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The Political Scene | The New Yorker

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Join The New Yorker’s writers and editors for reporting, insight, and analysis of the most pressing political issues of our time. On Mondays, David Remnick, the editor of The New Yorker, presents conversations and feature stories about current events. On Wednesdays, the senior editor Tyler Foggatt goes deep on a consequential political story via far-reaching interviews with staff writers and outside experts. And, on Fridays, the staff writers Susan B. Glasser, Jane Mayer, and Evan Osnos discuss the latest developments in Washington and beyond, offering an encompassing understanding of this moment in American politics.
288 Episodes
In the past year, more than a hundred thousand migrants have arrived in New York City. This particular chapter in the city’s immigration history began last August, when Governor Greg Abbott of Texas sent buses of Venezuelan asylum seekers north. The city welcomed these new arrivals, who used social media to encourage more migrants to make New York their destination, even as the city’s shelters—already overburdened by a growing homeless population—were at capacity. Eric Lach has recently published a piece in The New Yorker about the new influx of African migrants, and their difficulties navigating a social-services system that was built for Spanish speakers. He joins Tyler Foggatt to discuss the political differences between calling oneself an undocumented immigrant and an asylum seeker, and the demands that Eric Adams is making for federal support.
About  1.4 million people in the United States end up in homeless shelters every year, with many thousands more living on the street. You could fill the city of San Diego with the unhoused. The problem seems gigantic, tragic, and intractable. But there are proven solutions. For the chronically homeless, a key strategy is supportive housing—providing not only a stable apartment but also services like psychiatric and medical care on-site. The New Yorker contributor Jennifer Egan spent the past year following several individuals who had been homeless for long periods of time as they transitioned into a new supportive-housing building in New York. “Is it easy to bring people with these kinds of difficult histories into one place in the span of eight months? No,” she tells David Remnick. “Does it work? From what I have seen, the answer is yes.” By one estimate, addressing the country’s homeless problem would cost about ten billion dollars. But Egan argues that figure pales in comparison to what we’re spending on the problem in the form of emergency medical care, emergency shelter, and other piecemeal solutions. “No one wants to see that line item in a budget, but we are already spending it in all of these diffuse ways,” she says. “We are hemorrhaging money at this problem.”
The Washington Roundtable: Congress has returned from summer recess to a hectic month of business. This week, as Kevin McCarthy sought to avoid a government shutdown, the House Speaker announced that he plans to initiate an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden. McCarthy is feeling pressured by hard-right Republicans who forced fifteen rounds of voting to occur in order to elect him to his post in January. Now, just weeks before the end-of-September deadline to either fund the government or shut it down, this same faction has  brought the House to a standstill. What is the logic behind these disruptions? The New Yorker staff writers Susan B. Glasser, Jane Mayer, and Evan Osnos weigh in.
David Grann is a staff writer for The New Yorker and the author of two nonfiction books that topped the best-seller list this summer: “The Wager” and “Killers of the Flower Moon,” from 2017, which Martin Scorsese has adapted into a film opening in October. Grann is among the most lauded nonfiction writers at The New Yorker; David Remnick says that “his urge to find unique stories and tell them with rigor and style is rare to the vanishing point.” Grann talks with Remnick about his beginnings as a writer, and about his almost obsessive research and writing process. “The trick is how can you tell a true story using these literary techniques and remain completely factually based,” Grann says. “What I realized as I did this more is that you are an excavator. You aren’t imagining the story—you are excavating the story.” Grann recounts travelling in rough seas to the desolate site of the eighteenth-century shipwreck at the heart of “The Wager,” his most recent book, so that he could convey the sailors’ despair more accurately. That book is also being made into a film by Scorcese. “It’s a learning curve because I’ve never been in the world of Hollywood,” Grann says. “You’re a historical resource. … Once they asked me, ‘What was the lighting in the room?’ I thought about it for a long time. That’s something I would not need to know, writing a book.” But Grann is glad to be in the hands of an expert, and keep his distance from the process. “I’m not actually interested in making a film,” he admits. “I’m really interested in these stories, and so I love that somebody else with their own vision and intellect is going to draw on these stories and add to our understanding of whatever this work is.”
The New Yorker presents a special conversation from Slate’s “Amicus” podcast, hosted by Dahlia Lithwick. Lithwick talks with Judge Margaret M. McKeown, of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, about McKeown’s new book, “Citizen Justice: The Environmental Legacy of William O. Douglas―Public Advocate and Conservation Champion.” The Washington Roundtable will return next week.
