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There’s a lot of noise created by our constant news cycle, but few ways to grasp what’s really going on in politics today. Not Another Politics Podcast—launched and produced through the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy—provides a fresh perspective on the biggest political stories by focusing on research and data, not pundits and politicians.

Understand the political science beyond the headlines with Harris School of Public Policy Professors William Howell, Anthony Fowler, and Wioletta Dziuda.

Not Another Politics Podcast is produced by Matt Hodapp.

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Episode 96 | February 21, 2024

What Makes A Legislator Effective?

When it comes to passing actual legislation, putting it forward and getting it all the way through the process, it can be difficult to measure exactly which legislators are effective. Not to mention which types of legislators tend to be more effective, moderates or extremists? And does majority-party membership increase effectives?

Episode 95 | February 07, 2024

Do Conservatives Sabotage The Administrative State?

When we talk about the interpretation and ultimately implementation of policy we’re not talking about Congress so much as the Administrative State. But what happens when those who work in those agencies decide through their positions to not only sabotage a policy they’re meant to carry out, but perhaps the whole agency?

Episode 94 | January 24, 2024

Who Gets Heard On Redistribution, The Rich Or Poor?

When we talk about policy choices around redistribution there is an assumption so obvious that most people never question it. That politicians are more responsive to the desires of the rich, and that policy preferences of the poor don’t hold as much sway. But what if that assumption was wrong?

Episode 93 | December 13, 2023

Is There A "Spiral of Silence" On Campus And In Our Politics?

The recent crisis in the Israel and Palestine conflict has added fuel to the already heated debate over free speech in our politics and on college campuses. Does the scientific literature having anything to tell us about the health of public discourse in these domains?

Episode 92 | November 29, 2023

The Bargaining Strategies of Extremists

There is a political puzzle that has become prominent in the last few decades, especially with the recent turmoil over the Republican led Speaker of the House: how do a small group of extremists manage to get their way despite being a minority of members?

Episode 91 | November 15, 2023

Is Gridlock Causing Polarization?

We often say on this podcast that the American electorate is not polarized but the elites are, and that this polarization causes policy gridlock. But what if it’s the other way around? Is it possible that gridlock in government is actually causing polarization and a turn toward extremist candidates?

Episode 90 | November 01, 2023

Partisan Identities vs Anti-Establishment Orientations

When political commentators talk about polarization, they often mean a partisan ideological divide: the left vs the right, republicans vs democrats, progressives vs conservatives. But what if there is a different dichotomy driving our political disagreements that is orthogonal to ideological differences?

Episode 89 | October 18, 2023

LIVE: Does Money Distort Our Politics?

If there is one thing the right and left seem to agree on it’s that money distorts our politics. It allows the rich to shape policy, choose who gets elected, and escape consequences. But what if this common belief isn’t as true as you think?

Episode 88 | October 04, 2023

Presidential Power, Parties, And The Rise Of The Administrative State

One of Donald Trump’s 2024 campaign promises is to upend the modern civil service through an executive order called “Schedule F”. Democrats and Republicans have been fighting over this administrative state since its conception, but why is this area of government so divisive and what power does it really hold?

Episode 87 | September 20, 2023

Does Social Media Polarize Our Politics?

It’s one of the most common refrains in political discourse today: social media is the source of polarization. It’s a difficult proposition to empirically study because companies like Meta and X don’t share their data publicly. Until now.

Episode 86 | September 06, 2023

Is Partisan Gerrymandering As Bad As You Think?

There is no political topic that can get people’s blood boiling quite like partisan gerrymandering. Many even go so far as to call it an afront to our democracy. But what do we know about how effective it is and what the data shows about its outcomes?

Episode 85 | August 23, 2023

Does Ousting Incumbents Improve The Economy?

The assumption in political science has always been that electing challengers can lead to a downturn in performance. It takes time to do all the hiring involved in establishing a new government, and there is always a learning curve about processes and procedures. But a surprising new paper shows the opposite might be true.

Episode 84 | August 09, 2023

Do Partisans Really Believe Different Facts?

