The Argument

The Argument

By New York Times Opinion

Strongly-held opinions. Open-minded debates. A weekly ideas show, hosted by Jane Coaston.


Is It Time to Break Up With Your Political Party?

In her two years hosting “The Argument,” Jane Coaston has changed her mind about many things — from court packing to police reform (though not on whether we should contact alien life). But this year, she has changed her political party; once a proud card-carrying member of the Libertarian Party, Jane is now a registered independent. And she isn’t alone: Kyrsten Sinema, former Democrat of Arizona, just became an independent, and we heard from many listeners of “The Argument” with their own experiences of why they switched their political party affiliations. Now wading in new political waters, Jane really wants to know: What happens when your party leaves you behind?In the final episode of “The Argument,” Jane calls on former congressman Justin Amash of Michigan to help answer that question. While in office, Amash changed his party affiliation from Republican to independent, and then to Libertarian, which made him the first sitting Libertarian Party member in Congress. The two share strong opinions about what the Libertarian Party stands for today and discuss how political parties — whether big or small — should amass power.Mentioned in this episode:Elizabeth Nolan Brown’s work at Reason.comJane’s 2016 interview with then-candidate Gary Johnson(A full transcript of the episode will be available midday on the Times website.)
14/12/22·38m 56s

Should America Intervene in Haiti? ‘Go to Hell’ and Other Views

The United States has a long history of military intervention in other countries. Today, Haiti is in crisis. The country is facing gang violence, extreme hunger and intense political turmoil, sparked largely by the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse last year. And with a call from acting Prime Minister Ariel Henry, requesting international military assistance, the United States faces a familiar question: To intervene or not to intervene?To discuss, Jane Coaston brings together New York Times Opinion columnists Lydia Polgreen and Nick Kristof, who both have firsthand experience in Haiti. Their careers covering crises in other countries have shaped how they view U.S. intervention in the country and elsewhere around the world. “There are more problems in international relations than there are solutions, and I think Haiti, right now, is one example of that,” Kristof says.Mentioned in this episode:“‘This Is It. This Is Our Chance.’ It’s Time for Everyone to Get Out of Haiti’s Way.” by Lydia Polgreen for The New York Times“The Other Afghan Women” by Anand Gopal for The New Yorker(A full transcript of the episode will be available midday on the Times website.)
07/12/22·29m 30s

The One Thing Democrats Can Control — and How They Should Do It

Are the Democrats, finally, in array? They’ve just had the best midterms by a sitting president’s party in about 20 years, and passed significant legislation in 2022. And now House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is stepping down after nearly two decades as leader, without the specter of intraparty battles. So what comes next for Dems, and what should the party’s future strategy be?Today on “The Argument,” Jane is joined by two writers with close eyes on the Democratic Party. Bhaskar Sunkara is the founding editor of Jacobin and the president of The Nation magazine. Michelle Cottle is a member of the editorial board of The New York Times. They assess the place progressivism has in the Democratic Party, what the incoming generational shift in leadership will bring and how Democrats must win.(A full transcript of the episode will be available midday on the Times website.)
30/11/22·32m 57s

Best of: Is the News Media Setting Trump Up for Another Win?

This week, we're bringing you an episode from our archives that's more relevant than ever.After former President Donald Trump’s recent announcement of his 2024 White House bid — and his reinstatement on Twitter — there’s the matter of the media: What role should the press play in preserving democratic institutions?When we first asked this question back in December 2021, Times Opinion columnist Ross Douthat pushed back on media critics like N.Y.U. associate professor Jay Rosen, who asserted that the press should strive to be “pro-truth, pro-voting, anti-racist, and aggressively pro-democracy.” Ross disagreed, claiming that such a stance could feed more polarization. Together, Jane, Ross and Jay debate how the press should cover politics, and Donald Trump, in a democratic society.Mentioned in this episode:“Can the Press Prevent a Trump Restoration?” by Ross Douthat“You Cannot Keep From Getting Swept up in Trump’s Agenda Without a Firm Grasp on Your Own” and “Two Paths Forward for the American Press,” by Jay Rosen, published in PressThink in May 2020 and November 2020, respectively.(A full transcript of the episode is available on the Times website.)
23/11/22·33m 18s

Has Donald Trump Lost His Grip on the Republican Party?

Donald Trump is running for president — again. Yet the results of last week’s midterms and the red wave that wasn’t signaled that perhaps Trump’s hold on the Republican Party isn’t so strong after all. But now that he’s back on the presidential stage, what does it mean for the future of the Republican Party? Today on “The Argument,” Jane Coaston convenes two conservative writers to provide an analysis of the party now. Ross Douthat is a columnist for Times Opinion and Kevin D. Williamson is a national correspondent for The Dispatch. Together they discuss the G.O.P.’s post-midterm vibes, how a Trump vs. DeSantis battle could play out and what the conservative movement really stands for.Note: This episode contains explicit language.Read more from this episode:Kevin D. Williamson’s guest essay, “Why Trump Could Win Again”Ross Douthat’s newsletter for New York Times Opinion and his column “Did Ron DeSantis Just Become the 2024 Republican Frontrunner?”Sohrab Ahmari’s guest essay, “Why the Red Wave Didn’t Materialize”(A full transcript of the episode will be available midday on the Times website.)
16/11/22·25m 47s

Donald Trump Was the Midterm’s Biggest Loser

As midterm election results continue to trickle in, one thing is clear: There’s no predicting American voters. After an unexpected showing for Democrats in tight races across the country, Jane Coaston speaks with the Times editorial board member Michelle Cottle and Times Opinion columnist Ross Douthat to recap what happened at the polls. Together they discuss how the Democrats won “the expectations game,” who had the worst night (Donald Trump) and what the clouded results reveal about the bigger story of American democracy. “What we are looking at is an electorate that is feeling unsettled, and neither party made the case that they were going to provide the strength, stability, normalcy to create a wave election,” Cottle says.(A full transcript of the episode will be available on the Times website.)
09/11/22·24m 37s

The Price of $5 Donations: Is Small-Dollar Fund-Raising Doing More Harm Than Good?

As midterm frenzy reaches its peak, your inbox might be full of imploring fund-raising emails with increasingly desperate headlines: “Just $3 can make all the difference.” “Can you chip in today?” “Ultimately, it’s up to you.” In theory, the small-dollar donation model is a good thing: It enables voters to have a say in who their candidates are and counterbalances the influence of superdonors and industry lobbyists. But as extremist candidates increasingly adopt grass-roots approaches and self-fund-raise their way into Congress, could small-dollar donations be doing more harm to our democracy than good?Today’s guests come to the debate from different positions. Tim Miller is a former Republican strategist and current writer at large for The Bulwark who believes that there are real dangers to the grass-roots model. “Our online fund-raising system is not only enriching scam artists, clogging our inboxes and inflaming the electorate; it is also empowering our politics’ most nefarious actors,” Miller wrote recently in a guest essay for Times Opinion. On the other side is Micah Sifry, a co-founder of Civic Hall and the writer of The Connector, a newsletter about democracy, organizing and tech. Sifry thinks that, yes, small-dollar donations fund extremists, but they can also enable progressive politicians to hold powerful interests accountable as independently funded candidates. “Some politicians are going to get money for their campaigns who I disagree with, but you’ve got to live with that because the alternative is oligarchy,” Sifry says.Mentioned in this episode:“The Most Toxic Politicians Are Dragging Us to Hell With Emails and Texts,” by Tim Miller in The New York Times“Fed Up With Democratic Emails? You’re Not the Only One.” by Lara Putnam and Micah Sifry in The New York Times“Don’t Blame Our Toxic Politics on Online Fund-raising,” by Micah Sifry in Medium(A full transcript of the episode will be available midday on the Times website.)
02/11/22·33m 46s

‘Maybe Gen Z Is Just Kinder’: How America’s Youngest Voters are Shaping Politics

Members of Gen Z (Americans under 26 years old) have come of age during the Trump presidency and a pandemic, in an era of protests over police violence, attacks on reproductive rights, rising economic inequality, and frequent school shootings. These young people are calling for major changes, but many aren’t confident that politicians will act with the urgency necessary to carry them out. As Gen Z voters consider the midterms, they are prioritizing the issues, not party allegiance.But with a history of low turnout, and disenchantment with politics across the spectrum, will young voters be moved enough by the issues to show up at the polls? And if so, will there be enough of them to sway decisive races?Today on “The Argument,” Jane Coaston convenes three voters in their early 20s to talk about how their families and communities have affected their politics, what matters most to them at the ballot box, and what they wish older Americans and politicians understood about people their age.(A full transcript of the episode will be available midday on the Times website.)
26/10/22·34m 53s

Has Polling Broken Politics?

Election Day is just three weeks away — and that means it’s peak polling season. For political hobbyists, polling is the new sports betting: gamifying elections to predict outcomes that haven’t always proven accurate. If the 2016 election revealed anything, it’s that polls are sometimes off — very off. So as America faces another high-stakes election, how much faith should we put in them?On today’s episode, Jane Coaston brings together two experts to diagnose what we’re getting wrong in both how we conduct polls, and how we interpret the data they give us. Margie Omero is a longtime Democratic pollster and focus group moderator. Nate Silver, who prefers to call himself a “forecaster” rather than a pollster, is the founder and editor in chief of FiveThirtyEight. Together, the two tackle how polling both reflects and affects the national political mood, and whether our appetite for election predictions is doing democracy more harm than good.(A full transcript of the episode will be available midday on the Times website.)
19/10/22·30m 9s

Is America Headed for Another Civil War?

America is divided and battling many different internal “wars” — over politics, culture, language, religion. Is it possible all this internal division could culminate in a civil war? Today’s episode of “The Argument” brings together Jamelle Bouie and Tim Alberta to assess. Bouie is a Times Opinion columnist and historian of America’s Civil War. Alberta is a staff writer at The Atlantic and made the case that the F.B.I. Mar-a-Lago search is the tipping point for political violence that could put our democracy at stake.Mentioned in this episode:“The Civil War” documentary by Ken Burns“Oklahoma City” documentary from PBS“Bring the War Home” by Kathleen Belew“What Comes After the Search Warrant?” by Tim Alberta in The Atlantic“Why We Are Not Facing the Prospect of a Second Civil War” by Jamelle Bouie in The New York Times“Bad Losers” by Tim Alberta in The Atlantic(A full transcript of the episode is available on the Times website.)
12/10/22·38m 52s

Are You ‘Third-Party-Curious’? Andrew Yang and David Jolly Would Like a Word.

For years, hopeful reformers have touted the promise of third parties as an antidote to our political polarization. But when so many of the issues that voters care about most — like abortion, or climate change, or guns — are also the most divisive, can any third party actually bring voters together under a big tent? Or will it just fracture the electorate further?Today’s guests say it’s worth it to try. Andrew Yang and David Jolly are two of the co-founders of the Forward Party, a new political party focused on advancing election reform measures, including open primaries, independent redistricting commissions in every state and the widespread adoption of ranked choice voting. Yang is a former Democratic candidate for president and a former Democratic candidate for mayor of New York City. Jolly is a former Republican congressman and executive chairman of the Serve America Movement. Together, they joined Jane Coaston live onstage at the Texas Tribune Festival to discuss why they’ve built a party and not a nonprofit, what kinds of candidates they want to see run under their banner and what Democrats are getting wrong in their midterm strategy right now.(A full transcript of the episode will be available midday on the Times website.)
05/10/22·30m 57s

After Dobbs: What Is Feminist Sex?

What is good sex? It’s a complicated question that feminists have wrestled with for decades. From destigmatizing premarital sex to embracing no-strings-attached hookup culture of more recent decades, feminism has often focused winning sexual freedoms for women. But some feminists have been asking if those victories have had unintended consequences, such as the devaluing of emotional intimacy in relationships. So: What kind of sexual liberation actually makes women freer? And how do we need to reset our cultural norms to get there?In the final installment of our three-part feminism series on “The Argument,” Jane Coaston is joined by Nona Willis Aronowitz and Michelle Goldberg. Willis Aronowitz is the sex and love columnist at Teen Vogue, and the author of “Bad Sex: Truth, Pleasure and an Unfinished Revolution.” She’s also the daughter of Ellen Willis, a leader of the pro-sex feminist movement in the late 1960s and after. Goldberg is a Times Opinion columnist who has been writing about feminism for decades. The two discuss what it means to be sexually liberated, the limitations — and the rewards — of monogamy and just how much the individual choices people make in the bedroom shape the broader feminist movement.Mentioned in this episode:“The Case Against the Sexual Revolution,” by Louise Perry“I Still Believe in the Power of Sexual Freedom,” by Nona Willis Aronowitz in The New York Times“When Sexual Liberation Is Oppressive,” by Michelle Goldberg in The New York Times(A full transcript of the episode will be available midday on the Times website.)
28/09/22·30m 17s

After Dobbs: Feminism Beyond the Gender Binary

As the feminist movement has regrouped in the wake of the Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, one of the more surprising debates that has emerged has been one about semantics. Some feminists argue that using inclusive phrases like “pregnant person” in reproductive rights advocacy minimizes the experiences of cisgender women. So where do trans and nonbinary people fit within feminism’s big tent? And if the trans rights movement and the feminist movement are fighting for many of the same things — most critically, the protection of bodily autonomy — why can’t they get on the same page?In part two of our series on the future of feminism, Jane Coaston is joined by two trans feminists and writers, Dr. Jennifer Finney Boylan and Thomas Page McBee. Together, they discuss how the gender binary has informed their own identification, how they’ve felt supported — or left behind — by mainstream feminism, and how they want the two movements to work together going forward.(A full transcript of the episode will be available midday on the Times website.)
21/09/22·31m 46s

After Dobbs: Does ‘Big Tent’ Feminism Exist? Should It?

For decades, the story of the American feminist movement seemed like a progression of hard-won gains: Title IX, Roe v. Wade, the Violence Against Women Act, #MeToo. But in a post-“lean in” and post-Roe America, the momentum seems to have reversed, leaving some feminists to wonder: What are we fighting for? And who is in that fight?So this week, “The Argument” is kicking off a three-part series to dive into the state of feminism today. In the first episode, Jane Coaston brings together two people who have helped shaped how we think about feminism. Anne-Marie Slaughter is the chief executive of New America and wrote the influential 2012 Atlantic essay “Why Women Can’t Have It All.” The article was critiqued by our second guest, Tressie McMillan Cottom, a sociologist at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (and a Times columnist). Ten years later, the two women discuss what’s next for feminism — personal disagreements included — and debate Jane’s fundamental question: Is feminism an identity that you claim or an action that you take?(A full transcript of the episode will be available midday on the Times website.)
14/09/22·44m 7s

What Should High Schoolers Read?

Book banning has surged in America’s classrooms. The free speech advocacy organization PEN America has compiled a list of more than 1,500 reported instances of books being banned in public schools and libraries in less than a year. As students head back to school, what are the books we do and don’t want our kids to read? And what are the values America’s students are meant to take away from the pages of books?So on this episode of “The Argument,” Jane Coaston is talking to two writers and teachers to figure out what high school English syllabuses should look like in 2022. Kaitlyn Greenidge is a contributing Opinion writer and novelist who has taught high school English and creative writing, and designed English curriculums for for-profit companies. Esau McCaulley, also a contributing Opinion writer, is an associate professor at Wheaton College.Greenidge argues that at their best, English classes and the books read in them should be a place to find mutual understanding. “When you’re talking about what we should read in English class, you’re really talking about how to make a common language for people to talk across,” Greenidge says. But the question of whose stories are included in that common language — especially when it comes to what makes up the Western canon — is especially fraught. And to McCaulley, how teachers put a book in context is just as important as what their students are reading in the first place. “That’s what makes discussions around the canon complicated,” he says. "Because the teacher has to be able to see these texts as both powerful and profoundly broken, because they’re written by humans who often have those contradictions in themselves.”Mentioned in this episode:From New York Times Opinion: “What Is School For?”(A full transcript of the episode will be available midday on the Times website.)
07/09/22·34m 26s

Best of: Does the Supreme Court Need More Justices?

Today, we're re-airing one of our most timely debates from earlier this year: Reforming the Supreme Court. This episode originally aired before the Dobbs decision was released this summer.2022 is a big year for supporters of Supreme Court reform. Roe v. Wade, the landmark case that gave women nationwide the right to have abortions, has been overturned, and the debate around changing the way we structure the bench — in particular, packing the court — is getting only more heated.The past decade has brought a shift in the makeup of the court — from Brett Kavanaugh, appointed despite sexual assault allegations, to Merrick Garland, blocked from confirmation, and Amy Coney Barrett, rushed to confirmation.It’s the culmination of decades of effort by Republicans to make the courts more conservative. And now Democrats want to push back by introducing some radical changes.Today, Jane Coaston brings together two guests who disagree on whether altering Supreme Court practices is the right call and, if yes, what kind of changes would make sense for the highest judicial body in the nation.Russ Feingold is the president of the American Constitution Society and was a Democratic senator from Wisconsin from 1993 to 2011. Russ Miller is an attorney and law professor at Washington and Lee and the head of the Max Planck Law Network in Germany.Mentioned in this episode:“Americans No Longer Have Faith in the U.S. Supreme Court. That Has Justices Worried,” by Russ Feingold in The Guardian, published in October 2021.“We Don’t Need to Reform the Supreme Court,” by Russ Miller in Just Security, published in February 2021.“The Future of Supreme Court Reform,” by Daniel Epps and Ganesh Sitaraman in Harvard Law Review, published in May 2021.
31/08/22·42m 32s

Best of: Cancel America's Student Loan Debt! But How?

Today, with the Biden Administration weighing whether to extend the federal student loan payment freeze, we're re-airing one of our most timely debates from last year: Canceling student loan debt. The problem of student loan debt has reached crisis proportions. As a college degree has grown increasingly necessary for economic mobility, so has the $1.7 trillion in student loan debt that Americans have taken on to access that opportunity. President Biden has put some debt cancellation on the table, but progressive Democrats are pushing him for more. So what is the fairest way to correct course?Astra Taylor — an author, a documentarian and a co-founder of the Debt Collective — dukes it out with Sandy Baum, an economist and a nonresident senior fellow at the Center on Education Data and Policy at the Urban Institute. While the activist and the economist agree that addressing the crisis requires dramatic measures, they disagree on how to get there.Is canceling everyone’s debt progressive policy, as Taylor contends? Or does it end up being a regressive measure, as Baum insists? Jane hears them both out. And she offers a royal history tour after Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry.Mentioned in this episode:Astra Taylor in The Nation: “The Case for Wide-Scale Debt Relief”Sandy Baum in Education Next: “Mass Debt Forgiveness Is Not a Progressive Idea”Astra Taylor’s documentary for The Intercept: “You Are Not a Loan”Sandy Baum for the Urban Institute: “Strengthening the Federal Role in the Federal-State Partnership for Funding Higher Education”Jane’s recommendation: Lucy Worsley’s three-episode mini-series “Secrets of the Six Wives”
24/08/22·46m 21s

Trump, Dr. Oz and Our Political Cult of Celebrity

Celebrities. They are ubiquitous in American culture and now, ever increasingly, in our politics. From Donald Trump to Dr. Oz, the memeification of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine — the power of celebrity has gripped our democracy and society. We want our elected officials to be superstars, but is that a good thing?So today, host Jane Coaston is joined by Jessica Bennett, contributing editor to Times Opinion and Frank Bruni, a contributing Opinion writer, to discuss our modern celebrity politics phenomenon and how it’s shaping our cultural and political realities.“I’m distressed that we’ve conflated celebrity and politics because I think it gives politicians the wrong goals, the wrong motives,” Bruni says. And a lot of that is on us — the fans.“We place values on celebrities that may not actually represent them, and they become something outside of themselves,” Bennett says. “They start to represent something that has nothing to do with the person who’s actually there.”Warning: This episode contains explicit language.Mentioned in this episode:“Dr. Does-It-All” by Frank Bruni in The New York Times Magazine“He’s Sorry, She’s Sorry, Everybody Is Sorry. Does It Matter?” by Jessica BennettSign up for Frank Bruni’s newsletter for New York Times Opinion here.(A full transcript of the episode will be available midday on the Times website.)
17/08/22·28m 29s

Your Blue State Won’t Save You: Why State Politics Is National Politics

Last week, Kansans voted in overwhelming numbers to protect abortion rights in their State Constitution — the first instance since the overruling of Roe v. Wade in which voters have been able to weigh in on the issue directly. But local battles aren’t just limited to abortion. There’s guns. There’s school curriculums. Most crucially, there’s voting rights. As national politics becomes increasingly polarized and stalemates in Congress continue, how we live is going to be decided by local legislation. It’s time we step into the state houses and see what’s happening there.So on today’s episode, guests Zack Beauchamp and Nicole Hemmer help Jane Coaston understand what these state-level legislative battles mean for national politics. Beauchamp covers the Republican Party for Vox, and Hemmer is a historian of conservative media and an associate professor at Vanderbilt University. Both share the belief that state governments have become powerful machines in influencing the U.S. constitutional system, but to what extent that influence is helpful or harmful to American democracy depends. “This idea of the states as the laboratories of democracy, being able to try out different policies and different programs and see how they work in the state — that’s great,” Hemmer says. “But they’ve become these laboratories of illiberalism in recent years. And that’s something that we have to reckon with.”Mentioned in this episode:“Why the G.O.P. Should Be the Party of Voting Rights” by Nicole Hemmer“Republican Control of State Government Is Bad for Democracy” by Zack Beauchamp“Democrats Chase Shiny Objects. Here’s How They Can Build Real Power.” From “The Ezra Klein Show” with Amanda Litman.(A full transcript of the episode will be available midday on the Times website.) 
10/08/22·30m 47s

What’s God Got to Do With It? The Rise of Christian Nationalism in American Politics.

Christian nationalism has been empowered in American politics since the rise of Donald Trump. From “Stop the Steal” to the storming of the U.S. Capitol and now, the overturn of Roe v. Wade — Christian nationalist rhetoric has undergirded it all. But given that a majority of Americans identify as Christian, faith also isn’t going anywhere in our politics. So what would a better relationship between church and state look like?To discuss, Jane Coaston brings together two people who are at the heart of the Christian nationalism debate. Katherine Stewart is the author of “The Power Worshippers: Inside the Dangerous Rise of Religious Nationalism” and has reported on the Christian right for over a decade. Esau McCaulley is a contributing writer for Times Opinion and theologian-in-residence at Progressive Baptist Church in Chicago.Stewart feels that the movement is paving the way to something with graver consequence. “This is a movement that wants to promote theocratic policies,” she says. “But theocracy is really not the end point. It’s sort of a means to an end, which is authoritarianism.” McCaulley agrees the danger is real. But to him, there’s a place for faith-informed arguments in the public square. “When you try to enforce your religion as the base of your argument and the sole way of being a good American, that’s Christian nationalism,” he says. “And when you’re saying, well, hold on, here is a value that I want to advocate for, perhaps this is my best presentation of the issue, let’s vote and let society decide — I think that’s the best that you can hope for.”Mentioned in this episode:“Christian Nationalists Are Excited About What Comes Next” by Katherine Stewart in The New York Times“How Religion Can Help Put Our Democracy Back Together” by Richard Just in The Washington Post Magazine(A full transcript of the episode will be available midday on the Times website.)
03/08/22·32m 48s

Is America Stuck in a Gerontocracy?

American politics has an age problem. At least, that’s what voters think. According to a new New York Times/Siena College poll, 33 percent of Democrats who want a different candidate for president in 2024 pointed to Joe Biden’s age as a motivating factor. But a nearly equal percentage say they aren’t keen to have Biden for a second term because of his job performance — or lack thereof. Could the answer to appease voters be that Democrats just need some young blood? Or is there a deeper rift between voters — especially young ones — and political leadership?Jane Coaston brings together Michelle Cottle, a Times editorial board member, and David Brooks, an Opinion columnist, to parse out what we are really talking about when we talk about age in politics. “What is age actually a proxy for?” Cottle asks. “Is it your concerns about fading ability, or is it concerns about a lack of fighting spirit?” But for Brooks, the question is centered more on stagnancy: “Why has the gerontocracy been able to stay in power? What is it about these people that they’ve been able to persevere and just stick around?”Mentioned in this episode:“The Case for Age Limits in American Politics” by Jack Holmes in EsquireYou can read Michelle Cottle’s work in The New York Times here and David Brooks’s work here(A full transcript of the episode will be available midday on the Times website.)
27/07/22·28m 7s

A View From the Right on Progressives’ ‘Moral Crusade’

For years, Republicans have been known as the party of moral outrage. Take for instance the recent book banning wars, or Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill. But Democrats aren’t immune to moral outrage. At least that’s what Noah Rothman, a conservative writer and commentator, believes. He is the author of the new book “The Rise of the New Puritans: Fighting Back Against Progressives’ War on Fun.” In it, he argues that progressives, in their pursuit of liberal ideals, are fueling a movement of moral panics more reminiscent of 17th-century preachifying than 1960s liberalism — and that we’re all worse off for it.Host Jane Coaston has doubts. So on today’s episode, she invites Rothman and the editor at large for Times Opinion, Alex Kingsbury, to debate if moral outrage has really moved from the right to the left. “Are Republicans cultural revanchists? Of course they are. That’s not new,” says Rothman. “What’s new [is], progressives are joining them in the fight.”Mentioned in this episode:“Noah Rothman on the ‘Unjustice’ of Social Justice Politics” from Vox Conversations“The Rise of the New Puritans” by Noah Rothman(A full transcript of the episode will be available midday on the Times website.)
20/07/22·25m 44s

First Person: Why One Progressive Public Defender Hoped for an N.R.A. Victory

Today we're bringing you an episode of another Times Opinion show, First Person. Hours after this episode was released, the Supreme Court overturned New York State’s gun-permitting system — a decision with major implications for the regulation of guns outside the home. The case was, unsurprisingly, backed by the National Rifle Association. But it also found supporters in typically liberal public defenders, like Sharone Mitchell Jr.Mitchell is the public defender for Cook County, which includes Chicago, a city with some of the strictest gun laws in the country. Growing up on the South Side, Mitchell was raised to believe that guns are dangerous and harmful, a view that was reinforced by his experiences as a public defender and gun control advocate. But those experiences have also led him to believe that gun-permitting laws are harmful, as he explains to Lulu Garcia-Navarro in this episode.
13/07/22·32m 32s

Roe Is Dead. How Will Democrats and the G.O.P. Evolve Without It?

For nearly 50 years, the issue of abortion has driven voters of all persuasions to the polls. But now that Roe v. Wade has been overturned and the question of reproductive rights has been returned to the states, America’s political parties are going to have to figure out how to metabolize that energy in the years ahead. To discuss what comes next for Democrats and Republicans alike, host Jane Coaston is joined by Times Opinion columnists Ross Douthat and Michelle Goldberg. As colleagues, they’ve been debating abortion with each other, on this podcast and in the pages of the paper, for years.So in today’s episode, they convene again to share their thoughts on this watershed moment in America’s political history. “The reason I, and many people I know, feel such intense despair is not just because a right that they cared about deeply is no longer protected, but because it seems like the democratic process is short circuited at every turn,” Goldberg says. But Douthat feels that may just be a good thing for the future of American democracy, especially for states. “Whatever happens with state laws or national laws, it makes a big difference to a lot of people’s relationship to this country to have the abortion debate return to the democratic process,” he says.Mentioned in this episode:Mentioned in this episode:“The Abortion Stories We Don’t Hear” audio project“The End of Roe Is Just the Beginning” by Ross Douthat in The New York Times“Lessons From the Terrible Triumph of the Anti-Abortion Movement” by Michelle Goldberg in The New York Times"When Abortion Is Sacred" by Erika Sasson in Gen(A full transcript of the episode will be available midday on the Times website.)
06/07/22·31m 26s

‘This Really Changes Things’: Three Opinion Writers on Cassidy Hutchinson’s Jan. 6 Testimony

For the past month, the House select committee on Jan. 6 has held a series of public hearings on President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Yesterday it surprised all of us with some of its most stunning evidence yet.In revelatory testimony, Cassidy Hutchinson, who was a top aide to Trump’s White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, divulged details about just how much Trump and some of his supporters knew about the potential for violence at the Capitol before Jan. 6. According to Hutchinson, Trump knew that the crowd was heavily armed, but that didn’t stop him from calling on his supporters to march to the Capitol anyway. “They’re not here to hurt me,” she overheard him say.Host Jane Coaston is joined by The Times’s columnist Bret Stephens and editorial board member Michelle Cottle to unpack the new testimony and what it might mean for Trump — and the future of the G.O.P.Recommended reading from this episode:Michelle Cottle’s Opinion essay “Cassidy Hutchinson Did Her Job”Bret Stephens’ column “Will the Jan. 6 Committee Finally Bring Down the Cult of Trump?”The Wall Street Journal opinion essay “Trump Needs an Apprentice”(A full transcript of the episode will be available by the end of the day on the Times website.)
29/06/22·20m 8s

Is Crime That Bad, or Are the Vibes Just Off?

From New York to San Francisco, there’s a sense that crime is on the rise in American cities. And in some ways, that’s true: Violent crime has risen. Murders are up nearly 40 percent since 2019. But property crime has fallen for years. And how we define crime, and what’s causing its increase, is a complicated issue — as is what we should do about it.So on today’s episode of “The Argument,” Jane Coaston is joined by Rafael Mangual and Alex Kingsbury to debate what’s really going on with crime rates and why people feel so unsafe.Mangual is a senior fellow and the head of research for the Policing and Public Safety Initiative at the Manhattan Institute. “I do think this is more than just a bad-vibes moment in a lot of places. It really is as bad as it’s ever been or close to it,” Mangual says. Alex, an editor at large at New York Times Opinion, thinks we need to first change the narrative of how we understand crime. “Crime as a general term is just really broad,” Alex says, adding, “Where you sit determines what you see.”Mentioned in this episode:Rafael Mangual’s book, “Criminal (In)Justice”“The Argument” police reform round table episode: “Policing Is Not Broken, It’s ‘Literally Designed to Work in This Way’”(A full transcript of the episode will be available midday on the Times website.)
22/06/22·36m 38s

Who Can Write About What? A Conversation With Roxane Gay and Jay Caspian Kang

When does creative license become cultural appropriation? Take “American Dirt” and “The Help,” two books by white authors that drew criticism for their portrayals of characters of color. Artists’ job is to imagine and create, but what do we do when they get it wrong?To discuss, Jane Coaston is joined by the Opinion writers Roxane Gay and Jay Caspian Kang. Roxane is an author of multiple books, including “Hunger” and “Bad Feminist.” Jay is a contributor for The New York Times Magazine and writes a twice-weekly newsletter. In their work, both have thought deeply about the thorny issues of writing across identities — including what makes work authentic, the pressure of representation for writers of color and the roles social media and the publishing industry play in literary criticism. “I don’t think it’s that complicated,” Roxane says. “It’s not that we divorce identity from the conversation. It’s that we treat it as inherent because we can’t separate out parts of ourselves.”Mentioned in this episode:“White Fever Dreams” by Roxane Gay in Gay Magazine“The Pity of the Elites” by Jay Caspian Kang(A full transcript of the episode will be available midday on the Times website.)
15/06/22·27m 18s

Best- and Worst-Case Outcomes of the Jan. 6 Public Hearings

On Thursday, a bipartisan House select committee will begin public hearings on the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol. The weeks ahead will be awash with news as the committee reveals what happened in the days and weeks before the attack — and to what extent the rioters were emboldened, or enabled, by the White House and Republican lawmakers.To wade through the news and help us understand what to pay attention to as the hearings unfold, host Jane Coaston calls upon two experts on the Republican Party.Nicole Hemmer is an author and historian of conservative media. Ross Douthat is a Times Opinion columnist. They give their takes on what narratives might play out in the hearings and comment on the danger of far-right extremism in the G.O.P. “I don’t see an incentive structure that pulls the Republican Party in general away from procedural extremism, or even really at the moment, anything that pulls them back to a majoritarian democratic process,” Hemmer says.Mentioned in this episode:“What Oprah Winfrey Knows About American History That Tucker Carlson Doesn’t” by Nicole Hemmer in The New York Times“Are We Witnessing the Mainstreaming of White Power in America?” episode from The Ezra Klein Show“Why Would John Eastman Want to Overturn an Election for Trump?” by Ross Douthat in The New York Times(A full transcript of the episode will be available midday on the Times website.)
08/06/22·32m 14s

A Debate Over ‘Common Sense’ Gun Legislation

The recent shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde, Texas, indicate that gun violence, and how to address it, is a conversation we unfortunately need to keep having. But what policies would make a difference and stop some of these mass casualty events?On today’s episode, host Jane Coaston focuses on the solutions to gun violence and what measures would help stop mass shootings specifically, in addition to curbing homicides, suicides and other forms of gun violence. The three policy proposals up for debate: red-flag laws, background checks and age limits.Jane is joined by Charles C.W. Cooke, senior writer for National Review, and Alex Kingsbury, Times Opinion editor at large and editorial board member. Cooke isn’t convinced that gun laws will ameliorate America’s gun problem. “It’s just not the case that every single tightening of the gun law improves things. It doesn’t,” he says. On the other side is Kingsbury, who feels that we need gun control measures and that it’s about time the government finds a solution to the problem. “I mean, you just can’t look at the death toll that the weapons have inflicted on the society and say that we overregulate weapons in this society,” Kingsbury says.Mentioned in this episode:“It’s Too Late to Ban Assault Weapons” by Alex Kingsbury in The New York Times“Gunman in ____ Kills __” by Alex Kingsbury in The New York Times“This Is Why We Need Guns” by Charles C.W. Cooke in National Review(A full transcript of the episode will be available midday on the Times website.)
01/06/22·29m 42s

Who Decides the Right Way to Protest?

Two years ago, the murder of George Floyd sparked protests across America, gathering an estimated 15 million people into the streets during the summer of 2020. Since then, Americans of all political persuasions have taken to the streets to make their views known, on everything from mask mandates to abortion rights. But did protesting result in any real change? And looking back, where does that moment of collective outrage fit in the broader history of dissent in America?This week, host Jane Coaston wants to know whether there is a “right” way to protest, and what makes a protest successful. To talk it through, she’s joined by the conservative writer David French of The Dispatch and the Times Opinion columnist Charles Blow. “I think a lot of times what the protest does is that it crystallizes and defines the parameters of morality on an issue,” Blow says. “It is a narrative-setting or -changing event.” But French argues that sometimes, in pursuit of raising awareness, protests can go too far. “If a group of people can menace a public official with enough ferocity that they can undermine the will of the people, you’re really beginning to undermine the notion of democracy itself,” he says.Mentioned in this episode:“Leave the Justices Alone at Home” by the Washington Post editorial board“Protests Might Not Change the Court’s Decision. We Should Take to the Streets Anyway” by Jay Caspian Kang in The New York Times“Do Protests Even Work?” by Zeynep Tufekci in The Atlantic(A full transcript of the episode will be available midday on the Times website.)
25/05/22·33m 22s

The Economy Is Weird. Two Experts on Where It Goes From Here.

If you’re confused about the current state of the economy and where it’s headed, you’re not alone. The United States is experiencing inflation at the highest rate since the 1980s, and most Americans generally feel as bad about the economy as they did during the Great Recession of 2008. At the same time, unemployment is low and wages are rising.On today’s episode of “The Argument,” host Jane Coaston consults two economics reporters to break down these conflicting trends in the economy and to ask the question so many people want answered: Are things going to get worse before they get better?Peter Coy is an Opinion writer for The New York Times. Alexandra Scaggs is a senior writer at Barron’s, where she covers bonds markets. Both have different takes on how the Federal Reserve can try to bring inflation down without long-term repercussions, including a recession. “There are people who would say, well, fine, that’s what needs to happen, if that’s what it takes to extinguish this high inflation, so be it,” Coy says. “And I’m just saying, I’m not willing to go that far.”Mentioned in this episode:“Unemployment Is Low. That Doesn’t Mean the Economy Is Fine.” by Peter Coy in The New York Times“How Should Democrats Respond to Rising Inflation and High Gas Prices?” by John Cassidy in The New Yorker“Making Sense of a Complicated Economy,” EconoFact Chats episode from EconoFact(A full transcript of the episode will be available midday on the Times website.)
18/05/22·27m 21s

Trump, the Primaries and the ‘Populism of Resentment’ Shaping the G.O.P.

May is chock-full of primary elections, and they are starting to provide a picture of how deep the G.O.P. is entrenched in Trumpism. J.D. Vance, the 37-year-old venture capitalist and author of the acclaimed memoir “Hillbilly Elegy,” won the Republican Senate primary in Ohio — with the endorsement of Donald Trump. The rise of Vance paints a telling portrait of how the G.O.P. is evolving in its appeal to its conservative base. Vance eagerly sought Trump’s endorsement and praise. Does it mean that the party is becoming a “populism of tribal loyalty,” as suggested by one of today’s guests?Today on “The Argument,” host Jane Coaston wants to know what this month’s Republican primary elections can actually tell us about the future of the G.O.P. and if it signals more Trump in 2024. She is joined two conservative writers, David French and Christopher Caldwell.French is a senior editor of “The Dispatch” and a contributing writer at The Atlantic. Caldwell is a contributing writer for New York Times Opinion. “I don’t think anyone disputes that there’s a wide open lane for populist incitement,” French says. “I think the issue with J.D. Vance and the issue with the Republican Party in general is this move that says, we’re going to indulge it. We’re going to stoke it.”Mentioned in this episode:“The Decline of Ohio and the Rise of J.D. Vance” by Christopher Caldwell in The New York Times“What if There Is No Such Thing as ‘Trumpism'?” by Jane Coaston in The National Review(A full transcript of the episode will be available midday on the Times website.)
11/05/22·32m 44s

‘You Haven’t Seen Anything Yet’: What’s Next if Roe Goes

It was a historic twist in an already historic case: A draft opinion of a Supreme Court decision overturning two landmark rulings — Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey — leaked to Politico, which published the 98-page document on Monday night. Chief Justice John Roberts said that the draft opinion was authentic but that “it does not represent a decision by the court or the final position of any member on the issues in the case.”Even with that caveat, it seems to be a sign of where things are headed — the end of abortion rights as a constitutional right in America.On today’s episode of “The Argument,” Jane Coaston is joined by the Times Opinion columnist Michelle Goldberg and editorial board member Jesse Wegman to discuss the implications of the draft opinion and the future of abortion rights in America.What is your take on the Roe v. Wade draft leak? We want to hear from you. Share your thoughts on The New York Times website once you’ve listened to the episode.Mentioned in this episode:Skinner v. Oklahoma ex rel. Williamson Supreme Court caseGriswold v. Connecticut Supreme Court case“The Next Frontier for the Anti-Abortion Movement: A Nationwide Ban” by Caroline Kitchener in The Washington Post“Thoughts on a Post-Roe Agenda” by Patrick T. Brown in National Review(A full transcript of the episode is available on The Times website.)
04/05/22·28m 56s

How Did Queer Kids Become the Battlefield For the Right’s Midterm Strategy?

Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill, states barring transgender athletes from participating in sports and censoring school curriculums around queer and gender identity — a wave of anti-L.G.B.T.Q. legislation is spreading across the country, sustained in large part by the political right. According to the Human Rights Campaign, this year alone, more than 300 anti-L.G.B.T.Q. bills have been introduced in state legislatures.Why has this issue become the focus of the Republican Party? And how is the way society treats individuals who identify as L.G.B.T.Q. changing?In today’s episode, Jane Coaston convenes her Times Opinion colleagues, the columnists Ross Douthat and Michelle Goldberg, to debate this issue. Ross brings his conservative lens to the topic of L.G.B.T.Q. issues and Michelle shares a more liberal outlook. In the middle is Jane, who brings a deeply personal perspective to the table: “I think that a lot of these bills seem to spring from what I would say, a willful misunderstanding of how people like me became ourselves,” she says.What are your thoughts on the recent anti-L.G.B.T.Q. legislation? We want to hear from you. Share your thoughts in the comments on The New York Times website once you’ve listened to the debate.Mentioned in this episode:“How to Make Sense of the New L.G.B.T.Q. Culture War” by Ross Douthat in The New York Times“Gender Unicorn” from Trans Student Educational Resources(A full transcript of the episode will be available midday on the Times website.)
27/04/22·38m 38s

From Amazon to Starbucks, America Is Unionizing. Will Politics Catch Up?

From Amazon and Starbucks to large media companies, unionization has become a siren call for workers — white- and blue-collar — fighting for rights and fair wages. But in 2022, after two years of a pandemic, how have our ideas about unions changed? And are Democrats, the so-called party of the unions, still allies in the fight for workers’ rights?On today’s episode of “The Argument,” Jane Coaston asks two leading labor voices in America to debate the current role of unions, how the watershed vote at an Amazon warehouse is changing their work and whether Democrats have failed workers.Liz Shuler is the president of the A.F.L.-C.I.O. Jane McAlevey is an organizer and a campaign strategist and the author of the recent book “A Collective Bargain: Unions, Organizing and the Fight for Democracy.”“People used to say, ‘It’s the economy, stupid.’ It’s the base, stupid, in my argument,” McAlevey says, emphasizing the need for unions and large organizations like the A.F.L.-C.I.O. to learn from Amazon and focus on bringing more workers into the fold. “If we don’t return to bottom-up organizing, we’re simply not going to have the political muscle to force Democrats and Republicans to do that which they must: to honor the essential workers coming out of this pandemic.”What’s your take on unions? How do you think unions should capitalize on this moment? We want to hear from you. Share your thoughts in the comments on The New York Times website once you’ve listened to the debate.Mentioned in this episode:“Raising Expectations (and Raising Hell)” by Jane McAlevey“The People, United, Must Fight Hard or Be Defeated” by Binyamin Appelbaum in The New York Times(A full transcript of the episode will be available midday on the Times website.)
20/04/22·29m 21s

The Dangerous Lesson Viktor Orban Taught Republicans

President Biden has described the world as being in a “battle between democracy and autocracy.” And Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s recent victory in Hungary, especially, has marked it as a country in pursuit of what Orban calls an “illiberal democracy.” So what has happened to liberalism, and why is it so deeply challenged today?On today’s episode of “The Argument,” Jane Coaston brings the Vox senior correspondent Zack Beauchamp and the Times Opinion columnist Bret Stephens together to debate what’s gone wrong with liberalism. Both take vastly different positions on what the biggest challenge to liberalism is today and how to approach it, but they agree on one thing: Western liberalism is in danger, largely in part from what’s happening abroad.“I think liberalism is under profound threat in the United States, even more so in states in Europe, and the person who is effectively the global champion of that illiberal worldview right now strikes me as Vladimir Putin,” Stephens says.In January, Beauchamp posted on Twitter: "The biggest challenge for liberalism today is the use of its own key features against it: free speech enabling the spread of authoritarian propaganda, democracy empowering illiberal leaders, markets producing an unresponsive oligarchic class."How do you think liberalism is being challenged today? We want to hear from you. Share your thoughts in the comments on The New York Times website once you’ve listened to the debate.Mentioned in this episode:“Europe’s Other Threat to Democracy” by Zack Beauchamp on Vox“The Anti-Liberal Moment” by Zack Beauchamp on Vox“America Could Use a Liberal Party” by Bret Stephens in The New York Times“The War in Ukraine, Explained,” Part 1 and Part 2, on the “Vox Conversations” podcast with Zack Beauchamp(A full transcript of the episode will be available midday on the Times website.)
13/04/22·43m 23s

Why Russian Sanctions Won’t Stop Putin

The Russian invasion of Ukraine is entering its sixth week. Atrocities committed by Russian troops have reached new levels; in Bucha, recent photos show dead, unarmed civilians lining the streets. The harrowing scenes have prompted NATO leaders to consider taking new measures against Russia, namely to equip Ukraine with more weapons and impose more sanctions on Russia.But will those measures be enough? With President Biden now calling the atrocities “war crimes” and Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki of Poland “acts of genocide,” what more should NATO do to help protect Ukraine and its sovereignty?On today’s episode of “The Argument,” host Jane Coaston calls upon the former NATO top commander Gen. Philip Breedlove to give context and answers to these large questions. Breedlove is now the distinguished chair of the Frontier Europe Initiative at the Middle East Institute, and he has a lot to say about the alliance’s approach to Russia. “There are people in our government and people in NATO that believe if we keep doing nothing and we just keep doing what we’re doing, supplying them, that the risk will not grow. I’m here to tell you the risk is growing every day,” he says.(A full transcript of the episode will be available midday on the Times website.)
06/04/22·36m 59s

Ukraine Made Big Tech Pick a Side — But Who Are the Losers?

