The Twitter Files, LGBTQ Legislation & The Definition Of Beer : The NPR Politics Podcast In this week's roundup, we explore the political implications of Elon Musk's ownership of Twitter alongside the release of information regarding the company's moderation policies, discuss legislation concerning the LGBTQ community that took effect in 2022, and contemplate just what beer actually is.

This episode: voting correspondent Miles Parks, disinformation correspondent Shannon Bond, correspondent Melissa Block, and senior political editor and correspondent Domenico Montanaro.

This episode was produced by Elena Moore and Casey Morell. It was edited by Eric McDaniel. Our executive producer is Muthoni Muturi. Research and fact-checking by Katherine Swartz.

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The Twitter Files, LGBTQ Legislation & The Definition Of Beer

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KATHLEEN: Hi. This is Kathleen (ph) in Washington, D.C. I've been looking forward to my volleyball team's championship game all week. Last night, we lost.




KATHLEEN: This podcast was recorded at...

PARKS: 12:07 p.m. on December 16, 2022.

KATHLEEN: Things may have changed by the time you hear this. But hopefully, we'll have practiced a little bit more. Enjoy the show.


MONTANARO: Well, Miles and I have been there.

PARKS: I was about to say that.


PARKS: I think - I still think of our softball team's title defeats.

MONTANARO: After our top ranking and then, you know, fizzling out in the playoffs.

PARKS: Yeah.

MONTANARO: Yes. But, you know, at least you got to the championship. You're staying healthy, staying fit.

PARKS: Yeah.

MONTANARO: And, you know, get them next season.

PARKS: Every day it gets easier.

MONTANARO: Yeah. Well, speak for some of you.

PARKS: (Laughter) Hey there. It's the NPR POLITICS PODCAST. I'm Miles Parks. I cover voting.

MONTANARO: I'm Domenico Montanaro, senior political editor and correspondent.

PARKS: And Shannon Bond from NPR's disinformation team is here with us. Hey, Shannon.


PARKS: And, Shannon, I am happy you are here because Twitter is on fire right now - or seems to be. I feel like every couple hours is a new development. Elon Musk has banned several journalists from the platform. It appears he is upset that they were reporting on a Twitter account that was publishing the location of his private jet. Shannon, can you just talk me through this saga and where we're at?

BOND: So first, Twitter also had suspended this account - this Elon jet account - that, as you said, was using publicly available data. I mean, the FAA tracks all flights - right? - including...

PARKS: Yeah.

BOND: ...Private planes. And then, yeah, he went this step further, which is he suspended several reporters, apparently for reporting about this account and, in some cases, posting links to this jet tracking. And, of course, that immediately raises alarm bells because, I mean, this is pretty fundamental reporting, right? I mean, this is talking about publicly available information.

Elon Musk's argument is that this is a form of dox'xing, that it's put his family in danger. You know, the reporters have really pushed back against that saying, look; dox'xing traditionally is the idea of, you know, revealing people's private information in a way to - say, their address or, you know, details about their family.

PARKS: But even beyond that - right? - I mean, the journalists who were suspended were reporting on the decision to suspend the account that was publishing this information...

BOND: (Laughter).

PARKS: ...Which - the news value there is, like, the richest man in the world making censorship decisions on the platform he just bought, which - I don't think anyone would really argue...

BOND: Right.

PARKS: ...That that censorship discussion is not really newsworthy. And I think that murky definition of transparency is kind of the biggest story for me as I'm trying to understand this whole Elon Musk Twitter thing because it kind of fits into...

BOND: (Laughter).

PARKS: ...The Twitter Files, which I, admittedly, Shannon, have not delved into...

BOND: Whew.

PARKS: ...Completely. But I'm hoping - you know, this is this saga where Elon Musk gave a bunch of internal documents and files from Twitter to Matt Taibbi and Bari Weiss and basically said, do with these what you will. Can you explain a little bit, as, you know, succinctly...

BOND: (Laughter).

PARKS: ...As possible, what's in the Twitter Files? What do we need to know about the Twitter Files?

BOND: Yeah. And I think to frame this, it's just - it's important to remember when Elon Musk bought Twitter, he said, you know, part of his reason was to restore free speech on the platform. He has described himself as a free speech absolutist. He thinks the company has been too heavy-handed with its rules around things that you can and can't say, with banning accounts like former President Donald Trump, this idea that it's just - it's been too restrictive and that, you know, Twitter is, as he describes it, you know, the public square. People should be able to share opinions, share contrasting views and - you know, and not face the idea of suspension or being permanently banned from the platform for doing that.

