Primarily: 2020

Primarily: 2020

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By Karin Robinson
Buckle up, it’s time to start thinking about the 2020 Democratic primary. (Yes, really.) This podcast is for Democratic activists, patriotic Americans and concerned global citizens who are searching for an electoral saviour - or at least a damn good candidate. We’ll be discussing how the primary works, checking in with all the candidates considering a run, looking into congressional races, and giving you a heads up about what you can be doing right now to support progressive candidates and policies. But mostly we’ll be asking "who can evict Donald Trump from the White House?"
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More places to listen

Will Trump Win Reelection?
This week, Karin talks to the political forecaster Rachel Bitecofer, of the Wason Center for Public Policy in Virginia. Dr Bitecofer has developed a predictive model for US politics that was exceptionally accurate in the 2018 midterms, and she is going to tell us whether she thinks the Democratic candidate, whoever they might be, is favored to win in 2020. We'll talk about the rise of negative partisanship in America, which electoral strategy Democrats should be pursuing, and what her model says makes for a stronger or weaker candidate for the Party in this cycle.  We also play the Gut Check Game, testing our reactions to some of the main media narratives around the race. 
52:41
July 12, 2019
Independence Day for Immigrants?
This week, Karin is joined by Friend of the Pod Asha Subas to take a look at the politics and policy of immigration. Why does Trump think this is a winning issue for him when polls show Americans are mostly positive about immigrants? How can the Democratic candidates talk about this issue in a way that avoids polarising the country on it? What's actually in Julian Castro's and Beto O'Rourke's immigration plans? Also we play a version of the Gut Check game to check which candidate's July 4th barbecues we most want to attend. 
54:05
July 5, 2019
Debate Watch!
This week we're watching and recapping the key takeaways from the first round of Democratic debates. Joining Karin on the panel is political journalist Emma Burnell and lawyer and immigration expert Asha Subas. Who broke out? Who went under? Were there winners and losers? Who was surprising? Inspiring? Authentic? Compelling? And who even managed to get heard at all? 
1:06:19
June 29, 2019
Power to the People!
This week, we discuss the rise of populism - its different meanings, its origins and causes, whether Trump is a populist himself, and how the critique of global capitalism and concern about inequality fits into the populist conversation. Joining Karin are political sociologist Michael McQuarrie, and financial strategist Wen Wen Lindroth. Also this week: we play the Gut Check game reacting to candidates answers to a series of questions posed by the New York Times, and discuss the news of the week, including the ongoing mistreatment of children arrested at the border and Joe Biden's remark30 about working with Segregationists in the Senate.
52:15
June 29, 2019
This is What Democracy Looks Like!
Karin chats with the political scientist and Washington Post columnist Brian Klaas about the threat that Donald Trump and wider Republican voter rigging, voter suppression and election fraud presents to the future of America as a viable democracy. And on a lighter note (!), Karin explores the emotional tenor of the race by playing a special episode of the Gut Check game where she casts the candidates as family members in a fictional family reunion. 
1:00:20
June 14, 2019
Swing Left!
This week Karin talks to Marisa Kanof, National Field Director for Swing Left about Democratic prospects for retaking the Senate and holding the House in the 2020 elections. 
50:40
June 7, 2019
Mid Atlantic!
This week's episode is a joint production between Primarily: 2020 and the Mid Atlantic podcast in which Karin chats with Mid Atlantic host Roifield Brown about the similarilities and difference between the politics of the US and the UK. Karin is a longstanding US expat based in the UK, Roifield is a UK expat based in the US. What did each of us learn about the politics of their home country from their host country, and vice versa? Why does it seem like the far right is on the rise in both countries and around the world? 
1:20:34
May 31, 2019
Electability?
This week, Emma and Karin have a free ranging conversation covering everything from the resignation of UK PM Theresa May to whether Democrats should be appearing on Fox News. But mostly, we were talking about this whole concept of electability - what does it even mean? Karin runs through her six definitions of what people might mean when they say a candidate is electable and we debate the relevance and usefulness of each. Plus, of course, we play the Gut Check Game. Warning - there's a bit more swearing than usual in this episode. 
1:26:23
May 24, 2019
It's Not Just Alabama...
This week, Karin is joined by Mandu Reid, leader of the Women's Equality Party in the UK to talk about the worrying developments in Alabama and other states around the country where the a 40+ year effort by the right wing to overturn abortion rights is coming to a head as states move rapidly to pass sweeping bans on abortion. Why has this issue energized the right for so long? Why hasn't the broad pro-choice majority in America been able to stop it in its tracks or reverse it? And why are we seeing an increase in anti-abortion activism in other countries around the world, tied to the rise of far right populism. We also play the gut check game, and do a quick news roundup. 
41:30
May 17, 2019
Knock Out Week!
This week, Karin is joined by the American comedian and host of the podcast Pod to Be an American, Erich McElroy. Together, Karin and Erich play a knock out game to explore how they might cut the overcrowded field down to size to end up with about half the number of candidates without sacrificing the quality of the field. We also play a round of the gut check game. 
55:02
May 10, 2019
There Is No Planet B!
