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

What's In A Name? Why SF Election Officials Rejected Some Chinese Names for the Bilingual Ballot

For years, candidates for office in San Francisco have been allowed to include Chinese names to appear on bilingual ballots. But after complaints that some of those Chinese names are a little over the top, with Chinese characters symbolizing qualities like "virtue" or "power," local elections officials are cracking down. Scott is reporter Han Li, who has been covering this for the San Francisco Standard.

What's In A Name? Why SF Election Officials Rejected Some Chinese Names for the Bilingual Ballot

Newsom Sees Prop. 1 As A Chance to Finally Meet the Needs of Mentally Ill Californians

Days before the Super Tuesday primary, Governor Gavin Newsom joins Marisa Lagos and Scott Shafer to talk about his ballot measure to build mental health treatment facilities and how he thinks the state should be handling retail theft.

Newsom Sees Prop. 1 As A Chance to Finally Meet the Needs of Mentally Ill Californians

Adam Schiff Explains How Prosecuting a Russian Spy Prepared Him for Trump

Los Angeles Congressman Adam Schiff built his reputation in Washington as former President Trump's chief nemesis. Now he's hoping to parlay that role into a U.S. Senate seat. Scott and Marisa talk to Schiff about his support for Israel, his evolution from a tough-on-crime Democrat to now embracing reform and what he wants to do if elected.

Adam Schiff Explains How Prosecuting a Russian Spy Prepared Him for Trump

Why Democrats Fear Their Chance to Flip a House Seat Could Slip Away

Two of the most competitive House races in the U.S. are here in California's Central Valley, where two incumbent Republicans are locked in tight reelection races. Scott and Marisa are joined by KVPR's Joshua Yeager to analyze why the two districts are such a challenge for Democrats.

When Do Congressional Races Become Toss-Ups?

The Cook Political Report is the gold standard in covering campaigns. Its founder Charles Cook started it in 1984 to provide unbiased, nonpartisan analysis of every House and Senate race in the nation. One of the tools Cook developed is a shorthand for analyzing those races — a rating system that ranges from solid Republican to solid Democrat to "toss-ups," which are races that could go either way. On today's Political Breakdown, Scott chats with Cook about how analyzing political campaigns has changed, and his decision to step back and have Amy Walter be the lead face of the Cook Political Report.

Are Women to Blame If California Ends Up With 2 Male Senators?

For most of the last three decades, California had two female senators – Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer. But after the November election, there's a chance we'll have two men. Scott, Marisa and Guy are joined by Los Angeles Times reporter Benjamin Oreskes, who recently wrote about how women appear to be the reason why California's streak of female senators may be ending.

Katie Porter on Israel-Hamas War, Not Taking PAC Money and Her Expert Quilter Mother

Katie Porter won the Orange County House seat in 2018, flipping a Republican district blue. Now, the self-described "mini-van driving mom" is in a tight race for the U.S. Senate seat once held by Dianne Feinstein. Marisa and Scott chat with Congresswoman Porter about her Iowa roots, consumer advocacy and the key differences between herself and fellow Democrats Adam Schiff and Barbara Lee.

Katie Porter on Israel-Hamas War, Not Taking PAC Money and Her Expert Quilter Mother

Competitive SoCal House Races for Schiff, Porter Seats

While Orange County Congresswoman Katie Porter is in a tough race for the U.S. Senate, two Democrats vying to replace her in the House are engaged in a knockdown, drag-out race. Plus, 15 candidates are vying to replace Congressman Adam Schiff. Scott and Marisa chat with POLITICO's Melanie Mason about the most competitive congressional races in Southern California. We'll continue covering the California congressional races over the weeks leading up to Super Tuesday.

Homelessness, Mental Illness and Drug Addiction: Prop. 1 Takes Aim at All 3

Scott and Marisa Protests over the Israel-Hamas War continue dividing Democrats, with disagreement over what the Biden Administration should do. Scott and Marisa talk about what this means as President Biden visits California this week to fundraise. Then, Guy Marzorati joins Olivia Allen-Price, host of Bay Curious, to break down everything you need to know about Proposition 1. It's the only statewide ballot measure in the March primary, and it's meant to address homelessness, drug addiction and mental illness. Bay Curious Breaks Down Prop. 1 Transcript: Proposition 1 — Behavioral Health Funding

Homelessness, Mental Illness and Drug Addiction: Prop. 1 Takes Aim at All 3

Why Labor Won't Take No for an Answer in Sacramento

Scott, Marisa and Guy chat about the week's top stories in politics, including why labor won't take no for an answer in Sacramento and Democrats' big win in the New York special election to replace George Santos. Plus, is an intra-party primary squabble killing Democrats' chance to pick up a GOP House seat?