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

The Dobbs Arguments and Abortion Access in California

As the Supreme Court weighs a challenge to abortion rights established in the Roe v. Wade decision, Scott and Marisa talk to Katie Orr about the landscape of abortion access in California. Then, Jodi Hicks, CEO and President of Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California joins to discuss the oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson and the case's potential impact on California and the 2022 midterms.

Nancy Pelosi on 5 Images of Her Life and Career (at KQED Live, Pt. 2)

In the second part of their conversation with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on stage at KQED Live, Scott and Marisa get the Speaker's reaction to five images from her life and career: from meeting Senator John Kennedy and running for Congress to high-profile clashes with former president Donald Trump.

The Politics of Inflation with Lenny Mendonca

Marisa and Guy Marzorati discuss Rep. Jackie Speier's decision to retire from Congress and the tough decisions facing Governor Gavin Newsom and legislative Democrats despite a projected $31 billion budget windfall. Then, Lenny Mendonca, Newsom's former chief economic and business advisor and senior partner emeritus at McKinsey & Company joins to answer questions about the economy and its political fallout and the lessons he's sharing with business and political leaders from his battle with depression and anxiety.

Lamar Thorpe on His 'Blaxican' Roots and Antioch's Groundbreaking Apology

The California Citizen Redistricting Commission releases its first draft of the state's new political lines. Marisa and Guy Marzorati react to the proposal and criticisms of the line drawing process before discussing Governor Gavin Newsom's re-emergence and the latest local recall news in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Then, Antioch mayor Lamar Thorpe joins to discuss his childhood in a Mexican family, his political awakening, service in the Navy and his work on police reform and Antioch's groundbreaking apology for the past violence against the city's Chinese residents.

Lamar Thorpe on His 'Blaxican' Roots and Antioch's Groundbreaking Apology

Liane Randolph on COP26 and California's Local Air Quality Fight

Scott and Marisa discuss what the election results in Virginia and New Jersey mean for the midterms in California and pay tribute to Wilma Chan, the former state and local legislator who was killed on Wednesday. Then, Liane Randolph, chair of the California Air Resources Board, joins to discuss her upcoming trip to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (known as COP26) and how her agency plans to reduce emissions in California while protecting frontline communities from local pollution.

Gloria Romero on the Political Struggle Over Schools

Marisa and Guy Marzorati discuss the impact of new district maps and the Build Back Better agreement on next year's midterm races in California. Then, former Democratic state Senate Majority Leader Gloria Romero discusses why she supported Larry Elder in the recall, her critiques of teachers unions and school administrators, and her new book "Just Not That Likeable," about gender bias in the workplace.

Allan Zaremberg Reflects on Two Decades as California's Top Business Advocate

Scott and Marisa discuss Governor Gavin Newsom's push to ban new oil drilling near schools and homes, and the local recalls heading to the ballot in San Francisco and Shasta. Then, Allan Zaremberg, the president and CEO of the California Chamber of Commerce, joins to discuss his career working for two governors and representing business interests at the state capitol, before his planned retirement at year's end.

Allan Zaremberg Reflects on Two Decades as California's Top Business Advocate

Nancy Pelosi on Threats to Democracy and Tough Legislative Choices (at KQED Live)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi joins Marisa and Scott on stage at KQED Live to discuss the threats facing America's democracy, the Democrats voting rights agenda, her experience during the January 6th riots at the Capitol and the tough choices facing her caucus as they narrow their social policy and climate agenda.

Nancy Pelosi on Threats to Democracy and Tough Legislative Choices (at KQED Live)

Hannah-Beth Jackson on Oil Spill Politics and Boardroom Diversity

Democrats in Congress continue to negotiate social policy legislation, and Facebook comes under increasing scrutiny from both parties. Scott and Marisa discuss those developments and the politics of COVID mandates in California. Then, former state senator Hannah-Beth Jackson joins to discuss the response to the oil spill in Orange County and its political implications, the impact of the law she wrote to boost diversity in corporate boardrooms and her Little League activism.

Anna Eshoo on the 'Political Tightropes' Facing Democrats in Congress

Marisa and Scott discuss police reform legislation signed by Governor Gavin Newsom and an Assembly seat in San Francisco opened by David Chiu's appointment to serve as city attorney. Then, Democratic Congresswoman Anna Eshoo joins to discuss the vote to avoid a government shutdown and the path forward for the Democrats' agenda, the Kyrsten Sinema enigma, and her push to lower prescription drug prices.