This week, Karin talks to Abby Smith, an engineer and renewable energy analyst about the urgency of climate change, the Green New Deal, and what we should expect from Democratic presidential candidates. We dig into the economics of carbon transformation and where the next generation of energy jobs will come from. And, of course, we play the Gut Check Game. We also catch up on the 4 newest candidates to enter the race: Eric Swalwell, Seth Moulton, Michael Bennet and Tim Ryan. 
46:30
May 3, 2019
Kirsten! Joe!
This week, Karin interviews Margo Miller, a friend and supporter of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, about the New York Senator's campaign. She also responds to Joe Biden's entry into the 2020 race, and of course we play the Gut Check game, this time responding to some candidate quotes from the She the People Forum and around the campaign trail.
49:22
April 26, 2019
Impeachment?
This week, Karin checks in from her vacation to update on the release of the Mueller report and to debate the value of policy announcements versus storytelling at this point in the primary. Also, a quick news roundup.
26:33
April 19, 2019
Mayor Pete!
This week we check in with Denise Baron, an organiser for Pete Buttigieg. Denice is coming to us direct from South Bend Indiana, where she's helping to prepare for Mayor Pete's big campaign launch event this Sunday. We talk about why the Mayor seems to be breaking through into the top tier of candidates, about his "gosh shucks" midwestern enthusiasm, about what it means to be a gay candidate and about why this kind of breakout success seems to be harder for female or minority candidates. We also play the Gut Check game, testing our reactions to some quotes tweeted or spoken by the candidates this week. 
1:03:23
April 12, 2019
Gut Check!
This week, Karin and Emma do an episode length version of the Gut Check game, testing how we feel about every single candidate who's in the race so far - all 19 of them. Phew. We also discuss the state of the race overall and what are the Democrats chances to defeat President Trump. Brace yourself - some of this is sobering. 
51:25
April 5, 2019
Davos Man
This week, we take a look at rising inequality and its effect on our politics and our society. Karin talks to Adrian, Monck, a Managing Director and Head of Public Engagement at the World Economic Forum about why America, like many nations, is becoming less equal and what if anything we can do about it. We also discuss the criticism of WEF itself. 
1:01:07
March 29, 2019
Common Ground?
This week, we explore the question of whether there exists any genuine common ground between Trump resisting Republicans and Independents and Democratic voters hungry for change. Are we doomed to eternal disagreement and failures of consensus, or is there a way forward that allows for a broader coalition? Karin speaks to former Republican and current independent swing voter Marshall Manson to see if there is any common ground. Also this week, a revised version of the Gut Check game in which we are forced to choose between two names randomly drawn our of the hat. And a quick news roundup.
1:05:51
March 22, 2019
Get Organized!
This week, Karin reports back from the 2 very different types of organizing meetings she attended this week and thinks through the difference between the work of a political organization trying to operate effectively and a campaign or movement trying to activate and excite. She also does a news roundup covering Beto O'Rourke's entry into the race and Congress's rebuke to Trump's emergency powers declaration. Plus, as always, we play the Gut Check game.
48:15
March 15, 2019
Build that Brand!
This week, Karin talks to strategic marketing consultant Rob Blackie about how to build an effective political brand, we talk about some of the more clever and innovative ads of the 2018 midterms and we reflect on how the 2020 candidates can create a distinctive and engaging political brand. Also, we do a recap of the week's news, including the announcements that Mike Bloomberg and Sherrod Brown will NOT be running, and the heated debate about Freshman Representative Ilhan Omar and allegations of anti-semitism. 
53:17
March 8, 2019
Trauma Therapy!
This week, Karin talks to Betty Teng, co-host of the Mind of State podcast about the psychological aspects of running for office. Can you be mentally healthy and run for President? What does a toxic political environment such as the one we live in now do to the mental health of candidates and the electorate? How can we keep ourselves health in the midst of the deluge of hostility, toxicity, and partisan rancour? Also this week, Karin does a quick news roundup covering Elizabeth Warren's announcement that she won't hold high dollar fundraisers, Beto O'Rourke's decision, and Trump's terrible week - including Michael Cohen's House testimony and Trump's granting Jared and Ivanka security clearances over the objections of his own Chief of Staff. 
53:10
March 1, 2019
That Berning Feeling
This week, Karin is joined again by political journalist Emma Burnell as they unpack their complicated feelings about a Bernie Sanders candidacy. Also, a news roundup including vote fraud in North Carolina, William Weld enters the Republican primary, and Elizabeth Warren unveils a Universal childcare policy.
1:04:30
February 22, 2019
Theories of Change...
This week, Karin talks to Women's Equality Party co-founder Catherine Mayer about how we create change within the political system, the structural inequalities embedded in the US political system, and how to use the available levers of power within that flawed structure. Also, we play the Gut Check game, testing out some slogans, quotes or policies being batted around on the campaign trail, and we recap the news including Amy Klobuchar's entry to the race, Elizabeth Warren's launch event and Donald Trump's unconstitutional declaration of emergency. 
1:02:16
February 15, 2019
Embarrassment of Riches!
