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Battleground with Amanda Litman and Faiz Shakir

The Recount

News, Politics, Government

4.83.1K Ratings


Battleground brings you inside the fight for political power. Hosts Amanda Litman and Faiz Shakir aren't your typical pundits – in fact, they're not pundits at all. They're doing the work day-in and day-out, and have the inside scoop on what's really happening behind the tweets and headlines. Every week, Amanda and Faiz have a wide-ranging, unguarded, and occasionally profanity-laden conversation with reporters, activists, organizers, political scientists, campaign operatives – and even some conservatives – in order to shine a light on the problems we face and figure out how we can fix them. Both bring deep knowledge and experience building grassroots movements for change. Amanda is the co-founder and executive director Run for Something, which recruits and supports young progressives running for local state and local offices, and host of the Run for Something podcast on Dear Media. Faiz was the campaign manager for Bernie Sanders 2020 presidential campaign, and he's the founder of the progressive media non-profit, More Perfect Union. Listen to new episodes each Thursday on your favorite podcast app.

Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

60 Episodes

‘Speed Kills’ with Maggie Haberman and Addisu Demissie

Amanda brings Battleground fans a very special series finale, featuring guest co-host Addisu Demissie and a conversation with Maggie Haberman of The New York Times. Addisu is the CEO of More Than a Vote, a voting rights organization started by LeBron James. He has spent decades in politics, most recently as a campaign manager for Senator Cory Booker’s presidential run, and California Governor Gavin Newsom’s gubernatorial campaign in 2018. Maggie is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and the Washington correspondent for The New York Times. She is currently writing a book about the former president.  In the last episode of Battleground, the three friends argue and agree about all things Twitter, the media, and politics. Plus, Amanda and Addisu discuss election results across the country, with progressives securing some big wins at the municipal level, while other Dems got served a rude awakening at the state level. But stay positive, folks, as we head into 2022 — teamwork makes the dream work. A big thanks to everyone who’s supported the show — now get out there and run for something. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Transcribed - Published: 4 November 2021

Digging in the Dirt with David Brock

“In conservative media, there’s an incentive to put out misinformation, and to essentially lie.” David Brock, founder of Media Matters — a rightwing media watchdog group — knows exactly how the conservative media ecosystem works, because that’s where he cut his teeth. For the first half of his career as a journalist, David got caught up in what he now describes as a cult, working at places like the Washington Examiner and the Heritage Foundation, until he managed to break ranks and turn against them. David joins Amanda this week to discuss the unconscionable actions of Fox News, his efforts to create robust media infrastructure for Democrats and progressives, and the struggle to get investors on the left to pay attention to Virginia’s elections, despite their massive importance to the Democratic party heading into 2022. Plus: while the rest of the world enjoys an average of 26 weeks paid maternity leave, the great USofA and our highly functional legislative branch can’t even manage a measly four. Cool. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Transcribed - Published: 28 October 2021

Secret Contracts and Slow-Moving Coups with Luppe B. Luppen

Amanda’s Twitter fav, Luppe B. Luppen — also known as @nycsouthpaw — joins "Battleground" to analyze some of the biggest stories in politics. First, Amanda and Luppe dissect the secret agreement, between Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, that capped overall spending on the Democrats' reconciliation bill at $1.5 trillion. They pick apart the draft materials released by Biden’s SCOTUS Commission and discuss what legal options the January 6th committee has when it comes to enforcing subpoenas. Finally, Luppen breaks down a topics he's researching for an upcoming book: the 2020 Iowa Democratic caucus debatable and the (unlikely) chances for reform. Plus: it’s Striketober! Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Transcribed - Published: 21 October 2021

TX Republicans are Cavemen Living on Borrowed Time with Julián Castro

Julián Castro, former Mayor of San Antonio and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development for the Obama administration, joins the show this week to shed light on a range of issues troubling America. The groundbreaking 2020 presidential candidate and Amanda discuss the ongoing housing affordability crisis; the transformational impact universal pre-K could have on our society; and the small group of conservative Texas politicians desperately clinging to their gerrymandered power, one regressive state bill at a time. Plus: why understanding the media ecosystem in which Democratic candidates operate is just as — if not more — important than the message they’re running on. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Transcribed - Published: 14 October 2021

To Reach Young Voters, Try Giving a Sh*t with Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez

More than half of Americans are under the age of 40, and according to Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez, President and Executive Director of NextGen America, they are facing three crises simultaneously — a climate catastrophe, a democracy in decline, and grotesque income inequality. Cristina is a progressive labor organizer and former 2020 U.S. Senate candidate who truly understands the complexity of the youth vote, especially in her home state of Texas, and particularly within the Latino community. She joins Amanda this week to pull apart the Democrats’ mistaken assumption that young voters are all college kids; discuss why campaigns clinging to the ‘young people don’t vote’ myth after impressive turnout in 2020 do so at their own peril; and, as always, they tackle money in politics. Plus, breaking up Facebook: it’s time. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Transcribed - Published: 7 October 2021

