The Ezra Klein Show
The Ezra Klein Show
Vox
Winner of the 2020 Webby and People's Voice awards for best interview podcast. Ezra Klein brings you far-reaching conversations about hard problems, big ideas, illuminating theories, and cutting-edge research. Want to know how Stacey Abrams feels about identity politics? How Hasan Minhaj is reinventing political comedy? The plans behind Elizabeth Warren’s plans? How Michael Lewis reads minds? This is the podcast for you. Produced by Vox and the Vox Media Podcast Network.
Best of: Alison Gopnik changed how I think about love
Happy Thanksgiving! We will be back next week with brand new episodes, but on a day when so many of us are thinking about love and relationships I wanted to share an episode that has changed the way I think about those topics in a profound way.  Alison Gopnik is a professor of psychology and philosophy at the University of California Berkeley. She’s published more than 100 journal articles and half a dozen books, including most recently The Gardener and the Carpenter: What the New Science of Child Development Tells Us About the Relationship Between Parents and Children. She runs a cognitive development and learning lab where she studies how young children come to understand the world around them, and she’s built on that research to do work in AI, to understand how adults form bonds with both children and each other, and to examine what creativity is and how we can nurture it in ourselves and — more importantly — each other. But this conversation isn’t just about kids -- it's about what it means to be human. What makes us feel love for each other. How we can best care for each other. How our minds really work in the formative, earliest days, and what we lose as we get older. The role community is meant to play in our lives. This episode has done more than just change the way I think. It’s changed how I live my life. I hope it can do the same for you. Book recommendations: A Treatise of Human Natureby David Hume Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll The works of Jean Piaget Credits: Producer/Audio engineer - Jeff Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas. New to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere) Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Nov 25
1 hr 33 min
Best of: Vivek Murthy on America’s loneliness epidemic
At the holidays, I wanted to share some of my favorite episodes of the show with you (we’ll be back next week with brand new episodes). My conversation with Vivek Murthy tops that list, and it has particular force this Thanksgiving, when so many are alone on a day when connection means so much. As US surgeon general from 2014 to 2017, Murthy visited communities across the United States to talk about issues like addiction, obesity, and mental illness. But he found that what Americans wanted to talk to him about the most was loneliness. In a 2018 report by the Kaiser Family Foundation, 22 percent of all adults in the US — almost 60 million Americans — said they often or always felt lonely or socially isolated. Murthy went on to write Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World, and was recently named one of the co-chairs of Joe Biden’s coronavirus task force. Those projects may sound different, but they connect: Coronavirus has made America’s loneliness crisis far worse. Social distancing, while necessary from a public health standpoint, has caused a collapse in social contact among family, friends, and entire communities. And the people most vulnerable to the virus — the elderly, the disabled, the ill — are also unusually likely to suffer from loneliness.  Murthy’s explanation of how loneliness acts on the body is worth the time, all on its own — it’ll change how you see the relationship between social experience and physical health. But the broader message here is deeper: You are not alone in your loneliness. None of us are. And the best thing we can do for our own feeling of isolation is often to help someone else out of the very pit we’re in. Book recommendations: Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom Conversations with God by Neale Donald Walsch Dear Madam President by Jennifer Palmieri Credits: Producer/Audio engineer - Jeff Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas. New to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere) Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Nov 22
1 hr 21 min
What Democrats got wrong about Hispanic voters
Donald Trump has built his presidency on top of racial dog whistles, xenophobic rhetoric, and anti-immigrant policies. A core belief among liberals was that this strategy would help Trump with whites but almost certainly hurt him with Latinos, and people of color more broadly. Then the opposite happened: In 2020, Trump gained considerable support among voters of color, particularly Latinos, relative to the 2016 election. What happened? Ian Haney López is a legal scholar at UC Berkeley and the author of Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class. In 2017, he partnered with the leftist think tank Demos and various polling groups to better understand the effectiveness of racial dog whistles and how Democrats could combat them. The results were sobering, even to the experts who commissioned the polls. As Haney López documented in his 2019 book Merge Left: Fusing Race and Class, Winning Elections, and Saving America, 60 percent of Latinos and 54 percent of African Americans have found Trumpian dog-whistle messages convincing, right in step with the 61 percent of whites who did. This conversation is about the complicated reality of racial politics in America. It’s about the fact that the electorate isn’t divided into racists and non-racists — most voters, including Trump supporters, toggle back and forth between racially reactionary and racially egalitarian views — and a more robust theory of how race operates in American politics that follows. And it’s about the kinds of race- and class-conscious messages that Haney López’s research suggests work best with voters of all backgrounds. Book recommendations: Racial Realignment:The Transformation of American Liberalism, 1932–1965 by Eric Schickler The Line Becomes a River by Francisco Cantú Born a Crime by Trevor Noah  Credits: Producer/Audio engineer - Jeff Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas. New to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere) Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Nov 18