And so, you know, as part of his new ownership, you know, he's been very intent on criticizing the previous leaders at Twitter, and this is part of that. So, you know, these - the details that have been revealed in these documents, which, I say - these are emails and Slack chats mostly, showing Twitter leadership and rank-and-file employees, like, discussing some of these really high-profile things they did, including banning Donald Trump, including this decision which we'll get into to block sharing of a New York Post story about Hunter Biden that was drawn from his laptop. That was just before the 2020 election.

And it's been framed by Musk, as well as by Bari Weiss and Matt Taibbi, who have been reporting on this, as this - you know, showing this unaccountable group of people inside Twitter basically putting their thumbs on the scale in favor of liberal progressivism and Democrats with this idea that, you know, tech is full of liberals who are just out to suppress conservative thought. And the thing is, I think when you're looking through what has been posted publicly, we're not sort of seeing everything that they're seeing. They are posting limited, selected excerpts in these long Twitter threads sort of to make their point that they want to make about censorship.

PARKS: A lot of people are looking at the Twitter Files, saying, no, this shows this kind of broad conspiracy around the Hunter Biden laptop. Does it show that, Shannon?

BOND: I mean, what it shows - the specific conversations that have been published about what Twitter did when The New York Post published this story alleging shady business dealings by Hunter Biden in Ukraine, and it was based on what they said was his laptop. And, you know, there are immediately a lot of red flags being raised. As you say, everybody was on edge after 2016, when, you know, there were hacked emails that got leaked, you know, to harm Democrats and, you know, had been - you know, were sort of widely circulated on social networks. And so companies like Twitter were, like, really on alert that this was a possibility, that, you know, this similar type of thing could happen in 2020.

So October 2020, the New York Post publishes the story. It's based on what they say is Hunter Biden's laptop. They said they've got it from Rudy Giuliani and Steve Bannon. It's - like, the chain of custody is unclear. Nobody else has seen the actual documents. You know, it raises everybody's alarm bells.

And so what you see from the Twitter files is employees inside Twitter just being like, what do we do with this? Like, we can't - how do we verify this? You know, how do we know we're not being taken in, in a way? And they had - in part because of what had happened in 2016, Twitter had created this new policy around hacked materials, basically saying you can't share hacked materials. That policy, when it was announced, had created a lot of concern among journalists being like, look, you know, we get access to things - you know, to documents that might not be - you know, are not supposed to get out there. What does this mean for reporting?

And when Twitter decided to block users from sharing this New York Post story based on the laptop, you know, that - everybody freaked out. You know, certainly on the right, people were saying, what are you doing? This is a legitimate news outlet. How can you, you know, tell them - tell people they can't share this story? And I think you had a lot of other people saying, like, look, there are reasons to be skeptical about this, and, like, we're not sure when we haven't seen whether this is the real thing or not.

MONTANARO: Something I kind of want to ask about and get into a little bit because - when you hear from conservatives and when you monitor conservative media, when they see this, quote-unquote, "Twitter Files" story, they see it as something of an aha moment. You know, they're saying that this was proof that Twitter was suppressing the Hunter Biden laptop story when it could have helped Trump, that this is evidence that there was a conspiracy around that. And is it part of this bigger story of social media network bias? - and that the mainstream media is in on the conspiracy because we were slow or didn't report on the laptop, when the reality seems like it's something else.

BOND: And I think, you know, what's happened here is other media outlets, including NPR, you know, we have been hesitant in some cases to really dive into what does this all mean because we haven't seen the underlying material, right? We've only seen what's being presented publicly. And, you know, as - and we're all journalists. Like, we want to see, like, the firsthand sources, right? You want to hear it directly and understand, is there missing context here? What's in this information that is not being publicly reported?

PARKS: The 2024 presidential election is going to take place in this very messy environment. Shannon, lastly, I guess, can you look ahead and I - with the caveat that Twitter in a month, in two months, in six months, could look very different than it does right now.

BOND: Yeah.

PARKS: How does this current environment affect what campaigns and what a presidential election will look like?

BOND: I mean, I think this is the real concern here, right? So if you are generally worried about lack of transparency, lack of accountability, the idea that these powerful social networks, you know, have a lot of influence over the news environment, over, you know, our political conversations, over general public conversation, you know, it is troubling. We should demand more transparency. How are these decisions made?