In January, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell passed a career milestone: he became the Senate’s longest-serving party leader. Since then, McConnell has suffered a number of health setbacks. This includes a fall and subsequent concussion in March and, most recently, a medical episode at a press conference in which he abruptly froze while taking questions, standing silent and motionless for more than thirty seconds. At age eighty-one, McConnell is hardly the only politician showing his years: the two leading Presidential candidates, Joe Biden and Donald Trump, are the two oldest Presidents in history. Susan B. Glasser, a staff writer and a co-host of the Political Scene’s Washington Roundtable, recently wrote a piece for The New Yorker about what she calls “America’s fragile gerontocracy.” She joins Tyler Foggatt to discuss how baby boomers continue to dominate our political system, and what this could mean for the 2024 Presidential election.
Bob Woodward has been writing about the White House for more than fifty years, going toe to toe with nearly every President after Richard Nixon. Woodward is every inch the reporter, not one to editorialize. But, during his interviews with Donald Trump at the time of the COVID-19 crisis, Woodward found himself shouting at the President—explaining how to make a decision, and trying to browbeat him into listening to public-health experts. Woodward has released audio recordings of some of their interviews in a new audiobook called “The Trump Tapes,” which documents details of Trump’s state of mind, and also of Woodward’s process and craft. Despite having written critically of Trump in 2018, Woodward found his access unprecedented. “I could call him anytime, [and] he would call me,” Woodward tells David Remnick. His wife, Elsa Walsh, “used to joke [that] there’s three of us in the marriage.”
The Washington Roundtable: Mark Meadows, Donald Trump’s former right-hand man, took the stand in Georgia this week to argue that his actions in the election-racketeering case—in which he was indicted two weeks ago, alongside eighteen co-conspirators, including Trump—were taken in his capacity as a federal official. For that reason, he and his lawyers petitioned for the case against him to be moved from state to federal court. Meadows, who has been a significant and disruptive force in American politics since he arrived in Washington, in 2013, may be trying to have his case heard before a more sympathetic jury. “I don’t think there’s anyone I can think of in American politics,” the staff writer Jane Mayer says, “who’s put his finger to the wind more often to try to figure out which way it’s blowing.” What does Meadows’s rise—and now, potential fall—teach us about the Republican Party today? The New Yorker staff writers Susan B. Glasser, Jane Mayer, and Evan Osnos weigh in.
It’s been eighteen months since Russia invaded Ukraine. In that time, Russia has annexed four Ukrainian territories; the mercenary Wagner Group staged a coup against Putin, and then its leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin, died in a mysterious plane explosion; Ukraine mounted a successful counter-offensive, and then a less successful one, which is currently ongoing. All the while, the U.S. has engaged in what seems like a proxy war with Russia, imposing extensive sanctions and providing thirty billion dollars in weapons, training, and intelligence to Ukraine. Some foreign-policy experts are questioning this strategy.  Keith Gessen, a contributing writer at The New Yorker, has been covering the war in Ukraine since its beginning. This week, he published a piece titled “The Case for Negotiating with Russia,” about the analysts who are pushing for diplomacy over warfare. He joins Tyler Foggatt to discuss the state of the conflict, and why it’s the U.S. that could ultimately decide how it ends.
The Korey Stringer Institute at the University of Connecticut was named after an N.F.L. player who died of exertional heatstroke. The lab’s main research subjects have been athletes, members of the military, and laborers. But, with climate change, even mild exertion under extreme heat will affect more and more of us; in many parts of the United States, a heat wave and power outage could cause a substantial number of fatalities. Dhruv Khullar, a New Yorker contributor and practicing physician, visited the Stringer Institute to undergo a heat test—walking uphill for ninety minutes in a hundred-and-four-degree temperature—to better understand what’s happening. “I just feel puffy everywhere,” Khullar sighed. “You’d have to cut my finger off just to get my wedding ring off.” By the end of the test, Khullar spoke of cramps, dizziness, and a headache. He discussed the dangers of heatstroke with Douglas Casa, the lab’s head (who himself nearly died of it as a young athlete). “Climate change has taken this into the everyday world for the everyday American citizen. You don’t have to be a laborer working for twelve hours, you don’t have to be a soldier in training,” Casa tells him. “This is making it affect so many people even just during daily living.” Although the treatment for heat-related illness is straightforward, Casa says that implementation of simple measures remains challenging—and there is much we need to do to better prepare for the global rise in temperature.