This week, Karin talks to the political journalist Emma Burnell to look at the race so far, which candidates have already stepped forward and who is yet to come. Karin and Emma played a new version of the Gut Check game in which they reacted to slogans, policies and straplines that have been heard on the campaign trail, and we also here from three Democrats who have already chosen a candidate about why they are supporting, respectively, Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders.
45:42
February 8, 2019
Vote for Women!
This week, Karin speaks with lawyer David Schleicher about his argument that in 2020 the Democrats should aim to nominate a female candidate. We dig into the role of misogyny in voter choice, the changing role of women in the Democratic coalition, and whether we can make structural changes to support female participation at all levels. We also do a news recap including Corey Booker's entry to the race, Kamala Harris's kickoff, the independent run of former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, the end of the government shutdown and more. 
42:46
February 1, 2019
Popularity Contest!
This week, Karin talks to pollster and strategist James Morris about how candidates should be using polls, what public polls actually mean at this point in the race, and how a candidate can put across their best case to voters (spoiler alert: policies, even great policies, are not how). We also recap the news of the week, including a couple new entrants into the primary race and one firm no announcement. Also, the President's close friend Roger Stone was arrested today. So that's a thing that happened. Plus, of course, we play the Gut Check game to test our reactions to some possible candidates.  
38:42
January 25, 2019
Halfway There!
This week we mark the 2 year anniversary of Trump's inauguration and of the Women's March by talking to Lan Wu, former Democrats Abroad UK Women's Caucus Co-Chair, about the lasting impact of the March and the growing role of women in the Democratic movement. Karin also recaps the main news of the week, including the entry of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand into the primary race, and we play a round of the Gut Check game in which a couple surprising - and one not so surprising - names come up. 
47:42
January 18, 2019
Shutdowns and Startups
This week, Karin covers the ongoing government shut down and its severe implications for federal workers. She addresses her profound concerns about the President's flirtation with wanting to declare a state of emergency in order to force his preferred outcome, and we use Beto O'Rourke's dental visit as an opportunity to talk about how the media gets social media-led campaigning wrong. All this, plus a roundup of the primary news - and a certain former Presidential candidate's name finally comes up in the Gut Check game.
40:08
January 13, 2019
Can Capitalism Be Saved?
This week, Karin shares her 5 podcast promises for 2019, talks at length about Elizabeth Warren's core belief that American capitalism is currently failing to deliver shared prosperity to Americans, makes some predictions for the year ahead, and plays the Gut Check game.... Happy New Year and welcome to 2019!
45:50
January 4, 2019
One Nation Under God?
In this special Christmas themed episode, we speak to Rachel Burgin of Christians on the Left about the tradition of left leaning Christianity and the role for faith in a secular political movement such as the Democratic Party. Also: as always, we play the Gut Check game, testing our reaction to some randomly selected Democratic candidates. And we do a quick news roundup, this week covering the "Bernie v Beto" debate raging in the media, and the ongoing government shutdown. 
34:00
December 28, 2018
Team Dream!
This week, we speak with the brilliant Sarah Churchwell, Professor of Public Understanding of the Humanities at the School of Advanced Studies in London about the meaning of the American Dream, and the white nationalist origins of America First - these are 2 ideas that have been central to our understanding of American political and cultural life for a century and, as we'll see, they are very much informing our politics today. We also talk about a couple randomly selected prospective candidates in the Gut Check game, and do a news roundup on the looming government shutdown, Defense Secretary Mattis' resignation, and the Democratic debate plans for 2020. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and your family!
1:00:03
December 21, 2018
Nation of Immigrants?
This week, we catch up on the primary news - who's in? Who's out - and Karin reports on meeting Alabama Senator Doug Jones. Our special guest Asha Subas, an attorney and immigration expert, helps us understand the troubled recent and not so recent history of US immigration, and helps us think through what the Democrat's immigration policy should be. We also played the Gut Check game, testing our reactions to 3 candidates drawn at random.
1:05:53
December 14, 2018
Power Grab!
In this special bonus episode, we interview Wisconsonite Scott Rogers to catch up on the troubling events in Wisconsin, where Republican legislators have been moving to strip powers from the newly elected Democratic Governor and Attorney General. Also, we play a game of Gut Check, testing Scott and Karin's immediate responses to potential Democratic nominees drawn randomly out of a hat. Trust us, this is actually fun.
1:07:04
December 6, 2018
How does this work?
This week, we look at three important news stories that are likely to define the 2020 election: The President's personal lawyer pleading guilty to lying about Trump's business relationships with Russia, GM is shutting down 5 plants costing thousands of American jobs, and border agents fired tear gas at migrants over the Mexican border. We also chat about the Mississippi special election for Senate. Our special guest this week is Frank Leone, a DNC Member from Virginia and a member of the Rules and Bylaws committee, who helps us understand the Byzantine and occasionally bizarre primary process.
43:16
November 30, 2018
Too soon?
In this first episode we talk about why it’s not too soon to start thinking about the 2020 primary, what we can learn from the way Democrats ran in the midterms, who’s actually even running at this point, and what can you be doing for progressive causes and candidates right now. There is no mention of Beto O’Rourke by name but... yeah, he’s in there to. ;)
26:39
November 23, 2018
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