Now that Elon Musk is in charge, you know, whatever you might have thought of Twitter's previous ownership - and I think they did get a lot of things wrong - you know, it does seem from what we've seen in the Twitter Files, you know, there - these were conversations that were happening. There were dissenting views. People were, like, you know, really, like, arguing and, you know, trying to sort out what are our principles and then how do we apply our principles.

As far as we can tell, we don't have any of that under Elon Musk. We have Elon Musk making decisions based on whatever it is that he wants to do. He is now, like, the king of Twitter, right? So he can say, you know, these journalists, they're gone. He can - you know, he can change the rules at any time and so far has not really been talking about what principles they're based on. He's talked a lot about free speech, but as we see with what's happened with journalists just, you know, in the past couple of days, you know, how committed is he to free speech, or what does free speech mean to him?

And, you know, I think what's also interesting here is his critique of the previous leadership of Twitter is that they, you know, were bending over backwards to help Democrats, that they were, you know, making these politically biased decisions. Yet Musk himself has openly embraced conservatives. He urged Twitter users to vote for Republicans in the midterms. And so, you know, what does that mean when we have somebody - like, kind of the single person making these decisions at the top of this company, you know, presumably - seemingly with not a lot of other input and who is doing it, I would argue, in a very openly partisan way?

That is going to make for a very different environment in 2024. Like, will Twitter have the same rules it had, you know, in previous elections around, you know, false claims of victory? You know, certain limits they put - they didn't - they had - they've banned political advertising entirely. Like, what things are going to change? Hard to know because impossible to predict what Elon Musk is going to do.

PARKS: Shannon, well, thank you so much for your reporting. We're going to circle back to you for Can't Let It Go. But right now, we're going to take a quick break.

And we're back with NPR's Melissa Block, who covers gender. Hey, Melissa.


PARKS: So President Biden signed a bill into law this week that enshrines some protections for same-sex and interracial marriages. Democrats advanced the legislation after activists worried that marriage equality could be the next precedent affected by the Supreme Court after Roe was overturned this past summer. And that's not a crazy fear, right, Melissa? I mean, LGBTQ issues have become a priority for the right, and a number of state legislatures are scheduled to take up new bills related to those issues next year. What can you tell us about that?

BLOCK: Yeah, and it would follow on a wave of legislation targeting LGBTQ rights that we've seen escalating over the past several years...

PARKS: Right.

BLOCK: ...Three-hundred forty pieces of legislation introduced in 23 states in 2022. That's tripled from just four years ago. And let's take one example that's gotten a lot of attention in Florida. Florida now has a law that was pushed by the Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, the Parental Rights in Education Act, which critics call the Don't Say Gay or Trans bill. And we saw a wave of copycat bills introduced in other states.

Also, at the federal level, we saw this fall, 32 Republican members of Congress introduce their own version, which they called the Stop the Sexualization of Children Act, and it would go even further beyond just schools. It would affect all facilities receiving federal funds, and it would target what the sponsors call sexually oriented programs. And if you read the fine print, what's swept up in that is any topic involving gender identity or sexual orientation or related subjects. Critics of it call it the Don't Say Gay bill on steroids.

Now, this wave of legislation that we've been seeing came up at the House committee hearing that I monitored this week. Its focus - it was focused on anti-LGBTQ violence and right-wing extremism. And I thought we could hear from one of the witnesses, Brandon Wolf, who is a survivor of the 2016 massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Florida. He's with the LGBTQ advocacy group Equality Florida.


BRANDON WOLF: Hundreds of bills have been filed in order to erase us. Powerful figures have insisted that the greatest threats this country face are a teacher with they/them pronouns or someone in a wig reading "Red Fish, Blue Fish."

BLOCK: And of course, he's referring there to the rise in rhetoric and violence against events that are featuring drag queens, including drag queen story hours, which has become the recent focus of a number of attacks.

PARKS: Right. So that's kind of the landscape for these so-called Don't Say Gay bills, these bills that...

BLOCK: Right.

PARKS: ...Kind of police the language around some of these issues. But what other kinds of bills are you following across the country?

BLOCK: Well, one of the big ones is bans on gender-affirming medical care, which includes puberty blockers or hormone treatments for transgender youth. We have seen Alabama and Arkansas both pass laws that prohibit care. In Alabama, it would actually be a felony to provide it. We've also seen, though, federal courts block those laws from going into effect, at least temporarily. Those challenges are ongoing.