The Washington Roundtable: In the first debate of the Republican Presidential primary, which took place in Milwaukee on Wednesday night, six of the eight potential nominees onstage raised their hands to indicate that, if Donald Trump is their party’s choice, they will support him—even if he is convicted in a court of law. Trump wasn’t present. The following day, the former President had his mug shot taken in a Fulton County jail. Trump was booked on thirteen charges, among them that he, along with eighteen others, conducted a “criminal enterprise” to overturn his 2020 defeat in Georgia. The two events signal the G.O.P.’s dilemma regarding Trump, and his grip on the contest for the nomination. What motivates the Republican primary contenders to defend a man whom they are ostensibly trying to defeat? The New Yorker staff writers Susan B. Glasser, Jane Mayer, and Evan Osnos weigh in.
In this week’s magazine, Ronan Farrow has published a major story about the business practices of Elon Musk. Farrow, who has reported extensively on abuses of power for The New Yorker, joins Tyler Foggatt to discuss how Musk has become an essential yet unofficial part of American governance, holding the keys to the green transition, the space race, and even the war in Ukraine. The reason for this, Farrow explains, is not Musk’s outrageous personality; it’s the structures of neoliberal capitalism that allowed a person like Musk to ascend. Read more by Ronan Farrow on Harvey Weinstein’s sexual misconduct, Britney Spears’s conservatorship, and the Israeli surveillance agency Black Cube.
Even in a summer of record-breaking heat and disasters, Republican Presidential candidates have ignored or mocked climate change. But some conservative legislators in Congress recognize that action is necessary. Their ideas about how to tackle the problem, however, depart from the consensus that is dominant among Democrats. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, who represents Iowa’s first district, is vice-chair of the Conservative Climate Caucus and a former head of the Iowa Department of Public Health. “Where there’s difference among individuals is with what urgency people believe there needs to be change. I believe that having rapid change without having affordable, available energy is not a solution,” she tells David Remnick. Miller-Meeks extols innovation in the private sector, but feels that mandates on electric vehicles would drive up costs too much for rural consumers. With a goal of reducing fossil-fuel consumption, she says, environmentalists need to reconsider their desire to remove hydroelectric dams to restore river habitats, and their opposition to nuclear-power generation. They should expedite mining for copper, uranium, and rare earth minerals, despite the environmental risks. “You have an Inflation Reduction Act which on one hand says you need to domestically source minerals,” she notes, “yet we won’t allow permitting.” More broadly, she feels that the alarms sounded by environmental scientists have failed to convince the public. “Every time we advance that there is a crisis and there is doom, and it doesn’t materialize, scientists, and we as political leaders, and people who are advancing policy, lose credibility.”
The Washington Roundtable: It has been a summer of history-making indictments against Donald Trump. This week, he received his fourth—this one from Georgia, where the former President and eighteen co-defendants are accused of conducting a “criminal enterprise” to reverse his 2020 defeat in the battleground state. Despite all of Trump’s legal troubles, he remains the overwhelming front-runner for the Republican Presidential nomination in 2024, and a rematch with Joseph Biden appears imminent. Yet history cautions that, with fifteen months to go before Election Day, all kinds of factors could derail his campaign. How damaging are these criminal charges in Georgia? Can anything actually shake up the race? The New Yorker staff writers Susan B. Glasser, Jane Mayer, and Evan Osnos weigh in.
The practice of legacy admissions—preferential consideration of the children of alumni—has emerged as a national flash point since the Supreme Court banned affirmative action in June. Even some prominent Republicans are joining the Biden Administration in calling for its end. David Remnick speaks with the U.S. Education Secretary, Miguel Cardona, about the politics behind college admissions. Cardona sees legacy preference as part of a pattern that discourages many students from applying to selective schools, but notes that it is not the whole problem. How can access to higher education, he asks, be more equitable when the quality of K-12 education is so inequitable?    Plus, Jeannie Suk Gersen, a professor at Harvard Law School, looks at the problems facing admissions officers now that race cannot be a consideration in maintaining diversity. Gersen has been reporting for The New Yorker on the legal fight over affirmative action and the movement to end legacy admissions. She speaks with the dean of admissions at Wesleyan University, one of the schools that voluntarily announced an end to legacy preference after the Supreme Court’s decision on affirmative action. “So far, the responses have been overwhelmingly positive,” Amin Abdul-Malik Gonzalez tells her. “But we’re obviously some time removed from the results of the decision. . . . I think it’s both symbolic and potentially substantive in terms of signalling our value to not have individually unearned benefits.”
