Battleground with David Plouffe & Steve Schmidt

By The Recount & iHeartRadio

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 Sep 17, 2020

 Sep 15, 2020


David Plouffe and Steve Schmidt are friends, former rivals and two of the top strategic minds in America. They understand American politics better than almost anyone because, when they were running presidential campaigns, they had to make momentous decisions almost every single day. In Battleground, they'll draw on 50+ years of combined experience inside campaigns and in government to break down how the Democrats and Republicans are fighting for votes. They’ll dissect the opposing parties’ game plans to explain exactly what they’re doing, why they’re doing it, and why it is – or isn't – working.

Episode Date
House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn
David and Steve are joined by House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn – the South Carolina Congressman whose endorsement of Biden, back in February, revived his campaign and signaled to the Democratic Party that it was time to stop playing the field and settle down with a dependable nominee. David and Steve ask Congressman Clyburn about divisions in Congress, how Biden should use the executive order, and the post-election autopsy gripping the Democratic Party. They also discuss Rudy Giuliani’s failing coup crusade, question why the G.O.P. still won’t take a stand for democracy, and conduct a lightning round quiz to see how far they think Trump and his cronies are willing to subvert America's democracy. Learn more about your ad-choices at
Nov 23, 2020
"This is Crazy and Should Stop!" with Mike DuHaime
While Trump continues to tweet unsubstantiated claims of election fraud, and top Republican officials lie on his behalf, there are still a few Republicans left who aren't willing to play along. One of those is Mike DuHaime, a former Political Director of the Republican National Committee who also served in senior positions for George W. Bush, John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, and Chris Christie. Maybe it's because he's from New Jersey (and New Jerseyans don't let themselves get pushed around) but he's calling out the Republican refusal to accept the election results for what it is: wrong. Steve, David and Mike get into: why so many citizens believe Trump's ridiculous claims, what Republican officials are so afraid of, the psychology behind the politician-for-life mentality, and much, much more. Learn more about your ad-choices at
Nov 16, 2020
Post-Election Recap
In the first episode of "Battleground" since President-elect Biden was projected to win 270 electoral college votes, David and Steve take a moment to reflect on how the election unfolded and what may lie ahead. They discuss the infamous Four Seasons Total Landscaping press conference, the purgatorial interregnum we face until Inauguration Day, the ongoing pandemic, the stakes of the Georgia Senate races, and more. And, in a few weeks, "Battleground" is dedicating an entire episode to answering your questions. So, if there’s something you’ve been dying to ask Steve or David, tweet your question to @TheRecount and use the hashtag #Battleground! Learn more about your ad-choices at
Nov 09, 2020
The Recount's Election Bonus Episode
For the first time ever, all four of The Recount podcast hosts team up for a bonus episode. Jennifer Palmieri, host of "Just Something About Her," David Plouffe and Steve Schmidt, hosts of "Battleground," and John Heilemann, Executive Editor of The Recount and host of "Hell & High Water," discuss the collision of expectations and reality, poll trouble, what may have held Democrats back from bigger wins, and what's next for the country. Learn more about your ad-choices at
Nov 07, 2020
Matthew Dowd, Joel Benenson, and the Election Aftermath
In the final episode of Battleground before Election Day, David and Steve discuss the banality of evil and its most recent mascot, the previously anonymous Miles Taylor. Then, they’re joined by two all-star pollsters: Joel Benenson, CEO of the Benenson Strategy Group and the lead pollster for the Obama '08 and '12 campaigns and Matthew Dowd, Chief Political Analyst for ABC News and formerly the chief strategist for George W. Bush. They dive into voter enthusiasm, the wasted potential of incumbency, Trump’s “ant trail” path to victory, why 2020 is not 2016, and the aftermath of the election in America's splintered media ecosystem. Learn more about your ad-choices at
Nov 02, 2020
Stuart Stevens and James Carville
This week on Battleground, David and Steve are joined by former Republican strategist and media wizard Stuart Stevens and the Ragin’ Cajun himself, James Carville. They take a bird's-eye view of the election which includes but is not limited to: trying to fix the Democrats' attitude problem, evaluating Trump’s electorate woes, and sussing out Southern senate races. Finally, what do you get when two Democrats and two ex-Republicans try to figure out the future of the Republican Party? Listen to find out! Learn more about your ad-choices at
Oct 26, 2020
Pennsylvania, Texas and the Suburban Backlash
In 2016, Pennsylvania was considered part of Hillary Clinton’s “blue wall.” The thought was that, together, the Keystone State, Wisconsin and Michigan would vote Democrat and prevent Trump from winning the White House. Four years later, David and Steve talk to Democratic strategist Bill Hyers about why Pennsylvania crumbled and how 45’s chances look this time around. Hyers was named “Campaign Manager of the Year” by the American Association of Political Consultants after he engineered Bill de Blasio's come from behind victory in 2013. He ran Michael Nutter’s successful 2007 campaign for Mayor of Philadelphia, was the Pennsylvania State Director for Obama’s 2012 campaign, and worked on Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman’s very first campaign in 2018-19. Today, as a partner at The WIN Company, he’s working on campaigns across the country, including state races in Pennsylvania and Texas. In this episode of Battleground, he breaks down the Dems' chances in Pennsylvania and Texas, and explains why he's so bullish on Biden. Learn more about your ad-choices at
Oct 19, 2020
Dave Wasserman
Two months before the 2016 election, House Editor of the Cook Political Report and self-described “numbers junkie,” Dave Wasserman penned a prophetic piece for The New York Times titled “How Trump Could Win the White House While Losing the Popular Vote.” Four years later, he’s putting the battleground in Battleground by taking David Plouffe & Steve Schmidt on an in-depth tour of the states, and even counties, that could decide the 2020 election. But first, our hosts talk about the plot to kidnap Governor Whitmer, President Trump’s determination to mishandle the Covid crisis in his own White House and across the nation, and whether it’s too late for Senate Republicans to get off the Trump train before it derails.  Dave Wasserman’s 2016 National Popular Vote Tracker: Dave Wasserman’s Swingometer: Learn more about your ad-choices at
Oct 12, 2020
Arizona: The Replacement State
David Plouffe and Steve Schmidt break down Donald Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis and the first presidential debate. Then, they're joined by Representative Raquel Terán, who was elected in 2018 to the Arizona State House to represent the people of Central West Phoenix and Downtown Glendale in Maricopa County. Before winning elective office, Rep. Terán was Political Director for Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, Director of Mi Familia Vota, a nonprofit devoted to building Latino political power, and Campaign Director for I Stand with Planned Parenthood. She joins David Plouffe and Steve Schmidt to discuss Covid-19, the Latino vote, and how the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett could affect the race in the Grand Canyon State. Learn more about your ad-choices at
Oct 05, 2020
SCOTUS Fight & Debate Fright
David Plouffe and Steve Schmidt are joined by Nicolle Wallace, NBC News political analyst and host of MSNBC’s “Deadline: White House,” and Stephanie Cutter, