In 2014, a group called Students for Fair Admissions filed a 120-page legal complaint against Harvard, alleging that Harvard systematically discriminates against Asian-Americans. On October 15, 2018, the trial began in a federal courthouse in Boston. If the plaintiffs win, the case could have far-reaching consequences for society and for American politics.

To help us get smarter about the issues at play in this case, we’re joined by John Yoo, Director of the Public Law & Policy Program at the University of California Law School. John graduated summa cum laude from Harvard College in 1989, and Yale Law School in 1992, so he’s no stranger to the admissions practices of elite universities. And, as he discusses in the podcast, he’s personal friends with the lawyers who filed the complaint.

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One of the most popular theories about Donald Trump’s victory in 2016 is that Trump appealed to an increasing number of Americans—especially white Americans without a college degree—with feelings of alienation and loneliness. In 2015, Princeton economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton published a landmark paper documenting a “marked increase” in deaths among middle-aged white Americans in the 21st century, at a time when mortality was decreasing for everyone else. Case and Deaton note that many of these deaths are being caused by substance abuse and suicide—what they call “deaths of despair.”

Are they right? Are we facing an epidemic of alienation and loneliness in America? And if we are, what can we do about it?

To help us answer these questions, today we’re joined by Scott Winship, who is one of the leading researchers on social mobility in America. Scott, a member of FREOPP’s brain trust, runs Senator Mike Lee’s Social Capital Project at the Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress. In May of 2017, Winship and Lee published an 81-page report entitled What We Do Together: The State of Associational Life in America.

Scott and I discuss the striking correlation between intact marriages and social capital; some of the surprising findings of his research (such as the correlation between Southern Baptism and low social capital); and how all of this relates to the debate in Washington about welfare reform.

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One of the most widely-made conservative arguments in favor of voting for Donald Trump in 2016 was his ability to nominate constitutionalist justices to the Supreme Court. This year, President Trump will get his chance to name the replacement for Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy, who is retiring. From a conservative point of view, it’s an opportunity to replace the Court’s swing vote with a more conservative one.

To talk about this important development, we’re joined by one of America’s foremost constitutional scholars, Randy Barnett. Barnett is the Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Legal Theory at the Georgetown University Law Center, and Director of the Georgetown Center for the Constitution.

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Senator Marco Rubio (R – FL) joined Avik Roy Thursday morning to kick off the AEI/Ricochet Podcast Summit. Among the topics covered are the future of the economy, the future of the Republican Party, confronting China and the challenges of the 21st Century.

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One of the core promises that President Trump made on the campaign trail was to fix the broken veterans’ health care system. In 2017, he nominated David Shulkin, a holdover from the Obama administration, to be his Veterans Affairs Secretary. But Shulkin spent most of his tenure opposing efforts to reform the VA, because reform, in his words, was an effort at “privatization…a political issue aimed at rewarding select people and companies with profits.”

Shulkin was let go in March of 2018, but Trump’s nominee to replace him—Rear Admiral Ronny Jackson—withdrew from consideration.

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When the campaign of then-Senator Barack Obama mined users’ Facebook feeds for information about how they might vote in 2008, Obama was praised as an innovator. But this spring, a firestorm of controversy enveloped Facebook, after the New York Times reported that Cambridge Analytica mined data from Facebook users to help elect Donald Trump.

So how should we define right or wrong in political campaigns in the age of social media? Is it our own fault that campaigns can exploit what we share with our friends and the world? What social media tools will presidential campaigns be using in 2020? And how is the internet changing the nature of politics itself?

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Paul Winfree, director of economic policy studies at the Heritage Foundation, left that post in January 2017 to take a senior policy position in the Trump White House. A year later, he’s back at Heritage, and—you guessed it—spending more time with his family.

On this episode of American Wonk, Paul talks freely about his year in the West Wing—about what the Trump White House is doing right, and where it can improve. He gives us a never-before-revealed account of the internal debates in the White House about whether or not to put forward a Presidential plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, and reflects on the failure of the administration to curb domestic spending.

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Today, we’re taking about President Trump’s new proposal on his signature issue: immigration reform. In January, Trump put forward a surprising new immigration plan, which would some expected things, like build a wall. But it would also provide a path to citizenship for nearly 2 million children brought here illegally by their parents: the so-called DACA children. It would eliminate the phenomenon of “anchor babies”—children born here to gain citizenship for their parents—and replace family-based chain migration with a merit-based system focused on economic skills.

The plan has been denounced by some on the left and the right, but it has also been praised in some unexpected quarters. Who’s right? To help us answer these questions, we turn to the most influential immigration scholar in America, Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies.

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Today, we’re taking a deep dive into the biggest policy controversy in the tech community: the impending vote by the Federal Communications Commission to abandon the Obama-era effort to regulate the internet, known as “net neutrality.”

What is “net neutrality?” Why has this highly technical topic aroused the passions of so many people in Silicon Valley? And can we trust the biggest corporations in America to keep the internet open and free?

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Today, our topic is the most important policy debate in America right now: the Republican effort to overhaul the Internal Revenue Code.

