political-theater-podcast

These Democratic women don’t want to be ‘show ponies’
Political Theater: Episode 73

Democratic House freshmen banding together to help each other raise money to keep their seats in 2020 are, from left, Reps. Mikie Sherrill, Abigail Spanberger, Elissa Slotkin, and Chrissy Houlahan, along with Rep. Elaine Luria. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Five Democratic freshmen, all women with military or intelligence backgrounds, are banding together to help each other fundraise for their 2020 races. They all flipped Republican districts in 2018, and they know winning districts like theirs is the key to holding and expanding the House majority in 2020. 

After a few months in Congress, they’ve figured out who are the “workhorses” and who are the “show ponies,” in the words of Michigan Rep. Elissa Slotkin, and they’re tired of the latter getting all the attention. Along with Slotkin, Reps. Elaine Luria and Abigail Spanberger of Virginia, Mikie Sherrill of New Jersey and Chrissy Houlahan of Pennsylvania are fighting to hold the majority.

Movie night: The Catholic priest who shepherded civil rights
Political Theater bonus: Episode 72

The Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, center left, with Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil-rights protesters in the 1960s.(Courtesy O’Malley Creadon Productions)

A documentary about the late Notre Dame president Fr. Theodore Hesburgh, a real life “Forrest Gump” who challenged presidents and popes in the last half-century, resonates in today’s turbulent times, the director of the film tells CQ Magazine managing editor Mike Magner, who grew up hearing about Father Ted’s work and causes. The film, directed by Patrick Creadon, explores the challenges Father Ted faced with Republican and Democratic administrations in advancing civil rights. 

Show Notes:

Who’s afraid of political gerrymandering?
Political Theater Podcast, Episode 71

Anti-gerrymandering activists gather on the steps of the Supreme Court as justices prepare to hear the Benisek v. Lamone case on Wednesday, March 28, 2018. The case challenged Maryland's 2012 Congressional redistricting. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Political gerrymandering is losing friends fast, at least in the courts. Ohio and Michigan recently got smacked by federal judges for rigging the maps in favor of Republicans. At the same time, the Supreme Court could decide next month whether Maryland and North Carolina drew unconstitutional gerrymandered maps to favor Democrats and Republicans, respectively.  Why all the interest all of a sudden in such an esoteric part of politics? CQ Roll Call campaign reporters Simone Pathé and Stephanie Akin are our guides through the maze of maps on the latest Political Theater podcast. 

Movie Night: “Hail Satan?”
Political Theater Bonus, Episode 70

Penny Lane, director of the documentary film "Hail Satan?" is interviewed for an episode of the Political Theater podcast in the CQ Roll Call podcast studio in Washington, D.C., on April 17, 2019 (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call).

No holds Barr as Democrats grill attorney general
Political Theater, Episode 69

Sens. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Kamala Harris, D-Calif., both candidates for the 2020 presidential race, got their chance to question Attorney General William Barr about the Mueller report. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Movie Night: “Knock Down the House”
Political Theater Bonus: Episode 68

Political Theater host Jason Dick discusses the documentary "Knock Down the House" with director Rachel Lears, middle, and Amy Vilela. (Nathan Ouellette/CQ Roll Call)

Why a crowded 2020 ‘knife fight’ is good for Democrats
Political Theater, Episode 67

Former Vice President Joe Biden, right, and Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., left, (seen here at a swearing-in ceremony in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, January 03, 2017, with Harris' husband Douglas Emhoff) are vying for the Democratic presidential nomination. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrats continue to throw their hats into the 2020 presidential race, and veteran strategist Rodell Mollineau thinks that’s a healthy way to work out the party’s message during a “once in a generation time” for them. “I’m all for this,” he says. Mollineau, a founder of American Bridge and Rokk Solutions, and previously a staffer for Senate majority leaders Tom Daschle and Harry Reid, discusses with Jason Dick and Nathan Gonzales the burgeoning field, what an ideal ticket would look like and learning from 2016’s mistakes.

When Fritz Hollings ‘made the turn’ as a Southern politician
Political Theater Podcast, Episode 66

Ernest "Fritz" Hollings, then-governor of South Carolina, campaigns with John Kennedy during the 1960 presidential campaign and helped JFK win South Carolina and six other southern states. Before he left office, Hollings would reverse himself on segregation and call for integration. He went on to serve in the Senate from 1966 until 2005. (CQ Roll Call file photo).

Before the late Sen. Ernest “Fritz” Hollings was elected to what would become a distinguished congressional career, the South Carolina Democrat reversed himself on the defining issue in Southern politics: segregation. 

Running for governor in 1958, Hollings opposed integration, a keystone battle in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision desegregating public schools. But by the end of his term, he said it was time for the South to change, taking a step out of line with many of his Democratic colleagues in the region. 

Why ‘Queer Eye’ stormed Capitol Hill
Political Theater Podcast, Episode 65

Jonathan Van Ness from the Netflix series ‘Queer Eye,’ takes a selfie with a fan in the Capitol after meeting with Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on Thursday, April 4, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Washington might be Hollywood for ugly people, but every once in a while Hollywood pretties the place up. That was certainly the case when the cast of “Queer Eye” came to the Capitol to advocate for the Equality Act, to the delight of many staffers, members and tourists. Jennifer Shutt discusses how the celebrity advocates used their powers for policy purposes. 

Dear senators: More conflict please

Maybe a little MORE conflict is what the Senate needs to get out of its funk. (Laura Patterson/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate pushed the nuclear option, again, to change its rules so judicial and executive nominees are subject to less debate. With a debate that featured Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell delivering such eloquent bon mots as “He started it!” at Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, it’s fair to ask what it will take to restore the chamber to a place that looks like it’s populated with adults. 

“Ironically, I think it’s going to take more conflict,” says James Wallner, a senior fellow at the R Street Institute, former Senate aide and all-around procedural badass.