The common refrain in political coverage today says that each side of the aisle is living in an information bubble. There is a partisan knowledge gap between the facts Democrats know and the facts Republicans know. May believe this gap could be the downfall of our democracy. But what if that gap isn’t as large as we think?

Episode 83 | June 21, 2023

Do White Americans Favor White Politicians?

As the Supreme Court debates whether to end affirmative action, concerns about the power of implicit racial bias to shape who gets ahead in America are as salient as ever. But what do we know about the extent and power of this racism to drive voting decisions? Is there a scientific way to measure it?

Episode 82 | June 08, 2023

Do Stimulus Checks Buy Votes?

We’ve become deeply familiar with stimulus checks in the last few years, but what isn’t clear is what affect these transfers may have on elections. Could stimulus checks be enough for citizens to change their votes to the party handing out the money and if so, is this a way for politicians to buy votes? To answer these questions, Northwestern Professor of economics Silvia Vannutelli looks at stimulus payments in Italy in 2014 and uncovers some surprising findings.

Episode 81 | May 24, 2023

Can You Judge A Politician By Their Looks?

We all know you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but if we’re being honest we all do it on occasion anyway. Could it be that we also elect our politicians just based on how they look? Of course, there’s the old idea of looking “presidential”, but how much power does that really have to sway an election?

Episode 80 | May 10, 2023

Can Citizen Appeals Change Government Action?

When citizens directly appeal to their government, are their concerns ignored or taken seriously? It’s an important question for understanding norms around accountability, especially in authoritarian regimes. We investigate a clever field experiment evaluating how Chinese regulators respond to citizen appeals about companies violating pollution standards.

Episode 79 | April 26, 2023

Does Bad Government Breed Populism?

Why is populism on the rise across the globe? One story says this movement is driven by anti-elite and anti-establishment sentiment, that they just want to throw the bums out. Another says it’s driven by identity politics, an anti-immigrant pro-nativist ideology. Both stories don’t leave room for much hope. But what if there was another story that not only gives us some hope, but supplies a clear solution?

Episode 78 | April 12, 2023

Do Political Endorsements Undermine Trust In Science?

In the runup to the 2020 election, the academic journal Nature made the unprecedented decision to endorse Joe Biden for President. During an era when trust in science has never seemed more crucial, do explicitly political statements increase or decrease public trust in science?

Episode 77 | March 31, 2023

Do Politicians Spend Money Differently Depending On Its Source?

If you found a hundred-dollar bill on the sidewalk, would you spend it differently than a hundred dollars made at work? This same question applies to politicians. Governments collect revenues from a variety of sources, does where the money comes from change how it’s spent?

Episode 76 | March 15, 2023

How Does Representation Work?

There are two classic questions in political science research: how does representation work and how should it work? They’re crucial questions when it comes to designing a functioning democracy. This week, we dive into a paper that considers the questions that researchers have been trying to answer for decades.

Episode 75 | March 01, 2023

The Polarization Of State Legislatures

When we talk about polarization on this podcast it’s almost always in the context of Congress or the presidency. But are state legislatures polarizing as well? And, if they are, what can that tell us about the state of our democracy?

Episode 74 | February 15, 2023

Are We In A Period Of Global Democratic Decline?

The popular narrative these days is that democracies around the globe are backsliding. If we turn to countries like Hungary, Poland, and Venezuela, this threat certainly is true — authoritarian dictators have contributed to democratic decline. But what does the global picture reveal? Does the claim hold true?

Episode 73 | February 02, 2023

Political Brokers In India’s Most Marginalized Communities

Politics is about more than ideology or even policy victories. It’s about distribution and redistribution of goods and services in return for party support, votes. This view of politics is called clientelism, and it often goes overlooked. However, a landmark paper on clientelism may have us rethink the dynamics of clientelism, and perhaps even holds some lessons for how to re-think the ideological view of politics as well.

Episode 72 | January 18, 2023

An Algorithm for Detecting Election Fraud

For better or worse, one of the biggest stories in US politics today is the detection of election fraud, or in many cases the lack of election fraud. But determining whether fraud happened in an election can be difficult, even while proving the validity of elections for some has become increasingly important. Well, one political scientist from the University of Michigan, Walter Mebane believes he may have developed just such a toolkit.

