Politics Weekly America

Politics Weekly America

By The Guardian

Every Friday, Guardian columnist and former Washington correspondent, Jonathan Freedland, invites experts to help analyse the latest in American politics. From politicians to journalists covering the White House and beyond, Jonathan and his guests give listeners behind the scenes access to how the American political machine works.


Why did liberals push for the Iraq war? Politics Weekly America podcast

Twenty years ago, as George Bush and Tony Blair advocated the need to invade Iraq, Jonathan Freedland and Peter Beinart were on opposite sides of the argument. This week, Peter tells Jonathan why he now regrets supporting the war
17/03/23·39m 43s

Will Joe Biden run again? Politics Weekly America podcast

Reports suggest Joe Biden will announce his intention to run for a second term in the White House in 2024. Jonathan Freedland and Robert Reich discuss whether or not he is the best candidate the Democrats can put forward
10/03/23·28m 28s

Scandal grips this year’s CPAC event: Politics Weekly America podcast

Jonathan Freedland and Tara Setmayer discuss why some high profile Republicans – and even Fox News – are avoiding this year’s gathering at the Conservative Political Action Conference
03/03/23·25m 54s

Why are Republicans using Biden’s Kyiv trip against him? Politics Weekly America

This week marks one year since Russian troops invaded Ukraine, and for the first time since the war began, Joe Biden landed in Kyiv to meet with Ukrainian president, Volodymr Zelenskiy, in what some are calling one of the most important trips by a US president since the end of the cold war. This week, Joan E Greve speaks to Susan Glasser of the New Yorker about the significance of Biden’s trip to Europe and why Republicans at home are criticising him for it
24/02/23·26m 58s

Spy balloons, UFOs and a standoff with China: Politics Weekly America

This week, Jonathan Freedland and Julian Borger look into why a story about spy balloons launched by China quickly led to the White House having to deny the existence of aliens, and how communication on this could further deepen the wedge between the US and China
17/02/23·28m 20s

Biden shakes up Democrats’ primary calendar: Politics Weekly America podcast

Last weekend, members of the Democratic National Committee voted through a plan to reshuffle the party’s presidential primary calendar, meaning voters in South Carolina will pick their candidate first, bumping Iowa and New Hampshire off top spot. This was done at the behest of Joe Biden. So why did he want to shake things up? Jonathan Freedland is joined by Adam Gabbatt, Holly Ramer in New Hampshire and Joseph Bustos in South Carolina to discuss the ramifications of messing with political tradition
10/02/23·33m 33s

Congress struggles with police reform: Politics Weekly America podcast

While attending the funeral of Tyre Nichols, the 29-year-old man beaten to death by police in Memphis, Tennessee, this week, Kamala Harris called on Congress to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which passed in the House in 2021 but failed in the Senate. Jonathan Freedland speaks to Dr David Thomas, of Florida Gulf Coast University, about why lawmakers find police reform a difficult issue to legislate on
03/02/23·23m 36s

The 2024 senate race in California kicks off: Politics Weekly America podcast

Two weeks ago, the congresswoman Katie Porter announced she was running to be one of California’s two senators, despite the fact that the incumbent, Dianne Feinstein, has yet to say she is retiring. After the presidential primary, California is expected to be the most interesting race in 2024. Jonathan Freedland and Tal Kopan of the Boston Globe discuss which way the largely blue state could vote
27/01/23·26m 30s

Confidential files found with Biden’s Corvette – Politics Weekly America podcast

Last week, the US attorney general, Merrick Garland, appointed a special counsel to investigate how several batches of classified documents were reportedly found at locations linked to President Biden. This week, Jonathan Freedland speaks to Ankush Khardori, who worked in the US Department of Justice from 2016 to 2020, about what the outcome to this investigation may be
20/01/23·23m 59s

Can George Santos outrun his lies? Politics Weekly America

Last week, the much-talked-about George Santos, of Long Island, New York, was sworn into office. The Democrats and even some Republicans think he should have resigned after he admitted to lying about a lot of things during his campaign. So who is the real George Santos? How likely is it that he’ll see out his full term in office? And does his success tell us more about the state of US politics than it does an individual’s misgivings? Jonathan Freedland and Will Bredderman of the Daily Beast discuss the man behind the lies
13/01/23·29m 31s

