The Ezra Klein Show

The Ezra Klein Show

www.vox.com
Ezra Klein gives you a chance to get inside the heads of the newsmakers and power players in politics and media. These are extended conversations with policymakers, writers, technologists, and business leaders about what they believe in and why. Look elsewhere for posturing confrontation and quick reactions to the day’s news. Subscribe for the anti-soundbite.
Al Franken on learning to be a politician
Jun 20 • 52 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 • 89 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 • 63 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 • 63 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 • 91 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 • 89 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 • 69 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 • 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,…
VC Bill Gurley on transforming health care
May 2 • 70 min
Washington has been gripped of late by the world’s most depressing, least imaginative, debate over health care. The question, as it stands, is whether Obamacare will survive (while being mildly, but persistently, sabotaged by the Trump administration), or…
Elizabeth Warren on what Barack Obama got wrong
Apr 25 • 43 min
Elizabeth Warren is the founder of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the senior senator from Massachusetts, and the author of the new book, “This Fight Is Our Fight: The Battle to Save America’s Middle Class.”You might have heard of her.Warren is…
Cal Newport on doing Deep Work and escaping social media
Apr 18 • 80 min
I was asked recently to name a book that changed my life. The book I chose was Cal Newport’s “Deep Work,” and for the most literal of reasons: it’s changed how I lived my life. Particularly, it’s led me to stop scheduling morning meetings, and to preserve…
G. Willow Wilson on religion, comics, and modern myths
Apr 11 • 72 min
This is a podcast about topics we don’t always cover on this show. Religion. Spirituality. Gender roles. Traditionalist societies. Comic books.G. Willow Wilson is the author of The Butterfly Mosque, Alif the Unseen, and the Hugo award winning comic book,…
Chris Hayes on the crisis of elites and the politics of order
Apr 4 • 100 min
I could describe this podcast, and I will. But the tl;dr is this is one of my favorite conversations so far, and you’re going to enjoy it. So just go listen. Chris Hayes is, of course, the host of the MSNBC primetime show, “All In.” He’s also the author…
Tyler Cowen explains it all
Mar 28 • 91 min
I have never come across a mind quite like Tyler Cowen’s. The George Mason economist, and Marginal Revolution blogger, has an interesting opinion on, well, everything. He’s a genuine polymath who can talk knowledgeably about more subjects than I even know…
Molly Ball on whether facts matter in politics
Mar 21 • 73 min
You may remember the Atlantic’s Molly Ball from the fantastic pre-election conversation we had on this podcast. She’s back this week to talk about an issue I’ve become more and more obsessed with — does factual argument matter in American politics? Or is…
Denis McDonough on how to run the White House
Mar 14 • 79 min
How do you actually run a White House? What is the president’s actual job? What is the chief of staff’s role? What happens if you screw up? These are questions I’ve been reflecting on rather a lot lately, for obvious reasons. And so I asked Denis…
Cecile Richards on Planned Parenthood, labor organizing, and the Supreme Court
Mar 7 • 72 min
Before Cecile Richards was president of Planned Parenthood, she was a labor organizer working with garment workers in El Paso, Texas. The experience taught her a key principle of political change: people do things for their reasons, not your reasons.In…
Tim Ferriss on suffering, psychedelics, and spirituality
Mar 2 • 108 min
Tim Ferriss is the author of the 4-Hour Workweek, as well as the new book, Tools of Titans. He’s also the host of The Tim Ferriss Show, which is one of my favorite podcasts, and an inspiration for this show. Tim is a relentless optimizer, and on his…
Yuval Harari, author of “Sapiens,” on AI, religion, and 60-day meditation retreats
Feb 28 • 67 min
Yuval Noah Harari’s first book, “Sapiens,” was an international sensation. The Israeli historian’s mind-bending tour through the trump of Homo sapiens is a favorite of, among others, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Barack Obama. His new book, Homo Deus,…
Elizabeth Drew covered Watergate. Here’s what she thinks of Trump.