Technology defines nearly every facet of our modern world. It almost feels that to exist today in the Western world, one has no choice but to engage in it. As a result, Big Tech holds an incredible amount of power — power that continues to play a role in the Russia-Ukraine war.As the war has intensified, tech companies have been forced to take a side. It’s become what the Times reporters Adam Satariano and Sheera Frenkel described as a “defining geopolitical moment for some of the world’s biggest tech companies.” Spotify decided last Friday to suspend its services in Russia because of recently enacted Russian legislation that restricts access to news. Apple Pay also suspended services for Russia’s Mir cards, the country’s largest card payment system.It’s clear Big Tech companies hold big power. But should they? And do their moves in Russia highlight that they have too much influence in some countries? Is it time to finally reconsider tech regulation, and if so, who should be responsible for determining regulation?This week, Jane Coaston brings together two writers who spend their time reporting on the role technology plays in our lives. Charlie Warzel is a contributing writer at The Atlantic and writes the newsletter “Galaxy Brain,” about tech, media and politics. Robby Soave is a senior editor at the libertarian magazine “Reason” and is the author of the book “Tech Panic: Why We Shouldn’t Fear Facebook and the Future.”Mentioned in this episode:Charlie Warzel’s newsletter, “Galaxy Brain,” for The AtlanticRobby Soave’s YouTube show, “Rising”“Ukraine War Tests the Power of Tech Giants” by Adam Satariano and Sheera Frenkel“TikTok Was Designed for War” by Chris Stokel-Walker in Wired“Tech Panic: Why We Shouldn’t Fear Facebook and the Future” by Robby Soave.“Sway” episode with Jeffrey Sonnenfeld: “The Corporations Passing — and Failing — the Ukraine Morality Test”(A full transcript of the episode will be available midday on the Times website.)
30/03/22·28m 25s

It’s Not About Putin: Two Conservatives Break Down the G.O.P. Split Over Ukraine

How should America respond to Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine? This week, Jane Coaston sought out perspectives of a particular group on this complex question: conservatives. The group has long been divided on foreign policy and, more recently, over Putin and Russia. Could loyalty to Donald Trump lead some Republicans to support Putin?In today’s episode, these questions are tested by two conservative writers — and their answers are far from aligned.Michael Brendan Dougherty is a senior writer at National Review. He feels strongly that the United States and NATO should avoid further involvement in the conflict and argues that a declaration of neutrality by Ukraine would be a good path forward. “I think neutrality is a real strategic position that can help some countries remain independent, sovereign and avoid war,” he says.David French is a senior editor at The Dispatch. He sits on the opposite side; He is for NATO expansion and believes the United States should further help to defend Ukraine. “It’s so necessary for the West — without risking nuclear conflict with Russia — to demonstrate for a generation, if possible, that this form of aggressive warfare is going to cost far, far more than anything that Russia will gain,” he says.Whether you’re a Republican, Democrat, independent or none of those, we want to hear from you. What’s your take on Ukraine, and how do you think the Republican Party should be reacting? Share your thoughts in the comments on this page after you’ve listened to the debate.Mentioned in this episode:“My Father Left Me Ireland: An American Son’s Search for Home” by Michael Brendan Dougherty“The French Press” newsletter by David French“Divided We Fall: America’s Succession Thread and How to Restore Our Nation” by David French“The War in Ukraine Is a Blow to the Nationalist, Postliberal Right” by David French“Wartime’s Macabre Predictions of a Populist Defeat” by Michael Brendan Dougherty in National Review(A full transcript of the episode will be available midday on the Times website.)
23/03/22·44m 35s

Putin Is ‘High Off His Own Propaganda Supply’

This week, an antiwar protester interrupted a Moscow broadcast with a sign in Russian reading: “Stop the war. Don’t believe the propaganda. They are lying to you here.” With the Russian government promoting propaganda on news channels and most recently passing a law to punish people spreading “false information” about the Ukraine invasion, it’s been hard to distill what is actually going on in both Russia and Ukraine right now. The confusion has resulted in what Masha Gessen recently described as parallel realities transpiring in Russia and an outright denial of war in Ukraine.So how can you make sense of what is true in our world of information, especially when anyone can use propaganda not only to change your mind but also to overwhelm you?Jane Coaston talks to the Soviet-born British journalist Peter Pomerantsev to talk about propaganda and how those in power — and the everyday person — use it to undermine the fabric of society and our collective understanding. Pomerantsev is a senior fellow at Johns Hopkins University and the author of the 2019 book “This Is Not Propaganda.” He talks to Jane about Vladimir Putin’s mythmaking and propaganda machine and how we as information consumers can make sense of what we know as truth.Mentioned in this episode:“Ukrainians Find That Relatives in Russia Don’t Believe It’s a War” by Valerie Hopkins in The New York Times“Putin No Longer Seems Like a Master of Disinformation” by Farhad Manjoo in The New York Times“This Is Not Propaganda” by Peter Pomerantsev“Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible” by Peter Pomerantsev“The Mass Ornament: Weimar Essays” by Siegfried Kracauer(A full transcript of the episode will be available midday on the Times website.)
16/03/22·34m 33s

The New Phase of the Pandemic Is Covid Exhaustion

We’re headed into the third year of pandemic life, and one thing is clear: We’re all exhausted from Covid. Virus caseloads are waning across the country, masks are coming off, people are traveling more, and office workers have new return dates. Does that mean the pandemic is over? Maybe. And maybe not.On Feb. 25, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention relaxed its guidelines on mask wearing and social distancing, saying that 70 percent of Americans no longer need to heed those recommendations. But for a lot of people, like parents of kids under 5 and those who are immunocompromised, this presents more challenges. It’s clear the burden of managing Covid risk increasingly rests on the individual, so what are we supposed to do now?It’s a lot to contemplate. So on today’s show, Jane puts that question to two experts to help the rest of us.Dr. Monica Gandhi is an infectious-disease physician whose previous work on H.I.V. informs her assessment of public health messaging during this pandemic. Dr. Aaron E. Carroll is the chief health officer at Indiana University and has spent the pandemic thinking about how to keep his community safe. The good news? Both of them think we’ve got the tools to move forward safely.Mentioned in this episode:“Overcaution Carries Its Own Danger to Children” by Monica Gandhi in The Atlantic.“Why Hospitalizations Are Now a Better Indicator of Covid’s Impact” by Monica Gandhi and Leslie Bienen in The New York Times.“Covid-19 Vaccine Effectiveness Against the Omicron (B.1.1.529) Variant” in The New England Journal of Medicine.“To Fight Covid, We Need to Think Less Like Doctors” by Aaron E. Carroll in The New York Times.“Immune Cells Mean Omicron Won’t Swamp Hospitals in Vaccinated Areas” by Michael Daignault and Monica Gandhi in The Washington Post.“We Need to Talk About Covid” Part 1 and Part 2 from “The Daily.”(A full transcript of the episode will be available midday on the Times website.)
09/03/22·39m 21s

Opinion Roundtable: The 'Dirty Compromise' That Could Stop Putin

It’s been a week since Russia invaded Ukraine. Hundreds of thousands of refugees have fled Ukraine and Russia continues to target major Ukrainian cities with powerful weapons. And amidst the chaos of war – President Biden held his first State of the Union address. Yara Bayoumy, the world and national security editor for Times Opinion, and the columnists Thomas Friedman and Ross Douthat joined Lulu Garcia-Navarro, a Times Opinion podcast host, to discuss what could happen next.Listen to Jane's interview this week with retired Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman here. 
03/03/22·28m 23s

Alexander Vindman on Why It’s the ‘Beginning of the End’ for Putin

In the days since Vladimir Putin ordered Russian forces to invade Ukraine, its citizens have taken up arms to defend their borders and their right to self-determination. Where is the rest of the world in all of this?To help understand the current situation and how we got here, Jane Coaston talks with Alexander Vindman, a retired Army lieutenant colonel who was the director for European and Russian affairs at the National Security Council from 2018 to 2020. Vindman was also a key witness at Donald Trump’s first impeachment trial, having listened in on the notorious 2019 call in which Trump asked President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden. Vindman says of the Western response to the invasion, “We need to drop these incremental approaches that are intended for a kind of peacetime environment,” because “we’re in a new Cold War.”What is your take on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine? We want to hear from you. Share your thoughts in the comments on The New York Times website once you’ve listened to the debate.Mentioned in this episode:Alexander Vindman’s book, “Here, Right Matters: An American Story”“America Could Have Done So Much More to Protect Ukraine,” by Alexander Vindman in The Atlantic“Not One Inch: America, Russia, And the Making of Post-Cold War Stalemate,” by M.E. SarotteAn interview with the historian Serhii Plokhy in The New Yorker: “Vladimir Putin’s Revisionist History of Russia and Ukraine”People to follow on Twitter, as suggested by Alexander Vindman: Igor Girkin, Michael Kofman, Rob Lee, Michael McFaulThe Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society’s Ukraine crisis response fundThe MOAS humanitarian relief effort for Ukraine(A full transcript of the episode will be available midday on the Times website.)
02/03/22·36m 13s

The Complex Truth About American Patriotism

An American flag, football, the national anthem, “Make America Great Again” — all of these can be symbols of American patriotism, but to whom? In 2022, the notion of being a patriot is complex to say the least, and in a divided nation one might ask: Who gets to be called a patriot, and what does patriotism really mean in America?This week, Jane and her guests dig into how each of them feels about patriotism and how our two dominant political parties use the idea to their own ends.Ben Rhodes, former deputy national security adviser from 2009 to 2017, posits that a fundamental sense of patriotism still holds in America today. “This has always been about the story we tell about ourselves and that we don’t live up to,” Ben says. “I think patriotism is basically about the effort to live up to the better version of the story that America tells us about itself.”Jamelle Bouie is a columnist with Times Opinion and resists the idea that it’s possible to forge a unifying sense of patriotism across the country. America is simply too large and too diverse to unite on a baseline of meaning. Patriotism, he argues, rests at the individual level: “I think all you have to do is identify what are the things that are valuable to you? What are the things that are important to you? And you pursue them,” he says.What does patriotism mean to you? Would you call yourself a patriot? We want to hear from you. Share your thoughts in the comments on The New York Times website once you’ve listened to the debate.Mentioned in this episode:“After the Fall” Being American in the World We’ve Made” by Ben Rhodes.“This Is No Time for Passive Patriotism” by Ben Rhodes in The Atlantic.“After Nationalism: Being American in an Age of Division” by Samuel Goldman.“The Moral Philosopher and the Moral Life” by William James in the International Journal of Ethics.(A full transcript of the episode will be available midday on the Times website.)
23/02/22·36m 53s

‘This is About the Future of Freedom’: What Does America Owe Ukrainians?

The U.S. State Department recently ordered all nonemergency diplomats and embassy employees to leave Ukraine, signaling that its personnel believe a Russian invasion of Ukraine may be imminent. Such a move by Russia would be the most consequential invasion in Europe since World War II.If Russia acts, what is America’s responsibility to Ukraine?Two of Jane’s Opinion colleagues, Bret Stephens and Farah Stockman, join her to tackle that question today. Both Bret and Farah have reported on foreign policy. Bret, a columnist for Times Opinion, told Jane: “I think Ukraine ought to be what Ukrainians want it to be. Vladimir Putin is unwilling to let Ukrainians decide their own future.”Farah, a member of the Times editorial board, sees wars as dirty pursuits that are often antithetical to democracy and freedom. Farah argues that America needs to focus on its own battles before engaging in international conflicts. “We need to do a better job picking our battles, we really do, because we have to protect ourselves and our own democracy first,” she says. “We cannot help anyone else if we’re in disarray. And guess what? We’re in disarray right now, we really are.”Mentioned in this episode:“Bring Back the Free World” by Bret Stephens.“Putin’s Pickle” by Julia Ioffe in Puck.“Stop asking what Putin wants and start asking what Ukrainians want” by Mychailo Wynnyckyj
15/02/22·37m 9s

Affirmative Action Isn’t Perfect. Should We Keep It Anyway?

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear two cases, one involving Harvard and the other the University of North Carolina, that could reshape college admissions. Both schools are being accused of race-based discrimination in their admission practices. In the coming year, the court will examine whether it’s lawful for college admissions offices to consider a student’s race.These cases and others have brought into focus the role affirmative action plays in higher education, and whether it helps or impedes the overall goal of achieving racial equity on college campuses.So the question Jane debates this week is: Should we end affirmative action?On today’s episode, the Opinion writer Jay Caspian Kang sets the stage by sharing with Jane his view that affirmative action policies merely make for “cosmetically diverse” campuses, rather than contributing to broader social justice initiatives.Jay and Jane’s conversation is followed by a debate between two guests with starkly different views. Ian Rowe, the former chief executive of Public Prep, a nonprofit charter school network, believes that race-based affirmative action needs to be retired in favor of class-based solutions. Natasha Warikoo, a professor of sociology at Tufts University, believes affirmative action is worth saving, and we should find ways to reframe it.What is your take on affirmative action: end it, or keep it? We want to hear from you. Share your thoughts in the comments on this page once you’ve listened to the debate.Mentioned in this episode:Jay Caspian Kang’s newsletter on politics, culture and the economy.Natasha Warikoo’s book “The Diversity Bargain: And Other Dilemmas of Race, Admissions and Meritocracy at Elite Universities.”“The State Must Provide: Why America’s Colleges Have Always Been Unequal — And How to Set Them Right,” by Adam Harris.“Can Affirmative Action Survive?” by Nicholas Lemann in The New Yorker.“Affirmative Action Shouldn’t Be About Diversity,” by Kimberly Reyes in The Atlantic.
09/02/22·45m 0s

Can Democrats Win When They Talk About Race?

With the midterm elections just nine months away, the Democrats face some hefty existential questions that need answers: Who are they in this post- and possibly pre-Trump era of American politics? Are they simply the anti-Trump party? Or are they the party of progress? Who are the voters they need to turn out in November? Should they excite the base by building a coalition united against white supremacy, or should they moderate their message to win over Republican-defectors?This week on “The Argument,” Jane Coaston brings together two voices that represent the factions in the Democratic Party’s existential struggle. Lanae Erickson is the senior vice president of social policy, education and politics at the center-left think tank Third Way. She argues that Democrats need to make their platform as broadly popular as possible in order to bring more voters under the party’s big tent. That’s the way to win, and then enact progressive policies.Steve Phillips disagrees. He’s the founder of the political media organization Democracy in Color and author of the book “Brown Is the New White: How the Demographic Revolution Has Created a New American Majority.” He counterargues that the Democrats must run and win as the party united around a vision of a multiracial, just society, unapologetically calling out racism on the other side of the ticket.The two political strategists strongly disagree on what the party needs to do to win in November, but they agree on one thing: Democrats are afraid and need to answer the question of who they are, fast.Mentioned in this episode:“The Argument” episode debating the future of the Republican Party: “Can the G.O.P. Recover From the ‘Big Lie’? We Asked 2 Conservatives”“The Ezra Klein Show” episode with Ron Klain: “What Biden’s Chief of Staff Has Learned, One Year In.”Joe Biden For President first campaign video: “America Is an Idea.”Steve Phillips’s book “Brown Is the New White: How the Demographic Revolution Has Created a New American Majority” and his forthcoming “How We Win the Civil War: Securing a Multiracial Democracy and Ending White Supremacy for Good.”Steve Phillips’s podcast, “Democracy in Color.”
02/02/22·44m 26s

‘Hell Hath No Fury Like a Voter Scorned’: What 14 Swing Voters Have to Say

A year into the Biden administration, most of us can agree on one thing: The United States remains a deeply divided nation, with polarizing opinions on all sides. But what about the voices from the middle, the independents? Swing voters are arguably one of the most consequential groups for the midterm elections, so we wanted to hear from them about how they view President Biden’s first year and the current state of American democracy.So this month the veteran G.O.P pollster Frank Luntz convened a focus group of 14 self-identified independents and moderates to get their perspectives. And there seems to be a striking theme: They’re exasperated. As Nick from Pennsylvania put it, “We’ve been promised a lot by past politicians, and it just seems that nothing ever changes.”This week, Luntz debriefs Jane on the group’s findings — namely, that independents are very disappointed and don’t see much hope for either party. His takeaway? “Independents are simple rejecters. They reject both the left and the right. They reject the past president and the current president. And in some ways they’re actually even more negative because they don’t see a way out.”Mentioned in this episode:“‘The Lowest Point in My Lifetime’: How 14 Independent Voters Feel About America”“Why Republican Voters Think Americans Have to Get Over Jan. 6”“‘We Barely Qualify as a Democracy Anymore’: Democratic Voters Fear for America”Sign up for one of Frank Luntz’s focus groups
26/01/22·32m 43s

Does the Supreme Court Need More Justices?

2022 is a big year for supporters of Supreme Court reform. Roe v. Wade, the landmark case that gave women nationwide the right to have abortions, might be overturned, and the debate around changing the way we structure the bench — in particular, packing the court — is getting only more heated.The past decade has brought a shift in the makeup of the court — from Brett Kavanaugh, appointed despite sexual assault allegations, to Merrick Garland, blocked from confirmation, and Amy Coney Barrett, rushed to confirmation.It’s the culmination of decades of effort by Republicans to make the courts more conservative. And now Democrats want to push back by introducing some radical changes.Today, Jane Coaston brings together two guests who disagree on whether altering Supreme Court practices is the right call and, if yes, what kind of changes would make sense for the highest judicial body in the nation.Russ Feingold is the president of the American Constitution Society and was a Democratic senator from Wisconsin from 1993 to 2011. And Russ Miller is an attorney and law professor at Washington and Lee and the head of the Max Planck Law Network in Germany.Mentioned in this episode:“Americans No Longer Have Faith in the U.S. Supreme Court. That Has Justices Worried,” by Russ Feingold in The Guardian, published in October 2021.“We Don’t Need to Reform The Supreme Court,” by Russ Miller in Just Security, published in February 2021.“The Future of Supreme Court Reform,” by Daniel Epps and Ganesh Sitaraman in Harvard Law Review, published in May 2021.
19/01/22·42m 2s

Can the G.O.P. Recover From the 'Big Lie'? We Asked 2 Conservatives

There’s a divide in the Republican Party between those who believe the ‘Big Lie’ — that the election was stolen from President Donald Trump — and those who don’t. But which side is ultimately the future of the party?That’s the question Jane Coaston poses to Charlie Sykes, a founder and editor at large of The Bulwark, and Rich Lowry, the editor of National Review.Sykes and Lowry discuss what the G.O.P. has learned from Donald Trump’s tenure as president and what Glenn Youngkin’s gubernatorial victory in Virginia might mean for the Republican midterms playbook. They also debate whether it’s Representative Liz Cheney or Marjorie Taylor Greene who’s a harbinger of the party to come.Also, if you’re a Republican, we want to hear from you. What do you think of the party right now and where it should go next? Would you be excited to vote for Trump in 2024? Or if you’re a former Republican, why did you leave the party? And who would you rather vote for instead? Leave us a voice mail message at (347) 915-4324 and we’ll share some of your responses later this month.Mentioned in this episode:“Against Trump,” editorial in National Review“Trump: Maybe,” by Charles C.W. Cooke in National Review“The Right: The Hundred-Year War for American Conservatism,” by Matthew Continetti“Blunt Report Says G.O.P. Needs to Regroup for ’16,” Times report on the G.O.P. 2012 autopsy
12/01/22·37m 12s

American Democracy: A Status Check

Just how much trouble is American democracy in? When we look to 2024, it’s easy to focus on the doomsday scenario: an election where legitimate results get thrown out. But our democracy has been eroding for years — and we’ve never been an equal democracy for everyone in the first place.Host Jane Coaston discusses the state of the U.S. democracy and whether Jan. 6 was a turning point with Masha Gessen, a staff writer at The New Yorker, and Corey Robin, a political scientist at Brooklyn College.Mentioned in this episode:“We Won’t Know the Exact Moment When Democracy Dies” by Masha Gessen“By Declaring Victory, Donald Trump Is Attempting An Autocratic Breakthrough” with the interview with Bálint Magyar, by Masha Gessen“The Anatomy of Post-Communist Regimes” by Bálint Magyar“Trump and the Trapped Country” by Corey Robin
05/01/22·44m 16s

The ‘End of an Ending’: Was 2021 Really The Worst?