And let's go back to Florida. We talked about it before. Florida became the first state to have its Board of Medicine move toward banning gender-affirming care for new patients under age 18. Now, that rule isn't final yet, but I've talked with sources in Florida who say that even though the rule is not in effect, major medical institutions in Florida have preemptively closed their gender programs or have stopped providing gender-affirming care to new patients who are minors precisely out of the fear of new rules that are still to come. And that's, you know, the chilling effect that advocates...

PARKS: Yeah.

BLOCK: ...Have warned about with all of this legislation. And Miles, I just want to mention one more state. That is Texas, which went a different route. They have a directive from the Republican governor, Greg Abbott, which orders parents and providers of gender-affirming care to be investigated for child abuse. And again, courts have also intervened in those cases.

One more thing to mention. One result of all of this attention on gender-affirming care to trans youth is that we have seen a rise in threats, including bomb threats, against hospitals that provide that care. At that House committee hearing that I mentioned this week, we heard from the president of the advocacy group Human Rights Campaign, Kelley Robinson, and she talked about what she called the onslaught of anti-LGBTQ legislation. And she said it's fueling threats and attacks.


KELLEY ROBINSON: When we allow these pieces of legislation to move forward that erase our communities, that dehumanize us, what it does is create a dangerous environment that does support and feed these seeds of hatred that exist in our world.

PARKS: Domenico, I wonder if you can bring some data to help us understand why this kind of rush of legislation is happening. 'Cause lawmakers are not just acting based on their own impulses, right? I mean, they're - what does the data tell us about how people in America feel about things like trans issues?

MONTANARO: Yeah. I mean, people are so in their own bubbles that sometimes it's really hard to see beyond them, and this seems to be one of those cultural touchstones that people on either side are sort of almost disgusted by how the other side feels on some of this. It's just very strong, passionate feelings on this. But a lot of Republicans know - and they used this during the 2022 campaign - not to great success in every place, but in some places they did - to be able to sort of use this as a cultural issue.

And what we've seen repeatedly - you know, just looking at the 2022 exit polls, for example, there was a question asked, are society's values on gender identity and sexual orientation have they - are they changing for the better, for the worse or not getting - not better or worse? Fifty percent said that they're changing for the worse - huge political divide. Eighty-seven percent of Democrats said that they're changing for the better. Seventy-eight percent of Republicans said they're changing for the worse. So you can see where that massive split is - you know, when we've seen in the NPR/Ipsos polling, for example, 63% opposed allowing transgender female student athletes to compete on women and girls' sports teams.

And all of these things can have nuance and can have some rational discussion around them. But once things get put into the sort of political spin machine, they turn very much into a black and white, either or, D-R issue. And it's very hard to find common ground for a lot of people.

BLOCK: One thing I would just toss in there, Domenico, in that NPR/Ipsos poll that you mentioned, if you look at how independents feel about these issues - and especially on questions of transgender care, medical care - they line up much more with Democrats on this. It's the Republicans who are way off in opposition. But independents, by and large, are siding with the Democrats, saying we do not support state laws that prevent trans youth from getting that care.

MONTANARO: And that's some of the granularity there. Because when we're talking about transgender sports, that's not the same as saying, you know, that you want to be able to take care of your child, something that's sort of isolated to the nuclear family.

PARKS: Melissa, what are we seeing on the sports issue? I know that's something that gets brought up over and over again. And we heard it in 2022 during the midterm cycle. Herschel Walker brought it up a number of times. What are we seeing across legislatures when it comes to trans participation in sports?

BLOCK: Yeah, there was a lot of money from right-wing groups that poured in to ad campaigns in the midterms on this question of whether transgender women and girls should compete on teams that align with their gender identity. Idaho was the first state in the country to ban trans women and girls from sports aligned with their gender identity. That was in 2020. And then we saw similar laws spread to about 17 other states.

Now, again, that Idaho law has been blocked in federal court. No decision on that yet. There's a temporary injunction. Courts have also blocked laws in states including West Virginia, Indiana, Utah. And it's worth noting that while there are hundreds of these bills, anti-LGBTQ rights bills, that have been proposed, introduced, it's a very small fraction that are actually signed into law. NPR did an analysis and found it was about 15% that have become law.

And again, federal courts have so far been skeptical of some of these laws, which is why we've seen that a number of them - like the medical care bans in Alabama and Arkansas, like the sports bans - they have been blocked, at least for now. Looking ahead though to 2023, LGBTQ rights groups do fear that there are a whole lot more such bills to come or administrative actions that basically do an end run around state legislatures that might not pass them.