1 hr 6 min
Antitrust, censorship, misinformation, and the 2020 election
I’ve been fascinated by the sharp change in how the tech platforms — particularly the big social media companies like Facebook, Twitter, and to some degree, YouTube — are acting since the 2020 election. It’s become routine to see President Donald Trump’s posts tagged as misinformation or worse. Facebook is limiting the reach of hyper-viral stories it can’t verify, Twitter is trying to guard against becoming a dumping ground for foreign actors trying to launder stolen secrets, and conservatives are abandoning both platforms en masse, hoping to find more congenial terrain on newcomers like Parler.  So is Big Tech finally doing its job, and taking some responsibility for its role in our democracy? Are they overreaching, and becoming the biased censors so many feared? Are they simply so big that anything they do is in some way the wrong choice, and antitrust is the only solution? Casey Newton has spent the past decade covering Silicon Valley for The Verge, CNET, and the San Francisco Chronicle. Today, he writes Platformer, a daily blog and newsletter focused primarily on the relationship between the big tech platforms and democracy. He’s my go-to for questions like these, and so I went to him. We discuss:  The lessons the platforms learned the hard way in 2016  What Facebook and Twitter got right -- and wrong -- this election cycle The dissonance between Facebook and Twitter’s progressive employees and broader user base  The problem of trying to be neutral when both sides really aren’t the same Whether Facebook and Twitter handled the Hunter Biden New York Post story correctly Whether major tech platforms are biased against conservatives Why YouTube has been so much less aggressive than Facebook and Twitter on moderation The recent rise of Parler, the Twitter alternative that conservatives are flocking to by the hundreds of thousands  What Biden administration’s tech agenda could look like  The Section 230 provision at the heart of the debate over content moderation  How the big tech CEOs differ from each other ideologically  The problems that antitrust enforcement against tech platforms will solve -- and the problems it won’t solve  And much more Book recommendations: Facebook: The Inside Story by Steven Levy No Filter: The Inside Story of Instagram by Sarah Frier Caste by Isabel Wilkerson  Credits: Producer/Audio engineer - Jeff Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas. New to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere) Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Nov 15
1 hr 1 min
The crisis isn’t Trump. It’s the Republican Party.
If the past week — and past four years — have proven anything, it’s that we are not as different as we believed. No longer is the question, "Can it happen here?" It’s happening already. As this podcast goes to air, the current president of the United States is attempting what — if it occurred in any other country — we would call an anti-democratic coup. This coup attempt will probably not work. But the fact that it is being carried out farcically, erratically, ineffectively does not mean it is not happening, or that it will not have consequences. The most alarming aspect of all this is not Donald Trump’s anti-democratic antics; it’s the speed at which Republican elites have consolidated support around him. Some politicians, like Lindsey Graham, have wholeheartedly endorsed Trump's claims. On Monday, Graham said that Trump should not concede the election and that "Republicans win because of our ideas and we lose elections because [Democrats] cheat." Others — including Mike Pence, Marco Rubio, and Josh Hawley — have signaled solidarity with the president, while not quite endorsing his conspiracies. The message is clear: When faced with the choice of loyalty to Trump and the legitimacy of the democratic process, Republicans are more than willing to throw democracy under the bus. Anne Applebaum is a staff writer for the Atlantic, a senior fellow of international affairs at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, and most recently the author of Twilight of Democracy: The Seductive Lure of Authoritarianism. In it, Applebaum, once comfortable in center-right elite circles, grapples with why so many of her contemporaries across the globe — including right here in America — have abandoned liberal democracy in favor of strongman cults and autocratic regimes. We discuss:  How the media would be covering Trump’s actions — and the GOP’s enabling of him — if this were taking place in a foreign country  How the last four years have shattered the belief in the idea that America is uniquely resistant to the lure of authoritarianism Why most politicians under increasingly autocratic regimes choose to collaborate with the regime, and why a select few choose to dissent  The “apocalyptic pessimism” and “cultural despair” that undergirds the worldview of Trump’s most enthusiastic supporters  How Lindsey Graham went from outspoken Trump critic to one of Trump’s most vocal supporters in the US Senate  Why the Republican Party ultimately took the path of Sarah Palin and Donald Trump, not John McCain and Mitt Romney Why what ultimately separates Never Trumpers from Trump enablers is a steadfast commitment to American democracy What we can expect to happen if and when a much more competent, capable demagogue emerges in Trump’s place Whether the Biden administration can lower the temperature of American politics from its fever pitch  The one thing that gives me a glimmer of hope about the Biden presidency    References: "Trump is attempting a coup in plain sight" by Ezra Klein, Vox "History Will Judge the Complicit" by Anne Applebaum, The Atlantic “Laura Ingraham’s Descent Into Despair” by Anne Applebaum, The Atlantic My EK Show conversation with Marilynne Robinson Book recommendations: Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner  All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren  Gilead by Marilynne Robinson  Credits: Producer/Audio engineer - Jeff Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas. New to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere) Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Nov 11
