The Politics of Everything
The Strangely Persistent Myth of the Suburbs

The Strangely Persistent Myth of the Suburbs

September 23, 2020

While Democrats pin their electoral hopes on turning wealthy suburbs blue, Donald Trump tells “Suburban housewives” on Twitter that Joe Biden will “destroy” their “American dream.” But who are suburban voters really? On Episode 16 of The Politics of Everything, hosts Laura Marsh and Alex Pareene speak with four guests about how the suburbs have transformed since the 1960s, and what those changes mean for electoral politics. Katie McDonough, a deputy editor at The New Republic, offers a tour of the suburban fantasy by way of real estate listings. Brian Goldstone, an anthropologist and journalist, and Willow Lung-Amam, an associate professor in urban studies and planning at the University of Maryland, discuss the shifting economic and racial profile of the areas outside the urban core. And Lily Geismer, the author of Don’t Blame Us: Suburban Liberals and the Transformation of the Democratic Party, describes the mistakes politicians are making in their efforts to capture the suburban vote.

Dangers of the Lame Duck

Dangers of the Lame Duck

September 10, 2020

Why is the period between Election Day and inauguration so long in the United States? What kind of trouble have past outgoing presidents made during the interregnum? And in the event Joe Biden wins, how can we expect Donald Trump to behave? On Episode 15 of The Politics of Everything, hosts Laura Marsh and Alex Pareene interview six guests about the presidential transition and how we might prepare for it: Michael Kazin, a professor at Georgetown University and co-editor of Dissent; Jason Linkins, a deputy editor at The New Republic; TNR staff writers Matt Ford, Melissa Gira Grant, and Libby Watson; and longtime campaign reporter and TNR staff writer Walter Shapiro.  

The Chaos of Reopening Schools

The Chaos of Reopening Schools

August 26, 2020

Teachers feel frustrated and afraid. Parents are overburdened. Guidance from officials has been scant. For the schools preparing to welcome students back next month, nothing about the planning process has been easy. On Episode 14 of The Politics of Everything, the writer Keith Gessen joins hosts Alex Pareene and Laura Marsh to talk about why the city’s fight to safely return kids to public schools has been so difficult. 

Later in the episode, J.C. Pan, a staff writer at The New Republic, explains what makes the current downturn a “shesession,” and how efforts to alleviate its effects on women must take more than gender into consideration.   

The Women Who Still Can’t Vote

The Women Who Still Can’t Vote

August 12, 2020

As we celebrate the hundredth anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment this month, it’s tempting to assume that women’s suffrage is complete. Yet millions of women—because they are incarcerated or on parole, because their legal name doesn’t match certain documents, because the polls are open only during the hours they are at jobs or caring for their families—still don’t have the franchise, either in effect or by law. On Episode 13 of The Politics of Everything, hosts Laura Marsh and Alex Pareene talk Melissa Gira Grant, a staff writer at The New Republic, about who remains locked out of the vote, why they’ve been excluded, and what the work of suffrage looks like today. 

Later in the episode, Alex Shephard explores how Trump is changing the books we buy.  

Monopoly is Tyranny

Monopoly is Tyranny

July 29, 2020

The economy as we know it is populated by gigantic corporations, behemoths that have bought up not only their competition but also the businesses supplying or otherwise supporting them. Such monopolies act as a “rival form of government,” explains Zephyr Teachout, the author of Break Em Up: Recovering Our Freedom from Big Ag, Big Tech, and Big Money. On Episode 12 of The Politics of Everything, hosts Laura Marsh and Alex Pareene talk with Teachout about the dangers of allowing these outsize companies to grow unchecked and what should be done about it. 

Later in the episode, Osita Nwanevu, a staff writer at The New Republic and a regular guest on the podcast, discusses liberals’ fears of so-called cancel culture. Will it really undermine liberalism itself? And if not, why is everyone so worked up? 

The Long War on Objectivity

The Long War on Objectivity

July 15, 2020

The mess of histrionics and misinformation that passes for right-wing media these days didn’t spring from nowhere. How did this increasingly influential and well-funded sphere become what it is? On Episode 11 of The Politics of Everything, hosts Laura Marsh and Alex Pareene talk with Moira Weigel, a postdoctoral scholar at the Harvard Society of Fellows and a founding editor of Logic magazine, about the early careers of pivotal figures such as Matt Drudge and Andrew Breitbart, and the regulatory and technological changes that paved the way for their success.

Later in the show, veteran politics reporter Walter Shapiro offers an update on the state of the Trump campaign, whose strategists have settled on two important goals: 1) Make a lot of money and 2) don’t get fired.

The Political Power of Protests

The Political Power of Protests

June 17, 2020

After three weeks of protests against police violence, the energy of the demonstrations remains undiminished. Episode 10 of The Politics of Everything explores what is motivating the actions, the political effects they’ve already had, and what’s to come.

Hosts Laura Marsh and Alex Pareene talk to Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, the founder of the African American Policy Forum and a regular contributor to The New Republic, about the connection between police killings and Covid-19’s disproportionate toll on black Americans. Osita Nwanevu, a staff writer at the magazine, explores how protest shapes policy. And Patrick Blanchfield, the author of Gunpower: The Structure of American Violence, explains “coptalk”—how police use euphemism and officialese to paper over the harms they commit.

Vaccines Don’t Make Money

Vaccines Don’t Make Money

June 3, 2020

Victory in the so-called race for a coronavirus vaccine rests on the skills of a handful of private companies whose primary motivation is hardly the public good. Can the Big Pharma deliver what we need to recover from this pandemic and prevent others from occurring? On Episode 9 of The Politics of Everything, hosts Laura Marsh and Alex Pareene interview Alexander Zaitchik, a regular contributor to The New Republic, about patent monopolies, the history of vaccine development in the United States, and the promise of alternative models of drug production.

Later in the episode, Alex and Laura talk with the book and film critic Lidija Haas about Rodham, Curtis Sittenfeld’s counterfactual novelization of the life of Hillary Clinton.

Is Baseball Safe?

Is Baseball Safe?

May 20, 2020

Will the United States get a baseball season this year? Do we deserve one? What is at stake—economically, emotionally, mortally—in the effort to start up sports again? On Episode 8 of The Politics of Everything, hosts Laura Marsh and Alex Pareene talk to David Roth, a former editor of Deadspin and a frequent contributor to The New Republic, about the challenges and questionable wisdom of reopening sports in a country still battling a pandemic.

Later in the episode, Laura and Alex consider the plight of the New York City subway system, which recently suspended late-night service. Given the MTA’s drastic budget shortfalls, it’s hard not to wonder whether New Yorkers will ever ride trains at night again. What is the post-Covid future of public transit?

Reimagining the Post-Covid Economy

Reimagining the Post-Covid Economy

May 7, 2020

The Covid-19 pandemic interrupted the usual functioning of the national economy with shocking speed and violence. Now, as states around the country move to “reopen”—in most cases far earlier and faster than is safe—and politicians hold forth about how best to restart economic activity, it seems imperative to consider the nature of the economy getting restarted. Do we really want to go back to the pre-pandemic status quo? How can we remake the system so it works better for everyone?

For Episode 7, The Politics of Everything assembled an ad hoc council to address these questions, asking six guests to offer their best and least expected ideas for reform: Dean Baker, a senior economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research; Jason Linkins and Katie McDonough, deputy editors at TNR; Libby Watson, a TNR staff writer; and TNR contributors Aaron Timms and Liza Featherstone.

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