PARKS: All right. Well, we are going to leave it there. I'm sure we're going to be tracking this over the next couple years, as it does seem like it's going to be a huge issue in a potential Republican primary leading up to 2024. NPR's Melissa Block, thank you so much for being with us.

BLOCK: Oh, thanks for having me. Happy holidays, everybody.

PARKS: Yeah, right back at you. We're going to take a quick break. And when we get back, it's time for Can't Let It Go.

And we're back. And it's time to end the show like we do every week with Can't Let It Go, the part of the show where we talk about the things from the week that we are just not ready to let go of, politics or otherwise. Domenico, you want to start?

MONTANARO: Sure. I mean, after this podcast, I feel like I maybe need a beer or a hard seltzer, which may also be considered beer, which - it's totally beer, right, Miles?

PARKS: Not beer - definitely not beer. If it says like, you know, Mandarin orange or raspberry on it, it is not beer.

MONTANARO: The point is here, you then would - I know where you would stand on a jury of your peers who would - are now going to have to define the definition of beer in New York because of a case that Modelo - which is, by the way, the parent company of Corona. I didn't know that. They brought a suit against a distributor in the United States, Constellation, who has an agreement with them to distribute beer. But they started to distribute Corona hard seltzer, which you may have seen popping up in your stores. And it's not part of the agreement, Modelo says.

So now, this group is claiming that beer is part of the agreement and the hard seltzer counts as beer. And the judge said, while you may have, as far as Modelo goes, the definitions on your side from the dictionaries, he's making the jury decide whether or not it's beer.

PARKS: Shannon, this is definitely not beer, right?

BOND: Well, is it malt liquor? 'Cause I feel like maybe that's beer adjacent.

PARKS: Our producer, Casey, is saying yes, that that is correct.

BOND: So, I mean, that's the thing. Like, going back to my college days, like, I feel like we kind of treated, like, a 40 like a beer. On the other hand, if you were saying to me right now, like, it doesn't seem like it - although a Corona-branded hard seltzer totally reads to me as beer.

MONTANARO: And the other question is, I wonder if clarity is a piece of this. Like, I've never had a Corona hard seltzer, but is it clear liquid...

BOND: Oh, that's a good question.

MONTANARO: ...Like the way seltzer would be? Or is it - you know, look more of that kind of orangey (ph), golden hue like a beer? I don't know.

PARKS: It just feels like a branding thing, where if it's on the package, it says it's beer, then it's beer. Like, I - they're not - it feels like on the package for the hard seltzer, is there - is the word beer anywhere? No.

MONTANARO: No. Well...

PARKS: So I - to me, it feels like - I don't know. I'm not sold. And if I was on the jury, you can tell which way I...


PARKS: ...Would lean.

MONTANARO: I think the wind is blowing in your direction. I think there was an earlier case that the distributor also lost.

BOND: Are they going to get to do a taste test?

MONTANARO: You know, I would mandate that if I was one of the jurors. I'd say, you know, we are...

PARKS: Blind taste test - is this beer?

MONTANARO: We are hung here, and we're going...

BOND: Yeah. Yeah.

MONTANARO: ...To need some taste tests.

BOND: (Inaudible) happy hour.

PARKS: Shannon, what can't you let go of?

BOND: I can't let go of the fact that Instagram has brought back the AOL Instant Messenger away message, and I'm extremely here for it. Do you guys know about this at all?

PARKS: No. Wait...


BOND: OK. So...

MONTANARO: AOL Instant Messenger still exists?

BOND: No. AOL Instant Messenger is dead. It does not exist.



BOND: But as...

MONTANARO: That I got excited about.

BOND: As you may recall, those of us in the heyday of AOL Instant Messenger loved to write ridiculous - or at least in my case, like, ridiculous emo song lyrics away messages, right?

PARKS: Yeah. All-American Rejects? Yeah.

BOND: Oh, totally.

PARKS: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

BOND: A hundred percent - Postal Service? And so Instagram, in its quest to constantly, like, recreate features from other apps and social networks, has finally done one that I love, which is they've created this new feature called Notes. If you - so if you go if you go to your messages section on Instagram...

PARKS: That's what that is.

BOND: It's kind of like the stories, but there's these, like, little row of bubbles across the top that are your - the people, your connections, your friends on Instagram. And you can put in a little 60-character text post. They're calling it Notes. It's kind of - I think it was weirdly initially framed as like, oh, this is like Twitter, but it's totally AOL Instant Messenger away messages. And I love it. My friends, I feel like, are totally embracing it, using it that way.

