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The Argument

The Argument

Strongly-held opinions. Open-minded debates. Only occasional yelling. A weekly ideas show, hosted by Jane Coaston.

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Can Republicans Make Populism Work Without Trump?

Republicans will spend the next 20 months debating and deciding whether Trumpism will be on the ballot in 2022. Will party leaders continue to embrace Donald Trump?s populist rhetoric? Can it resonate with voters if Trump isn?t the one saying it?

Ross Douthat, an Opinion columnist at The New York Times, and Michael Brendan Dougherty, a senior writer at National Review, offer their own definitions of populism and debate with Jane populism?s merits, if Trumpism is real and whether Trump allies in the Republican Party will be the future or the demise of the Grand Old Party.

Learn More:

Michael Brendan Dougherty in National Review: ?The End of Populism? Don?t Bet on It.? ?Trumpism After Trump.?Ross Douthat on how Trumpism ate populism, whether there is a Trumpism after Trump and, in a prescient 2013 column, ?Good Populism, Bad Populism.?Jane Coaston on why Trumpism has no heirs and, in National Review: ?What If There?s No Such Thing as Trumpism??Christopher Caldwell in The New Republic: ?Can There Ever Be a Working-Class Republican Party??Ken Burns?s series with Stephen Ives ?The West,? chronicling America's process to become a continental nation.Ross Douthat?s book Grand New Party, on how Republicans can win the working class.
2021-03-03
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Should We Put the Filibuster Out of Its Misery?

The first episode of ?The Argument? with Jane Coaston gets right into the heart of the cyclical debate: Should the filibuster be killed once and for all?

Democrats control the White House and Congress for the first time in a decade, giving them the opportunity to pass major new legislation, and the only thing standing in their way is the filibuster. That parliamentary procedure effectively pushes the number of votes needed to pass a bill in the Senate from 51 to 60. Which is why the filibuster is typically beloved by the party in the minority, and railed against by the majority.

If Democrats kill the filibuster now, what happens when they?re not in power? Arguing against the filibuster is Ezra Klein, a Times Opinion columnist and policy wonk. Defending the procedure and its merits is Jessica Anderson, the executive director of Heritage Action for America. And Jane doesn?t trust either of them.

Background reading found at nytimes.com/theargument

We want to hear what you?re arguing about with your friends, your family or your Twitter nemesis. Leave us a voice mail message at (347) 915-4324. We may use excerpts from your audio in a future episode.

2021-02-24
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Introducing ?The Argument? With Jane Coaston

There are all kinds of arguments, many of them pretty unproductive. Either nobody listens, or nobody wins, or you go around in circles, or you bring up old baggage that should?ve stayed in storage.

But the best arguments, and the ones I like to have, are the ones that make me think differently. They help inform my opinions, or challenge them. And they help me understand the people who have other points of view.

Starting Feb. 24, I?ll be the new host of ?The Argument.? Every week, people who disagree with one another will come together on the podcast to hash it out.

I?ve reported for years on conservatism and the American right. I?ve talked to people from all points on the political spectrum, and I?ve heard a lot of ?the other side doesn?t get it,? and ?the other side is evil.?

In my opinion, none of this productive.

I want people to hear one another out, before writing them off. I think respectful, civil debate makes us all smarter. And I think for democracy to work, we need to listen, especially when we don?t agree.

Things on the program might get awkward, and that?s the whole point. We?re going to have real conversations and real disagreement.

To those of you who have been listening for years, I hope you?ll find this is still the place for respectful debate that opens minds. And to those of you tuning in for the first time, welcome. I?ll see you next Wednesday.

2021-02-17
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From the Archives: Climate Change and Free College for All

This week we return to two of our favorite debates from ?Arguments? past. First, a debate from Nov. 29, 2018, in which Ross Douthat, Michelle Goldberg and David Leonhardt debate climate change and how to deal with it. Then, the trio discuss whether public colleges should be tuition free, and if all student loan debt should be canceled, from the Dec. 5, 2019, episode, ?Should College Be Free?? And finally, a return to that time Ross sang Lady Gaga.

A note for our listeners: On Feb. 24, Jane Coaston will take the reins as host of ?The Argument.? The show started in 2018 as a place for civil debate, a place that?s as much about listening as it is about talking. This mission isn?t changing.

