Rank #1: The Political Football That is Washington Redskins Football
There might be no better example of “political football” than what the Washington Redskins are doing by working with Congress, the White House and the D.C. City Council to secure a new stadium in the capital. And that’s just one of the political issues facing professional football, says Brandon Wetherbee, managing editor of the culture website Brightest Young Things and host of the podcast You, Me, Them, Everybody.
Rank #2: Midterm Takeaways From the Duel in the Desert
Republican Debbie Lesko won a close House race in an Arizona district that is usually very friendly to her party. As the midterm election season continues to heat up, Political Theater looks at the takeaways from this duel in the desert with Roll Call Elections Analyst Nathan Gonzales and Senior Political Reporter Bridget Bowman.
Rank #3: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Unlikely Pop Icon
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a bona fide pop icon, perhaps strange territory for an 85-year-old, diminutive, reserved constitutional scholar. In the latest Political Theater podcast, filmmakers Betsy West and Julie Cohen speak about their documentary, “RBG,” including what it was like to be in the same theater when Ginsburg saw their movie at the Sundance Film Festival. The documentary opens in theaters on May 4.
Rank #4: Democrats Cashing In on 2018 Midterms
Midterm elections typically have lower voter turnout than presidential ones. If that turns out to be the case in 2018, it won't be because of a lack of cash or candidates. In short, the midterm cycle is awash in campaign money. Breaking down some of the gobsmacking amounts and what it means for the control of Congress are Roll Call political correspondents Simone Pathé and Bridget Bowman on the latest Political Theater podcast.
Rank #5: Kavanaugh Drama Provides Stage for Democrats
Senate Democrats are trying to make the most of the Supreme Court nomination hearing of Brett Kavanaugh looking to bolster support for the midterms and the 2020 presidential election. Leah Askarinam of Inside Elections tells us which Democrats are likely to gain from the strategy and whether it will affect Republican turnout.
Rank #6: As Minnesota Goes in the Midterms, So Goes the Nation?
Minnesota is suddenly the center of the political universe and voters there are more focused on health care and the economy than the latest scandal in Washington. And they'll have a lot to say in the midterms because the Land of 10,000 Lakes is hosting a governor's race, two Senate races and four competitive House races that will go a long way to determine the congressional majority next year. Roll Call Senior Political Reporter Simone Pathé spent six days covering six races and 12 candidates there and explains on this week’s Political Theater podcast why both Republicans and Democrats consider Minnesota a bellwether state.
Rank #7: Roger Ailes 'Was Never Sorry About Anything'
In her new film, director and producer Alexis Bloom examines the life of the late Republican Party kingmaker and controversial Fox News leader who, before his death, was forced out amid multiple sexual harassment allegations. "He was a heat over light kind of guy,'' Bloom tells Political Theater of Roger Ailes. "He dealt in psychological tropes very deftly. He was ruthless.'' Even conservative political commentator Glenn Beck, once a Fox host, is astonished by Ailes' confidence in his own political influence.
Rank #8: A Looming Warning From 'The Looming Tower'
HULU’s new mini-series “The Looming Tower” traces the rising threat of Al Qaeda in the runup to the 9/11 attacks and is adapted from Lawrence Wright’s Pulitzer Prize winning book. For today’s audience, the series shows eerie parallels to conflicts within our government that are dominating our politics today. Actor Jeff Daniels portrays plays FBI Special Agent in Charge John O'Neill, a counterterrorism specialist who sounds the alarm about the threat posed by Osama bin Laden and who was killed at the World Trade Center in the 9/11 attacks. “‘Looming Tower’ screams that we should be doing everything we can to be working together in a bipartisan effort to protect the people of this country,” he said.
Rank #9: Tending to the Congressional Mind, Body and Spirit
Members of Congress are the players we see on stage, but the production that is politics would go nowhere without the backstage people making up the staff — the chaplains, sergeants-at-arms, chiefs of staff and more who make sure the show goes on. Ed Pesce, the editor of CQ Senate and a former congressional staffer himself, talks about those dynamics.
Rank #10: Donald Trump and the Chamber of 2020 Rivals
When President Donald Trump delivers his State of the Union address to both chambers of Congress on Feb. 5, he will not be the only star of the night. The Democrats seeking to replace him — and there are many — could end up stealing the limelight, says Nathan Gonzales, publisher of Inside Elections and Roll Call’s elections analyst.
