The Ezra Klein Show

Ezra Klein gives you a chance to get inside the heads of the newsmakers and power players in politics and media. These are extended conversations with policymakers, writers, technologists, and business leaders about what they believe in and why. Look elsewhere for posturing confrontation and quick reactions to the day's news. Subscribe for the anti-soundbite.

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      Al Franken on learning to be a politician


      Sen. Al Franken’s new book, Al Franken, Giant of the Senate, is the rare politician memoir that’s actually interesting. And note that I said interesting, not funny (though it is also funny).


      Most books by politicians are about how they’re not really politicians — they’re authentic, they’re honest, they shoot from the hip, they still remember what it was like growing up in a mill town raised by feral dogs and subsisting on nothing but hay.


      Franken’s book is...


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      52m
       

      Zephyr Teachout on suing Trump, fighting corruption, and breaking monopolies


      Zephyr Teachout is a law professor at Fordham University, the author of Corruption in America, one of the lead lawyers in the emoluments case that’s been brought against Donald Trump, and a former gubernatorial and congressional candidate.


      Which is all to say that Teachout is someone who knows a lot about political corruption, and so we dive deep into that topic in this podcast.


      We talk about how political corruption was defined by the Founding Fathers, and why,...


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      1h29m
       

      Masha Gessen offers a plausible Trump-Russia theory


      Masha Gessen is a Russian-American journalist and the author of, among other books, The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin. Since the election, she has been analyzing Donald Trump through the lens of Russian politics and personalities in a series of viral essays in the New York Review of Books. 


      But as the Trump campaign's relationship with Russia has evolved into a dominant storyline of his presidency, Gessen has grown skeptical. She thinks the left has...


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      1h3m
       

      Kwame Anthony Appiah on cosmopolitanism


      Few words are as reviled in American politics as “cosmopolitan.” The term invokes sneering, urban, elite condescension. It’s those smug cosmopolitans who led to Donald Trump’s election. It’s those rootless cosmopolitans who’re shipping jobs overseas with no thought for their home communities. Cosmopolitans. Ick.

      Kwame Anthony Appiah is a British-born Ghanaian-American philosopher at New York University, as well the writer of the New York Times Magazine’s “Ethicist”...


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      1h3m
       

      Yascha Mounk: Is Trump’s incompetence saving us from his illiberalism?


      Yascha Mounk is a Lecturer on Government at Harvard University, a Fellow in the Political Reform Program at New America, and host of the podcast, The Good Fight. He’s also the author of some of the scariest political science research I’ve seen in a long time.
      What Mounk found is that the consensus we thought existed on behalf of democracy and democratic norms is weakening. The percentage of Americans who think it’s important to live in a democracy has been plummeting in recent...


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      1h31m
       2017-05-23

      Bryan Stevenson on why the opposite of poverty isn’t wealth, but justice


      Bryan Stevenson is the founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative. He and his staff have won reversals, relief, or release for more than 115 wrongly convicted prisoners on death row. He’s the author of the power book Just Mercy, and a winner of a MacArthur “Genius” grant. There are only a few people I’d say this about, but he’s a genuine American hero.

      This conversation begins with one of Stevenson’s most provocative arguments. “The opposite of...


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      1h29m
       2017-05-16

      Death, Sex, and Money’s Anna Sale on bringing empathy to politics


      There’s much talk of “empathy” in today’s politics, but it’s a cramped, weaponized form of empathy — an empathy designed to force us to grudgingly tolerate each other, or an empathy used to explain away the reasons we hurt each other.

      You can glimpse something better in the space Anna Sale creates on the WNYC podcast Death, Sex, and Money. Her show is, in this moment, powerful; the empathy she extends to her guests feels real and deep; the conversations she holds are...


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      1h9m
       2017-05-09

      Cory Booker returns, live, to talk trust, Trump, and basic incomes


      Senator Cory Booker is back! In this special live episode of The Ezra Klein Show — taped at Vox Conversations — Booker and I dig into America’s crisis of trust. Faith in both political figures and political institutions has plummeted in recent decades, and the product is, among other things, Trump’s presidency. So what does Booker think can be done about it?

      We also talk about: Whether Democrats need to be angry to fight Trump The $400,000 President Barack Obama...


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      1h8m
       2017-05-04

      VC Bill Gurley on transforming health care


      Washington has been gripped of late by the world’s most depressing, least imaginative, debate over health care. The question, as it stands, is whether Obamacare will survive (while being mildly, but persistently, sabotaged by the Trump administration), or whether it will be rolled back and replaced with a system that covers 24 million fewer people in order to fund tax cuts for the richest Americans. Huzzah!

      But a better conversation awaits. Bill Gurley is a partner at Benchmark...


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      1h10m
       2017-05-02

      Elizabeth Warren on what Barack Obama got wrong


      Elizabeth Warren is the founder of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the senior senator from Massachusetts, and the author of the new book, “This Fight Is Our Fight: The Battle to Save America's Middle Class.”

      You might have heard of her.
      Warren is also one of the Democrats most capable of defining the Democratic Party’s soul and message in a post-Trump era. In her book, she says she had at least one big disagreement with President Obama — a disagreement that speaks...


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      43m
       2017-04-25