The Ezra Klein Show

The Ezra Klein Show

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Ezra Klein brings you far-reaching conversations about hard problems, big ideas, illuminating theories, and cutting-edge research. Want to know how Mark Zuckerberg intends to govern Facebook? What Barack Obama regrets in Obamacare? The dangers Yuval Harari sees in our future? What Michael Pollan learned on psychedelics? The lessons Bryan Stevenson learned freeing the wrongly convicted on death row? The way N.K. Jemisin imagines new worlds? This is the podcast for you. Produced by Vox and the Vox Media Podcast Network.
Whitney Phillips explains how Trump controls the media
Nov 15 • 110 min
Here’s a fun fact: The best training for understanding the president’s media strategy is to have studied internet trolls for years and years. Okay, maybe that fact wasn’t so fun. Maybe it’s incredibly depressing. At any rate, Whitney Phillips did exactly…
Ask Ezra Anything
Nov 12 • 98 min
You had questions. Smart, interesting questions. Questions about the zero-sum logic of markets, about whether compromise is possible or even desirable in today’s politics, about where the left goes too far, about local vs. national politics, about how to…
Presidents in crisis with Slow Burn’s Leon Neyfakh
Nov 8 • 87 min
Slow Burn is one of my favorite podcasts of the past few years. Its first season, on Watergate, relived the confusion, chaos, and strangeness of the Richard Nixon presidency’s collapse. Its second season, on Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky and…
Sandy Darity has a plan to close the wealth gap
Nov 5 • 55 min
Here’s something to consider: For families in which the lead earner has a college degree, the average white family has $180,500 in wealth. The average black family? $23,400. That’s a difference of almost $160,000 — $160,000 that could be used to send a…
How identity politics elected Donald Trump
Nov 1 • 96 min
Identity Crisis is the most important book written on the 2016 election. Based on reams of data covering virtually every controversy, theory, and explanation for the outcome, it settles many of the debates that have raged over the past two years. More…
Rep. Mark Sanford on losing the Republican Party to Donald Trump
Oct 29 • 64 min
Mark Sanford was elected to Congress in 1994, where he quickly established himself as one of the most conservative members of the chamber. In 2002, he was elected governor of South Carolina. He was, again, one of the most conservative elected officials in…
Doris Kearns Goodwin (live!) on how great presidents are made
Oct 25 • 83 min
If you’ve got a question, Doris Kearns Goodwin has a charming, insightful, well-told presidential anecdote for you. Actually, a couple of them. I interviewed the Pulitzer Prize-winning presidential historian live onstage for the release of her new book,…
What Nate Silver’s learned about forecasting elections
Oct 22 • 81 min
This close to an election, who do I want to hear from? Nate Silver, of course. I sat down with the FiveThirtyEight founder and math wizard to talk about how he builds his forecasting models, what they’re saying about 2018, how big the Democrats’…
Future Perfect: making prisons more humane
Oct 20 • 24 min
A sneak peek at Vox’s newest show, about provocative ideas with the potential to radically improve the world. Host Dylan Matthews tackles big questions about the most effective ways to save lives, reform prisons, fight global warming, and end world…
Jay Rosen is pessimistic about the media. So am I.
Oct 18 • 82 min
This is a tough conversation. It was a tough one to hold, and it’s a tough one to publish. I’m a journalist. I’ve been a journalist for 15 years. I believe in journalism. But right now, I’m worried we’re failing. I’m worried we’re making American politics…
Why Bill Gates is worried
Oct 15 • 60 min
“To put it bluntly,” wrote Bill and Melinda Gates in their foundation’s annual Goalkeepers Report, “decades of stunning progress in the fight against poverty and disease may be on the verge of stalling. This is because the poorest parts of the world are…
Reihan Salam makes the case against open borders
Oct 11 • 89 min
In his new book, Melting Pot or Civil War: A Son of Immigrants Makes the Case Against Open Borders, Reihan Salam tries to do something difficult: build a pro-immigrant case for a more restrictive immigration system. This is an argument, interestingly,…
Jose Antonio Vargas on living undocumented in Trump’s America
Oct 8 • 89 min
Jose Antonio Vargas was born in the Philippines in 1981. When he was 12, his mother sent him to America, to live with family. When he was 16, he went to the DMV to get a driver’s license and found out his green card was forged; he was an undocumented…
Rebecca Traister: Women’s rage is transforming America
Oct 4 • 70 min
Why did Christine Blasey Ford have to smile and politely ask for breaks while Brett Kavanaugh could rage at the cameras and dismiss the hearings as a farce? The answer is in Rebecca Traister’s essential, perfectly timed new book, Good and Mad: The…
Patrick Deneen says liberalism has failed. Is he right?