Follow the Money with Judd Legum of Popular Information

Judd Legum, author of the progressive newsletter, Popular Information, and former founder of ThinkProgress, can tell you with certainty that there’s too much money in politics, that legislators prioritize corporations over people, and that the media does a pretty bad job at covering all of it. He joins Amanda this week to discuss what the major news outlets are missing, getting wrong, and forgetting too quickly, and why. They get into which corporations pretend to champion gender equality and social justice; why so many public servants eventually join lobbying firms; and what’s wrong with political newsletters “brought to you by Chevron.” Plus, your weekly dose of Manchin shit-talking. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Transcribed - Published: 30 September 2021

Hacking the Democratic Primaries with Maurice Mitchell

Third parties are famous for siphoning off votes from the major parties and ruining elections. While this phenomenon, known as the spoiler effect, is real, America's two-party system makes for strange bedfellows. It's not obvious what a democratic socialist like AOC has in common with a conservative Democrat like Joe Manchin, other than a "D" after their names. So what can reform-minded progressives do? How can they advocate for systemic change without tilting the field in the Republicans’ favor? Maurice Mitchell, a seasoned organizer and National Director of the Working Families Party, joins Amanda this week to discuss the WFP’s decades-long effort to build substantive, multiracial political power for the working class. The WFP emerged in 1998 as a direct response to the conservative-corporate takeover of American politics. Maurice details his party’s multifaceted approach that has its sights set not only on conservative Republicans, but on establishment Democrats in very blue districts who are out of step with the needs of their communities. In other words, the WFP is providing progressives, the working class, and people who don’t identify with either party a path to representation in government through collective organization. Just how effective are they? Ask now-former Governor Andrew Cuomo. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Transcribed - Published: 23 September 2021

QAnon: Coming to a School Board Near You with Mike Rothschild

America’s lack of media literacy and historical affinity for conspiracy theories have allowed QAnon to move from the dark corners of the web to violence at the US Capitol. Now, much like the Tea Party efforts of last decade, the movement is attempting to take over local governments at a disconcerting pace.  Journalist Mike Rothschild (The Storm Is Upon Us) has spent his career investigating how internet culture impacts American politics, and he is one of the go-to resources regarding all things QAnon. Mike joins Amanda on Battleground to discuss how QAnon has been shedding its fringier messaging post-insurrection and organizing politically to capture school boards and easily winnable local seats across the country.  If you’re tempted to dismiss the movement as a passing ‘Boomer fad,’ you might be surprised to learn that every age group and socioeconomic class is represented in QAnon.  Mike calls it the “umbrella of conspiracy theories,” and it  includes 2020 election results deniers, anti-vaxxers, anti-CRT diehards, and the forced-birth brigade. Mike points out (as Amanda does every week) that while many of us get distracted by the shimmer and drama of national politics, the real work of preserving a functional, multicultural democracy is at the unglamorous, hyper-local level. Conservatives are already putting up huge roadblocks to participating in state and national elections; adding a super-motivated band of conspiracy theorists running for school board and town mayor will not bode well for democracy. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Transcribed - Published: 16 September 2021

The Tyranny of Merit with Michael Sandel

The American dream disappeared generations ago, but we still operate under the myth that ascending the socio-economic ladder is simply a matter of hard work. In reality, America has become a caste system, where those born into privilege will likely stay privileged, while those born into poverty get stuck at the bottom. What’s worse, according to political philosopher Michael Sandel, are the attitudes accompanying this system. Many of those at the top truly believe they’ve ‘earned’ their place, a type of ‘winners and losers’ messaging that gets carried into politics. And to no one's surprise, Republicans are making it work to their political advantage. Professor Sandel joins Faiz on Battleground this week to discuss what he calls the “rhetoric of rising”; how dividing society into winners and losers cost Democrats the working-class vote; and what they can do to break the meritocratic spell that’s driving our country into the ground. Hint: electing more working-class people to office is a good start. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Transcribed - Published: 9 September 2021


We're taking a break this week at Battleground, and will be back on September 9 with a new episode. Amanda's got some thoughts on how you can stay informed in the meantime. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Transcribed - Published: 2 September 2021

