The Ezra Klein Show
The Ezra Klein Show
Vox
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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.
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
Trumpism never existed. It was always just Trump.
In 2016, Julius Krein was one of Donald Trump’s most ardent supporters. In Trump’s critiques of the existing Republican and Democratic establishments, Krein saw the contours of a heterodox ideology he believed could reshape American politics for the better. So he established a pro-Trump blog and, later, a policy journal called American Affairs, which his critics claimed was an attempt to “understand Trump better than he understands himself.” Today Krein finds himself in an unusual position. Upon realizing Trump was not committed to any governing vision at all (but was as racist as his critics suggested), Krein disavowed the president in 2017. But as the editor of American Affairs, he’s still committed to building an intellectual superstructure around the ideas that were threaded through Trump’s 2016 campaign. This conversation is about the distance between Trump and the ideology so many tried to brand as Trumpism. We also discuss Krein’s view that the US has always functionally been a one-party system, the disconnect between Republican elites and voters, what a new bipartisan economic consensus could look like, whether Joe Biden and the Democrats take Trump’s ideas more seriously than Trump does, which direction the GOP will go if Trump loses in a landslide in November, why Republicans lost interest in governance, whether media coverage is the true aim of right-wing populists, why Krein thinks the true power lies with the technocrats, and more. References: “I Voted for Trump. And I Sorely Regret It." by Julius Krein "The Three Fusions" by Julius Krein Book recommendations: Innovation in Real Places by Dan Breznitz  History has Begun by Bruno Maçães The Hall of Uselessness by Simon Leys  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 21
1 hr
What should Democrats do about the Supreme Court?
If Democrats win back power this November, they will be faced with a choice: Leave the existing Supreme Court intact, and watch their legislative agenda — and perhaps democracy itself — be gradually gutted by 5-4 and 6-3 judicial rulings; or use their power to reform the nation’s highest court over fierce opposition by the Republican party. Ganesh Sitaraman is a former senior advisor to Elizabeth Warren and a law professor at Vanderbilt. He’s also the author of one of the most hotly debated proposals for Supreme Court reform, as well as the fairest and clearest analyst I’ve read regarding the benefits and drawbacks of every other plausible proposal for Supreme Court reform. So in this conversation, we discuss the range of options, from well-known ideas like court packing and term limits to more obscure proposals like the 5-5-5 balanced bench and a judicial lottery system. But there’s another reason I wanted Sitaraman on the show right now. Supreme Court reform matters — for good or for ill — because democracy matters. In his recent book, The Great Democracy, Sitaraman makes an argument that's come to sit at the core of my thinking, too: The fundamental fight in American politics right now is about whether we will become a true democracy. And not just a democracy in the thin, political definition we normally use — holding elections, and ensuring access to the franchise. The fight is for a thicker form of a democracy, one that takes economic power seriously, that makes the construction of a certain kind of civic and political culture central to its aims.  So this is a conversation about what that kind of democracy would look like, and what it would take to get there – up to and including Supreme Court reform. References: Jump-Starting America by Jonathan Gruber and Simon Johnson  "How to save the Supreme Court" by Daniel Epps and Ganesh Sitaraman Sitaraman's tweet threads about expanding the court , term limits , the 5-5-5 Balanced bench, lottery approach, supermajority voting requirements, jurisdiction stripping, legislative overrides, and what the best approach is. Book recommendations: The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn The Public and Its Problems by John Dewey The Anarchy by William Dalrymple  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 18
1 hr 26 min
Marilynne Robinson on writing, metaphysics, and the Donald Trump dilemma
Marilynne Robinson is one of the greatest American novelists alive today. She’s the author of the Pulitzer-prize winning Gilead — one of my favorite books, ever — as well as Housekeeping, Home, Lila, and her latest, Jack. She’s also produced four brilliant collections of nonfiction essays.  But Robinson is not simply a beautiful writer; her work is inextricably bound up with the most important issues of our times: race, religion, education, geography, and democracy — so much so that in 2015, Barack Obama chose to interview her on the state of the country while he was still the sitting president. This was a joy of a conversation to have right now, and it covers vast amounts of ground, including: • Robinson’s obsession with the doctrine of predestination  • What we know -- and all we don’t know -- about the nature of reality  • The power of loneliness • How, for all the talk of polarization, there are certain ideas that Americans widely, quietly share • How the logic of efficiency and growth has come to invade every aspect of our lives • The differences between writing fiction and nonfiction  • How to train yourself to notice the world around you • The sobering purpose of studying history • What it will take to keep American democracy alive and well   • The particular problem that Donald Trump poses • The baseline assumptions and practices a democracy demands we share And much more. I found this conversation a tonic to have in this moment. I hope it’s the same for you. Book recommendations: Birdman of Alcatraz by Thomas E. Gaddis Credits: Producer - Jeff Geld Audio engineer - Jackson Bierfeldt 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 14
