'WAP': You Asked, We Answered

    For the podcast’s two-year anniversary, Michelle and Ross start with a rousing debate over why Joe Biden isn’t saying he’d pack the courts, should he beat President Trump in November. Ross asks Michelle if she’d concede that court packing would be a significant escalation in the “judicial wars,” and Michelle asks Ross what happens to the anti-choice movement if and when Roe is overturned. Then, the hosts listen to the show’s voice mails and dig into the inbox to answer some listener questions. They respond to your questions about the open Supreme Court seat, who the heck is still undecided, Republicanism’s evolution to Trumpism, and whether “ WAP ” is a feminist anthem. Finally, both hosts suggest you dive into the Nxivm cult’s backstory through HBO’s new documentary series, “ The Vow. ” For background reading on this episode, visit nytimes.com/theargument .

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  • 12.11.2020
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    What Happens if Trump Won’t Leave?

    So President Trump caught the coronavirus. But with just weeks left in the 2020 campaign, what impact will his ill health — and subsequent spin — have on the election? Columnist David Brooks joins Michelle and Ross to talk about masculinity, sympathizing with someone you hate, and how the virus’s spread within Republican circles will play out among the electorate. Plus, Ross recites some medieval political theology. Then, what happens after Nov. 3? The columnists debate three possible outcomes for the election, ranging from dragging Trump out of the Oval Office with his “tail between his legs,” to secession and civil war. Finally, David is vindicated in a repeated recommendation of the lyricism of Taylor Swift, with some septuagenarian Springsteen on the side. For background reading on this episode, visit nytimes.com/the-argument .

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