Episodes

  • It’s Pride Month, which means cities across the country will be having parades and other festivities, albeit scaled-down versions. In New York and several other cities, parade organizers have said uniformed police officers may not march as a group. Organizers say the move acknowledges that a Pride march isn’t just a celebration and that it began as a statement about police violence against L.G.B.T.Q. people at the Stonewall Inn.

    This week, Jane Coaston speaks to André Thomas, a co-chair of NYC Pride, which organizes the parade, and Brian Downey, a New York Police Department detective and the president of the Gay Officers Action League.

    Mentioned in this episode:

    The documentary “We Were Here” about the H.I.V./AIDS crisis in San FranciscoThe podcast “Making Gay History”The New York Daily News headline after the Stonewall uprisingThe New York Times video “Pride March in New York Protests Police Brutality” showing the Queer Liberation March that gathered in Washington Square Park in 2020
  • Just 12.5 percent of the world has been inoculated against Covid-19. To protect every country from the pandemic, regardless of economic level, there are many approaches global leaders could take. But they have to act fast. In this state of planetary emergency, should pharmaceutical companies that make vaccines be forced to break their patents? Is that the best or fastest way to get lower-income countries to catch up with vaccination rates? Weighing the pros and cons of a vaccine intellectual property waiver with Jane Coaston this week is Rachel Silverman, a policy fellow at the Center for Global Development, and Tahir Amin, a co-founder and co-executive director of I-MAK, the Initiative for Medicines, Access & Knowledge.

    Mentioned in this episode:

    Tahir Amin and Rohit Malpani’s article for STAT, “Covid-19 has exposed the limits of the pharmaceutical market model”The.Ink newsletter, “Of Patents and Power”Harvard Law Bill of Health blog, “The Covid-19 Vaccine Patent Waiver: The Wrong Tool for the Right Goal”The Economist, “Michelle McMurry-Heath on maintaining intellectual property amid Covid-19”Times Opinion Guest Essay, “The West Has Been Hoarding More Than Vaccines”
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  • The clock is ticking for President Biden. He’s got a choice to make: compromise with Republicans or forgo them to push his agenda through with fellow Democrats. He has emphasized bipartisanship, but we’re now just days away from his self-imposed deadline of Memorial Day to strike a deal with Republicans on his infrastructure package. While negotiations continue, the parties are deadlocked on the size of the bill. It’s perhaps not surprising, given that this month the Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, said that “100 percent of our focus is on stopping this new administration.”

    This week, host Jane Coaston is joined by two people who disagree on whether Biden’s push for bipartisanship is the right move. Jason Grumet is the founder and president of the Bipartisan Policy Center, and Aaron Belkin is the director of Take Back the Court, which advocates expanding the Supreme Court.

    Mentioned in this episode:

    The Times Opinion guest essay “You Don’t Actually Need to Reach Across the Aisle, Mr. Biden” by John Lawrence, a former chief of staff for the speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi

    The Bipartisan Policy Center’s infrastructure proposal “From Sea to Shining Sea: A Bold Bipartisan Plan to Rebuild American Infrastructure”

    Jane’s podcast recommendation “Impostors: The Spy”

  • Who would have guessed that a school of thought from the 1970s could cause controversy in a handful of states among politicians, on school boards and in college classrooms in 2021?

    Critical race theory originated as a way of examining racism within the structures of American society. But now, for some it is synonymous with school curriculums and workplace diversity training. It has also become the battleground for a new culture war between conservatives and liberals who disagree on how helpful or harmful these teachings are.

    This week, Jane Coaston talks to John McWhorter, a linguist at Columbia University who has written extensively on race and language, and Michelle Goldberg, an Opinion columnist at The New York Times.

    Mentioned in this episode:

    “Why the Right Loves Public School Culture Wars” and “The Campaign to Cancel Wokeness” by Michelle Goldberg in The New York Times.

    “How the N-Word Became Unsayable” by John McWhorter in The New York Times.

    “Critical Race Theory: An Introduction” by Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic, published in 2001.

    “Faces at the Bottom of the Well” by Derrick Bell, published in 1992.

