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The Argument

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

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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
    30 MB
    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
    32 MB
    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
    34 MB
    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
    26 MB
    27:38
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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
    31 MB
    33:02
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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
    33 MB
    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
    35:23
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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
    35 MB
    36:57
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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
    38 MB
    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
    32 MB
    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
    45 MB
    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
    42 MB
    43:52
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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
    37 MB
    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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    02:10
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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
    26 MB
    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
    26 MB
    28:02
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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
    46 MB
    48:18
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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
    38 MB
    39:49
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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
    36 MB
    38:25
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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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    35:28
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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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    33:56
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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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    37:35
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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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    40:45
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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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  • 12.11.2020
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    42:47
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    Welcome to the Thunderdome

    In the aftermath of the first presidential debate, Michelle Goldberg and Ross Douthat try to answer the question, “What was that?” They discuss whom President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden were talking to, how much it’ll move the needle for yet undecided voters, and what to look for in the remaining debates. Then, the editorial board writer Michelle Cottle joins the podcast for a comprehensive look at the last week of news: Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court, Trump’s tax revelations, the debate and what it all means for the state of the race. Finally, Michelle recommends you enjoy the outdoors while you still can. For background reading on this episode, visit nytimes.com/the-argument .

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  • 12.11.2020
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    51:56
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    Introducing 'Sway' from NYT Opinion

    Power. Who has it? Who’s been denied it? And how does one get it? Today we’re sharing NYT Opinion’s newest podcast, “Sway.” In the first episode, host Kara Swisher interviews House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. When it comes to presidential succession, Ms. Pelosi is second in line. And when it comes to taking on President Trump, she’s usually first. “The power of the speaker is awesome,” says Ms. Pelosi. But how is she actually using that power? Why not accept a compromise (to the tune of $1.5 trillion) that may help quell a national crisis? What progress is possible when the speaker hasn’t spoken directly to the president in months? And with the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg leaving a looming conservative court, can Ms. Pelosi maximize the power of a Democratic-controlled House? You can find transcripts, more episodes and links to subscribe to “Sway” at nytimes.com/sway . Episodes are released every Monday and Thursday.

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  • 12.11.2020
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    46:43
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    A Battle Over the Battle for the Supreme Court

    Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death has elevated the stakes of the presidential election and left the fate of the Supreme Court as a question. Ross and Michelle debate the Republican hypocrisy of trying to fill the seat before the election, the self-weakening counter-strategy of Democrats and Roe v. Wade’s centrality of the whole partisaned battle. Then, Jamelle Bouie joins the conversation for a debate about court reform. They discuss how reforms like term limits and court packing can curtail the outsize power of the court over American society. Plus, Jamelle suggests you start small when seizing power. For background reading on this episode, visit nytimes.com/theargument .

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  • 12.11.2020
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    How Culpable Is Trump, and How Dangerous is QAnon?

    After Bob Woodward’s latest book revealed just how much President Trump knowingly misled the public about the coronavirus, how much blame does he bear for the nearly 200,000 American lives lost to the virus? Michelle and Ross discuss counterfactuals and disagree about culpability — both the president’s, and that of the alarmed but withholding members of his administration. Then, Opinion writer Charlie Warzel joins the podcast to debunk QAnon, for a conversation about the role the “collaborative fiction” plays in American’s psyche and politics. Is it a collective coping mechanism in difficult times? A remix on old anti-Semitic themes? And is it all Facebook’s fault? For background reading on this episode, visit nytimes.com/theargument .

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  • 12.11.2020
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    47:30
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    How to Win the Latino Vote

    In a special episode of “The Argument,” Opinion editor and writer Isvett Verde hosts a round table on the Latino vote in the 2020 election. Isvett welcomes Chuck Rocha, a senior campaign adviser to Bernie Sanders, and Linda Chavez, director of the Becoming American Institute and a senior fellow at the Niskanen Center. Together, they debunk the myth of a monolithic “Latino voting bloc,” explain Latino support for President Trump and discuss the role of Latinos in the future of both parties. Linda describes going from being one of the highest-ranking women in the Reagan White House to not recognizing her party in the Trump era. And Chuck explains how Sanders was able to excite Latino voters like no other candidate. For background reading on this episode, visit nytimes.com/theargument .

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  • 12.11.2020
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    52:59
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    Is ‘American Carnage’ Campaign Gold?

    The Trump re-election strategy has revealed itself: Cast American cities as hotbeds of chaos, and place the blame entirely on the Democratic Party. Yet why is unrest being seen as a weakness for Joe Biden, and not the man in charge? Is the media unthinkingly accepting a Republican narrative? This week on the podcast, Frank, Michelle and Ross argue about the protests and counterprotests in Portland, Ore., and Kenosha, Wis., and disagree over the politicization of the clashes. They debate the lines between vigilantism and rioting and discuss the role coverage plays in the perception of the violence. And as a fitting parting gift on his final episode of “The Argument,” Frank recommends a short story that goes from jocular to chest-gripping grief in just 10 pages. For background reading on this episode, visit nytimes.com/theargument .

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  • 12.11.2020
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    Can the Republicans Sell a Whole New Trump?

    What is the Republican election strategy? And is it working? This week on “The Argument,” the journalist Charlie Sykes joins Michelle and Frank to debate whether or not Trump has made a strong enough case for his re-election during the Republican convention and if his fierce message will translate to undecided voters. Then, they turn to a question facing many Biden conservatives, like Charlie: What is the future of the party? Plus, Charlie suggests a page-turner that will make time disappear. For background reading on this episode, visit nytimes.com/theargument .

