Political Breakdown Political Breakdown unpacks politics with a California perspective. Each week hosts Scott Shafer and Marisa Lagos examine the political intersection of California and the nation, from the inside out. Joined by reporters and other insiders involved in the craft of politics--including elected officials, candidates, pollsters, campaign managers, fundraisers, and other political players--Political Breakdown pulls back the curtain to offer a glimpse at how politics works today.
Political Breakdown

Political Breakdown

From KQED

Political Breakdown unpacks politics with a California perspective. Each week hosts Scott Shafer and Marisa Lagos examine the political intersection of California and the nation, from the inside out. Joined by reporters and other insiders involved in the craft of politics--including elected officials, candidates, pollsters, campaign managers, fundraisers, and other political players--Political Breakdown pulls back the curtain to offer a glimpse at how politics works today.

Most Recent Episodes

Dr. Bob Wachter on California's Coronavirus Curfew and Pandemic Leadership

Dr. Bob Wachter on California's Coronavirus Curfew and Pandemic Leadership

With cases of COVID-19 spiking across the state, the Newsom administration announces a curfew for counties with the highest rates of transmission. Dr. Bob Wachter, chair of the UCSF Department of Medicine, joins Marisa and Guy Marzorati to react to the announcement, and shares his thoughts on Governor Newsom's leadership, coronavirus response during the presidential transition, vaccine development and weighing joy and risk during the pandemic.

Dr. Bob Wachter on California's Coronavirus Curfew and Pandemic Leadership

Nikema Williams on Building Political Power in Georgia

Orange County maintains its status as a purple county, as Republicans appear likely to flip two Congressional seats while Democrats are poised to knock off two Republican state legislators. Marisa and Guy Marzorati discuss the latest Congressional results and how California's successful election could set the stage for future voting changes. Then, Congresswoman-elect Nikema Williams joins to discuss her relationship with the late Rep. John Lewis and how it feels to succeed him in the House, how Democrats built political power in Georgia and the effect of the national spotlight on the state's two U.S. Senate runoffs.

California Election Update: State Props and Down-Ballot Surprises

As vote counting continues in California and across the country, Scott and Marisa talk with KQED's Katie Orr and Politico's Carla Marinucci about the results of Calfornia's propositions, Congressional and state legislative races, early U.S. Senate speculation and some down-ballot surprises.

A (Virtual) Trip to Arizona with Janet Napolitano

With less than a week until Election Day, Marisa and Scott take a (virtual) trip to the bordering battleground state of Arizona. First, Arizona Republic editor Wyatt Buchanan joins to talk about the changing politics of the Grand Canyon State and how transplanted Californians are playing a role. Then, former Arizona governor and University of California president Janet Napolitano shares how she won statewide office as a Democrat, how Arizona has become a swing state and her thoughts on Proposition 16, the California ballot measure to end the ban on affirmative action.

Proposition 22 Update and Barbara Lee on the 2020 Campaign

With less than two weeks until Election Day, Scott and Marisa discuss the latest on the record-breaking Proposition 22 with KQED's Sam Harnett. Then, Oakland Congresswoman Barbara Lee joins to share her thoughts on Prop 22, her recent campaign trip to Arizona, Gov. Gavin Newsom's potential Senate pick and what she hopes to hear from Joe Biden in Thursday night's debate.

The Political Fight Over Voting with Dan Schnur

California's Republican Party defends its operation of unofficial vote-by-mail ballot drop boxes across the state in the face of potential legal action. Marisa and Scott are joined by KQED's Guy Marzorati to discuss the dispute and the politics of vote-by-mail in California. Then, UC Berkeley and USC professor Dan Schnur joins to talk about voting and whether California's Secretary of State should be nonpartisan. Finally, Scott and Marisa end the show with their thoughts on the performances of California Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris during the Supreme Court confirmation hearings of Judge Amy Coney Barrett.

VP Debate Recap and María Teresa Kumar on Turning Out Latinx Voters

Scott and Marisa analyze California Senator Kamala Harris' performance in Wednesday night's vice presidential debate, and KUER politics and government reporter Sonja Hutson joins from Salt Lake City to share her experience at the debate and discuss politics in the Beehive State. Then, María Teresa Kumar, President and CEO of Voto Latino shares what was missing from the debate, her journey into civic work, Latinx enthusiasm for Harris' addition to the Democratic ticket, and Voto Latino's voter registration campaign.

Tori Verber Salazar: The Central Valley District Attorney Pushing for Criminal Justice Reform

As California ballot measure campaigns heat up, CalMatters reporter Laurel Rosenhall joins Marisa and Scott to discuss her story about the ballot endorsements of Alice Huffman, the California NAACP President who is also a professional campaign consultant. Then, San Joaquin County District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar joins to discuss her family's law enforcement background, the barriers to reform among prosecutors, the new progressive Prosecutors Alliance of California, and her thoughts on Proposition 20.

Tori Verber Salazar: The Central Valley District Attorney Pushing for Criminal Justice Reform

Justice Goodwin Liu Shares Memories of Ruth Bader Ginsburg

President Trump nears a nomination for a successor to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Scott and Marisa preview the roles of California Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris in a potential confirmation hearing. They also discuss why so many Californians are undecided on key state ballot measures. Then, California Supreme Court Justice Goodwin Liu joins to share his memories of clerking for Ginsburg, his childhood as a first-generation American, the importance of diversity on the bench and the events that led to his appointment to the state Supreme Court.

Wade Crowfoot on Confronting President Trump over Climate Change

President Trump visits California as the state deals with a historic wildfire year. Marisa and Scott discuss the president's visit with Katie Orr, along with new polls on Proposition 15 and Proposition 16. Then, California Secretary for Natural Resources Wade Crowfoot shares the story behind his confrontation with the President over climate change and wildfires, the future of forest management in California, the Newsom administration's fracking policy and open streets during the pandemic.

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