Oct 1 • 61 min
Liberalism, write Patrick Deneen, “has been for modern Americans like water for a fish, an encompassing political ecosystem in which we have swum, unaware of its existence.” Deneen, a political theorist at Notre Dame, isn’t talking about the liberalism of…
Francis Fukuyama’s case against identity politics
Sep 27 • 90 min
Is all politics identity politics? And if so, then what does it mean to condemn identity politics in the first place? That’s the subject of my discussion with Stanford political scientist Francis Fukuyama. In his new book, Identity: The Demand for Dignity…
Carol Anderson on the myth of American democracy
Sep 24 • 59 min
The president of the United States was the runner-up in the popular vote. The majority in the US Senate got fewer votes than the minority. And even if Democrats win a hefty majority of the vote in 2018’s House elections, Republicans, due to gerrymandering…
Martha C. Nussbaum on how fear deforms our politics
Sep 17 • 58 min
In her new book Monarchy of Fear, famed philosopher Martha C. Nussbaum identifies fear as the oldest and deepest of our emotions. Fear takes hold in our earliest infancy, when we can experience need but we can’t act. And it lurks underneath our psyches,…
David French on “The Great White Culture War”
Sep 10 • 97 min
David French is a senior writer for National Review and one of the conservatives I read most closely. About a month ago, he published an interesting column responding to some things I had said, and to the broader currents cutting through our politics.…
Your attention is being hijacked. Chris Bailey can help.
Sep 4 • 68 min
Life is the sum focus of what you pay attention to. You hear that a lot. But look at the verb there: “pay” attention to. As if attention is something we consciously spend out. As if it’s something we control. But do we? Not these days. There’s a war on…
Anand Giridharadas on the elite charade of changing the world
Aug 30 • 90 min
“How can there be anything wrong with trying to do good?” asks Anand Giridharadas in his new book, Winners Take All. “The answer may be: when the good is an accomplice to even greater, if more invisible, harm.” Giridharadas has done his time in elite…
I build a world with fantasy master N.K. Jemisin
Aug 27 • 85 min
I’m just going to say it. This may be the most fun I’ve ever had on a podcast. Nora Jemisin — better known by her pen name, N.K. Jemisin — just won the Hugo Award for best novel for the third year in a row. No one had ever done that before. Jemisin is…
Reup: Zephyr Teachout vs. Corruption
Aug 24 • 89 min
Zephyr Teachout is a law professor at Fordham University and one of the nation’s foremost experts on political corruption. She’s also, after a glowing New York Times endorsement this week, arguably the frontrunner in the race to replace Eric Schneiderman…
Is our economy totally screwed? Andrew Yang and I debate.