  • The District of Columbia can almost taste statehood. Last month, House Democrats passed a bill that would make it the 51st state. This is the second time in history that such a legislation has been passed in the House. But it’s not only a question of representation: Making D.C. a state would add two probably Democratic senators and one Democratic representative, at a time when Democrats could use all the votes they can get. And Republicans aren’t willing to give in that easily.

    This week, we’re debating the future of D.C. and the trade-offs of potential statehood. Dan McLaughlin is senior writer for National Review and a former attorney. George Derek Musgrove is an associate professor of history at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and a co-author of “Chocolate City: A History of Race and Democracy in the Nation’s Capital.”

    Mentioned in this episode:

    “The District of Columbia Should Not Be a State,” by Dan McLaughlin in National Review

    “The 51st State America Needs,” by George Derek Musgrove and Chris Myers Asch in The New York Times

    “The 51st State?” on the “Today, Explained” podcast by Vox.

  • If you’re fully vaccinated, you might give President Biden an A-plus on his first 100 days. But how’s he doing on everything else?

    A president’s first 100 days are considered a major milestone. Franklin D. Roosevelt came out with legislation that became part of his New Deal. Lyndon B. Johnson started a war on poverty. In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and Donald Trump, what can we expect from the rest of Biden’s presidency?

    This week, Jane Coaston talks to two progressives who have different takeaways: Anand Giridharadas, author of The Ink newsletter and “Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World,” and Osita Nwanevu, writer at The New Republic.

    Mentioned in this episode:

    “Joe Biden Isn’t Close to Being a Historic President Yet,” by Osita Nwanevu in The New Republic.

    “Welcome to the New Progressive Era,” by Anand Giridharadas in The Atlantic.

  • Derek Chauvin has been found guilty of the murder of George Floyd. But whatever bittersweet feelings the rare outcome elicited were short-lived, since instances of police brutality compound almost daily. There’s no debate: Policing is broken in America. But how do we fix it?

    To answer that question, Jane brings together a round table to debate solutions ranging from modernizing training, stronger ties between police misconduct and financial culpability, and divesting from policing to invest in community-based services.

    Joining Jane is Randy Shrewsberry, a former police officer and the executive director of the Institute for Criminal Justice Training Reform; Rashawn Ray, a professor of sociology at the University of Maryland and a David M. Rubenstein fellow in governance studies at the Brookings Institution; and Ash-Lee Woodard Henderson, a leader in the Movement for Black Lives and the co-executive director of the Highlander Research and Education Center in Tennessee.

    Mentioned in this episode:

    The George Floyd Justice in Policing bill of 2021 and the Breathe Act proposalFrom The New York Times Magazine: “Police Reform Is Necessary. But How Do We Do It?”“Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America” by Jill Leovy
  • President Biden has set an ambitious goal for the United States to be carbon-neutral by 2050. Achieving it means weaning the country off fossil fuels and using more alternative energy sources like solar and wind. But environmentalists disagree about whether nuclear power should be part of the mix.

    Todd Larsen, executive co-director for consumer and corporate engagement at Green America and Meghan Claire Hammond, senior fellow at the Good Energy Collective, a policy research organization focusing on new nuclear technology, join Jane Coaston to debate whether nuclear power is worth the risks.

    And then the Times columnist Bret Stephens joins Jane to talk about why he thinks America needs a liberal party.

    Mentioned in this episode:

    “Why Nuclear Power Must Be Part of the Energy Solution,” by Richard Rhodes in Yale Environment 360.“I oversaw the U.S. nuclear power industry. Now I think it should be banned,” by Gregory Jaczko in The Washington PostThe TV mini-series “Chernobyl,” a depiction of the 1986 explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant“America Could Use a Liberal Party,” by Bret Stephens

    Share your arguments with us: We want to hear what you’re arguing about with your family, your friends and your frenemies. Leave us a voice mail message at (347) 915-4324. We may use excerpts from your audio in a future episode.

    You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of "The Argument" at nytimes.com/the-argument, and you can find Jane on Twitter @janecoaston.

    “The Argument” is produced by Phoebe Lett, Elisa Gutierrez and Vishakha Darbha and edited by Alison Bruzek and Paula Szuchman; fact-checking by Kate Sinclair; music and sound design by Isaac Jones.

