The Mailbag Episode

For the final episode of 2020, Gabe answers your questions. He'll weigh in on questions about the Electoral College, ranked-choice voting, motivating young voters and more.

Why Transitions Matter

As the Trump administration blocks Joe Biden from kicking off his presidential transition, Gabe is joined by Martha Joynt Kumar, the director of the White House Transition Project, to explain what goes on in a presidential transition and why they matter. Gabe and Professor Kumar draw on past examples from history to show the potential consequences of Biden's delayed transition. Plus, St. Louis Public Radio's Jo Mannies offers her perspective on transitions and the early signs of what a Biden Administration might look like.

Election Night Viewer's Guide

Have you ever wondered how TV networks call the presidency on Election Night? In this episode, Gabe gets the inside scoop from Arnon Mishkin, the head of the Fox News Decision Desk. Arnon will explain how his team works to carefully project each state, even with the complicating factors of the 2020 race. Then, Gabe will talk to a fellow teenage election watcher, Niles Francis of Decision Desk HQ, who will offer a rundown of the key races to watch as returns roll in.

Who Actually Picks The President?

The Electoral College is one of the most controversial parts of the American political system. But it's also one of the least understood. In this episode, Gabe is joined by Professor Rob Alexander to explain why the Founders created the Electoral College, how it works in practice, and who the electors that compose it actually are.

Inside the "Judicial Wars"

How did Supreme Court confirmation battles become so toxic? Gabe is joined by Washington Post reporter Seung Min Kim and High School SCOTUS founder Anna Salvatore to explain the origins of the "judicial wars," where they might be headed next, and why it matters.

Presidential Debates Through the Decades

Gabe is joined by two debate experts — Alan Schroeder of Northeastern University and Ed Lee of Emory University — to dive into the history of presidential debates. They'll recap some of the best moments from the past six decades of televised debates and offer a preview of what to expect when Donald Trump and Joe Biden face off next week.

How Mail-in Voting Works

Gabe is joined by NPR's Miles Parks and Business Insider's Grace Panetta to break down mail-in voting in the 2020 election. They'll offer helpful tips to keep in mind when casting your ballot, and answer questions sent in by Wake Up To Politics listeners. For a handy guide to find the rules for voting in your state, see: https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/how-to-vote-2020/

The 26 Words That Created the Internet

Donald Trump and Twitter are sparring over what users can say on social media. But the fight is one that goes back decades, to the very dawn of the Internet. Gabe talks to Protocol reporter Issie Lapowsky about Section 230, a key provision granting social media companies immunity for posts on their platform. Then, veteran journalist Sanford Ungar places the battle over regulating social media in the broader context of America's long-running debate about free speech and the First Amendment.

How To Pick A VP

It's the question on everyone's mind right now: who will Joe Biden pick as his vice president? While unconventional promise made by Joe Biden and public campaigning by some contenders has shaken up his search, Biden is also following the tried-and-true vetting process that decades of presidential candidates have conducted before him. In this episode, we speak to vice presidential scholar Joel Goldstein and New York Times reporter Astead Herndon to gain insights into Biden's shortlist and the VP selection process throughout history.

The future of the two-party system

Is the two-party system on its last legs? Or is it too big to fail? In this episode of Wake Up To Politics, Gabe delves into the past and future of political parties in America. Lee Drutman, author of "Breaking the Two-Party Doom Loop: The Case for Multiparty Democracy in America," gives a history lesson in how we ended up with Democrats and Republicans, and why he believes American democracy would be healthier with a few more parties thrown in. Then, Politico's chief political correspondent, Tim Alberta, will offer insight into third-party candidates in 2020, and share how he sees the two-party system evolving in the coming years: perhaps not with more viable third parties, but with new parties forming inside the current ones.

Generation Pandemic

Studies have shown that the most important time for a person's political development is in their early years. So how is the coronavirus pandemic impacting young Americans — a cohort already distrustful of government and anxious for change — and what will it mean for their political identities going forward? In this episode of Wake Up To Politics, young listeners call in to share their thoughts about coming of age during COVID-19; then, TIME national correspondent Charlotte Alter helps put their comments into context with incisive analysis about the political lives of millennials and Generation Z.

Quarantine campaigning

How do you run a campaign for the presidency when your candidate and all your volunteers are stuck at home? In this episode of Wake Up To Politics, Gabe interviews representatives of both presidential campaigns — Trump spokeswoman Erin Perrine and Biden rapid response director Andrew Bates — to find out. They discuss how both campaigns have expanded their virtual efforts in light of the coronavirus and how they are responding to the unique challenges that the pandemic poses. These two aides might not see eye-to-eye on much: but they both agree it is an unprecedented time to seek the White House.

The mail-in election?

Coronavirus has quickly altered almost every facet of American life, and politics is no exception. In this episode of Wake Up To Politics, Gabe shares voice memos from listeners with questions and concerns about politics in the age of coronavirus. Plus, Vote at Home Institute CEO Amber McReynolds explains what voting-by-mail means and how much time states have to implement it.

Campaigning Through The Ages

It may feel as though technology and modern innovations have remade campaigning in recent years, but has politics truly changed? In this episode, Gabe interviews Professor Philip Freeman, an expert on ancient elections, to compare elections across the ages and share a story from an ancient Roman campaign that still has relevance to this day.

The Second Gilded Age of Politics

"There are two things that are important in politics," 19th-century Republican party boss Mark Hanna once said. "The first is money, and I can't remember the second." As accurate as that observation was 100 years ago, it rings even truer now. But conversations about money in politics can often be hard to follow. Gabe and Washington Post reporter Michelle Ye He Lee are here to help: In this episode, they share information on the history of regulating campaign finance, give definitions of key terms to know, and even offer some tips that will allow you to read campaign fundraising reports for yourself.

A user's guide to polls

Gabe breaks down the past and future of political polling, with some help from Steve Kornacki, national political correspondent at NBC News and Nathaniel Rakichm,elections analyst FiveThirtyEight. Together, they will offer some tips for consumers to interpret polls as they are released in this rapidly-changing election cycle.

Gerrymandering in the 21st Century

In this episode, Gabe talks to Professor Sam Wang of the Princeton Gerrymandering Project about how Democrats and Republicans gerrymander district maps for their political gain and what he's doing to try and stop it. They will trace the rise of partisan gerrymandering from the earliest days of the Republic to the sophisticated, high-tech methods being used by politicians today, and discuss how Professor Wang is attempting to use those same methods to undo America's political divisions.

How do the Iowa Caucuses work?

In this episode, Gabe talks to Iowa Public Radio reporter Clay Masters and Iowa State Auditor Rob Sand to break down how the Iowa caucuses work and how Iowa came to be a required stop on the road to the White House. Gabe and his guests will take you inside a caucus room, explain what's changed about the process in 2020, and discuss the future of the caucus system.

Introducing Wake Up To Politics, the podcast!

In partnership with St. Louis Public Radio, Gabe Fleisher is extending his popular Wake Up To Politics newsletter with a brand new podcast. From explaining election processes to a user guide for polling data, Gabe will break down complicated systems that shape what happens in the political arena every day. Episodes drop every other week starting Jan. 24, just in time for the Iowa Caucuses.