‘You Can’t Out-Organize a Gerrymander’ with David Daley

In 2014, Republicans won around 4.3 million more votes in House contests than Democrats, which netted them 247 congressional seats. In 2020, Democrats got approximately 4.7 million more votes, but won only 222 seats. For that unfair advantage, you can thank REDMAP: a Republican project to take state legislatures and then gerrymander districts, in order to win and hold power – even when they get fewer votes.David Daley is a senior fellow at FairVote, a nonpartisan organization focused on making elections better, the author of two books on gerrymandering and voting rights, and the former editor-in-chief of Salon.com. With the August release of the 2020 Census data, Daley joins Battleground to sound the alarm on what’s looking more and more like the end of majoritarian rule. He and Amanda discuss the Roberts Court’s decision to stay out of states’ partisan redistricting efforts; the Democrat’s prospects in 2022; and how the party has mostly watched from the sidelines as these anti-democratic efforts unfold. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Transcribed - Published: 26 August 2021

Why the Market Can’t Solve Our Care Crisis with Ai-jen Poo

It doesn’t matter to Ai-jen Poo whether you call it ‘care infrastructure,’ or something else, as long as it gets funded properly. With Baby Boomers aging and Millennials having kids, we’re heading towards a crisis, thanks in large part to how we’ve neglected the critical role caregivers play in our economy.Ai-jen is the Co-founder and Executive Director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, a labor advocacy group that works to elevate the rights of domestic workers in the US. She’s been sounding the alarm and pushing for policies that will meet the impending care shortage. The goal is to give families the support they need, and to redefine the care work industry so that it provides quality jobs for an overwhelmingly female workforce that’s also majority women of color. Amanda and Ai-jen discuss the historical devaluation of women’s labor, how technology has changed both the care industry and organizing, and the potentially transformative effects of Biden’s infrastructure plan. Plus, Ai-jen shares a downright inspiring vision of the future, which we could all use right now. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Transcribed - Published: 19 August 2021

Voting is Not a Constitutional Right with Jessica Huseman

If Americans voted the way the Founders intended, most of us wouldn’t get to vote. Amanda talks to Jessica Huseman, the editorial director of Votebeat, to learn about our country’s tortured, and unending, fight for voting rights. Jessica is a former high school history teacher who has spent the last five years reporting on voting administration – the ins and outs of what goes into putting on an election and counting the votes. Votebeat is a nonprofit newsroom that covers voting and also funds and trains journalists to report out that beat for local newsrooms. Jessica gives a crash course on the history of voting in America and then breaks down the battle over voting rights in her home state of Texas. It turns out that Texas’ voting laws are already so restrictive that the bill currently being pushed by Republicans is more likely to disenfranchise voters through incompetent bill writing than through actual design. Jessica also explains why a lot of Texas Democratic voters aren’t impressed by their legislators' decision to flee the state. Finally, Amanda and Jessica talk about local journalism and why it’s absolutely essential for democracy. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Transcribed - Published: 12 August 2021

Why You Shouldn’t Run Elections on Windows 7 with Tiana Epps-Johnson

Last year, roughly 8000 election departments across the country pulled off the near-impossible task of holding safe and secure elections in the middle of a global pandemic. They did it despite gross underfunding from Congress, crumbling infrastructure, and threats of violence. In a wealthy democracy like the United States, local election administrators shouldn’t have to rely on private grant money to cover the cost of things like pens or postage for mail-in ballots, but that’s exactly what happened last year. In order to find out why America's election infrastructure is so neglected, and what needs to be done to fix it, Amanda talks to Tiana Epps-Johnson, the founder and executive director of the Center for Tech and Civic Life, a national, nonpartisan org that helps local election administrators across the country modernize their processes and cover the budget gaps left by inadequate funding. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Transcribed - Published: 5 August 2021

How to Undo GOP Control of the Courts with Brian Fallon

It’s no surprise that the Supreme Court has a 6-3 conservative majority: progressive legal elites have been telling Democrats for decades that the judicial branch must remain apolitical, while for decades, Republicans have been successfully reshaping the courts. Brian Fallon, the co-founder and executive director of Demand Justice (and a recovering establishment Democrat), explains the history behind the Republicans’ decades-long judicial strategy and how Democrats can counter it. He and Amanda also discuss Stephen Breyer’s decision to remain on the court; what Democrats should do about the FBI’s bungled investigation into Brett Kavanaugh; and term limits for Supreme Court justices. (Amanda flies solo this week as Faiz continues to hang with his very cute new baby.) Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Transcribed - Published: 29 July 2021