Aug 20 • 73 min
“The future without jobs will come to resemble either the cultivated benevolence of Star Trek or the desperate scramble for resources of Mad Max,” writes Andrew Yang. Well then. Yang is the founder of Venture for America, the author of The War on Normal…
Chef Marcus Samuelsson on immigration, creativity, and Anthony Bourdain
Aug 13 • 77 min
Marcus Samuelsson is the Michelin-starred chef behind Harlem’s The Red Rooster an award-winning cookbook author,the winner of the first season of Top Chef: Masters, ;nd the host of No Passport Required, a new food and travel show from Eater and PBS.…
Why online politics gets so extreme so fast
Aug 6 • 67 min
During the 2016 campaign, Zeynep Tufekci was watching videos of Donald Trump rallies on YouTube. But then, she writes, she “noticed something peculiar. YouTube started to recommend and ‘autoplay’ videos for me that featured white supremacist rants,…
Taking Trump’s corruption seriously
Aug 2 • 62 min
The question of whether President Trump colluded with Russia during the 2016 election has consumed Washington since the Justice Department appointed Robert Mueller special counsel in March 2017. But there’s another question worth considering: the…
The surprising story of how American politics polarized
Jul 30 • 67 min
We talk a lot on this podcast about the epic levels of political polarization and how much of our ongoing breakdown they explain. But what was American politics like before it was polarized? And what got us from there to here? Sam Rosenfeld is a political…
The most important idea for understanding American politics in 2018
Jul 23 • 75 min
America is changing. A majority of infants are, for the first time in US history, nonwhite — and the rest of the population is expected to follow suit in the coming decades. The number of religiously affiliated Americans is at a record low, and the share…
What economists and politicians get wrong about trade
Jul 19 • 54 min
For decades, Harvard’s Dani Rodrik has been a lonely voice in the economics profession warning that the academics were getting this one wrong. Trade is not an unalloyed good; “globalization would deepen societal divisions, exacerbate distributional…
How to disagree better
Jul 16 • 98 min
Arthur Brooks is the president of the American Enterprise Institute, one of Washington’s most respected and powerful conservative think tanks. He’s also launching a new podcast, The Arthur Brooks Show, with Vox Media on the art and practice of…
Jaron Lanier’s case for deleting social media right now
Jul 9 • 83 min
During my book leave, I took a social media sabbatical. No reading Facebook. No reading Twitter. And you know what? It was great. I felt able to think more clearly, and listen more closely, than had been true in years. I’m not sure that was all because of…
The most clarifying conversation I’ve had about Trump and Russia (part 2)
Jul 5 • 65 min
What have we actually learned about Donald Trump’s ties to Russia, and his administration’s efforts to cover those ties up? What role did Russia really play in the 2016 election? And what are special counsel Robert Mueller’s possible endgames — what can…
The Supreme Court vs. Democracy
Jul 2 • 66 min
If 75,000 votes in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania had tipped the other way, President Hillary Clinton would’ve named both Antonin Scalia and Anthony Kennedy’s replacements. But they didn’t. And now Donald Trump, in less than two years, will fill as…
Eric Garcetti on the lessons of Los Angeles
Jun 25 • 63 min
There’s been a lot of talk about the coming of majority-minority America — the point, projected for roughly 2045, when there will no longer be any racial or ethnic group that makes up a majority of the United States. But there are plenty of places in…
What Ellen Pao saw coming
Jun 18 • 70 min
Ellen Pao had a rough 2015. She lost her high-profile gender discrimination lawsuit against Kleiner Perkins, one of Silicon Valley’s biggest and most powerful venture capital firms. She also stepped down as CEO of Reddit after a tumultuous tenure in which…
The Green Pill
Jun 11 • 61 min
What accounts for the way most of us eat? What’s the ideology, the theory, behind our diets? And what happens when you stop believing in it? Over the past decade, I’ve been on a fitful journey toward veganism. At least, that’s the way I normally say it.…
How Jane Mayer exposed Eric Schneiderman, Bush’s torture program, and the Kochs
Jun 4 • 75 min
On May 7, Jane Mayer and Ronan Farrow published a story in the New Yorker detailing New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s alleged history of sexually and psychologically terrorizing the women he dated. Hours later, Schneiderman stepped down.…
Political power and the racial wealth gap
May 28 • 82 min
The racial wealth gap is where past injustice compounds into present inequality. When I asked Ta-Nehisi Coates, on this show, what would prove to him that white supremacy was over in this country, he pointed to the closing of the racial wealth gap. The…
Tyler Cowen on the painful end of American complacency
May 21 • 90 min
Headlining any conversation with Tyler Cowen is difficult. This one, for instance, covers how to write a book, single-payer health care, political correctness, loneliness, the expanding Overton window, the tech backlash, technological innovation, the case…
A mind-expanding conversation with Michael Pollan
May 14 • 83 min
This is perhaps the most literal title I’ve given a conversation on this podcast. This is a discussion about how to expand your mind — how to expand the connections it makes, the experiences it’s open to, the sensory information it absorbs. And, more than…
Optimism about America
May 7 • 82 min
In a February 2017 column, David Brooks wrote about “the Fallows Question, which I unfurl at dinner parties: If you could move to the place on earth where history is most importantly being made right now, where would you go?” The Fallows question is based…
The New York Times’s lead Clinton reporter reflects on her coverage
May 3 • 55 min
It’s time to talk about the damn emails — and the way the media covered them. Amy Chozick reported on Hillary Clinton for a decade. She was there as Clinton’s campaign fell short in the 2008 Democratic primaries. And as the New York Times’s lead reporter…
The age of “mega-identity” politics
Apr 30 • 79 min
Yes, identity politics is breaking our country. But it’s not identity politics as we’re used to thinking about it. In Uncivil Agreement: How Politics Became Our Identity, Lilliana Mason traces the construction of our partisan “mega-identities”: identities…
Is American democracy really in decline? A debate.