Kevin McCarthy faces mutiny over speakership: Politics Weekly America podcast

Everyone knew that this week was going to be tough for Kevin McCarthy, but not even Democrats could have hoped for such a humiliating few days for the Republican nominee to be speaker of the House of Representatives. Jonathan Freedland and Lauren Gambino discuss what unfolded on Capitol Hill
06/01/23·30m 6s

Revisited … Jennifer Senior on Steve Bannon: Politics Weekly America podcast

Politics Weekly America is taking a break. So this week, Jonathan Freedland revisits the conversation he had in July, with writer for The Atlantic, Jennifer Senior, about the former White House chief strategist under Donald Trump, Steve Bannon
30/12/22·29m 39s

Revisited – Jon Ronson on Alex Jones: Politics Weekly America podcast

Politics Weekly America is taking a break. So this week, Jonathan Freedland revisits the conversation he had in April with the journalist and film-maker Jon Ronson about the far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones
23/12/22·23m 3s

Trump should face criminal charges, January 6 panel concludes: Politics Weekly America

On Monday, the House January 6 select committee held its final meeting, voting to formally adopt the report it had been working on for the last 18 months, referring the former president and some of his top advisers to the justice department for efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Jonathan Freedland speaks to Hugo Lowell about what the committee found and what is likely to happen next
20/12/22·22m 43s

Can Republicans come back from the extreme in 2023? Politics Weekly America podcast

As 2022 draws to a close, Jonathan Freedland speaks to Simon Rosenberg and Sarah Longwell about their predictions for how US politics will shake out in 2023. Can the Democrats capitalise on a weary electorate, can the Republicans finally get rid of the spectre of Donald Trump, and who will announce their intention to run in 2024?
16/12/22·33m 54s

Why 51 is better than 50 in the Senate: Politics Weekly America podcast

Raphael Warnock was re-elected to represent Georgia in the US Senate for the next six years. Jonathan Freedland speaks to Molly Reynolds of the Brookings Institution about the significance for Democrats of having an absolute majority in the upper chamber of Congress, rather than a 50/50 split
09/12/22·27m 10s

10 years since Sandy Hook – what’s changed? Politics Weekly America special

On 14 December it will be 10 years since the Sandy Hook elementary school mass shooting, when a 20-year-old killed 20 children aged six and seven, as well as six adults. The Guardian’s Joan E Greve travelled to Newtown, Connecticut to speak with Nicole Hockley and Mark Barden of Sandy Hook Promise, the parents of Dylan and Daniel, who were killed that day. She meets teenagers from the Junior Newtown Action Alliance, who now go through terrifying lockdown drills as preparation for another shooting, who want to see more change in gun legislation. She also speaks with Senator Chris Murphy, who helped draft the first significant gun control policy in the US in 30 years this year. Together they discuss what more could and should be done to stop such tragedies
02/12/22·44m 39s

Who’s really in charge of the House of Representatives? Politics Weekly America

There was no red wave, but come January next year, the Republicans will officially be in control of the House of Representatives. What will they do? Who will be in charge? Will they hold together or fall apart? Jonathan Freedland puts these questions and more to Marianna Sotomayor of The Washington Post. The pair also discuss the legacy of the outgoing Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi
25/11/22·26m 58s

Trump re-enters the battleground for the presidency: Politics Weekly America

Donald Trump has announced his third run for president, and not all Republicans are happy about it. Not only have there been a string of midterm losses by candidates he handpicked and supported – but in the background, federal and state authorities are investigating Trump’s personal, political and financial conduct. This week, Jonathan Freedland speaks to the political columnist Jonathan Martin of Politico and unpacks how the Republican party can finally break away from Trump’s legacy
16/11/22·24m 11s

Trump quiet as Democrats pull off surprise boost: Politics Weekly America midterms special

Republicans will be wondering how polling got it so wrong. As John Fetterman wins that all-important Pennsylvania seat and Democrats keeps more seats in the House than expected, it is clear the former president doesn’t have the pull analysts once thought. Donald Trump faces another problem, a party rival in Florida king, Ron DeSantis. Jonathan Freedland is joined by Lauren Gambino, Tara Setmayer and David Shor to discuss the ramifications for Washington and beyond of what the votes are telling us
09/11/22·31m 49s

