DecodeDC

DecodeDC

Australia

A reliable, honest and entertaining podcast about Washington D.C’s people, culture and politics.

Episodes

171: Trump's job promise — 24,999,900 to go  

President-elect Trump is trying to make good on a big campaign promise--bring back manufacturing jobs to the U.S. The Carrier deal announced last week seems like a good start. But a jobs program that boils down to a POTUS making deals with companies could have big economic ramifications. On the latest podcast, Jimmy talks with Adam Davidson, a writer for the New Yorker and former co-host of NPR's Planet Money podcast. Adam explains why President Trump won't be able to create 25 million jobs, any why the jobs crisis is much bigger than any one president.

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170: Can Trump live up to populist voters' expectations?  

Donald Trump’s attacks on elites and us-versus-them rhetoric are classic populist themes. But what happens when populists actually take office, and suddenly joins the ruling class? John Judis, author of "The Populist Explosion,” helps us define populism and explains why Trump may not be able to live up to voters’ expectations.

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Revisiting Big Sugar's Secret Playbook  

Heading into Turkey Day, we at DecodeDC are thankful for you, our listeners, so we're going to spare your ears this week from another episode about electoral politics. Instead we're rebroadcasting one of our favorite shows about a different political topic--the politics of sugar. We hope you'll be able to use what you learn from this episode as fodder around the dinner table to change the topic of conversation when one of your family members starts talking about the election.

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169: What can President Trump do Day 1?  

When Donald Trump is sworn in as President of the United States on January 20, 2017, the clock starts ticking on his political agenda. Trump's goals for his first 100 days in office include repealing and replacing Obamacare, deporting criminal undocumented immigrants and banning people from terror-prone countries from entering the U.S. Can he really do all these things? On the latest DecodeDC podcast we try to answer that question, and figure out what President Trump can do on his own and what he'll need help with.

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168: Trump is President-elect. Now what?  

Donald J. Trump will be the 45th President of the United States. Let that sink in for a minute. On the latest episode of DecodeDC, we're checking back in with some of our favorite experts who've helped us 'decode' American politics to ask the question, now what?

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Bonus: Here's what it's like to lose your right to vote  

While millions of Americans cast their votes on Election Day, one segment of the population will be left out. More than 6 million people have lost their voting rights because they committed a felony, and millions more can’t vote from prison. In fact, 1 out of every 13 African Americans has lost their voting rights due to felony disenfranchisement. But some states, like Virginia and California, are trying to change that. On this bonus episode of DecodeDC, Jimmy speaks with Terry Garrett, a former inmate who finally got her right to vote back after a rollercoaster legal fight between the Virginia governor and state supreme court. Jimmy also speaks with our Scripps colleague Angela Hill about efforts in California to restore voting rights for some who are still incarcerated--and the pushback the state is facing.

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167: Meet the disgusted voter  

It's crunch time. Doomsday--er, Election Day--is almost here, so we're checking back in with our undecided voters. For the past few weeks DecodeDC reporter Miranda Green has been profiling four voters on the fence. She fills Jimmy in on their feelings of disgust toward the election, and the sense of unease after the news about the FBI's investigation into Clinton's emails.

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166: How the GOP lost the black vote  

Donald Trump is on pace to lose the African American vote, and lose it bigly. So it’s useful to remember a time when black Americans were reliable Republicans. We talk with Leah Wright Rigueur, author of “The Loneliness of the Black Republican,” about what changed.

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165: How to actually commit voter fraud  

If you’re worried about voter fraud, there’s a good chance you’re worried about the wrong thing. We speak with Victoria Bassetti of the Brennan Center about the myth of widespread voter fraud, and a vulnerability that election officials do acknowledge: Absentee balloting. This episode is produced in conjunction with the Brennan Center and its new election podcast. Search for it on iTunes under the Brennan Center.

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164: Trump Foundation 101 -- Funny Money  

Donald Trump hasn’t given any money to the foundation that bears his name since 2008, and that’s just the beginning of the oddities surrounding Trump’s charitable giving. Washington Post reporter David Fahrenthold has been digging into it, and you might by shocked by what he’s found.

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163: OMG we found actual undecided voters  

How can a voter possibly be undecided? In an episode co-reported with Buzzfeed’s Meg Cramer of the No One Knows Anything podcast, we look at why so many voters are undecided this presidential election and what it’s like to be one of them. Jimmy also reveals that he likes 7-Eleven cheese dogs. Gross.

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162: Politicians really suck at immigration  

How do you run a business when Congress keeps getting in the way? That’s what farmers in Washington State are grappling with as Congress keeps punting on immigration reform. They are faced with a big labor shortage. That means crops—and profits—are left sitting in the fields. On the latest podcast, reporter Miranda Green explains to host Jimmy Williams how livelihoods are being affected on a daily basis by congressional inaction.