Episode 71 | December 21, 2022

Why Aren't the Majority Of Voters Getting What They Want?

Lately it feels like politicians are favoring smaller groups of their constituents over the majority of them. If you've been skeptical about whether this favoritism exists, there's a new theory that supports it. Some voters who are more vocal or intense about political issues are more likely to get their local politician's attention, and these smaller groups of constituents are more likely to get what they want.

Episode 70 | December 07, 2022

An International Look At Affective Polarization

We often talk about the rise of affective polarization in the United States, but rarely are the trends we observe domestically placed in an international context. What about Norway, Canada, New Zealand, Japan? What are the trends in global affective polarization, and can those trends teach us anything about what’s driving the increase in the US?

Episode 69 | November 23, 2022

Why Aren't There More Moderate Politicians?

When it comes to polarization, most people in American politics blame the voters. But much of the political science data suggests most voters are actually moderates. So, where are all the moderate politicians? The reason we don’t have more moderate politicians is actually quite simple…there just aren’t any incentives for them to run.

Episode 68 | November 09, 2022

LIVE: How Members Of Congress Forge Relationships With Their Voters

With the midterms upon us, we decided to look back at a piece of landmark scholarship that may be able to tell us something about the dynamics of personal interactions between representatives and their consistencies. We often assume that voters cast their ballots based on ideology and policy, but it could it be more personal than that? In this episode, we explore our current elections and how representatives think about their interactions with their constituents.  

Episode 67 | October 26, 2022

What Can We Learn About Polarization From The UK?

One theme on our show is trying to make sense of why elites appear to be so polarized when the larger public is more moderate. We almost always study these trends in the U.S. but could we look to another country for insight? A country like the UK perhaps?

Episode 66 | October 12, 2022

Are Legislators Beating The Market With Insider Information?

There might not be a more controversial political hack than members of Congress being legally allowed to trade stocks. Recently the House of Representatives has introduced a bill that would prohibit members of Congress, their spouses, and children, from trading stocks. Although the bill has stalled, it's renewed a really important lingering question: are members of Congress actually advanced investors, and how much are they benefiting from inside information?

Episode 65 | September 28, 2022

Do Primaries Cause Polarization?

For years, political scholars and pundits have claimed that primary elections are exacerbating polarization and with the 2022 midterm elections approaching this year has been no different. With many extremist candidates on both sides of the aisle, it certainly feels like this claim should be true, but does the political science back that up?

Episode 64 | September 14, 2022

Can Fact-Checking Counter Misinformation?

The COVID-19 pandemic has been an era of misinformation. From social media to cable news, the spread of false or misleading information about COVID vaccines has been rampant. Some social media platforms have moved more aggressively by trying to flag misleading posts with disclaimers. Can fact-checking reduce the spread of misinformation? And perhaps more importantly, can fact-checks change people's minds about getting vaccinated?

Episode 63 | August 31, 2022

Do People Automatically Reject Policies Of The Opposite Party?

In our hyper-polarized climate, it is often said that partisans determine their policy positions not based on thought and reason but on opposition to the other party. If I’m a Republican and I hear that Nancy Pelosi supports a particular policy, I’ll reflexively take the opposite stance. There is a literature in political science that suggests this is the case, but could it be wrong?

Episode 62 | August 17, 2022

Does The Economy Affect Elections?

The midterm elections are fast approaching, and with rampant inflation one of the main concerns for Democrats is the state of the economy. It’s commonly accepted that some voters cast their ballots solely on the price of gas and bread, but does the science back that up?

Episode 61 | July 22, 2022

Did Voter Turnout Drop in Communities of Color After Shelby?

When the Shelby County v. Holder decision came down, voting rights advocates and mobilization groups panicked. There were widespread fears that this decision would dramatically reduce voter participation in communities of color. Did they? In this episode, we speak to The University of Rochester's Mayya Komisarchik about the impacts of the Shelby decision and whether our fears about countermobilization and voter suppression tactics have held true.

Episode 60 | July 06, 2022

Do Local Minimum Wages Represent Local Preferences?