No sign of the red wave – yet: Politics Weekly America midterms special

As the votes continue to be counted, Jonathan Freedland is joined by Joan E Greve, columnist Richard Wolffe, and Chris Scott of Democracy for America, to look at what we know so far.
09/11/22·38m 29s

Pennsylvania proves the final battleground: Politics Weekly America midterms special

It’s a tale of two cities for Jonathan Freedland, as he attends a Donald Trump rally in Pittsburgh, where he speaks to voters who want the former president to run again, and then heads to Philadelphia to talk to young voters who turn out for an unlikely icon, the 81-year-old Bernie Sanders
07/11/22·32m 56s

The fight for blue collar voters in Ohio: Politics Weekly America midterms special

In the second episode of our special series, Jonathan Freedland travels to Youngstown, Ohio, to see who voters are more excited by in the state’s crucial Senate race - the Trump-backed Republican, JD Vance, or the Democrat Tim Ryan, who analysts say is running one of the best campaigns in the country. He heads to Cleveland to talk to a union leader about who workers want to win, and then to a Vance event with other prominent Republicans.
04/11/22·29m 23s

Georgia fights for democracy – Politics Weekly America Midterms Special

Jonathan Freedland travels around the state of Georgia, a state that gave Democrats the Senate at the start of 2021. He follows Stacey Abrams and Herschel Walker, talking to their voters along the way. He also sits down with the co-founder of Black Voters Matter, LaTosha Brown, about why this election is about more than any one candidate
02/11/22·32m 26s

Is a red wave about to touch down on US shores? Politics Weekly America

With less than two weeks to go before the November midterm elections, analysts are working overtime to try to predict the outcome. Will Republicans manage to take both the House and the Senate from the Democrats? Will the overturning of Roe v Wade be the catalyst that brings new Democrats to the polls? Is Donald Trump really as influential in the GOP as he thinks he is? This week, Jonathan Freedland and Joan E Greve bring us the latest on the races to watch, the candidates to pay attention to and the issues dominating the campaigns
28/10/22·29m 37s

Social media giants struggle to tackle misinformation: Politics Weekly America

This week, Jonathan Freedland and Anya van Wagtendonk look at how misinformation could affect the outcome of the midterm elections in November and how tech platforms and lawmakers should be doing more to help stem the erosion of voter confidence in American democracy
21/10/22·31m 13s

Why Nevada will prove crucial in November: Politics Weekly America

There is a source of worry for the Democrats coming from the west of the country – Nevada. A state previously considered pretty blue is showing some signs of turning red, and Republicans are hoping to pounce. This week, Jonathan Freedland speaks to Jon Ralston of the Nevada Independent about why Nevada could prove fatal to the Democrats if it flips red in November
14/10/22·27m 45s

The man who thinks Democrats could win big in November: Politics Weekly America

With just over a month to go until the midterm elections, Jonathan Freedland speaks to Democratic strategist Simon Rosenberg about why he has been confident for a lot longer than others that a red wave isn’t about to happen, and that a blue wave might well be
07/10/22·25m 12s

Republicans playing the migration card: Politics Weekly America

Ana Ceballos, a political reporter for the Miami Herald, tells Jonathan Freedland about the Republican party’s attempts to dramatise the question of migration ahead of November’s midterm elections
30/09/22·31m 8s

A new generation of voters empowered by Roe: Politics Weekly America

Poppy Noor has been looking into how the US Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v Wade back in June might influence midterm elections this November. She tells Jonathan Freedland that after Kansas voters chose to keep abortion legal in their state in a surprise result last month, she spoke to three people in Michigan about why they’re canvassing to get more voters registered before a similar ballot on reproductive rights.
23/09/22·27m 1s

Why Biden blames Trump’s MAGA as a threat to democracy: Politics Weekly America

After Joe Biden delivered a landmark speech a couple of weeks ago warning that the extremism of Donald Trump’s Republican supporters now threatened the country’s democratic foundations, Jonathan Freedland speaks to the journalist Luke Mogelson, who has written a book chronicling the transformation of America in the run-up to January 6
16/09/22·24m 38s

