The Politics Guys

40 Episodes

By: The Politics Guys

Tired of liberals and conservatives screaming partisan talking points? We were, and so we created The Politics Guys as a sane and civil alternative. Each week, a liberal and a conservative talk *to*, not at each other, in an attempt to better understand the week in politics & policy. We're not about scoring cheap partisan points or preaching to the ideological choir. We reject the notion that people who see the world differently are either stupid or evil. Our mission is to promote a shared, evidence-based understanding of American politics and policy. We hope you'll join us.

Trump Indictment, Nashville School Shooting, Regulating A.I.
Yesterday at 10:22 PM

Mike welcomes a new co-host to the show: political scientist Ryan Teten. (Jay’s not going anywhere – he’s working on a special project for the podcast we hope to unveil sometime this spring.)

Mike & Ryan open with a discussion of Donald Trump’s indictment on charges related to hush money payments to porn actress Stormy Daniels. Neither Mike nor Ryan expect a conviction, and consider the wisdom of Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg seeking an indictment in the first place.

Next they turn to the tragic school shooting at the Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee and why...

The Constitution: Article I, Section 9, The Powers Denied States
Last Tuesday at 12:05 PM

Trey & Ken continue working through the U.S. Constitution working through the entirety of Article I, Section 9. This section of the constitution, coming immediately after the powers of Congress, outlines the limits on Congressional power.

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Trump Investigations, DeSantis, Xi Jinping & Vladimir Putin, TikTok, French Riots

Trey & Ken open discussing the major investigations into Trump, focusing on NY’s grand jury and recent developments in the crime and fraud exception for Trump lawyer Corcoran. Relatedly they discuss Ron DeSantis’ commentary on Trump. This leads to a discussion of the Republican primary. 

Next is a conversation about Xi Jinping and his visit to Russia and Vladimir Putin. Here Trey & Ken discuss the evolution of U.S. foreign policy in relation to China and how the hostility there has seemingly brought Russia and China closer.

Then the focus turns to the TikTok hearings with...

Willow Oil Project, DeSantis & Trump on Ukraine, American Happiness

Mike & Jay open this supporters’ midweek episode with a look at the Biden administration’s approval of the Willow oil project on Alaska’s North Slope. Mike isn’t crazy about it due to environmental concerns but feels that the administration probably couldn’t have legally halted the project. Jay agrees, but would like to see even more drilling, as he doesn’t entirely share Mike’s environmental concerns.

After that they turn to recent comments made by GOP presidential frontrunners Ron DeSantis and Donald Trump concerning Ukraine. Mike and Jay are both supporters of aiding Ukraine and find Trump...

SVB Failure & Socialism for the Rich, TikTok Ban

Mike & Jay open with an extended discussion of the recent failure of three banks, focusing on the largest of the three, Silicon Valley Bank. They discuss why depositors were made whole, banking regulation, and the importance of risk in capitalism.

After that they turn to the growing threat of a US ban of the hugely popular TikTok app due to national security concerns. Jay has his own concerns that this might run afoul of the 1st Amendment whereas Mike is less inclined to see a platform ban as restricting speech.

Mike’s Recommendation:


DeSantis v Disney, Newsom v Walgreens, CPAC, After School Satanists

Mike & Jay open this supporters’ midweek episode with a discussion of Ron DeSantis' continuing battle against "woke" Disney, as well as his efforts to rein in press freedom. They also look at California Governor Gavin Newsom's move to punish Walgreens for its policy on selling abortion drugs in states threatening lawsuits for doing so, what CPAC and recent polls say about the state of the GOP, and a public school district refusing to allow an After School Satan Club to meet on school grounds.

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Tucker Carlson, Biden’s Budget, Jobs Report & Child Labor

Mike & Jay open with a discussion of the use Fox News personality Tucker Carlson has made of the exclusive January 6th footage given to him by Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy. Carlson did exactly what Mike & Jay predicted he would on the show several weeks back – the guys discuss how much it potentially matters.

Next, they move to President Biden’s recently announced budget for FY 2024. Like most presidential budgets it’s more a political than a policy document, but it does give us some sense of what it says about the priorities of the Biden admini...

The Constitution: The Power to Tax and Spend

Trey & Ken continue their exploration of the constitution by exploring Article I, Section 8 and Article I, Section 9. What is the extent of Congress' spending power? What are its limits?

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Student Loan Forgiveness, Dominion Lawsuit, Scott Adams, COVID Lab Leak, Windsor Framework

Trey & Ken start the episode discussing student loan forgiveness and the Supreme Court. The pair discuss the major questions doctrine and disagree over the proper ruling. Next, they discuss the recent revelations from the Dominion lawsuit against Fox News. Following that is an extended conversation on Scott Adams’ comments on race. The pair do precisely what he asks: look at his actual claims and ask him to respond. After that it is a discussion about the Energy Department’s lab leak possibility and the pair close the show discussing the Windsor Framework.

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Are Google and Twitter Aiding Terrorists?, Parody & Qualified Immunity, America as the “Land of Opportunity”

Mike & Jay open this supporters exclusive midweek episode with a discussion of oral arguments in two recent Supreme Court cases in which it’s argued that the companies aided and abetted terrorist acts. The guys discuss whether Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act protects the companies from civil liability, and if they’re potentially guilty of violating antiterrorism laws by knowingly providing assistance to terrorist groups. After that, they turn to a domestically-focused case the Supreme Court declined to year about government retaliation for a parody site that embarrassed the Parma OH police department. Following that is the next in t...

Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine One Year Later, Kevin McCarthy & Tucker Carlson

Mike & Jay open the episode with an update on their segment from last week on candidate cognitive health in the wake of comments from Nikki Haley and Donald Trump this week. Following that is an extended discussion of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine one year in, and then a look at why Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy would give Fox News host Tucker Carlson exclusive access to thousands of hours of January 6th surveillance footage.

Mike’s Recommendation

We All Got COVID! (Except for Linus)  Nerf Herder

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Biden’s Balloons, Medicare & Social Security, Blue Slips, American Healthcare

Mike & Jay kick off this supporters’ midweek episode with a discussion of all of the unidentified aerial objects the United States has been shooting down of late. They follow that by considering the state of Medicare & Social Security and what should be done to put them on a sustainable footing, whether the Senate should eliminate the practice of allowing home state senators an effective veto on judicial nominations, and the greatness (or lack thereof) of American healthcare. 

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GA Grand Jury, Train Derailment, Cognitive Health of Elected Officials

Mike & Jay open the episode with a discussion of what we know about the conclusions reached by a special grand jury in Fulton County Georgia concerning election interference. It’s yet another win for those who say that the election wasn’t stolen, but it remains to be seen if Donald Trump’s efforts to “find” enough votes to give him Georgia will result in his being indicted.

Next, the Guys consider the train derailment in East Palestine, OH. Mike argues that the government response was fairly good and that railroads have actually been getting safer in recent yea...

Economist Bryan Caplan on Why You Shouldn’t be a Feminist

Mike talks with Bryan Caplan, Professor of Economics at George Mason University, prolific author, and blogger at Bet on It. He's the author of multiple books and essay collections - five of which we've previously discussed on the show. Today, they talk about Professor Caplan’s latest collection, Don't Be A Feminist: Essays on Genuine Justice.

Topics Mike & Bryan cover include:

- what it means to be a feminist

- underrepresentation of women in top political & business roles

- pay differentials between men and women

- sexism, objectification, and sexu...

The Constitution: Article I, Section 8 Necessary and Proper

In this midweek show Trey & Ken continue the journey through the U.S. Constitution by examining the necessary and proper clause of Article I, Section 8. Topics include

McCulloch v. MarylandConstitutional debates on the necessary and proper clauseModern court cases on the necessary and proper clause

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Biden's State of the Union, Post-Bruen Gun Regulations, Pennsylvania Special Elections, Spy Balloon Part 2

Trey & Ken open the episode with a discussion of Biden's State of the Union Address. Following that they move to recent federal gun law cases in the wake of the Bruen decision from the U.S. Supreme Court. Following that they consider the importance of the recent Pennsylvania special election putting Democrats in control of the House for the first time in 10 years. They conclude the episode with a revisiting of the Chinese spy balloon in wake of Thursday's hearings and the U.S.'s decision to shoot it down.

