Episodit

  • Agnes Callard is an ethical philosopher who dissects, in dazzlingly precise detail, familiar human experiences that we think we understand. Whether her topic is expressing anger, fighting with others, jockeying for status, giving advice, or navigating jealousy, Callard provokes us to rethink the emotions and habits that govern how we live. She also happens to be one of my favorite columnists.

    In this conversation, I wanted to hear what Callard had to say about a tangle of topics we’ve explored before on the show: how we measure and trade status, and how that feeds into the amorphous thing we call “the meritocracy.” Callard’s argument is that we can have a “non-punitive” meritocracy, one that rewards us for our (virtuous) successes but doesn’t blame us for our failures. I’m not so sure, but it’s a fantastic conversation I’m still thinking about.

    But as they say on the infomercials — that’s not all! We also talk about why advice is useless, the benefits of jealousy, whether polyamory and monogamy suffer from the same problem, sad music, why Callard’s office is such a riot of color, and the secret to a good divorce. And, at the end, I’ve got some music recommendations for you. Enjoy!

    References:

    “Who Wants to Play the Status Game?” by Agnes Callard, The Point

    “Against Advice,” by Agnes Callard, The Point

    “The Other Woman,” by Agnes Callard, The Point

    “Parenting and Panic,” by Agnes Callard, The Point

    Aspiration by Agnes Callard

    Recommendations:

    Tolstoy: A Russian Life by Rosamund Bartlett

    Pessoa: A Biography by Richard Zenith

    Augustine of Hippo by Peter Brown

    “Real Death” by Mount Eerie

    Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.

    “The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Roge Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld. Special thanks to Shannon Busta and Kristin Lin.

  • Michael Lewis’s new book, “The Premonition,” is about one of the most important questions of this moment: Why, despite having the most money, the brightest minds and the some of the most robust public health infrastructure in the world, did the United States fail so miserably at handling the Covid-19 pandemic? And what could we have done differently?

    The villain of Lewis’s story is not Donald Trump; it’s the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The argument laced through the book is that the C.D.C. was too passive, too unwilling to act on uncertain information, too afraid of making mistakes, too interested in its public image. What we needed was earlier shutdowns, frank public messaging, a more decentralized testing regime, a public health bureaucracy more willing to stand up to the president.

    Lewis is asking the right question, and I agree with much of his critique. But I’m skeptical of whether the kind of pandemic response he lionizes in the book was ever possible for America. Put another way: How much of a constraint is the public on public health?

    Lewis and I discuss the trade-offs in pandemic prevention, why bureaucracies have such a difficult time managing catastrophic risk, the messy politics of pandemics, the lessons of the masking debate, and ultimately, what the United States needs to learn from this crisis to prepare for the next one. I’m not sure Lewis and I came to agreement, but I’m still thinking about the conversation weeks later.

    References:

    “Public policy and health in the Trump era,” The Lancet

    Book recommendations:

    Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro

    Young Men and Fire by Norman McLean

    Furious Hours by Casey Cep

    Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com

    The Ezra Klein Show is produced by Rogé Karma, Jeff Geld and Annie Galvin; fact-checking by Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld; audience strategy by Kristin Lin.

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  • One lesson of covering policy over the past 20 years is that whatever Elizabeth Warren is thinking about now is what Washington is going to be talking about next.

    So when I read Senator Warren’s new book, “Persist,” I read it with an eye toward that question: Where is Warren trying to drive the policy debate next? And two answers emerged. First, toward a truly pro-family progressivism, one that puts children’s well-being and care at the center of the agenda. And second, toward a view of inequality that puts wealth, not income, first, and builds a whole different set of economic priorities atop that analysis.

    Warren was a policy wonk before she was a politician, and that’s the kind of conversation we had here. We discuss the drivers of the rising costs of child care, the stagnation in women’s labor force participation, whether universal day care discriminates against stay-at-home parents, Warren’s plan for fixing America’s housing crisis, whether billionaires are a policy failure, the distributional effects of canceling $50,000 in student debt, the social philosophy behind Warren’s tax proposals, how markets can be channeled toward progressive ends, the coming technologies that excite Warren, and much more.