The Queen’s relationship with US presidents: Politics Weekly America special

Jonathan Freedland speaks to the former senior adviser to both Bill and Hillary Clinton, Sidney Blumenthal, about some of Queen Elizabeth II’s most poignant encounters with the 13 US presidents she met during her reign, and why King Charles III needs to keep that ‘special relationship’ intact Death of the Queen and King Charles’s accession - latest updates
13/09/22·23m 27s

From Today in Focus: the life and death of Queen Elizabeth II

The Queen has died aged 96 at her Scottish home of Balmoral. The Guardian’s Jonathan Freedland introduces this special episode of Today in Focus, with Nosheen Iqbal speaking to Polly Toynbee about the Queen’s life
09/09/22·31m 40s

Leon Panetta on the Afghanistan withdrawal, a year on: Politics Weekly America podcast

A year ago, American troops withdrew from Afghanistan after a 20-year war. The Taliban quickly returned to power and the country has since experienced famine, economic collapse and a widespread erosion of women’s rights. This week, Jonathan Freedland speaks to the former US defense secretary Leon Panetta, who was at the heart of the Obama administration’s Afghanistan policy, about what he thinks of the Afghan withdrawal and what the future holds for Joe Biden and the Democrats
02/09/22·30m 17s

Is Trump back in Murdoch’s good books? Politics Weekly America

At the end of July, it was reported that Fox News and other publications owned by Rupert Murdoch were starting to abandon their extensive coverage of Donald Trump. However, after the FBI launched an unprecedented raid on his Mar-a-Lago home as part of an investigation into Trump’s potentially unlawful removal of White House records when he left office, the former president was back to getting some favourable coverage, at least on Fox News. This week, Joan E Greve speaks to former Republican congressional communications director Tara Setmayer about how in the long term, this ongoing scandal could be beneficial to Trump
26/08/22·22m 38s

What does the future hold for Liz Cheney? Politics Weekly America

This week, Joan E Greve speaks to the former chair of Republican National Committee Michael Steele about the defeat of Liz Cheney in the Wyoming primary, the state of the GOP after she leaves and why Donald Trump should fear what she does next
19/08/22·20m 43s

Democrats celebrate ‘historic’ climate bill: Politics Weekly America

As the Inflation Reduction Act heads to the House floor, many Democrats are hoping the landmark legislation to tackle the climate crisis, which passed in the Senate last week, will result in more votes in the November midterm elections. Some experts aren’t convinced the bill goes far enough. Joan E Greve speaks to Leah Stokes, of the University of California, Santa Barbara, about what the bill – if passed into law – will mean for Americans, and for the planet
12/08/22·21m 54s

A huge week for US foreign policy: Politics Weekly America

This week, Jonathan Freedland speaks to the former US assistant secretary of state Philip Crowley about what events in Taiwan and Kabul tell us about President Biden’s foreign policy strategy
05/08/22·26m 39s

Why does an ageing Congress spell trouble for the Democrats? Politics Weekly America

Frustration is mounting about the Democrats’ elderly incumbents, as well as a growing sense that the party is so close to losing control of at least one chamber of Congress
29/07/22·24m 48s

Is Bannon on course to destroy democracy? Politics Weekly America

As the former White House chief strategist appears in court charged with contempt of Congress, Jonathan Freedland speaks to Jennifer Senior, of the Atlantic, about the man behind the conspiracy theories. Is Bannon more than just a far-right provocateur?
22/07/22·29m 41s

Why Republicans are backing a controversial former NFL star

Last week, we learned that Herschel Walker, who’s the Republican nominee for a Senate seat in Georgia, lied to his own campaign team about how many children he had. This is not his only misstep, but the longtime friend of Donald Trump continues to have the support of Georgia Republicans. Jonathan Freedland speaks to Roger Sollenberger of the Daily Beast about why Walker might prove a fatal blow for the GOP in November’s midterm elections
15/07/22·24m 4s

Migrant deaths show Biden needs to change immigration policy: Politics Weekly America