1 hr 6 min
The Joe Biden experience
Joe Biden will be the 46th president of the United States. And — counting the votes of people, not just land — it won’t be close. If current trends hold, Biden will see a larger popular vote margin than Hillary Clinton in 2016, Barack Obama in 2012, or George W. Bush in 2004.  Commentary over the past few days has focused on the man he beat, and the incompetent coup being attempted in plain sight. But I want to focus on Biden, who is one of the more misunderstood figures in American politics — including, at times, by me.  Biden has been in national politics for almost five decades. And so, people tend to understand the era of Joe Biden they encountered first — the centrist Senate dealmaker, or the overconfident foreign policy hand, or the meme-able vice president, or the grieving, grave father. But Biden, more so than most politicians, changes. And it’s how he changes, and why, that’s key to understanding his campaign, and his likely presidency.  Evan Osnos is a staff writer at the New Yorker and the author of Joe Biden: The Life, the Run, and What Matters Now, a sharp biography of the next president. Osnos and I discuss:  The mystery of Joe Biden’s first political campaign Why the Joe Biden who entered the Senate in 1980 is such a radically different person than the Joe Biden who ran for president in 2020  What the Senate taught Biden Biden’s ideological flexibility, and the theory of politics that drives it The differences between Biden’s three presidential campaigns -- and what they reveal about how he’s grown The way Biden views disagreement, and why that’s so central to his understanding of politics  How Biden’s relationship with Barack Obama changed his approach to governance The similarities — and differences — between how Obama and Biden think about politics  Why Biden is “the perfect weathervane for where the center of the Democratic party is.”  Biden’s relationship with Mitch McConnell How Biden thinks about foreign policy Why Biden has become more skeptical about the use of American military might in the last decade  And much more. Book recommendations: Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman The Field of Blood by Joanne B. Freeman The Ideas That Made America by Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen  Credits: Producer/Audio engineer - Jeff Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas. New to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere) Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Nov 7
1 hr 8 min
Chris Hayes and I process this wild election
This is not the post-election breakdown I expected to have today, but it's definitely the one that I needed. Chris Hayes is the host of the MSNBC primetime show, “All In," and the podcast "Why is this Happening? With Chris Hayes." He's also one of the most insightful political analysts I know. We discuss the purpose of polling, the problems of polling-driven coverage, the epistemic fog of the results, the strategy behind Trump's inroads with Latino voters, how Democrats might have won the presidency but lost democracy, what happens if Trump refuses to accept the election results, and much more. More than anything else, this conversation has helped me make sense of everything that's happened in the last 24 hours. I think it will do the same for you. References: "How Democrats Lost the Cuban Vote and Jeopardized Their Future in Florida." by Noah Lanard, Mother Jones Chris's podcast on "Understanding the 'Latino Vote' with Chuck Rocha" Credits: Producer/Audio engineer - Jeff Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas. New to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere) Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Nov 4
1 hr 5 min
Stacey Abrams on minority rule, voting rights, and the future of democracy
We’re one day away from the election, though who-knows-how-many days from finding out who won it. But there’s more at stake than whether Donald Trump or Joe Biden will be our next president.  There is a fight behind the fight, a battle that will decide all the others. America is not a democracy, and Republicans want to keep it that way. America is not a democracy, and Democrats — at least some Democrats — want to make it more of one.  Democracy has, in particular, become Stacey Abrams’ animating mission. In 2018, Abrams lost the George gubernatorial race by a razor-thin margin amidst rampant voter suppression. Since then, as the founder of Fair Fight, she’s turned her attention to the deeper fight, the one that sets the rules under which elections like her plays out. In her recent book, Our Time Is Now: Power, Purpose, and the Fight for a Fair America, Abrams makes the case that the fight over democracy is the central question of our politics right now with more power and clarity than any other politician I’ve heard.  In my view, Abrams is right. And so she’s exactly the person to hear from on the eve of the election. We discuss the GOP’s turn against “rank democracy,” the role of demographic change, how Republicans have cemented minority rule across America political institutions, why we potentially face a “doom loop of democracy,” the changing face of voter suppression in the 21st century, what a system that actually wanted people to vote would look like, why democracy and economic equality are inextricably linked, and much more. One thing to note in this conversation: You won't hear Trump's name all that much. It's the Republican Party, not just Trump, that has turned against democracy, and that is implementing the turn against democracy. And it's the Democratic Party, not just Joe Biden, that will have to decide whether democracy is worth protecting, and achieving. Democracy is on the ballot in 2020 and beyond, but it's not just on the presidential voting line. References: "The fight is for democracy." Ezra Klein, Vox The Dictator's Learning Curve by William Dobson My previous EK Show conversation with Abrams Book recommendations: Ida by Paula Giddings  Charged by Emily Bazelon  The Intuitionist by Colson Whitehead  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Nov 1