Trey’s Recommendation

Shrinking (AppleTV+)

Ousting Omar, Haley 2024, Chinese Solar Panels, American Greatness

In this supporters’ midweek episode, Mike & Jay discuss whether the party-line vote to remove Rep. Ilhan Omar was the right thing to do, Nikki Haley’s entry into the 2024 presidential race, if the Biden administration’s waiver allowing solar panels from four Asian countries into the US should be rescinded, and American economic power.

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Tyre Nichols & Policing, Bill Barr & John Durham, US & China

Mike & Jay open the episode with a discussion of the Tyre Nichols killing and what can be done to better hold police accountable and change the culture of policing. Following that they consider whether former Attorney General William Barr acted improperly in the Durham investigation of the FBI’s investigation into alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, and US relations with China in light of a new US / Philippines agreement and a Chinese balloon that violated US airspace this week.

Mike’s Recommendation

The Recruit (Netflix)

Jay’s Recommendation

Ice Cl...

Elie Honig on How The Powerful Evade Justice

Mike talks with former federal prosecutor and CNN Senior Legal Analyst Elie Honig about his just released book, Untouchable: How Powerful People Get Away With It.

Topics Mike & Elie Cover Include:

- the tactics powerful people use to avoid prosecution

- the legal strategies of Donald Trump and The Trump Organization

- using cutouts and innuendo to avoid direct responsibility

- how fear of reprisal helps to protect the powerful

- the use and abuse of presidential pardons

- the cases against Donald Trump and...

Alec Baldwin & The 5th Amendment, American Greatness

Mike & Jay open this supporters’ exclusive midweek episode with a discussion of the shooting on the Rust set, why Alec Baldwin waived his right to an attorney, and broader 5th amendment issues including false confessions and why police can lie to suspects and how some states are changing that, at least for minors.

In the full episode, the move on to their new midweek series on American greatness, with a look at how Americans feel about the greatness of the United States, what Mike & Jay think constitutes national greatness, and whether the US is the greatest country in...

Google Lawsuit, Tanks to Ukraine, NATO Expansion, Classified Documents

Mike & Jay open the episode with the Department of Justice’s lawsuit against Google for allegedly anticompetitive practices. They also discuss the nature of antitrust law, potential changes to search with the emergence of Microsoft-backed ChatGPT, and Paul Pelosi’s interestingly timed sell-off of his Google stock shortly before the DOJ suit was announced and Senator Josh Hawley’s PELOSI Act banning securities trading by members of Congress and their spouses.

Following that, they turn to foreign policy in a discussion of the implication of tanks to Ukraine, the probability of nuclear escalation by Putin, the likelihood of the...

The Constitution, Part IV

In an extended preview of this midweek supporters’ exclusive episode, Mike & Ken continue the series on the United States Constitution with a look at Article I, Sections 7 & 8, focusing on the legislative veto, Congress’ commerce power, and war powers.

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Dobbs Leak, Debt Ceiling, Ukraine Aid, Biden Documents, House Committees

Mike & Ken open with a discussion of the investigation into who leaked the Supreme Court’s draft opinion in the Dobbs case. While no leaker was found, Ken thinks the most likely suspect is Virginia Thomas, wife of Justice Clarence Thomas.

Next, they turn to the debt ceiling, with Mike arguing that, as always, it will be worked out before the United States defaults on its external debt. Ken doesn’t think so, and predicts a short period of default before hardline House Republicans blink in the face of serious economic consequences.

Following that is a lo...

Trouble at the FAA, Mike Gets to Talk Regulations!

Mike & Jay kick off this supporters’ exclusive episode with a look at the recent FAA NOTAM system outage and what it might say about government technology, using crises to the best possible effect, and conspiracy theories. After that they consider the FTC’s proposed ban on noncompete clauses and the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s call for public comment concerning the health hazards of gas stoves. (No, they’re not coming for your stove …. or at least not yet, as Jay would add.)

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The Many Investigations of Joe Biden

Mike & Jay open with a discussion of what we know so far about President Biden’s mishandling of classified documents and how this case compares to former President Donald Trump’s mishandling of classified documents. After that, they consider Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s pledge to remove three prominent Democrats from House committees, the prospects for the House Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government, and the House Oversight Committee’s Biden Family Investigation.