As the days left in 2021 dwindle, you may feel that annual tug to judge this calendar year as cruelly as possible. After all, it was yet another year lived in a pandemic, on a warming planet, with teetering democracies and aspirational autocrats (tune in next week for that debate). But is it actually true? Did the world really get worse in 2021?For this Very NYT Opinion New Year’s Eve* episode of “The Argument,” Jane Coaston called upon podcast listeners and Opinion voices like the columnists Michelle Goldberg, Farhad Manjoo and Jamelle Bouie, the editorial board member Michelle Cottle and the musician and contributing writer Tom Morello to make the case for whether the world will enter 2022 a little bit better, or a little bit worse for wear.*close enoughMentioned in this episode:Michelle Goldberg’s column “The Problem of Political Despair”Michelle Cottle’s editorials on Liz Cheney, Joe Manchin, progressive frustrations with Democrats and the future elections that could shake both partiesJamelle Bouie’s newsletter on “Nightmare on Elm Street” — sign up for Jamelle’s newsletter hereFarhad Manjoo’s columns on the wind and solar energy boom, the California drought and the carbon footprint of travelTom Morello’s newsletter on his 98-year-old mom’s radical compassion — sign up for Tom’s newsletter here“Devil Put the Coal in the Ground,” by Steve Earle“The Argument” episode on qualified immunity and Tony Timpa’s case
29/12/21·34m 41s

Sherrilyn Ifill: ‘There Is No Guarantee We Make It Out of This Period as a Democracy’

Last month, Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted on all charges related to the shooting of two people at a Black Lives Matter protest in Kenosha, Wisc. Before, during and after the trial, journalists and pundits broke down the most sensational moments on the stand, and many tried to discern what Rittenhouse’s not-guilty decision meant about the country at large. People were eager to draw direct connections between the arguments used in court and the inequities that are seen in the country on a daily basis.But is looking at the Rittenhouse trial and other high-profile cases really the best way to understand where we are as a nation?This is a question that Sherrilyn Ifill has had to contend with during the nearly 10 years she’s led the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. Ifill oversaw the LDF as they sued the Trump administration and as the battle over voting rights has escalated over the past four years.Jane and Ifill discuss how the LDF has navigated the role of practicing law while advocating political movements in the country. Ifill also shares why she decided to step down from the LDF next April, and what she will be working on next.Mentioned in this episode:A Perilous Path: Talking Race, Inequality and the Law, published in 2018.The LDF’s Statement on the Acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse published on Nov. 19, 2021.
22/12/21·25m 43s

Is News Media Setting Trump Up For Another Win?

With the midterms just months away and the 2024 presidential race around the corner, the press is gearing up to cover more deeply polarizing election cycles.And how it should do that is an equally polarizing question. The media’s role in preserving — and reporting on — our democratic institutions is up for discussion.Last week, the New York Times Opinion columnist Ross Douthat pushed back on media critics like the N.Y.U. associate professor Jay Rosen. Jay asserts that the press should strive to be “pro-truth, pro-voting, anti-racist, and aggressively pro-democracy.”Ross disagrees, claiming that such a stance could feed more polarization.So, this week Jane Coaston invited Ross and Jay to the show for a lively debate over how the press should cover politics in a democratic society.Mentioned in this episode:“Can the Press Prevent a Trump Restoration?” by Ross Douthat, published last week“You Cannot Keep From Getting Swept up in Trump’s Agenda Without a Firm Grasp on Your Own” and “Two Paths Forward for the American Press,” by Jay Rosen, published in PressThink in May 2020 and November 2020, respectively.
15/12/21·33m 10s

Can a New University Really Fix Academia’s Free Speech Problems?

A group of scholars and journalists announced last month that they were founding the University of Austin on the belief that free speech is being stifled on college campuses across America.“The reality is that many universities no longer have an incentive to create an environment where intellectual dissent is protected and fashionable opinions are scrutinized,” wrote Pano Kanelos, the inaugural president, in the initial statement.But the news was followed by intense scrutiny and backlash on social media as part of a longstanding debate about the state of free speech on college campuses. From students boycotting controversial guest speakers to petitions demanding the resignation of faculty members with polarizing opinions, institutions of higher education have been hotbeds of a larger conversation around censorship of speech in the country.To debate the free speech crisis — or lack thereof — on campuses, Jane Coaston brought together Greg Lukianoff, the president and C.E.O. of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), and Mark Copelovitch, a professor of political science and public affairs and the director of the Center for European Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. They discuss whether the new university can address deep-rooted issues on campus or will just fall into the same “thought bubble” that plagues other institutions.Mentioned in this episode:“Why We Need New Colleges” by Ross Douthat in The New York Times“It’s the University of Austin Against Everyone — Including Itself,” by Derek Robertson in Politico“Greg Lukianoff: We Are Creating a Culture of Student Fragility,” a podcast episode of “The Bulwark”This op-ed on the Thompson Center’s “free speech” report, by Mark Copelovitch, Jon C.W. Pevehouse and Jessica L.P. Weeks in The Cap Times
08/12/21·40m 33s

Could Breaking Up Meta Make Things Worse?

Facebook, Meta — whatever you want to call it, the tech titan has drawn a lot of ire, and not just from privacy advocates and people fighting misinformation. Antitrust regulators are sharpening their knives, too.Forty-eight attorneys general want to slice the Big Tech giant into less-powerful pieces. They’ve joined a parallel lawsuit with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission to challenge what the agency alleges to be a monopoly engaging in illegal acquisitions. And overseas, Britain’s competition regulator has already directed Meta to sell one of its companies, the gif-sharing platform Giphy.Meta reaches 3.6 billion monthly active users across platforms, including Instagram, WhatsApp and Facebook itself. Amid a growing techlash, how to fix Meta is a big question.In today’s episode, Jane Coaston explores two opposing views on whether breaking up the company might help. Sarah Miller, the director of the American Economic Liberties Project, argues Meta engaged in anticompetitive practices by buying its rivals. And Tyler Cowen, an economist at George Mason University, is a champion of big business who lauds Meta as an “antimonopoly” engine.(A full transcript of the episode will be available midday on the Times website.)Mentioned in this episode:The case summary of Federal Trade Commission v. Facebook, Inc."Breaking Up Facebook Is Not the Answer" by Nick Clegg, Facebook's vice president for global affairs and communicationsSway's episode with Lina Khan "She's Bursting Big Tech's Bubble"
01/12/21·40m 7s

How to Find Common Ground With Your Most Problematic Family Members

It’s holiday time again, and this year feels different. Unlike the shelter-in-place aesthetic of 2020’s holiday celebrations, many people are now vaccinated and hoping to take part in the sort of family and friend events that are more reminiscent of the prepandemic time. With that warmth and community, we all may find ourselves in another seasonal tradition: getting into an argument with people over the dinner table.Maybe it’s a longstanding rivalry with a cousin, or a nosy aunt asking about your biological clock — or perhaps the uniquely 2020-2021 disagreements over masking, vaxxing and who actually won the election. Whatever your flavor of argument, host Jane Coaston and special guest Dylan Marron are here to help. Gleaning tips and advice from Dylan’s podcast and forthcoming book of the same name, “Conversations With People Who Hate Me,” Jane and Dylan lay out how to engage empathetically with the people who disagree with you, and how to avoid classic pitfalls that keep the discussion from being productive.Mentioned in this episode:Dylan’s podcast, “Conversations With People Who Hate Me”Dylan’s forthcoming book, “Conversations With People Who Hate Me”Dylan’s TED Talk, “Empathy Is Not Endorsement”
24/11/21·37m 44s

Why Identity Politics Isn’t Working for Asian Americans

Asian Americans are the fastest-growing racial group in the United States, and understanding their representation in culture, politics and society is getting increasingly complex.In the New York City mayoral election this month, the Republican candidate, Curtis Sliwa, won 44 percent of the vote in precincts where more than half of the residents are Asian, a rate higher than for any other racial group tracked. This came as a surprise, given the popular belief that Asian Americans, particularly the younger generation, are largely liberal.One of our guests on this week’s show argues that the conversation surrounding the Asian American identity is often limited to upwardly mobile immigrants with careers in highly skilled sectors like tech and medicine. But a term as vague as “Asian American” includes everyone from an Indian lawyer to a Hmong refugee, and with that comes the complication of identifying with a phrase that is meant to define such a wide range of experiences.Jane Coaston speaks to two Asian Americans who look at the term in different ways: the writer Jay Caspian Kang, who thinks it ignores class differences and so is meaningless, and his podcast co-host E. Tammy Kim, who believes there’s value in building political power by organizing around the identity and even across these class differences.Mentioned in this episode:“Time to Say Goodbye,” a podcast hosted by Jay Caspian Kang, E. Tammy Kim and Andy Liu on Asia, Asian America and life during the coronavirus pandemicKang’s new book, “The Loneliest Americans”Kim’s essay “Asian America,” in The London Review of Books“An Asian American Poet on Refusing to Take Up ‘Apologetic Space,’” on “Sway,” a New York Times Opinion podcast
17/11/21·38m 15s

Got Climate Doom? Here’s What You Can Do to Actually Make a Difference

It’s no wonder so many people feel helpless about averting climate catastrophe. This is the era of dire warnings from many scientists and increasing natural disasters, record-breaking temperatures and rising tides. Fossil-fuel executives testify before Congress while politicians waver on whether they’ll support urgently needed changes to make American infrastructure sustainable. Thousands of youth activists at the Glasgow climate talks this week demonstrated for action from world leaders whose words convey the seriousness of the emergency but whose actions against major carbon contributors are lacking.But, as host Jane Coaston says, “as fun as doomerism is, doomerism doesn’t do anything.” So what is an individual to do?Recycle? Compost? Give up meat or flying or plastic straws? Protest in the streets?To parse which personal actions matter and which don’t, Jane is joined by the climate activist and author Genevieve Guenther, who argues that for the wealthier citizens of the world, there are real steps that can be taken right away to help fight the current and impending climate catastrophes. Guenther lists them according to one’s ability, time and resources.Also joining the debate is the author of “The Uninhabitable Earth,” David Wallace-Wells, who argues that while individual behavior is a good start, it won’t bring the change needed; only large-scale political action will save us. In this episode, Guenther and Wallace-Wells disagree about extinction and blame, but they agree that when individual political pressure builds into an unignorable movement, once-impossible-to-imagine solutions will be the key to saving our future.Mentioned in this episode:David Wallace-Wells for New York magazine, “The Uninhabitable Earth”Auden Schendler’s guest essay “Worrying About Your Carbon Footprint Is Exactly What Big Oil Wants You to Do”Jason Mark for Sierra, “Yes, Actually, Individual Responsibility Is Essential to Solving the Climate Crisis”
10/11/21·41m 12s

Why Do We Still Change Clocks Twice A Year?

On Nov. 7, most of us will fall back an hour and restart the decades-old discussion of why we shift time twice a year.A quick reminder: In spring, we “spring forward” to Daylight Time, giving us daylight well into the evening. But this Sunday, we’ll be back to Standard Time. Which is nice for bright mornings. But it means it’s dark before dinner. The clock change is cumbersome and confusing, and only about 70 countries in the world follow it. Even in the United States there’s no cohesion around Daylight Time; Arizona and Hawaii don’t make the switch.And it’s something politicians of all parties can agree on. Senators Marco Rubio and Ed Markey have pushed to make Daylight Time permanent. The Sunshine Protection Act was introduced in 2018, and 19 states have already passed similar legislation to pave the way for year-round daylight savings, should Congress eventually allow it. But some scientists have their reservations, given how Daylight Time affects our body clocks and sleeping patterns.This week, Jane Coaston digs into the debate with Dustin Buehler, a lecturer at the Willamette University College of Law and general counsel for Oregon’s governor, and Dr. Joseph Takahashi, the chair of the neuroscience department at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.Mr. Buehler thinks Daylight Time should be permanent, while Dr. Takahashi says Standard Time is the way to go.Mentioned in this episode:“Daylight savings year-round could save lives, improve sleep and other benefits,” in The Conversation in 2019“Why We Should Abolish Daylight Saving Time” in Michigan Medicine, March 2021Listen to “Matters of Time,” an episode of 99% Invisible
03/11/21·35m 12s

I Love True Crime. Should I Feel Guilty?

Does our culture have a true crime problem?The genre seems ubiquitous — there’s always a new documentary to stream or a grisly podcast to binge, not to mention entire cable channels dedicated to true crime programming.Some, including Jane Coaston, the host of “The Argument,” call themselves “obsessed” with the genre. Is that a bad thing? Does being a fan of crime storytelling inform the listener of the failures of our criminal justice system, bring exoneration to wrongfully convicted people and reveal possible dangers in the world? Or does true crime cause net harm as it twists the ways we think about punitive justice, perpetuate myths around who the typical victims of violent crimes are and convince many that their armchair sleuthing could solve a case?Jane takes the debate around consuming and creating modern true crime content to two true crime creators: Rabia Chaudry, an attorney, the author of “Adnan’s Story” and the host of the “Undisclosed” podcast, and Sarah Weinman, a writer and editor and the author of “The Real Lolita” and the forthcoming “Scoundrel.”Mentioned in this episode:Amelia Tait in The Guardian, “The internet has turned us all into amateur detectives”“Suspect,” a podcast by Wondery and CampsideElon Green in The Appeal, “The Enduring, Pernicious Whiteness of True Crime”Helen Rosner’s interview with Jean Murley in The New Yorker, “The Long American History of ‘Missing White Woman Syndrome’”“In the Dark,” a podcast by American Public Media“Murder in Alliance,” a podcast by Obsessed Network“Through the Cracks,” a podcast by WAMU and PRXA full transcript of the episode will be available midday Wednesday on the Times website.
27/10/21·43m 46s

If Cannabis Is Legalized, Should All Drugs Be?

Medical marijuana is now legal in more than half of the country. The cities of Denver, Seattle, Washington and Oakland, Calif., have also decriminalized psilocybin (the psychedelic element in “magic mushrooms”). Oregon went one step further, decriminalizing all drugs in small quantities, including heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine.Attitudes toward drugs have changed considerably over the years. But the question of whether all drugs should be legalized continues to be contentious. How much have attitudes toward illegal drugs changed? And why?This week, Jane Coaston talks to Ismail Ali, the policy and advocacy director for the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, and Jonathan P. Caulkins, a professor of operations research and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College, about the pros and cons of legalizing all drugs.Mentioned in this episode:“Is there a Case for Legalizing Heroin?” by Benjamin Wallace-Wells in The New Yorker“The Drug-Policy Roulette” by Jonathan P. Caulkins and Michael A.C. Lee in the National Affairs Summer 2012 edition“Michael Pollan’s ‘Trip Report,’” on The New York Times Opinion podcast “Sway”
20/10/21·40m 24s

What Biden Is Still Getting Wrong on Immigration

Our immigration system is broken. So is the way we talk about it.Most conversations about immigration come down to a yes-or-no debate. Two sides talking over each other with very little constructive and achievable propositions. That might be part of the reason that little effective reform has made its way through Congress in the past 20 years, despite calls from both Democrats and Republicans for an overhaul.In reality, immigration is a complicated system and there’s no easy answer to the problems it entails. This week, Jane Coaston breaks down one group of approaches that could have a significant impact on individuals and families who want to enter the United States: temporary work programs.These programs allow migrants to come to the United States to work based on the labor needs of certain industries. And because their legal status is tied to employment, workers are beholden to their bosses and the companies that hire them. Oftentimes, the companies use that power to take advantage of workers.The guests today analyze these programs and debate whether they should be expanded without other changes or what reforms are necessary to ensure workers aren’t exploited. Michael Clemens is an economist and the director of migration, displacement and humanitarian policy at the Center for Global Development. Daniel Costa is a human rights lawyer and the director of immigration law and policy research at the Economic Policy Institute.Mentioned in this episode:Daniel Costa’s paper “Temporary Migrant Workers or Immigrants? The Question for U.S. Labor Migration”Michael Clemens’s study on the Bracero program in a paper he co-wrote called “Immigration Restrictions as Active Labor Market Policy”“Making President Trump’s Bed: A Housekeeper Without Papers” in The New York Times“The Fixer: Visa Lottery Chronicles” by Charles Piot with Kodjo Nicolas BatemaLove listening to New York Times podcasts? Help us test a new audio product in beta and give us your thoughts to shape what it becomes. Visit to join the beta.
13/10/21·38m 33s

Are You Contributing to America’s Affordable Housing Crisis?

Rent is soaring, but close to two-thirds of renters remain on leases because of financial reasons. In 2019, nearly 70 percent of millennials surveyed said that they could not afford to buy a home on account of rising prices, and the number of people in the United States without shelter has increased by about 30 percent in the past five years. We’re in a housing crisis.There’s a ton of debate on how we should go about solving these issues, particularly in dense cities. People who are for building more housing units in cities argue that zoning restrictions should be reduced, which would increase the number of homes, ideally allowing supply to keep up with demand. On the other hand, some residents support strict land use regulations that prevent further development in their areas.Today, Matt Yglesias, a D.C. resident, and Joel Kotkin, who lives in California, join host Jane Coaston to talk about the pros and cons of building more housing and single-family zoning and why moving to the suburbs isn’t the only answer. Also, the Times columnist Jamelle Bouie tells Jane about zoning policy in his city, Charlottesville, Va.Mentioned in this episode:“Building Housing — Lots of It — Will Lay the Foundation for a New Future” by Matt Yglesias on Vox“In Defense of Houses” by Joel Kotkin, published in City Journal“How Blue Cities Became So Outrageously Unaffordable,” an interview with the Vox policy reporter Jerusalem Demsas on “The Ezra Klein Show”
06/10/21·36m 12s

What We Get Wrong About Online Sex Work

This episode contains strong language.The online content-hosting platform OnlyFans declared in August that it would ban all “sexually explicit content” from its website. After immense backlash from users, the company reversed that decision just six days later.OnlyFans isn’t the only site to come under fire for providing a platform for adult content. Pornhub and Backpage have been threatened with restrictions over child exploitation and trafficking allegations. The National Center on Sexual Exploitation filed a lawsuit against Twitter, accusing it of allowing and profiting from human trafficking.But a big part of this conversation includes legal sex work and the rights of sex workers. The move to online work has made it possible for performers to have a direct line to their clients and to the general public. And with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, such sites have provided an avenue for content creators to continue earning money.In today’s episode, Jane Coaston speaks with two women who are intimately aware of the workings of the sex industry. Jamie Rosseland is an advocate for victims and survivors of trafficking. And Cherie DeVille is a 10-year porn veteran and a contributor to The Daily Beast.Mentioned in this episode:“What We Can Really Learn From the OnlyFans Debacle,” by Jessica Stoya on Slate“OnlyFans Is Not a Safe Platform for ‘Sex Work.’ It’s a Pimp,” by Catharine A. MacKinnon in New York Times Opinion“OnlyFans and the Future of Sex Work on the Internet,” an episode on NPR’s “1A” podcast
29/09/21·34m 5s

How They Failed: C.A. Republicans, Media Critics and Facebook Leadership

In a special Opinion Audio bonanza, Jane Coaston, Ezra Klein (The Ezra Klein Show) and Kara Swisher (Sway) sit down to discuss what went wrong for the G.O.P. in the recall election of Gov. Gavin Newsom of California. “This was where the nationalization of politics really bit back for Republicans,” Jane says. The three hosts then debate whether the media industry’s criticism of itself does any good at all. “The media tweets like nobody’s watching,” Ezra says. Then the hosts turn to The Wall Street Journal’s revelations in “The Facebook Files” and discuss how to hold Facebook accountable. “We’re saying your tools in the hands of malevolent players are super dangerous,” Kara says, “but we have no power over them whatsoever.”And last, Ezra, Jane and Kara offer recommendations to take you deep into history, fantasy and psychotropics.Read more about the subjects in this episode:Jane Coaston, Vox: “How California conservatives became the intellectual engine of Trumpism”Ezra Klein: “Gavin Newsom Is Much More Than the Lesser of Two Evils” and “A Different Way of Thinking About Cancel Culture”Kara Swisher: “The Endless Facebook Apology,” “The Medium of the Moment” “‘They’re Killing People’? Biden Isn’t Quite Right, but He’s Not Wrong.” and “The Terrible Cost of Mark Zuckerberg’s Naïveté”
22/09/21·34m 7s

Is Being a Football Fan Unethical?

It’s the start of another N.F.L. season, the time of year Americans turn on their televisions to watch their favorite teams make spectacular plays and their favorite players commit incredible acts of athleticism. But is America’s favorite pastime actually its guiltiest pleasure? Can fans ethically enjoy watching a football game?The effects of the tackles on players’ brains is one reason you might feel guilty for watching. The injuries come on top of long-running disagreements between players and the league. How do you balance the brutality of the sport with the athleticism and beauty?Steve Almond gave up watching football because of the values he sees it embracing. Kevin Clark watches football as part of his job as a writer and reporter at The Ringer.Mentioned in this episode:“Paper Lion: Confessions of a Last-String Quarterback” by George Plimpton (1966)“Against Football: One Fan’s Reluctant Manifesto” by Steve AlmondKevin Clark’s recent reporting at The Ringer
15/09/21·33m 25s

'I Fear for My Country Today:' Vets Reflect on 9/11

As the world reflects on the anniversary of Sept. 11, what does the day of the attacks — and the 20 years of war it precipitated — feel like to America’s veterans? With the Afghanistan withdrawal suddenly reclaiming attention for the “forever” wars, is the 9/11 era finally over, on the home front and in America’s foreign policy? Jane Coaston brings together Kenneth Harbaugh and Michael Washington, two friends and veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom, to discuss the pax Americana, the 9/11 roots of today’s divide in the veteran community and the political weaponization of service members’ patriotism. Harbaugh is a former Navy pilot and is a podcaster and veterans’ advocate. Washington is a former Marine and firefighter who today works as a licensed therapist for veterans and emergency workers.Resources mentioned in this episode:Ken Harbaugh’s podcasts, “Burn the Boats” and “Warriors in Their Own Words.”Call, text or chat online with the Veterans Crisis Hotline.Team Rubicon, a nonprofit that utilizes the skills and experiences of military veterans to rapidly deploy emergency response teams to disaster zones.Find a Veterans Affairs location and explore other available benefits and services.If you or someone you know may be considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741-741. You can also visit
08/09/21·36m 26s

Is It Time to End Capital Punishment?

The death penalty — and the morality behind it — has long divided America. Joe Biden is the first sitting president in our nation’s history to openly oppose capital punishment. By comparison, his predecessor oversaw the executions of 13 people between July 2020 and the end of his tenure.In light of the Department of Justice’s recent moratorium on federal executions, Jane and her guests question the morality of capital punishment through a religious lens. Elizabeth Bruenig, a staff writer at The Atlantic, is Roman Catholic and stands against it, while David French, the senior editor of The Dispatch, argues that there are situations where it is the only just form of punishment.Mentioned in this episode:“The Man I Saw Them Kill,” by Elizabeth Bruenig for The New York Times Opinion section in December 2020.“Not That Innocent,” by Elizabeth Bruenig for The Atlantic in June 2021.“The Death Penalty Helps Preserve the Dignity of Life,” by David French for National Review, published in August 2018.(A full transcript of the episode will be available midday on the Times website.)
01/09/21·34m 50s

Vaccine Mandates Won’t Save Us

Requiring proof of vaccination isn’t a novel idea. Schools across the United States require students to get certain vaccinations before the age of 6. You need a yellow fever vaccine to travel to parts of Africa and South America. Now, with a global pandemic, the conversation has shifted to Covid vaccination requirements.With little more than 50 percent of the United States fully vaccinated against Covid-19, and the Delta variant leading to increased case counts, it’s no surprise that our focus has shifted to vaccine mandates. This week, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was granted approval by the Food and Drug Administration, which likely means more mandates and boosters.Cities like New York and San Francisco already have mandates in place, for accessing indoor dining, gyms and concerts. But do these requirements really help those on the fence? Will the F.D.A.’s declaration sway the roughly 30 percent of Americans who said they’d be more likely to get the vaccine after it was fully approved? Or will it just alienate an entire population of people already hesitant to get the vaccine?In this episode, Jane Coaston and her guests discuss the benefits and risks of vaccine mandates. Angela Rasmussen is a virologist at the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO) at the University of Saskatchewan. And Marcella Tillett is the vice president of programs and partnerships at the Brooklyn Community Foundation, an organization that’s helping those in the area get vaccinated.Mentioned in this episode:“Do Mandatory Vaccines Violate Human Rights?” published in Quartz“Everybody I Know Is Pissed Off” in The Atlantic, which gathers together some of the latest polling on vaccine mandates.(A full transcript of this episode will be available midday on the Times website.)
25/08/21·36m 46s

What Should We Be Teaching When It Comes to Racism and America’s Past?

For many politicians and parents, there’s growing concern over critical race theory. It maintains that race and racism in America are about not individual actors and actions as much as bigger structures that lead to and maintain gaps between racial groups. The theory started in the legal academy, and some fear that it has begun to take over the American education system.How concerned should you be? Jane Coaston and her guests disagree. Chris Rufo is a senior fellow and the director of the initiative on critical race theory at the Manhattan Institute. Professor Ralph Richard Banks is a co-founder and the faculty director of the Stanford Center for Racial Justice.Mentioned in this episode:“Critical Race Theory: An Introduction” by Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic, published in 2001“How a Conservative Activist Invented the Conflict Over Critical Race Theory” in The New Yorker“Does Teaching America It’s Racist Make It Less Racist?” podcast episode by “The Argument”“Critical Race Theory: On the New Ideology of Race” panel discussion from the Manhattan Institute
18/08/21·35m 4s

Are Workplace Diversity Programs Doing More Harm Than Good?

It’s time to rethink what’s working in the modern workplace and what’s failing. Amid a pandemic that overturned how so many work, increased calls for racial and social justice put a new pressure on companies to ensure — or at least to seem as if they ensure — equality among their employees. Diversity, equity and inclusion (D.E.I.) programs are an increasingly popular solution deployed by management. But do these initiatives do marginalized employees any good? And who are the true beneficiaries of diversity programs, anyway?Jane Coaston has spent years on the receiving end of diversity initiatives, and for that reason, she’s skeptical. To debate D.E.I. programs’ efficacy, she brought together Dr. Sonia Kang, the Canada Research Chair in Identity, Diversity and Inclusion at the University of Toronto, and Lily Zheng, a D.E.I. strategy consultant and public speaker, to argue what works and doesn’t when it comes to making workplaces fair for all.Mentioned in this episode:Sonia Kang’s podcast, “For the Love of Work,” episode “Leaning Into Diversity, Equity and Belonging”Lily Zheng, Harvard Business Review, “How to Show White Men That Diversity and Inclusion Efforts Need Them”Kim Tran, Harper’s Bazaar, “The Diversity and Inclusion Industry Has Lost Its Way”Frank Dobbin and Alexandra Kalev “Why Diversity Programs Fail”The Washington Post, “To improve diversity, don’t make people go to diversity training. Really.”
11/08/21·42m 35s

Should We Stop Talking Politics at Work?

The ousting of Donald Trump, the election of Joe Biden, a ransacking of the Capitol, a summer of protests in the wake of George Floyd’s murder and a pandemic that is still raging in parts of the United States and abroad. It has felt like a very political few years. But should we not be allowed to talk about it at work?Some bosses would strongly prefer that you stayed away from politics at work. A number of companies have proposed policies that would ban or significantly reduce political discussions at the workplace. But who gets to decide what’s political? And does it really benefit the company or its employees to keep these conversations from happening?Liz Wolfe is an editor at Reason and Johnathan Nightingale is an author and a co-founder of Raw Signal Group. They join Jane to debate whether eliminating politics is possible and how it would change the future of the workplace.Mentioned in this episode:“Basecamp Becomes the Latest Tech Company To Ban Talking Politics at Work,” by Liz Wolfe at Reason.“Fundamentally, this is a story about power,” in Johnathan Nightingale’s newsletter.“Breaking Camp,” by Casey Newton at The Verge.
04/08/21·33m 34s

The Great Debate of 2021: WFH or RTO?

You might be someone who has spent a majority of the past year working from home. A survey from October 2020 found 71 percent of American workers turned their apartments into office spaces. But starting this fall, companies are opening up their offices again. The C.E.O. of Morgan Stanley made it clear that its employees have to be back by September. Amazon is hoping for the same.But is returning to in-office work the right move for everyone?Over the next three weeks, we’re going to be focusing on what work could and should look like as we begin to emerge from the pandemic. This week, Jane Coaston is joined by Sean Bisceglia, the C.E.O. of Curion, a consumer insights company, and Anne Helen Petersen, the writer of the newsletter “Culture Study” and the author of “Can’t Even: How Millennials Became the Burnout Generation,” to debate the pros and cons of returning to the office.Mentioned in this episode:Sean Bisceglia’s interview with CNN: “Why Some Companies Want Everyone Back in the Office”“Imagine Your Flexible Office Work Future,” by Anne Helen PetersenThe Slate podcast episode of “What Next: TBD”: So, What Happens to WFH Now?
28/07/21·35m 42s

No, But Really. Should We Contact Aliens?

With the U.S. government puzzling over U.F.O.s, and potentially habitable exoplanets in our telescopes, earthlings are closer than ever to finding other intelligent life in the universe. So the existential question is: Should we try to communicate with whatever we think might be out there?That’s the argument this week between Douglas Vakoch and Michio Kaku. Vakoch, the president of the research and educational nonprofit METI (Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence) International, has dedicated his life’s work to intentionally broadcasting messages beyond our solar system.Kaku, a professor of theoretical physics at the City College of New York and a co-founder of string field theory, thinks reaching out to unknown aliens is a catastrophically bad idea and “would be the biggest mistake in human history.”Together, they join Jane  to debate the question of making first contact and our place in the cosmos.Mentioned in this episode:Adam Mann, The New Yorker: “Intelligent Ways to Search for Extraterrestrials”Gideon Lewis-Kraus, The New Yorker: “How the Pentagon Started Taking U.F.O.s Seriously”Arik Kershenbaum, The Wall Street Journal, “Alien Languages May Not Be Entirely Alien to Us”“Star Trek: The Next Generation,” Season 4, Episode 15: “First Contact” (Netflix)The Ezra Klein Show: “Obama Explains How America Went From ‘Yes We Can’ to ‘MAGA’”
21/07/21·36m 3s

Joe Biden and the Communion Wars

Could the Catholic Church pressure a politician into changing his or her stance on abortion? A debate has erupted in the Catholic community over whether a politician, like President Joe Biden, should be denied communion for supporting abortion rights.This week, Jane Coaston debates the pros and cons of using communion as punishment with Ross Douthat, a Times Opinion columnist, and Heidi Schlumpf, the executive editor of National Catholic Reporter.Mentioned in this episode:Ross’s column “The Bishops, Biden and the Brave New World”National Catholic Reporter’s editorial “Why We Support the Bishops’ Plan to Deny Communion to Biden”“United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Vote to Write a Document on the Meaning of the Eucharist in the Life of the Church” and its subsequent Questions and Answers page that says, “There will be no national policy on withholding Communion from politicians.”
14/07/21·34m 31s

Sway: Exercise, and Accept Your 'Inevitable Demise'

We're off this week! So we're bringing you an episode of another great Times Opinion podcast, Sway.The fitness industry has exploded into a nearly $100 billion sector, and Alison Bechdel is among the exercise-obsessed. Bechdel, the cartoonist whose comic strip inspired the Bechdel Test for female representation in Hollywood, says she has found transcendence in everything from yoga and karate to weight lifting and biking. Her new book, “The Secret to Superhuman Strength,” examines the exercise craze, and what it exposes about our attitudes around self-care, the booming fitness economy and even our mortality.In this conversation, Kara Swisher and Bechdel discuss the evolution of workout culture (“yoga boom” included), the politics of art (especially during the Trump era) and how mainstream cultural norms have finally caught up to, as Bechdel puts it, “where lesbians were back in the ’80s.”
07/07/21·34m 1s

Is Fox News Really All That Powerful?

Sometimes, it takes just one tweet to spark a debate.This month, the journalist Matt Taibbi suggested that the “financial/educational/political elite” hold real influence in America — not Fox and its viewers. According to Taibbi, America is controlled by the sensibilities of the few — especially those who run tech companies like Facebook, Google and Twitter. But where does that leave politicians, or the media, in the struggle for power in America?This week, Jane Coaston debates who’s really wielding power in America right now and to what ends, with Matt Taibbi, author of several books, including “Hate Inc.: Why Today’s Media Makes Us Despise One Another,” and writer of the newsletter “TK News”; and Michelle Cottle, a member of the Times editorial board.Mentioned in this episode:The book “Dignity: Seeking Respect in Back Row America” by Chris Arnade.Jane’s 2020 piece in Vox, “Trump was supposed to change the GOP. But the GOP changed him.”
30/06/21·33m 22s

Not Everyone Is Worried About America's Falling Birth Rates

U.S. birthrates have fallen by 4 percent, hitting a record low. And it’s not just America — people around the world are having fewer children, from South Korea to South America.In some ways, this seems inevitable. From an economic standpoint, there’s the expensive trio of child rearing, education and health care in America. From a cultural perspective, women have more financial and societal independence, delaying the age of childbirth. What might be troubling are the consequences on our future economy and what an older population might mean for Social Security.This week, Jane Coaston talks to two demographers who have differing levels of worry about the news of our falling birthrate. Lyman Stone is the director of research at the consulting firm Demographic Intelligence, an adjunct fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a research fellow at the Institute for Family Studies, a Robert Novak Journalism fellow and a Ph.D. student in population dynamics at McGill University. Caroline Hartnett is a demographer and an associate professor of sociology at the University of South Carolina.Mentioned in this episode:Ramesh Ponnuru’s interview with Lyman Stone in Bloomberg, titled “Want More American Babies? Make the U.S. More Livable.”“Why We Shouldn’t Worry About Falling Birth Rates” in The Washington Post“The Daily” episode “A Population Slowdown in the U.S.”Ezra Klein’s interview with the psychologist Alison Gopnik on what adults can learn from children, on “The Ezra Klein Show.”You can listen to this episode of “The Argument” on Apple, Spotify or Google or wherever you get your podcasts. A full transcript of the episode will be available midday on the Times website.
23/06/21·34m 15s

Trevor Noah: ‘We Live in a World Where Having a Conversation Is Punished’

In this bonus episode of “The Argument,” Jane Coaston has an extended chat with the late-night host Trevor Noah. They discuss taking on the mantle of “The Daily Show” from Jon Stewart, cancel culture and why you can’t take old jokes out of the context of the society in which they were made.Mentioned in this episode:Trevor Noah’s memoir, “Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood”
17/06/21·21m 24s

Should It Be This Hard to Sue the Police and Win?

One of the strongest calls for police reform is to end a legal doctrine called qualified immunity. Advocates for change argue it would be one of the most immediate ways to hold officers more accountable for their actions. But critics say it would leave police vulnerable when they’re faced with life-threatening situations.Qualified immunity protects government officials from some lawsuits if they violate a person’s constitutional rights in the course of their duties. If you’ve heard of police officers getting away with unconstitutional behavior and wondered how, it might have been because they had qualified immunity.This week, Jane Coaston talks to two lawyers who strongly disagree about whether qualified immunity needs to go. Lenny Kesten is a leading defender of police officers with Brody Hardoon Perkins & Kesten, and Easha Anand is the Supreme Court and appellate counsel for the MacArthur Justice Center.Mentioned in this episode:“The Cops Who Killed Tony Timpa Are Unfit to Serve. But Courts Ensure They Keep Their Jobs” by James Craven at the Cato Institute“Police Responded to His 911 Call for Help, He Died. What Happened to Tony Timpa?” in The Dallas Morning NewsThe decision in the Timpa v. Dillard case“Qualified Immunity: A Debate” hosted by the Federalist Society
16/06/21·32m 28s

Whose Pride Is It Anyway?

It’s Pride Month, which means cities across the country will be having parades and other festivities, albeit scaled-down versions. In New York and several other cities, parade organizers have said uniformed police officers may not march as a group. Organizers say the move acknowledges that a Pride march isn’t just a celebration and that it began as a statement about police violence against L.G.B.T.Q. people at the Stonewall Inn.This week, Jane Coaston speaks to André Thomas, a co-chair of NYC Pride, which organizes the parade, and Brian Downey, a New York Police Department detective and the president of the Gay Officers Action League.Mentioned in this episode:The documentary “We Were Here” about the H.I.V./AIDS crisis in San FranciscoThe podcast “Making Gay History”The New York Daily News headline after the Stonewall uprisingThe New York Times video “Pride March in New York Protests Police Brutality” showing the Queer Liberation March that gathered in Washington Square Park in 2020
09/06/21·28m 18s

Could Spilling Big Pharma’s Secrets Vaccinate the World?

Just 12.5 percent of the world has been inoculated against Covid-19. To protect every country from the pandemic, regardless of economic level, there are many approaches global leaders could take. But they have to act fast. In this state of planetary emergency, should pharmaceutical companies that make vaccines be forced to break their patents? Is that the best or fastest way to get lower-income countries to catch up with vaccination rates? Weighing the pros and cons of a vaccine intellectual property waiver with Jane Coaston this week is Rachel Silverman, a policy fellow at the Center for Global Development, and Tahir Amin, a co-founder and co-executive director of I-MAK, the Initiative for Medicines, Access & Knowledge.Mentioned in this episode:Tahir Amin and Rohit Malpani’s article for STAT, “Covid-19 has exposed the limits of the pharmaceutical market model”The.Ink newsletter, “Of Patents and Power”Harvard Law Bill of Health blog, “The Covid-19 Vaccine Patent Waiver: The Wrong Tool for the Right Goal”The Economist, “Michelle McMurry-Heath on maintaining intellectual property amid Covid-19”Times Opinion Guest Essay, “The West Has Been Hoarding More Than Vaccines”
02/06/21·41m 48s

'Republicans Are Very, Very Close to Driving Democracy Into a Ditch'

The clock is ticking for President Biden. He’s got a choice to make: compromise with Republicans or forgo them to push his agenda through with fellow Democrats. He has emphasized bipartisanship, but we’re now just days away from his self-imposed deadline of Memorial Day to strike a deal with Republicans on his infrastructure package. While negotiations continue, the parties are deadlocked on the size of the bill. It’s perhaps not surprising, given that this month the Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, said that “100 percent of our focus is on stopping this new administration.”This week, host Jane Coaston is joined by two people who disagree on whether Biden’s push for bipartisanship is the right move. Jason Grumet is the founder and president of the Bipartisan Policy Center, and Aaron Belkin is the director of Take Back the Court, which advocates expanding the Supreme Court.Mentioned in this episode:The Times Opinion guest essay “You Don’t Actually Need to Reach Across the Aisle, Mr. Biden” by John Lawrence, a former chief of staff for the speaker of the House, Nancy PelosiThe Bipartisan Policy Center’s infrastructure proposal “From Sea to Shining Sea: A Bold Bipartisan Plan to Rebuild American Infrastructure”Jane’s podcast recommendation “Impostors: The Spy”
26/05/21·32m 10s

Does Teaching America It’s Racist Make It Less Racist?

Who would have guessed that a school of thought from the 1970s could cause controversy in a handful of states among politicians, on school boards and in college classrooms in 2021?Critical race theory originated as a way of examining racism within the structures of American society. But now, for some it is synonymous with school curriculums and workplace diversity training. It has also become the battleground for a new culture war between conservatives and liberals who disagree on how helpful or harmful these teachings are.This week, Jane Coaston talks to John McWhorter, a linguist at Columbia University who has written extensively on race and language, and Michelle Goldberg, an Opinion columnist at The New York Times.Mentioned in this episode:“Why the Right Loves Public School Culture Wars” and “The Campaign to Cancel Wokeness” by Michelle Goldberg in The New York Times.“How the N-Word Became Unsayable” by John McWhorter in The New York Times.“Critical Race Theory: An Introduction” by Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic, published in 2001.“Faces at the Bottom of the Well” by Derrick Bell, published in 1992.
19/05/21·34m 12s

Is This the Year D.C. Becomes a State?

The District of Columbia can almost taste statehood. Last month, House Democrats passed a bill that would make it the 51st state. This is the second time in history that such a legislation has been passed in the House. But it’s not only a question of representation: Making D.C. a state would add two probably Democratic senators and one Democratic representative, at a time when Democrats could use all the votes they can get. And Republicans aren’t willing to give in that easily.This week, we’re debating the future of D.C. and the trade-offs of potential statehood. Dan McLaughlin is senior writer for National Review and a former attorney. George Derek Musgrove is an associate professor of history at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and a co-author of “Chocolate City: A History of Race and Democracy in the Nation’s Capital.”Mentioned in this episode:“The District of Columbia Should Not Be a State,” by Dan McLaughlin in National Review“The 51st State America Needs,” by George Derek Musgrove and Chris Myers Asch in The New York Times“The 51st State?” on the “Today, Explained” podcast by Vox.
12/05/21·36m 13s

Grading Biden on the F.D.R. Curve

If you’re fully vaccinated, you might give President Biden an A-plus on his first 100 days. But how’s he doing on everything else?A president’s first 100 days are considered a major milestone. Franklin D. Roosevelt came out with legislation that became part of his New Deal. Lyndon B. Johnson started a war on poverty. In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and Donald Trump, what can we expect from the rest of Biden’s presidency?This week, Jane Coaston talks to two progressives who have different takeaways: Anand Giridharadas, author of The Ink newsletter and “Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World,” and Osita Nwanevu, writer at The New Republic.Mentioned in this episode:“Joe Biden Isn’t Close to Being a Historic President Yet,” by Osita Nwanevu in The New Republic.“Welcome to the New Progressive Era,” by Anand Giridharadas in The Atlantic.
05/05/21·27m 38s

Police Reform Is Coming. What Should It Look Like?

Derek Chauvin has been found guilty of the murder of George Floyd. But whatever bittersweet feelings the rare outcome elicited were short-lived, since instances of police brutality compound almost daily. There’s no debate: Policing is broken in America. But how do we fix it?To answer that question, Jane brings together a round table to debate solutions ranging from modernizing training, stronger ties between police misconduct and financial culpability, and divesting from policing to invest in community-based services.Joining Jane is Randy Shrewsberry, a former police officer and the executive director of the Institute for Criminal Justice Training Reform; Rashawn Ray, a professor of sociology at the University of Maryland and a David M. Rubenstein fellow in governance studies at the Brookings Institution; and Ash-Lee Woodard Henderson, a leader in the Movement for Black Lives and the co-executive director of the Highlander Research and Education Center in Tennessee.Mentioned in this episode:The George Floyd Justice in Policing bill of 2021 and the Breathe Act proposalFrom The New York Times Magazine: “Police Reform Is Necessary. But How Do We Do It?”“Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America” by Jill Leovy
28/04/21·33m 2s

Should America Go Nuclear?

President Biden has set an ambitious goal for the United States to be carbon-neutral by 2050. Achieving it means weaning the country off fossil fuels and using more alternative energy sources like solar and wind. But environmentalists disagree about whether nuclear power should be part of the mix.Todd Larsen, executive co-director for consumer and corporate engagement at Green America and Meghan Claire Hammond, senior fellow at the Good Energy Collective, a policy research organization focusing on new nuclear technology, join Jane Coaston to debate whether nuclear power is worth the risks.And then the Times columnist Bret Stephens joins Jane to talk about why he thinks America needs a liberal party.Mentioned in this episode:“Why Nuclear Power Must Be Part of the Energy Solution,” by Richard Rhodes in Yale Environment 360.“I oversaw the U.S. nuclear power industry. Now I think it should be banned,” by Gregory Jaczko in The Washington PostThe TV mini-series “Chernobyl,” a depiction of the 1986 explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant“America Could Use a Liberal Party,” by Bret StephensShare your arguments with us: We want to hear what you’re arguing about with your family, your friends and your frenemies. Leave us a voice mail message at (347) 915-4324. We may use excerpts from your audio in a future episode.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of "The Argument" at, and you can find Jane on Twitter @janecoaston.“The Argument” is produced by Phoebe Lett, Elisa Gutierrez and Vishakha Darbha and edited by Alison Bruzek and Paula Szuchman; fact-checking by Kate Sinclair; music and sound design by Isaac Jones.
21/04/21·34m 41s

Why the Anti-Abortion Side Will Lose, Even if It Wins

The Supreme Court — and its post-Trump conservative majority — is currently deciding whether to take up a case that could be the final blow to Roe v. Wade. Overturning Roe, the 48-year-old decision protecting the right to an abortion in America, would leave abortion regulation up to the states. But some abortion opponents think that’s not far enough and are pushing the movement to change its focus to securing a 14th Amendment declaration of fetal personhood.Ross Douthat wrote about the diverging anti-abortion movement and why both factions are doomed to fail as long as the movement is shackled to a Republican Party that refuses to enact public policy to help struggling families. Michelle Goldberg wrote a response column to Ross’s, claiming his argument was a fallacy. To bring their dueling columns to life, Jane Coaston brought the two writers together to debate the future of abortion protection and restriction in America.Mentioned in this episode:Ross’s Sunday Review column “What Has the Pro-Life Movement Won?”Michelle’s responding column, “The Authoritarian Plan for a National Abortion Ban”John Finnis’s article in the Catholic journal “First Things,” “Abortion Is Unconstitutional”Emma Green’s article in “The Atlantic” “The Anti-Abortion-Rights Movement Prepares to Build a Post-Roe World”“Defenders of the Unborn” by Daniel K. WilliamsShare your arguments with us: We want to hear what you’re arguing about with your family, your friends and your frenemies. Leave us a voice mail message at (347) 915-4324. We may use excerpts from your audio in a future episode.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of "The Argument" at, and you can find Jane on Twitter @janecoaston.“The Argument” is produced by Phoebe Lett, Elisa Gutierrez and Vishakha Darbha and edited by Alison Bruzek and Paula Szuchman; fact-checking by Kate Sinclair; music and sound design by Isaac Jones.
14/04/21·35m 23s

The Reality of Vaccine Passports

More than 19 percent of Americans are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus and upward of 665 million vaccine doses have been administered worldwide. As these numbers continue to rise, countries have begun issuing or considering “vaccine passports.”Vaccine passports — proof through a phone app or on a piece of paper that you’ve had your shots — are a potential ticket to freedom for millions of vaccinated people around the world. Israel already has them. The European Union and China have also announced a version of them. In the United States, there’s talk about what such a certification might look like.But vaccine passports also raise huge ethical questions, with 85 percent of shots worldwide having been administered in wealthier countries. And with private tech companies working on creating these passports in the United States, there’s worry about the risks of sharing health records with third-party apps. Both Texas and Florida have prohibited government-mandated vaccine passports.On today’s episode, our guests debate the concept of a vaccine passport and discuss the ethical and privacy considerations that come along with them. Natalie Kofler is a molecular biologist and bioethicist at Harvard Medical School. Ramin Bastani is the founder and chief executive of Healthvana, a patient platform that delivers test results and is supplying vaccine passports. He says we should think of them more like an everyday health record. Then, we turn to listener voice mail messages as they share their thoughts on the reopening of schools.Mentioned in this episode:“Vaccine Passports Won’t Get us Out of the Pandemic,” in The Times.“Vaccinated Workers Are Getting Benefits That Those Without Covid Shots Won’t,” in Bloomberg, about vaccine passports in Israel.WBUR’s episode on the pros and cons of vaccine passports.Share your arguments with us: We want to hear what you’re arguing about with your family, your friends and your frenemies. Leave us a voice mail message at (347) 915-4324. We may use excerpts from your audio in a future episode.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of "The Argument" at, and you can find Jane on Twitter @janecoaston.“The Argument” is produced by Phoebe Lett, Elisa Gutierrez and Vishakha Darbha and edited by Alison Bruzek and Paula Szuchman; fact-checking by Kate Sinclair; music and sound design by Isaac Jones.
07/04/21·30m 8s

What's Wrong With Our Hate Crime Laws?

This month a gunman killed eight people at three Atlanta-area spas, including six women of Asian descent. Authorities say it’s too early to declare the attacks a hate crime.Forty-seven states and the District of Columbia have hate crime laws on the books, designed to add further penalties for perpetrators whose biases led to their crime. But the recent mass shooting has prompted the question of when a crime is called a hate crime and who decides.It’s also unclear whether charging someone with a hate crime is the best answer we have as a society for punishing people who commit these kinds of crimes. On this episode of “The Argument,” we discuss whether hate crime laws are working and what our other options are, with Kevin Nadal, professor of psychology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and Steven Freeman, vice president for civil rights at the Anti-Defamation League.Mentioned in this episode:Anti-Defamation League’s “Introduction to Hate Crime Laws”N.A.A.C.P.’s state-by-state database of hate crime lawsSarah Lustbader’s article “More Hate Crime Laws Would Not Have Prevented the Monsey Hannukkah Attack” in The Appeal.Share your arguments with us: We want to hear what you’re arguing about with your family, your friends and your frenemies. Leave us a voice mail message at (347) 915-4324. We may use excerpts from your audio in a future episode.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of "The Argument" at, and you can find Jane on Twitter @janecoaston.“The Argument” is produced by Phoebe Lett, Elisa Gutierrez and Vishakha Darbha and edited by Alison Bruzek and Paula Szuchman; fact-checking by Kate Sinclair; music and sound design by Isaac Jones.
31/03/21·36m 57s

Is It Time to Cancel Cancel Culture?

Whether it’s Mr. Potato Head, Dr. Seuss or Roseanne, allegations of cancel culture seem to have a regular spot among the trending topics of the internet. Almost every other week, someone’s cancellation becomes the subject of prominent discussion on Twitter, Substack and cable news. Yet its exact meaning is up for debate. What counts as a cancellation? Who gets to decide?On today’s episode, we argue over what being canceled means and if it’s time to get rid of the idea entirely. Robby Soave, a senior editor for Reason, has been sounding the alarm about cancel culture. And he wrote a piece about our other guest, Will Wilkinson, titled “Cancel Culture Comes for Will Wilkinson.” Wilkinson was arguably canceled after he wrote a tweet that led to his firing from the Niskanen Center, where he was the vice president for research. But he thinks the label of cancel culture is misleading, even when it’s used in his defense.Mentioned in this episode:Read Will Wilkinson’s “Undefined Cancel Game” at his Substack.Robby Soave in Reason: “Cancel Culture Comes for Will Wilkinson”Share your arguments with us: We want to hear what you’re arguing about with your family, your friends and your frenemies. Leave us a voice mail message at (347) 915-4324. We may use excerpts from your audio in a future episode.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of "The Argument" at, and you can find Jane on Twitter @janecoaston.“The Argument” is produced by Phoebe Lett, Elisa Gutierrez and Vishakha Darbha and edited by Alison Bruzek and Paula Szuchman; fact-checking by Kate Sinclair; music and sound design by Isaac Jones.
24/03/21·40m 15s

To Fight Poverty, Raise the Minimum Wage? Or Abolish It?

The federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour hasn’t changed since 2009. Workers in 21 states make the federal floor, which can be even lower for people who make tips. And at $7.25 an hour, a person working full time with a dependent is making below the federal poverty line.States such as California, Florida, Illinois and Massachusetts have approved gradual minimum wage increases to reach $15 an hour — so is it time to do it at the federal level?On Wednesday 20 senators from both parties are set to meet to discuss whether to use their influence on minimum wage legislation.Economists have argued for years about the consequences of the hike, saying employers who bear the costs would be forced to lay off some of the very employees the minimum wage was intended to support. A report by the Congressional Budget Office on a proposal to see $15 by 2025 estimates the increase would move 900,000 people out of poverty — and at the same time cut 1.4 million jobs.On today’s episode, we debate the fight for $15 with two people who see things very differently. Saru Jayaraman is the president of One Fair Wage and the director of the Food Labor Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley. Jeffrey Miron is a senior lecturer in the department of economics at Harvard University and the director of economic studies at the Cato Institute.Mentioned in this episode:The Congressional Budget Office’s February 2021 report on the budgetary effects of the Raise the Wage Act of 2021.The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ April 2020 report “Characteristics of Minimum Wage Workers.”Share your arguments with us: We want to hear what you’re arguing about with your family, your friends and your frenemies. Leave us a voice mail message at (347) 915-4324. We may use excerpts from your audio in a future episode.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of "The Argument" at, and you can find Jane on Twitter @janecoaston.“The Argument” is produced by Phoebe Lett, Elisa Gutierrez and Vishakha Darbha and edited by Alison Bruzek and Paula Szuchman; fact-checking by Michelle Harris; music and sound design by Isaac Jones.
17/03/21·33m 30s

Cancel America’s Student Loan Debt! But How?

The problem of student loan debt has reached crisis proportions. As a college degree has grown increasingly necessary for economic mobility, so has the $1.7 trillion in student loan debt that Americans have taken on to access that opportunity. President Biden has put some debt cancellation on the table, but progressive Democrats are pushing him for more. So what is the fairest way to correct course?Astra Taylor — an author, a documentarian and a co-founder of the Debt Collective — dukes it out with Sandy Baum, an economist and a nonresident senior fellow at the Center on Education Data and Policy at the Urban Institute. While the activist and the economist agree that addressing the crisis requires dramatic measures, they disagree on how to get there.Is canceling everyone’s debt progressive policy, as Taylor contends? Or does it end up being a regressive measure, as Baum insists? Jane hears them both out. And she offers a royal history tour after Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry.Mentioned in this episode:Astra Taylor in The Nation: “The Case for Wide-Scale Debt Relief”Sandy Baum in Education Next: “Mass Debt Forgiveness Is Not a Progressive Idea”Astra Taylor’s documentary for The Intercept: “You Are Not a Loan”Sandy Baum for the Urban Institute: “Strengthening the Federal Role in the Federal-State Partnership for Funding Higher Education”Jane’s recommendation: Lucy Worsley’s three-episode mini-series “Secrets of the Six Wives”Share your arguments with us: We want to hear what you’re arguing about with your family, your friends and your frenemies. Leave us a voice mail message at (347) 915-4324. We may use excerpts from your audio in a future episode.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of "The Argument" at, and you can find Jane on Twitter @janecoaston.“The Argument” is produced by Phoebe Lett, Elisa Gutierrez and Vishakha Darbha and edited by Alison Bruzek and Paula Szuchman; fact-checking by Kate Sinclair; music and sound design by Isaac Jones.
10/03/21·46m 58s

‘Vandalism With a Purpose’ and the Future of the G.O.P.

Republicans will spend the next 20 months debating and deciding whether Trumpism will be on the ballot in 2022. Will party leaders continue to embrace Donald Trump’s populist rhetoric? Can it resonate with voters if Trump isn’t the one saying it?Ross Douthat, an Opinion columnist at The New York Times, and Michael Brendan Dougherty, a senior writer at National Review, offer their own definitions of populism and debate with Jane populism’s merits, if Trumpism is real and whether Trump allies in the Republican Party will be the future or the demise of the Grand Old Party.Mentioned in this episode:Michael Brendan Dougherty in National Review: “The End of Populism? Don’t Bet on It.” “Trumpism After Trump.”Ross Douthat on how Trumpism ate populism, whether there is a Trumpism after Trump and, in a prescient 2013 column, “Good Populism, Bad Populism.”Jane Coaston on why Trumpism has no heirs and, in National Review: “What If There’s No Such Thing as Trumpism?”Christopher Caldwell in The New Republic: “Can There Ever Be a Working-Class Republican Party?”Ken Burns’s series with Stephen Ives “The West,” chronicling America's process to become a continental nation.Ross Douthat’s book Grand New Party, on how Republicans can win the working class.Share your arguments with us: We want to hear what you’re arguing about with your family, your friends and your frenemies. Leave us a voice mail message at (347) 915-4324. We may use excerpts from your audio in a future episode.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of "The Argument" at, and you can find Jane on Twitter @janecoaston.Special thanks to Shannon Busta.“The Argument” is produced by Phoebe Lett, Elisa Gutierrez and Vishakha Darbha and edited by Alison Bruzek; fact-checking by Kate Sinclair; music and sound design by Isaac Jones.
03/03/21·43m 52s

Should We Put the Filibuster Out of Its Misery?

The first episode of “The Argument” with Jane Coaston gets right into the heart of the cyclical debate: Should the filibuster be killed once and for all?Democrats control the White House and Congress for the first time in a decade, giving them the opportunity to pass major new legislation, and the only thing standing in their way is the filibuster. That parliamentary procedure effectively pushes the number of votes needed to pass a bill in the Senate from 51 to 60. Which is why the filibuster is typically beloved by the party in the minority, and railed against by the majority.If Democrats kill the filibuster now, what happens when they’re not in power? Arguing against the filibuster is Ezra Klein, a Times Opinion columnist and policy wonk. Defending the procedure and its merits is Jessica Anderson, the executive director of Heritage Action for America. And Jane doesn’t trust either of them.Mentioned in this episode:Kevin D. Williamson in National Review on how filibusters are useful in a democracy.Ezra Klein on ending the filibuster, and in conversation with a former Senate staff member, Adam Jentleson, on that chamber becoming a legislative black hole.Heritage Action for America on rejecting efforts to abolish the legislative filibuster.Joe Coscarelli on Daft Punk’s breakup after 28 years and six Grammys.Share your arguments with us: We want to hear what you’re arguing about with your family, your friends and your frenemies. Leave us a voice mail message at (347) 915-4324. We may use excerpts from your audio in a future episode.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of "The Argument" at, and you can find Jane on Twitter @janecoaston.Special thanks to Viki Merrick and Shannon Busta.“The Argument” is produced by Elisa Gutierrez, Phoebe Lett and Vishakha Darbha and edited by Alison Bruzek; fact-checking by Kate Sinclair; music and sound design by Isaac Jones.
24/02/21·39m 23s

Introducing ‘The Argument’ With Jane Coaston

There are all kinds of arguments, many of them pretty unproductive. Either nobody listens, or nobody wins, or you go around in circles, or you bring up old baggage that should’ve stayed in storage.But the best arguments, and the ones I like to have, are the ones that make me think differently. They help inform my opinions, or challenge them. And they help me understand the people who have other points of view.Starting Feb. 24, I’ll be the new host of “The Argument.” Every week, people who disagree with one another will come together on the podcast to hash it out.I’ve reported for years on conservatism and the American right. I’ve talked to people from all points on the political spectrum, and I’ve heard a lot of “the other side doesn’t get it,” and “the other side is evil.”In my opinion, none of this productive.I want people to hear one another out, before writing them off. I think respectful, civil debate makes us all smarter. And I think for democracy to work, we need to listen, especially when we don’t agree.Things on the program might get awkward, and that’s the whole point. We’re going to have real conversations and real disagreement.To those of you who have been listening for years, I hope you’ll find this is still the place for respectful debate that opens minds. And to those of you tuning in for the first time, welcome. I’ll see you next Wednesday.Share your arguments with us: We want to hear what you’re arguing about with your family, your friends and your frenemies. Leave us a voice mail message at (347) 915-4324. We may use excerpts from your audio in a future episode.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of "The Argument" at, and you can find Jane on Twitter @janecoaston.“The Argument” is produced by Phoebe Lett, Elisa Gutierrez and Vishakha Darbha and edited by Alison Bruzek; fact-checking by Kate Sinclair; music and sound design by Isaac Jones.
17/02/21·2m 10s

From the Archives: Climate Change and Free College for All

This week we return to two of our favorite debates from “Arguments” past. First, a debate from Nov. 29, 2018, in which Ross Douthat, Michelle Goldberg and David Leonhardt debate climate change and how to deal with it. Then, the trio discuss whether public colleges should be tuition free, and if all student loan debt should be canceled, from the Dec. 5, 2019, episode, “Should College Be Free?” And finally, a return to that time Ross sang Lady Gaga.A note for our listeners: On Feb. 24, Jane Coaston will take the reins as host of “The Argument.” The show started in 2018 as a place for civil debate, a place that’s as much about listening as it is about talking. This mission isn’t changing.Jane will bring her years of reporting on politics (and sports!) to examine the issues shaping our politics and society. She’ll invite guests who disagree with her and one another, and encourage you to consider — or maybe even reconsider — your point of view. A huge thanks to our original team: David Leonhardt, Ross Douthat, Michelle Goldberg and Frank Bruni. Keep listening, and you’ll hear them on the show as guests and sometimes agitators.
10/02/21·27m 30s

Dreaming Of Our Post-Pandemic Lives. Plus: An Announcement

Michelle and Ross dream of a post-pandemic world. Michelle is ready to meet with friends again once vaccinated, and Ross wonders if the psychological stress of the pandemic has forever changed U.S. politics.Then they reflect on what they’ve learned from arguing with each other for more than two years.A note for our listeners: On Feb. 24, Jane Coaston will take the reins as host of “The Argument.” The show started in 2018 as a place for civil debate, a place that’s as much about listening as it is about talking. This mission isn’t changing. Jane will bring her years of reporting on politics (and sports!) to argue the issues shaping our politics and society. She’ll invite guests who disagree with her and one another, and encourage you to consider — or maybe even reconsider — your point of view. A huge thanks to our original team: David Leonhardt, Ross Douthat, Michelle Goldberg and Frank Bruni. Keep listening, and you’ll hear them on the show as guests and sometimes agitators.
03/02/21·28m 2s

The 46th: Joe Biden to the Rescue (Plan)

For the final episode in “The 46th” series, Michelle and Ross commemorate the inauguration of the 46th president with a debate about America’s post-Trump future. Ross compliments the ceremony’s “vague Hunger Games vibe,” and Michelle exhales for the first time in four years. Then, the pair discuss the uphill task for President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris to govern a country devastated by a pandemic, extreme political division and a staggering economy. Biden economic adviser Jared Bernstein joins the duo to allay their doubts and volley questions about the new president’s “Rescue Plan” to resuscitate America’s work force and even out an inequitable economy. Finally, Jared offers the show a little class in a classical favorite. For background reading on this episode, visit
22/01/21·48m 18s

The 46th: Will A Second Impeachment Change Republican Minds?

It’s impeachment season all over again on “The Argument,” and Michelle and Ross debate whether Republicans will, at long last, turn their backs to President Trump, or confirm that their party is resolutely his. Will Mitch McConnell really consider delivering enough Republican votes to convict Trump? The duo discuss the events of the last week and a half and the deepening fracture in the Republican Party, and Michelle is surprised to long for “the party of cruel Ayn Rand-ism” in exchange for “Qanon and guerrilla warfare.” Ross admits how wrong he’s been in analyzing violent extremism in recent years. Then, the hosts take up the question of deplatforming Trump, and the rabid hordes he foments. And finally, Ross suggests you find some escapism in a grim, dark, revisionist fantasy.For background reading on this episode, visit
15/01/21·39m 48s

I Love Section 230. Got a Problem With That?

In this special bonus episode, Jane Coaston makes her hosting debut on “The Argument” to discuss one of her favorite subjects: Section 230. As scholar Jeff Kosseff defined it, the “26 words that created the internet” is part of the Communications Decency Act of 1996, and it protects websites from liability. The law also allows internet companies to moderate third-party content on their sites.The banning of President Trump from many social media platforms has led to renewed calls from both political parties to amend or revoke Section 230. Jane debates what changing the law might mean with Klon Kitchen, director of the Center for Technology Policy at the Heritage Foundation, and Danielle Keats Citron, a professor at the University of Virginia School of Law and author of “Hate Crimes in Cyberspace.”
14/01/21·38m 25s

The 46th: The End of Trump or the End of American Democracy?

Ross Douthat and Michelle Goldberg debate whether the events that unfolded on Wednesday should be classified as a “coup.” Then, Michelle Cottle deploys her expertise on Congress to analyze the Georgia election results and predict what a Democratic Senate means for Joe Biden and how conservative Democrats might play a role in Republicans’ long-term plans.Finally, Michelle Cottle recommends a series to watch that while not apolitical may help give respite from the current moment.
08/01/21·35m 27s

How 2020 Changed Our Minds

Happy New Year and good riddance, 2020! Ross and Michelle ring in 2021 with a reflection on how their opinions changed during “this wild and crazy and terrible and interesting and disastrous and a longer list of adjectives year,” as Ross so eloquently defines 2020. The hosts are joined by a bevy of thoughtful “Argument” listeners who share what — or who — made them look at the world in a new way this year. Then, Michelle and Ross offer their hopes for 2021, and recommend two streaming options that young and old can enjoy together. For background reading on this episode, visit
01/01/21·33m 55s

The 46th: Will Georgia's Races Change The Senate?

As part of our series “The 46th,” The Argument’s hosts and guests are debating the events of the transition and what America under a Biden administration should look like.Now that we’re less than three weeks away from the Georgia runoff elections that will determine the balance of power in the U.S. Senate, Michelle, Ross and fellow Times columnist Jamelle Bouie take stock of the Democratic candidates and assess their strengths and weaknesses. Jamelle and Michelle make the case for a Warnock victory, while Ross makes a surprising prediction of the outcome.Then Michelle and Ross debate whether President Trump’s actions over the past four years constituted fascism or just looked like fascism. Michelle says Trump has insidiously invaded democratic institutions, while Ross argues that sometimes conservatism can look a little bit like fascism.And Michelle has a recommendation for last-minute holiday shoppers.For background reading on the episode, visit
18/12/20·37m 45s

The 46th: Who Will Replace Trump in the G.O.P.’s Heart?

As part of our series “The 46th,” the hosts and guests on “The Argument” are debating what America under a Biden administration might and should look like.This week, Ross Douthat is joined first by Jane Coaston, formerly of “The Weeds,” and future host of “The Argument.” Together they discuss the reasons for widespread theories of voter fraud among the Republican electorate and what led to such a moment. Then, the senior elections analyst of Real Clear Politics, Sean Trende, joins the pair to discuss the future of Trumpism and whether anybody else can capture the Republican Party quite like Donald Trump. And finally, Jane recommends building your character and your calf muscles.For background reading on this episode, visit
11/12/20·44m 26s

The 46th: Biden’s First Catastrophes

In the second episode of our pre-inauguration series, “The 46th,” Michelle and Aaron debate two countrywide crises that President-elect Joe Biden will inherit from Donald Trump: the coronavirus, and the economic chaos it’s causing. Jeneen Interlandi, the Times editorial board’s health, science and education writer, joins the podcast to discuss what Biden must do around mask mandates, vaccine deployment and public health messaging. Then, Binyamin Appelbaum, the editorial board’s economics writer, joins the debate around stimulus checks, and whether unthinkable human suffering can push Congress to action (spoiler: don’t count on it). And Binya offers recommendations for books — other than his own, of course — for people who want to understand how macroeconomics shapes their own lives, and not be bored doing it. For background reading on this episode, visit
04/12/20·39m 54s

The 46th: Progressive Democrats’ Next Moves Under Biden

Introducing The 46th, a new series from “The Argument” charting the incredibly unconventional transition from President Trump to President-elect Joe Biden. Each week through inauguration, we’ll debate what — and how — Mr. Biden should prioritize in his first 100 days. With Ross Douthat on intermittent paternity leave, Michelle Goldberg is joined by Opinion editor Aaron Retica for an interview with Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal. As the Democrats are poised to reclaim the executive branch, how should the growing divide between the party establishment and its progressive members like Representative Jayapal find common ground?Then, Kara Swisher — tech reporter and host of the NYT opinion podcast, “Sway” — joins Michelle and Aaron to discuss what social media companies are doing (or not doing) to combat misinformation and conspiracy theories surrounding the election. For background reading on this episode, visit
20/11/20·46m 28s

What Happens if Trump Doesn’t Concede?

After polling misses in the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections, Michelle and Ross ask Nate Cohn, domestic correspondent for The Upshot at The New York Times, whether we can ever trust polls again. They discuss Nate’s four theories of why polling may have been so off this year and how much the coronavirus pandemic affected results.Then, Michelle and Ross try to read the tea leaves for the next 10 weeks before inauguration with Rosa Brooks, a professor of law and policy at Georgetown University Law Center and a founder of the Transition Integrity Project, whose previous post election scenarios have proved eerily prophetic. Together they debate what the Republican strategy is right now and what happens if President Trump doesn’t concede.Plus, a trick for making all your video calls less painful, literally.For background reading on this episode, visit
13/11/20·52m 18s

Election Special: Nail-Biter Edition

As a weary nation waits for mail-in ballots to be tallied, Michelle and Ross come together for a special election episode of “The Argument.” They debate the lessons and takeaways from a nail-biter of a race that is coming down to Georgia and Arizona. They discuss minority rule, and America’s failure to secure a governing majority. Michelle asks Ross where a narrow Biden victory and the clear continued appeal of Trumpism leaves the Republican Party, and Ross fears a Trump 2024 campaign. Plus, getting through this week of waiting with sedatives and Wiffle ball bats. For background reading on this episode, visit
05/11/20·31m 12s

What If America Gets a Divorce? And Other Final Election Predictions

With just days left until Election Day, Michelle and Ross are joined by the Time magazine columnist and senior editor of The Dispatch, David French. Together, they revisit last year’s conservative brawl over “David Frenchism,” give the Lincoln Project more airtime than it deserves, and debate the impact Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation will have on the religious conservative vote. All three make their election predictions, including in some surprisingly competitive Senate races. Then, how likely is the re-election of Donald Trump to spur the dissolution of the United States as we know it? David makes the case for a relatively bloodless “Calixit,” and Michelle prefers a “velvet divorce” to a violent civil war. But how likely is either?And finally, David recommends what “may be the last unifying piece of pop culture left in the United States of America,” available now on Apple TV.For background reading on this episode, visit
30/10/20·48m 51s

David Leonhardt Returns for a Debate Debate

David Leonhardt returns to the podcast to celebrate its 100 episodes and two years on the air. Together, the O.G. “Argument” hosts dissect the final presidential debate, argue over the validity of the Hunter Biden allegations, and discuss Joe Biden’s campaign strategy in its final 11 days. Then, David looks into his crystal ball and makes election predictions — both national and state. Finally, David recommends finding the joy of a daily routine with family through the soothing tones of Alex Trebek.For background reading on this episode, visit
23/10/20·37m 35s

Packed Courts, Undecided Voters and 'WAP': You Asked, We Answered

For the podcast’s two-year anniversary, Michelle and Ross start with a rousing debate over why Joe Biden isn’t saying he’d pack the courts, should he beat President Trump in November. Ross asks Michelle if she’d concede that court packing would be a significant escalation in the “judicial wars,” and Michelle asks Ross what happens to the anti-choice movement if and when Roe is overturned.Then, the hosts listen to the show’s voice mails and dig into the inbox to answer some listener questions. They respond to your questions about the open Supreme Court seat, who the heck is still undecided, Republicanism’s evolution to Trumpism, and whether “WAP” is a feminist anthem. Finally, both hosts suggest you dive into the Nxivm cult’s backstory through HBO’s new documentary series, “The Vow.”For background reading on this episode, visit
16/10/20·44m 39s

What Happens if Trump Won’t Leave?

So President Trump caught the coronavirus. But with just weeks left in the 2020 campaign, what impact will his ill health — and subsequent spin — have on the election? Columnist David Brooks joins Michelle and Ross to talk about masculinity, sympathizing with someone you hate, and how the virus’s spread within Republican circles will play out among the electorate. Plus, Ross recites some medieval political theology. Then, what happens after Nov. 3? The columnists debate three possible outcomes for the election, ranging from dragging Trump out of the Oval Office with his “tail between his legs,” to secession and civil war. Finally, David is vindicated in a repeated recommendation of the lyricism of Taylor Swift, with some septuagenarian Springsteen on the side. For background reading on this episode, visit
09/10/20·40m 45s

Welcome to the Thunderdome

In the aftermath of the first presidential debate, Michelle Goldberg and Ross Douthat try to answer the question, “What was that?” They discuss whom President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden were talking to, how much it’ll move the needle for yet undecided voters, and what to look for in the remaining debates. Then, the editorial board writer Michelle Cottle joins the podcast for a comprehensive look at the last week of news: Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court, Trump’s tax revelations, the debate and what it all means for the state of the race. Finally, Michelle recommends you enjoy the outdoors while you still can.For background reading on this episode, visit
02/10/20·42m 46s

Introducing 'Sway' from NYT Opinion

Power. Who has it? Who’s been denied it? And how does one get it? Today we’re sharing NYT Opinion’s newest podcast, “Sway.” In the first episode, host Kara Swisher interviews House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. When it comes to presidential succession, Ms. Pelosi is second in line. And when it comes to taking on President Trump, she’s usually first. “The power of the speaker is awesome,” says Ms. Pelosi. But how is she actually using that power? Why not accept a compromise (to the tune of $1.5 trillion) that may help quell a national crisis? What progress is possible when the speaker hasn’t spoken directly to the president in months? And with the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg leaving a looming conservative court, can Ms. Pelosi maximize the power of a Democratic-controlled House?You can find transcripts, more episodes and links to subscribe to “Sway” at Episodes are released every Monday and Thursday.
29/09/20·51m 55s

A Battle Over the Battle for the Supreme Court

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death has elevated the stakes of the presidential election and left the fate of the Supreme Court as a question. Ross and Michelle debate the Republican hypocrisy of trying to fill the seat before the election, the self-weakening counter-strategy of Democrats and Roe v. Wade’s centrality of the whole partisaned battle. Then, Jamelle Bouie joins the conversation for a debate about court reform. They discuss how reforms like term limits and court packing can curtail the outsize power of the court over American society. Plus, Jamelle suggests you start small when seizing power. For background reading on this episode, visit
25/09/20·46m 43s

How Culpable Is Trump, and How Dangerous is QAnon?

After Bob Woodward’s latest book revealed just how much President Trump knowingly misled the public about the coronavirus, how much blame does he bear for the nearly 200,000 American lives lost to the virus? Michelle and Ross discuss counterfactuals and disagree about culpability — both the president’s, and that of the alarmed but withholding members of his administration. Then, Opinion writer Charlie Warzel joins the podcast to debunk QAnon, for a conversation about the role the “collaborative fiction” plays in American’s psyche and politics. Is it a collective coping mechanism in difficult times? A remix on old anti-Semitic themes? And is it all Facebook’s fault?For background reading on this episode, visit
18/09/20·48m 29s

How to Win the Latino Vote

In a special episode of “The Argument,” Opinion editor and writer Isvett Verde hosts a round table on the Latino vote in the 2020 election. Isvett welcomes Chuck Rocha, a senior campaign adviser to Bernie Sanders, and Linda Chavez, director of the Becoming American Institute and a senior fellow at the Niskanen Center. Together, they debunk the myth of a monolithic “Latino voting bloc,” explain Latino support for President Trump and discuss the role of Latinos in the future of both parties. Linda describes going from being one of the highest-ranking women in the Reagan White House to not recognizing her party in the Trump era. And Chuck explains how Sanders was able to excite Latino voters like no other candidate.For background reading on this episode, visit
11/09/20·47m 29s

Is ‘American Carnage’ Campaign Gold?

The Trump re-election strategy has revealed itself: Cast American cities as hotbeds of chaos, and place the blame entirely on the Democratic Party. Yet why is unrest being seen as a weakness for Joe Biden, and not the man in charge? Is the media unthinkingly accepting a Republican narrative? This week on the podcast, Frank, Michelle and Ross argue about the protests and counterprotests in Portland, Ore., and Kenosha, Wis., and disagree over the politicization of the clashes. They debate the lines between vigilantism and rioting and discuss the role coverage plays in the perception of the violence. And as a fitting parting gift on his final episode of “The Argument,” Frank recommends a short story that goes from jocular to chest-gripping grief in just 10 pages.For background reading on this episode, visit
03/09/20·52m 59s

Can the Republicans Sell a Whole New Trump?

What is the Republican election strategy? And is it working? This week on “The Argument,” the journalist Charlie Sykes joins Michelle and Frank to debate whether or not Trump has made a strong enough case for his re-election during the Republican convention and if his fierce message will translate to undecided voters. Then, they turn to a question facing many Biden conservatives, like Charlie: What is the future of the party? Plus, Charlie suggests a page-turner that will make time disappear.For background reading on this episode, visit
27/08/20·45m 31s

What Biden Must Do

It’s a Democratic convention unlike any other. So who is it for? What does the party, and its presidential candidate, Joe Biden, need to accomplish? And how should they approach President Trump’s threats to a free and fair election? This week on the podcast, Frank Bruni and Michelle Goldberg are joined by Opinion columnist Jamelle Bouie and editorial board member Michelle Cottle for a round-table discussion of the virtual “nerd Coachella” that is the Democratic National Convention of 2020. Then, Michelle Cottle offers a homespun jukebox game that can take the whole family’s mind off politics and the pandemic. For background reading, visit
20/08/20·44m 33s

Is Individualism America’s Religion?

Five months after the editorial board’s science writer Jeneen Interlandi warned the hosts of “The Argument” that they should get comfortable in quarantine, she makes her return to the podcast to talk what comes next. Ross and Frank press Jeneen on herd immunity possibilities, how to fix the testing lags in the U.S., and the question on every parent and teacher’s mind: How can we open schools safely?Then, Opinion writer Elizabeth Bruenig joins Frank and Ross for a debate on the moral obligations of the Roman Catholic Church in 2020. If the Movement for Black Lives is promulgating Catholic beliefs, why won’t the church say Black lives Matter? And how will Joe Biden’s Catholicism play a role in the election? Finally, Elizabeth recommends a break from omniscience.For background reading on this episode, visit
13/08/20·52m 36s

Trump Supporters Make Their Case for 2020

What do Trump supporters talk about when they talk about 2020? This week Ross hosts a special intra-right debate over whether conservatives should support Trump in 2020. He plays “moderate squish” (i.e., NeverTrumper) to Pro-Trump conservatives Dan McCarthy, the editor of Modern Age, and Helen Andrews, a senior editor of The American Conservative. They disagree with Ross about the president’s handling of the coronavirus and argue against his ultimate question for Republicans in 2020: Should conservatives actually hope for a Trump loss in November? For background reading on this episode, visit
06/08/20·1h 2m

When Conservatives Fall for Demagogues

How did the conservative defenders of classical liberal ideals like free speech and the rule of law wind up abetting authoritarians across the West? With Ross out for the week, Frank and Michelle are joined by Anne Applebaum, author of “Twilight of Democracy: The Seductive Lure of Authoritarianism,” to debate the origins of the center right’s schism over nationalism. Then, if you’ve got consternation over cancel culture, Michelle has “The Joke” for you. For background reading on this episode, visit
30/07/20·50m 40s

The Case for a One-State Solution

The long-held hope of a two-state solution has dwindled under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and his threat of annexation. After decades of calling for the preservation of the Jewish nation through two separate states, the political journalist and scholar Peter Beinart has changed his mind. This week on “The Argument,” he joins Ross and Michelle to make the case for a one-state solution. Then, Frank joins Michelle and Ross for a discussion about Barack Obama and George W. Bush, and what they should be doing to defeat President Trump in November. For background reading on this episode, visit
23/07/20·53m 2s

A Conversation With Tammy Duckworth

Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois joins the Frank, Ross and Michelle for a four-way interview about monuments and Tucker Carlson, Russian bounties in Afghanistan, Medicare for all and taking care of a multigenerational family in a pandemic. Plus, what’s harder: home schooling a 5-year-old or flying a Black Hawk helicopter? Then, Frank recommends an album that offers a little hope, even if hope is a dangerous thing to have. For background reading on this episode, visit’s note: At 18:58, Senator Duckworth says universal background checks are supported by 95 percent of Americans. Polling generally finds support for universal background checks between 84 and 94 percent.
16/07/20·42m 57s

Is Trump's Fate Sealed?

Has Donald Trump already lost the election? This week on “The Argument,” Frank, Ross and Michelle debate whether Joe Biden already has the president beat in November, given historical precedent, polling and the president’s own predilections. Then, they turn to the question that every family of an American student is asking: How can school safely reopen in the fall? Plus, Michelle suggests you treat yourself to some escapism through “Self Care.” For background reading on this episode, visit
09/07/20·35m 29s

Whose Statue Must Fall?

Is America finally going through a social revolution? Or will empty gestures and virtue signaling by corporations and elite institutions drown out demands to overturn the country’s economic inequities? This week on “The Argument,” Opinion columnist Jamelle Bouie joins Ross Douthat and Michelle Goldberg to debate whether the recent changes symbolize a true turning point, or whether institutions are merely placating a powerful movement that they in some ways fear.Then, the columnists turn to rethinking memorials across America: Who deserves a statue? Whose statue should be torn down? And, going forward, what do we want America to commemorate as its collective inheritance? For background reading on this episode, visit
02/07/20·35m 47s

Place Your Bets on Biden’s V.P.

Joe Biden has vowed to pick a woman as his running mate. But of the many qualified contenders, who should win the veepstakes? Michelle and Frank have different ideas as to whose name on the ticket could help push Biden to victory in November. Then, editorial board member Jesse Wegman joins Ross and Frank for a Supreme Court battle: has SCOTUS usurped Congress when it comes to legislating America’s culture wars? For background reading on this episode, visit
25/06/20·42m 21s

Which Opinions Are Out of Bounds?

After The New York Times published an Op-Ed by Republican Senator Tom Cotton which called for a military response to civic unrest, readers and employees alike were in an uproar. In the two weeks since our last episode, a debate about what makes an idea worth amplifying has taken place inside the paper. This week, Frank, Michelle and Ross disagree about the publishing of the Op-Ed, and debate where the lines should be drawn around ideas too abhorrent to be presented in the public discourse. Then, a conversation about the reckoning across industries at the executive level. Is this #MeToo, 2.0, or something different? For background reading on this episode, visit
18/06/20·37m 32s

Can Riots Force Change?

All across the U.S., thousands are taking to the streets to protest the repeated police killings of black Americans. Images of unrest blanket mainstream and social media: militarized officers shooting demonstrators with clouds of tear gas; buildings and cars engulfed in flames; broken windows and looted store-fronts that leave community facades undeniably altered. This week on “The Argument,” what role can riots play in achieving social upheaval? Ross, Michelle and Frank disagree about the efficacy, and detriment, of riots as a tool for social change. Plus, a conversation about where the country and its leaders should go from here, and props to Atlanta's mayor. For background reading on this episode, visit
04/06/20·41m 42s

Credibility and Converts: Revisiting Tara Reade and Jane Roe

As reporting on the sexual assault allegation against Joe Biden digs deeper into his accuser’s credibility, where does that leave the Democrats, the press and the #MeToo movement? The columnists debate Tara Reade and the court of public opinion around survivors and the accused. Then, what does Norma McCorvey’s "death bed" confession mean for the pro-choice and pro-life movements? For background reading on this episode, visit
28/05/20·34m 20s

Did de Blasio Bungle the Crisis?

When New York’s coronavirus rates began to skyrocket in mid-March, they seemed like a portent for the rest of the country. But at this point, New York City has five times as many Covid-19-related deaths as the entire state of California, with just a quarter of its population. How much blame for New York City’s devastation should go to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s slow response and early downplaying of the danger? Has Gov. Andrew Cuomo earned the praise his briefings have brought him, given his questionable policy choices? debate who deserves blame for New York’s catastrophic mishandling of the crucial first weeks of the coronavirus. What mistakes led to the dispersion of the virus from the Empire State, and what lessons can be learned as other states start to reopen? Then, as the luxury of dining out becomes a distant memory and grocery aisles remain unpredictably stocked, what has quarantine done to the act of enjoying a meal? Plus an ode to humble staples that bring spice to life. For background reading on this episode, visit
21/05/20·31m 20s

Bill Barr’s Junk Justice

Is Attorney General Bill Barr’s dropping all charges against Michael Flynn an utter breakdown of justice? Or is it absurd to fixate on Flynn and dredge the Russia investigation up again amid a pandemic? Ross returns to debate Frank and Michelle over just how alarmed Americans should be by recent actions of the Trump Justice Department. Plus, what, exactly, is Obamagate? Then, when it comes to coronavirus, are we too quick to blame the sick? For background reading on this episode, visit
14/05/20·34m 27s

Who’s Afraid of Justin Amash?