1 hr 10 min
Nate Silver on why 2020 isn't 2016
As you may have heard, there's a pretty important election coming up. That means it's time to bring back the one and only Nate Silver.  Silver, the founder and editor-in-chief of FiveThirtyEight, boasts one of the best election forecasting records of any analyst in the last 15 years. His forecasting models successfully predicted the outcomes in 49 of the 50 states in the 2008 US presidential election and all 50 states in 2012. And in 2016, Silver’s FiveThirtyEight gave Donald Trump a 28 percent chance of victory — a significantly higher percentage than virtually any other prominent analyst at the time. He knows what he’s talking about, and it shows in this conversation. We discuss:  What went wrong with the polls in 2016 — and whether pollsters today have corrected for those mistakes  Why a 2016-sized polling error in 2020 would still hand Joe Biden the election Why the 2020 race has been so incredibly steady despite a global pandemic, an economic crisis, and the biggest national protest movement in US history  The possibility of a Biden landslide   The not-so-small chance that Biden could win Texas and Georgia  The massive Republican advantage in the Senate, House, and Electoral College — and how that affects our national politics  Why the Senate would still advantage Republicans, even if Democrats added five blue states.  Whether the Bernie Sanders left took the wrong lessons from 2016  Why Biden’s unorthodox 2020 campaign strategy has been so successful  Whether Sanders would be doing just as well against Trump as Biden is doing  How a more generic, non-Trump Republican would be faring against Biden  Why Silver is generally optimistic that we will avoid an electoral crisis on November 3  And much more. References: “How FiveThirtyEight’s 2020 Presidential Forecast Works — And What’s Different Because Of COVID-19." Nate Silver, FiveThirtyEight "The Senate’s Rural Skew Makes It Very Hard For Democrats To Win The Supreme Court." Nate Silver, FiveThirtyEight Let the People Pick the President: The Case for Abolishing the Electoral College by Jesse Wegman "Toby Ord on existential risk, Donald Trump, and thinking in probabilities." The Ezra Klein Show "The Real Story of 2016" by Nate Silver Book recommendations: The Biggest Bluff by Maria Konnikova Superintelligence by Nick Bostrom The Precipice by Toby Ord   Credits: Producer/Audio engineer - Jeff Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas. New to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere) Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Oct 28
1 hr 11 min
Sarah Kliff grades Biden and Trump's health care plans
There are few issues on which the stakes in this election are quite as stark as on health care. Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden plans to pass (and Democrats largely support) a massive health care expansion that could result in 25 million additional individuals gaining health insurance. The Trump administration, as we speak, is pushing to get the Supreme Court to kill the Affordable Care Act, which would strip at least 20 million Americans of health care coverage.    There's no one I'd rather have on to discuss these issues than Sarah Kliff. Kliff is an investigative reporter for the New York Times focusing on health care policy, and my former colleague at the Washington Post and Vox where we co-hosted The Weeds alongside Matt Yglesias. She's one of the most clear, incisive health care policy analysts in media today and a longtime friend, which made this conversation a pleasure. We discuss:  The legacy of Obamacare 10 years later Why the fiercely fought over “individual mandate” isn’t all it’s cracked up to be  What Biden’s health care plan would actually do — and where it falls short  Whether a Biden administration would be able to pass massive health care reform — and why it might still have a chance even if the filibuster remains intact  The ongoing Supreme Court case to dismantle Obamacare  Whether Donald Trump has a secret health care plan to protect those with preexisting conditions (spoiler: he doesn’t)  The hollow state of Republican health care policy  The academic literature showing that health insurance is literally a matter of life and death  Which social investments would have the largest impact on people’s health (hint: it’s probably not expanding insurance)    And much more References: "If Trump wins, 20 million people could lose health insurance. If Biden wins, 25 million could gain it." by Dylan Scott, Vox “Obamacare Turns 10. Here’s a Look at What Works and Doesn’t.” by Sarah Kliff, et al. New York Times "The I.R.S. Sent a Letter to 3.9 Million People. It Saved Some of Their Lives." by Sarah Kliff, New York Times "Republicans Killed the Obamacare Mandate. New Data Shows It Didn’t Really Matter." by Sarah Kliff, New York Times "Without Ginsburg, Supreme Court Could Rule Three Ways on Obamacare" by Sarah Kliff and Margot Sanger-Katz, New York Times Book recommendations: The Healing of America by TR Reid  And the Band Played On by Randy Shilts  Dreamland by Sam Quinones  I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen Credits: Producer/Audio wizard - Jeff Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas. New to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere) Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Oct 25
1 hr 18 min
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