  • The Supreme Court — and its post-Trump conservative majority — is currently deciding whether to take up a case that could be the final blow to Roe v. Wade. Overturning Roe, the 48-year-old decision protecting the right to an abortion in America, would leave abortion regulation up to the states. But some abortion opponents think that’s not far enough and are pushing the movement to change its focus to securing a 14th Amendment declaration of fetal personhood.

    Ross Douthat wrote about the diverging anti-abortion movement and why both factions are doomed to fail as long as the movement is shackled to a Republican Party that refuses to enact public policy to help struggling families. Michelle Goldberg wrote a response column to Ross’s, claiming his argument was a fallacy. To bring their dueling columns to life, Jane Coaston brought the two writers together to debate the future of abortion protection and restriction in America.

    Mentioned in this episode:

    Ross’s Sunday Review column “What Has the Pro-Life Movement Won?”Michelle’s responding column, “The Authoritarian Plan for a National Abortion Ban”John Finnis’s article in the Catholic journal “First Things,” “Abortion Is Unconstitutional”Emma Green’s article in “The Atlantic” “The Anti-Abortion-Rights Movement Prepares to Build a Post-Roe World”“Defenders of the Unborn” by Daniel K. Williams

    Share your arguments with us: We want to hear what you’re arguing about with your family, your friends and your frenemies. Leave us a voice mail message at (347) 915-4324. We may use excerpts from your audio in a future episode.

    You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of "The Argument" at nytimes.com/the-argument, and you can find Jane on Twitter @janecoaston.

    “The Argument” is produced by Phoebe Lett, Elisa Gutierrez and Vishakha Darbha and edited by Alison Bruzek and Paula Szuchman; fact-checking by Kate Sinclair; music and sound design by Isaac Jones.

  • More than 19 percent of Americans are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus and upward of 665 million vaccine doses have been administered worldwide. As these numbers continue to rise, countries have begun issuing or considering “vaccine passports.”

    Vaccine passports — proof through a phone app or on a piece of paper that you’ve had your shots — are a potential ticket to freedom for millions of vaccinated people around the world. Israel already has them. The European Union and China have also announced a version of them. In the United States, there’s talk about what such a certification might look like.

    But vaccine passports also raise huge ethical questions, with 85 percent of shots worldwide having been administered in wealthier countries. And with private tech companies working on creating these passports in the United States, there’s worry about the risks of sharing health records with third-party apps. Both Texas and Florida have prohibited government-mandated vaccine passports.

    On today’s episode, our guests debate the concept of a vaccine passport and discuss the ethical and privacy considerations that come along with them. Natalie Kofler is a molecular biologist and bioethicist at Harvard Medical School. Ramin Bastani is the founder and chief executive of Healthvana, a patient platform that delivers test results and is supplying vaccine passports. He says we should think of them more like an everyday health record. Then, we turn to listener voice mail messages as they share their thoughts on the reopening of schools.

    Mentioned in this episode:

    “Vaccine Passports Won’t Get us Out of the Pandemic,” in The Times.“Vaccinated Workers Are Getting Benefits That Those Without Covid Shots Won’t,” in Bloomberg, about vaccine passports in Israel.WBUR’s episode on the pros and cons of vaccine passports.

    Share your arguments with us: We want to hear what you’re arguing about with your family, your friends and your frenemies. Leave us a voice mail message at (347) 915-4324. We may use excerpts from your audio in a future episode.

    You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of "The Argument" at nytimes.com/the-argument, and you can find Jane on Twitter @janecoaston.

    “The Argument” is produced by Phoebe Lett, Elisa Gutierrez and Vishakha Darbha and edited by Alison Bruzek and Paula Szuchman; fact-checking by Kate Sinclair; music and sound design by Isaac Jones.

  • This month a gunman killed eight people at three Atlanta-area spas, including six women of Asian descent. Authorities say it’s too early to declare the attacks a hate crime.

    Forty-seven states and the District of Columbia have hate crime laws on the books, designed to add further penalties for perpetrators whose biases led to their crime. But the recent mass shooting has prompted the question of when a crime is called a hate crime and who decides.