    Book recommendations:

    Heart of Fire by Mazie Hirono

    Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

    John Rain Book Series by Barry Eisler

    Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com

    The Ezra Klein Show is produced by Roge Karma, Jeff Geld and Annie Galvin; fact-checking by Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld.

  • Anna Sale is one of my favorite interviewers. As the host of WNYC Studios’ “Death, Sex and Money,” she has an uncanny ability to get her guests to open up about the most personal, tragic, beautiful and embarrassing parts of their lives, whether it’s childhood trauma, the death of a partner or losing control of one’s limbs.

    The kinds of conversations Sale has on her show are hard to have in real life. So we rarely have them, even though our relationships and our society and even our politics desperately need them. Thankfully, Sale has written a new book, “Let’s Talk About Hard Things,” which distills the lessons she has learned over the years for the rest of us and offers wisdom for navigating the topics we too often shy away from: death, sex, money, family, identity.

    We discuss how society has increasingly pushed the responsibility for having these hard conversations onto individuals, what it takes to be a good listener, the common mistakes people make when supporting grieving friends and family members, why it’s especially hard to communicate with our family members, whether it’s necessary to give up our righteousness to preserve our relationships, the social stigma against talking about money, how to navigate tricky discussions about race and gender, and the art of asking open questions.

    Book recommendations:

    Death in Mud Lick by Eric Eyre

    Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner

    The Secret to Superhuman Strength by Alison Bechdel

    Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com

    “The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Rogé Karma and Jeff Geld; fact-checking by Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld.

  • In his 100 days address this week, Joe Biden outlined his plans for a big, bold legislative agenda to come. He previewed a two-pronged economic package: the $2.25 trillion American Jobs Plan and the $1.8 trillion American Families Plan. He spoke about the need to pass universal background checks for firearms, comprehensive immigration reform, and the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.

    The success of that agenda hinges on whether 50 Senate Democrats — ranging from Bernie Sanders to Joe Manchin — can come together and pass legislation. They don’t have a single vote to spare. And the person responsible for making that happens is the New York senator and Senate majority leader, Chuck Schumer.

    Schumer has a theory of politics that he believes can hold or even win Democrats seats in 2022. It’s not a complicated theory: For Democrats to win over middle-of-the-road voters — including those who voted for Donald Trump — they need to prove that government is actually helping them. But to do that, the government needs to actually help those voters, in clear and visible ways. That means passing big, bold legislation. And the institution Schumer leads — the Senate — is the primary obstacle to that happening.

    So I invited Schumer on the show to talk about how exactly he plans on doing that. How do you win over Trump voters? What kinds of economic policies can help deliver Democrats victory in 2022? How should the party approach topics like race and gender? How will he pass bills, like the For The People Act, that can’t go through budget reconciliation? And, of course, what do you do about the filibuster?

    Book recommendations:

    Grant by Ron Chernow

    Freedom by William Safire

    The Power Broker by Robert Caro

    Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.

    “The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Roge Karma and Jeff Geld; fact-checking by Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld.

  • I’ve been thinking lately about how to move beyond the binary debate over cancel culture. And a good place to start is with the deeper question we’re all trying to ask: What is the kind of politics — the kind of society — we’re trying to achieve in our fights over acceptable speech?

    To talk through this question, I wanted to bring on two guests, both of whom have been canceled — one by the left and one by the right — and have since dedicated parts of their work to grappling with both the good and the bad of the phenomenon. When is cancellation merited or useful? When is it insufficient or harmful? And what other tools are available in those cases?

    Natalie Wynn runs the YouTube channel ContraPoints. Her videos, on topics ranging from cancel culture to J.K. Rowling, are not only intellectually stimulating and aesthetically rich but also deeply humanizing. What sets Wynn apart is a unique capacity to live inside the heads of those she disagrees with vehemently and bring them into a dialogue with her.

    Will Wilkinson was the vice president for research at the Niskanen Center. He was fired after a right-wing online mob attacked a clearly satirical tweet he’d sent. Since being canceled, Wilkinson has, surprisingly, become one of the most outspoken critics of the anti-cancel-culture discourse. He now writes the great newsletter Model Citizen, hosts a podcast of the same name and contributes to Times Opinion.