1 hr 15 min
The case for Trump’s foreign policy
As we approach the 2020 election, I want to make sure the conversation on this show reflects the actual choice the country is facing. So we are going to be doing a few episodes, including this one, with guests who believe Donald Trump is the better candidate this November.  I wanted to start with foreign policy because that’s where Trump has been most influential. Trump has successfully broken the previous bipartisan consensus on key foreign policy issues. The way Republicans — and now even Democrats — talk about trade, alliances, Russia, and China has changed dramatically over the last four years. That’s an important shift, whether or not you agree with it.  Rebeccah Heinrichs is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute where she specializes in nuclear deterrence and missile defense, a former adviser to congressional Republicans, and one of the sharpest defenders of Donald Trump’s foreign policy. Heinrichs sees a clear foreign policy worldview animating the Trump administration — one with more successes to its name than critics are willing to admit. I see a worldview that is inconsistently applied, and whose goals are often undermined, by the President’s impulsive, anti-strategic behavior on the world stage. So I asked Heinrichs to come on the show and persuade me that I’m wrong.  In this conversation Heinrichs and I discuss how Trump shattered the foreign policy consensus that preceded him, why he sees China as such a central threat to American interests, the trade-offs that come with engaging in multilateral agreements and institutions, whether the threats America faces require global cooperation to address, the importance (or lack thereof) of how other countries view America, the ways that Trump undermines his own purported foreign policy aims, Trump’s ally-bashing, the US-Saudi Arabia alliance, the Trump administration's stance on human rights, what we can expect from Trump in his second term, and much more. Book recommendations: The World America Made by Robert Kagan  The False Promise of Liberal Order by Patrick Porter  Exercise of Power by Robert Gates  Credits: Producer - Jeff Geld Audio engineer - Jackson Bierfeldt 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 11
1 hr 14 min
Fareed Zakaria on how Biden and Trump see the world
Fareed Zakaria is the host of CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS, a columnist for the Washington Post, and one of the most astute foreign policy thinkers of our time. So much of this conversation is focused on just that: How Biden and Trump respectively see the world and want to shape it. In particular, the ways Biden’s foreign policy differs from Obama’s and has changed over the years, whether Trump has a coherent foreign policy at all, and why the most important US foreign policy question is “What is an acceptable level of influence for China to have?” But I also wanted to talk to Zakaria about some broader trends — trends he’s been tracking for some time. Zakaria’s 2003 book The Future of Freedom anticipated the rise of illiberal democracies across the globe long before anyone paid it much attention. His 2008 book The Post-American World described the multipolar international order that, in many ways, we now inhabit. And just recently he authoredTen Lessons for a Post-Pandemic World which forecasts how Covid-19 will change the trajectory of our world.  So in this conversation we also discuss the state of journalism, the dangers of great power war in the 21st century, why Zakaria believes rise of China is far less of a threat than either Republicans or Democrats seem to believe, why a global spike of economic inequality in an already unequal world is perhaps the most important pandemic trend, whether Zakaria has lost faith in America, whether anything short of violent catastrophe can upend concentrations of wealth, how the world’s views of China and America are changing, and much more. References: "The definitive case for ending the filibuster" by Ezra Klein The Great Leveler: Violence and the History of Inequality from the Stone Age to the Twenty-First Century by Walter Scheidel Book recommendations: Cultural Evolution by Ronald F. Inglehart  American Politics: The Promise of Disharmony by Samuel P. Huntington The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon Credits: Producer - Jeff Geld Audio engineer - Jackson Bierfeldt 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 7
1 hr 21 min
How a climate bill becomes a reality