    It’s also unclear whether charging someone with a hate crime is the best answer we have as a society for punishing people who commit these kinds of crimes. On this episode of “The Argument,” we discuss whether hate crime laws are working and what our other options are, with Kevin Nadal, professor of psychology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and Steven Freeman, vice president for civil rights at the Anti-Defamation League.

    Mentioned in this episode:

    Anti-Defamation League’s “Introduction to Hate Crime Laws”N.A.A.C.P.’s state-by-state database of hate crime lawsSarah Lustbader’s article “More Hate Crime Laws Would Not Have Prevented the Monsey Hannukkah Attack” in The Appeal.

    Share your arguments with us: We want to hear what you’re arguing about with your family, your friends and your frenemies. Leave us a voice mail message at (347) 915-4324. We may use excerpts from your audio in a future episode.

    You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of "The Argument" at nytimes.com/the-argument, and you can find Jane on Twitter @janecoaston.

    “The Argument” is produced by Phoebe Lett, Elisa Gutierrez and Vishakha Darbha and edited by Alison Bruzek and Paula Szuchman; fact-checking by Kate Sinclair; music and sound design by Isaac Jones.

  • Whether it’s Mr. Potato Head, Dr. Seuss or Roseanne, allegations of cancel culture seem to have a regular spot among the trending topics of the internet. Almost every other week, someone’s cancellation becomes the subject of prominent discussion on Twitter, Substack and cable news. Yet its exact meaning is up for debate. What counts as a cancellation? Who gets to decide?

    On today’s episode, we argue over what being canceled means and if it’s time to get rid of the idea entirely. Robby Soave, a senior editor for Reason, has been sounding the alarm about cancel culture. And he wrote a piece about our other guest, Will Wilkinson, titled “Cancel Culture Comes for Will Wilkinson.” Wilkinson was arguably canceled after he wrote a tweet that led to his firing from the Niskanen Center, where he was the vice president for research. But he thinks the label of cancel culture is misleading, even when it’s used in his defense.

    Mentioned in this episode:

    Read Will Wilkinson’s “Undefined Cancel Game” at his Substack.Robby Soave in Reason: “Cancel Culture Comes for Will Wilkinson”

    Share your arguments with us: We want to hear what you’re arguing about with your family, your friends and your frenemies. Leave us a voice mail message at (347) 915-4324. We may use excerpts from your audio in a future episode.

    You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of "The Argument" at nytimes.com/the-argument, and you can find Jane on Twitter @janecoaston.

    “The Argument” is produced by Phoebe Lett, Elisa Gutierrez and Vishakha Darbha and edited by Alison Bruzek and Paula Szuchman; fact-checking by Kate Sinclair; music and sound design by Isaac Jones.

  • The federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour hasn’t changed since 2009. Workers in 21 states make the federal floor, which can be even lower for people who make tips. And at $7.25 an hour, a person working full time with a dependent is making below the federal poverty line.

    States such as California, Florida, Illinois and Massachusetts have approved gradual minimum wage increases to reach $15 an hour — so is it time to do it at the federal level?

    On Wednesday 20 senators from both parties are set to meet to discuss whether to use their influence on minimum wage legislation.

    Economists have argued for years about the consequences of the hike, saying employers who bear the costs would be forced to lay off some of the very employees the minimum wage was intended to support. A report by the Congressional Budget Office on a proposal to see $15 by 2025 estimates the increase would move 900,000 people out of poverty — and at the same time cut 1.4 million jobs.

    On today’s episode, we debate the fight for $15 with two people who see things very differently. Saru Jayaraman is the president of One Fair Wage and the director of the Food Labor Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley. Jeffrey Miron is a senior lecturer in the department of economics at Harvard University and the director of economic studies at the Cato Institute.

    Mentioned in this episode:

    The Congressional Budget Office’s February 2021 report on the budgetary effects of the Raise the Wage Act of 2021.The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ April 2020 report “Characteristics of Minimum Wage Workers.”

    Share your arguments with us: We want to hear what you’re arguing about with your family, your friends and your frenemies. Leave us a voice mail message at (347) 915-4324. We may use excerpts from your audio in a future episode.

    You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of "The Argument" at nytimes.com/the-argument, and you can find Jane on Twitter @janecoaston.