Jane will bring her years of reporting on politics (and sports!) to examine the issues shaping our politics and society. She?ll invite guests who disagree with her and one another, and encourage you to consider ? or maybe even reconsider ? your point of view. A huge thanks to our original team: David Leonhardt, Ross Douthat, Michelle Goldberg and Frank Bruni. Keep listening, and you?ll hear them on the show as guests and sometimes agitators.

2021-02-10
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Dreaming Of Our Post-Pandemic Lives. Plus: An Announcement

Michelle and Ross dream of a post-pandemic world. Michelle is ready to meet with friends again once vaccinated, and Ross wonders if the psychological stress of the pandemic has forever changed U.S. politics.

Then they reflect on what they?ve learned from arguing with each other for more than two years.

A note for our listeners: On Feb. 24, Jane Coaston will take the reins as host of ?The Argument.? The show started in 2018 as a place for civil debate, a place that?s as much about listening as it is about talking. This mission isn?t changing. Jane will bring her years of reporting on politics (and sports!) to argue the issues shaping our politics and society. She?ll invite guests who disagree with her and one another, and encourage you to consider ? or maybe even reconsider ? your point of view. A huge thanks to our original team: David Leonhardt, Ross Douthat, Michelle Goldberg and Frank Bruni. Keep listening, and you?ll hear them on the show as guests and sometimes agitators.

2021-02-03
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The 46th: Joe Biden to the Rescue (Plan)

For the final episode in ?The 46th? series, Michelle and Ross commemorate the inauguration of the 46th president with a debate about America?s post-Trump future. Ross compliments the ceremony?s ?vague Hunger Games vibe,? and Michelle exhales for the first time in four years. Then, the pair discuss the uphill task for President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris to govern a country devastated by a pandemic, extreme political division and a staggering economy. Biden economic adviser Jared Bernstein joins the duo to allay their doubts and volley questions about the new president?s ?Rescue Plan? to resuscitate America?s work force and even out an inequitable economy. Finally, Jared offers the show a little class in a classical favorite. 

For background reading on this episode, visit nytimes.com/theargument.

2021-01-22
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The 46th: Will A Second Impeachment Change Republican Minds?

It?s impeachment season all over again on ?The Argument,? and Michelle and Ross debate whether Republicans will, at long last, turn their backs to President Trump, or confirm that their party is resolutely his. Will Mitch McConnell really consider delivering enough Republican votes to convict Trump? The duo discuss the events of the last week and a half and the deepening fracture in the Republican Party, and Michelle is surprised to long for ?the party of cruel Ayn Rand-ism? in exchange for ?Qanon and guerrilla warfare.? Ross admits how wrong he?s been in analyzing violent extremism in recent years. Then, the hosts take up the question of deplatforming Trump, and the rabid hordes he foments. And finally, Ross suggests you find some escapism in a grim, dark, revisionist fantasy.

For background reading on this episode, visit nytimes.com/theargument.

2021-01-15
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I Love Section 230. Got a Problem With That?

In this special bonus episode, Jane Coaston makes her hosting debut on ?The Argument? to discuss one of her favorite subjects: Section 230. As scholar Jeff Kosseff defined it, the ?26 words that created the internet? is part of the Communications Decency Act of 1996, and it protects websites from liability. The law also allows internet companies to moderate third-party content on their sites.

The banning of President Trump from many social media platforms has led to renewed calls from both political parties to amend or revoke Section 230. Jane debates what changing the law might mean with Klon Kitchen, director of the Center for Technology Policy at the Heritage Foundation, and Danielle Keats Citron, a professor at the University of Virginia School of Law and author of ?Hate Crimes in Cyberspace.?

2021-01-14
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The 46th: The End of Trump or the End of American Democracy?

Ross Douthat and Michelle Goldberg debate whether the events that unfolded on Wednesday should be classified as a ?coup.? Then, Michelle Cottle deploys her expertise on Congress to analyze the Georgia election results and predict what a Democratic Senate means for Joe Biden and how conservative Democrats might play a role in Republicans? long-term plans.

Finally, Michelle Cottle recommends a series to watch that while not apolitical may help give respite from the current moment.

2021-01-08
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How 2020 Changed Our Minds

Happy New Year and good riddance, 2020! Ross and Michelle ring in 2021 with a reflection on how their opinions changed during ?this wild and crazy and terrible and interesting and disastrous and a longer list of adjectives year,? as Ross so eloquently defines 2020. The hosts are joined by a bevy of thoughtful ?Argument? listeners who share what ? or who ? made them look at the world in a new way this year. Then, Michelle and Ross offer their hopes for 2021, and recommend two streaming options that young and old can enjoy together. 

For background reading on this episode, visit nytimes.com/theargument.

2021-01-01
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The 46th: Will Georgia's Races Change The Senate?

As part of our series ?The 46th,? The Argument?s hosts and guests are debating the events of the transition and what America under a Biden administration should look like.

Now that we?re less than three weeks away from the Georgia runoff elections that will determine the balance of power in the U.S. Senate, Michelle, Ross and fellow Times columnist Jamelle Bouie take stock of the Democratic candidates and assess their strengths and weaknesses. Jamelle and Michelle make the case for a Warnock victory, while Ross makes a surprising prediction of the outcome.

Then Michelle and Ross debate whether President Trump?s actions over the past four years constituted fascism or just looked like fascism. Michelle says Trump has insidiously invaded democratic institutions, while Ross argues that sometimes conservatism can look a little bit like fascism.

And Michelle has a recommendation for last-minute holiday shoppers.

For background reading on the episode, visit nytimes.com/theargument.

2020-12-18
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The 46th: Who Will Replace Trump in the G.O.P.?s Heart?

As part of our series ?The 46th,? the hosts and guests on ?The Argument? are debating what America under a Biden administration might and should look like.

This week, Ross Douthat is joined first by Jane Coaston, formerly of ?The Weeds,? and future host of ?The Argument.? Together they discuss the reasons for widespread theories of voter fraud among the Republican electorate and what led to such a moment. Then, the senior elections analyst of Real Clear Politics, Sean Trende, joins the pair to discuss the future of Trumpism and whether anybody else can capture the Republican Party quite like Donald Trump. And finally, Jane recommends building your character and your calf muscles.

For background reading on this episode, visit nytimes.com/theargument.

2020-12-11
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The 46th: Biden?s First Catastrophes

In the second episode of our pre-inauguration series, ?The 46th,? Michelle and Aaron debate two countrywide crises that President-elect Joe Biden will inherit from Donald Trump: the coronavirus, and the economic chaos it?s causing. Jeneen Interlandi, the Times editorial board?s health, science and education writer, joins the podcast to discuss what Biden must do around mask mandates, vaccine deployment and public health messaging. Then, Binyamin Appelbaum, the editorial board?s economics writer, joins the debate around stimulus checks, and whether unthinkable human suffering can push Congress to action (spoiler: don?t count on it). And Binya offers recommendations for books ? other than his own, of course ? for people who want to understand how macroeconomics shapes their own lives, and not be bored doing it. 

For background reading on this episode, visit nytimes.com/theargument.

2020-12-04
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The 46th: Progressive Democrats? Next Moves Under Biden

Introducing The 46th, a new series from ?The Argument? charting the incredibly unconventional transition from President Trump to President-elect Joe Biden. Each week through inauguration, we?ll debate what ? and how ? Mr. Biden should prioritize in his first 100 days. With Ross Douthat on intermittent paternity leave, Michelle Goldberg is joined by Opinion editor Aaron Retica for an interview with Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal. As the Democrats are poised to reclaim the executive branch, how should the growing divide between the party establishment and its progressive members like Representative Jayapal find common ground?

Then, Kara Swisher ? tech reporter and host of the NYT opinion podcast, ?Sway? ? joins Michelle and Aaron to discuss what social media companies are doing (or not doing) to combat misinformation and conspiracy theories surrounding the election. 

For background reading on this episode, visit nytimes.com/theargument.

2020-11-20
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What Happens if Trump Doesn?t Concede?

After polling misses in the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections, Michelle and Ross ask Nate Cohn, domestic correspondent for The Upshot at The New York Times, whether we can ever trust polls again. They discuss Nate?s four theories of why polling may have been so off this year and how much the coronavirus pandemic affected results.

Then, Michelle and Ross try to read the tea leaves for the next 10 weeks before inauguration with Rosa Brooks, a professor of law and policy at Georgetown University Law Center and a founder of the Transition Integrity Project, whose previous post election scenarios have proved eerily prophetic. Together they debate what the Republican strategy is right now and what happens if President Trump doesn?t concede.

Plus, a trick for making all your video calls less painful, literally.

For background reading on this episode, visit nytimes.com/theargument.

2020-11-13
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Election Special: Nail-Biter Edition

As a weary nation waits for mail-in ballots to be tallied, Michelle and Ross come together for a special election episode of ?The Argument.? They debate the lessons and takeaways from a nail-biter of a race that is coming down to Georgia and Arizona. They discuss minority rule, and America?s failure to secure a governing majority. Michelle asks Ross where a narrow Biden victory and the clear continued appeal of Trumpism leaves the Republican Party, and Ross fears a Trump 2024 campaign. Plus, getting through this week of waiting with sedatives and Wiffle ball bats. 

For background reading on this episode, visit nytimes.com/theargument.

2020-11-05
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What If America Gets a Divorce? And Other Final Election Predictions

With just days left until Election Day, Michelle and Ross are joined by the Time magazine columnist and senior editor of The Dispatch, David French. Together, they revisit last year?s conservative brawl over ?David Frenchism,? give the Lincoln Project more airtime than it deserves, and debate the impact Amy Coney Barrett?s confirmation will have on the religious conservative vote. All three make their election predictions, including in some surprisingly competitive Senate races. Then, how likely is the re-election of Donald Trump to spur the dissolution of the United States as we know it? David makes the case for a relatively bloodless ?Calixit,? and Michelle prefers a ?velvet divorce? to a violent civil war. But how likely is either?

And finally, David recommends what ?may be the last unifying piece of pop culture left in the United States of America,? available now on Apple TV.

For background reading on this episode, visit nytimes.com/theargument.

2020-10-30
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David Leonhardt Returns for a Debate Debate

David Leonhardt returns to the podcast to celebrate its 100 episodes and two years on the air. Together, the O.G. ?Argument? hosts dissect the final presidential debate, argue over the validity of the Hunter Biden allegations, and discuss Joe Biden?s campaign strategy in its final 11 days. Then, David looks into his crystal ball and makes election predictions ? both national and state. Finally, David recommends finding the joy of a daily routine with family through the soothing tones of Alex Trebek.

For background reading on this episode, visit nytimes.com/theargument.

2020-10-23
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Packed Courts, Undecided Voters and 'WAP': You Asked, We Answered

For the podcast?s two-year anniversary, Michelle and Ross start with a rousing debate over why Joe Biden isn?t saying he?d pack the courts, should he beat President Trump in November. Ross asks Michelle if she?d concede that court packing would be a significant escalation in the ?judicial wars,? and Michelle asks Ross what happens to the anti-choice movement if and when Roe is overturned.

Then, the hosts listen to the show?s voice mails and dig into the inbox to answer some listener questions. They respond to your questions about the open Supreme Court seat, who the heck is still undecided, Republicanism?s evolution to Trumpism, and whether ?WAP? is a feminist anthem. Finally, both hosts suggest you dive into the Nxivm cult?s backstory through HBO?s new documentary series, ?The Vow.?

For background reading on this episode, visit nytimes.com/theargument.

2020-10-16
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What Happens if Trump Won?t Leave?

So President Trump caught the coronavirus. But with just weeks left in the 2020 campaign, what impact will his ill health ? and subsequent spin ? have on the election? Columnist David Brooks joins Michelle and Ross to talk about masculinity, sympathizing with someone you hate, and how the virus?s spread within Republican circles will play out among the electorate. Plus, Ross recites some medieval political theology. Then, what happens after Nov. 3? The columnists debate three possible outcomes for the election, ranging from dragging Trump out of the Oval Office with his ?tail between his legs,? to secession and civil war. Finally, David is vindicated in a repeated recommendation of the lyricism of Taylor Swift, with some septuagenarian Springsteen on the side. 

For background reading on this episode, visit nytimes.com/the-argument.

2020-10-09
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Welcome to the Thunderdome

In the aftermath of the first presidential debate, Michelle Goldberg and Ross Douthat try to answer the question, ?What was that?? They discuss whom President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden were talking to, how much it?ll move the needle for yet undecided voters, and what to look for in the remaining debates. Then, the editorial board writer Michelle Cottle joins the podcast for a comprehensive look at the last week of news: Amy Coney Barrett?s nomination to the Supreme Court, Trump?s tax revelations, the debate and what it all means for the state of the race. Finally, Michelle recommends you enjoy the outdoors while you still can.