At the end of June, authorities in San Antonio, Texas, opened the back of an abandoned truck to find the bodies of more than 50 migrants inside – people who had made the journey across the southern border in extreme heat. The news led to scrutiny, from all sides, of the Biden administration’s approach to immigration, with Republicans saying it was too weak and Democrats, too harsh. Jonathan Freedland speaks to Silvia Rodriguez Vega and Pedro Gerson about the steps the US government could take to prevent further deaths at the border
08/07/22·27m 9s

Americans lose faith in the US supreme court: Politics Weekly America

The US supreme court has struck down the constitutional right to an abortion, one of several landmark decisions that will affect the lives of millions of Americans for decades to come. Jonathan Freedland and Jill Filipovic discuss whether it’s still possible for a deeply divided court of nine judges, a group that now has a 6-3 conservative majority, to keep the promise to the American people of ‘equal protection’, and what happens if it can’t
01/07/22·25m 1s

What the January 6 hearings have told us: Politics Weekly America

We learned this week that the public hearings held by the January 6 select committee would be extended into July. The Guardian’s Hugo Lowell tells Jonathan Freedland what we’ve learned so far, why they need more time and what happens next
24/06/22·22m 31s

What does ‘Watergate’ teach us 50 years on?: Politics Weekly America

50 years ago, police in Washington DC arrested five men for breaking into the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee. What followed was the unravelling of a web of scandals that ultimately ended Richard Nixon’s presidency. What can today’s January 6 hearings learn from Watergate? And had it happened in today’s political climate, would it have played out the way it did? Jonathan Freedland speaks with Garrett M. Graff, journalist and author of Watergate: A New History
17/06/22·26m 53s

A celebrity heart surgeon wins in Pennsylvania, what next? Politics Weekly America

Dr Mehmet Öz is the Republican nominee for the Pennsylvania Senate race, which will take place in November. Up against him is another interesting character in John Fetterman. Both see themselves as political outsiders, but who will win this important swing state in the midterms? Jonathan Freedland puts this to politics reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer Julia Terruso
10/06/22·28m 11s

Biden’s dilemma over supporting Ukraine: Politics Weekly America

This week, Joe Biden confirmed he will send more advanced rocket systems to Kyiv. As Russian troops continue their assault on the Donbas region in the east of the country, Joan E Greve talks to Susan Glasser of the New Yorker about what the future holds for US support to Ukraine.
03/06/22·25m 21s

Texas school shooting overshadows primaries: Politics Weekly America

The killing of at least 19 schoolchildren and two teachers in the town of Uvalde on Tuesday has reignited the gun control debate in the US. Jonathan Freedland speaks to the chief correspondent for the Washington Post, Dan Balz, about why, after yet another tragedy involving firearms, the Republican party is still unwilling to talk gun reform
27/05/22·27m 11s

Will Republicans drop the Great Replacement Theory? Politics Weekly America

In a week when a teenager shot dead 10 Black people in Buffalo New York, apparently motivated by the ‘great replacement’ theory, Jonathan Freedland speaks to Michael Harriot and Anne Applebaum about why this racist ideology has become mainstream in rightwing circles in the US, and why we shouldn’t be surprised
20/05/22·36m 22s

How senior GOP figures tried to oust Trump: Politics Weekly America podcast

This week Jonathan Freedland speaks to Jonathan Martin of the New York Times after the publication of his new book This Will Not Pass and what he and his co-author Alexander Burns unearthed about events behind the scenes in the run-up to the 2020 presidential election, why all is not well for the Biden administration, and what all of this says for the future of the two-party system
13/05/22·27m 6s

Is Biden willing to go against the supreme court to save Roe v Wade? Politics Weekly America

According to a draft majority opinion published by Politico this week, the US supreme court has voted to overturn Roe v Wade in the clearest sign yet that the constitutional right to abortion will probably be taken away from millions of Americans very soon. This week, Jonathan Freedland speaks to Moira Donegan about what it will take to stop the majority conservative bench, whether Democrats are willing to pull rank, and if they don’t, whether it is even accurate to call the US the land of the free
06/05/22·30m 8s

Jon Ronson on the fall of Alex Jones: Politics Weekly America

A couple of weeks ago, the far-right website InfoWars filed for bankruptcy. Its founder, Alex Jones, is facing multiple compensation claims brought by parents of victims of the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting, an event Jones previously told his followers was a hoax.Documentary maker Jon Ronson has followed Jones’ career from the very beginning. This week, Jonathan Freedland asks him for his take on the fall of one of America’s most famous conspiracy theorists
29/04/22·23m 16s