    The result is a very different kind of cancel culture conversation. We discuss the universal yearning for safe spaces, the psychology of the social media pile-on, the political limits of social shame, the pathways to persuasion and humanization, theories of social change, the virtues of an effective political communicator, how social media shapes the way we act and think online and much, much more.

    References:

    "A Different Way of Thinking About Cancel Culture" by Ezra Klein

    “Canceling” by ContraPoints

    “J.K. Rowling” by ContraPoints

    “Undefined Cancel Game” by Will Wilkinson

    “The Boring Truth vs ‘Cancel Culture’ Panic” by Will Wilkinson

    Recommendations:

    Conflict is Not Abuse by Sarah Schulman

    The Tao is Silent by Raymond Smullyan

    If you enjoyed this show, you should check out The Argument's recent episode: "Is It Time to Cancel Cancel Culture?"



    Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.

    “The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Roge Karma and Jeff Geld; fact-checking by Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; edited by Jeff Geld.

  • How do you introduce Noam Chomsky? Perhaps you start here: In 1979, The New York Times called him “arguably the most important intellectual alive today.” More than 40 years later, Chomsky, at 92, is still putting his dent in the world — writing books, giving interviews, changing minds.

    There are different sides to Chomsky. He’s a world-renowned linguist who revolutionized his field. He’s a political theorist who’s been a sharp critic of American foreign policy for decades. He’s an anarchist who believes in a radically different way of ordering society. He’s a pragmatist who pushed leftists to vote for Joe Biden in 2020 and has described himself as having a “rather conservative attitude towards social change.” He is, very much, himself.

    The problem in planning a conversation with Chomsky is how to get at all these different sides. So this one covers a lot of ground. We discuss:

    Why Chomsky is an anarchist, and how he defines anarchismHow his work on language informs his idea of what human beings wantThe role of advertising in capitalismWhether we should understand job contracts as the free market at work or a form of constant coercionHow Chomsky’s ideal vision of society differs from Nordic social democracyHow Chomsky’s class-based theory of politics holds up in an era where college-educated suburbanites are moving left on economicsChomsky’s view of the climate crisis and why he thinks the “degrowth” movement is misguidedWhether job automation could actually be a good thing for human flourishingChomsky’s views on US-China policy, and why he doesn’t think China is a major geopolitical threatThe likelihood of nuclear war in the next decade

    And much more.

    References:

    On Anarchism by Noam Chomsky

    Climate Crisis and the Global Green New Deal by Noam Chomsky and Robert Pollin

    “Why the Amazon Workers Never Stood a Chance” by Erik Loomis

    “Trends in Income From 1975 to 2018” by Carter C. Price and Kathryn A. Edwards

    “This is What Minimum Wage Would Be If It Kept Pace with Productivity” by Dean Baker

    “There is no Plan B for dealing with the climate crisis” by Raymond Pierrehumbert

    Book recommendations:

    The Last of the Just by Andre Schwarz-Bart

    All God's Dangers: The Life of Nate Shaw by Theodore Rosengarten

    Selected essays by Ahad Ha'am

    Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.

    “The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Roge Karma and Jeff Geld; fact-checking by Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; edited by Jeff Geld.

  • This has been a bad year for the anxious among us — myself very much included. The pandemic was objectively terrifying. And many of us were trapped inside, with nothing we could do about it, severed from social connection and routine, with plenty of time to fret.

    But that almost gives anxiety, at least as I experience it, too much credit. This year, anyway, being anxious made sense. It so often doesn’t. Your mind has so much power and capacity, and there are so many real problems to solve or wonders to contemplate, and instead you’re obsessively ruminating over something that happened three years ago or might happen three years from now.

    So, what is anxiety? How do we learn it as a behavior? And more to the point, how do we unlearn it?