Helluva week in politics, huh? And yet, in the background, the world is still warming, the fires still burning, the future still dimming. There will be plenty of episodes to come on the election. But I wanted to take a step back and talk about a part of policymaking that is often ignored, but which our world may, literally, depend on. In campaign season, candidates make extravagant promises about all the bills they will pass. The implicit promise is the passage of those bills will solve the problems they’re meant to address. But that’s often not how it works. Between passage and reality lies what Leah Stokes calls “the fog of enactment”: a long, quiet process in which the language of bills is converted into the specificity of laws, and where interest groups and other actors can organize to gut even the strongest legislation. This is where wins can become losses; where historic legislative achievements can be turned into desultory, embarrassing failures. Stokes is a political scientist at UC Santa Barbara, and author of Short Circuiting Policy: Interest Groups and the Battle Over Clean Energy and Climate Policy in the American States. Her book tracks the fate of a series of clean energy standards passed in the states in recent decades, investigating why some of them failed so miserably, and how others succeeded. But her book is more than that, too: It’s a theory of how policymaking actually works, where it gets hijacked, how power is actually wielded, and how to do policymaking better. So this is a conversation that’s about policymaking broadly — we talk about far more than climate, and the principles here apply to virtually everything — but is also about the key question of the next few years narrowly: How do we write a climate bill that actually works? Book recommendations: Rising by Elizabeth Rush The Education of Idealist by Samantha Power War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy Credits: Producer - Jeff Geld Audio engineer- Jackson Bierfeldt 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 4
1 hr 27 min
The meat we eat affects us all
In this special episode of the Future Perfect podcast, neuroscientist Lori Marino helps us understand how arbitrarily we draw the lines between animals as pets and animals as food, and how we might redraw those lines. Subscribe to Future Perfect on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast app to automatically get new episodes of the latest season each week. Further listening and reading:  Lori Marino has done in-depth round-ups of all the research on chicken cognition and pig cognition. You might also enjoy this study, where students who worked with chickens were surprised by their intelligence In the piece, we used clips from this BBC Earth segment on how pig intelligence compares to toddler intelligence, and a Compassion in World Farming piece on pigs and video games Dylan Matthews has written in depth about unnecessarily painful pig castration. He’s also written about the practice of mass-culling male chicks.  For more on what labels like “wild caught,” “organic,” and “grass-fed” actually mean for the food you eat, Rachel Krantz wrote a comprehensive guide. We also have more information on what it means for eggs to be “cage-free.”  We always want to hear from you! Please send comments and questions to futureperfect@vox.com.  This podcast is made possible thanks to support from Animal Charity Evaluators. They research and promote the most effective ways to help animals. Featuring: Lori Marino, Kimmela Center for Animal Advocacy Sigal Samuel (@SigalSamuel), staff writer, Vox  More to explore: Follow all of Future Perfect’s reporting on the Future of Meat. Subscribe to Vox’s Future Perfect newsletter, which breaks down big, complicated problems the world faces and the most efficient ways to solve them. Follow Us: Vox.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Oct 1
35 min
A dark, dangerous debate
In a special, post-debate episode, I'm joined by Matt Yglesias to discuss the most unnerving presidential debate I've ever seen. Hosts: Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias), Senior correspondent, Vox Ezra Klein (@ezraklein), Editor-at-large, Vox Credits: Producer/Editor - 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
Sep 30
1 hr 14 min
A radical — or obvious? — plan to save American democracy
We talk a lot on this show about the problems with American political institutions. But what if all those problems are actually just one problem: the two-party system. Lee Drutman is a political scientist, senior fellow in the Political Reform program at New America, co-host of the podcast Politics in Question, and most recently the author of Breaking the Two-Party Doom Loop: The Case for Multiparty Democracy in America, which makes the best case against America’s two-party system that I’ve ever read.  In Drutman’s telling, the reason our politics have gotten so toxic is simple: Toxicity is the core incentive of any two-party system. American democracy was only stable at mid-century because we functionally had a four-party system that kept the temperature of political combat from overheating, and the only way to achieve a similar homeostasis is by recreating that kind of system (which Drutman has a four-part plan to do). I'm convinced by a lot of Drutman’s analysis, but I tend toward skepticism that the two-party system is the source of our political ills, which makes this a really fun, dynamic conversation. Book recommendations: The Semi-Sovereign People by E.E. Schattschneider Uncivil Agreement by Liliana Mason  A Different Democracy by Steven L. Taylor, Matthew Soberg Shugart, Arend Lijphart, Bernard Grofman  We are conducting an audience survey to better serve you. It takes no more than five minutes, and it really helps out the show. Please take our survey here: voxmedia.com/podsurvey.  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) Credits: Producer/Editor - Jeff Geld Researcher - Roge Karma Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Sep 27
1 hr 11 min
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