Why ‘No Climate, No Deal’ Makes Sense with Jamal Raad

ExxonMobil, and other major polluters like it, would love for you to feel like your personal choices are what will make or break this climate crisis, but the truth is, global warming can only be slowed through massive, systemic changes to the energy, transportation, and building sectors. Legislators must pass new laws curbing emissions, and the reconciliation bill winding its way through Congress is the best, and possibly last, chance to get this right. Amanda and Faiz talk to Jamal Raad, the co-founder and executive director of Evergreen Action, a climate advocacy group fighting to ensure that real action on climate change doesn’t get derailed by politicians bought by the oil and gas industry. The trio discusses why clean energy standards need to be in the reconciliation bill; how Republicans aren’t interested in good faith negotiations; and whether climate advocacy groups should continue to focus their energy and ire at Biden and the Democrats, or pivot towards Republicans. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Transcribed - Published: 22 July 2021

How to Spend Ad $$ with Danielle Butterfield of Priorities USA

Campaigns spent $8.5 BILLION on political advertising in the 2020 election cycle. That may seem astonishing, excessive, or even absurd, but if you want to know how campaigns win (and lose), you need to understand ad dollars. Danielle Butterfield is the executive director of Priorities USA – the largest Democratic super PAC. Before Priorities she ran digital advertising campaigns for Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in 2016 and 2012.Amanda and Faiz talk with Danielle about the challenge of convincing Democrats to fully fund digital advertising campaigns (as opposed to TV); why Donald Trump does so well online; and why new privacy changes will make it difficult to target voters. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Transcribed - Published: 15 July 2021

Anti-CRT is the New Tea Party with Tyler Kingkade

Americans are being treated to a new and improved version of last decade’s infamous Tea Party movement. It’s another astroturfed moral panic, sponsored by conservative think tanks, brought to you by Fox News, and designed to win votes for Republicans: the war on “critical race theory.” Faiz and Amanda talk to Tyler Kingkade, a national reporter for NBC News who has written extensively on the subject, about how a term from the world of legal scholarship is on the tip of everyone’s tongues – and what progressives should do about it. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Transcribed - Published: 8 July 2021

Introducing: The Recount Daily Pod

Every morning on The Recount Daily Pod, host journalist Reena Ninan will break down the most important news of the day, both domestically and abroad. In 5 minutes or less, you’ll walk away feeling smarter and more in sync with the world. Then, tune in for an interview with journalists who are on the forefront of the stories that affect us all. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Transcribed - Published: 6 July 2021

'Should the Dems Pick a Fight?' with Michelle Goldberg

Amanda and Faiz are joined by Michelle Goldberg, a Pulitzer Prize-winning Op-Ed columnist for The New York Times. The three of them rate the Biden administration's performance, discuss the Democrat's branding problem, and get into a debate over how Biden should deal with Senators Manchin and Sinema's intransigence on filibuster reform. They also consider whether the Democrats should strategically pick a fight in order to motivate their base and how the party can recruit more candidates from working class backgrounds – like India Walton, its recently elected mayoral nominee in Buffalo. They end the episode on an optimistic note, as Goldberg explains what it's like to see New York City begin to emerge from the pandemic. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Transcribed - Published: 1 July 2021

A Nuanced Look at ‘Cancel Culture’ with Alyssa Rosenberg

What are the costs and benefits of living in a society where people can be cancelled for their speech? Are "cancelled" people, like Gina Carano, irredeemable? Amanda and Faiz use “cancel culture” as a jumping off point for what ends up being a wide-ranging, deeply analytical conversation with Washington Post columnist Alyssa Rosenberg. They cover the performative nature of online discourse; the primacy of persuasion; whether or not (and how) to engage with people spewing hate online; and ultimately, the idea that we may come to understand each other better by working through our differences. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Transcribed - Published: 24 June 2021

'Trump Needs to Spend Time in Jail' with Elie Mystal

Elie Mystal, the justice correspondent for the Nation magazine and a frequent contributor on MSNBC, joins Amanda and Faiz. They discuss the quest to bring justice to Donald Trump and what Merrick Garland's Department of Justice should be – but isn't – doing in order to achieve that goal. Elie wraps up by explaining why legislation won't solve any problems until Democrats pack the court. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Transcribed - Published: 17 June 2021

Perpetual Minority Rule with David Faris

Political scientist David Faris joins Amanda and Faiz to discuss how Republicans are using extreme gerrymandering, combined with their structural advantages in the Senate and electoral college, to subvert democracy. In states like Wisconsin and North Carolina, they're created a circular structure of authority, where legislatures elected by a minority of voters can strip Democratic governors of any real power, and courts stacked with conservatives can override a governors' veto of newly gerrymandered maps – further entrenching their minority rule. Now, as state after state passes restrictive voting laws and give legislators the ability to override election officials, they're laying the groundwork to potentially steal the presidential election in 2024. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Transcribed - Published: 10 June 2021