    Jud Brewer is an associate professor of psychiatry at Brown University, where he is the director of research and innovation at the Mindfulness Center. I’ve followed his work on meditation and addiction for years, and his new book, “Unwinding Anxiety: New Science Shows How to Break the Cycles of Worry and Fear to Heal Your Mind” applies that research to anxiety, which he understands as a kind of addiction. And just like with any addiction, you have to understand its rewards in order to begin addressing it.

    It’s a powerful framework, and one I’ve found useful in my own life. I’m not saying his book, or this conversation, cured me of anxiety. But it helped me understand it better. I hope it’ll do the same for you

    Recommendations:

    The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

    Barbarian Days by William Finnegan

    The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

    Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.

    “The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Roge Karma and Jeff Geld; fact-checking by Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld.

  • Here’s a sobering thought: The older we get, the harder it is for us to learn, to question, to reimagine. This isn’t just habit hardening into dogma. It’s encoded into the way our brains change as we age. And it’s worsened by an intellectual and economic culture that prizes efficiency and dismisses play.

    Alison Gopnik is a professor of psychology and philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley, where she runs the Cognitive Development and Learning Lab; she’s also the author of over 100 papers and half a dozen books, including “The Gardener and the Carpenter” and “The Philosophical Baby.” What I love about her work is she takes the minds of children seriously. The child’s mind is tuned to learn. They are, she writes, the R. & D. departments of the human race. But a mind tuned to learn works differently from a mind trying to exploit what it already knows.

    So instead of asking what children can learn from us, perhaps we need to reverse the question: What can we learn from them?

    In this conversation, Gopnik and I discuss the way children think, the cognitive reasons social change so often starts with the young, and the power of play. We talk about why Gopnik thinks children should be considered an entirely different form of Homo sapiens, the crucial difference between “spotlight” consciousness and “lantern” consciousness, why “going for a walk with a 2-year-old is like going for a walk with William Blake,” what A.I. researchers are borrowing from human children, the effects of different types of meditation on the brain and more.

    Recommendations:

    Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice SendakMary Poppins in the Park by P.L. TraversThe Children of Green Knowe by L. M. Boston

    You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of "The Ezra Klein Show" at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein.

    Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.

    “The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Roge Karma and Jeff Geld; fact-checking by Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld.

  • Prepping for a conversation with Tressie McMillan Cottom is intimidating. McMillan Cottom is a sociologist at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, a 2020 MacArthur fellow, co-host of the podcast “Hear to Slay,” and the author of the essay collection “Thick,” which was a National Book Award finalist. And she’s one of those people who can seemingly write on anything: The way for-profit colleges generate inequality, the cultural meaning of Dolly Parton, the way the U.S. medical profession treats Black women, how beauty operates in contemporary America, the role of hustle in the economy — the list just keeps going.

    And so did this conversation, in the end. I barely made it through a third of my planned questions because so many interesting topics came up in each answer. We discuss the dangers of nostalgia, the social construction of smartness, the moral panics gripping America, why journalists are racing to platforms like Substack, how different mediums of communication shape our conversations, the central role status plays in American life, her research on the root causes of the uptick in “deaths of despair,” how beauty is constructed and wielded and much, much more. This is one of those conversations that could’ve gone on for four more hours.

    I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

    Recommendations:

    Minor Feelings by Cathy Park HongFearing the Black Body by Sabrina StringsThe Chosen by Jerome KarabelRoll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor

    You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of "The Ezra Klein Show" at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein.

    Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.

    “The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Roge Karma and Jeff Geld; fact-checking by Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld.

  • With the $2 trillion American Jobs Plan, the economic theory that is Bidenomics is taking shape. It’s big. It puts climate at the center of everything. It is more worried about political risks — losing the House, giving Donald Trump a path back to power — than some traditional economic risks, like wasting money and bumping up inflation. It prefers to err on the side of spending more and making sure people know they got a bridge or a job than doing less and having people question whether government is working for them. But I still have a lot of questions about Bidenomics, in terms of both its economic theories and its political ones.

    Brian Deese is the director of the National Economic Council, the nerve center that coordinates economic policy across the executive branch. He led the auto bailout in the Obama administration and then turned to climate, first in the Obama White House and then at BlackRock. When President Biden brought him on to run the N.E.C., it was a message: In the Biden administration, all economics was going to be climate economics.

