On Tuesday, Joe Biden tapped Kamala Harris as his running mate. But let’s be honest—we all saw this coming. As we wrote in The Morning Dispatch today, “D.C. conventional wisdom had Sen. Kamala Harris pegged as Joe Biden’s likeliest choice for months.” Despite Harris’ numerous attacks on Biden over his busing record and relationship with segregationist senators —not to mention her dicey criminal record as a prosecutor in California—she checks a lot of boxes. She’s a senator in one of the country’s biggest states, she’s the daughter of Jamaican and Indian immigrants, and she has experience running her own presidential campaign (albeit a failed one).

“When she was running for president, it was pretty obvious she didn’t know what she was running for,” David says on today’s episode. “But now as a good lawyer she sort of has a client, and the client is the guy at the top of the ticket and the Democratic platform, and that will unleash some of her better skills.” Today, Declan joins The Dispatch Podcast for some punditry on what Biden’s VP pick means for the future of the Democratic Party, a deep dive into foreign election meddling, and a much-needed update on the status of sports during the pandemic.

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Last week, President Trump experienced one of the most challenging interviews of his presidency when he sat down with Jonathan Swan from Axios. Swan asked some tough follow-up questions, and Trump’s responses demonstrated that he is not used to this level of pushback. What’s more, the interview highlighted the fact that the White House’s media strategy revolves around reassuring the president rather than getting the facts straight.

The gang breaks down the interview and Trump’s answers on the latest podcast. According to Jonah, the videography of the interview was also damning for Trump: “It was sort of like one of these twenty-something consultants from McKinsey going and interviewing the paper mill owner who still uses the fax machine.” If he knew what he was walking into, why did Trump agree to this interview in the first place? Our hosts have some theories.

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As our colleague Jonah Goldberg always says, the parties have never been weaker than they are right now. Democratic political strategist Joe Trippi joins Sarah and Steve today on The Dispatch Podcast to discuss how parties no longer have the power to push out irrelevant, personality driven candidates from the establishment. According to Trippi, this phenomenon is here to stay: “You’re going to have 20 or 30 people in both parties running from now on,” he tells Steve and Sarah. Political outsiders now see throwing their hat in the ring as a win-win situation, because “the worst thing that happens to you if you lose is you get a TV show or you can sell books.”

As we approach November 3rd, Joe Trippi believes that Trump allows Democrats to speak to both sides of the aisle, meaning unenthused progressives and politically homeless Republicans. Speaking for progressives, Trippi tells Sarah and Steve “He both inflames our base to turn out and he’s making it possible to reach Republican voters that we could never have hoped to reach.” Check out today’s podcast to hear Joe, Steve and Sarah discuss campaign mechanics, including the Biden veepstakes and both presidential candidates’ fundraising efforts.

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This morning, Trump told Jonathan Swan from Axios that he has never confronted Vladimir Putin about Russian bounties that were paid to the Taliban to kill American troops, partly because the president doesn’t believe it happened in the first place. But we know from several credible intelligence reports that the president was briefed on the Russian bounties months ago. On today’s episode, Steve reminds us, “It’s been weeks since this was first reported, it’s been months since this was first briefed, and the president of the United States is officially silent on the fact that Russians are trying to kill our troops in Afghanistan.”

In other news, a fledgling theory has taken hold among Trump’s staunchest acolytes: that the president is falling behind in the polls because cancel culture has made MAGA supporters afraid to publicly profess their support for the president. But are there enough SMAGA supporters to sufficiently account for Biden’s double digit lead in the polls? Jonah suggests that this “silent majority” rhetoric has simply become a coping mechanism for the GOP to keep Trump from losing his mind. Tune in to today’s episode to hear our Dispatch podcasters discuss the Burn It All Down Wars, Biden’s veepstakes, and what they’re all reading at the moment.

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Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan had some blunt criticism for the incumbent president of his own political party on the latest Dispatch Podcast, and all but ruled out supporting Donald Trump in November.

“This week the president said he was going to cut funding for testing,” said Hogan, in conversation with Sarah Isgur and Steve Hayes. “That was one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard.” Hogan continued: “My biggest criticism was at the beginning the president didn’t take it seriously enough, and was downplaying the severity of the crisis.”

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During Tuesday’s press briefing, a reporter asked the president about Ghislaine Maxwell, a British socialite and confidante of Jeffrey Epstein who is facing charges for grooming and sexually abusing minors. When pressed on whether Maxwell will turn in other powerful people, the president said, “I just wish her well, frankly.” This took many by surprise, but as Steve reminds us in today’s episode, “it’s not as if this is the first time he has had kind words or well wishes for a moral bottom-dweller.”

Tuesday also saw a fiery showdown in the Republican House Freedom Caucus, when members bullied Liz Cheney for being insufficiently loyal to Donald Trump. In today’s episode, Sarah, Steve, Jonah, and David talk about how the biggest fault line in the conservative movement ultimately boils down to unswerving fealty to the president. Tune in to hear our podcast hosts also discuss the long-term relevance of the Lincoln Project, the Chinese government’s human rights abuses against the Uighur people, and end with a lighthearted discussion on their favorite concert memories.