For background reading on this episode, visit nytimes.com/the-argument.

2020-10-02
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Introducing 'Sway' from NYT Opinion

Power. Who has it? Who?s been denied it? And how does one get it? Today we?re sharing NYT Opinion?s newest podcast, ?Sway.? In the first episode, host Kara Swisher interviews House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. When it comes to presidential succession, Ms. Pelosi is second in line. And when it comes to taking on President Trump, she?s usually first. ?The power of the speaker is awesome,? says Ms. Pelosi. But how is she actually using that power? Why not accept a compromise (to the tune of $1.5 trillion) that may help quell a national crisis? What progress is possible when the speaker hasn?t spoken directly to the president in months? And with the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg leaving a looming conservative court, can Ms. Pelosi maximize the power of a Democratic-controlled House?

You can find transcripts, more episodes and links to subscribe to ?Sway? at nytimes.com/sway. Episodes are released every Monday and Thursday.

2020-09-29
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A Battle Over the Battle for the Supreme Court

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death has elevated the stakes of the presidential election and left the fate of the Supreme Court as a question. Ross and Michelle debate the Republican hypocrisy of trying to fill the seat before the election, the self-weakening counter-strategy of Democrats and Roe v. Wade?s centrality of the whole partisaned battle. Then, Jamelle Bouie joins the conversation for a debate about court reform. They discuss how reforms like term limits and court packing can curtail the outsize power of the court over American society. Plus, Jamelle suggests you start small when seizing power. 

For background reading on this episode, visit nytimes.com/theargument.

2020-09-25
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How Culpable Is Trump, and How Dangerous is QAnon?

After Bob Woodward?s latest book revealed just how much President Trump knowingly misled the public about the coronavirus, how much blame does he bear for the nearly 200,000 American lives lost to the virus? Michelle and Ross discuss counterfactuals and disagree about culpability ? both the president?s, and that of the alarmed but withholding members of his administration. Then, Opinion writer Charlie Warzel joins the podcast to debunk QAnon, for a conversation about the role the ?collaborative fiction? plays in American?s psyche and politics. Is it a collective coping mechanism in difficult times? A remix on old anti-Semitic themes? And is it all Facebook?s fault?

For background reading on this episode, visit nytimes.com/theargument.

2020-09-18
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How to Win the Latino Vote

In a special episode of ?The Argument,? Opinion editor and writer Isvett Verde hosts a round table on the Latino vote in the 2020 election. Isvett welcomes Chuck Rocha, a senior campaign adviser to Bernie Sanders, and Linda Chavez, director of the Becoming American Institute and a senior fellow at the Niskanen Center. Together, they debunk the myth of a monolithic ?Latino voting bloc,? explain Latino support for President Trump and discuss the role of Latinos in the future of both parties. Linda describes going from being one of the highest-ranking women in the Reagan White House to not recognizing her party in the Trump era. And Chuck explains how Sanders was able to excite Latino voters like no other candidate.

For background reading on this episode, visit nytimes.com/theargument.

2020-09-11
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Is ?American Carnage? Campaign Gold?

The Trump re-election strategy has revealed itself: Cast American cities as hotbeds of chaos, and place the blame entirely on the Democratic Party. Yet why is unrest being seen as a weakness for Joe Biden, and not the man in charge? Is the media unthinkingly accepting a Republican narrative? This week on the podcast, Frank, Michelle and Ross argue about the protests and counterprotests in Portland, Ore., and Kenosha, Wis., and disagree over the politicization of the clashes. They debate the lines between vigilantism and rioting and discuss the role coverage plays in the perception of the violence. And as a fitting parting gift on his final episode of ?The Argument,? Frank recommends a short story that goes from jocular to chest-gripping grief in just 10 pages.

For background reading on this episode, visit nytimes.com/theargument.

2020-09-03
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Can the Republicans Sell a Whole New Trump?

What is the Republican election strategy? And is it working? This week on ?The Argument,? the journalist Charlie Sykes joins Michelle and Frank to debate whether or not Trump has made a strong enough case for his re-election during the Republican convention and if his fierce message will translate to undecided voters. Then, they turn to a question facing many Biden conservatives, like Charlie: What is the future of the party? Plus, Charlie suggests a page-turner that will make time disappear.

