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99 Problems and an Election is One

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Our esteemed podcast host Sarah Isgur launched her new Dispatch newsletter called “The Sweep” today, in which she broke down the effectiveness of the new presidential campaigns ads. Conclusion? Biden’s new ads are strategically boring to offset his opponent’s predictable unpredictability, whereas Trump’s play up the anarchy of the radical left. As Sarah reminds us, persuasion ads don’t work. This leaves candidates with two options: 1) Run up their existing base in enthusiasm and support, or 2) Get their opponent’s base not to vote.

Justice Roberts trended on Twitter Friday night after joining the four liberal justices in denying a Nevada church’s application for injunctive relief over coronavirus restrictions. Religious liberty lovers sounded the alarm for First Amendment violations. But our podcast hosts are less concerned about this case’s long-term effect on religious liberty case law, given the state’s interest in restricting mass gatherings will soon be subverted to transcendent religious liberty concerns once the pandemic subsides. As David says, “The real enemy is not Justice Roberts, the real enemy is the coronavirus.”

Speaking of Supreme Court drama, Josh Hawley told the Washington Post on Sunday that he won’t support any SCOTUS nominee who does not explicitly acknowledge that Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided: on the record, and before they are nominated. Was this ridiculous fanfare to fuel his base? Our hosts have some thoughts. Sarah and David wrap up the podcast with some revisionist history on a Merrick Garland Supreme Court tenure and some parental advice on how to teach your kids risk tolerance and moral courage.

Show Notes:

-Sarah’s pilot newsletter, The Sweep: “T-Minus 99 Days and Counting …” and Thursday’s French Press, “Dump Trump, but Don’t Burn Down the GOP.”

-Friday’s Supreme Court dissents on Nevada church case.

-“Sen. Hawley lays down new antiabortion marker for Supreme Court nominees,” Josh Hawley’s recent speech on the failures of the conservative legal movement, and Adrian Vermeule’s case for common-good constitutionalism in the Atlantic.

-Supreme Court opinions: NIFLA v. Becerra, Bostock v. Clayton County, Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission , Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey Berru, June Medical Services, United States v. Davis.

-The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure by Jonathan Haidt and Greg Lukianoff.

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Episodes (82)

Episode 82 · 4 days ago

Deer Jacking

Still shocked by the grand polling meltdown of 2016, many Americans on both sides of the aisle are convinced that Biden’s double digit national polling lead is inaccurate and that Trump will somehow win the election in a landslide. This theory has three main hypotheses: 1) Trump is such a uniquely divisive candidate that his supporters lie to pollsters and say they plan to vote for Biden, 2) the likely electorate problem, and 3) Republicans are less likely to talk to pollsters in the first place. Sarah and David break down these theories and explain why they’re overblown given the data we have at this point in the race. Stay tuned for a legal breakdown of the Supreme Court’s latest cert grants related to deer jacking, the hot pursuit doctrine, asylum seekers, and the southern border wall.

Show Notes:

-Join The Dispatch for a post-election gathering featuring Congressional leadership, top policy and political experts Nov. 9-10: sign up here!

-Nate Cohn for the New York Times and “Are Silent Trump Voters Real, or Just a Myth?” by Jonah Goldberg in The Dispatch.

Episode 81 · 1 week ago

That Hunter Biden Story

It’s October 15, 2020, and 12.4 percent of the votes that were cast in the 2016 election have already been cast this election cycle. Sarah and David try to discern through the tea leaves what this means for voter turnout this year. “There’s two different schools of thought here,” Sarah says. “One is that we’re on pace to have record turnout and one is that we’re simply banking Election Day votes early this time.” On today’s episode, our podcast hosts also discuss the journalistic, political, legal implications of the New York Post’s Hunter Biden story before breaking down the key ingredients to a successful marriage.

Show Notes:

-Divided We Fall by David French, “Emails reveal how Hunter Biden tried to cash in big on behalf of family with Chinese firm” by Emma Jo-Morris Gabriel Fonrouge in the New York Post, Malwarebytes Inc. v. Enigma Software Group USA, LLC, Why Only Amy Coney Barrett Gets to Have It All” by Katelyn Beaty in the New York Times.

Episode 80 · 1 week ago

Supreme Court Fight Kicks Off

The Senate Judiciary Committee kicked off its confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett today with a predictably partisan spin. There were dog whistles from Republicans about religious tests and procedural complaints from Democrats in defense of the Affordable Care Act and against advancing Barrett’s nomination before November 3. But all things considered, the first day of the hearings was relatively uneventful, which may have come as a shock to those who watched the rather lively Brett Kavanaugh hearings in 2018.

Our podcast hosts argue that boredom is a win for the Biden campaign’s Do No Harm strategy, as any sound bite attacking Barrett’s religion or character could depress the Democratic candidate’s current 10-point lead over Trump. David argues that if Democrats want to preserve Biden’s steady lead, they will do everything to avoid even “a single viral moment that puts them in the villain role” during these hearings. Check out our latest episode to hear David and Sarah discuss the Affordable Care Act’s lifespan, partisan judicial elections on the state level, and the Capitol Hill Baptist Church lawsuit.

Show Notes:

-FiveThirtyEight’s presidential polling average, and The Sweep: The Witching Hour.

Episode 79 · 2 weeks ago

Veeps Make Their Case

Sen. Kamala Harris and Vice President Mike Pence faced off Wednesday evening for their first and only vice presidential debate. But analysis of the candidates’ performance was disrupted by Trump’s announcement Thursday morning that he will not participate in the October 15 virtual debate against Joe Biden. Is the president bluffing? Or is he simply trying to hide his COVID-19 symptoms from the American public? The president has released a series of videos via Twitter this week in which he assures the American public of his recovery. But these videos are produced by the White House, meaning they can do multiple takes and edit out any evidence of the president’s lingering symptoms. “You can’t do that when in a debate,” Sarah points out, reminding us that any of the president’s coughs or bouts of heavy breathing would instantly go viral if caught on-screen. After some punditry about what this means for the Trump campaign’s reelection strategy, tune in for Sarah and David’s thoughts on the forthcoming Amy Coney Barrett Senate confirmation hearings, the strategic ambiguity of Biden’s court packing comments, and the criminal allegations against Texas attorney general Ken Paxton.

Show Notes:

-30 day free trial at The Dispatch and Divided We Fall by David French.