• Dahlia Lithwick on Voting Rights, plus Katha Pollitt on 'The Forgotten Girls'

    The right-wing supermajority on the Supreme Court has returned to a case about racial gerrymandering in Alabama, where Republicans have defied the Court’s order. Dahlia Lithwick will comment about that, and about her book Lady Justice: Women, the Law, and the Battle to Save America—it’s out now in paperback.

    Also on this episode: Two girls grew up in the 1980s and ’90s in a small town in Arkansas. One made it out and became a successful journalist and writer; her best friend, who had been super smart as a kid, fell into drugs, getting pregnant too young, and petty crime. How did their lives turn out so different? Katha Pollitt is on the podcast to talk about the new memoir by Monica Potts, The Forgotten Girls.

    46m | Sep 27, 2023
  • Trump and the Auto Strike, plus the Politics of Insecurity: Nelson Lichtenstein plus Astra Taylor

    Trump and the UAW strike, plus ‘manufactured insecurity’: Nelson Lichenstein plus Astra Taylor

    The UAW strike against Detroit’s Big Three is rapidly becoming a major political battle as Donald Trump speaks to auto workers in Detroit, challenging Biden’s massive initiatives for America’s transition to electric vehicles. Nelson Lichtenstein provides historical perspective on what’s at stake.

    Also: there are two kinds of insecurity in our lives today, Astra Taylor argues: existential insecurity, the unavoidable issues of life and death, and manufactured insecurity—intended to make workers more submissive to authority. Communal action can do a lot to reduce that. Her new book is “The Age of Insecurity: Coming Together As Things Fall Apart.”

    34m | Sep 20, 2023
  • Gary Younge: from Mandela to Black Lives Matter; plus Amy Wilentz on Haiti in September

    Gary Younge, the award-winning former columnist for The Guardian, talks about Black writing and Black writers—and his own writing about Mandela, Obama, Travon Martin, and Claudette Colvin.

    Also on this episode of Start Making Sense, the news from Haiti, where the UN, with US support, is authorizing a new security force. Made up of mostly Kenyan troops, it's supposed to restore “law and order” in Port-au-Prince. The Nation's Amy Wilentz is on the podcast to report.

    34m | Sep 13, 2023
  • Heather Cox Richardson on ‘Our Authoritarian Experiment,’ Plus Chile Since Allende

    Every night, more than a million people read Heather Cox Richardson’s newsletter about the day’s political events. Now she has a new book out, “Democracy Awakening: Notes on the State of America.” It’s about the history of Americans’ fight for equality—about which she remains optimistic, despite Trump’s current polling.

    Also on this episode of Start Making Sense: September 11th is the 50th anniversary of the coup that overthrew Salvador Allende in Chile, ending 150 years of democracy there and putting the military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet in Power. Marc Cooper wrote about Chile since the coup for Truthdig.com. He joins the show to discuss the legacy of that coup and the deep divisions in Chile today, both economic and political.

    42m | Sep 7, 2023
  • Our Hot Labor Summer, Plus Melania, Ivanka, and Those 91 Felony Charges

    Our hot labor summer continues. Harold Meyerson, editor at large of The American Prospect, comes on the Start Making Sense podcast to discuss the coming auto strike, the continuing Hollywood strikes, the Teamsters’ big victory, and a historic action by the NLRB which will make union organizing possible again. 

    Also on this episode: Melania and Ivanka Trump have been mostly absent from the former president’s side as he rages against the 91 felony charges brought against him in four different trials. Amy Wilentz comments on the news, the rumors, and the photos.

    40m | Aug 31, 2023
  • Drew Faust Remembers the Sixties, plus Erwin Chemerinsky on Trump and Georgia

    Drew Faust grew up in Virginia in the ’50’s, in the segregated south, in a family that was part of the white elite—and went on to make “necessary trouble” as a college student and activist in the ’60’s. The first woman to serve as president of Harvard University, Faust comes on the Start Making Sense podcast to talk about her memoir, “Necessary Trouble: Growing up at Midcentury.

    Also on this episode: If it was a good strategy for Special Prosecutor Jack Smith to charge Trump with four felonies, is it also a good idea for Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis to charge Trump and 18 other people with a total of 41 felonies? Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the law school at UC Berkeley, is on the show to discuss.