Apr 23 • 113 min
Yascha Mounk’s new book, The People vs. Democracy: Why Our Freedom Is in Danger and How to Save It, is perhaps the year’s scariest read. In it, Mounk argues that “liberal democracy, the unique mix of individual rights and popular rule that has long…
Special episode: The Syrian conflict, explained by a UN diplomat who saw it start
Apr 20 • 57 min
Many of you will remember the interview I did with Grant Gordon, who works on humanitarian policy innovation at the International Rescue Committee. That conversation received a huge response — some of you even wrote in to say it had changed your career…
Is modern society making us depressed?
Apr 16 • 91 min
“What if depression is, in fact, a form of grief — for our own lives not being as they should?” asks Johann Hari. “What if it is a form of grief for the connections we have lost yet still need?” In his new book, Lost Connections, Hari advances an argument…
Carol Anderson on White Rage and Donald Trump
Apr 12 • 91 min
Carol Anderson is a professor of African-American studies at Emory University and the author of White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide. Anderson’s book emerged from a viral op-ed she wrote for the Washington Post in 2014, amid the backlash to…
The Sam Harris Debate
Apr 9 • 129 min
There’s a lot of backstory to this podcast, most of which is covered in this piece. The short version is that Sam Harris, the host of the Waking Up podcast, and I have been going back and forth over an interview Harris did with The Bell Curve author…
Mark Zuckerberg on Facebook’s hardest year, and what comes next
Apr 2 • 49 min
It’s been a tough year for Facebook. The social networking juggernaut found itself engulfed by controversies over fake news, electoral interference, privacy violations, and a broad backlash to smartphone addiction. Wall Street has noticed: the company has…
Is Mitch Landrieu the “White, Southern Anti-Trump”?
Mar 26 • 85 min
Mitch Landrieu is the white mayor of New Orleans, and he wants America to talk about race. Landrieu is the author of the new book, In The Shadow of Statues: A White Southerner Confronts History. The statues he refers to are Confederate war memorials, four…
Melinda Gates (live!) on stopping climate change, ending malaria, and the problems money can’t solve
Mar 19 • 54 min
Melinda Gates is the co-founder and co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the largest private foundation in the United States. With more than $40 billion in assets, the Gates Foundation works on a dizzying array of issues, from eradicating…
A better conversation on guns
Mar 12 • 52 min
Want to know why we can’t make any progress on the guns debate? Because this isn’t a debate over policy. It’s a debate over identity. After last month’s shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, I remembered a book Evan Osnos recommended on this…
This isn’t Joe Kennedy’s grandfather’s Democratic Party, and he knows it
Mar 5 • 61 min
When you’re sitting in front of Rep. Joe Kennedy, it’s clear that you’re sitting in front of a Kennedy. The face, the jawline — it’s all uncannily familiar. But Kennedy, the grandson of Robert F. Kennedy, is rising in a changed Democratic Party. In the…
Amy Chua on how tribalism is tearing America apart
Feb 26 • 59 min
Human beings are tribal creatures, particularly when they feel threatened. And the reality of living in America in 2018, at a time of massive demographic change and social upheaval, is that we all feel threatened, and so we are all becoming more tribal.…
My favorite new podcast
Feb 23 • 22 min
This is one I’m excited to share. For months, we’ve been working on a daily explainer podcast called — wait for it — Today, Explained. The idea is, every weekday afternoon, to take something important in the news, slow it down, and dig into what’s really…
How technology brings out the worst in us, with Tristan Harris
Feb 19 • 70 min
In 2011, Tristan Harris’s company, Apture, was acquired by Google. Inside Google, he became unnerved by how the company worked. There was all this energy going into making the products better, more addicting, more delightful. But what if all that made the…
Steven Pinker: enlightenment values made this the best moment in human history