Andrew Marantz, in the August 14th, 2023, issue of The New Yorker, wrote about Leah Hunt-Hendrix, a major donor to progressive causes whose grandfather was a politically conservative oil tycoon. Hunt-Hendrix’s use of her money and influence to support progressive social movements is remarkable in that the goals of these projects run counter to her class interests, and even aim to put her family’s company out of business: raising taxes on the rich, pushing for more corporate regulation, and passing a Green New Deal. She funds grassroots organizations, and also co-founded the political organization Way to Win, which works to elect candidates on the left. In this episode of the Political Scene, Marantz, a guest host, invites the writer Anand Giridharadas to discuss the unexpected nexus between big money and movement politics. Giridharadas is the author of four books, including, most recently, “Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World” and “The Persuaders: Winning Hearts and Minds in a Divided Age.”
The New Yorker Radio Hour: Last month, the country singer Jason Aldean released a music video for “Try That in a Small Town,” a song that initially received little attention. But the video cast the song’s lyrics in a new light. While Aldean sings, “Try that in a small town / See how far ya make it down the road / ’Round here, we take care of our own,” images of protests against police brutality are interspersed with Aldean singing outside a county courthouse where a lynching once took place. Aldean’s defenders—and there are many—say the song praises small-town values and respect for the law, rather than promoting violence and vigilantism. The controversy eventually pushed the song to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The staff writer Emily Nussbaum has been reporting from Nashville throughout the past few months on the very complicated politics of country music. On the one hand, she found a self-perpetuating culture war, fuelled by outrage; on the other, there’s a music scene that’s diversifying, with increasing numbers of women, Black artists, and L.G.B.T.Q. performers claiming country music as their own. “I set out to talk about music, but politics are inseparable from it,” Nussbaum tells David Remnick. “The narrowing of commercial country music to a form of pop country dominated by white guys singing a certain kind of cliché-ridden bro country song—it’s not like I don’t like every song like that, but the absolute domination of that keeps out all sorts of other musicians.” Nussbaum also speaks with Adeem the Artist, a nonbinary country singer and songwriter based in East Tennessee, who has found success with audiences but has not broken through on mainstream country radio. “I think that it’s important that people walk into a music experience where they expect to feel comforted in their bigotry and they are instead challenged on it and made to imagine a world where different people exist,” Adeem says. “But, as a general rule, I try really hard to connect with people even if I’m making them uncomfortable.”
The Washington Roundtable: This week, in a federal courthouse in Washington, D.C., former President Donald Trump pleaded not guilty to four charges in relation to his efforts to overturn the 2020 election and his role in the January 6th insurrection. Those include counts of conspiracy to defraud the United States, to obstruct an official proceeding, and to oppress citizens’ rights to vote. This third Trump criminal indictment is the most serious and far-reaching yet, going to the heart of the former President’s efforts to undermine American democracy. The trial, which will coincide with the height of campaign season, could create a number of “constitutional sci-fi” scenarios. Hosted by the New Yorker staff writers Susan B. Glasser, Jane Mayer, and Evan Osnos.
On June 23, 2023, tanks rolled into Moscow and into the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don, and troops surrounded military and government buildings. They were fighters from the Wagner Group, a private battalion. The group’s leader is Yevgeny Prigozhin, who sold hot dogs and ran a restaurant on a boat where Putin liked to dine before he became the head of this mercenary outfit. On that June day, he was initiating the strongest challenge to the Kremlin since the fall of the Soviet Union.  Joshua Yaffa has written an extraordinary piece about the Wagner Group’s global reach, its brutal battlefield tactics in Ukraine, and its mysterious decision to mutiny. He joins Tyler Foggatt to discuss it, and to examine how Prigozhin became such a strange and significant player within Russia’s military apparatus.
Nearly one in ten Americans owe significant medical debt, a burden that can become crippling as living costs and interest rates rise. Over the past decade, a nonprofit called RIP Medical Debt has designed a novel approach to chip away at this problem. The organization solicits donations to purchase portfolios of medical debt on the debt market, where the debt trades at steeply discounted prices. Then, instead of attempting to collect on it as a normal buyer would, they forgive the debt. The staff writer Sheelah Kolhatkar reports on one North Carolina church that partnered with RIP Medical Debt as part of its charitable mission. Trinity Moravian Church collected around fifteen thousand dollars in contributions to acquire and forgive over four million dollars of debt in their community. “We have undertaken a number of projects in the past but there’s never been anything quite like this,” the Reverend John Jackman tells Kolhatkar. “For families that we know cannot deal with these things, we’re taking the weight off of them.” Kolhatkar also speaks with Allison Sesso, the C.E.O. of RIP Medical Debt, about the strange economics of debt that make this possible. 
Comments (51)