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What is happening on the ground in Afghanistan and why are we still there? The Trump administration has closed five bases, reduced the number of American troops to 9,ooo, and signed a peace deal with the Taliban. But as Thomas Joscelyn points out in today’s podcast, the peace deal is really nothing more than a “pretext for justifying withdrawal.”

While the United States reckons with its military presence in the Middle East, other foreign threats are lurking behind the scenes. From the Russian bounties intelligence leak to recent cyberattacks on coronavirus vaccine-related targets on American soil, Russia is engaging in shadow wars against the United States. And as Thomas reminds us, China’s deep-seated anti-Americanism is also cause for concern. On this week’s foreign policy episode, Sarah, Steve, and Thomas dive into these issues and address Israel’s sabotage efforts in Iran, Trump’s reflexive isolationism and business-minded foreign affairs strategy, and the implications of a Biden presidency for American interests abroad.

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Peter Navarro, director of the Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy for the Trump administration, published a scathing hit piece against top epidemiologist Anthony Fauci in USA Today this morning. “Dr. Anthony Fauci has a good bedside manner with the public, but he has been wrong about everything I have interacted with him on,” Navarro writes. For months now, Fauci has bickered with White House officials and pleaded with reporters to not turn his interview sound bites into a personality contest between him and Donald Trump. Sarah, Steve, and David are joined by Andrew to discuss Navarro’s op-ed and why our public health crisis has become subsumed into the culture war.

On the topic of cancel culture, opinion columnist Bari Weiss resigned from the New York Times yesterday, citing the paper’s toxic culture and her editors’ acquiescence to persistent bullying from her colleagues. Many journalists in the Twitterverse came to her defense, but others pushed back, arguing that she was not really canceled, but simply unwilling to take criticism from her colleagues. After all, isn’t disagreement with one’s colleagues a perfect exercise of free speech? But as David points out, “If you are using your words not to debate a human being but to try to inflict pain on them in the hopes that they shut up, that’s different.” Sarah and the guys take on these questions and address the Trump administration’s aggressive stance on school reopenings, the Goya boycott, presidential election polls, and a very serious debate over French fries.

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The day after his son was born on October 2, 2009, Jake Tapper watched a news report about a team of 53 American troops who were relentlessly attacked by 400 Taliban insurgents at the Combat Outpost Keating in Afghanistan. “In the haze of it all, there was a moment where I was sitting there holding my son and watching this news report about eight other sons, taken from this earth,” he said. Inspired by this story of American valor, Tapper began researching the story and eventually published a book chronicling the events in 2012.

Fast forward eight years and his book, The Outpost, is now a movie. On today’s episode, Jake Tapper discusses the new blockbuster film with Sarah and Steve, and spends some time discussing the Taliban exit deal, the effectiveness of counterinsurgency abroad, and a sneak peak into the novel he’s working on.

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An open letter published by Harper’s, signed by 153 prominent names, warning against illiberal behavior received swift pushback online. Sarah, Steve, Jonah, and David discuss which socio-political issues of our time are within the scope of reasonable disagreement while also addressing why illiberalism has become such a global phenomenon.

Should schools reopen fully in the fall? Why has the fight over mask-wearing devolved into a culture war issue? Does Trump understand his own constituency? Sarah and the guys weigh in on these questions while also addressing Trump’s Mt. Rushmore speech, and the future of the GOP in a post-Trump era.

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Yascha Mounk, the founder of Persuasion, joins Sarah and David to discuss his new publication and the project of defending liberal democracy.

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Sarah and the guys discuss reporting about a Russian plot to pay bounties to Taliban-linked militants to kill American troops, the battle for control of the Senate, and cancel culture’s effect on our conversation about race in America.

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Astead Herndon, national politics reporter at The New York Times, joins Sarah and Steve to discuss his reporting from the president’s rally in Tulsa to the Biden campaign and veepstakes.

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Sarah, Steve, Jonah, and David discuss the state of the 2020 race as we kick off the first week of summer, and what the revelations in John Bolton’s book mean for the president’s administration.

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Martin Gurri, a former CIA analyst, joins Sarah and Steve to discuss our information overload, the loss of trust in institutions and figures of authority, and the role of tech platforms.

 

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Sarah, Steve, Jonah, and David discuss the president’s executive order on policing, proposed reforms on Capitol Hill, the growing tension between China and India, and the Supreme Court’s landmark Title VII decision.

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The Dispatch’s own Andrew Egger and Declan Garvey join Steve for a discussion on the blow-up at The New York Times over its Tom Cotton op-ed, woke culture, Trump superfans, and the empathy gap.

 

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Sarah, Steve, Jonah, and David discuss the continued fallout over the death of George Floyd and the events of Lafayette Square, why this moment feels different, police reform on Capitol Hill, and the “defund the police” movement.

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Jane Coaston, senior politics reporter at Vox, joins Sarah and Steve for a wide-ranging discussion on racism and police violence as protests around the world continue over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

 

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Sarah, Steve, Jonah, and David discuss the president’s walk across Lafayette Square, protests around country sparked by George Floyd’s death, Steve King’s primary loss and what it says about the future of the GOP, protesting in the age of social distancing, and journalism ethics.

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