Feb 12 • 72 min
Does the daily news feel depressing? Does the world feel grim? It’s not, says Harvard professor Steven Pinker. This is, in fact, the best moment in human history — there’s less war, less violence, less famine, less poverty, than there ever has been.…
Why my politics are bad with Bhaskar Sunkara
Feb 5 • 72 min
Bhaskar Sunkara is the founder and publisher of Jacobin, a journal of “socialist perspectives on politics, economics, and culture.” He launched the publication in 2011 when he was an undergraduate at George Washington University. Today, its print edition…
How Democracies Die
Jan 29 • 75 min
The year is young, but Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt’s How Democracies Die is going to be one of its most important books. It will be read as a commentary on Donald Trump, which is fair enough, because the book is, in part, a commentary on Donald…
How to oppose Trump without becoming more like him
Jan 22 • 75 min
Krista Tippett is the host of the award-winning radio show and podcast On Being. In 2014, she was awarded the National Humanities Medal by President Barack Obama. For good reason. She’s created, over decades, something rare in American life: spaces where…
You will love this conversation with Jaron Lanier, but I can’t describe it
Jan 15 • 96 min
Oftentimes it’s easy for me to describe these conversations. This one is on Trump and Russia. That one is on health care. But not this time. I want you to listen to this conversation, because Jaron Lanier is brilliant and his mind is unusual and spending…
The most clarifying conversation I’ve had on Trump and Russia
Jan 8 • 75 min
What really happened between the Trump campaign and the Russian government? The investigation into that question has rocked American politics. The FBI director was fired over it. The attorney general might get fired over it. The president’s former…
Pod Save America’s Jon Favreau on Trump’s first year, the GOP’s “rot,” and the left’s failures
Jan 2 • 58 min
Jon Favreau was President Obama’s chief speechwriter. In those days, he was a frequent critic of the political media, frustrated, as many in the Obama administration were, with its focus on conflict, on ephemera, on appearing even-handed even when reality…
The inside story of Doug Jones’s win in Alabama
Dec 25, 2017 • 64 min
“The day before the Washington Post story came out, we were behind by one point, 46 to 45,” says Joe Trippi. “And the day before the election, we were ahead in our own survey by two points. We ended up winning by 1.8.” This, Trippi says, was the reality…
What life is like in North Korea
Dec 18, 2017 • 50 min
The most important story in the world right now is how real the chance of war with North Korea is — and how cataclysmic such a war would be. Part of the reason the risk of war is so real is that our understanding of North Korea is so sparse. “The Hermit…
“An orgy of serious policy discussion” with Paul Krugman
Dec 11, 2017 • 95 min
On October 24, 2016, in the final days of the presidential election, Paul Krugman, the Nobel-prize winning economist and New York Times columnist, tweeted, “When this election is finally over, I’m planning to celebrate with an orgy of…serious policy…
The case for impeachment
Dec 4, 2017 • 71 min
I have grown obsessed with a seemingly simple question: Does the American political system have a remedy if we elect the wrong person to be president? There are clear answers if we elect a criminal or if the president falls into a coma. But what if we…
What Buddhism got right about the human brain
Nov 27, 2017 • 78 min
I wanted to take a post-Thanksgiving break from politics and current events this week to talk to Robert Wright. He’s written some of the best books on religion and evolutionary psychology, including Non-Zero and The Evolution of God. His latest book is…
Rebecca Traister on #MeToo, female rage, and Anita Hill’s legacy
Nov 20, 2017 • 91 min
We’re living through an upheaval. The #MeToo moment has engulfed some of the most powerful men in politics, entertainment, and media. It has also forced a national reckoning with the reality of America’s sexual and workplace cultures — how often they…
Ai-jen Poo: the future of work isn’t robots. It’s caring humans.
