• Democrats vs. Billionaires, plus Hamas vs. Fatah

    The issues and the language that win for Democrats: research shows it’s not just “jobs,” but attacking the rich. Bhaskar Sunkara, President of The Nation and author of The Socialist Manifesto, explains.

    Also: why did Hamas decide to provoke massive Israeli retaliation now? Hussein Ibish, who writes for The Atlantic, the New York Times, and Daily Beast, says Hamas had a clear political goal on October 7: to defeat the Palestinian secular nationalists of Fatah and the PLO.

    32m - Apr 10, 2024
  • Israeli Jews and Palestinians Standing Together; plus Blue Cities in Red States

    Standing Together, Israel’s biggest Jewish-Palestinian grassroots movement, is organizing against the war and for a Palestinian state. Sally Abed, one of the group’s founders, explains their vision, their strategy, and their recent actions.

    Also: Cities everywhere in America are Democratic, and often raising minimum wages and strengthening rent control. But in states where Republicans hold unchecked power, state governments are blocking cities from acting. Harold Meyerson, editor-at-large of The American Prospects. Reports on preemption—and on “pre-preemption.”

    38m - Apr 3, 2024
  • Wages on The Ballot in Battleground States; Plus Cites With Ceasefire Resolutions

    Minimum wage initiatives on the ballot in battleground states could mobilize potential Democratic voters who are unenthusiastic about Biden. Saru Jayaraman of One Fair Wage explains the strategy for Arizona, Michigan, and Ohio.

    Also: 100 American cities and towns have formally called for a ceasefire in Gaza. John Nichols has our report.

    36m - Mar 27, 2024
  • Jews Against AIPAC, plus Free Speech on Campus

    In the campaign to end American funding for Israel’s war in Gaza, a key front is the fight against AIPAC. This week, more than a hundred prominent American Jews have joined in a statement opposing AIPAC and its efforts to defeat Democratic candidates who have criticized Israeli government policy toward Palestinians. The signers include author Ariel Dorfman, actors Elliott Gould and Wallace Shawn, and Ben Cohen of Ben & Jerry’s. Alan Minsky, Executive Director of Progressive Democrats of America, is on the podcast to explain.

    Also on this episode: David Cole, National Legal Director of the ACLU, makes the case for freedom of speech on campus and against cancel culture, starting from the confrontation between Elise Stefanik and the presidents of Harvard, MIT, and Penn

    41m - Mar 20, 2024
  • What the Polls Get Wrong about Biden, plus Haiti in Turmoil

    After gangs took over most of Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s acting prime minister, Ariel Henry, agreed to step aside. Long-time Haiti observer Amy Wilentz analyzes the forces at work shaping the country’s next steps.

    Also: the polls and the pollsters are missing the political potential in 9 million people who have turned 18 since the last election. Steve Phillips explains – his book, ‘How We Win the Civil War,’ is out now in a new edition, updated for the 2024 election.

    33m - Mar 13, 2024
  • Biden After Super Tuesday—and the Case for a Voting Rights Amendment

    The Nation's national affairs correspondent John Nichols reports on the evidence of weaknesses of both Biden and Trump—as well as some signs of strength—after the primary elections in 16 states

    .Also on this episode: It’s time to add the real right to vote to the constitution. That’s what Richard Hasen says. Hasen is professor of law and political science at UCLA and author of the new book, A Real Right to Vote. He argues that there are good reasons why Republicans could support a voting rights amendment. (Maybe not this year, but sometime soon.)

    47m - Mar 7, 2024
  • Abortion could make Florida a swing state in 2024; plus ‘Ukrainians in Exile’

    An abortion rights amendment to Florida’s constitution has gotten enough signatures to qualify for the November ballot. Now it’s up to the state’s supreme court to decide whether people will get to vote on it, potentially transforming the electorate there in November. The Nation’s abortion access correspondent, Amy Littlefield, is on the podcast to report.

    Also on this episode of Start Making Sense: This week is the second anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. To commemorate the anniversary, The Nation has released a new documentary short film, Ukrainians in Exile. We’ll speak with the filmmaker, Janek Ambros.

    31m - Feb 28, 2024
  • “Renters are the sleeping giants of LA politics,” plus the Hidden History of AIDS

    A political battle is underway in Los Angeles, where landlords, multi-millionaires, and the police are trying to defeat the leading progressive on the city council. Their key issues are protection for renters and new taxes on mansions.

    Also on this episode of Start Making Sense: A new podcast brings us stories from the early days of HIV & AIDS. It's about how the epidemic decimated poor communities of color and the people who refused to stay out of sight. WNYC's Kai Wright and The Nation's Lizzy Ratner are behind the new show, Blindspot: The Plague in the Shadows.

    37m - Feb 21, 2024
  • The Families that Made Fortunes Selling Opium, plus the News from Haiti

    The blue-blood families that made fortunes in the opium trade: Amitav Ghosh recounts the origins of much of the wealth for the 19th century New England elite on this episode of the Start Making Sense podcast. He wrote the cover story for The Nation's latest print issue. His new book is called Smoke and Ashes.

    Also on this episode: The latest US moves in Haiti are framed in democratic rhetoric but are deeply anti-democratic in their effect. Amy Wilentz is on the podcast to explain. She’s written two books about Haiti, most recently the award-winning Farewell Fred Voodoo.

    38m - Feb 14, 2024
  • Jeff Merkley on a Ceasefire in Gaza, Sean Wilentz on Disqualifying Trump

    Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon is one of our leading progressives, and one of 5 Senators to call for a cease-fire in Gaza. He explains why; and he discusses his new book, “Filibustered! How to Fix the Broken Senate and Save America.”

