Episodes
House Republicans have launched their legislative agenda for the next Congress. The “Commitment to America” is fairly brief, pretty unspecific, and filled with standard Republican platitudes around tax cuts and curbing wasteful spending. Kevin McCarthy, who will probably be Speaker if his party wins, calls it “a new direction” for America.  What would Republicans do with control of the House?  We dissect what’s in the “Commitment to America”, and look at its famous predecessor. ...
Published 09/30/22
“The world should see the outrageous acts for what they are," Joe Biden told the United Nations General Assembly this week, condemning Russia's invasion of Ukraine. So far, America has led efforts to support Ukraine’s fight back against the aggressor next door. But with food and energy prices high, Vladimir Putin announcing a partial mobilisation (whatever that is) and once again threatening to use nuclear weapons, how long-lasting will support from the West be?  Jeremy Shapiro of the...
Published 09/23/22
The most significant moment in the midterms campaigns may have come in June. That was when the Supreme Court decided to overturn Roe v Wade, taking away the federal right to an abortion and sending the decision back to the states. This fired up Democratic candidates and voters. The party has been doing well in special elections and referendums, and making gains in the polls. How much is this to do with the fight for abortion rights?  The Economist’s Stevie Hertz travels to Michigan to hear...
Published 09/16/22
The close relationship between the Republican Party and the corporate world has shaped American capitalism for decades. Businesses are used to disdain from Democrats, but vitriol from the right is newer. This has been on display in public brawls between lawmakers and companies, and shifting orthodoxies in the Republicans’ economic philosophy. What will be the impact of the party’s growing suspicion of America Inc?   West Virginia State Treasurer Riley Moore tells us why he’s targeting firms...
Published 09/09/22
Red and blue states have always been different. Each state’s ability to experiment, iterate and differentiate has been a source of strength. But as federal politics has become more partisan, so have the states. On everything from abortion to climate, American policy is now dividing into two distinct blocs. How is this new, fractious federalism changing the union? We hear from the governors of America’s most conservative state, Tate Reeves of Mississippi, and its most progressive, Gavin Newsom...
Published 09/02/22
After the FBI raided Donald Trump’s Florida home, Mar-a-Lago, threats against law enforcement surged and an armed man tried to break into the agency’s office in Cincinnati. Election, health-care and school officials are feeling increasingly unsafe doing their jobs. Is America entering a new era of political violence? Security expert Rachel Kleinfeld assesses the state of political violence today. We take a trip to Idaho to meet a militia leader running for elected office. And political...
Published 08/26/22
The most powerful figure in the Republican Party is still Donald Trump. Despite his attempts to overturn the results of the presidential election, his friendliness with dictators, and multiple active investigations against him, he remains the most powerful man on the American right. Mid-term hopefuls and former critics are vying for his approval. Dissenters are being swept away. Will anything break Donald Trump’s hold on the GOP? And, despite all obstacles, will he be the next Republican...
Published 08/19/22
Democrats have finally passed their climate, tax and health care legislation through the Senate. Chuck Schumer and his colleagues are toasting their successful out-manoeuvring of the GOP. How will the Inflation Reduction Act affect carbon emissions, prescription drug prices and the deficit? And will it improve voters’ views of Joe Biden and his party? The Economist’s Vijay Vaitheeswaran assesses the climate provisions in the bill. We go back to another occasion when Democrats had to go it...
Published 08/12/22
The second part of our occasional series on the race for Pennsylvania’s open Senate seat. For now the campaign is largely happening online, with Democrat John Fetterman staying off the trail due to a health scare, and Republican Dr Oz failing to take advantage of the open lane. But away from the memes and internet stunts, what do voters actually want? Local journalist John Micek gives an update on the horse race. We go back to a sea-change moment in Pennsylvania’s electoral landscape. And The...
Published 08/05/22
The Democratic party is in the throes of a rude awakening. Despite Donald Trump remaining at its head, the Republican Party is widely expected to make significant gains in the upcoming mid-term elections. Working class and Hispanic voters seem to be turning away from the Democrats. In some liberal cities, voters are in open revolt against progressive policies. How did the party lose touch with its voters? And does a flurry of recent dealmaking suggest it can moderate in time to avoid...
Published 07/29/22
The final episode in our three-part special series investigating the battle over what is taught in America’s public schools and asking how the anti-CRT movement became such a powerful social, legislative and political force in its own right. Although there is plenty of anecdotal evidence of teachers getting it wrong, there is little sign so far that CRT is causing widespread harm. What then explains the frenzy? The Economist’s Tamara Gilkes Borr speaks to a teacher in Tennessee who lost his...
Published 07/22/22
The second of a three-part special series investigating the fight over critical race theory and asking how the anti-CRT movement became such a powerful new social, legislative and political force. The debate has become centred on how race, gender and sexuality are discussed in public schools. In this episode, The Economist’s Tamara Gilkes Borr, a former public-school teacher, puts the politics to one side to find out what is actually happening in America’s classrooms. When critics point to...