Nov 13, 2017 • 65 min
When we talk about the future of work, we usually focus on artificial intelligence, robotics, driverless cars. The future of work, we’re told, is a future where humans cease to be necessary. Ai-jen Poo wants to refocus that conversation. When we think…
Evan Osnos on the North Korea crisis, Trump’s mental health, and China’s rise
Nov 6, 2017 • 84 min
Evan Osnos is the author of the National Book Award-winning The Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China, as well as a staff writer at the New Yorker. And he’s recently back from a trip to North Korea, where he learned how…
Why politics needs more conflict, not less
Oct 30, 2017 • 77 min
Here’s a counterintuitive thought: maybe Congress in particular, and politics in general, has too little conflict, not too much. That’s James Wallner’s argument, and it’s more persuasive than you might think. Wallner is a political scientist who became a…
Why the Weinstein scandal gives Tig Notaro hope about Hollywood
Oct 23, 2017 • 44 min
Tig Notaro dropped out of high school. She drifted between odd jobs for a long time and eventually found her way to Colorado, where she discovered open mic nights and a talent for stand-up comedy. Stand-up brought discipline to her life. But fame eluded…
Introducing: The Impact, with the curious case of the $629 Band-Aid
Oct 19, 2017 • 26 min
This is a bonus episode that I’m really excited about. It’s Vox’s new show, The Impact, hosted by Sarah Kliff. So often in Washington, the story stops when Congress passes a law. Reporters move on to the next legislative or political battle. But on The…
What happens when human beings take control of their own evolution?
Oct 16, 2017 • 65 min
Over the past decade, scientists have developed what was once just the subject of dystopian fiction: gene editing technology. It’s known as CRISPR. Jennifer Doudna, a professor of molecular and cell biology and chemistry at the University of California…
Ta-Nehisi Coates is not here to comfort you
Oct 9, 2017 • 71 min
“It’s important to remember the inconsequence of one’s talent and hard work and the incredible and unmatched sway of luck and fate,” writes Ta-Nehisi Coates in his new book, We Were Eight Years in Power. Coates’s view of his career flows from his view of…
How the Republican Party created Donald Trump
Oct 2, 2017 • 111 min
Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein have studied American politics for more than three decades. They are the town’s go-to experts on the workings of Congress. In 2012, they rocked Washington when they published It’s Even Worse Than It Looks, a book that…
Reihan Salam wants to remake the Republican Party — again
Sep 25, 2017 • 80 min
In 2008, Reihan Salam co-wrote Grand New Party: How Republicans Can Win the Working Class and Save the American Dream with his frequent collaborator Ross Douthat. After nearly eight years of President Bush, Salam wanted to remake the Republican Party to…
David Remnick on journalism in the Trump era and why he hires obsessives
Sep 19, 2017 • 89 min
For the past 19 years, David Remnick has been the editor of the New Yorker, perhaps the greatest magazine in the English language. Under his leadership, the New Yorker has received 149 nominations for National Magazine Awards and won 37. It’s also,…
What Hillary Clinton really thinks
Sep 12, 2017 • 60 min
On page 239 of What Happened, Hillary Clinton reveals that she almost ran a very different campaign in 2016. Before announcing for president, she read Peter Barnes’s book With Liberty and Dividends for All, and became fascinated by the idea of using…
Dan Rather thought he’d seen it all. But then came President Trump.
Sep 5, 2017 • 69 min
Dan Rather has covered the most momentous events of the modern era. He was in Dallas, Texas, during President Kennedy’s assassination. He was in Vietnam, embedded with US troops, in 1965 and 1966. He reported on Watergate, stood at the Berlin Wall as it…
From 4Chan to Charlottesville: where the alt-right came from, and where it’s going
Aug 29, 2017 • 87 min
Angela Nagle spent the better part of the past decade in the darkest corners of the internet, learning how online subcultures emerge and thrive on forums like 4chan and Tumblr. The result is her fantastic new book, Kill All the Normies: Online Culture…
Why prosecutors, not cops, are the keys to criminal justice reform
Aug 22, 2017 • 77 min
Angela J. Davis is the former director of the DC public defender service, a professor of law at American University, and editor of a remarkable new book titled Policing the Black Man, which pulls together deeply researched essays on virtually every aspect…
Chris Hayes on whether Trump should be removed from office
Aug 15, 2017 • 67 min
In the aftermath of Trump’s bizarre, dangerous North Korea tweets, I’ve been fixated on a question: Should Trump be removed from office? The mechanisms we have for curbing a dangerous presidency are limited, at least as we normally think about them.…