'24/7 Fear' with Astead Herndon

Amanda and Faiz speak with Astead Herndon, a national politics reporter for the New York Times, political analyst for CNN, and guest host of "The Daily."The trio talk about two voting rights bills – the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act – and discuss why some members of the Congressional Black Caucus have expressed hesitation at some of the more transformational elements of the For the People Act. Then, they get into the Democrats' disastrous down-ballot performances in the past 10+ years, what the Republican base really wants, and whether or not winning elections is enough to save American from itself. It's a raw, incisive conversation and one where Amanda, Faiz, and Astead don't pull any of their punches. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Transcribed - Published: 3 June 2021

Turning Point or Temporary Reprieve? with Edward-Isaac Dovere

What is the role of political journalism? Years from now, what will people take away from this period in the Democratic party's evolution? What role did former President Obama play in the 2020 primary election?For the answers to these questions, and many more, Amanda and Faiz turn to to Edward-Isaac Dovere, lead political correspondent for "The Atlantic" and author of the new book, "Battle for the Soul: Inside the Democrats' Campaigns to Defeat Trump." The trio have a boisterous conversation that includes everything from Faiz and Isaac's Bernie Sanders impersonations, to Jill Biden's cursing, and an anecdote about a wistful Mike Bloomberg. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Transcribed - Published: 27 May 2021

'Shamelessness is a Now a Virtue' with Charlotte Alter

Elise Stefanik, a moderate Republican who zealously supports former President Trump and his lies about the election, has replaced hardcore conservative Liz Cheney as the G.O.P. Conference Chair.Amanda and Faiz talk to Charlotte Alter, a senior correspondent for TIME and author of "The Ones We've Been Waiting For." Charlotte profiled Stefanik in her book, and since then she has reported on the Congresswoman's transformation from Trump-skeptic to Trump-enabler. The trio discuss Stefanik, and what her rise says about the current G.O.P, Cheney's next steps, and "cancel culture." Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Transcribed - Published: 20 May 2021

Do the Democrats Need Billionaires? with Teddy Schleifer

According to The Center for Responsive Politics, the 2020 elections cost a combined $14.4 billion. That money has to come from somewhere, and while the last cycle saw an unprecedented number of small donors, a lot of those dollars came from billionaires. Amanda and Faiz talk with Teddy Schleifer, a senior reporter covering money and influence (or billionaires) for Recode. They discuss how tech billionaires with relatively little political experience, like Reid Hoffman and Dustin Moskovitz, spent gobs of money trying to get Democrats get elected; whether it actually helped; and whether Democrats should partner with billionaires in the first place. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Transcribed - Published: 13 May 2021

How to Flip a Red State Blue with Tram Nguyen

Virginia is for lovers – and, for a long time, it was also for Confederate nostalgia and Republican politics. Richmond, Virginia's capital, was one of the capitals of the Confederacy. Virginia still has over 150 public locations, like streets and parks, that bear Confederate names – for example, Lee Jackson Memorial Highway, which is named after Gen. Robert E. Lee and Gen. Stonewall Jackson. So, given the state's Confederate pride, it should come as no surprise that, from 1968-2004, the state voted exclusively for Republican presidential candidates. But starting in 2008, things began to change. That year, and every four years since, Virginia's electors have gone to the Democratic presidential candidate. Now, Virginia is Democratic trifecta – the party control both legislatures and the governor's office – and the state is renaming its streets and parks to get rid of any associations to the Confederacy.Tram Nguyen played a huge role in flipping Virginia blue. She is the co-founder and Co-Executive Director of New Virginia Majority, an organization that has registered nearly 300,000 new voters and knocked on 3.1 million doors to get out the vote. They've also played a vital role in restoring formerly incarcerated Virginians' right to vote, expanding Medicaid, and getting undocumented immigrants the right to drivers' licenses. Amanda and Faiz speak with her to learn how she did it and to find out what advice she has for activists and politically engaged citizens, in purple and red states, with similar aspirations. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Transcribed - Published: 6 May 2021

'Seeking Common Ground' with Frank Luntz

Frank Luntz is one of the most famous pollsters in politics. Called "the Nostradamus of pollsters," by Sir David Frost, Luntz is perhaps best known for two things: the focus groups he conducts on TV and his work shaping political language on behalf of Republican politicians. For example, he somewhat notoriously counseled them to say "climate change" instead of "global warming" and "electronic intercepts" instead of "eavesdropping."In recent years, Luntz shifted from an avowedly partisan Republican into a more a heterodox thinker, and he has expressed remorse for some of his past work. Luntz butted heads Donald Trump before and after the 2016 election, but nonetheless, he also reportedly helped shape the administration's language on immigration.Amanda and Faiz planned to speak with Frank about voters' appetites for progressive policies, the state of the Republican party, and COVID-hesitancy, and they did – to an extent. The conversation quickly took a combative turn. Listen in to find out why ... Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Transcribed - Published: 29 April 2021

