The Open Mind, Hosted by Alexander Heffner

The Open Mind, Hosted by Alexander Heffner
The Open Mind is a thoughtful excursion into the world of ideas across media, politics, technology, the arts and all realms of civic life.

@V2019N: Tracking the Pandemic
May 26
Rachel Graham on tracking COVID-19 from its inception to inform public health on Twitter.
America the Unprepared
May 21
Texas-based writer, editor of, and lifelong prepper Jon Stokes discusses a country mentally, socially, and politically ill-prepared for a once-in-a-century pandemic.
A Pendulum of Revolts
May 20
Researcher Caroline Tervo discusses her new book "Upending American Politics: Polarizing Parties, Ideological Elites, and Citizen Activists from the Tea Party to the Anti-Trump Resistance."
A Future Great Senate?
May 19
Ira Shapiro, author of “Broken: Can the Senate Save Itself and the Country,” discusses the decline of the "world’s greatest deliberative body” and its potential return to courage and statesmanship.
The Alchemy of Us
May 18
Materials scientist Ainissa Ramirez on her new book “The Alchemy of Us.”
How to Restore Dignity in America
May 14
Chris Arnade, author of Dignity: Seeking Respect in Back Row America, discusses if and how dignity can be salvaged in American life.
Why Can’t Congress Vote Remotely?
May 12
Rep. Steve Israel discusses his advocacy of Congressional remote voting and modernizing governing and electoral processes ill prepared for the pandemic.
The Revolution is Online
May 11
Online News Association CEO Irving Washington on future of digital news.
How to Lose (or Win) the Information War
May 11
Disinformation expert and Wilson Center fellow Nina Jankowicz discusses her forthcoming book and how to combat disinformation in the pandemic era.
The Persuadability of Justice
May 8
Slate law and Supreme Court correspondent discusses the deliberations and reconciliation of the nine justices.
What If the 2020 Election Results are Disputed?
May 6
Ned Foley, Director of Election Law and Chair in Constitutional Law at Ohio State University, discusses the history of and contingency for disputed American presidential elections.
Gen Z in the Heartland
May 5
Nico Gendron of The Wall Street Journal on engaging rural youth in a Local News Fellowship
Constitutional Deadlock or Consensus?
May 2
New York Times Supreme Court correspondent Adam Liptak discusses the stakes of this term’s High Court decisions
The Case for a Pro-Democracy Supreme Court
Apr 30
Take Back the Court director Aaron Belkin discusses the historical and contemporary case for adding seats to the Supreme Court and why expanding the judiciary is critical to restoring democracy.
The Right to a Representative Judiciary
Apr 28
Demand Justice Executive Director Brian Fallon discusses how to improve the legitimacy of the Supreme Court and judicial fairness in a new administration.
American Demagogue
Apr 27
Jennifer Mercieca on “Demagogue for President: The Rhetorical Genius of Donald Trump."
On the Frontlines of Voter Security
Apr 24
Brennan Center director Michael Waldman discusses how to ensure that states provide remote balloting and not endanger the health of voters.
The Judiciary’s Suppression Machine
Apr 23
The Nation’s Justice Correspondent Elie Mystal discusses the Supreme Court’s recent and future enforcement of voter suppression.
How to Protect the Franchise in a Pandemic
Apr 22
Perkins Coie’s Political Law Group chair Marc Elias discusses how to hold Governors accountable for implementing VBM (Vote by Mail) solutions.
The Cult of QAnon
Apr 20
QAnon Anonymous host Travis Views on QAnon conspiracy theorists and what motivates them.
Hey, Hey, DJT, How Many Americans did COVID Kill Today?
Apr 20
Princeton University historian Julian Zelizer discusses historical analogies to the American pandemic crisis and the 2020 campaign.
A Pandemic’s Origins and Viral Geopolitics
Apr 16
Sinocism newsletter author Bill Bishop discusses the pandemic’s origins in China, deteriorating U.S.-China relations, and its impact on the 2020 campaign.
“Papa, I Just Voted Online.”
Apr 14
U.S. Election Assistance Commission chairman emeritus Paul DeGregorio discusses remote balloting for 2020 and a secure transition to online voting.
Dystopia Incorporated
Apr 13
NBC News dystopia reporter Ben Collins on exposing deception and companies that enable it
Apr 6
Center for Responsive Politics’ Anna Massoglia on campaign finance accountability issues.