PARKS: I feel like there's this, like, whole brand of, like, capitalism right now that's very, like, millennial nostalgia.

BOND: Totally.

PARKS: And I feel like this, like, fits right in. Like, just going back to your Postal Service - Postal Service and the Death Cab for Cutie are doing like, a 20-year reunion tour...

BOND: Yes. Yes.

PARKS: And I'm like, everyone's just making money off my feelings.

BOND: Yeah.

PARKS: And that's not fair.

BOND: Modest Mouse just toured. It's - yeah.

PARKS: Exactly.

BOND: Yeah.

MONTANARO: That's called advertising. I mean, that's what it's done for...

PARKS: Yeah.

MONTANARO: ...All time, Miles...

PARKS: I guess that's true.

MONTANARO: ...Trying to get money out of you.

BOND: Have millennials finally, like, ejected baby boomers from being, like, the defining, like, generation...

MONTANARO: Yep, getting there.

BOND: ...For culture and consumerism? One can only hope.

MONTANARO: And for major purchases - I think that's - I think they're getting there. I mean, 25 to 54 is that ad range, right?

BOND: Totally.

MONTANARO: And millennials - the oldest millennials are 39 years old.

BOND: Yeah. I'm technically - I'm not even - so I'm an elder millennial slash, like, young Gen X. I'm like, an X-ennial (ph).

PARKS: You read millennial to me, though, Shannon. Yeah.

BOND: Thanks.

MONTANARO: I'm in the X-ennial, too. X-ennials are - we...

BOND: I think we're the best.

MONTANARO: I think there's a lot of positives about us.

BOND: I agree. I agree. Team X-ennial.

MONTANARO: So, Miles, what can't you let go of?

PARKS: The thing I can't let go of is the "White Lotus" finale, which I will not spoil. I've been told I'm not allowed to spoil it for people who are a week late...

MONTANARO: It looks good.

PARKS: ...On watching this show. But honestly, it's not even about the plot of the show or what happened in the finale. This is my, like - I feel like once a month, I come on here, and I give, like, a boomer take. And I feel my boomer take is we need episodic TV. Like, streaming is over, and I need once-a-week television.

And I watched the finale with two of my friends. We, like, made a whole plan. And I sat down, and we just had this experience. And I feel like watching a season finale all together when no one has any idea what's going to happen is still, like, the best thing in consuming any sort of media. That is, like, my favorite experience.

BOND: Appointment TV.

MONTANARO: Wow. You know, it made me think. We need a list of, like, the best and worst finales.

PARKS: Ooh. Eric Deggans, if you're listening, a season finale ranking - that would be amazing.

MONTANARO: It'd be pretty good. And we got to go back. You know, we're talking about nostalgia. I mean, you know, everyone goes to "Friends." People talk about "The Sopranos." I mean, I even - you know, I happen to like "The Golden Girls." And I remember that one.

PARKS: Yeah. I remember "The Sopranos." That - I was pretty young, but I watched that with my mom. I hadn't actually watched - probably - some people are going to like - be like, your mom let you watch "The Sopranos" when you were - I don't know how old I was - not old enough to be watching the finale of "The Sopranos." But that was like, my first moment of being like, whoa. Like, my mom was like, so - she was like, angry for, like, half an hour. And then she like - after an hour, she, like, came around on it and kind of liked it. And so that was, like, my first season finale, like, moment, I feel like.

BOND: I love it.

MONTANARO: Oh, so many feelings on that finale.

PARKS: All right. Well, we are going to leave it there. That is our finale for now.

BOND: We should just cut it off like that, like "Sopranos" style.

PARKS: Yeah, exactly. Yeah, boom. And then "Don't Stop Believing" starts playing. Yeah. All right, so let's leave it there for today. Shannon Bond, thank you so much for being with us.

BOND: Thanks for having me.

PARKS: Our executive producer is Muthoni Muturi. Our editor is Eric McDaniel. Our producers are Elena Moore and Casey Morell. Thanks to Brandon Carter, Lexie Schapitl, Juma Sei, Katherine Swartz and Krishnadev Calamur.

I'm Miles Parks. I cover voting.

MONTANARO: And I'm Domenico Montanaro, senior political editor and correspondent.

PARKS: And thank you for listening to THE NPR POLITICS PODCAST.


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