    I asked Deese to join me on the podcast to talk about how his economic policymaking and thinking have changed since 2009, what the Biden administration learned from the successes and failures of the Obama era, why so much of the White House’s economic policy is framed in terms of competition with China, why he doesn’t think a carbon tax is the right answer for climate, how the Biden administration will invest in the care economy and more.

    You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of "The Ezra Klein Show" at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein.

    Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.

    “The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Roge Karma and Jeff Geld; fact-checking by Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld.

  • Donald Trump was the fourth member of the baby boomer generation to be elected president, after Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. The Senate majority leader, Chuck Schumer, is a boomer. Chief Justice John Roberts is a boomer. The Federal Reserve chair, Jerome Powell, is a boomer. President Joe Biden and Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, were born a few years too early to officially qualify as boomers, but they’re close. We’re living in the world the boomers and nearly boomers built, and are still building.

    This is not, to younger Americans, a comfort. One 2018 poll found that just over half of millennials said that boomers made things worse for their generation; only 13 percent said they made things better. Then there was the rise of the “OK Boomer” meme in 2019, an all-purpose dismissal of boomer politics and rhetoric. But the boomers are a vast group, as are all generations. So is this a useful category for political argument? And even if it is, what, precisely, is it that the boomers did wrong?

    Jill Filipovic is a journalist, former lawyer and the author of “OK Boomer, Let’s Talk: How My Generation Got Left Behind,” a primarily economic critique of the boomer generation from the left. Helen Andrews is a senior editor at The American Conservative and author of “Boomers: The Men and Women Who Promised Freedom and Delivered Disaster,” a searing cultural critique of the boomers from the right.

    Filipovic and Andrews, both of whom are millennials (as am I), agree that the boomers left our generation worse off; but they disagree on just about everything else, which makes this conversation all the more interesting. We discuss the value of generational analysis, the legacy of the sexual revolution, the impact of boomer economic policies, the decline of the nuclear family, the so-called millennial sex recession, the millennial affordability crisis, the impact of pornography, how much the critique of the boomers is really a critique of technological change and much more.

    References:

    American Compass survey on family preferences "The share of Americans not having sex has reached a record high" by Christopher Ingraham"The Rise of Childless America" by Lyman Stone

    Jill’s recommendations:

    The Culture of Narcissism by Christopher LaschCan't Even by Anne Helen PetersenGoodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

    Helen’s recommendations:

    A Tale of Two Utopias by Paul BermanComing of Age on Zoloft by Katherine SharpeA Book of Americans by Stepehen Vincent Benét

    You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of "The Ezra Klein Show" at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein.

    Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.

    “The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Roge Karma and Jeff Geld; fact-checking by Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld.

  • For years now, I’ve had the same recurring worry: Am I focusing on the trivial? When future generations look back on this moment in history, will they remember the daily political fights — or will everything just look like a sideshow compared to humans being able to edit genetic code?

    The technology I’m referring to, known as CRISPR, could cure genetic diseases like sickle-cell anemia and Huntington’s. It could let us regulate height, hair color, and vulnerabilities in our children. And, one day, it has the potential to imbue human beings with superhuman characteristics — making us stronger, faster, smarter. Nor is it just us. CRISPR lets us edit other animals and plants, with all kinds of beckoning possibilities, some wonderful, some terrible. We cannot do all this yet. But it’s coming, and soon.

    Walter Isaacson is the former editor of Time magazine, the former head of CNN, and author of biographies of everyone from Albert Einstein to Benjamin Franklin to Steve Jobs. However, his newest book, “The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race” is much more than a biography of Jennifer Doudna, a Nobel Prize winning scientist who was essential to developing CRISPR. It’s a biography of the scientific process that led to CRISPR, and the people trying to understand its moral, political and human implications.

    In this conversation, I get to ask Isaacson the questions I’ve wanted to focus on myself: Is it wrong to edit your kid’s genes? Is it cruel not to? What happens when CRISPR and capitalism collide? Will we witness the rise of a superhuman genetic elite? And what kind of political and economic systems do we need to start building to ensure this technology is used in just ways?

