The Argument

The Argument

www.nytimes.com/theargument
The other side is dangerously wrong. They think you are too. But for democracy to work, we need to hear each other out. Each week New York Times Opinion columnists David Leonhardt, Michelle Goldberg and Ross Douthat explain the arguments from across the political spectrum. Their candid debates help you form your own opinion of the latest news, and learn how the other half thinks. Find the best ways to persuade in the modern search for common ground.


Why Endorse Two Candidates?
Jan 23 • 36 min
Which 2020 Democratic contender would be the best nominee to take on President Trump? The New York Times editorial board gave its endorsement to two candidates — Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar — and the columnists disagree with it. Katie Kingsbury,…
Introducing ‘The Choice’ from NYT Opinion
Jan 17 • 5 min
Since 1860, the New York Times editorial board has been endorsing a candidate for president (they went for the tall Republican that year). Historically they’ve made their decision after off-the-record interviews with the leading candidates, followed by…
Could Bernie Sanders Win It All?
Jan 16 • 32 min
Has Bernie Sanders been woefully underestimated? The columnists discuss the Vermont senator’s rise in 2020 polling, his current spat with rival progressive Elizabeth Warren and whether Sanders has been given short shrift by Democratic Party insiders and…
Does Trump Have an Iran Strategy?
Jan 9 • 41 min
After an American drone strike killed Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani of Iran and heightened tensions in the Middle East, does President Trump have a plan for what comes next? The columnists discuss the nightmare phase of the Trump presidency, an ominous turn…
What We Got Wrong in 2019
Dec 26, 2019 • 26 min
In the last “Argument” of the year, the columnists gather ‘round for a little holiday self-flagellation. After a look back on their biggest pundit mistakes of 2019, we hear from listeners about their political New Years’ resolutions, and share some of our…
Impeachment Edition
Dec 19, 2019 • 34 min
After weeks of public hearings, debate and charges against President Donald Trump at long last, has impeachment actually changed anyone’s mind? This week on “The Argument,” the columnists talk polling, persuasion and public opinion on impeachment. Then,…
Why Is the Democratic Primary So White?
Dec 12, 2019 • 28 min
The Democratic Party’s electorate is highly diverse, but its top-polling presidential contenders are all white. What gives? The columnists talk Kamala Harris’s exit from the race, Cory Booker’s failure to launch and the polling ascendancy of their white…
Should College Be Free?
Dec 5, 2019 • 33 min
Should public colleges be tuition-free? Should student loan debt be forgiven? The columnists discuss Pete Buttigieg’s criticisms of his more liberal Democratic rivals’ plans to reduce the costs of higher education, and debate the cost and funding of…
Are Public Impeachment Hearings Working?
Nov 21, 2019 • 26 min
Are the impeachment hearings moving the needle on public opinion? Times columnist David Brooks joins Ross and Michelle to discuss the Democrats’ impeachment strategy so far. Then, is America’s tipping system immoral? The columnists discuss a recent column…
Will New Candidates Shake Up the 2020 Race?
Nov 14, 2019 • 31 min
Why are Michael Bloomberg and Deval Patrick flirting with jumping into the 2020 presidential primary this late in the game? The columnists debate what the pair’s maneuvers say about the state of the race and whether either stands a chance of becoming the…
Is Mayor Pete the Answer?
Nov 7, 2019 • 30 min
Is Pete Buttigieg the best Democratic candidate to take on Trump? The columnists size up the South Bend mayor’s rise in Iowa and a new Times poll terrifying those who fear Trump’s re-election. Then: California is beset by catastrophic wildfires, growing…
Should Facebook Be Fact-Checked?