Rank #11: When Political ‘Dark Money’ Rode to Town
Filmmaker Kimberly Reed grew up in Montana with little anticipation her home state would be ground zero for a massive fight over money in politics. But her new documentary, “Dark Money,” tells a tale worthy of any Western, as lawmakers on both sides of the aisle fight for their own prerogatives in the face of out-of-state interests gunning for them. With the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, the high court’s role as the ultimate referee over money’s role in politics is back in focus. Reed and Campaign Legal Center founder Trevor Potter and CQ Roll Call campaign finance reporter Kate Ackley discuss the film, money in politics and the campaign landscape on this week’s Political Theater Podcast.
Rank #12: Keystone Races Now Set in Keystone State
Women were big winners in Tuesday's primaries as they are poised to change the midterm dynamics in states like Nebraska and Pennsylvania, explains Roll Call senior political reporter Bridget Bowman.
Rank #13: Left to Its Own Devices: Medical Tech, Congress and the Public
Director Kirby Dick and producer Amy Ziering discuss their documentary "The Bleeding Edge" about the medical device industry and its unknown dangers. The movie comes as Congress again considers repealing the tax on medical devices, says CQ health editor Rebecca Adams.
Rank #14: How Duncan Hunter Became the Hunted Over Campaign Cash
Pro tip: Don’t put in writing your complaints that your campaign treasurer won’t dish out petty cash for your personal use. That’s just one of the details outlined in the federal indictment against Rep. Duncan Hunter and his wife Margaret. They are in hot water over their alleged misuse of campaign finance funds, a pattern of using that cash for personal use, including for their kids’ tuition, family vacations and even dental work, and passing off purchases as charitable actions. The California Republican was already facing a potentially tough re-election race before the indictment hit on August 21. Roll Call’s Katherine Tully-McManus and Inside Election's Nathan Gonzales work through the legal and political ramifications on the latest Political Theater podcast.
Rank #15: A Peek at Congress
Roll Call photographers Tom Williams @pennstatetom and Bill Clark @billclarkphotos describe their time covering Congress and how they came to take some of the most iconic Hill photos, featured in the new book Under the Dome by Political Theater host Jason Dick.
Rank #16: The State of Lobbying is, Well, Pretty Darn Good
Last year, Julian Ha of Heidrick & Struggles said the swamp was “constipated,” as the lobbying world continued adjusting to the Trump administration and Congress. And now? Things are starting to flow again. Ha and CQ Roll Call lobbying reporter Kate Ackley discuss the state of lobbying, 2019 edition.
Rank #17: Congress for Newbies: Practical Advice From a Pro
“Decide what kind of member of Congress you want to be,” says Tom Davis, the former congressman from Virginia. “Voters see through phoniness pretty quickly.” Davis, who chaired the Republican campaign committee and House Oversight panel and currently plies his trade at Holland & Knight, has a reputation as one of most principled and savvy politicians around. He has a few pointers for new members of Congress. After all, there are rookie mistakes, and there are rookie mistakes on the national stage, with consequences for constituents — and maybe your next election.
Rank #18: Paul Ryan Departure Leaves GOP Spinning
Speaker Paul D. Ryan's announcement that he will not seek re-election once he finishes out his term has set off a scramble on several fronts including who will bring in the boatloads of cash that he raised for the GOP. CQ lobbying reporter Kate Ackley and Inside Elections' Nathan Gonzales explain.
Rank #19: What ‘The Front Runner’ Says About Today’s Politics
“The Front Runner” is not going to tell you how to feel about politics. The new film, starring Hugh Jackman and directed by Jason Reitman and co-written by him and Matt Bai and Jay Carson, tells the story of the short-lived 1988 presidential campaign of Sen. Gary Hart, D-Colo., who went from being the presumptive favorite to win the presidency to political oblivion within the span of a few days, felled by a scandal fueled by the senator’s extra-marital affair. “You could see the seeds of politics we’re dealing with now,” says Carson, a former Capitol Hill staffer. The central tenet of the film is that few people — the candidate, his staff and family, journalists, etc., — were prepared for what happened to Hart, and they made the best decisions they could at the time in what would help define the electoral and political process for years to come. “We’ve created a process that rewards a bit of shamelessness, that both attracts and rewards candidates that who will do anything to get or hold office,” Bai adds.
Rank #20: New York, I Love You But You're Bringing Joe Crowley Down
New York's Democratic primary has delivered the latest shock to the political system: the loss of House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joseph Crowley. Roll Call Elections Analyst Nathan Gonzales discusses how the results show the Democratic establishment just isn't what it used to be.