Feb 21 • 68 min
Elizabeth Drew is the author of Washington Journal, one of my favorite books about Watergate. Drew covered the story as a reporter for the New Yorker, and the book emerges from the real-time, journalistic diary she kept amidst the chaos. As such, it does…
Avik Roy on why conservatives need to embrace diversity
Feb 14 • 88 min
Avik Roy advised Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign on health care, ran the policy shop on Rick Perry’s 2016 campaign, and then worked for Marco Rubio after Perry dropped out. So Roy’s Republican credentials are pretty solid. But he’s aghast at the direction his…
Kara Swisher gives a master class on reporting and interviewing
Feb 7 • 95 min
Before I launched this podcast, I asked Kara Swisher to coffee. Swisher founded the technology news site Recode, hosts the excellent Recode Decode podcast, and runs a legendary conference series. She is among the best interviewers working today. Some of…
David Miliband explains the global refugee crisis
Feb 2 • 46 min
Donald Trump’s executive order temporarily banning Muslim refugees from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen, and indefinitely banning them from Syria, doesn’t come in a vacuum. The world is currently experience the worst refugee crisis since…
Jennifer Lawless on why you — yes, you — should run for office
Jan 31 • 61 min
There are 500,000 elected positions in the United States. I’ll say that again: 500,000. And that’s no accident. “Our political system is built on the premise that running for office is something that a broad group of citizens should want to do,” writes…
JD Vance: the reluctant interpreter of Trumpism
Jan 24 • 100 min
J.D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy has been adopted as the book that explains Trumpism. It’s the book that both Senator Mitch McConnell and Senator Rob Portman recommended as their favorite of 2016. It’s a book Keith Ellison, the frontrunner to lead the DNC,…
Keith Ellison: The Democratic National Committee has become the Democratic Presidential Committee, and that needs to end
Jan 17 • 60 min
Congressman Keith Ellison is the frontrunner to lead the Democratic National Committee in the Trump era. Ellison has a fascinating backstory: he’s the first Muslim elected to the US Congress, and he was the second member of Congress to endorse Bernie…
Elizabeth Kolbert: We have locked in centuries of climate change
Jan 10 • 78 min
Elizabeth Kolbert covers climate change for the New Yorker. She’s the Pulitzer prize-winning author of The Sixth Extinction. And she recently wrote a paragraph I can’t stop thinking about. “The problem with global warming—and the reason it continues to…
Sarah Kliff and Ezra Interview Obama About Obamacare
Jan 6 • 72 min
Two weeks before he leaves office, President Obama sits down for a lengthy conversation about the lessons of the Affordable Care Act and the law’s uncertain future.
You Ask, Ezra Answers
Jan 3 • 93 min
At long last, here’s the Ask Ezra Anything episode. You sent in great questions, and I answered as many as I could. To keep me honest — and to make sure I didn’t just talk to myself for two hours — I invited friend-of-the-show Grant Gordon back to the…
Evelyn Farkas explains the crisis in Syria and the threat of Russia
Dec 27, 2016 • 77 min
From 2012 to 2015, Evelyn Farkas served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia, where she was responsible for policy toward Russia, the Black Sea, the Balkans, and Caucasus regions and conventional arms control.Farkas is…
Tim Wu’s interesting, unusual, fascinating life
Dec 20, 2016 • 89 min
Columbia law professor Tim Wu makes me feel boring and underaccomplished. He’s been a Supreme Court clerk, a Silicon Valley startup employee, a bestselling author, and a star academic. He coined the term “network neutrality,” wrote the superb book The…
Ta-Nehisi Coates: “There’s not gonna be a happy ending to this story”
Dec 14, 2016 • 100 min
Ta-Nehisi Coates is an author at the Atlantic. His book, Between the World and Me, won the National Book Award, and was spoofed on SNL. He’s writing the (awesome) Black Panther series for Marvel. He’s a certified MacArthur Genius. And he just released a…
Stripe CEO Patrick Collison on management, rationalism, and the enlightenment
Dec 6, 2016 • 87 min
Patrick Collison is the 28-year-old CEO of Stripe, the online payments company that was just valued at $9 billion.Haven’t heard of Stripe? You’ve probably used it. Last year, 40 percent of people who bought something online used Stripe’s payment systems.…
Award-winning chef José Andrés on cooking, creativity, and learning from the best
Nov 29, 2016 • 86 min
José Andrés isn’t just a chef. He’s a force. All that talk of how DC is now a hot dining scene? Andrés deserves more than a bit of the credit. He’s popularized Spanish tapas through Jaleo, brought El Bulli-style molecular gastronomy to America through…
Heather McGhee returns to talk Trump, race, and empathy
Nov 22, 2016 • 59 min
There are few episodes of this show that people loved as much as my conversation with Heather McGhee, president of the think tank Demos. Our first discussion focused on race, class, populism, and the sometimes toxic ways the three interact. It’s a topic I…
Ron Brownstein: Clinton didn’t lose because of the white working class
Nov 15, 2016 • 63 min
Why did Hillary Clinton lose the election? Why did Donald Trump win it? And why was the polling so completely wrong?No one digs deeper into the demographics, polls, and trends of modern American politics than the Atlantic’s Ron Brownstein. Though he…
David Frum on the 2016 election, and the long decline of the GOP
Nov 6, 2016 • 92 min
We’re bringing the Ezra Klein Show to you a little early this week because, well, there’s an election coming in a few days. And we wanted to talk about it. The 2016 election is the product of profound failures on the part of different institutions in…