Oct 31, 2019 • 32 min
Should Facebook be more strict when it comes to fact-checking political ads? The columnists debate growing concern over the social media giant’s role in American politics. Then, the writer Tara Isabella Burton joins Ross and Michelle for a…
How to Win Impeachment
Oct 24, 2019 • 32 min
Impeachment seems destined to end with President Trump’s acquittal in the Republican-controlled Senate. But is there anything Democrats can do to change that outcome? The columnists debate the Democrats’ impeachment strategy so far. Then, they discuss the…
The Other Candidates Are Coming for Warren
Oct 17, 2019 • 35 min
Under attack from Democratic rivals, can Elizabeth Warren hold on to her new front-runner status in the 2020 presidential primary? The columnists discuss the fallout from the fourth primary debate, where all the attention was on the senator from…
Is the Threat of Impeachment Emboldening Trump?
Oct 10, 2019 • 31 min
Is the threat of impeachment making President Trump more erratic — and more dangerous? Jamelle Bouie joins Ross Douthat and David Leonhardt to discuss Trump’s decision to withdraw American troops from Syria and his defiance in the face of Democrats’…
Will the G.O.P. Turn Against Trump?
Oct 3, 2019 • 30 min
As evidence mounts that Donald Trump abused the power of the presidency, could members of his own party start to turn against him? The columnists debate Republicans’ response to the impeachment inquiry, Trump’s proliferating scandals and Attorney General…
Get Ready for Impeachment
Sep 26, 2019 • 26 min
Is the impeachment of Donald Trump finally just a matter of time? The columnists discuss how the president’s attempt to pressure a foreign government to undermine a political rival quickly turned a progressive pipe dream into an inquiry backed by most…
Can We Talk About Biden’s Age?
Sep 19, 2019 • 30 min
Is Joe Biden’s shakiness on the stump a sign that he’s just too old to run for president? Or is it just proof that some of his critics are ageist? The columnists debate the state of Biden’s 2020 campaign. Then, has “cancel culture” run amok? Or is it a…
Can Republicans Escape Racism?
Sep 12, 2019 • 31 min
Is the Democratic Party prematurely winnowing its crop of presidential candidates? The columnists discuss the narrowing 2020 field, and whether the D.N.C.’s arbitrary criteria is stripping ideological diversity from the Democratic debates. Then, can…
Are Democrats Throwing Away the Senate?
Sep 5, 2019 • 31 min
Are Democrats already blowing their best chance to take the Senate back from Mitch McConnell next year? This week on “The Argument,” the columnists talk the state of the other 2020 race(s) worth paying attention to. Then, a conversation with Times…
One-on-One With Marianne Williamson
Aug 22, 2019 • 31 min
Marianne Williamson, the primary candidate infusing spirituality into the Democratic debates, sits down with Ross Douthat to discuss her journey to faith, her writings on illness and disease and how religious and spiritual language have inflected both the…
Is Josh Hawley the Future of the G.O.P.?
Aug 15, 2019 • 37 min
Is Missouri Senator Josh Hawley the future of the Republican Party? Ross Douthat sits down with the first-term lawmaker to discuss the conservative case for cracking down on powerful tech companies and reducing the price of prescription drugs. They…
Does Trump Help Fuel Mass Shootings?
Aug 8, 2019 • 33 min
How much responsibility does President Trump bear for violence motivated by racism? The columnists discuss gun control, the recent shootings in El Paso, Tex. and Dayton, Ohio and their connections to Trump’s dehumanizing statements about immigrants. Then,…
Is Impeachment Finally Happening?
Aug 1, 2019 • 35 min
Did Robert Mueller’s testimony before Congress bring Democrats any closer to impeaching President Trump? The columnists debate the fallout from the former special counsel’s testimony. Then: You asked, the columnists answer. Ross, Michelle and David tackle…
Why Isn’t Trump Trying to Win the Center?
Jul 25, 2019 • 34 min
Presidents running for re-election often appeal to the political center. So why isn’t Trump? Op-Ed columnist Jamelle Bouie joins Ross Douthat and David Leonhardt to discuss Trump’s refusal to moderate and his possible pathways to win a second term. Then…
Will Trump’s Racism Sink the G.O.P.?
