Not Another Politics Podcast

By Harris School of Public Policy

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Description

With all the noise created by a 24/7 news cycle, it can be hard to really grasp what's going on in politics today. We provide a fresh perspective on the biggest political stories not through opinion and anecdotes, but rigorous scholarship, massive data sets and a deep knowledge of theory. Understand the political science beyond the headlines with Harris School of Public Policy Professors William Howell, Anthony Fowler and Wioletta Dziuda. Our show is part of the University of Chicago Podcast Network.

Episode Date
Would A Woman Executive Govern Differently Than Men?
28:03

One of the most anticipated developments of the 2020 election is who Democratic Presidential nominee, Joe Biden, will pick to be his running mate. One thing is almost certain though, whoever he picks will be a women. And that person very well could be the first female President of the United States.

Does the political science scholarship tell us anything about how a woman executive may govern differently? One intriguing paper, "Queens", from Oeindrila Dube at The University of Chicago sheds some revelatory light on this question.

Paper: http://odube.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Dube_Harish_Queens_Paper.pdf 

Jul 01, 2020
Do Protests Affect Elections?
34:44

In the last few weeks, the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks, and many other black people at the hands of police have driven nationwide protests. To be true to the mission of our show, we want to look at this complex moment through the lens of political science research.

There’s almost no paper getting more attention at this moment than Princeton Assistant Professor Omar Wasow’s “Agenda Seeding: How 1960s Black Protests Moved Elites, Public Opinion and Voting”. We decided to devote this entire episode to our interview with Omar during which we discuss the substance of the paper, what it can and can’t say about our current moment, and the controversies that have surrounded it.

Paper: https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/american-political-science-review/article/agenda-seeding-how-1960s-black-protests-moved-elites-public-opinion-and-voting/136610C8C040C3D92F041BB2EFC3034C 

Jun 17, 2020
Do Politicians Vote With Their Donors When Voters Are Distracted?
33:19

One cause for concern during a pandemic that hasn’t gotten much attention is what else politicians might be doing while we’re focused on the virus. What laws are they passing, what regulations are they getting rid of, and could their actions be more in line with their donors than their voters?

Professor Jorg Spenkuch from Northwestern University has a fascinating paper that provides insight into these important questions. The data he provides point in the direction that political accountability takes a big hit during disasters.

Paper: Natural Disasters, Moral Hazard, and Special Interests In Congress

Jun 03, 2020
Does The Media Really Affect Elections?
34:27

It may be hard to believe during coronavirus, but the 2020 election will soon be upon us. As usual, news outlets will play a crucial role informing the public about the candidates. But could their decisions actual swing elections?

That’s the argument put forward by Prof. Gregory Martin from Stanford University in a recent paper. The data he’s collected shows that the decisions made by reporters and editors may have surprising effects on who voters support.

Paper: https://web.stanford.edu/~gjmartin/papers/Milestones%20Jan%202020.pdf 

May 20, 2020
The Surprising New Data On Vote-By-Mail
42:12

One of the increasingly prominent concerns around the coronavirus is how we’ll handle voting in the 2020 election. Democrats have called for a blanket vote-by-mail system, while Trump and the Republicans have said that system would disproportionately favor Democrats. But what does the research and data tell us about vote by mail systems?

A recent paper from soon to be Asst. Prof at UCLA, Dan Thompson, provides us with the newest and cleanest data available about the effects of vote-by-mail on turn out and partisans differences in elections. The results are surprising, and should completely change the debate over vote-by-mail.

May 06, 2020
Are Democrats And Republicans Really Living In Separate Worlds?
37:36

One of the prominent stories of the coronavirus outbreak has been that Democrats and Republicans can’t agree on a shared set of facts about the virus. One believes it is more deadly and dangerous than the other. But groundbreaking research from political scientist Gregory Huber at Yale University call that narrative into question.

For years, political scientists have relied on surveys to understand what the American public knows and thinks about what’s happening in politics and the world, like COVID-19 for example. But what if those surveys aren’t actually telling us about people’s true beliefs?

Apr 22, 2020
How A Single Demagogue Can Change A Democracy Forever
36:09

Americans often think of demagogues as a feature of foreign countries with weak or non-existent democracies. But is it possible to still get a demagogue in a functioning and strong democracy? That’s the argument of Mehdi Shadmehr in his paper: “Demagogues and the Fragility of Democracy”.

One of the scariest features of this research is that once a country elects a single demagogue they can create a political death spiral that can lead the country into financial ruin. With the long running debate around Trump’s demagoguery in the background, and the 2020 election on the horizon, we discuss Shadmehr’s findings.

Apr 08, 2020
Coronavirus And The Politics of Pandemics
37:56

Why don’t we prepare better for crises we know are coming? What effect will the coronavirus pandemic have on Trump’s 2020 chances? Should we even be having an election in the midst of a viral outbreak? On this episode, we turn to the best political science research to answer these questions and more about the politics behind COVID-19.

Mar 25, 2020
Is Polarization Pushing Us To Hate Each Other?
27:58

We’re constantly told by journalists and academics that America is too divided. That people no long just oppose members of the opposite party, but actually hate them. That something is broken, not just in our politics but in American life generally.

On this episode, we take these issues to one of the leading scholars in the world on polarization, Dr. Shanto Iyengar from Stanford University. We focus specifically on one of his papers, https://pcl.stanford.edu/research/2015/iyengar-ajps-group-polarization.pdf, that argues that affective polarization really has gotten as bad as the experts say, and we discuss what we can do about it.

Mar 11, 2020
Do Extremist Voters Dominate Primary Elections?
27:43
Do primaries attract more extremist voters who skew elections toward candidates like Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump? The common thought has always been that extremist voters, because of their intense passion on issues, are more likely to vote in primaries. But one scholar at UCLA says the real story is far more complicated.
 
On this episode, we speak with esteemed political scientist Lynn Vavreck about her paper on representation in primary elections, and what her research can tell us about the current democratic primary.
 
Feb 26, 2020
The Troubling Economic Logic of Racially Charged Policies
27:44

Could racially charged policies cause you to act racist, even if you aren’t actually a racist? That’s the story two political scientists, Stephane Wolton and Torun Dewan from the London School of Economics and Political Science, tell in a recent paper: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3397918

On this episode, we discuss the possibly hidden story behind symbolic policies like the Trump administration’s boarder wall and Muslim travel ban, or Europe’s burqa bans. Could these racially charged policies really be about economics?

Feb 12, 2020
Do Divisive Primaries Actually Affect General Elections?
26:21

Do divisive primaries actually affect how candidates will perform in general elections? It's a question political scientist have been trying and failing to answer, but we found someone who may have an answer.

With the 2020 democratic primary getting into full swing, we're kicking off our inaugural episode with prof. Alexander Fouirnaies whose research gives us new insights into the effects of divisive primaries and what can expect from the 2020 Presidential election.

Jan 24, 2020