Deborah Tannen on gendered speech, Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, and you
Nov 1, 2016 • 89 min
To understand the 2012 election, you had to ask a political scientist. To understand the 2016 election, you need to call a linguist.At least, I did. Deborah Tannen is a Georgetown University linguist who’s done pioneering work in how men and women’s…
Joseph Stiglitz on broken markets, bad trade deals, and basic incomes
Oct 25, 2016 • 66 min
This week’s guest is a Nobel Prize winner. We like to sprinkle those in every so often. Joseph Stiglitz revolutionized how economists understood market failures (hence that prize), served as chief economist at The World Bank, led the Council of Economic…
Let’s talk about Hillary Clinton’s policy ideas, with Jonathan Cohn
Oct 18, 2016 • 70 min
The overwhelming focus of this election has been Donald Trump — the things he does, says, tweets. But the next president is likely to be Hillary Clinton. And we’ve put a lot less effort into understanding her lengthy, detailed agenda for the country.So I…
Francis Fukuyama on whether America’s democracy is decaying
Oct 11, 2016 • 67 min
Francis Fukuyama is a political scientist, a public intellectual, and progenitor of the famed “End of History” thesis. But his recent work is his most important yet. Over two volumes, he’s been studying how societies become safe, pluralistic liberal…
Tyler Cowen interviews Ezra Klein about politics, media, and more
Oct 6, 2016 • 73 min
A number of you have asked that we turn the tables and have someone interview me for the show. So when Tyler Cowen — economist at George Mason University, blogger at Marginal Revolution, and generalized genius — invited me on his podcast Conversations…
The best conversation I’ve had about the election, with Molly Ball
Oct 4, 2016 • 68 min
This election season has left pretty much everything I thought I knew about politics in doubt. Both parties nominated unpopular candidates, even when they had popular alternatives. One party’s nominee isn’t really running any ads, and has barely bothered…
HHS Secretary Sylvia Matthews Burwell on running Obamacare, Medicare, and Medicaid
Sep 27, 2016 • 43 min
This week, I’ve turned over the mic to The Weeds’ Sarah Kliff. She went to Capitol Hill to interview HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell about all things healthcare. They talked about how to pay doctors to provide better care, the current state of the Obamacare…
Dr. Leana Wen on why the opposite of poverty is health
Sep 20, 2016 • 96 min
There are a couple of ideas that drive how I see policy and politics. One of them is that most of what drives health outcomes has nothing to do with what happens in doctor’s offices. Another is that we overestimate the importance of the president national…
Arlie Hochschild on how America feels to Trump supporters
Sep 13, 2016 • 55 min
I’ve been reading sociologist Arlie Hochschild’s writing for about a decade now. Her immersive projects have revolutionized how we understand labor, gender equity, and work-life balance. But her latest book, Strangers In Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning…
Stewart Butterfield on creating Slack, learning from games, and finding your online identity
Sep 6, 2016 • 91 min
If you came by the Vox office, you would find it oddly quiet. That’s not because we don’t like each other, or because we’re not social, or because we don’t have anything to say. It’s because almost all our communication happens silently, digitally, in…
W. Kamau Bell on the lessons of parenthood, Twitter, and fame
Aug 30, 2016 • 88 min
W. Kamau Bell is a comedian and a writer. But you probably know him from one of his podcasts(Denzel Washington Is The Greatest Actor Of All Time Period and Politically Re-Active) or his CNN show The United Shades of America.In this conversation, Bell and…
Malcolm Gladwell on the danger of joining consensus opinions
Aug 23, 2016 • 90 min
Malcolm Gladwell needs no introduction (though if you didn’t know the famed author has launched a podcast, you should — it’s called Revisionist History, and it’s great.).Gladwell’s work has become so iconic, so known, that it’s become easy to take it for…
Grant Gordon on studying the world’s worst conflicts
Aug 16, 2016 • 86 min
Grant Gordon is a political scientist and policymaker who specializes in humanitarian intervention. He’s a fellow at the Stanford Center on International Conflict and Negotiation, and has worked on humanitarian and development policy for the United…
Melissa Bell on starting Vox, managing media, and connecting newsrooms
Aug 9, 2016 • 79 min
I first started working with Melissa Bell at the Washington Post. I was trying to launch a new product — Wonkblog — and I needed some design work done. Melissa wasn’t a designer. She wasn’t a coder. She didn’t manage designers or coders. She was, rather,…
Atul Gawande on surgery, writing, Obamacare, and indie music
Aug 2, 2016 • 94 min
I’ve wanted to do this interview for a long, long time.Atul Gawande is a surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He’s a professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Harvard School of Public Health. He is executive director of…
Trevor Noah, host of The Daily Show
Jul 26, 2016 • 73 min
This is a serious conversation with a very funny man.Trevor Noah is the host of Comedy Central’s the Daily Show. He’s also a stand-up comic who grew up in apartheid South Africa, the son of a black mother and a white father. That was illegal in…
Conservative intellectual Yuval Levin on how the Republican Party lost its way
Jul 19, 2016 • 74 min
Yuval Levin has been called “the most influential conservative intellectual of the Obama era,” and the moniker fits. As editor of National Affairs — in my opinion, the best policy journal going on the right — he’s been at the head of the “reformicon”…
Hillary Clinton. Yes, that Hillary Clinton.
