Kevin Glass talks to writers and analysts of all political persuasions to suss out why they take the positions they do and to challenge them from a different P.O.V.
On Rational Actors, Kevin talks to Niraj about policy innovation in the states, such as campaigns to raise the minimum wage. Do states take precedence when the federal government is gridlocked? Niraj notes the effects of one-party control in a majority of states. They discuss marijuana-legalization initiatives being pushed in both red and blue states, and uncover the meaning of meaningless state resolutions. Plus: Are Americans actually picking up and moving to states where laws are more congenial to their views?
On Rational Actors, Kevin and Ben discuss Ezra Klein‘s move to Vox Media and the challenge of striking out as an independent journalist online. They consider how social media has displaced SEO and encouraged journalists to hone their personal brands. Where does Vox see this new project going? What lessons can new media outlets draw from the success of BuzzFeed? Turning to the State of the Union, Ben proclaims Obama a diminished figure, while Kevin defends the president. Finally, they debate the significance of Obamacare in terms of Obama’s legacy.
On Rational Actors, Kevin and Robert discuss the conservative struggle to come up with an effective anti-poverty agenda. Can Marco Rubio’s new policy proposal fill the void? They critique the progressive view of the causes of poverty. Is marriage the best anti-poverty program, or is there a chicken-and-egg problem here? How does abortion figure into the poverty debate? Finally: Will conservatives be serious about poverty in the future?
On a special year-end edition of Rational Actors, Kevin talks to Zack about his theory that 2013 was the best year in human history. What’s driving the decline in infant mortality? Kevin notes that both the US economy and the Eurozone were surprisingly resilient this year, and partly credits sequestration. Is President Obama a stealth fiscal hawk? Zack claims that 2013 was the year of drones and predicts that 2014 will be the year of robotic warfare. Kevin predicts that the school choice debate will become a major issue going into the next elections.
On Rational Actors, Kevin talks to Cathy about her efforts to synthesize feminism and libertarianism. Can libertarian economic policies help change gendered expectations for women? Does the libertarian movement have a woman problem? Is legal sex work compatible with individual freedom? Turning to Ken Cuccinelli‘s recent defeat in Virginia, they consider why married and unmarried women vote so differently. How can the GOP reform itself to be more appealing to women in general?
On Rational Actors, Kevin and David delve into the debate over race and conservatism sparked by Jonathan Chait’s blog post on 12 Years a Slave. Kevin says the distinction between structural and overt racism blinds conservatives, and David notes the trouble of disentangling racially and politically motivated attacks on Obama. How does the whiteness of the elected GOP affect this debate? Have conservatives gone backwards on race in the Obama era? Next, they consider Martin Bashir’s resignation from MSNBC and whether liberals have been sexist toward Sarah Palin. Plus: The real reason Alec Baldwin was fired from the network.
On Rational Actors, Kevin and David analyze Obamacare’s troubled debut. Kevin says the Affordable Care Act is a Rube Goldberg machine, and David warns of an insurance death spiral. David uses the law to make a larger philosophical case against government action. Who are the real winners and losers if the ACA works as planned? David says health care reform should have focused on making insurance cheaper, not people with preexisting conditions. Plus: Does the GOP have a realistic alternative?
On Rational Actors, Kevin and Zoë debate conservative critiques of Obamacare. They clash over whether the law is raising or lowering costs. Kevin says that the conservative vision of health care reform would prioritize lowering costs over expanding access. Next, they discuss a new report that excoriates the Obama administration’s record on press freedom. Zoë says that a shield law for journalists must be part of the solution. What could stop the trend of increasing government secrecy?
On Rational Actors, Kevin and Betsy discuss the political fallout from the technical failures of healthcare.gov, and consider rhetorical and political parallels between Obamacare and the Iraq war. If the website woes continue, will Obama delay the individual mandate? Kevin notes that the conservative base supports the intransigence of politicians like Sen. Ted Cruz. Could the shutdown cost the GOP the House in 2014? Finally, Betsy disputes the dominant media narrative that evangelicals are enthusiastic about immigration reform.
On Rational Actors, Kevin and Alex discuss the GOP’s tactics vs. its strategy on the shutdown and debt ceiling. Are Republicans just grandstanding over the debt limit, as Obama did when he was a senator? What would happen if the debt ceiling was actually breached? They discuss public reaction to the shutdown, and fault the White House’s media strategy. Alex argues that good government reforms, like banning earmarks, have unintentionally created Congressional dysfunction. But is this crisis actually the fault of American democracy itself?