The House has passed its version of tax reform, and it’s now up to Senate Republicans to finish the job. Do they have the votes? What changes might be made to the bill to gain a majority? And at the end of the day, what will be the impact of all this on the U.S. economy?

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On this episode of American Wonk, our guest is Larry Kudlow: Contributing Editor at National Review, Senior Contributor at CNBC, and host of the “Larry Kudlow Show” on WABC.

Larry joins us to talk about three hot economic topics. First, we discuss President Trump’s upcoming appointment of a new chairman for the Federal Reserve. Why is the Federal Reserve important? What has the Fed gotten right or wrong since the financial crisis? And how does it affect your ability—and the government’s—to borrow money?

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Today, our topic is the struggling Republican effort to repeal and replace Obamacare. In late September, a handful of Senate Republicans announced that they wouldn’t support the Graham-Cassidy bill to repeal Obamacare’s expansion of health insurance coverage, and replace it with block grants to the states, using the same pot of money.

So where do we stand now? What is the path forward for Republicans on health care? To take stock of where we are, we’re joined by the leading health wonk in the U.S. Senate, Dr. Bill Cassidy, the senior senator from Louisiana. Among other things, we attempt to figure out why Jimmy Kimmel has suddenly decided that Bill Cassidy is a bad guy, after praising him earlier in the year.

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Today, our topic is the Republican plan—or plans plural—to overhaul the Internal Revenue Code. Some people think tax reform is easier than health care reform, but I’m not so sure. Congress hasn’t passed meaningful tax reform in more than 30 years.

So how should we reform the tax code? Are Congressional Republicans on the right track? And how likely are they to get it done?

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Today, our topic is the state of the Republican effort to repeal and replace Obamacare. We’re recording this podcast just after Congress has come back to Washington from the Fourth of July recess.

The Senate Republican health care bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017, is on thin ice, with about ten Republican Senators expressing reservations about the bill. Can Mitch McConnell get 50 senators to yes? What are the implications for the future of health care in America if he can—or can’t?

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On this month’s episode of American Wonk, our topic is: What the heck is going on between Donald Trump, James Comey, and Russia? Is there fire underneath all that smoke? Is the President in any kind of legal jeopardy?

To answer these questions, we needed to go to someone who could wonk out with us on both foreign policy and constitutional questions, and so we’re very fortunate to have John Yoo join the program.

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In our last episode, taped in March of 2017, we spoke to Zeke Emanuel, one of the architects of the Affordable Care Act. Today, we’re going to talk to one of the guys who has played a leading role in thinking about how to replace Obamacare: Lanhee Chen.

Lanhee is best known for his role in Mitt Romney’s two presidential campaigns—he was Romney’s director of domestic policy in 2008, and director of all policy in 2012. In 2016, he was a policy advisor to Marco Rubio.

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A lot of you have been waiting for us to talk health care at American Wonk. But we wanted to save it for a really special guest. And today, we have him. Zeke Emanuel, Vice Provost for Global Initiatives at the University of Pennsylvania, joins us. Zeke, as you know, was one of the key architects of the Affordable Care Act. You may also know that he has two famous brothers: Rahm Emanuel, the mayor of Chicago, and Ari Emanuel, the super-agent inspiration for “Entourage.”

Every day brings fresh news about developments on Capitol Hill with the American Health Care Act, the GOP’s attempt at repealing and replacing Obamacare. And we want this podcast to be useful for listeners even if they get to it a few days or weeks from now. So in this podcast, we focus on the big picture. Zeke has first-hand knowledge of how hard health care reform actually is. While you’ll find many things Zeke says to disagree with, he helps us think through the challenges Republicans face as they try their hand at health reform.

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Well, Month One of the Trump Presidency hasn’t been boring. There are so many things we could talk about, but on this episode of American Wonk, we focus on one story in particular: the appointment and subsequent ouster of retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn as U.S. National Security Advisor.

President Trump has a conspicuously more favorable view of Vladimir Putin than do most conservatives. And in a pro-Putin White House, Michael Flynn was perhaps the most pro-Putin guy of all.

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Presidential elections happen every four years. But presidential transitions don’t. The last time we had a Republican president replace a Democratic one was in 2001. To give us some historical context on presidential transitions, and to evaluate how Donald Trump’s transition is going, Avik Roy turns to Tevi Troy, who was the domestic policy director for Mitt Romney’s presidential transition effort in 2012.

Tevi is the author of several books about the presidency, most recently Shall We Wake The President? Two Centuries of Disaster Management From The Oval Office, and also the CEO of the American Health Policy Institute.

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In this episode of American Wonk, Avik Roy returns to the topic of the 2016 election with the guy who had it all figured out before anyone else: Sean Trende the Senior Elections Analyst at RealClearPolitics and author of The Lost Majority: Why the Future of Government is Up for Grabs and Who Will Take It. Sean also co-authored the 2014 edition of the Almanac of American Politics.

Sean discusses his controversial articles from four and three years ago: “The Case of the Missing White Voters,” and “The Case of the Missing White Voters, Revisited,” in which Sean noted that 6 to 7 million white voters who voted in 2008 didn’t show up in 2012. Most notably, those voters weren’t classic conservative voters, but rather blue-collar whites without college degrees in Rust Belt states like Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.

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