    Recommendations:

    The Bully Pulpit by Doris Kearns GoodwinThe Moviegoer by Walker PercyThe Eighth Day of Creation by Horace Freeland JudsonWinnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne

    You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of "The Ezra Klein Show" at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein.

    Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.

    “The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Roge Karma and Jeff Geld; fact-checking by Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld.

  • For years, I’ve kept a list of dream guests for this show. And as long as that list has existed, Ted Chiang has been atop it.

    Chiang is a science fiction writer. But that undersells him. He has released two short story collections over 20 years — 2002’s “Stories of Your Life and Others” and 2019’s “Exhalation.” Those stories have won more awards than I can list, and one of them was turned into the film “Arrival.” They are remarkable pieces of work: Each is built around a profound scientific, philosophical or religious idea, and then the story or the story structure is shaped to represent that idea. They are wonders of precision and craft. But unlike a lot of science fiction, they are never cold. Chiang’s work is deeply, irrepressibly humane.

    I’ve always wondered about the mind that would create Chiang’s stories. And in this conversation I got to watch it in action. Chiang doesn’t like to talk about himself. But he does like to talk about ideas. And so we do: We discuss the difference between magic and technology, why superheroes fight crime but ignore injustice, what it would do to the human psyche if we knew the future is fixed, whether free will exists, whether we’d want to know the exact date of our deaths, why Chiang fears what humans will do to artificial intelligence more than what A.I. will do to humans, the way capitalism turns people against technology, and much more.

    The ideas Chiang offered in this conversation are still ringing in my head, and changing the way I see the world. It’s worth taking your time with this one.

    Recommendations:

    Creation by Steve Grand"On the Measure of Intelligence" by Francois CholletCivilWarLand in Bad Decline by George SaundersA Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer EganRoyal Space Force: The Wings of HonnêamiseOn Fragile Waves by Lily YuPilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie DillardControl (video game)Return of the Obra Dinn (video game)

    You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of "The Ezra Klein Show" at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein.

    Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.

    “The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Roge Karma and Jeff Geld; fact-checking by Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld.

  • In the aftermath of the Capitol attack, the polling firm Echelon Insights decided to ask voters a simple question: Do they think the goal of politics is more about “enacting good public policy” or “ensuring the country’s survival as we know it?”

    Only 25 percent of Republicans said politics is about policy; nearly half said it’s about survival. That’s today’s Republican Party in a nutshell.

    I’ve had some recent conversations with Republicans who are trying to reform their party, to push it back toward policy and, in some cases, reality. But, for now, we’re governing with the Republican Party we have, not the Republican Party many want. So what does that Republican Party, the real Republican Party, believe?

    Kristen Soltis Anderson is a Republican pollster, host of Sirius XM’s “The Trendline,” and co-founder of Echelon Insights. She has done some of the most in-depth surveys of Republican voters to date: the issues that animate them, the traits they look for in presidential candidates, how they consume information, their faith in Donald Trump and much more. So I asked her about what today’s Republicans believe, and what that reveals about where the party is going next.

    Recommendations:

    Grand New Party by Ross Douthat and Reihan SalamResonate by Nancy Duarte“Generations Status and Party Identification, A Theory of Operant Conditioning” by Keith Billingsley and Clyde TuckerDragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin

    You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of "The Ezra Klein Show" at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein.

    Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.

    “The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Roge Karma and Jeff Geld; fact-checking by Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld.

  • Bernie Sanders didn’t win the 2020 election. But he may have won its aftermath.

    If you look back at Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders’s careers, the $1.9 trillion stimulus package, the American Rescue Plan, looks a lot like the proposals Sanders has fought for forever, without much of the compromise or concerns that you used to see from Senator Joe Biden. That’s not to take anything away from Biden. He’s the president. This is his plan. And it is to his credit that he saw what the country needed, what the politics of the moment would support and where his party had moved, and met it with full force.

    But Sanders’s two presidential campaigns are part of the reason that the Democratic Party had moved, and the politics of the moment had changed. And so I’ve wondered what Sanders makes of this moment. Is it a triumph? A disappointment? A beginning?

    And I’ve wondered about his take on some of the other questions swirling around the Democratic Party: Are liberals alienating people who agree with them on economics by being too censorious on culture? Is there room to work with populist Republicans who might be open to new economic ideas even as they turn against liberal democracy itself?

    You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of "The Ezra Klein Show" at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein.

    Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.

    “The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Roge Karma and Jeff Geld; fact-checking by Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld.

  • Six months ago, Andrew Cuomo was on top of the world. He was touted as the anti-Donald Trump — the calm, fact-driven coronavirus leader the country needed. Now, amid allegations of hiding the true number of Covid-19 deaths in New York nursing homes and of workplace sexual harassment and abusive behavior, most of the state’s major Democratic politicians are calling for Cuomo’s resignation.

    Rebecca Traister is a writer at large at New York magazine and the author of “Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger.” Last week, Traister published an extraordinary piece on the allegations against Cuomo. For her, the Andrew Cuomo story is a lot bigger than just Andrew Cuomo; it’s about the nature of toxic workplaces and the desire — even among Democrats — for strongmen leaders. And more than that, it’s about what we’ve been taught leadership looks like, and how the aesthetic of the tough, domineering male leader covers up, or contributes to, poor leadership.

    So I wanted to bring Traister on the show to discuss the details of the Cuomo story and its broader implications. We discuss what Cuomo has actually been accused of (including Traister’s own in-depth reporting), why we often mistake bullying for leadership, what blind spots the Cuomo story reveals among liberals, the trade-offs between projecting an aesthetic of power and actually governing, why white male rage is so accepted and even admired, the parallels between Cuomo and Trump, how this story recasts reporting on Hillary Clinton and Amy Klobuchar, the double bind faced by female politicians, and much more.

    References:

    "Abuse and Power" by Rebecca Traister, New York magazine

    Recommendations:

    The House of Mirth by Edith WhartonA Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty SmithAnother Brooklyn by Jacqueline WoodsonMy Ántonia by Willa CatherThen We Came to the End by Joshua FerrisAll the King’s Men by Robert Penn WarrenUnbought and Unbossed by Shirley ChisholmThe Elephant and the Bad Baby by Elfrida VipontThe Church Mouse by Graham OakleyTar Beach by Faith RinggoldThe Highway Rat by Julia DonaldsonThe Complete 8-Book Ramona Collection by Beverly ClearyWhen You Reach Me by Rebecca SteadThe Watsons Go to Birmingham--1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis

    You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of "The Ezra Klein Show" at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein.

    Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.

    “The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Roge Karma and Jeff Geld; fact-checking by Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld.

  • Mark Bittman taught me to cook. I read his New York Times cooking column, “The Minimalist,” religiously. I bought “How to Cook Everything,” that red brick of a cookbook, and then, when I gave up meat, I bought its green companion, “How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.” He was like my cranky, no-B.S. food uncle.

    But now Bittman wants to do more than teach me, or you, how to cook. He wants to convince us that the whole food system has fallen into calamity. His new book, "Animal, Vegetable, Junk" is a stunning reinterpretation of humanity’s relationship to the food it forages, grows and, nowadays, concocts. It’s about the marvel of the modern food system, which feeds more than seven billion people and offers more food, with more variety, at less cost, than ever before. But even more so, it’s about the malignancy of that food system, which is sickening us, poisoning the planet and inflicting so much suffering on other creatures that the mind breaks contemplating it.

    Even as someone who is fairly critical of our modern food system, I wasn’t prepared for the scale or sweep of Bittman’s indictment. And I’m not sure I’ve bought into every piece of it. But it is bracing. And it raises profound questions about the relationship among humans, animals, plants, capitalism, technology and morality. So I asked him on the show to discuss it.