Advocates for the striking down of Roe by the Supreme Court say this will improve our politics by allowing people’s preferences to be better represented at the State level. But do State and local governments accurately match the preferences of their citizens when responding to their demands?

Episode 59 | June 22, 2022

Roe & Departure From Precedent In The Supreme Court

There’s long been a belief that the Supreme Court rarely departs from precedent. But as the court appears to intend to strike down Roe, we consider what the data tell us about how consistent the Supreme Court has been at honoring precedent.

Episode 58 | June 08, 2022

Revealing New Data On Who Donates To Campaigns

Georgetown University Economist Laurent Bouton digs through new data to answer fundamental questions about campaign donations: Do big or small donors give more strategically? Has there been an increase in donations to extremist candidates? And, are the coasts influencing elections more than the rest of the country by donating more money?

Episode 57 | May 11, 2022

Nuclear Brinkmanship In Ukraine

One of the biggest questions surrounding the conflict in Ukraine is to what extent the shadow of nuclear war affects the degree of involvement by Western countries. Much of the literature in nuclear deterrence theory assumes the incentives of mutually assured destruction are strong enough to avoid a nuclear war, and hence the existence of nuclear capabilities in Russia and the West should not play much of a role in how the conflict progresses. But one paper by a late University of California Berkeley political scientist calls this theory into question.

Episode 56 | April 27, 2022

What Happens When Fox News Viewers Watch CNN Instead?

When it comes to cable news, Fox and CNN have pretty partisan viewers. So, what would happen if Fox viewers tuned into CNN for a month? Would they suddenly adopt different views more aligned with CNN?

Episode 55 | April 13, 2022

Does Russian Propaganda Influence Ukrainians?

By now, we've heard a lot about how state-owned Russian television is distorting the truth about the war in Ukraine. But Russian TV doesn't just reach Russian viewers. Some Ukrainians can receive its analog television signals.

Episode 54 | March 30, 2022

Why Are Cities Hiring Lobbyists?

We know that lobbyists have the power to influence politics. But not all lobbyists are working on behalf of corporate interest groups. Sometimes, city officials actually hire lobbyists to represent the interests of their constituents in the state legislature. Why would cities do this?

Episode 53 | March 19, 2022

How Concerned Should We Be About Partisan Election Officals?

Elections have always been heated in America. But with Republican narratives around a “stolen” 2020 election, and fears that newly elected administrators will sway 2024, concern about the power of election officials is at a high. While it's true that some election officials are nonpartisan, in a lot of counties, local elections officials are elected by voters and they run as members of a political party. Why wouldn't they tilt an election in their party's favor?

Episode 52 | March 03, 2022

Ukraine, Putin and Credible Deterrence

Russia has invaded Ukraine. This horrible global crisis raises questions about Putin’s ultimate ambitions, and how nations can make credible deterrent threats in incredible circumstances.

Episode 51 | February 16, 2022

No, Football Games Don’t Affect Elections

You've probably heard this one before: college football games and shark attacks influence elections in favor of incumbents. Surprising findings like these are exciting, and seem to tell us a lot about the stability of our democracy and the rationality of voters.

Episode 50 | February 02, 2022

How Redistribution And Beliefs About Meritocracy Go Hand In Hand

There’s no question that people in the United States have very different beliefs about meritocracy and redistribution than do people in Europe. But how did these two groups end up in these divergent equilibria? And can anything be done to shift from one to the other?

Episode 49 | January 19, 2022

How A Single Lie In A Crisis Can Destroy Trust In Government

We’re living through a crucial moment for public trust in government. Conflicting and contradictory political and scientific messaging during the coronavirus pandemic seems to have eroded public trust on both sides of the aisle. But what do we know about how governments could avoid further decreases in trust, and how persist these effects can be?

Episode 48 | January 05, 2022

Can More Information On A Bill Change Votes?

We like to think that our legislators know exactly what’s in the proposals they vote on. But how can we know for sure and, if they don’t know, can simply providing them more information change the way they would vote?

Episode 47 | December 15, 2021

A Better Way To Think About Polarization?

We often think of polarization as a single policy spectrum with Democrats to the left and Republicans to the right. But what if this entire framework is wrong, and this error itself is worsening the divides in our country?