Knowing the Enemy of Truth
Mar 30
Information warfare expert Molly McKew on foreign interference in US elections.
Breaking Up and Deradicalizing the Socials
Mar 25
Mother Jones’ Ali Breland on combating bigotry online and breaking up new media monopolies
Facts and Fears of a Pandemic
Mar 21
NBC News reporter Brandy Zadrozny on coronavirus, anti-vaxxers, and conspiracy-mongers.
Democratizing the Jury
Feb 25
Wesleyan University’s Sonali Chakravarti on her book “Radical Enfranchisement.”
The Kremlin’s Hack Attacks
Feb 18
Wired reporter Andy Greenberg discusses the next wave of Russian cyber crimes.
Unbecoming a Democracy
Feb 10
Patricia Roberts-Miller of University of Texas on demagoguery and its historical origins.
The Science and Necessity of Friendship
Feb 3
Science journalist Lydia Denworth on the evolution, biology, and power of friendship.
Bias, Bigotry, and Tyrannical Discourse
Jan 22
Robert Boyers on “The Tyranny of Virtue: Identity… and the Hunt For Political Heresies.
Grand Strategy for the Campus Commons
Jan 18
Vassar College president Elizabeth Bradley on free speech and engaged pluralism.
The Battle for the Constitution
Jan 11
Justin Driver of Yale Law on constitutional law and the struggle to preserve democracy.
Advocating and Denying Civil Rights
Jan 3
Nicholas Buccola on his book “The Fire is Upon Us,” Baldwin, Buckley, and race in America
Mother of Exiles
Nov 11, 2019
Writer Anastasia Edel on her essay “The Tired and Poor Who Make America Great,” and Russia
Never Again in America
Nov 8, 2019
Jews Against White Nationalism leader Sophie Ellman-Golan on mistreatment of immigrants.
High-Tech Dystopia and Utopia
Oct 29, 2019
Techno-political thriller writer and humanitarian aid worker Malka Older on the Cyber Age.
Charitarian Patriotism
Oct 21, 2019
Patriotic Millionaires’ founding member Lawrence Benenson on solutions to inequity.
Libel and the Presidency
Oct 16, 2019
ABC News’ Dan Abrams on his new book “Theodore Roosevelt for the Defense” and politics now
Innocent Bystanders and the New Terrorism
Oct 7, 2019
Julie Salamon on her new book “An Innocent Bystander” and the redefinition of terrorism.
A Statecraft of Peace
Sep 30, 2019
Quincy Institute cofounders Trita Parsi and Stephen Wertheim on stopping endless war.
The Hacked States of America
Sep 23, 2019
Netflix’s “The Great Hack” director Karim Amer on how stolen personal data is abused.
Safeguarding Press Integrity for 2020
Sep 17, 2019
Center for Public Integrity CEO Susan Smith Richardson on news for 2020 and beyond.
High Crimes With Impunity
Sep 10, 2019
University of Missouri’s Frank Bowman on his new book “High Crimes and Misdemeanors.”
A Popular Electoral College
Sep 2, 2019
Republican strategist Ed Lopez on the federalist argument for a National Popular Vote.
Rescuing the Soul of the Presidency
Aug 27, 2019
Stephen Knott on his forthcoming book The Lost Soul of the American Presidency.
A Vote Against Life Expectancy
Aug 19, 2019
Vanderbilt’s Jonathan Metzl on “Dying of Whiteness” and the politics of racial resentment.
Super State Strategy
Aug 12, 2019
Ethan Todras-Whitehill and Catherine Vaughan of Swing Left on democratic accountability
Authoritarian Past and Future
Aug 5, 2019
Yale’s Jason Stanley on his book “How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them.”
The Story of Climate
Aug 3, 2019
Science journalist Jon Gertner discusses his new book “The Ice at the End of the World.”
Deferred Dreams of Brown and Grutter
Jul 24, 2019
University of Richmond president Ronald Crutcher and ACE’s Lorelle Espinosa on race.
Impeachment and the Righteous Republicans
Jul 15, 2019
Historian Brenda Wineapple on her book “The Impeachers: The Trial of Andrew Johnson…”
Geopolitical Chess or Checkers?
Jul 10, 2019
Columbia University Center for Energy Policy’s Richard Nephew on sanctions and tariffs.
Our Civic Trust
Jul 2, 2019
John Bracken of the Digital Public Library of America on the vital role of libraries.
