Politics with Amy Walter Every Friday, Amy Walter brings you the trends in politics long before the national media picks up on them. Known as one of the smartest and most trusted journalists in Washington, D.C., Amy Walter is respected by politicians and pundits on all sides of the aisle. You may know Amy her from her work with Cook Political Report and the PBS NewsHour where she looks beyond the breaking news headlines for a deeper understanding of how Washington works, who's pulling the levers of power, and how it all impacts you.Politics with Amy Walter is a co-production of PRI and WNYC Radio in collaboration WGBH.
Politics with Amy Walter

Politics with Amy Walter

From WNYC Radio

Every Friday, Amy Walter brings you the trends in politics long before the national media picks up on them. Known as one of the smartest and most trusted journalists in Washington, D.C., Amy Walter is respected by politicians and pundits on all sides of the aisle. You may know Amy her from her work with Cook Political Report and the PBS NewsHour where she looks beyond the breaking news headlines for a deeper understanding of how Washington works, who's pulling the levers of power, and how it all impacts you.Politics with Amy Walter is a co-production of PRI and WNYC Radio in collaboration WGBH.

Most Recent Episodes

The Evolution of the Executive

Every president leaves their mark on the office of the presidency. The office of the presidency also leaves its mark on every person who holds it. This week, we broadcast from the Presidential Ideas Festival, hosted by the University of Virginia's Miller Center in Charlottesville. It's a three-day festival attended by presidential scholars, journalists, political junkies, as well as politicians and administration officials. We spent our time here talking to people who have worked closely with former presidents, on both sides of the aisle, to get their perspective on how the office changes those who serve, and on how those who served have changed the office. Guests: Barbara Perry, Professor and Director of Presidential Studies at the University of Virginia's Miller Center Andy Card, White House Chief of Staff during the George W. Bush administration Kathleen Sebelius, United States Secretary of Health and Human Services during the Barack Obama administration Karl Rove, Senior Advisor and Deputy Chief of Staff during the George W. Bush administration Susan Rice, U.S. National Security Advisor during the Barack Obama administration

Candidate Talk: Andrew Yang

It feels like every day someone new announces they are running for President. But Andrew Yang, the founder of the fellowship program for recent college graduates Venture for America, was one of the first to declare. If elected, he says he would implement a universal basic income, meaning that every American citizen over 18 years of age would get $1,000 a month. Amy Walter talks to him about how that would actually work, and how he would pay for it.

The Political Power of Teachers

It feels like every day someone new announces they are running for President. But Andrew Yang, the founder of the fellowship program for recent college graduates Venture for America, was one of the first to declare. If elected, he says he would implement a universal basic income, meaning that every American citizen over 18 years of age would get $1,000 a month. We speak to him about how that would actually work, and how he would pay for it. Also, the teachers' strikes across the country that began in 2018 are a sign that teachers' unions are stronger than ever. As the 2020 Democratic candidates compete for their support, they are laying out ambitious education proposals. Will this be the election that people vote on education? Or is this still largely viewed as a state issue, not a federal one? Guests: Andrew Yang, Democratic presidential candidate Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers Sarah Reckhow, Associate Professor of Political Science at Michigan State University Jeffrey Henig, Professor of Political Science at Teachers College, Columbia University Linda Tillman, Ph.D., Professor Emerita at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill

"The World's Most Exclusive Club"

In his 1957 book, Citadel, journalist William White refers to the Senate as "the world's most exclusive club." But for many high-profile Democrats, it's a club that seems to have gone out of style. In April, Stacey Abrams, the Democrat who narrowly lost the race for governor of Georgia in 2018, announced that she is not running for Senate. Joaquin Castro in Texas, Ambassador Susan Rice in Maine, Congresswoman Cindy Axne and former Governor Tom Vilsack of Iowa have all made the same decision. Then, there's the Democrats who have decided to run for president instead: John Hickenlooper, the former governor of Colorado, and Beto O'Rourke who rose to prominence in 2018 when he challenged Texas Senator Ted Cruz. What's going on here? Jennifer Duffy, a political analyst covering US Senate and Governor's races for the Cook Political Report, explains why for some Democrats the Senate seems to have lost its allure. Frances Lee, a political science professor at the University of Maryland, tells us how we got a Senate in the first place. Osita Nwanevu, a staff writer at the New Yorker covering politics and policy in Washington, D.C., and Logan Dobson, a Republican strategist and the former director of Data and Analytics for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, debate equal state representation in the U.S Senate. Alan Frumin, the Senate Parliamentarian from 1987 to 1995 and again from 2001 to 2012, answers questions from our listeners about Senate rules and procedures.

The Trump Administration Hopes "It's the Economy, Stupid" Holds True in 2020

"It's the economy, stupid." James Carville is the Democratic strategist who famously coined that, while working on Bill Clinton's presidential campaign in 1992. He meant people vote with their pocketbooks. In other words, when the economy is strong, the incumbent wins. That should be good news for the Trump administration because by many measures the economy is doing great. It grew at an unexpectedly high pace of 3 percent in the first-quarter of this year. The stock market is surging. Wages are up. Unemployment is down. Yet despite all this, the President's approval rating is still stuck in the low to mid-40s, putting the old cliche "it's the economy, stupid," to the test. Kevin Hassett, the Chairman of the President's Council of Economic Advisers, tells us that he expects the economic growth we have been seeing to continue this year at an even faster rate, and that's good news for Donald Trump's chances of re-election. Heather Long, Washington Post's economics correspondent, says the economy may be growing quickly, but there is one big problem: rising inequality. Plus, she brings us up to speed on Donald Trump's picks for the Federal Reserve. Denise Murray, a farmer in Wisconsin, talks to us about selling her dairy cows because their upkeep had gotten too expensive. Mike Gallagher, a Republican congressman representing the 8th district of Wisconsin, explains how the Trump administration's tariffs on steel and aluminum have impacted constituents like Murray, and ponders whether voters in the swing state will support the president again in 2020. Scott Clement, the polling director at the Washington Post, walks us through a new Washington-ABC poll that shows that most people feel that our economic system benefits those in power. And lastly, Lynn Vavreck, the co-author of Identity Crisis: The 2016 Presidential Campaign and the Battle for the Meaning of America, says actually, there may be some issues that are even more important to voters than the economy. Read Amy Walter's take here.

The Trump Administration Hopes "It's the Economy, Stupid" Holds True in 2020

"The X Factor": Will Joe Biden Reshape the Race?

Joe Biden officially announced that he is running for the nation's top job on Thursday. As candidate number 20, he is entering a historically crowded race. Does he have what it takes to stand out from the pack? We check in with two campaign reporters, Juana Summers from The Associated Press, and Annie Linskey from The Washington Post, who tell us about what voters seem to be looking for when trying to choose between the candidates. For our Biden digest, we turn to Mike Memoli, of NBC News, who has been following Biden's career on the national stage for over a decade. He explains what he thinks we can expect from Biden's third attempt to reach the highest office. Borys Krawczeniuk, of the Scranton Times-Tribune, gives us the view from Biden's hometown. And Aimee Allison, the founder of the political group She the People, says he has some serious obstacles to overcome if he wants to do well with black women voters. Plus, Bloomberg's Joshua Green has been out on the campaign trail trying to gauge where voters stand on the issue of impeachment. His verdict? They are pretty ambivalent. Amy's Final Take: After the 2016 election, the media was criticized for spending too much time in D.C. absorbed in our Twitter bubbles. Voters were telling us the story of the election, but we weren't listening to it. Three years later, the Washington, D.C. and Twitter echo chambers are obsessed with talk of "impeachment" and "Russia" yet that's not what voters or presidential candidates are talking about out in the states. My sense, from listening to voters and to the reporters who are on the ground covering them, is that Democratic voters are more pragmatic than prescriptive. The grassroots demand for Congress to start impeachment just doesn't seem to be there. Now, should Trump win re-election, I'd expect that pragmatism to give way to all out panic and push-back. That may change, but for now, we should take the lessons of 2016 to heart and stop trying to make the narrative fit neatly into a box we have already pre-built. The race for 2020 has a LONG way to go. The best way to understand where it's headed is to watch it unfold at its own pace, not the one being set by cable TV.

The Mueller Report is Not the End, It's Just the Beginning

It's been a long (almost) two years but the Special Counsel's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, possible coordination between the Trump Campaign and Russia, and obstruction of justice has reached its final culmination. The redacted report was released on Thursday. The end. Or is it just the beginning? Well, like a lot of things...it's both. Katie Benner, a Justice Department reporter at The New York Times, discusses the new and revealing pieces of the redacted Mueller report and if Robert Mueller did anything that sets precedent for the next special counsel. Nicholas Fandos, who covers Congress for the New York Times, brings us up to speed on the investigations that are being conducted by several congressional committees. Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi is the Democratic representative from Illinois's 8th congressional district. He also serves on two key congressional committees with their own investigations into President Donald Trump: The Committee on Oversight and Reform and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. We talk to him about how those investigations will or won't change now that we have the redacted Mueller report. For a conservative take on the redacted Mueller report, we speak to Noah Rothman, a political commentator, and editor at Commentary. Finally, what impact could the release of the redacted Mueller report have on Donald Trump and his presidency? We talk to Carrie Dann, a politics editor at NBC, who has been analyzing what impact the Mueller investigation has had on public opinion.