    Recommendations:

    Classic Indian Cooking by Julie SahniHow to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark BittmanLord Emsworth by P.G. WodehouseThe New Book of Middle Eastern Food by Claudia RodenThe Old World Kitchen: The Rich Tradition of European Peasant Cooking by Elisabeth LuardThe Optimist's Telescope by Bina VenkataramanThe Wuggie Norple Story by Daniel Manus Pinkwater and Tomie dePaola

    You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of "The Ezra Klein Show" at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein.

    Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.

    “The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Roge Karma and Jeff Geld; fact-checking by Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld.

  • On Jan. 28, I published a column that began like this: “I hope, in the end, that this article reads as alarmism. I hope that a year from now it’s a piece people point to as an overreaction.”

    Today, that column, thankfully, does look like alarmism. Cases fell, and kept falling, even in places beset by new variants. The U.S. vaccination effort accelerated. And there’s going to be vastly more vaccine supply in the coming months.

    Few emotions are as unnerving right now as hope. No one wants to permit themselves optimism, only to be crushed when death tolls rise. But the case for hope is strengthening. And there are important policy reasons to take that case seriously.

    Dr. Ashish Jha is a physician, leading health policy researcher and dean of the Brown University School of Public Health. He’s been one of the clearest and most thoughtful voices through this crisis. And he’s feeling hopeful, too.

    So I asked Jha on the show to guide us through these next months, to help us see what he’s seeing. Don’t get him, or me, wrong: This isn’t over. But in America, things are going to feel very, very different in 45 days, for reasons he explains. And then comes another question: How do we make sure the global end to this crisis comes soon after?

    A note: This episode was recorded before President Biden’s March 11 address directing states to make all adult Americans eligible to receive Covid vaccines by no later than May 1; however, the timeline Jha and I discuss here is just as ambitious and its implications are just as promising.

    This is one Covid discussion, finally, that is not going to leave you feeling in despair.

    Recommendations:

    LikeWar by P. W. Singer and Emerson T. BrookingThe Autobiography of Malcolm XThe Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

    You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of "The Ezra Klein Show" at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein.

    Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.

    “The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Roge Karma and Jeff Geld; fact-checking by Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld.

  • Dr. Nadine Burke Harris’s pioneering work on how childhood trauma shapes adult outcomes led to her being named the first surgeon general of California. That was in 2019. And then, of course, the novel coronavirus hit. The job of California’s surgeon general in 2020 was not what it was in 2019. But in some ways, Burke Harris’s expertise was more necessary than ever.

    This conversation is about the growing evidence that difficult experiences we face as children reverberate in our lives decades later. It’s profound research that should reshape how we think about social insurance, public morality and criminal justice. But it’s also a conversation about what the coronavirus has done to children — whether this year will be a trauma that marks a generation, and remakes their lives. How has it changed socialization for toddlers — like my 2-year-old son? What has it meant for children who can’t go to school, who watched their parents lose work or who had family members die alone in a hospital? How do we help them? How do we even understand what they’ve gone through, particularly when they can’t tell us?

    We also discuss the lessons California learned from the early difficulties in its vaccine rollout (“simplicity saves lives,” Burke Harris says), why we need to be investing a lot more in mental health therapeutics, the debate over universal child allowances, how to address racial and income disparities in vaccine distribution, the drivers of vaccine hesitancy in Black and brown communities, what a safe path to post-pandemic reopening would look like, why Covid-19 cases have been declining across the country, and much more.

    This is one of those conversations that will leave you looking at vast swaths of public policy differently. Don’t miss it.

    References:

    The Deepest Well: Healing the Long-Term Effects of Childhood Adversity by Nadine Burke Harris“Roadmap for Resilience: The California Surgeon General’s Report on Adverse Childhood Experiences, Toxic Stress, and Health”“Relationship of childhood abuse and household dysfunction to many of the leading causes of death in adults. The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study”“The prevalence of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) in the lives of juvenile offenders”“Adverse childhood experiences and the risk of premature mortality”

    Recommendations:

    Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers by Robert SapolskyThe Emotional Life of the Toddler by Alicia LiebermanThe Woman Behind the New Deal by Kirstin DowneyThe Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown

    You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of "The Ezra Klein Show" at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein.

    Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.

    “The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Roge Karma and Jeff Geld; fact-checking by Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld.