Episode 256 · 3 months ago
Deadheads, Fishfreaks, and Federalism
ABOUT THIS EPISODE
Just as there are different Enlightenments, there are different nationalisms, too. In both cases, it’s important to see what points they all converge on. On this edition of the Ruminant, Jonah walks through the ways in which we’ve seen this all before – even in spite of how strange this moment feels. Confucius says: “Enjoy your weekend!”
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Episode 260 · 3 months ago
In true Remnant fashion, Jonah speaks to Seth Masket – a political scientist at the University of Denver – in an attempt to understand why so few people in American life actually get what they want out of their vote. In Seth’s new book, Learning from Loss, he traces the Democratic Party’s inability to come up with a coherent “autopsy” post-2016 as Republicans did post-2012 (which is not to say that the GOP actually followed its own advice; we wouldn’t have Trump if it did). There’s some debate punditry at the beginning, before Seth and Jonah swiftly move into the explanations that Democratic organizers and activists have developed for why Clinton lost to Trump. The primary explanations often focus on a contentious topic: identity politics. As Seth says, “Doing this research helped to remind me that all identity claims are essentially a construction,” but for something so artificial, they have a very outsized effect on our politics. While Seth and Jonah effectively take opposite sides on this issue, they generate much more light than heat, while also arriving at an answer to the fundamentally important question in 2020: For a party so concerned with diversity, how is it that the Dems ended up nominating a septuagenarian white guy?
Episode 259 · 3 months ago
Join Jonah on today’s episode of The Remnant with our first-time guest: CBS’s John Dickerson. The subjects included in John’s latest book, The Hardest Job in the World, will allow you to get a fix of incredible nerdiness about presidential history in equal proportion to your daily recommended dosage of rank punditry. Why is it that we’ve made the presidency, in John’s words “essentially an impossible job”? Another shock: Many of the parts of presidential decorum that we consider par for the course are actually pretty ahistorical, and John makes the case that this weird, patristic view of the presidency in which the Executive has to appear in person at every important going-on throughout the country actually erodes some of the prudential, quiet, considered principles meant to undergird the job. Oh, and there’s some mutual Wilson-bashing in store as well, which is always a bonus.
Episode 258 · 3 months ago
Jonah’s longtime friend Tevi Troy makes his second appearance on the program, this time to discuss not only the history of presidential debates, but also to share some info on how the sausage gets made from his time doing debate prep for George W. Bush. Beyond simply recounting some of the best zingers in the history of these debates (“The youth and inexperience of my opponent…” “You’re no Jack Kennedy.”), they discuss the degree to which these moments are actually staged, and how the pretzel-like overcomplicated logic of certain debate preppers actually contribute to their candidate looking pretty silly on national TV. Keeping this history in mind, Tevi also talks about what he’ll be looking for in the upcoming debates (both campaigns should be taking notes, honestly), and happily discovers that he has reached “Vin Cannato Equilibrium” in the canon of the REU (Remnant Extended Universe).
Episode 257 · 3 months ago
Fellow Dispatcher David French returns to the program on the publishing date of his new book, Divided We Fall: America’s Secession Threat and How to Restore Our Nation. If you’ve looked around at American politics over the last few years, and you’ve started to view the coastal states and the middle of the country as a bickering couple – wondering, “Why don’t they just break up already? – David’s book is for you. Jonah asks David to outline some of the scenarios by which a fracturing of the republic could happen, and works through the ways that America’s spirit could be successfully restored – all while avoiding an Articles of Confederation-style mess in which the country’s regions become too individually weak to do anything. Join for this enlightening discussion, and stick around until the end for characteristic rankness on Tenet, Amazon’s The Boys, and the mighty Dune.