Testing American Righteousness
Jun 17, 2019
Jonathan Haidt, NYU professor of ethical leadership, on pluralism, partisanship and 2020
GPS and the Human Journey
Jun 12, 2019
M.R. O’Connor on “Wayfinding: The Science and Mystery of How Humans Navigate the World.”
Academics in the Crosshairs
May 28, 2019
New University in Exile Consortium’s Arien Mack and scholar Kian Tajbakhsh on freedom.
Economic Security, Mobility & Progress
May 20, 2019
NJ Governor Phil Murphy talks about his pro-growth progressive agenda for New Jersey.
Technology to Combat Authoritarianism
May 13, 2019
Localization Lab’s Dragana Kaurin on protecting refugees, journalists, and activists.
The Race to Cure Cancer
May 7, 2019
Charles Graeber on “The Breakthrough: Immunotherapy and the Race to Cure Cancer.”
Einstein and the Unseeable
Apr 29, 2019
Seth Fletcher on his new book “Einstein’s Shadow” and the quest to see the black hole.
The Misinformation Age
Apr 23, 2019
Cailin O’Connor and James Owen Weatherall on their new book "The Misinformation Age.
Justice and Jurisprudence
Apr 15, 2019
South Carolina U.S District Judge Richard Gergel on his new book "Unexampled Courage.”
Republic of Lies
Apr 8, 2019
Investigative journalist Anna Merlan on her new book "Republic of Lies” and conspiracy.
The Responsibility of Moral Capitalism
Apr 2, 2019
Executive Barie Carmichael on jobs, corporate stewardship, and the new social landscape.
You’re Not Entitled to Your Own Facts
Mar 26, 2019
News Literacy Project CEO Alan Miller on equipping students to discern fact from fiction
Preserve, Protect, and Defend Democracy
Mar 19, 2019
Common Cause Electoral Reform director Pam Wilmot on the National Popular Vote
Cyber Diplomacy or Mr. Robot Dystopia?
Mar 11, 2019
Former State Department Advisor Chris Painter on digital security and foreign policy.
The Case for Economic Affirmative Action
Mar 5, 2019
Harvard Professor of Education Anthony Jack discusses his new book “The Privileged Poor"
Showdown 2020
Feb 21, 2019
Demos President Sabeel Rahman on the future of the Democratic Party, and progressivism.
Civility of Morals and Manners
Feb 13, 2019
Novelist and Hutchins Center fellow ZZ Packer on civil rights, disobedience, and society
Digital War, Espionage, and Dirty Tricks
Feb 5, 2019
Annenberg Public Policy Center’s Kathleen Hall Jamieson on political hacking and trolls.
Republican Dignity
Jan 26, 2019
Former Ohio Governor John Kasich discusses preserving the Republican Party.
How to Unlearn Hate
Jan 18, 2019
Sally Kohn on her book “The Opposite of Hate: A Field Guide to Repairing Our Humanity.”
Algorithmic Justice
Jan 12, 2019
Joy Buolamwini of Algorithmic Justice League on facial recognition and AI technology.
New Dealers Reborn
Dec 31, 2018
" Alexandra Rojas, of Justice Democrats, on a new Democratic agenda and a Green New Deal.
Disequilibrium on the Supreme Court
Nov 23, 2018
David Pozen, Knight Institute inaugural scholar and Columbia Law professor.
Discovering Genes
Nov 17, 2018
New York Times’ Carl Zimmer on his new book “She Has Her Mother’s Laugh” and genes.
The Splintering of the American Mind
Nov 10, 2018
William Egginton of Johns Hopkins on his new book “The Splintering of the American Mind”
The Microbes Among Us
Nov 2, 2018
North Carolina State scientist Rob Dunn discusses his new book “Never Home Alone.
Truth and Lies of Education
Oct 27, 2018
Former U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan discusses his new book “How Schools Work.
Immigration, Dignity, and U.S.-Mexico Relations
Oct 20, 2018
KPBS investigative reporter Jean Guerrero on her new book “Crux: A Cross-Border Memoir.
Truth Decay in America
Oct 13, 2018
RAND CEO Michael D. Rich and political scientist Jennifer Kavanagh on “Truth Decay.
Security, Nationalism, and the Four Freedoms
Oct 5, 2018
Jeffrey Prescott of National Security Action on an alternative to Trump’s foreign policy.
United Against Citizens
Sep 30, 2018
Tiffany Muller of End Citizens United, on her mission to undo the Supreme Court decision.
News, Disinformation, and Free Expression
Sep 22, 2018
Richard Gingras, VP of News at Google, on journalism, citizenship, and disinformation.
Rage at the Ballot Box
Sep 14, 2018
Soraya Chemaly, Women’s Media Center Speech Project, on her new book “Rage Becomes Her”
Manchurian President and Alternative Realities
Sep 7, 2018
Tom Nichols, U.S. Naval War College professor, on his book “The Death of Expertise.”
The Creative Wealth of Nations
Sep 1, 2018
Patrick Kabanda talks about his new book “The Creative Wealth of Nations” and the arts.
Guts, Heart, and Minoritarian Rule
Aug 25, 2018
Al Cross, dir. Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, U Kentucky, on media
Quarantining Hate Speech
Aug 18, 2018
Joan Donovan of Data & Society on technologies that degrade democracy and civil society
Documenting a Fascist Ascent
Aug 11, 2018
Jack Smith IV, senior writer for Mic, on American nationalism and White Supremacy.
The Right to Have Rights
Aug 5, 2018
Stephanie DeGooyer, Fellow at Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study on authoritarianisim
Sweet Little (and Big) Lies
Jul 27, 2018
Daniel Dale of the Toronto Star on fact-checking President Trump and covering activism
Building Bridges
Jul 21, 2018
David Nevins of the Bridge Alliance, talks about reversing America’s political disunity.
Democracy in the Internet Age
Jul 15, 2018
Democracy Works’ Kathryn Peters on election security, voter registration and democracy.
The Future Caucus
Jul 8, 2018
Steven Olikara, founder of the Millennial Action Project on activating the next generation
Our Galaxy and Beyond
Jun 30, 2018
Dr. Alan Stern and Dr. David Grinspoon on their book on Pluto: “Chasing New Horizons.”
Confronting Algorithms of Bigotry
Jun 23, 2018
" Investigative reporter Julia Angwin on exposing technologies that injure society. "
The Lore of Life
Jun 16, 2018
Oren Harman on his new book “Evolutions: 15 Myths That Explain Our World."
Tech Troublemakers
Jun 8, 2018
Leslie Berlin of Silicon Valley Archives at Stanford, on “Troublemakers: Silicon Valley’s
Oversight, Partisanship, and 2018
Jun 2, 2018
John Lawrence, former Chief of Staff to Nancy Pelosi, on his book “The Class of ’74”.
Getting the Rust Belt Story Straight
May 27, 2018
Founder and director of Belt Publishing Anne Trubek on “Voices From the Rust Belt.”
The Real Drug Crisis
May 19, 2018
Investigative reporter Katherine Eban on generic pharmaceutical manufacturing dangers.
At War With Cambridge Analytica
May 13, 2018
David Carroll of Parsons School of Design on privacy, media, and suing Cambridge Analytica
A Pro and Antibiotic Future
May 5, 2018
“Good Germs, Bad Germs” author Jessica Snyder Sachs on the rise of drug resistance.
The Post-Millennial Wave
Apr 29, 2018
NextGen America’s executive director Heather Hargreaves on the 2018 midterm elections.
Guardians of the Web
Apr 21, 2018
Microsoft Research Principal Researcher Tarleton Gillespie on "Custodians of the Internet"
Mother Internet
Apr 14, 2018
Claire Evans on her new book “Broad Band: The Untold Story of Women Who Made the Internet”
Democrats vs. Authoritarians
Apr 7, 2018
Yascha Mounk on “The People vs Democracy: Why Our Freedom is in Danger and How to Save It”
China’s Contentious Public Sphere
Mar 18, 2018
Harvard University sociologist Ya-Wen Lei on her new book “The Contentious Public Sphere.”
Securing American Democracy
Mar 10, 2018
Jamie Fly and Laura Rosenberger of the Alliance for Securing Democracy on Russia and US.
Combating Extremism Online
Mar 3, 2018
Counter Extremism Project’s Mark Wallace and Dartmouth’s Hany Farid on online extremism.
A Union of Concerned Technologists
Feb 24, 2018
Renee DiResta of Data for Democracy on how antisocial media-tech companies are a threat
Solutions Journalism and Solutions for Journalism
Feb 17, 2018
Solutions Journalism and NYTimes’ David Bornstein on the constructive force of journalism.