Episode 46 | November 17, 2021

Are Most Voters Moderates?

If you watch cable news or open your twitter feed it may seem like Americans are more polarized than ever. It certainly feels like everyone is on the far ends of two diametrically opposed ideologies. But, if you look closely at the data, this current conventional wisdom may be wrong.

Episode 45 | November 03, 2021

Are Irrational Voters A Threat To Democracy?

There’s a long tradition in political science of using voter rationality to test the health of our democracy. But could this myopia be misguided? Are there any situations where irrational and uninformed voters could actually generate a healthier democracy?

Episode 44 | October 21, 2021

Where Are All The Moderate Politicians?

When it comes to polarization, most people in American politics blame the voters. But much of the political science data suggests most voters are actually moderates. So, where are all the moderate politicians?

Episode 43 | October 13, 2021

Are Americans “Politically Sophisticated”?

In 1964, political scientist Philip Converse published one of the most citied papers in the discipline: “The nature of belief systems in mass publics”. It attempted to define just how consistent and sophisticated are the political beliefs of the American public. But how accurate is it, and how has the paper itself pushed political science, creating a feedback loop, to focus on particular questions instead of others?

Episode 42 | September 23, 2021

Do Lockdowns Work?

As the delta variant of the coronavirus continues to surge across the U.S. the question of should we lockdown again is on a lot of people’s minds. But, shouldn’t we stop and look at the data to see if lockdowns work?

Episode 41 | August 25, 2021

Does Ranked Choice Reduce Strategic Voting?

There’s a long standing debate in political science about the problem of strategic voting: when voters cast their ballots not in line with their true preferences, but for the candidate they hate the least whom they think is also most likely to win. Is there a different, better system out there?

Episode 40 | August 11, 2021

How Much Should We Believe Surveys?

You’ve probably seen a lot of surveys recently about how many Republicans believe the 2020 election was stolen, or that they support the January 6th insurrection on Capitol Hill, or that they don’t trust the vaccine. Do these responses predict their behavior in the real world? Or are they just partisan cheerleading?

Episode 39 | July 28, 2021

Voters and Vaccines: The Politics of Ground Campaigns

Whether it’s trying to convince you to vote for a particular candidate or get vaccinated, the identity of the person who knocks on your door may matter. So who are the people who volunteer to do this canvassing? Are they likely to succeed?

Episode 38 | July 14, 2021

The Long Term Effects Of Infrastructure Investment

Infrastructure. It’s one of the hottest topics in politics today. But what does the research say about the effects and politics of infrastructure investment?

Episode 37 | June 30, 2021

Do Americans Want Moderates or Extremists?

It seems like extremists politicians like Marjorie Taylor Greene receive a disproportionate amount of attention and money. This has led many political actors to believe that extremism is good politics. Our hosts examine a new paper that puts this theory to the test.

Episode 36 | June 16, 2021

Fixing the Filibuster

The debate about abolishing the filibuster isn’t going anywhere. Proponents say it forces compromise and consensus, while detractors claim it leads to gridlock and minority rule. But is there a third option?  

Episode 35 | June 02, 2021

Should The Supreme Court Have Term Limits?

A lot of people are unhappy with the ideological make-up of the Supreme Court. They say it doesn’t reflect the majority of the country. President Biden’s commission tasked with reforming the Supreme Court started meeting for the first time in May of this year. One of the proposals they’re going to consider is setting term limits on Justices. But they’re far from the first group to consider this idea.

Episode 34 | May 19, 2021

Always Be Updating: New Research On Old Topics

We’ve been doing this podcast for over a year and we’ve covered a lot of research, but each paper is far from the final word on any topic. On this episode, it’s time to do some updating.

Episode 33 | May 12, 2021

To Block Or Not To Block: Obstruction In The Senate

Does the ability for minority parties to delay and obstruct legislation force the majority party to only pass bills that are more moderate? It’s a question that informs much of our political debate around dilatory tactics like the filibuster.

Episode 32 | April 21, 2021

What the Data Say About Voter ID Laws

There’s a lot of debate in our politics about whether we should have stricter voter ID laws. But both sides are having an argument based almost entirely on assumptions because data on the real effect of these laws are scarce. Not anymore.

