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An often-forgotten champion for racial justice in America is Thaddeaus Stevens, a 19th century statesman. He was a leader of the young Republican Party's radical wing, fighting for anti-slavery and anti-racist policies long before others endorsed them. Unlike many of his contemporaries, he saw the Civil War as a second American revolution — an oppo…
 
As America’s only Black prime-time anchor, Don Lemon's monologues on racism, antiracism, and the nation's systemic flaws speak for his millions of fans. In this episode, Lemon speaks candidly with Julian Zelizer about his new book, "This Is the Fire: What I Say to My Friends About Racism," which currently sits at number on The New York Times Best S…
 
Conspiracy theories are embedded in American history, though today they circulate at speeds we haven't seen before. Qanon, or Q, is a modern-day example of the power of conspiracies in American political discourse. Loyalty to Q is a common theme among those involved in the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol. Julian Zelizer and Sam Wang work to dise…
 
Within the first 100 days of Joe Biden’s presidency, he’s already signed a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package as the vaccine roll-out is accelerating. Meanwhile, the Democrats wrestle with advancing their priorities in the Senate, as Republicans continue to filibuster. There’s even talk of eliminating the filibuster, which could obstruct the Bid…
 
John Marshall may be one of the most influential founders to never become President. As an early chief justice, he was a principal founder of the U.S. system of constitutional law. But more than that, his story is entwined with the entire founding of America. In this episode, Sam Wang discusses Marshall's legacy with historian and author Robert Str…
 
The story of liberalism isn't often told, especially as the conservative era has taken root. Yet, there was a key figure in the formation of modern-day liberalism who is indeed worthy of attention: the late Sen. Edward “Ted” Kennedy. Historian and writer Neal Gabler joins Julian Zelizer and Sam Wang in this week’s episode to discuss the early part …
 
Nearly every major decision governing the country bears the stamp of the U.S. Senate. Yet, the current makeup of the Senate — which is predominantly white, conservative males — does not necessarily represent the majority of Americans. Some even argue that the U.S. Senate has become one of the greatest threats to democracy. Senate insider Adam Jentl…
 
Once all members are confirmed, President Joe Biden’s cabinet will be the most diverse group of advisers ever appointed. This team even includes Princeton’s Cecilia Rouse, who currently awaits a Senate vote. In this episode, historian Lindsay Chervinsky joins Julian Zelizer and Sam Wang to discuss Biden’s senior leadership team, as well as the hist…
 
From World War I to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, conflict has long been a part of American history. These events have molded society and culture, producing effects that ripple through generations. Author and historian Margaret MacMillan joins Julian Zelizer and Sam Wang in this week's episode to discuss how war is in our bones. She is author o…
 
At the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, religious messaging echoed through the streets as Christian-right activists protested the 2020 presidential election. What role did the religious right play in the uprising at the Capitol? And will they continue to be emboldened despite President Donald Trump’s departure? Katherine Stewart joins Julia…
 
January has been a politically charged month. Georgia flipped blue in two runoff U.S. Senate races, followed by a violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. A week later, President Joe Biden was inaugurated, and now debates in the U.S. Senate continue to thunder as a second impeachment trial for Trump approaches. Julian Zelizer and Sam Wang unpack a…
 
People often wonder what a U.S. President’s legacy will be — especially those who only serve one term in office — but the ways we remember Presidents can change over time. One such case is President Jimmy Carter who, to some, was considered the embodiment of a failed presidency. In retrospect, however, many of the ways in which President Carter gov…
 
Today, many are examining leadership in American politics. Historians, biographers, and journalists are turning to the past to uncover how leadership, especially the presidency, has changed throughout the decades. Among those is historian Fredrik Logevall, who recently published a book on President John F. Kennedy, titled “JFK: Coming of Age in the…
 
Julian Zelizer and Sam Wang speculate on the Georgia Senate runoff election in this episode, which was recorded Jan. 5 — before the final outcome was known. They discuss what the results will mean for the U.S. Senate, Joe Biden's presidency, and the Covid-19 pandemic response. They also chat about how unusual and unprecedented this post-election pe…
 
Anew generation in American politics is emerging as millennials are now taking up political offices. Emboldened and energized, these young leaders are challenging conventional party leadership in the hopes of moving beyond today’s deeply embedded divisions. Charlotte Alter joins Julian Zelizer in this episode to discuss this new generation of leade…
 
Presidents have a unique way of shaping polity, though government strength is also tested in other ways. Party polarization, money in politics, economic inequality, and other forces have all hindered the ability to govern. American legal scholar Jack Balkin joins Julian Zelizer and Sam Wang in this week's episode to help walk through these “constit…
 
The unique circumstances of this year's elections created quite a stir among state courts regarding mail-in ballots, with some requiring intervention by the Supreme Court. In these politically charged times, what is the role of the courts? Sam Wang interviews Marin Levy in this week's episode about state court packing, state court expansions, and m…
 
The results are in: Joe Biden has won the presidency. However, President Donald Trump has yet to concede and is filing lawsuits in a number of states where he thinks voter fraud occurred. It was good news for Republicans in the other races, though: The party gained seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and in state legislatures. Now, both part…
 
On Election Day 2020, Julian Zelizer and Sam Wang discuss which states they're keeping a close eye on and how things might shake out for this monumental presidential election. They harken back to the episode they recorded right before the 2016 election … and how much has changed since. This is an episode you don't want to miss. Also, get out and vo…
 
Election day is less than a week away, and early mail-in and absentee ballots account for more than 70 million votes to date. Given the unique circumstances of this year's election, will the returns that day reflect the final outcome? How will the media accurately cover this historic election day? At the heart of every news network is the decision …
 
As the election inches closer, polling data seems favorable to the Democrats, especially in a number of Senate races. Yet some say the Democrats are being too optimistic and overly confident, mirroring some of the sentiments from 2016. In this episode of Politics & Polls, Julian Zelizer and Sam Wang discuss what will happen next — and the problems …
 
The Republican Party seems to be divided: Is it the old guard, advocating for small government and tax cuts? Or has it moved into more of an America-first, isolationist space under the leadership of President Donald Trump? In this episode, Jacob Hacker of Yale University joins Julian Zelizer and Sam Wang to discuss how the current combination of pl…
 
After a Rose Garden ceremony last week, President Donald Trump, members of his staff, and several Republican senators have all tested positive for Covid-19. The news has sparked a fiery debate about how the administration is addressing the pandemic. Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, who was the youngest city health official in America at age 30 - leading the Det…
 
Some criticize the way the media covers political issues, spurring conversations about how journalism can be improved, especially within the next generation of reporters. One 12-year-old — Jaden Jefferson — is already on his way to contributing to the news world through his local reporting efforts in Toledo, Ohio. Jefferson, who joins Julian Zelize…
 
Regardless of who wins the 2020 presidential election, American politics will be forever impacted by Trump's presidency. In this episode, author David Frum discusses how America can rebuild — the subject of his new book, "Trumpocalypse: Restoring American Democracy" — with Julian Zelizer. Frum is a senior editor The Atlantic. He virtually visited t…
 
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