Fascism Strikes Back
Feb 11, 2018
Shane Burley discusses his new book “Fascism Today: What It Is and How We End It.”
All the President’s Twitter Blocks
Feb 3, 2018
Knight First Amendment Institute’s Katie Fallow on free speech violations in government.
Law, Order, and Justice
Jan 27, 2018
Roosevelt Institute Fellow Dorian Warren discusses the politics of inequality today.
Automating Inequality
Jan 22, 2018
Political scientist Virginia Eubanks on her new book, “Automating Inequality.”
Misinformation Crisis
Jan 13, 2018
University of Amsterdam’s Claes de Vreese on global populism and the post-truth present.
Representing Us
Jan 6, 2018
Congressional Candidate, Millennial and geologist Jess Phoenix on representative democracy
Populists Revolt
Dec 9, 2017
Steve Hilton, founder of Crowdpac and former advisor to David Cameron, on populism.
Escaping Velocity
Dec 2, 2017
Trumpeter Theo Croker talks about creating a unique jazz for the next generation.
Monuments and Identity Politics
Nov 27, 2017
Vann Newkirk of The Atlantic, on culture wars and the memorialization of American history
Destiny of the Heartland
Nov 19, 2017
Mayor Nan Whaley of Dayton, Ohio, candidate for governor, on Rust Belt politics.
Securing American Suffrage
Nov 11, 2017
Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Grimes on gerrymandering and voting rights.
The Wisdom of Elders
Nov 4, 2017
British-Barbadian saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings on how ancestors shape his music and life
Problem-Solving Heroism
Oct 28, 2017
Congressman Tom Suozzi talks about modeling a way forward for politics beyond dogma.
American Hardship
Oct 21, 2017
Economic Hardship Reporting Project’s Alissa Quart talks about a broken American economy.
What’s the Matter with the Democrats?
Oct 14, 2017
Thomas Frank, author of "Listen, Liberal: Whatever Happened to the Party of the People?"
Don’t March, Run…
Oct 9, 2017
Run for Something’s Amanda Litman on recruiting Millennials to run for local office.
Constitutional Crisis or Consensus?
Sep 30, 2017
U. Missouri, Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy’s Justin Dyer on legal polarity
Putin and Political Murder
Sep 23, 2017
Scholar Amy Knight on her new book "Orders to Kill: The Putin Regime and Political Murder"
All Politics is Reproductive
Sep 16, 2017
U Mass Professor Laura Briggs on her book "How All Politics Became Reproductive Politics"
Defining Civic Media
Sep 9, 2017
MIT Center for Civic Media’s Ethan Zuckerman on activism, technology and the digital world
Dreams and Daggers
Sep 2, 2017
Jazz singer Cécile McLorin Salvant on identity, soul and political purpose of her music.
The Town Hall Lives
Aug 26, 2017
Town Hall Project’s Jimmy Dahman on promoting civic engagement with elected officials.
Readers and the Citizenry
Aug 19, 2017
Hanna Ingber of The New York Times Reader Center, on connecting journalists and readers
Aug 12, 2017
Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Stephen Cheney of the American Security Project on security concerns.
We the…Bots and Trolls
Aug 7, 2017
Oxford Internet Institute’s Nick Monaco on bots, trolls and their influence on society
Educating Hip Hop
Jul 29, 2017
DJ, Producer, and Professor 9th Wonder on the preservation of a Hip Hop archive and legacy
A Politics in Crisis
Jul 22, 2017
Host of MSNBC’s The Last Word, Lawrence O’Donnell on the condition of American politics.
Twitter and Tear Gas
Jul 8, 2017
Zeynep Tufekci on “Twitter and Tear Gas: The Power and Fragility of Networked Protest.”
United to Protect Democracy
Jul 1, 2017
Ian Bassin of United to Protect Democracy on holding the Executive Branch accountable.
Centrism for America
Jun 10, 2017
Nick Troiano of the Centrist Project on electing independent candidates amidst dysfunction
Full-Hearted Hymns
Jun 3, 2017
French-American songwriter Madeleine Peyroux on soulful music in times of political unease
Tolerating Intolerance
May 21, 2017
Teresa Bejan of Oxford, on “Mere Civility: Disagreement and the Limits of Toleration.”
The Story of Science
May 14, 2017
Doron Weber of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation on human understanding, science and the arts