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161: Hillbilly Elegy explained — The forgotten Americans  

In his new book “Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis”, author J.D. Vance recounts his experience of growing up poor in the white working class communities of Appalachia. It’s not just a personal story but an examination of the culture from where he comes from, as Vance tries to understand why so today feel disillusioned and disconnected with American politics. This week on the podcast, Jimmy sits down with J.D. for a personal conversation about his family, community, and the state of American politics.

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160: Trump and Clinton charities and the NY AG  

A recent Scripps investigation found that the New York Attorney General has the power to force the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Health Access Initiative to publicly disclose the names of foreign governments and the millions they donate each year to the charities, but he’s not doing it. In this episode we speak with investigative reporter Mark Greenblatt, who pored through IRS tax returns and required NY charity filings and found that year after year the Clinton charities have ignored New York law.

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159: The buying and selling of America's experts  

Corporate America has found a new way to exert its influence: think tanks, the non-profits dedicated to independent, scholarly research. That’s according to a recent investigation by the New England Center for Investigative Reporting and The New York Times. This week on the podcast, reporter Brooke Williams explains how this new type of backdoor deal-making is blurring the lines between scholars and lobbyists. Williams details how a $15 million donation by JPMorgan Chase to the Brookings Institution resulted in the think tank essentially doing marketing for the bank. (Brookings has issued a rebuttal, disputing the reporting done by Williams’ and her colleague Eric Lipton) Increasingly, the role of researcher and lobbyist are merging, with little to no transparency for the public.

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158: The biases that keep Native Americans from the polls  

When the two U.S. Senate candidates went to bed on election night 2002 in South Dakota, it looked like the Republican would be the winner. But then late results came in from two Native American reservations, and Democrat Tim Johnson won re-election. It’s this potential power of the Native American vote to swing local and state elections that voting rights activists in South Dakota are trying to unlock. And they argue the state has spent decades trying to block that power. In part two of our investigation into voting rights for Native Americans, we go to South Dakota, where access to the ballot box is crucial for solving issues of poverty and suicides on reservations. We take you to the second oldest powwow in the nation, where deep racial and cultural tensions between Native Americans and non-natives create a different type of barrier to voting. This report is part of a project on voting rights in America produced by the Carnegie-Knight News21 program. Make sure to check out News21’s full story here.

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157: A dash of salt with your politics  

Salt is a magical substance. An essential nutrient, it was once even used as currency. So what’s behind the push to get food makers to reduce sodium — one of salt’s components — in Americans’ diets? In partnership with the Gastropod podcast, we look at the science and history of salt, and explain how and why the government is trying to lower sodium intake.

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156: The battle for Native American voting rights  

When San Juan County, Utah made the move to all mail-in voting in 2014, it seemed like a great idea. The county is almost 8,000 square miles with about 15,000 residents and voting by mail meant you no longer had to travel to a polling place. But for residents of the Navajo reservation, about half the county’s population, that change actually made voting more difficult. Gone were the six in-person polling places on the reservation and gone were the translators to help the many Navajo-only speakers vote. The mail-in ballot was English only, and Navajo is a predominantly spoken language. “My first reaction was what about those people that don't speak English? What happens to those people?” said Terry Whitehat, who lives in a part of the reservation called Navajo Mountain.  The one place left to vote in person was located off the reservation, which for Whitehat meant up to a 10-hour return trip drive. How were these voters going to be able to vote wondered Whitehat. “Basically, it’s impossible,” he said. This week on the podcast, in collaboration with News21, we take you to the frontlines of the battle for voting rights where Native Americans, are still fighting for equal access to the ballot box. This report is part of a project on voting rights in America produced by the Carnegie-Knight News21 program. CORRECTION: An earlier version of this episode incorrectly stated that a federal court had granted a preliminary injunction sought by the Navajo in San Juan County in summer 2016. The podcast has been updated.

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155: Trump's money fantasy  

How does Donald Trump figure his net worth? It depends on his mood. So says Pulitzer Prize winning investigative journalist, David Cay Johnston. In his new book, "The Making of Donald Trump," Johnston combs through his findings after 28 years of reporting on Trump. On the latest DecodeDC podcast, Johnston tells Jimmy Williams about Trump’s business dealings with the mob and his ruthless mentality toward others.

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154: The scary link between slavery and the Second Amendment  

You may think the founders gave us the right to bear arms as a way to defend against government tyranny. But in this episode, Carl Bogus, a professor at Roger Williams University School of Law, tells Jimmy that that's not entirely true.

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