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New York Times Opinion
Strongly-held opinions. Open-minded debates. Only occasional yelling. A weekly ideas show, hosted by Jane Coaston.
3 days ago
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. 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. Learn More: * “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.
Mar 31, 2021
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. 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. Learn More * Anti-Defamation League’s “Introduction to Hate Crime Laws” * N.A.A.C.P.’s state-by-state database of hate crime laws * Sarah Lustbader’s article “More Hate Crime Laws Would Not Have Prevented the Monsey Hannukkah Attack” in The Appeal.
Mar 24, 2021
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. Read Will Wilkinson’s “Undefined Cancel Game” at his Substack. Robby Soave in Reason: “Cancel Culture Comes for Will Wilkinson” 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.
Mar 17, 2021
Raise the Federal 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. Learn More * 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.” 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.
Mar 10, 2021
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. Learn More * 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” 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.
Mar 3, 2021
Can Republicans Make Populism Work Without Trump?
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. Learn More: * 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. 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.
Feb 24, 2021
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. Background reading found at nytimes.com/theargument We want to hear what you’re arguing about with your friends, your family or your Twitter nemesis. Leave us a voice mail message at (347) 915-4324. We may use excerpts from your audio in a future episode.
Feb 17, 2021
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.
Feb 10, 2021
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.
Feb 3, 2021
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.
Jan 22, 2021
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Jan 15, 2021
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Jan 14, 2021
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.”
Jan 8, 2021
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.
Jan 1, 2021
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Dec 18, 2020
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 nytimes.com/theargu…
Dec 11, 2020
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Dec 4, 2020
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Nov 20, 2020
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Nov 13, 2020
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Nov 5, 2020
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Oct 30, 2020
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Oct 23, 2020
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Oct 16, 2020
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Oct 9, 2020
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 nytimes.com/the-argument.
Oct 2, 2020
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 nytimes.com/the-argument.
Sep 29, 2020
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 nytimes.com/sway. Episodes are released every Monday and Thursday.
Sep 25, 2020
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Sep 18, 2020
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Sep 11, 2020
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Sep 3, 2020
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Aug 27, 2020
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Aug 20, 2020
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Aug 13, 2020
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Aug 6, 2020
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
1 hr 2 min
Jul 30, 2020
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Jul 23, 2020
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Jul 16, 2020
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 nytimes.com/theargument. _Editor’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__._
Jul 9, 2020
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Jul 2, 2020
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Jun 25, 2020
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Jun 18, 2020
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Jun 4, 2020
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
May 28, 2020
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
May 21, 2020
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.…
May 14, 2020
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
May 7, 2020
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Apr 30, 2020
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Apr 23, 2020
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Apr 16, 2020
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Apr 9, 2020
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Apr 2, 2020
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Mar 26, 2020
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Mar 19, 2020
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Mar 12, 2020
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Mar 5, 2020
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Feb 27, 2020
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Feb 20, 2020
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Feb 13, 2020
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 nytimes.com/theargument Editor’s note: For full transparency, Michelle Goldberg’s husband is currently consulting for Elizabeth Warren’s 2020 presidential campaign.
Feb 6, 2020
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Jan 30, 2020
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Jan 23, 2020
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Jan 17, 2020
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…
Jan 16, 2020
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Jan 9, 2020
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Dec 26, 2019
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Dec 19, 2019
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Dec 12, 2019
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Dec 5, 2019
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Nov 21, 2019
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Nov 14, 2019
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Nov 7, 2019
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Oct 31, 2019
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Oct 24, 2019
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Oct 17, 2019
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Oct 10, 2019
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Oct 3, 2019
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Sep 26, 2019
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Sep 19, 2019
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Sep 12, 2019
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Sep 5, 2019
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Aug 22, 2019
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Aug 15, 2019
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Aug 8, 2019
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Aug 1, 2019
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Jul 25, 2019
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Jul 18, 2019
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Jul 11, 2019
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Jul 3, 2019
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Jun 26, 2019
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Jun 20, 2019
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Jun 13, 2019
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Jun 6, 2019
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
May 30, 2019
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
May 23, 2019
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
May 16, 2019
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
May 9, 2019
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
May 2, 2019
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Apr 25, 2019
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 nytimes.com/theargument. For tickets to our live show in Boston, visit https://timesevents.nytimes.com/theargumentboston.
Apr 17, 2019
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 nytimes.com/theargument. For tickets to our live show in Boston, visit https://timesevents.nytimes.com/theargumentboston.
Apr 4, 2019
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Mar 28, 2019
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 nytimes.com/theargument. For tickets to the live show, visit https://timesevents.nytimes.com/OpinionApril. If 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 SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources.
Mar 21, 2019
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Mar 13, 2019
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Mar 7, 2019
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Feb 28, 2019
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Feb 21, 2019
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Feb 14, 2019
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Feb 7, 2019
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Jan 31, 2019
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Jan 24, 2019
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Jan 17, 2019
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Jan 10, 2019
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 nytimes.com/theargument. Warning: this episode contains explicit language.
Jan 3, 2019
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Dec 19, 2018
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Dec 13, 2018
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Dec 6, 2018
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Nov 29, 2018
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Nov 21, 2018
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Nov 15, 2018
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Nov 8, 2018
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Nov 1, 2018
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Oct 25, 2018
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Oct 18, 2018
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Oct 11, 2018
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 nytimes.com/theargument.
Oct 4, 2018
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 nytimes.com/theargument.