Episode 31 | April 07, 2021

Why Democrats Should Move To The Suburbs If They Want To Win Elections

This year the U.S. will go through its decennial redistricting process, which is resurfacing our national conversation around gerrymandering. But Stanford Professor of Political Science, Jonathan Rodden, says gerrymandering isn't the least of our problems when it comes to the politics of geography.

Episode 30 | March 24, 2021

The Institutional Racism of Land-Use Regulation

In a new paper, Jessica Trounstine, chair of the political science department a the University of California-Merced, makes a strong case for why land-use policies aren’t as race-neutral as they seem, and why we need to pay more attention to them.

Episode 29 | March 10, 2021

Are Media Echo Chambers As Big As We Think?

A new paper by Andrew Guess, Assistant Professor of Politics and Public Affairs at Princeton, provides a completely unique data set that complicates our assumptions about America’s “echo chambers” and media diets.

Episode 28 | February 24, 2021

Nationalized Elections, the End of Local News, and Government Accountability

When was the last time you voted split-ticket in an election? It may not be surprising to hear that our elections have become increasingly nationalized in the last few decades. Most people vote for a single party straight down the ballot. The question is, why?

Episode 27 | February 10, 2021

A New Theory of Political Scandals

In a recent paper, “Political Scandal: A Theory,” our very own Wioletta Dziuda and Will Howell create a new model of political scandal that makes these incentives clear. On this episode, we discuss how these incentives should reshape the way we think about political scandals.

Episode 26 | January 27, 2021

The State of Our Democracy, with James Robinson

One of the defining discussions of the Trump presidency centers on the fate of our democracy. In the aftermath of his populist presidency, and as we transition to the Biden era, we’re wondering whether the future is bright or dim.

Episode 25 | January 13, 2021

Do Americans Support Democracy As Much As They Say?

It’s an extraordinarily distressing time for democracy in America. The storming of the Capitol and the votes by some Republican elected officials questioning the results of the 2020 election have many asking what force could act as a check on these increasing anti-democratic tendencies in American political life?

Episode 24 | December 16, 2020

Do Government Programs Get People More Involved In Politics?

There was an extensive research initiative done on the roll out of the Medicaid expansion, and our boss and the Dean of the Harris School of Public Policy, Katherine Baicker, was involved. On this episode, we parse through the results with her to see if we can get a new perspective on the question of whether giving people resources through government programs increases their involvement in politics.

Episode 23 | November 19, 2020

The Politics of Distraction

In a new paper, economist Ruben Durante from the University of Pompeu Fabra argues that politicians strategically time controversial actions with major news events, when the United States is most distracted.

Episode 22 | November 09, 2020

What Just Happened?: Just Another Politics Podcast

On this episode, we discuss what message the historic turn out, for both candidates, sends about Trumpism and the increasing left-wing of the Democratic party, why the polls got everything so wrong, again, and what a Biden Presidency will look like given the likelihood of a divided government.

Episode 21 | October 22, 2020

Reining In The Supreme Court

Judges like to present themselves as arbiters of the law, free from the entanglements of politics. But work from Tom Clark, Professor of Political Science at Emory University, calls that idea into question, and shows why our new conservative Court may still follow public opinion.

Episode 20 | October 13, 2020

The Vice Presidential Debate: Just Another Politics Podcast

On this second edition of the "Just Another Politics Podcast Special", we join our fellow political podcasts in sitting back in our armchairs and sharing our thoughts on the Presidential debate.

Episode 19 | October 05, 2020

The Debate: Just Another Politics Podcast

On this "Just Another Politics Podcast Special", we decide to join our fellow political podcasts in sitting back in our armchairs and sharing our thoughts on the first Presidential debate.

Episode 18 | September 23, 2020

How To Really "Get Out The Vote"

On this episode, we debate the effectiveness of get-out-the-vote strategies and the implications for the 2020 election, starting with research from Columbia University Professor Donald Green.

Episode 17 | September 10, 2020

October Surprises and the 2020 Election

On this episode, we discuss research that could change the way we view “October surprises”.