Introducing: News Items Podcast with John Ellis

Ninety percent of the news out there tells you nothing about where the world is going — ten percent of it tells you everything. On the News Items Podcast with John Ellis, John and Rebecca Darst dissect news items that help you understand where the world is going. Tune in every Monday through Thursday afternoon to hear decades of journalistic experience packed into 20 minutes of insight, plus guest interviews on finance, U.S. politics, foreign affairs, science and technology. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Transcribed - Published: 28 April 2021

'If Everyone Hates Political Consultants, Why Are They Still in Charge?' with Tim Lim

As a group, political consultants have terrible reputations. They're supposedly grifters, scammers, and embezzlers who line their pockets with donors' money while running uninspired, cookie cutter campaigns. And yet, even though everyone in Democratic politics seems to hate them, they almost always end up running campaigns. Amanda and Faiz talk with Tim Lim to find out why.Tim Lim is a Democratic strategist, an entrepreneur, a leading voice in comprehensive media planning and yes – a political consultant. He is President of Lim Consulting Services and a Partner at the Hooligans Agency, a progressive creative agency. Tim most recently served on the National Finance Committee of Biden for President as well as for the Biden-Harris Transition. He also served as a founding Co-Chair for Gen44, the young professional arm of President Obama's re-election campaign and served on the National Finance Committee of the Hillary for America campaign in 2016. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Transcribed - Published: 22 April 2021

'How F*cked Are We Regarding Voting Rights?' with Ari Berman

Georgia recently passed one of the most restrictive voting laws in the country, and many Republican-led state legislatures hope to pass similar bills. Amanda and Faiz speak with Ari Berman, a senior reporter for Mother Jones and the author of "Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America," to ask him, "how f*cked are we?"They discuss new Georgia law, its implications for our democracy, and the racist reasoning behind the GOP's historical rationale for limiting the franchise. Then they look forward and examine the Democrats' options for expanding voting rights and their chances of persuading a couple fellow Democrats who are currently standing in the way. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Transcribed - Published: 15 April 2021

'Don't Be Afraid' with Amazon Union Organizers Jennifer Bates and Joshua Brewer

As workers in Alabama wait for their votes to be counted in the most consequential union election in recent years, Amanda and Faiz connect with two key organizers to answer the question, "How do you beat the most powerful company in the world?"Jennifer Bates has worked at an Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, AL since early 2020 and has been a lead organizer in the union drive since September of the same year. She was born and raised in Marion, a small city in Perry County, AL. Some of her interests include singing, reading and motivational speaking.Joshua Brewer, is the director of organizing, for the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union Mid-South Council. He has been organizing labor in the South since early 2016. Joshua is a husband, a father of three, and a former youth pastor. Jennifer and Joshua, along with fellow workers and organizers, have been working around the clock in a fight against one of the richest and most powerful companies in human history. In this episode of Battleground, they discuss their strategy, their motivation, and their hopes. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Transcribed - Published: 8 April 2021

'The Hand Off' with new hosts Amanda Litman and Faiz Shakir

David presides over his final episode as host of "Battleground" and hands over the reigns to our new hosts: Amanda Litman and Faiz Shakir.Amanda is the co-founder of and executive director of Run For Something, which recruits and supports young progressives who want to run for local office. In the past four years, they've helped approximately 500 of them win elections. She's also a seasoned Democratic campaign operative who worked on President Obama's 2012 re-election campaign, Charlie Crist's 2014 gubernatorial campaign, and Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign.Faiz Shakir is one of the most experienced progressive strategists in the country. He was a senior advisor to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, the political director for the ACLU, and the campaign manager for Bernie Sanders' 2020 presidential campaign.David chats with Amanda and Faiz to find out why they got into politics, what bits of conventional wisdom in progressive politics they'd like to dispel, and how they envision the new version of "Battleground." Their first episode as the hosts of this podcast will premiere on Thursday, April 8th. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Transcribed - Published: 22 March 2021

'Politically Savage' with Yamiche Alcindor

Yamiche Alcindor is the White House correspondent for the PBS NewsHour and a frequent contributor on NBC and MSNBC. In 2020, she won the National Association of Black Journalists "Journalist of the Year Award" and the White House Correspondents’ Association's "Aldo Beckman Award for Overall Excellence in White House Coverage." Prior to joining PBS, Yamiche was a political reporter for The New York Times, a breaking news reporter for USA Today, and reporter for Newsday in Long Island NY.Yamiche joins David on "Battleground" to discuss the role of white supremacy in American politics, the Covid relief bill, journalism in 2021, and Governor Cuomo's future. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Transcribed - Published: 15 March 2021