For background reading on this episode, visit nytimes.com/theargument.

2020-08-27
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What Biden Must Do

It?s a Democratic convention unlike any other. So who is it for? What does the party, and its presidential candidate, Joe Biden, need to accomplish? And how should they approach President Trump?s threats to a free and fair election? This week on the podcast, Frank Bruni and Michelle Goldberg are joined by Opinion columnist Jamelle Bouie and editorial board member Michelle Cottle for a round-table discussion of the virtual ?nerd Coachella? that is the Democratic National Convention of 2020. Then, Michelle Cottle offers a homespun jukebox game that can take the whole family?s mind off politics and the pandemic. 

For background reading, visit nytimes.com/theargument.

2020-08-20
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Is Individualism America?s Religion?

Five months after the editorial board?s science writer Jeneen Interlandi warned the hosts of ?The Argument? that they should get comfortable in quarantine, she makes her return to the podcast to talk what comes next. Ross and Frank press Jeneen on herd immunity possibilities, how to fix the testing lags in the U.S., and the question on every parent and teacher?s mind: How can we open schools safely?

Then, Opinion writer Elizabeth Bruenig joins Frank and Ross for a debate on the moral obligations of the Roman Catholic Church in 2020. If the Movement for Black Lives is promulgating Catholic beliefs, why won?t the church say Black lives Matter? And how will Joe Biden?s Catholicism play a role in the election? Finally, Elizabeth recommends a break from omniscience.

For background reading on this episode, visit nytimes.com/theargument.

2020-08-13
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Trump Supporters Make Their Case for 2020

What do Trump supporters talk about when they talk about 2020? This week Ross hosts a special intra-right debate over whether conservatives should support Trump in 2020. He plays ?moderate squish? (i.e., NeverTrumper) to Pro-Trump conservatives Dan McCarthy, the editor of Modern Age, and Helen Andrews, a senior editor of The American Conservative. They disagree with Ross about the president?s handling of the coronavirus and argue against his ultimate question for Republicans in 2020: Should conservatives actually hope for a Trump loss in November? 

For background reading on this episode, visit nytimes.com/theargument.

2020-08-06
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When Conservatives Fall for Demagogues

How did the conservative defenders of classical liberal ideals like free speech and the rule of law wind up abetting authoritarians across the West? With Ross out for the week, Frank and Michelle are joined by Anne Applebaum, author of ?Twilight of Democracy: The Seductive Lure of Authoritarianism,? to debate the origins of the center right?s schism over nationalism. Then, if you?ve got consternation over cancel culture, Michelle has ?The Joke? for you. 

For background reading on this episode, visit nytimes.com/theargument.

2020-07-30
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The Case for a One-State Solution

The long-held hope of a two-state solution has dwindled under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and his threat of annexation. After decades of calling for the preservation of the Jewish nation through two separate states, the political journalist and scholar Peter Beinart has changed his mind. This week on ?The Argument,? he joins Ross and Michelle to make the case for a one-state solution. Then, Frank joins Michelle and Ross for a discussion about Barack Obama and George W. Bush, and what they should be doing to defeat President Trump in November. 

For background reading on this episode, visit nytimes.com/theargument.

2020-07-23
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A Conversation With Tammy Duckworth

Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois joins the Frank, Ross and Michelle for a four-way interview about monuments and Tucker Carlson, Russian bounties in Afghanistan, Medicare for all and taking care of a multigenerational family in a pandemic. Plus, what?s harder: home schooling a 5-year-old or flying a Black Hawk helicopter? Then, Frank recommends an album that offers a little hope, even if hope is a dangerous thing to have. 

For background reading on this episode, visit nytimes.com/theargument.

Editor?s note: At 18:58, Senator Duckworth says universal background checks are supported by 95 percent of Americans. Polling generally finds support for universal background checks between 84 and 94 percent.

2020-07-16
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Is Trump's Fate Sealed?

Has Donald Trump already lost the election? This week on ?The Argument,? Frank, Ross and Michelle debate whether Joe Biden already has the president beat in November, given historical precedent, polling and the president?s own predilections. Then, they turn to the question that every family of an American student is asking: How can school safely reopen in the fall? Plus, Michelle suggests you treat yourself to some escapism through ?Self Care.? 

For background reading on this episode, visit nytimes.com/theargument.