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Trump’s Taxes & The IRS, 2023 Predictions, GOP Lies, Enlarging the House

In this midweek supporters’ episode preview, Mike & Jay discuss Donald Trump’s tax returns and IRS authority, our political predictions for 2023, followed in the full episode by George Santos and the importance of lies in the Republican Party, and the crazy idea of enlarging the House of Representatives.

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Speaker McCarthy, Roberts’ Report, Biden’s Judges

In this first episode of 2023, Mike & Jay discuss the 15 rounds of voting required to elect Kevin McCarthy Speaker of the House, Chief Justice Roberts’ report on the federal judiciary and the MIA Supreme Court leak investigation, and the impact President Biden has had on the judicial branch two years into his term.

Mike’s Recommendation

Year of the Rabbit 

Jay’s Recommendation

Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage to the Antarctic. Alfred Lansing

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Judge Pierre Bergeron on State Courts, Criminal Sentencing, and Trial by Jury

Mike talks with Pierre Bergeron, a judge on Ohio’s 1st District Court of Appeals about judicial elections, state constitutional interpretation & abortion rights, the lack of good sentencing data & why it matters, and Judge Bergeron’s concerns about how few cases result in trials by jury.

Measures for Justice

How a Spreadsheet Could Change the Criminal Justice System. Pierre Bergeron and Michael Donnelly. The Atlantic, December 14, 2020.

The Missing American Jury. Suja Thomas

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Santos’ Lies, 1/6 Report, Trump’s Taxes, FY23 Budget, Zelensky, Immigration

Mike & Ken discuss the many lies of Rep-elect George Santos, the final report of the House January 6th Committee, whether the House Ways & Means committee should have released Donald Trump’s taxes and IRS audits of high-income taxpayers, important non-budget items in the recently passed federal budget, Ukrainian President Zelensky’s address to a joint session of Congress – minus a majority of House Republicans, and Texas Governor Greg Abbott busing migrants to Vice President Kamala Harris’ DC residence on Christmas Eve.

Ken’s Recommendation

Needles & Plastic: Flying Nun Records, 1981-1988. Matthew Goody 

Mike’s Recommendat...

Budget Deal, TikTok Bans, SBF / FTX and Campaign Finance

Mike & Jay open this episode with a discussion of the FY 2023 federal budget, followed by a look at the movement to ban TikTok in the United States, and close with the fall of Sam Bankman-Fried and the FTX crypto exchange, and what it says about our campaign finance system.

Mike’s Favorite Christmas Album

Mr. Hankey's Christmas Classics

Mike’s Top 5 Christmas Songs

#5 Tiny Tree Christmas. Ryan Miller

#4 Fairytale of New York. The Pogues

#3 All I Want for Christmas is You. Mariah Carey

#2 Swiss Colony Beef...

Griner, Sinema, GA Senate, Trump Legal Woes, DNC Primary Changes

This Mike & Ken episode features a discussion of the Brittney Griner Viktor Bout prisoner exchange, Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema’s announcement that she’s leaving the Democratic Party, the implications of Raphael Warnock’s victory over Herschel Walker in the Georgia Senate runoff, the 17 count conviction against the Trump Organization, independent counsel Jack Smith issuing subpoenas in his investigation of Trump, and the Democratic National Committee’s plan to upend the presidential primary system.

Ken’s Recommendation

Harvest Time

Mike’s Recommendation

Bullet Train

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Trump Special Master, Rail Strike, Student Loan Forgiveness, Sedition Convictions

Mike & Jay open the show by talking about the 11th Circuit reversing District Court Judge Aileen Cannon’s order for a special master in the Trump document seizure case. Mike sees it as a clear rebuke of Cannon’s ruling while Jay thinks it’s not quite that and believes that despite the ruling there’s some justification for what Judge Cannon did.

Next they discuss legislation imposing an agreement between freight rail workers and railroads. Jay is no fan of government imposed labor agreements but he feels that in this case it was both justified and reasonab...