Miles Greb

this guy is acting surprised Russians used the Russian horde stradgey?

Aug 3rd

Anthony Kelsick

This wad a very sad interview. I pray that Robert finds peace from his truly tortured past.

Jul 11th

Krisztina Szabo

no "prominent elected" democratic candidate challenging Biden? right, but there *ARE* other challengers - please now do a segment on Ms. Williamson! i know you are not impartial, but please at least aknowledge.

Jul 10th

Jack Of All Creative Trades

the cluelessness of the guest and host about censorship form social media mobs shocks me. because we should allow th author to publish the novel and allow people to read it to judge for themselves. no matter where there from inorser to judge foe themselves to see if the criticism is right or wrong. because now the author pulled it no one can see or judge if it harmful or not. to me this is censorship for one simple reason. the author pull it due to an outrage of a handful of passionate peiple on social media. who review bomb her book on good read. review bombing to me is a harassment tactics you see when a group of people want people to enjoy a price of entertainment. for her to pull the book from these harassers no matter the reason scares me because if you get a group of on social media pissed off enough you can get people to shut up and agree with you. that what I see as possible cenorship going forward.

Jun 22nd


The New Yorker, presents conversations and feature stories about current events. On Wednesdays, the senior editor Tyler Foggatt goes deep on a consequential political story via far-reaching interviews with staff writers and outside experts. And, on Fridays, the staff writers Susan B. Glasser, Jane Mayer, and Evan Osnos discuss the latest developments in Washington and beyond, offering an encompassing understanding of this moment in American politics

Jun 9th

Mahbobe Rabani can i see thr script of this podcast?

May 13th

Zank Frappe

Fantastic interview!

Apr 3rd

Don Young

Is there a way to get at real human beings and thought and bypass chatGPT if it is dangerous?

Mar 2nd

Writer w

Good Information regards

Mar 2nd

rory gehman

great song.. thanks for sharing..

Feb 28th

Travis Board

mm mm . mp

Jan 27th


These is not the end but the beginning blessed are us that look the enemy in the face and say know matter what I do I do it in love for the Father and if I’m ever in the wrong the spirit will accompany me in repairing those who was harmed. For there’s No condemnation for those walking in love and truth. Love is love PEACE 

Jan 14th

Abbie Hurst

It is too true and clear. Too straight to the point of doing no sugar bs. This is another job and not a bunch of idiots hiring 90k more goons to hunt us down. So he hesitated.

Jan 12th

somaye shafiee

I am wondering why you are completely silent about Iran's situation

Dec 1st

C muir

no it's about extreme left. trying to brainwash children.

Mar 30th

Miles Greb

this guy not bring up nuclear power is denialism

Mar 18th

Philly Burbs

this isn't new. read watch the coddling of the American mind. since the iPhone every thing has changed we are raising our kids to be fragile. you want to throw up?

Feb 19th
Reply (1)

Miles Greb

you had a terrorist on....

Sep 28th

Joe Capasso

,, b bbgccxvcccccxc.vbvccxncx vxhvcccccdccc cxgfjnccc

Jun 29th

Philly Burbs

When she quit management had a celebration! I noticed the women who came out for the league slammed her then one freaked on CNN. She's a kid. they were adult women when they played. No one came out for her!

Jun 11th
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