2020-07-09
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Whose Statue Must Fall?

Is America finally going through a social revolution? Or will empty gestures and virtue signaling by corporations and elite institutions drown out demands to overturn the country?s economic inequities? This week on ?The Argument,? Opinion columnist Jamelle Bouie joins Ross Douthat and Michelle Goldberg to debate whether the recent changes symbolize a true turning point, or whether institutions are merely placating a powerful movement that they in some ways fear.

Then, the columnists turn to rethinking memorials across America: Who deserves a statue? Whose statue should be torn down? And, going forward, what do we want America to commemorate as its collective inheritance? 

For background reading on this episode, visit nytimes.com/theargument.

2020-07-02
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Place Your Bets on Biden?s V.P.

Joe Biden has vowed to pick a woman as his running mate. But of the many qualified contenders, who should win the veepstakes? Michelle and Frank have different ideas as to whose name on the ticket could help push Biden to victory in November. Then, editorial board member Jesse Wegman joins Ross and Frank for a Supreme Court battle: has SCOTUS usurped Congress when it comes to legislating America?s culture wars? 

For background reading on this episode, visit nytimes.com/theargument.

2020-06-25
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Which Opinions Are Out of Bounds?

After The New York Times published an Op-Ed by Republican Senator Tom Cotton which called for a military response to civic unrest, readers and employees alike were in an uproar. In the two weeks since our last episode, a debate about what makes an idea worth amplifying has taken place inside the paper. This week, Frank, Michelle and Ross disagree about the publishing of the Op-Ed, and debate where the lines should be drawn around ideas too abhorrent to be presented in the public discourse. Then, a conversation about the reckoning across industries at the executive level. Is this #MeToo, 2.0, or something different? 

For background reading on this episode, visit nytimes.com/theargument.

2020-06-18
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Can Riots Force Change?

All across the U.S., thousands are taking to the streets to protest the repeated police killings of black Americans. Images of unrest blanket mainstream and social media: militarized officers shooting demonstrators with clouds of tear gas; buildings and cars engulfed in flames; broken windows and looted store-fronts that leave community facades undeniably altered. This week on ?The Argument,? what role can riots play in achieving social upheaval? Ross, Michelle and Frank disagree about the efficacy, and detriment, of riots as a tool for social change. Plus, a conversation about where the country and its leaders should go from here, and props to Atlanta's mayor. 

For background reading on this episode, visit nytimes.com/theargument.

2020-06-04
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Credibility and Converts: Revisiting Tara Reade and Jane Roe

As reporting on the sexual assault allegation against Joe Biden digs deeper into his accuser?s credibility, where does that leave the Democrats, the press and the #MeToo movement? The columnists debate Tara Reade and the court of public opinion around survivors and the accused. Then, what does Norma McCorvey?s "death bed" confession mean for the pro-choice and pro-life movements? 

For background reading on this episode, visit nytimes.com/theargument.

2020-05-28
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Did de Blasio Bungle the Crisis?

When New York?s coronavirus rates began to skyrocket in mid-March, they seemed like a portent for the rest of the country. But at this point, New York City has five times as many Covid-19-related deaths as the entire state of California, with just a quarter of its population. How much blame for New York City?s devastation should go to Mayor Bill de Blasio?s slow response and early downplaying of the danger? Has Gov. Andrew Cuomo earned the praise his briefings have brought him, given his questionable policy choices? debate who deserves blame for New York?s catastrophic mishandling of the crucial first weeks of the coronavirus. What mistakes led to the dispersion of the virus from the Empire State, and what lessons can be learned as other states start to reopen? Then, as the luxury of dining out becomes a distant memory and grocery aisles remain unpredictably stocked, what has quarantine done to the act of enjoying a meal? Plus an ode to humble staples that bring spice to life. 

For background reading on this episode, visit nytimes.com/theargument.

2020-05-21
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Bill Barr?s Junk Justice

Is Attorney General Bill Barr?s dropping all charges against Michael Flynn an utter breakdown of justice? Or is it absurd to fixate on Flynn and dredge the Russia investigation up again amid a pandemic? Ross returns to debate Frank and Michelle over just how alarmed Americans should be by recent actions of the Trump Justice Department. Plus, what, exactly, is Obamagate? Then, when it comes to coronavirus, are we too quick to blame the sick? 