Garland’s Special Counsel, Trump Tax Returns, MBS Immunity, Pot Legislation

This week, Kristin returns to the podcast! She and Mike start off by discussing Attorney General Merrick Garland’s appointment of Jack Smith as Special Counsel in the Trump investigations. They also unpack the Trump Tax Return saga, as well as the Biden Administration’s ruling that Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman has immunity in a civil lawsuit concerning the brutal torture and murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. They close with prospects for bipartisan cannabis legislation in the lame duck Congress in the form of the SAFE Banking and HOPE Acts.

Kristin’s Recommendations

The Sp...

Trump Special Counsel, Midterms & 2024, Same Sex Marriage, Biden & Xi

Mike & Ken kick off the episode with a brief discussion of a story that just broke as they were starting to record – Attorney General appointing a special counsel in the Trump case.

Following that, they look at the nearly final results of the 2022 midterms, discussing what each party might take away from the elections, and then look toward the 2024 presidential and congressional races.

Then they turn to legislation – the Senate’s same sex marriage bill, which is expected to pass with bipartisan support and be signed into law by President Biden.

They close the sh...

Midterms: Results, Reactions, Consequences, Ballot Issues

It’s all midterms on this episode, with Mike & Jay starting with the results and their reactions, thoughts on why the ‘fundamentals’ got it so wrong, how the polls (mostly) got it so right, the Georgia runoff election, how this affects the Trump / DeSantis battle for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, what both parties should take away from the midterms, and how ballot issues related to abortion, marijuana, and election law changes fared.

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Pelosi Attack, Affirmative Action, Trump’s Taxes, Twitter, Midterms

Mike & Jay open the show with a discussion of the response to the attack on Paul Pelosi, which sent the 82-year-old spouse of the Speaker of the House to the hospital with a fractured skull.

Next is a look at Supreme Court oral arguments in Students for Fair Admissions v Harvard. It seems likely that the Court will find racial preferences in college admissions unconstitutional, overturning its 2003 precedent in Grutter v. Bollinger.

Then the Guys turn to Chief Justice Roberts order preventing the House Ways and Means Committee from seeing Donald Trump’s tax returns. Th...

Robb Willer and Jan Voelkel on Strengthening American Democratic Attitudes

Trey talks with Robb Willer and Jan Voelkel about their research on the interventions that increase Americans' democratic attitudes.

Topics Trey, Robb, and Jan discuss include:

- What led to studying democratic attitudes?

- How can we decrease partisanship?

- What are antidemocratic behaviors?

- Democratic backsliding

- Relating to those who are not like us

Follow Robb Willer and Jan Voelkel on Twitter

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Fetterman & Oz, Midterms & Polling, Republicans & Ukraine

Mike & Jay open the episode with a discussion of the debate between Pennsylvania US Senate Candidates John Fetterman and Mehmet Oz. They agree that Fetterman’s performance was difficult to watch, though Mike suggests that Fetterman’s difficulty on the debate state doesn’t necessarily tell us that much about his ability to function as a United States Senator. Jay raises concerns about the Fetterman campaign deceiving voters and wonders whether the Democratic Party shouldn’t have replaced Fetterman as a candidate. He also suggests some parallels between Fetterman and Georgia US Senate Candidate Herschel Walker.

After that, th...

Truss Resignation, Russian and Iran, Senate Debates, Midterm Predictions, Lindsey Graham, Loan Forgiveness

Trey & Ken start the episode with Liz Truss and her 44 days as Prime Minster of the United Kingdom. They consider not only what led to this moment, but also what the probability is for her successor. This includes the possibility of Boris Johnson returning.

Next, they discuss both Putin’s use of martial law, his implementation of strikes on civilian targets in Ukraine, and the involvement of Iran. Ken believes Iranian behavior is solely due to the miscalculation of former President Trump, Trey believes it is more likely related to the inherent biases of authoritarianism.


1/6 Committee, Trump Documents, Danchenko & Durham

Mike & Jay kick off the episode with a discussion of the January 6th committee, including allegations that Trump knew he lost the election and chose to knowingly promote a false narrative as well as encourage the January 6th rioters. They also consider what the committee has accomplished overall, with Jay admitting that they ended up doing a better job than he expected. Jay predicts that Trump will be indicted for January 6th related charges, whereas Mike doesn’t think so. 

Next, they move into the latest in the Trump documents seized by the FBI. Both Mike & Jay agr...