Sen. Michael Bennet on why this is a dismal, sociopathic era in Congress
Aug 8, 2017 • 79 min
Michael Bennet is an accidental senator. He was unexpectedly appointed to fill an open seat after Ken Salazar joined the Obama administration. He had never run for elected office before, or served in a legislative body. Perhaps that’s why he’s always, in…
What’s scary isn’t Trump’s illiberalism but America’s acceptance of it
Aug 1, 2017 • 66 min
Yascha Mounk is a lecturer at Harvard, a columnist at Slate, and the host of The Good Fight podcast. He’s also an expert on how democracies backslide into illiberalism — which was the topic of our first conversation on this podcast. But when Mounk and I…
Julia Galef on how to argue better and change your mind more
Jul 25, 2017 • 93 min
At least in politics, this is an era of awful arguments. Arguments made in bad faith. Arguments in which no one, on either side, is willing to change their mind. Arguments where the points being made do not describe, or influence, the positions being…
Dr. Nneka Jones Tapia, the first psychologist to run a jail
Jul 18, 2017 • 68 min
Cook County Sheriff Thomas Dart calls the 8,000-person Cook County Jail the largest mental health institution in the country. Thirty percent of its inmates have diagnosed mental health issues, and the number with undiagnosed conditions is thought to push…
Eddie Izzard on World War I, cake or death, and marathoning
Jul 11, 2017 • 73 min
Now that I’ve gotten Eddie Izzard to re-derive his famed “cake or death?” routine in real time, I’m ending this podcast. Always good to go out on top. Okay, maybe I won’t actually end it. But this episode was a thrill to do. Eddie Izzard has long been one…
Avik Roy and Ezra debate the Senate GOP’s health bill
Jul 3, 2017 • 86 min
According to the Congressional Budget Office, the Senate GOP’s health care bill — officially known as the Better Care Reconciliation Act — will lead to 22 million fewer people with health insurance and plans with such high deductibles that low-income…
danah boyd on why fake news is so easy to believe
Jun 27, 2017 • 87 min
danah boyd is an anthropologist and computer scientist who studies the way people actually use technology. Not the way we wish we used technology, or the way we hope we will use technology, but the way we actually use it.“Technology,” she says, “is made…
Al Franken on learning to be a politician
Jun 20, 2017 • 56 min
Sen. Al Franken’s new book, Al Franken, Giant of the Senate, is the rare politician memoir that’s actually interesting. And note that I said interesting, not funny (though it is also funny).Most books by politicians are about how they’re not really…
Zephyr Teachout on suing Trump, fighting corruption, and breaking monopolies
Jun 13, 2017 • 93 min
Zephyr Teachout is a law professor at Fordham University, the author of Corruption in America, one of the lead lawyers in the emoluments case that’s been brought against Donald Trump, and a former gubernatorial and congressional candidate.Which is all to…
Masha Gessen offers a plausible Trump-Russia theory
Jun 6, 2017 • 66 min
Masha Gessen is a Russian-American journalist and the author of, among other books, The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin. Since the election, she has been analyzing Donald Trump through the lens of Russian politics and personalities…
Kwame Anthony Appiah on cosmopolitanism
May 30, 2017 • 67 min
Few words are as reviled in American politics as “cosmopolitan.” The term invokes sneering, urban, elite condescension. It’s those smug cosmopolitans who led to Donald Trump’s election. It’s those rootless cosmopolitans who’re shipping jobs overseas with…
Yascha Mounk: Is Trump’s incompetence saving us from his illiberalism?
May 23, 2017 • 94 min
Yascha Mounk is a Lecturer on Government at Harvard University, a Fellow in the Political Reform Program at New America, and host of the podcast, The Good Fight. He’s also the author of some of the scariest political science research I’ve seen in a long…
Bryan Stevenson on why the opposite of poverty isn’t wealth, but justice
May 16, 2017 • 93 min
Bryan Stevenson is the founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative. He and his staff have won reversals, relief, or release for more than 115 wrongly convicted prisoners on death row. He’s the author of the power book Just Mercy, and a…
Death, Sex, and Money’s Anna Sale on bringing empathy to politics
May 9, 2017 • 73 min
There’s much talk of “empathy” in today’s politics, but it’s a cramped, weaponized form of empathy — an empathy designed to force us to grudgingly tolerate each other, or an empathy used to explain away the reasons we hurt each other.You can glimpse…
Cory Booker returns, live, to talk trust, Trump, and basic incomes
May 4, 2017 • 68 min
Senator Cory Booker is back! In this special live episode of The Ezra Klein Show — taped at Vox Conversations — Booker and I dig into America’s crisis of trust. Faith in both political figures and political institutions has plummeted in recent decades,…