    46m | Aug 24, 2023
  • Right-Wing Attacks on Small-Town Libraries; plus “The Snow Leopard”

    Public Libraries are often wonderful places, but they have become targets of right-wing attack in the culture war. On this episode of the Start Making Sense podcast, Sasha Abramsky talks about his reporting on the battle in one small town in Washington state. 

    Also on this episode: Peter Mattheson’s exploration of suffering, impermanence, and beauty in his book “The Snow Leopard,” an account of his trek in the Himalayas. Pico Iyer, who wrote the introduction to the Penguin Classics paperback edition, is on the show to talk about the book. The conversation with Iyer was recorded in 2008.

    36m | Aug 17, 2023
  • Erwin Chemerinsky on The Trump Indictment, plus Katha Pollitt on “Barbie”

    Should Trump have been charged with incitement of insurrection, or at least violence? What’s the line between free speech and incitement? If Trump sincerely believed he’d won the election, can he still be prosecuted for conspiracy? Erwin Chemerinsky explains – he’s dean of the law school at UC Berkeley.

    Also: What’s bad about Barbie the doll, and what’s good about “Barbie” the movie—Katha Pollitt comments.

    36m | Aug 10, 2023
  • Trump’s Trials, plus Barbie and Oppie

    This month, Donald Trump will be facing four indictments in four different jurisdictions at the same time, each for multiple felonies. Yet, Republicans still want him as their candidate. On this episode of the Start Making Sense podcast, Joan Walsh comments on the former President's latest legal developments, and the latest poll numbers.

    Also on this episode: Barbie is one of the most feminist blockbuster films ever made, and it grossed $774 million worldwide in its first ten days. In the same period, Oppenheimer made $400 million worldwide. John Powers joins the podcast to discuss this summer’s two big Hollywood hits. He’s Critic at Large on NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross.

    41m | Aug 2, 2023
  • The Class Struggle This Summer

    The Teamsters reached a historic agreement for UPS workers this week, protecting and rewarding more than 340,000 UPS Teamsters nationwide. We had been headed for the biggest strike in decades, scheduled to start next week, but now we have what looks like one of the biggest labor victories in decades. The Nation’s John Nichols is on the Start Making Sense podcast to report.

    Also on this episode: Hollywood actors and writers have been on strike–the Writers Guild of America since May, and the Screen Actors Guild since July 14. The studios are showing no signs of settling. WGA member and Nation writer Ben Schwartz joins the show. He argues that the studios and streamers are likely to fracture before the unions do.

    36m | Jul 27, 2023
  • The War on Black Studies, plus Hollywood on Strike

    Remember how the state of Florida banned the African-American studies curriculum proposed by the College Board on the grounds that it might cause guilt, anguish or other forms of psychological distress in students? Now, teachers, scholars, and activists have been fighting back. Historian Robin D.G. Kelley explains.

    Also: last week the actors joined screenwriters on the picket lines outside film and TV studios in LA and New York - the writers have been out for 75 days. The issues: compensation in the age of streaming, and protection against AI. Josh Gondelman comments—he’s a member of both SAG and the WGA.

    38m | Jul 19, 2023
  • Cornel West Should Run as a Democrat, plus Supreme Court Wins and Losses

    Cornel West is running for president as the Green Party candidate. On this episode of Start Making Sense, editor in chief, D.D. Guttenplan, explains why he ought to run in the Democratic primaries, instead.

    Also: The Supreme Court, in the term that just ended, was not completely terrible. It surprised us all by doing some good things, especially with regard to voting rights. David Cole, the National Legal Director of the ACLU, is on the podcast to analyze what happened and why.

    37m | Jul 13, 2023
  • Summer of Strikes, plus After Affirmative Action: Jane McAlevy on Labor, John Nichols on Education

    Two nationwide strikes may be in the works right now. The Teamsters have been negotiating with UPS for a new contract, and the Auto Workers have been preparing to strike at least one of the Detroit auto makers. These have the potential to provide swing-state voters with a political education in the lead-up to the 2024 election. The Nation's Strikes Correspondent, Jane McAlevey joins the podcast to discuss.

    Also on this episode of Start Making Sense: After affirmative action, what should progressives do to help people of color and other working class students get into college, and pay for it? The Nation’s National Affairs correspondent, John Nichols comments on the politics and economics of higher education.

    37m | Jul 5, 2023
  • The Battle on the Abortion Borderland, plus RFK Jr.

    Crossing the abortion borderland from Texas to New Mexico: Amy Littlefield describes the heroic work being done in both states to provide help to people seeking abortions, one year after the repeal of Roe, and reports on the new obstacles being raised by anti-abortion forces.