    “The Argument” is produced by Phoebe Lett, Elisa Gutierrez and Vishakha Darbha and edited by Alison Bruzek and Paula Szuchman; fact-checking by Michelle Harris; music and sound design by Isaac Jones.

  • The problem of student loan debt has reached crisis proportions. As a college degree has grown increasingly necessary for economic mobility, so has the $1.7 trillion in student loan debt that Americans have taken on to access that opportunity. President Biden has put some debt cancellation on the table, but progressive Democrats are pushing him for more. So what is the fairest way to correct course?

    Astra Taylor — an author, a documentarian and a co-founder of the Debt Collective — dukes it out with Sandy Baum, an economist and a nonresident senior fellow at the Center on Education Data and Policy at the Urban Institute. While the activist and the economist agree that addressing the crisis requires dramatic measures, they disagree on how to get there.

    Is canceling everyone’s debt progressive policy, as Taylor contends? Or does it end up being a regressive measure, as Baum insists? Jane hears them both out. And she offers a royal history tour after Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry.

    Mentioned in this episode:

    Astra Taylor in The Nation: “The Case for Wide-Scale Debt Relief”Sandy Baum in Education Next: “Mass Debt Forgiveness Is Not a Progressive Idea”Astra Taylor’s documentary for The Intercept: “You Are Not a Loan”Sandy Baum for the Urban Institute: “Strengthening the Federal Role in the Federal-State Partnership for Funding Higher Education”Jane’s recommendation: Lucy Worsley’s three-episode mini-series “Secrets of the Six Wives”

    Share your arguments with us: We want to hear what you’re arguing about with your family, your friends and your frenemies. Leave us a voice mail message at (347) 915-4324. We may use excerpts from your audio in a future episode.

    You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of "The Argument" at nytimes.com/the-argument, and you can find Jane on Twitter @janecoaston.

    “The Argument” is produced by Phoebe Lett, Elisa Gutierrez and Vishakha Darbha and edited by Alison Bruzek and Paula Szuchman; fact-checking by Kate Sinclair; music and sound design by Isaac Jones.

  • 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.

    Mentioned in this episode:

    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.

    Share your arguments with us: We want to hear what you’re arguing about with your family, your friends and your frenemies. Leave us a voice mail message at (347) 915-4324. We may use excerpts from your audio in a future episode.

    You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of "The Argument" at nytimes.com/the-argument, and you can find Jane on Twitter @janecoaston.

    Special thanks to Shannon Busta.

    “The Argument” is produced by Phoebe Lett, Elisa Gutierrez and Vishakha Darbha and edited by Alison Bruzek; fact-checking by Kate Sinclair; music and sound design by Isaac Jones.

  • 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.

    Mentioned in this episode:

    Kevin D. Williamson in National Review on how filibusters are useful in a democracy.Ezra Klein on ending the filibuster, and in conversation with a former Senate staff member, Adam Jentleson, on that chamber becoming a legislative black hole.Heritage Action for America on rejecting efforts to abolish the legislative filibuster.Joe Coscarelli on Daft Punk’s breakup after 28 years and six Grammys.

    Share your arguments with us: We want to hear what you’re arguing about with your family, your friends and your frenemies. Leave us a voice mail message at (347) 915-4324. We may use excerpts from your audio in a future episode.

    You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of "The Argument" at nytimes.com/the-argument, and you can find Jane on Twitter @janecoaston.

    Special thanks to Viki Merrick and Shannon Busta.

    “The Argument” is produced by Elisa Gutierrez, Phoebe Lett and Vishakha Darbha and edited by Alison Bruzek; fact-checking by Kate Sinclair; music and sound design by Isaac Jones.

  • 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.

    Share your arguments with us: We want to hear what you’re arguing about with your family, your friends and your frenemies. Leave us a voice mail message at (347) 915-4324. We may use excerpts from your audio in a future episode.

    You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of "The Argument" at nytimes.com/the-argument, and you can find Jane on Twitter @janecoaston.

    “The Argument” is produced by Phoebe Lett, Elisa Gutierrez and Vishakha Darbha and edited by Alison Bruzek; fact-checking by Kate Sinclair; music and sound design by Isaac Jones.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.