Who would a third party candidate help in the 2020 presidential election? Would adding a Libertarian like Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan to the race hand President Trump his re-election? Or could Amash appeal to would-be Trump voters and goose up the Democrats’ chance at victory come November? With Ross still on parental leave, Frank and Michelle are joined by the Republican strategist Liz Mair to discuss the power third party candidates hold in presidential races. Then, Michelle and Frank hop on a Zoom call to talk about the positives and pitfalls of our new era of video conferencing in both work and play.For background reading on this episode, visit
07/05/20·26m 59s

When Science Is Partisan

How can a president who shows disdain for science manage a crisis that requires faith in it? Frank and Michelle debate the federal government's coronavirus response with Yuval Levin, a former policy adviser to President George W. Bush and the founding editor of the conservative journal National Affairs. They talk the fallout of a pandemic hobbled by junk science, understaffed (and under-heeded) federal agencies, and a commander-in-chief lacking management skills. Plus, anti-vaxxers, America's science illiteracy and "President 4chan." For background reading on this episode, visit
30/04/20·34m 3s

Does New York Survive the Coronavirus?

How will the coronavirus change New York City — and what does the city’s response to the pandemic say about the rest of the country? In a special episode, Frank Bruni talks one-on-one with Ginia Bellafante, who writes The Times’s Big City column. For background reading on this episode, visit
23/04/20·31m 1s

The Biden Accusation

What should we make of an allegation of sexual assault lodged against Joe Biden? Frank, Ross and Michelle weigh evidence that supports and casts doubt on Tara Reade’s account, discuss the news media’s handling of Reade’s story and debate the similarities and differences between her accusation and other recent claims of sexual misconduct leveled at powerful men. Then, is the pandemic giving socialism in America a new gloss? For background reading on this episode, visit
16/04/20·32m 6s

Fighting Trump's Falsehoods

What’s the right way for the media to cover President Trump’s daily public briefings on the coronavirus pandemic? Ross Douthat, Michelle Goldberg and the new co-host Frank Bruni debate whether the president is using journalists as foils, the ways in which his briefings have become a substitute for canceled campaign rallies and how his public pronouncements about the virus have become vectors for misinformation. Then, when everyone in America is socially distancing, how far apart is far enough? For background reading on this episode, visit
09/04/20·33m 30s

The President vs. the Governors

How is coronavirus — and President Trump’s response to it — hitting blue states and red states differently? Ross, Michelle and David debate. Then, how should Joe Biden change his campaign strategy around Trump’s coronavirus fumbles? Frank Bruni joins in the argument. And finally, a bittersweet goodbye. For background reading on this episode, visit
02/04/20·34m 53s

What's The Best Fix For a Recession?

As the coronavirus pandemic sends financial markets into a tailspin, strains gig economy workers and threatens the survival of businesses large and small, the columnists debate what policymakers should do to avert a virus-induced economic recession. Ross shares his own account of an increasingly American experience: feeling sick and waiting days for the results of a coronavirus test to come back. And an escapist recommendation worth a binge. For background reading on this episode, visit
26/03/20·31m 57s

How Do We Vote in a Pandemic?

Coronavirus is causing change in daily life all over the world - but what should we be doing? And how long is this going to last? Editorial board health writer Jeneen Interlandi joins David and Michelle for a conversation about best practices amid the pandemic. Then, how do you hold a presidential election in the middle of a public health emergency? The columnist duo discuss voting in the time of coronavirus, and David recommends you give your future self the gift of recollection. For background reading on this episode, visit
19/03/20·25m 25s

The Pandemic vs. The President

Is President Trump's underreaction to the coronavirus a reason for more draconian measures to lock down the pandemic? Would more efforts to control the spread by the Trump administration help or hurt the country's preparedness for the impact? Ross Douthat and David Leonhardt debate this, and Western society's descent into dangerous decadence, in this live podcast recording at The Times Center in New York City.For background reading on this live episode, visit
12/03/20·37m 53s

How Biden Came Back

Super Tuesday has left the Democratic primary race with two clear front runners: Senator Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden. The columnists debate how we got here, and what this week's voting results mean for the rest of the 2020 race. Then, as the coronavirus epidemic approaches pandemic status, how alarmed should we feel and what can be done to limit the spread of the disease? Plus, Michelle suggests you walk through fire.For background reading on this episode, visit
05/03/20·39m 19s

Trump Emboldened

Less than a month after the end of his impeachment trial, are we witnessing an emboldened President Trump? The columnists discuss Trump’s cascade of norm-breaking following his acquittal by the Senate — and what it portends for the run-up to the November election. Then, would a proposed executive order aimed at “making federal buildings beautiful again” be an aesthetic win for democracy, or mark a descent into architectural kitsch? Plus, feeding cheetahs. For background reading on this episode, visit
27/02/20·32m 35s

Could Bloomberg Buy the Nomination?

Michael Bloomberg’s 2020 presidential candidacy is getting a boost from massive ad spending, but has it successfully hacked the attention of voters and the media? Will his newfound ascendancy survive a fuller airing of his record? Opinion writer Charlie Warzel joins Michelle Goldberg and David Leonhardt for the discussion. Then Charlie offers a grim explainer of (and some hopeful solutions to) the death of personal privacy in the digital age. For background reading on this episode, visit
20/02/20·31m 49s

Are We Headed for a Bernie Sweep?

Is Senator Bernie Sanders on an unstoppable path to the Democratic nomination — and if so, can he defeat President Trump in November? The columnists discuss the results of the New Hampshire primary and what they portend for the next contests in the race. Then, should Valentine's Day be canceled once and for all? For background reading on this episode, visit’s note: For full transparency, Michelle Goldberg’s husband is currently consulting for Elizabeth Warren’s 2020 presidential campaign.
13/02/20·33m 19s

What Did We Learn in Iowa?

What does the debacle of the Iowa caucuses mean for the trajectory of the 2020 Democratic race? The columnists discuss the Democratic electorate's neat split on the ground in Iowa, Bernie Sanders's path to the nomination, and whether the Hawkeye State still deserves its first-in-the-nation status. Then, how worried should we be about the Wuhan coronavirus — and what does its spread say about China’s global standing? For background reading on this episode, visit
06/02/20·27m 13s

Trump's Best Case Against Impeachment

President Trump hasn't tried to mount a logical case against removing him from office. But what if they did? Ross Douthat channels an argument the White House could instead be making instead. Then, Ezra Klein, the founding editor of Vox and author of the new book “Why We’re Polarized,” joins Ross and David to discuss the roots, implications and future of America’s current era of partisan polarization. For background reading on this episode, visit
30/01/20·35m 29s

Why Endorse Two Candidates?

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, who leads the editorial board and hosts "The Choice" podcast about the endorsement, joins the columnists to make the case for the dual endorsement. Then, David pitches his colleagues on an unorthodox thought experiment meant to help deflate America’s partisan tensions.For background reading on this episode, visit
23/01/20·36m 44s

Introducing 'The Choice' from NYT Opinion

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 intense internal debate over who would make the best leader for the era's particular needs. But this year the board is breaking its own rules and showing the work behind their endorsement. They're sharing all the conversations that led them to make their decision. "The Choice," a limited-run daily podcast from The New York Times Opinion section, brings you inside the boardroom every day for a different primary candidate's endorsement interview. You'll also get a daily bonus episode of the board's deliberations after the candidate leaves the room, and go deeper into a different key issue in the 2020 race. In our series finale, you'll hear the board debate all the candidates and make their final decision. Host Katie Kingsbury will join the columnists on "The Argument" next Thursday to make the case for the candidate the board endorses. Until then, tune in to "The Choice" to help you make your own. Produced by At Will Media.
17/01/20·5m 43s

Could Bernie Sanders Win It All?

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 the national news media. Then, as Michelle talks through the next column she's writing: Technology was supposed to solve the world’s problems, but it seems to have made more unsolvable ones. Is tech why the future looks so grim? For background reading on this episode, visit
16/01/20·32m 18s

Does Trump Have an Iran Strategy?

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 in modern international conflict, and the potential for relative stability. Then, the political scientist Lee Drutman joins the columnists to make the case for how America can and should move past its two-party political system. And Ross visits a pet store with a pro-family policy. For background reading on this episode, visit
09/01/20·41m 44s

What We Got Wrong in 2019

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 own. Then Michelle convinces Ross to give Damon Lindelof a second chance after all those hours he wasted trying to figure out "Lost." For background reading on this episode, visit
26/12/19·26m 55s

Why Hasn’t Impeachment Changed Minds?

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, what do the results of last week’s British elections portend for Democrats in the U.S. — and what does Brexit mean for the future of the U.K.? For background reading on this episode, visit
19/12/19·34m 55s

Why Is the Democratic Primary So White?

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 opponents. Then, “ok boomer” is more than just a dismissive meme. From culture to politics, the columnists talk why we can’t escape the baby boomer generation. For background reading on this episode, visit
12/12/19·28m 50s

Should College Be Free?

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 higher education. Then, birthrates around the world are falling. Anna Louie Sussman joins the conversation on the causes and implications of what she defined in her recent Times op-ed, “The End of Babies.” For background reading on this episode, visit
05/12/19·33m 46s

Are Public Impeachment Hearings Working?

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 of David’s that takes issue with how gratuities impact service workers. For background reading on this episode, visit
21/11/19·26m 35s

Will New Candidates Shake Up the 2020 Race?

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 Democratic nominee. Then, the anonymous author of a controversial Times op-ed is out with a new book about the resistance inside the Trump administration. The columnists discuss whether that resistance has been effective in constraining the president. For background reading on this episode, visit
14/11/19·31m 6s

Is Mayor Pete the Answer?

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 income inequality and a decrease in overall livability. Are the state’s woes a leading indicator of America’s bleak future? For background reading on this episode, visit
07/11/19·30m 0s

Should Facebook Be Fact-Checked?

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 Halloween-inspired discussion of astrology, witchcraft, the decline of religious observance and American millennials’ growing interest in the occult. For background reading on this episode, visit
31/10/19·32m 19s

How to Win Impeachment

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 increasing rise of deaths from drug overdoses, alcohol and suicide. What’s driving these so-called “deaths of despair,” and what — if anything — can be done about them? For background reading on this episode, visit
24/10/19·32m 26s

The Other Candidates Are Coming for Warren

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 Massachusetts, and where the race could go from here. Then, “The Argument” celebrates its first birthday! After a full year of disagreeing with each other weekly, the columnists reflect on moments in their careers where their own minds changed. For background reading on this episode, visit
17/10/19·35m 18s

Is the Threat of Impeachment Emboldening Trump?

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’ impeachment inquiry. Then, with the conservative-leaning Supreme Court back in session and a slew of big cases on the docket, should Democrats answer Republicans’ constitutional hardball with court packing? For background reading on this episode, visit
10/10/19·31m 23s

Will the G.O.P. Turn Against Trump?

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 William Barr’s efforts to undermine the Mueller report findings. Then, whose armrest is it anyway? The columnists debate airplane etiquette. Warning: Sexual violence is briefly mentioned in the final segment of this episode. For background reading on this episode, visit
03/10/19·30m 17s

Get Ready for Impeachment

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 House Democrats. Then, the other 2020 primary: three eclectic Republicans running to unseat the incumbent president of their own party. What do their quixotic campaigns say about the state — and the future — of the G.O.P.? For background reading on this episode, visit
26/09/19·26m 11s

Can We Talk About Biden’s Age?

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 deserved consequence for conduct society shouldn’t tolerate? For background reading on this episode, visit
19/09/19·30m 49s

Can Republicans Escape Racism?

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 American conservatism exist free of racism? For background reading on this episode, visit
12/09/19·31m 25s

Are Democrats Throwing Away the Senate?

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 editorial board member Binyamin Appelbaum about how much we should blame economists for the rise of income inequality. For background reading on this episode, visit
05/09/19·31m 41s

One-on-One With Marianne Williamson

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 country’s history and the current political climate. Then, Michelle Goldberg joins Ross to debate Williamson’s candidacy, record and New Age messaging. For background reading on this episode, visit
22/08/19·31m 59s

Is Josh Hawley the Future of the G.O.P.?

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 discuss who the 2017 Republican-passed tax law really helped and whether conservative economic populism can exist free of President Trump’s racism. Then, Michelle Goldberg and David Leonhardt join Ross to debate Hawley’s ideas. For background reading on this episode, visit
15/08/19·37m 7s

Does Trump Help Fuel Mass Shootings?

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, several 2020 Democrats took shots at Barack Obama’s legacy during last week’s presidential debates. Were they just trying to undermine Joe Biden’s appeal, or does the breakup with the most recent Democratic president signify something deeper? For background reading on this episode, visit
08/08/19·33m 38s

Is Impeachment Finally Happening?

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 listener questions about climate change, Puerto Rico’s political crisis, student debt-forgiveness and more. And finally, David’s recommendation of the week is the last straw. For background reading on this episode, visit
01/08/19·35m 31s

Why Isn’t Trump Trying to Win the Center?

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 the columnists debate whether Democrats should be fighting about busing and desegregation in 2019. Finally, Jamelle recommends a collection of recipes sure to curry favor with adventurous eaters young and old. For background reading on this episode, visit
25/07/19·34m 9s

Will Trump's Racism Sink the G.O.P.?

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 libertarianism in favor of grievance-based politics. Then, fellow Op-Ed columnist Farhad Manjoo joins his colleagues to debate the case for pressing the pronoun “they” into wider use. Is "they" the solution to society’s prison of gender expectations? For background reading on this episode, visit
18/07/19·32m 54s

What Is Nancy Pelosi Thinking?

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 discuss the tensions roiling Democrats in the House of Representatives. By lobbing criticism at progressive members of the caucus, just what is Speaker Nancy Pelosi playing at? For background reading on this episode, visit
11/07/19·31m 29s

Is Biden Doomed?

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 moving too far to the left? How can the party build a winning coalition? How should they weigh economic versus cultural issues? And which candidates will be able to pivot for a general election audience? For background reading on this episode, visit
03/07/19·31m 40s

One-on-One With Cory Booker

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 New Jersey to discuss his plans to tackle America’s housing crisis, the racial wealth gap, gun violence and more. Then Ross Douthat and Michelle Goldberg join David to debate Booker’s candidacy. For background reading on this episode, visit
26/06/19·41m 22s

Are We Headed For War With Iran?

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 fighting about? The columnists discuss the Sohrab Ahmari vs. David French debate over tactics, values and goals that’s roiling the right-wing intelligentsia. For background reading on this episode, visit
20/06/19·41m 13s

Death to the Meritocracy With Andrew Yang

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 the meritocratic class. Then Michelle Goldberg and David Leonhardt join Ross to debate Yang's candidacy and the idea of universal basic income. For background reading on this episode, visit
13/06/19·52m 0s

Are Democrats Too Scared to Impeach? (LIVE from Boston)

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 Democrats’ evolving approach to climate politics. Then, as right-wing populists and nationalist parties gain ground in countries around the world, is global liberalism on the decline? For background reading on this episode, visit
06/06/19·40m 25s

The United States of Socialism?

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. Elizabeth Warren. Then, Ross Douthat and David Leonhardt join Michelle to debate socialism’s role in the future of the political left. For background reading on this episode, visit
30/05/19·38m 31s

President Pete? One-on-One With Buttigieg

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. Then, Ross Douthat, Michelle Goldberg and David debate Buttigieg’s unconventional candidacy. For background reading on this episode, visit
23/05/19·53m 33s

Is Trump Right About China?

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 decline, finally enjoying a comeback? For background reading on this episode, visit
16/05/19·32m 24s

Is the Trump Economic Boom for Real?

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 asserts executive privilege over the unredacted Mueller report while his administration fights congressional subpoenas, is a constitutional crisis inevitable? For background reading on this episode, visit
09/05/19·31m 12s

How to Fix the Criminal Justice System

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 what a better criminal justice system could look like. For background reading on this episode, visit
02/05/19·41m 47s

Is It Time to Impeach Trump?

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 president and the country. Then David and Ross revisit one of their sharpest recurring disagreements: What can be done about climate change? For background reading on this episode, visit tickets to our live show in Boston, visit
25/04/19·39m 9s

Which 2020 Underdogs Stand a Chance? (LIVE from NYC)

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, Michelle and David discuss the 2020 candidacies of Pete Buttigieg, Kirsten Gillibrand, Andrew Yang, Cory Booker and Amy Klobuchar. For background reading on this episode, visit tickets to our live show in Boston, visit
17/04/19·35m 26s

Should Biden Run?

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 America's sex recession means for the country.For background reading on this episode, visit
04/04/19·35m 44s

Who Botched the Mueller Report?

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 media oversold the scandal and what should happen next. Then, is it time to abolish the Electoral College? The columnists disagree. For background reading on this episode, visit tickets to the live show, visit you are having thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK). You can find a list of additional resources at
28/03/19·35m 19s

Is Trump Causing White Terrorism?

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 connection to hate crimes. Later, they turn to whether college admissions can ever be a fair system, and what can be done about meritocracy, elitism and college sports recruitment.For background reading on this episode, visit
21/03/19·36m 45s

One-on-One With Elizabeth Warren

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 Goldberg join David to debate whether Warren’s economic agenda could be a winning one. For background reading on this episode, visit
13/03/19·49m 35s

How Does the Catholic Church Redeem Itself?

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 Andrew Sullivan debate the Roman Catholic Church's dual crises around sexuality and sexual abuse — and what should be done about them. For background reading on this episode, visit
07/03/19·32m 31s

Will Michael Cohen's Testimony Doom Trump?

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 Sanders's candidacy is giving off Reagan vibes. Then Ross takes the socialism discussion in a cinematic direction with his recommendation of the week. For background reading on this episode, visit
28/02/19·36m 1s

Is Trump the Real National Emergency?

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 more competent presidents abusing their expanded constitutional authority. Then, Mara Gay of the Times editorial board disagrees with David about whether Amazon's abrupt headquarters departure from New York is really such a victory for cities against corporations.For background reading on this episode, visit
21/02/19·36m 23s

Is the Green New Deal a Leftist Fantasy?

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 viability in Congress. Then, David Leonhardt asks fellow columnist Roger Cohen and Steve Hilton, the former adviser to David Cameron, what should be done about Brexit.For background reading on this episode, visit
14/02/19·39m 6s

The Abortion Debate

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 Archer joins David Leonhardt and Ross to argue whether the Democrats' new favorite slogan — “Medicare for All” — could actually work in the U.S. And Ross has de Gaulle to recommend a doorstop of a biography.For background reading on this episode, visit
07/02/19·45m 21s

Who's Ahead in the Race to Beat Trump?

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, and who to watch out for in the primary. Then David Leonhardt joins Michelle and Ross to debate the media's biases in the Trump era. Finally, Michelle has a suggestion for anyone planning a big, fat, expensive wedding: don't. For background reading on this episode, visit
31/01/19·36m 56s

Have Republicans Betrayed the Working Class?

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 Fox News host’s recent anti-elite turn says about the G.O.P. And finally, why David wants to make American football more Canadian.For background reading on this episode, visit
24/01/19·40m 24s

How Trump Loses the G.O.P.

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 the third annual Women’s March. And finally, Ross recommends a less sugary “Mary Poppins.”For background reading on this episode, visit
17/01/19·35m 32s

Why Do Powerful Women Make America Panic?

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 afraid of female leaders, and why Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez makes the Republicans so bananas. For background reading on this episode, visit this episode contains explicit language.
10/01/19·36m 33s

Your Questions, Answered

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 in this New Year's episode. Then Ashley Nicole Black, comedian and writer for "Full Frontal With Samantha Bee," joins the trio for a look back at 2018 and a look at head at their hopes for 2019. For background reading on this episode, visit
03/01/19·37m 36s

Should Marijuana Be Legal?

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 States should pursue. Finally, Ross recommends you stop saying "Merry Christmas" — at least for this week.For background reading on this episode, visit
20/12/18·37m 13s

Will Trump's Presidency Survive 2019?

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 you go nuts (for donuts).For background reading on this episode, visit
13/12/18·35m 11s

Is Donald Trump A Traitor?

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 remains agnostic on Trump's collusion, Michelle Goldberg says dayenu, and David Leonhardt thinks there's a path to impeachment through Mueller's report.For background reading on this episode, visit
06/12/18·35m 37s

What Do We Do About Climate Change?

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 progressive economics. And finally, a friendly recommendation.For background reading on this episode, visit
29/11/18·34m 13s

How To Survive The Holidays Without An Argument

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 make your holiday weekend a little darker.For background reading on this episode, visit
21/11/18·33m 59s

Is Amazon Bad for America?

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 debates pro-Trump writer Daniel McCarthy over whether the president is actually good for the Republican party. And Michelle Goldberg suggests you soothe your political anxieties with CBD gummies.For background reading on this episode, visit
15/11/18·38m 42s

Did Trump Lose The Midterms?

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 rejected in the midterms. Michelle Goldberg thinks women will save this country yet. And whether you’re elated or disappointed after election day, we have a suggestion: Go take a bath.For background reading on this episode, visit
08/11/18·38m 1s

Who's to Blame for American Political Violence?

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 polarized by gender? Is the Republican party the party of men, and the Democratic party the party of women?For background reading on this episode, visit
01/11/18·33m 56s

How Screwed Up Is American Democracy?

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 House Democrats. And we learn what Michelle Goldberg would do if she had the “pee tape.”For background reading on this episode, visit
25/10/18·31m 56s

Is Trump Destroying the World Order?

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 threatens liberal democracy. No surprise: they disagree. But common ground is found over club soda.For background reading on this episode, visit
18/10/18·31m 27s

Is the Supreme Court Broken?

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 background reading on this episode, visit
11/10/18·30m 3s

Introducing 'The Argument,' an Opinion podcast from The New York Times

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 range of arguments around the week's political debate. You'll learn the why's behind party decisions and doctrine, and discover new ways to make your argument appeal to people who see the world differently.For background reading on this episode, visit
04/10/18·1m 37s
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