Jul 18, 2019 • 32 min
Trump’s racism presents an existential challenge to Republicanism. Has he fully transformed the G.O.P. into the Party of Trump? The columnists argue about the limits of Trumpification and how it has stripped away the Republican mask of economic…
What Is Nancy Pelosi Thinking?
Jul 11, 2019 • 31 min
Can corporate America be a force for social liberalism? Ross Douthat, Michelle Goldberg and David Leonhardt debate the corporatization of Pride Month, Nike’s about-face on the Betsy Ross flag and the political efficacy of “woke capitalism.” Then they…
Is Biden Doomed?
Jul 3, 2019 • 31 min
Was Kamala Harris’s debate-stage takedown the beginning of the end for Joe Biden’s frontrunner status? Columnists Ross Douthat, Michelle Goldberg and David Leonhardt take stock of the 2020 Democratic primary so far. Then, are the presidential candidates…
One-on-One With Cory Booker
Jun 26, 2019 • 41 min
Cory Booker has executive experience, bipartisan bona fides and a raft of ambitious policy goals. So why is he running in the middle of the 2020 Democratic pack — and how does he plan to distinguish himself? David Leonhardt sits down with the senator from…
Are We Headed For War With Iran?
Jun 20, 2019 • 41 min
Is the United States barreling toward war with Iran? Op-Ed columnist Bret Stephens joins his colleagues to discuss the recent uptick in tensions between Washington and Tehran — and what can be done about them. Then, what are religious conservatives really…
Death to the Meritocracy With Andrew Yang
Jun 13, 2019 • 52 min
Democratic presidential contender Andrew Yang sits down with Ross Douthat for a one-on-one interview to discuss the future of work in America, universal basic income, Yang’s unorthodox path to the presidency and whether he considers himself a traitor to…
Are Democrats Too Scared to Impeach? (LIVE from Boston)
Jun 6, 2019 • 40 min
Why aren’t the Democrats ready to impeach President Trump? The columnists ask Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey in this live episode recorded at WBUR CitySpace in Boston on May 29. They also talk about Robert Mueller’s first public remarks and the…
The United States of Socialism?
May 30, 2019 • 38 min
Why is socialism so popular in the United States right now? Michelle Goldberg talks with Bhaskar Sunkara, the editor of Jacobin magazine, to discuss democratic socialists vs. liberals, the failures of past socialist movements and Bernie Sanders vs.…
President Pete? One-on-One With Buttigieg
May 23, 2019 • 53 min
Why is the 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, Ind., running for president — and what would he do if he won? David Leonhardt sits down with Pete Buttigieg to discuss the radicalization of the Republican Party and his plan to resuscitate American democracy.…
Is Trump Right About China?
May 16, 2019 • 32 min
What’s the right way for the United States to take on China? Ross Douthat, Michelle Goldberg and David Leonhardt debate Trump’s trade war and China’s economically aggressive, increasingly authoritarian behavior. Then, is America’s labor movement, long in…
Is the Trump Economic Boom for Real?
May 9, 2019 • 31 min
How strong is the American economy — and how much credit should President Trump get for it? Ross Douthat, Michelle Goldberg and David Leonhardt disagree on where the boom is coming from and what it means for America’s future. Then, as the president…
How to Fix the Criminal Justice System
May 2, 2019 • 41 min
What’s the best way to solve America’s mass incarceration crisis? NYT Magazine writer and “Charged” author Emily Bazelon joins Michelle Goldberg to discuss the unchecked power of prosecutors as problem and potential solution. Then, the columnists debate…
Is It Time to Impeach Trump?
Apr 25, 2019 • 39 min
Robert Mueller’s (redacted) report is out, but now what? Can the Democrats use it to impeach President Donald Trump? Ross Douthat, David Leonhardt and special guest Michelle Cottle of The Times’s editorial board disagree about what comes next for the…
Which 2020 Underdogs Stand a Chance? (LIVE from NYC)
Apr 17, 2019 • 35 min
What should U.S. immigration policy look like? The columnists debate Kirstjen Nielsen’s resignation, Trump’s xenophobia and Obama’s legacy on immigration live on stage at the Times Center in New York. Then, in response to listener voicemail, Ross,…
Should Biden Run?