'Hamilton Saw Mitch McConnell Coming' with Adam Jentleson

Adam Jentleson is the Executive Director of the progressive organization Battle Born Collective, a former deputy chief of staff to Senator Harry Reid, and the author of "Kill Switch: The Rise of the Modern Senate and the Crippling of American Democracy." In it, he argues that the filibuster not only runs contrary to the Framers' designs, but that it has created a perverse incentive structure that rewards obstruction by the minority party and significantly lessens the chances of bipartisanship. Adam and David discuss the filibusters origins in white supremacy, its evolution, and why Mitch McConnell will jettison it as soon as he thinks it's convenient. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Transcribed - Published: 1 March 2021

'Not a Winsome Argument' with Eugene Scott

Eugene Scott covers identity politics for The Fix at The Washington Post. Even those who use the term derogatorily have to admit that American politics, on both the left and right, is defined by identity. So, we thought who better to talk to than the reporter who's been covering the identity politics beat for years. Before coming to The Washington Post, Scott was a breaking news reporter at CNN. He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina and Harvard University and was recently a fellow at the Georgetown University Institute of Politics. Eugene is also the host of “The Next Four Years” podcast which is available exclusively on Amazon Music. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Transcribed - Published: 15 February 2021

'They Made Up An Entire County' with Marc Elias

Marc Elias is both the founder of Democracy Docket, a platform for information about voting rights, elections, and redistricting, and the Democratic Party’s super-lawyer. During the 2020 election cycle, Marc’s voting rights practice brought over 150 cases in 30 states, totaling over 120 victories in courtrooms around the country. After Election Day, Marc led the charge against Trump’s baseless claims of voter fraud and won 64 times. Steve and David talk to Marc about those cases, the Republican push to pass restrictive voting laws in battleground states around the country, and the role corporations can play in pushing back against the GOP’s march towards autocracy. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Transcribed - Published: 8 February 2021

'No One Should Have That Much Money' with Rev. James Martin, SJ

Although he is far too humble to admit it, the Rev. James Martin, SJ, is a beacon of moral clarity. He is the editor-at-large of "America" magazine, where he recently published the article "How Catholic Leaders Helped Give Rise to Violence at the U.S. Capitol," a consultor to the Vatican’s Dicastery for Communication, and a best-selling author. His latest book, published this month, is "Learning to Pray: A Guide for Everyone."Father Martin is also known for delivering the closing benediction at the Democratic National Convention last year and for maintaining a strong and unflinching presence on Twitter. David and Steve talk to Father Martin about the role religion played in the insurrection at the Capitol, the spell Donald Trump seems to have cast over some religious leaders, how to think about forgiveness in context of the insurrection, and the current state of American capitalism. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Transcribed - Published: 1 February 2021

'It Is About Race' with Abby Phillip

Abby Phillip is CNN's senior political correspondent, the new anchor of "Inside Politics Sunday," and one of the most astute political reporters on television. She joined CNN after working as a national political reporter for The Washington Post and as a White House reporter for Politico. David and Steve talk with Abby about how the January 6th insurrection should be framed, the role of racism in the Republicans' attempts to overturn the election, and how to report on politics in this age of disinformation. Then, they wrap up the conversation with a short discussion of "Dream Deferred," Abby's upcoming book about Jesse Jackson's presidential campaigns in 1988 and 1984. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Transcribed - Published: 25 January 2021

'QAnon: Totally Detached From Reality' with Travis View

Travis View is a writer and researcher who has been reporting on the QAnon conspiracy community for over two years. He is one of the hosts of "QAnon Anonymous" a podcast that has assiduously (and hilariously) chronicled the rise of what is now America's most notorious political conspiracy theory. View has travelled across the country to go to QAnon events, tangled with adherents online, and kept close tabs on them for over 200 episodes. David and Travis talk about the conspiracy, how it affects American politics, why it has such a firm grip on its followers, and what it all means for the future of the country. QAnon Anonymous: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/qanon-anonymous/id1428209307 Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Transcribed - Published: 18 January 2021

'Bottom of the Moral Scale' with Michael Beschloss

Two days after a violent mob of domestic terrorists incited by Donald Trump stormed the Capitol, disrupted Constitutional proceedings, and murdered a police officer, Steve and David spoke with historian Michael Beschloss. He is a bestselling author, a scholar of leadership, and the perfect guest to help make sense of a profoundly sad day for American democracy – and its aftermath. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Transcribed - Published: 11 January 2021