Jul 12, 2016 • 44 min
My interview this week is with Hillary Clinton. You may have heard of her.I won’t bore you with Clinton’s bio. Instead, I want to say a few words about what this interview is, as it’s a bit different than the EK Show’s normal fare (though I do ask her for…
Patrick Brown on plant-meat that bleeds and the science of flavor
Jul 5, 2016 • 42 min
Not long ago, I had the chance to eat a burger from a company called Impossible Foods. The burger was delicious. It was juicy, savory, and bloody. Oh, and it was made from plants.Yes, they’ve created a veggie burger that bleeds. Patrick Brown is the CEO…
Heather McGhee on what Democrats get wrong about racism
Jun 28, 2016 • 74 min
Heather McGhee is the president of the think tank Demos, and one of the most interesting thinkers today on the intersection of racism and economic inequality.Among Heather’s most interesting arguments is her belief that “the left will have to challenge…
Jesse Eisenberg on Jewish humor, writing lessons, and interrogating strangers
Jun 21, 2016 • 58 min
My guest on this episode is Jesse Eisenberg — who you may know as Lex Luthor in Batman V. Superman, Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network, or Daniel Atlas in the just-released Now You See Me 2.I was apprehensive about this interview. I haven’t interviewed…
Jessica Valenti on honesty, internet trolls, and modern feminism
Jun 14, 2016 • 68 min
Jessica Valenti is the founder of Feministing, a columnist at the Guardian, and the author of the new book “Sex Object.” She’s also a friend from the early days of blogging. In this podcast, we talk about the early days of blogging, as well as how the…
Moby on how cheap rent leads to great art
Jun 7, 2016 • 55 min
Moby’s new memoir, Porcelain, is a great read for policy wonks. Really.It’s less a history of music than a history of New York in the 80s and 90s, and a reflection on how density, crime, racial and sexual marginalization, and lax zoning policy created the…
Secretary of Labor (and maybe VP?) Tom Perez
May 31, 2016 • 63 min
Tom Perez is President Obama’s Secretary of Labor. He is also, according to the New York Times, on Hillary Clinton’s shortlist for the vice presidency.I spoke with Perez about his path to the Labor Department, the powers of the Secretary of Labor, the…
Andrew Sullivan on quitting blogging, fearing political correctness, and Donald Trump
May 24, 2016 • 111 min
Last year, Andrew Sullivan quit blogging — the medium he had done so much to create. And you know what? He was pretty damn happy about it. He was taking walks, meditating, exercising, reading, and generally living the good life. Of course, then Donald…
Alice Rivlin, queen of Washington’s budget wonks
May 17, 2016 • 54 min
There is no budget wonk in Washington with a resume as thick as Alice Rivlin’s. She was the founding director of the Congressional Budget Office. She was the director of President Bill Clinton’s Office of Management and Budget. She was vice chair of the…
Arianna Huffington on sleep, death, and social media
May 10, 2016 • 85 min
Arianna Huffington is, of course, the editor and namesake of the Huffington Post, one of the true juggernauts of the new media world. But her path to that position has been a winding one. She was a prominent conservative — and a confidante of Newt…
Robert Reich on supporting Bernie Sanders, dating Hillary Clinton, and fighting inequality
May 3, 2016 • 101 min
You could fill a podcast just reciting Robert Reich’s biography. Rhodes Scholar. Assistant to U.S. Solicitor General Robert Bork. Director of policy planning at the Federal Trade Commission under Carter. Secretary of Labor for Bill Clinton. Candidate for…
Bruce Friedrich on how technology will reduce animal suffering
Apr 26, 2016 • 76 min
When I first met Bruce Friedrich, he was running PETA’s awareness campaigns. Yeah, those campaigns — the ones where naked people stuffed themselves in saran wrap and cages, and where wounded chickens limped outside KFCs.He was also one of the smartest,…
Ben Thompson on how to make it in media in 2016
Apr 19, 2016 • 92 min