What caused the rise of anti-Asian hate crime in the US? Politics Weekly America

Last year, President Biden signed the anti-Asian hate crimes bill into law. Jonathan Freedland speaks to Prof Claire Kim of UCI about what’s behind the recent rise in anti-Asian hate in America, why this is an issue both sides of Congress can actually agree on, and what influence Asian-American voters could have in the midterms and in 2024
22/04/22·24m 58s

Can theatre predict 2024’s US election? Politics Weekly America

Playwright Mike Bartlett prophesies a Donald Trump v Kamala Harris showdown against a backdrop of rolling violence
15/04/22·25m 34s

Does the White House have a communication problem? Politics Weekly America podcast

Recent reports suggest the White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, is leaving her role to become a political commentator. This comes after the press team went into crisis control mode when President Joe Biden went off script in talking about Vladimir Putin. The polls show Biden is still proving unpopular with voters. This week, Jonathan Freedland and Bill Clinton’s former adviser Paul Begala discuss what the team behind Biden can do to change the narrative
08/04/22·23m 32s

Why are Republican Senators flirting with QAnon conspiracies? Politics Weekly America podcast

During the Senate confirmation hearings for Joe Biden’s nomination for Supreme Court justice, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson was repeatedly asked about an unfounded claim that originated in the QAnon community. Joan E Greve and Alex Kaplan of Media Matters look at why some in the GOP are turning to a far-right extremist group for attack lines.
01/04/22·21m 50s

Can Ron DeSantis out-Trump Donald Trump? Politics Weekly podcast

Florida’s governor seems to relish addressing whatever culture war is raging. He might have learned a thing or two from his former backer, Donald Trump. If the polls are right, the two might end up fighting against each other in the Republican primaries for the 2024 presidential election. So who is DeSantis, and what are his chances? Jonathan Freedland speaks to Ana Ceballos of the Miami Herald and Peter Schorsch of Florida Politics to learn more about him.
25/03/22·25m 43s

Why are House Democrats leaving Congress in a midterm year? Politics Weekly America

This week, Volodymyr Zelenskiy addressed Congress, thanking them for their support so far, but imploring them to do more. He spoke to Joe Biden directly, as it seems it’s the White House, not Congress, that is hesitant about provoking Russia further. How the US responds to the war in Ukraine will influence voters at home when midterm elections take place in November. It will be a tough campaign for Biden, and yet many Democrats are retiring from the House instead of fighting for their seat. Jonathan Freedland speaks to one of the Democrats choosing to retire. Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence shares her thoughts on the war in Ukraine, why she chose to leave office, and who in the Republican party worries her the most for 2024.
18/03/22·23m 11s

Is Putin proving the need for Western power? Politics Weekly America

This week, Jonathan Freedland speaks to Dr Shadi Hamid about why Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could spark thought for anti-imperialists who question American power.
11/03/22·30m 15s

Ukraine exposes fault lines in Washington: Politics Weekly America

Retired Lt Col Alexander Vindman testified in front of Congress that he heard Donald Trump ask President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate the Bidens. Trump was later impeached, and Vindman vilified by Republicans. In a week that saw President Biden give his State of the Union address, and Russia continue its invasion of Ukraine, Jonathan Freedland speaks to Vindman about his thoughts on how this war is informing the actions of American lawmakers
04/03/22·23m 52s

Biden and the west respond to Putin’s invasion: Politics Weekly America

In a historic week for Ukraine, Europe and the world, Jonathan Freedland speaks to Ivo Daalder, the former US ambassador to Nato, about how Biden is responding, and why – for the Ukrainians – it’s too late
25/02/22·23m 8s

Coming 25 February: Politics Weekly America

Get ready for Politics Weekly America. Every Friday, Guardian columnist and former Washington correspondent Jonathan Freedland invites experts to help analyse the latest in US politics. From politicians to journalists covering the White House and beyond, Jonathan and his guests give listeners behind the scenes access to how the US political machine works Subscribe on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.
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