'It's Not Politics, It's Identity' with Jordan Klepper

Jordan Klepper is one of the most compelling political comedians in America and, undoubtedly, one of the comedians who's been to the most Trump rallies. He is best-known for his work as a special correspondent on "The Daily Show." He is also the creator and host of the docu-series, "Klepper," the talk show "The Opposition with Jordan Klepper" and the special, "Jordan Klepper Solves Guns," all on Comedy Central. David and Steve chat with Jordan about Trump's appeal, where his followers go now that his presidency is over, and what it all means for American democracy. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Transcribed - Published: 4 January 2021

'Ground Zero for Misinformation' with Greg Bluestein

Greg Bluestein is one of the savviest political analysts in the Peach State. He covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, co-hosts their podcast "Politically Georgia," and recently moderated the debate between Senator Kelly Loeffler and Raphael Warnock. This week David and Steve call Greg to talk about the unprecedented internecine warfare among Republicans in Georgia, how the political chaos could hurt the state’s economy, and how claims of election fraud are confusing the voters Republicans need to keep the Senate. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Transcribed - Published: 21 December 2020

'What the Hell Have We Been Through?!' with Carl Bernstein

Carl Bernstein needs no introduction. He, along with his colleague Bod Woodward, broke the Watergate story that eventually led to President Nixon's resignation. He has also written five best-selling books, including "All the President's Men," as well as seminal magazine essays for publications like Rolling Stone and The New Republic. Carl joins Steve and David to chat about America's first "subversive president," share a historical perspective on the threat posed by President Trump, and try to diagnose what ails our democracy. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Transcribed - Published: 14 December 2020

'Democrats Ride the Data Train Into Absurdity' with Dr. Rachel Bitecofer

David and Steve chat with Rachel Bitecofer, a nationally recognized election forecaster and the founder and editor of The Cycle. Rachel rose to prominence after forecasting the "blue wave" that swept the House in the 2018 midterms. The three of them break down the Democrats' disappointing down-ballot performances, parse messaging strategies for the party going forward, and dissect the power of propaganda. Plus, Rachel announces her super PAC, Strike PAC, that she’s co-founding alongside Laurie Spivak. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Transcribed - Published: 7 December 2020

The Month American Democracy was Poisoned: Listener Q&A

David and Steve take listener questions and tackle topics like: What would Steve do if he was the United States Attorney General? Is it okay to be scared that Trump is attempting a coup? Will outside groups hurt Democrats' chances in Georgia? And more! As always, David and Steve puts this political moments' stakes into crystal clear relief, and they even manage to discuss their love of scrapple. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Transcribed - Published: 30 November 2020

'The Other Side is Feeding Them Jim Crow' with Majority Whip James Clyburn

David and Steve are joined by House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn – the South Carolina Congressman whose endorsement of Biden, back in February, revived his campaign and signaled to the Democratic Party that it was time to stop playing the field and settle down with a dependable nominee. David and Steve ask Congressman Clyburn about divisions in Congress, how Biden should use the executive order, and the post-election autopsy gripping the Democratic Party. They also discuss Rudy Giuliani’s failing coup crusade, question why the G.O.P. still won’t take a stand for democracy, and conduct a lightning round quiz to see how far they think Trump and his cronies are willing to subvert America's democracy. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Transcribed - Published: 23 November 2020

'This is Crazy and Should Stop!' with Mike DuHaime

While Trump continues to tweet unsubstantiated claims of election fraud, and top Republican officials lie on his behalf, there are still a few Republicans left who aren't willing to play along. One of those is Mike DuHaime, a former Political Director of the Republican National Committee who also served in senior positions for George W. Bush, John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, and Chris Christie. Maybe it's because he's from New Jersey (and New Jerseyans don't let themselves get pushed around) but he's calling out the Republican refusal to accept the election results for what it is: wrong. Steve, David and Mike get into: why so many citizens believe Trump's ridiculous claims, what Republican officials are so afraid of, the psychology behind the politician-for-life mentality, and much, much more. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Transcribed - Published: 16 November 2020

Post-Election Recap

In the first episode of "Battleground" since President-elect Biden was projected to win 270 electoral college votes, David and Steve take a moment to reflect on how the election unfolded and what may lie ahead. They discuss the infamous Four Seasons Total Landscaping press conference, the purgatorial interregnum we face until Inauguration Day, the ongoing pandemic, the stakes of the Georgia Senate races, and more. And, in a few weeks, "Battleground" is dedicating an entire episode to answering your questions. So, if there’s something you’ve been dying to ask Steve or David, tweet your question to @TheRecount and use the hashtag #Battleground! Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Transcribed - Published: 9 November 2020

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