Candidate Talk: Cory Booker

On February 1st, the start of Black History month, New Jersey Senator Cory Booker announced he was running for president. Since then, he's been on the campaign trail and announced that he raised $5 million. This weekend, he makes his official hometown kick off of his Justice for all Tour in Newark and then heads immediately to Iowa. Amy Walter got the chance to sit down with Senator Booker to discuss his campaign, the legislation he's introduced in the Senate to form a commission to study the issue of reparations, and vision for the future. Reparations has come up a lot recently as the Democratic candidates have been asked to weigh in on the issue. Earlier this week, Senator Cory Booker announced that he would introduce legislation, "to form a commission for the study of reparation proposals for African-Americans." But the idea of reparations has a long history, Amy explores that with The Takeaway's Tanzina Vega. Plus, Amy talks to Rob O'Dell, from the Arizona Republic, about his two-year investigation with USA TODAY and the Center for Public Integrity. Over the past eight years, state lawmakers have introduced at least 10,000 bills that were written, almost entirely, by corporations, industry groups, or think tanks. O'Dell helped create the algorithm that led to this discovery, and he says these numbers are just the tip of the iceberg. To end the hour, Amy talks to Allison Anderman, the Managing Attorney at the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, about how lobbying works, in practice. In response to Allison Anderman's comments about what she calls "the corporate gun lobby," we reached out to The Second Amendment Foundation, and to the NRA. The Second Amendment Foundation statement: "The gun prohibition lobby falsely claims that gun manufacturers are in the driver's seat when it comes to lobbying for gun rights. The fight for Constitutional Carry, the right to exercise a constitutional right without a permit, is lead by grassroots activist gun owners on a state level. Twelve states have now passed Constitutional Carry and the gun ban lobby is losing this battle. As a result, they have come unglued and make many false and outrageous claims that are simply not true." - Alan Gottlieb, Founder Second Amendment Foundation The statement from the NRA: "It's understandable that gun control groups like the Giffords Law Center try to mislead the American public by calling NRA the corporate gun lobby, but that's false. The NRA represents more than 5 million dues-paying members and the tens of millions of law-abiding gun owners who want nothing more than the right to protect themselves, their families, and their homes. Gun control advocates like Anderman would rather strip people of their constitutionally protected rights and put you at the mercy of criminals who don't give a second thought to breaking in your homes and shooting you dead. We're proud of our success in championing legislation like constitutional carry because it recognizes the rights of law-abiding people to defend themselves in the manner they see fit. Again, it's another example of the gun control lobby trying to mislead the American public by saying constitutional carry allows anybody to carry a gun. That is a lie. It allows anyone who is legally allowed to posses a firearm to carry a firearm. They suggest it allows criminals to carry without a permit when that's just not the case. That's because gun control groups like these are largely composed of high-priced lobbyists and lawyers that are financed by a small handful of the country's elitist billionaires. They have no constituency, no grassroots appeal, and continue losing ground in state after state. The NRA is financed by membership dues and donations. Our constituents are every law-abiding gun owner in the country, our grassroots outreach is second to none, and we will continue defending the 2nd Amendment as long as there's a Constitution of the United States." - Lars Dalseide, NRA spokesman

Those Who Draw the Lines...Have the Power

On this week's Politics with Amy Walter: The fight over redistricting and who gets to wield the pen. "Slay the Dragon," chronicles the challenges to congressional maps in several states that have been accused of partisan gerrymandering including Michigan and Wisconsin. In Michigan, voters approved a ballot measure in 2018 to take map-drawing power out of the hands of the legislature and put it into the hands of an independent commission. The film also follows the legal team involved in Gill v. Whitford as that case from Wisconsin makes its way to the Supreme Court of the United States. Barak Goodman is the co-director of Slay the Dragon. The film will premiere later this month at The Tribeca Film Festival. Scott Walker was the governor of Wisconsin from 2011 to 2019. During his tenure, Republican lawmakers created new congressional districts which he then signed into law. Walker is now the Finance Chairman of The National Republican Redistricting Trust, but he's also been accused by critics of partisan gerrymandering. Amy Walter speaks to Walker about why he decided to continue to focus on an issue that has embroiled him in so much controversy. Eric Holder, the Attorney General under President Obama, recently wrote an editorial for The Washington Post in which he announced that he will not be running for president, and instead will focus his energies on the "fight to end gerrymandering." We talk to Holder about why he thinks this is a such an important issue for Democrats to combat right now. On March 26th, the Supreme Court of the United States heard oral arguments in this term's gerrymandering case. Amy Howe, the co-founder of SCOTUSblog, brings us up to speed on what happened and what to watch for.

Candidate Talk: Julián Castro

Julián Castro, the former United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and the former mayor of San Antonio, is now running for president. And even though currently he is polling at about 0 to 2 percent in most national polls, he expects that to change as soon voters get to know him. "I can't think of a single time in my life where I haven't been an underdog. What I am used to doing is working hard. You know, I am going to walk the walk, in the campaign, in my vision for the future, in working hard and knocking on doors, and getting to those town halls. And I think people will see by the end of it that I can defeat Donald Trump and win this nomination." Castro, whose grandmother immigrated to the United States from Mexico and then worked here as a maid and a cook, talks to Amy Walter about how he is used to upending people's expectations. Click on the 'Listen' button above to hear this segment. Don't have time to listen right now? Subscribe to our podcast via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts to take this segment with you on the go. Want to comment on this story? Share your thoughts on our Facebook page or Twitter.

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