    Also on this episode of Start Making Sense, 20 percent of likely Democratic voters tell pollsters they support Robert F. Kennedy Jr. in his primary challenge to Joe Biden. Joan Walsh joins the podcast to tell the story of her history with Kennedy and his anti-vax crusade. 

    38m | Jun 29, 2023
  • How Democrats can win Working-Class Voters; how Doctors are Fighting—against Hospitals

    How can Democrats win back at least some white working class swing voters? We have some striking new research about that. Katie Rader joins the Start Making Sense podcast to discuss the issues that are most likely to mobilize them.

    Also on this episode: Doctors these days are caught between caught between the Hippocratic oath--“first, do no harm” -- and “the realities of making a profit from people at their sickest and most vulnerable.” Eyal Press is on the show to report on the ways doctors are fighting back.

    39m | Jun 22, 2023
  • Cornel West Should Not Be Running for President; plus the GOP vs. Divorce

    Cornel West is running for president as a third party candidate, so he’s not going to get many votes. Nevertheless, Joan Walsh argues, he could discourage Democrats from voting, which would make Trump’s election more likely. 

    Also on this episode of Start Making Sense: you might think Republicans would take a breather after banning abortion in the states they control, but no! Instead, they’ve set their sights on a new target: no-fault divorce. The Nation’s Katha Pollitt is on the podcast to discuss.

    Subscribe to The Nation to support all of our podcasts: thenation.com/podcastsubscribe.

    30m | Jun 15, 2023
  • D.D. Guttenplan on Biden and the Vision Thing; plus Disappearing Islands

    The polls about the 2024 election are not good. Democrats lack enthusiasm for Biden, especially after his debt limit deal. The Nation's editor in chief, D.D. Guttenplan argues that the president needs to remake his candidacy—now.

    Also on this episode of Start Making Sense: Climate change is raising sea levels, and soon low-lying coastal areas will be under water. But the most severe threat, the brunt of the suffering, is coming first to low-lying islands around the world, even though they are least responsible for global warming. Christina Gerhardt, author of the new book, Sea Change: An Atlas of Islands in a Rising Ocean, is on the show to discuss. 

    Subscribe to The Nation to support all of our podcasts: thenation.com/podcastsubscribe. 

    31m | Jun 1, 2023
  • Is Planned Parenthood Too Cautious? Plus: Writing and Politics

    Has Planned Parenthood gotten too cautious and too corporate? Are the risk managers running the organization? Eyal Press reports on the courage of independent abortion services, and the failures of Planned Parenthood.

    Also on this episode of Start Making Sense: What does it mean to be a politically committed writer? That's the central question of Adam Shatz's talks new book, “Writers and Missionaries: Essays on the Radical imagination.” He joins the podcast to discuss. Shatz is The Nation’s former literary editor and the US editor of the London Review of Books.

    Subscribe to The Nation to support all of our podcasts: thenation.com/podcastsubscribe. 

    48m | May 25, 2023
  • Jeffrey Toobin on the Roots of Jan. 6; Adam Hochschild on Anti-Woke History

    The ideological roots of the January 6 insurrection go back decades before Trump entered politics -- back to the bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building in 1995. Jeffrey Toobin joins the podcast to explain. His new book is Homegrown: Timothy McVeigh and the Rise of Right-Wing Extremism.

    Also on this episode of Start Making Sense: Ron DeSantis is campaigning for president promising to “stop woke history.” That is, to stop teaching about slavery and its legacy of institutional racism. Adam Hochschild found the history guide DeSantis wants: the Hillsdale College “1776 Curriculum.” He reports on what’s in it —and what’s not.

    Subscribe to The Nation to support all of our podcasts: thenation.com/podcastsubscribe. 

    39m | May 18, 2023
  • Bhaskar Sunkara on Biden in 2024, plus Josh Gondelman on the Writers Strike

    Progressives and Biden: what is to be done—about the 2024 election? Bhaskar Sunkara, president of The Nation, comments.

    Also: 11,500 members of the Writers Union are on strike against the film, TV and streaming companies, with picket lines up in L.A. and New York. Both sides of the fight have prepared for a months-long conflict. Award-winning TV writer Josh Gondelman is on the show to explain the issues.

    Subscribe to The Nation to support all of our podcasts: thenation.com/podcastsubscribe.

    35m | May 10, 2023
Start Making Sense with Jon Wiener