Apr 4, 2019 • 35 min
Is Joe Biden the Democrats’ best hope to beat Trump in 2020? Or is he woefully behind the times? Ross Douthat, Michelle Goldberg and David Leonhardt disagree about the former vice president’s potential run for POTUS. Then the columnists debate what…
Who Botched the Mueller Report?
Mar 28, 2019 • 35 min
Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia has wrapped, and Attorney General William Barr’s letter to Congress has been delivered. Michelle, Ross and David debate whether there really was “no collusion,” if the…
Is Trump Causing White Terrorism?
Mar 21, 2019 • 36 min
How much blame does President Trump’s deserve for New Zealand’s white-supremacist mosque shooting? Jamelle Bouie joins hosts Ross Douthat, Michelle Goldberg and David Leonhardt for a debate about xenophobic ideology, internet troll culture and their…
One-on-One With Elizabeth Warren
Mar 13, 2019 • 49 min
Senator Elizabeth Warren sits down with David Leonhardt for a chat about her 2020 presidential campaign. They talk Donald Trump, her proposed wealth tax and universal childcare program, antitrust policy and her dog Bailey. Then, Ross Douthat and Michelle…
How Does the Catholic Church Redeem Itself?
Mar 7, 2019 • 32 min
Is prekindergarten for all a liberal pipe dream? The columnists sit down with special guest Mara Gay of The Times editorial board to discuss the successes and pitfalls of New York City’s universal pre-K program. Then, Ross Douthat and New York magazine’s…
Will Michael Cohen’s Testimony Doom Trump?
Feb 28, 2019 • 36 min
Was there anything in Michael Cohen’s congressional testimony on Wednesday that could actually threaten Donald Trump’s presidency? Michelle Goldberg and David Leonhardt break it down. Later Ross Douthat joins them for a debate over whether Bernie…
Is Trump the Real National Emergency?
Feb 21, 2019 • 36 min
From bypassing Congress to try to fund a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, to accusing administration officials of treason, is Donald Trump America’s national emergency? Michelle sees authoritarianism while Ross thinks the real threat to American democracy…
Is the Green New Deal a Leftist Fantasy?
Feb 14, 2019 • 39 min
Is the Green New Deal a symbol of the future of the Democratic Party, or is it just socialism disguised as climate reform? Ross Douthat and Michelle Goldberg are joined by Times editorial board member Michelle Cottle to debate the new initiative and its…
The Abortion Argument
Feb 7, 2019 • 45 min
This is not your typical argument about abortion. Ross Douthat and Michelle Goldberg debate women’s reproductive health this week and while it’s no surprise that they disagree, they manage to hear each other out. Then Medicare Rights Center founder Diane…
Who’s Ahead in the Race to Beat Trump?
Jan 31, 2019 • 36 min
Democrats are throwing their hats in the ring for the 2020 presidential election, but who has a real shot? Opinion’s new columnist, Jamelle Bouie, joins Michelle Goldberg and Ross Douthat to weigh in on who has an edge, whose campaign needs sharpening,…
Have Republicans Betrayed the Working Class?
Jan 24, 2019 • 40 min
Is anti-Zionism just another form of anti-Semitism? Michelle and special guest Bret Stephens debate liberal critiques of Israel and the future of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Then, is Tucker Carlson really a populist? Bret and Ross discuss what the…
How Trump Loses the G.O.P.
Jan 17, 2019 • 35 min
An ongoing government shutdown. More Russia revelations. Ross, David and Michelle agree there’s a point at which Republicans could turn on Trump. But what will it take? Then, the columnists debate anti-Semitism on the left and the controversies roiling…
Why Do Powerful Women Make America Panic?