Published 07/18/22
The first episode of a three-part special series investigating the fight over what is taught in America’s public schools. Until recently, critical race theory (CRT) was a niche legal field encountered only by graduate students. It is now a catch-all term for whatever the right thinks is going wrong with America and a new front in the culture war alongside abortion and guns. The anti-CRT movement has become a powerful new social, legislative and political force in its own right. But what...
Published 07/15/22
Despite a remarkably strong labour market, predictions of an imminent downturn are everywhere. The disagreement now is not over whether the Federal Reserve should fight inflation, but how painful the consequences of doing so will be. In trying to fix one problem, will the Federal Reserve create another? How much should Americans blame President Biden for the increasingly gloomy outlook? And what can the administration do to protect both the economy and its own electoral future? We ask Dr...
Published 07/08/22
As gridlock plagues the Capitol, across First Street the Supreme Court is transforming America. In this term alone, it has overturned the right to an abortion, loosened gun laws, eroded the separation of church and state and limited the federal government’s ability to combat climate change. Public confidence in the institution is at a record low. How is the Supreme Court changing America and, as it does so, is it undermining itself?  John Prideaux hosts with Charlotte Howard and our Supreme...
Published 07/01/22
After conducting more than 1,000 interviews and reviewing over 140,000 documents, the House of Representatives’ January 6th committee is now presenting its findings. Yet much of what it is investigating happened publicly: the violence in the Capitol was live-streamed and the conspiracy to overturn the election happened in the open. Even so, most Americans have either moved on or misinterpreted the riot. What is the purpose of the committee? What new information has it revealed—and can it make...
Published 06/24/22
Since America dropped the bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, a fragile balance of deterrence, treaties, fear and taboo has stopped the world’s nuclear powers from deploying their arsenals in anger. But Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has ushered in a new nuclear era. How should we think about the nuclear threat? And what role should America play in policing it?   Dr Nina Tannenwald, author of “The Nuclear Taboo”, explains how the norms that guaranteed the long nuclear peace have been...
Published 06/17/22
The Golden State, it is often said, is where the future happens first. Now Los Angeles, long a bastion of the left, is seriously contemplating choosing a billionaire former Republican as its next mayor. Voters are fed up with homelessness and crime and are threatening to follow San Francisco’s example and recall progressive public prosecutors who had promised to reimagine public safety. Is California revealing the limits of progressive politics? The mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti,...
Published 06/10/22
Another American administration, another much-vaunted pivot to Asia. Republicans and Democrats agree that America needs to respond to China's growing regional clout, but that's where the harmony ends. War in Europe is diverting attention, much of Asia has doubts about America’s reliability and China warns that any attempt to build an “Asian NATO” is “doomed to fail”. What is the Biden administration’s Asia strategy? Scott Kennedy, senior advisor on China at the Centre for Strategic and...
Published 06/03/22
The horror at Uvalde in Texas shows American exceptionalism at its worst. But part of the tragedy is that the event in itself is not exceptional. In the ten years since the massacre at Sandy Hook, there have been more than 900 other shootings in schools across the country. Why can’t America stop gun violence?  Former firearms executive turned safety campaigner Ryan Busse explores how American gun culture has changed. We go back to the last time a president was able to pass lasting federal...
Published 05/27/22
President Biden came to office promising, like many before him, to fix America's immigration system. But border crossings are at record highs, his reforms have floundered and states are going their own way on how to treat undocumented residents. Meanwhile a third of voters believe there is a plan afoot to replace them with people brought in from abroad. What will it take to untangle the immigration mess in America? Alexandra Suich Bass reports from Texas where the fight over Title 42 is...
Published 05/20/22
Primary season is in full swing but more than a third of voters and a majority of Republicans still believe the last election was stolen. At the centre of this struggle is Georgia, which in 2020 had the tightest presidential election results in the country. It has since passed restrictive new voting laws, locking both Republicans and Democrats into a fierce fight over electoral fairness. We explore why the parties have so much power over the running of elections in America and ask what it...
Published 05/13/22
A leaked draft opinion suggests that the Supreme Court is preparing to overturn Roe v Wade. But the verdict will not end fights over abortion in America. Both pro-choice and anti-abortion movements are furiously preparing for what comes next. What will the post-Roe era look like? And if the justices do overturn a 50-year-old precedent and hand decisions on abortion back to the states, what might the Supreme Court do next? The Economist’s Steven Mazie explains what the leak reveals about the...
Published 05/06/22
The race for Pennsylvania’s open Senate seat is wild, and between now and the midterm elections we’ll be regularly checking in. The first major milestone, the primaries, is a few weeks away. What can the Pennsylvania Senate race tell us about the future direction of American politics?   Local journalist John Micek gives us a tour of his home state. The Economist’s James Bennet profiles the Democratic candidates. And veteran political consultant Christopher Nicholas examines what it takes...
Published 04/29/22