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  • 12.11.2020
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    44:34
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    What Biden Must Do

    It’s a Democratic convention unlike any other. So who is it for? What does the party, and its presidential candidate, Joe Biden, need to accomplish? And how should they approach President Trump’s threats to a free and fair election? This week on the podcast, Frank Bruni and Michelle Goldberg are joined by Opinion columnist Jamelle Bouie and editorial board member Michelle Cottle for a round-table discussion of the virtual “nerd Coachella” that is the Democratic National Convention of 2020. Then, Michelle Cottle offers a homespun jukebox game that can take the whole family’s mind off politics and the pandemic. For background reading, visit nytimes.com/theargument .

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  • 12.11.2020
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    Is Individualism America’s Religion?

    Five months after the editorial board’s science writer Jeneen Interlandi warned the hosts of “The Argument” that they should get comfortable in quarantine, she makes her return to the podcast to talk what comes next. Ross and Frank press Jeneen on herd immunity possibilities, how to fix the testing lags in the U.S., and the question on every parent and teacher’s mind: How can we open schools safely? Then, Opinion writer Elizabeth Bruenig joins Frank and Ross for a debate on the moral obligations of the Roman Catholic Church in 2020. If the Movement for Black Lives is promulgating Catholic beliefs, why won’t the church say Black lives Matter? And how will Joe Biden’s Catholicism play a role in the election? Finally, Elizabeth recommends a break from omniscience. For background reading on this episode, visit nytimes.com/theargument .

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  • 12.11.2020
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    Trump Supporters Make Their Case for 2020

    What do Trump supporters talk about when they talk about 2020? This week Ross hosts a special intra-right debate over whether conservatives should support Trump in 2020. He plays “moderate squish” (i.e., NeverTrumper) to Pro-Trump conservatives Dan McCarthy, the editor of Modern Age, and Helen Andrews, a senior editor of The American Conservative. They disagree with Ross about the president’s handling of the coronavirus and argue against his ultimate question for Republicans in 2020: Should conservatives actually hope for a Trump loss in November? For background reading on this episode, visit nytimes.com/theargument .

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  • 12.11.2020
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    When Conservatives Fall for Demagogues

    How did the conservative defenders of classical liberal ideals like free speech and the rule of law wind up abetting authoritarians across the West? With Ross out for the week, Frank and Michelle are joined by Anne Applebaum, author of “ Twilight of Democracy: The Seductive Lure of Authoritarianism ,” to debate the origins of the center right’s schism over nationalism. Then, if you’ve got consternation over cancel culture, Michelle has “The Joke” for you. For background reading on this episode, visit nytimes.com/theargument .

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  • 12.11.2020
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    The Case for a One-State Solution

    The long-held hope of a two-state solution has dwindled under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and his threat of annexation. After decades of calling for the preservation of the Jewish nation through two separate states, the political journalist and scholar Peter Beinart has changed his mind. This week on “The Argument,” he joins Ross and Michelle to make the case for a one-state solution. Then, Frank joins Michelle and Ross for a discussion about Barack Obama and George W. Bush, and what they should be doing to defeat President Trump in November. For background reading on this episode, visit nytimes.com/theargument .

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  • 12.11.2020
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    A Conversation With Tammy Duckworth

    Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois joins the Frank, Ross and Michelle for a four-way interview about monuments and Tucker Carlson, Russian bounties in Afghanistan, Medicare for all and taking care of a multigenerational family in a pandemic. Plus, what’s harder: home schooling a 5-year-old or flying a Black Hawk helicopter? Then, Frank recommends an album that offers a little hope, even if hope is a dangerous thing to have. For background reading on this episode, visit nytimes.com/theargument . Editor’s note: At 18:58, Senator Duckworth says universal background checks are supported by 95 percent of Americans. Polling generally finds support for universal background checks between 84 and 94 percent .

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  • 12.11.2020
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    Is Trump's Fate Sealed?

    Has Donald Trump already lost the election? This week on “The Argument,” Frank, Ross and Michelle debate whether Joe Biden already has the president beat in November, given historical precedent, polling and the president’s own predilections. Then, they turn to the question that every family of an American student is asking: How can school safely reopen in the fall? Plus, Michelle suggests you treat yourself to some escapism through “Self Care.” For background reading on this episode, visit nytimes.com/theargument .

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  • 12.11.2020
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    35:48
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    Whose Statue Must Fall?

    Is America finally going through a social revolution? Or will empty gestures and virtue signaling by corporations and elite institutions drown out demands to overturn the country’s economic inequities? This week on “The Argument,” Opinion columnist Jamelle Bouie joins Ross Douthat and Michelle Goldberg to debate whether the recent changes symbolize a true turning point, or whether institutions are merely placating a powerful movement that they in some ways fear. Then, the columnists turn to rethinking memorials across America: Who deserves a statue? Whose statue should be torn down? And, going forward, what do we want America to commemorate as its collective inheritance? For background reading on this episode, visit nytimes.com/theargument .

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  • 12.11.2020
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    Place Your Bets on Biden’s V.P.

    Joe Biden has vowed to pick a woman as his running mate. But of the many qualified contenders, who should win the veepstakes? Michelle and Frank have different ideas as to whose name on the ticket could help push Biden to victory in November. Then, editorial board member Jesse Wegman joins Ross and Frank for a Supreme Court battle: has SCOTUS usurped Congress when it comes to legislating America’s culture wars? For background reading on this episode, visit nytimes.com/theargument .

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