    Also: the case for disqualifying Trump as a candidate, based on the 14th Amendment banning those who have engaged in insurrection from holding public office. That case goes before the Supreme Court this week. Princeton historian Sean Wilentz has our analysis.

    45m - Feb 7, 2024
  • Heroes of the Left, Plus Healthcare for the Undocumented

    The Nation’s annual Progressive Honor Roll features movement leaders who provide hope for 2024. John Nichols tells their stories.

    Also: California moved one step closer to universal healthcare on January 1, when it expanded coverage to all low-income residents, regardless of immigration status. Sasha Abramsky reports.

    33m - Jan 31, 2024
  • New Hampshire Left and Right, plus Franz Fanon

    Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary, first in the nation, was also the last chance for Republicans to move beyond Trump. And also the first chance for Democrats to pressure Biden to push for a cease-fire in Gaza. John Nichols has our analysis.

    Also: Adam Shatz talks about Franz Fanon, whose books Wretched of the Earth and Black Skin, White Masks made him a huge figure on the left, not just in the '60s when they were published, but in the era of Black Lives Matter when “his shadow looms larger than ever.” Now he's the subject of Adam's new book, The Rebel's Clinic: The Revolutionary Lives of Frantz Fanon. Adam is the US editor of the London Review of Books, and former Literary Editor of The Nation.

    44m - Jan 24, 2024
  • Reasons for Hope from the Iowa GOP, plus “American Fiction”

    John Nichols reports on Monday’s Republican caucuses in Iowa, and explains why Iowa is the state with the biggest shift from blue to red between Obama in 2008 and Trump in 2020.

    Also: The new film "American Fiction," starring Jeffrey Wright, takes up the question, do Black writers have to "write Black"? The film is based on the novel "Erasure" by Percival Everett, which is considerably wilder and more uncompromising than the film. John Powers comments—he’s critic at Large on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross.

    34m - Jan 17, 2024
  • Only Joe Biden Can Stop the War in Gaza, plus ‘Corporate Bullsh*t’

    Israel's war in Gaza has been going on now for three months, and the IDF said over the weekend they plan to keep the war going for another year. Amy Wilentz talks about Netanhayu’s use of the war to hold on to power.

    Also: the lies that protect profit, power and wealth in America: they are documented, and dealt with, in a wonderful new book co-authored by Joan Walsh. It's called Corporate Bullsh*t.

    37m - Jan 10, 2024
  • Reasons for Hope in 2024: John Nichols, plus The Bill Gates Problem: Tim Schwab

    Hope is different from optimism – it’s an embrace of uncertainty, and a basis for action. The polls look bad for Joe Biden, but Democrats’ chances are much brighter in the House, and perhaps the Senate. John Nichols talks about reasons for hope in 2024, starting in the tipping point state of 2020, Wisconsin.

    Also: Bill Gates is now the 6th richest man in the world, with 104 billion dollars. He’s spent the last 20 years giving away some of his money--the Gates Foundation gave away $7 billion in 2022. But with the money comes a host of problems. Tim Schwab will explain; his new book has a great title: “The Bill Gates Problem: Reckoning with the Myth of the Good Billionaire.”

    35m - Jan 3, 2024
  • Katha Pollitt’s End-of-Year Giving List, plus Bob Dylan’s Xmas Album

    Our holiday giving list: Katha Pollitt presents her list of groups that need—and deserve—our support: Gaza aid, abortion assistance, and organizing against Trump.

    Also: Bob Dylan fans have been puzzled and troubled by his Christmas album ever since he released it in 2009. To help figure out what Dylan was doing, we turned to Sean Wilentz. He’s the official historian at BobDylan.com, and he also teaches history at Princeton.

    34m - Dec 27, 2023
  • Feminists and rape: the case of Hamas; plus Moms for Liberty

    Why have American feminist groups been slow to condemn rapes of Israeli women and girls by Hamas? that’s the question posed by Katha Pollitt.

    Also: They call it “the parents’ rights movement.” we call it a culture war against public education. It failed as a Republican election strategy in 2023, but what about 2024? Randi Weingarten has our analysis – she’s president of the AFT.

    23m - Dec 20, 2023
  • Democrats are Sleepwalking Toward a Trump Victory; plus Israel’s future

    Joe Biden has historic achievements as president, but polls show him to the candidate least able to defeat Donald Trump. Democrats need someone else to run—and an open primary. Harold is editor-at-large of The American Prospect.

    Also: What conditions are needed for an end to Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and its blocking of Palestinian self-determination? David Myers comments; he teaches Jewish history at UCLA and has written for the LA Times, the Forward, and the Atlantic.

    36m - Dec 13, 2023
  • Randi Weingarten on the Peace Movement in Israel; Gary Younge on ‘Rustin’

    Randi Weingarten, president of the AFT, spent Thanksgiving weekend in Israel; she reports on meetings with shared society groups and peace movement leaders, and on the role of the US in bringing not just peace but equality and justice to Palestinians.

    Also: Who was Bayard Rustin before the 1963 March on Washington?  Gary Younge comments on the remarkable life of a gay Black pacifist and former communist, the subject of a new biopic on Netflix, ‘Rustin.’ Gary wrote “The Speech: The Story Behind Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Dream.”

    36m - Dec 6, 2023
  • Ending the War in Gaza: D.D. Guttenplan; plus John Powers on "Slow Horses"

    People with very different visions of what a just peace between Israel and the Palestinians might look like must work together to stop the war. That’s what The Nation's editor, D.D. Guttenplan argues. He's on this episode of the podcast to discuss.

    Also on this episode: John Powers joins the show to offer his review of Slow Horses, the British spy series based on the books by Mick Herron.

    30m - Nov 29, 2023
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Start Making Sense with Jon Wiener