For background reading on this episode, visit nytimes.com/theargument.

2020-05-14
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Who?s Afraid of Justin Amash?

Who would a third party candidate help in the 2020 presidential election? Would adding a Libertarian like Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan to the race hand President Trump his re-election? Or could Amash appeal to would-be Trump voters and goose up the Democrats? chance at victory come November? With Ross still on parental leave, Frank and Michelle are joined by the Republican strategist Liz Mair to discuss the power third party candidates hold in presidential races. Then, Michelle and Frank hop on a Zoom call to talk about the positives and pitfalls of our new era of video conferencing in both work and play.

For background reading on this episode, visit nytimes.com/theargument.

2020-05-07
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When Science Is Partisan

How can a president who shows disdain for science manage a crisis that requires faith in it? Frank and Michelle debate the federal government's coronavirus response with Yuval Levin, a former policy adviser to President George W. Bush and the founding editor of the conservative journal National Affairs. They talk the fallout of a pandemic hobbled by junk science, understaffed (and under-heeded) federal agencies, and a commander-in-chief lacking management skills. Plus, anti-vaxxers, America's science illiteracy and "President 4chan." 

For background reading on this episode, visit nytimes.com/theargument.

2020-04-30
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Does New York Survive the Coronavirus?

How will the coronavirus change New York City ? and what does the city?s response to the pandemic say about the rest of the country? In a special episode, Frank Bruni talks one-on-one with Ginia Bellafante, who writes The Times?s Big City column. 

For background reading on this episode, visit nytimes.com/theargument.

2020-04-23
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The Biden Accusation

What should we make of an allegation of sexual assault lodged against Joe Biden? Frank, Ross and Michelle weigh evidence that supports and casts doubt on Tara Reade?s account, discuss the news media?s handling of Reade?s story and debate the similarities and differences between her accusation and other recent claims of sexual misconduct leveled at powerful men. Then, is the pandemic giving socialism in America a new gloss? 

For background reading on this episode, visit nytimes.com/theargument.

2020-04-16
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Fighting Trump's Falsehoods

What?s the right way for the media to cover President Trump?s daily public briefings on the coronavirus pandemic? Ross Douthat, Michelle Goldberg and the new co-host Frank Bruni debate whether the president is using journalists as foils, the ways in which his briefings have become a substitute for canceled campaign rallies and how his public pronouncements about the virus have become vectors for misinformation. Then, when everyone in America is socially distancing, how far apart is far enough? 

For background reading on this episode, visit nytimes.com/theargument.

2020-04-09
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The President vs. the Governors

How is coronavirus ? and President Trump?s response to it ? hitting blue states and red states differently? Ross, Michelle and David debate. Then, how should Joe Biden change his campaign strategy around Trump?s coronavirus fumbles? Frank Bruni joins in the argument. And finally, a bittersweet goodbye. 

For background reading on this episode, visit nytimes.com/theargument.

2020-04-02
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What's The Best Fix For a Recession?

As the coronavirus pandemic sends financial markets into a tailspin, strains gig economy workers and threatens the survival of businesses large and small, the columnists debate what policymakers should do to avert a virus-induced economic recession. Ross shares his own account of an increasingly American experience: feeling sick and waiting days for the results of a coronavirus test to come back. And an escapist recommendation worth a binge. 

For background reading on this episode, visit nytimes.com/theargument.

2020-03-26
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How Do We Vote in a Pandemic?

Coronavirus is causing change in daily life all over the world - but what should we be doing? And how long is this going to last? Editorial board health writer Jeneen Interlandi joins David and Michelle for a conversation about best practices amid the pandemic. Then, how do you hold a presidential election in the middle of a public health emergency? The columnist duo discuss voting in the time of coronavirus, and David recommends you give your future self the gift of recollection. 

For background reading on this episode, visit nytimes.com/theargument.

2020-03-19
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The Pandemic vs. The President

Is President Trump's underreaction to the coronavirus a reason for more draconian measures to lock down the pandemic? Would more efforts to control the spread by the Trump administration help or hurt the country's preparedness for the impact? Ross Douthat and David Leonhardt debate this, and Western society's descent into dangerous decadence, in this live podcast recording at The Times Center in New York City.

For background reading on this live episode, visit nytimes.com/theargument.

2020-03-12
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En liten tjänst av I'm With Friends. Finns även på engelska.
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