Episode 16 | August 26, 2020

Discrimination: Why Women Outperform Men in Congress

We examine a paper by Profs. Christopher Berry and Sarah Anzia that assesses discrimination against women in elections by testing how women perform once in office.

Episode 15 | August 12, 2020

How The Rich Rule Despite Unpopular Inequality

How is it that in a Democracy with massive inequality, where the poor have just as much voting power as the rich, do the wealthy continue to get what they want politically? It’s a question that’s troubled political thinkers for a long time. 

Episode 14 | July 29, 2020

Should We Make It Illegal Not To Vote?

In this episode, our very own Anthony Fowler explains a new report that he co-authored in Brookings that argues we will get better representation but instituting compulsory voting in the U.S.

Episode 13 | July 15, 2020

Why The Presidency Is Key To Combatting Populism

The dramatic rise of populism in America, embodied in President Trump, presents a real threat to democracy. Our very own professor William Howell argues that the root of the problem lies with ineffective government.

Episode 12 | July 01, 2020

Would A Woman Executive Govern Differently Than Men?

One of the most anticipated developments of the 2020 election is who Democratic Presidential nominee, Joe Biden, will pick to be his running mate. One thing is almost certain though, whoever he picks will be a women. And that person very well could be the first female President of the United States.

Episode 11 | June 17, 2020

Do Protests Affect Elections?

In the last few weeks, the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks, and many other black people at the hands of police have driven nationwide protests. To be true to the mission of our show, we want to look at this complex moment through the lens of political science research.

Episode 10 | June 03, 2020

Do Politicians Vote With Their Donors When Voters Are Distracted?

Professor Jorg Spenkuch from Northwestern University provides insight that political accountability takes a big hit during disasters.

Episode 9 | May 20, 2020

Does The Media Really Affect Elections?

The 2020 election will soon be upon us. As usual, news outlets will play a crucial role informing the public about the candidates. But could their decisions actual swing elections?

Episode 8 | May 06, 2020

The Surprising New Data On Vote-By-Mail

One of the concerns of the coronavirus is how we’ll handle voting in the 2020 election. A recent paper from soon to be Asst. Prof at UCLA, Dan Thompson, gives us the best data yet on how vote-by-mail effects turn out and partisans differences in election.

Episode 7 | April 22, 2020

Are Democrats And Republicans Really Living In Separate Worlds?

One of the stories of the coronavirus outbreak has been that Democrats and Republicans can’t agree on a shared set of facts about the virus. But groundbreaking research from political scientist Gregory Huber at Yale University questions the narrative.

Episode 6 | April 08, 2020

How A Single Demagogue Can Change A Democracy Forever

Americans often think of demagogues as a feature of foreign countries with weak or non-existent democracies. But is it possible to still get a demagogue in a functioning and strong democracy? That’s the argument of Mehdi Shadmehr in his paper.

Episode 5 | March 25, 2020

Coronavirus And The Politics of Pandemics

Why don’t we prepare better for crises we know are coming? What effect will the coronavirus pandemic have on Trump’s 2020 chances? Should we even be having an election in the midst of a viral outbreak? On this episode, we turn to political science.

Episode 4 | March 11, 2020

Is Polarization Pushing Us To Hate Each Other?

We’re constantly told that America is too divided. That we no long just oppose members of the opposite party, but actually hate them. That something is broken in American life.

Episode 3 | February 26, 2020

Do Extremist Voters Dominate Primary Elections?

Do primaries attract more extremist voters who skew elections toward candidates like Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump? The common idea has always been that their extremism makes them more likely to vote in primaries. But political scientist Lynn Vavreck says the real story is far more complicated in her paper.

Episode 2 | February 12, 2020

The Troubling Economic Logic of Racially Charged Policies

Could racially charged policies cause you to act racist, even if you aren’t actually a racist? That’s the story two scholars, Stephane Wolton and Torun Dewan from the London School of Economics and Political Science, tell in a recent paper.

Episode 1 | January 24, 2020

Do Divisive Primaries Actually Affect General Elections?

Do divisive primaries actually affect how candidates will perform in general elections? It's a question political scientist have been trying and failing to untangle, but we found someone who may have an answer.