Jan 10, 2019 • 36 min
The government shutdown continues as Trump and the Democrats battle over the border wall. Who is winning? Which side makes the stronger immigration argument? Ross Douthat, Michelle Goldberg and David Leonhardt debate. Later, they discuss why America is so…
Your Questions, Answered
Jan 3, 2019 • 37 min
Our listeners asked: what will be the negative consequences of social media on kids? How can we solve income inequality in America? Which Democrat has the best chance of beating Trump in 2020? Ross Douthat, Michelle Goldberg and David Leonhardt answered…
Should Weed Be Legal?
Dec 19, 2018 • 37 min
Has “big cannabis” downplayed the dangers of legalization? Michelle Goldberg debates author Alex Berenson, whose forthcoming book makes the case against marijuana. Then, David Leonhardt, Ross Douthat and Michelle argue about which pot policy the United…
Will Trump’s Presidency Survive 2019?
Dec 13, 2018 • 35 min
Trump’s mounting legal problems have the columnists wondering if he’ll finish his first term. Michelle Goldberg visualizes President Pelosi. Editorial board member Mara Gay makes Ross Douthat answer for his WASP nostalgia. And David Leonhardt recommends…
Is Donald Trump A Traitor?
Dec 6, 2018 • 35 min
Trump’s Russia entanglement has the columnists asking, “Is the president a traitor?” Ross Douthat sits down with Lawfare’s executive editor Susan Hennessey to lay out what’s happening with Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation. Later, Ross…
What Do We Do About Climate Change?
Nov 29, 2018 • 34 min
How can climate change be solved if politicians can’t even agree there’s a problem? The columnists brainstorm. Then, David Leonhardt visits Capitol Hill to interview California Representative Ro Khanna, “the ambassador of Silicon Valley,” about Trump and…
Do We Need A Third Party?
Nov 21, 2018 • 33 min
A listener’s voicemail asks the columnists, does America need a third party? Then, just in time for Thanksgiving, our argumentative trio dishes out some advice for how to handle your own dinner-table debates. And finally, a Coen brothers recommendation to…
Is Amazon Bad for America?
Nov 15, 2018 • 38 min
After Amazon announced its uninspired new headquarters locations, the columnists are surprised to find they agree on the danger of the website’s monopoly, for different reasons. David Leonhardt is baited into playing the “neo-liberal shill.” Ross Douthat…
Did Trump Lose The Midterms?
Nov 8, 2018 • 38 min
What do the Democratic gains in the House and Republican gains in the Senate mean for the country’s future? Ross Douthat dreams of a fantastic world of rainbows, child tax credits and a better president. David Leonhardt wishes racism was more decisively…
Who’s to Blame for American Political Violence?
Nov 1, 2018 • 33 min
Do Republicans have an anger problem? The columnists debate whether Trump incited the recent targeted attacks. After Michelle Goldberg reports back from the campaign trail in Georgia, they all discuss the partisan battle of the sexes: has politics become…
How Screwed Up Is American Democracy?
Oct 25, 2018 • 31 min
How rotten has our democratic system has become, the columnists wonder, and what could fix it? David Leonhardt is furious about voter suppression in North Dakota and Georgia. Ross Douthat thinks NeverTrump Republicans should cast their midterm votes for…
Is Trump Destroying the World Order?
Oct 18, 2018 • 31 min
With the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, David Leonhardt asks guest Thomas Friedman about the strained future of U.S.-Saudi relations. Then, Michelle Goldberg, Ross Douthat and David debate whether Trump’s foreign policy emboldens autocrats and…
Is the Supreme Court Broken?
Oct 11, 2018 • 30 min
Did Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation break the Supreme Court? Michelle Goldberg feels the patriarchy’s boot on her neck. David Leonhardt cautions Democrats about running on the #MeToo movement in the midterms. And Ross Douthat sings. Seriously. For…
Introducing The Argument, an Opinion podcast from The New York Times
Oct 4, 2018 • 1 min
Coming Thursday, October 11, a new Opinion podcast from The New York Times that answers the question, “How could they possibly think that?” Join Opinion columnists David Leonhardt, Michelle Goldberg and Ross Douthat every Thursday as they explain the…