Note: If you saw this twice, this is a reissue of a previous episode, with corrected audio.Since starting his site Stratechery in 2013, Ben Thompson has established himself as one of the smartest and most thoughtful analysts at the intersection of media,…
Ben Thompson on how the media business is changing
Apr 19, 2016 • 92 min
Note: There was a technical issue with the first upload of this show, please re-download if you got to it early.Since starting his site Stratechery in 2013, Ben Thompson has established himself as one of the smartest and most thoughtful analysts at the…
Grover Norquist explains what it takes to change American politics
Apr 12, 2016 • 86 min
This is an interview you all have been asking for since day one. Grover Norquist is the head of Americans for Tax Reform, the creator of the no-new-taxes pledge that virtually every Republican officeholder has signed, and the founder of the Wednesday…
Neera Tanden on what it’s like to work for Hillary Clinton
Apr 5, 2016 • 67 min
Neera Tanden is CEO of the Center for American Progress — perhaps the most influential left-leaning think tank in Washington. Before that, though, she was the policy director for both Hillary Clinton’s Senate office and 2008 campaign, as well as a senior…
David Chang, head of the Momofuku empire
Mar 29, 2016 • 84 min
David Chang has driven many of the most important food trends of the last decade. His Momofuku empire has put pork belly on your plate, ramen on your corner, and bagel bombs in your local coffee shop. He’s received four James Beard awards, been named a GQ…
Cory Booker on the spiritual dimension of politics
Mar 22, 2016 • 105 min
Cory Booker is a United States senator from New Jersey, the only vegan in Congress, and the author of the new book “United: Thoughts on Finding Common Ground and Advancing the Common Good”. In this conversation, Ezra and Booker go deep on Booker’s history…
Michael Needham on the Republican Party’s crack-up
Mar 15, 2016 • 68 min
Want to understand what’s happened to the Republican Party? Then listen to this discussion.Michael Needham is the CEO of Heritage Action for America, where he’s been one of the activists at the center of the fight between the Republican establishment and…
Jim Yong Kim on revolutionizing how we treat the world’s poor
Mar 8, 2016 • 72 min
This was an amazing interview.Jim Yong Kim is the president of the World Bank — the massive, multilateral institution dedicated to eradicating poverty. But Kim is also a public-health legend: he was a co-founder of Partners in Health, which revolutionized…
Theda Skocpol on how political scientists think differently about politics
Mar 1, 2016 • 57 min
Political science is a misunderstood discipline. It’s often laughed off by people who think it’s ridiculous that something as human and contingent and unpredictable as politics can be called a science. Chemistry is a science. Politics is a hobby. Politics…
Bill Gates on stopping climate change, building robots, and the best books he’s read
Feb 23, 2016 • 40 min
Bill Gates is one of those people for whom “needs no introduction” is actually true. The polymathic Microsoft founder now leads the world’s largest and most important private foundation, and he’s predicting that we’re on the cusp of the energy…
How lobbying works, with super-lobbyist Tony Podesta
Feb 16, 2016 • 56 min
When the New York Times profiled Tony Podesta, the headline was simply: “Tony Podesta, superlobbyist.” Podesta is head of the Podesta group, and considered by many to be the most powerful, or at least one of the most powerful, lobbyists in Washington.…
Rachel Maddow on skinhead rallies, AIDS activism, and why she doesn’t read op-eds
Feb 9, 2016 • 100 min
Rachel Maddow is, of course, the host of MSNBC’s top-rated, Emmy-award winning primetime news show and the bestselling author of “Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power.” But Maddow took a winding path to cable news — a path that included…
Coming Soon — The Ezra Klein Show
Feb 4, 2016 • 1 min
Subscribe to this feed to get all of the episodes of Ezra Klein’s new podcast as soon as they appear.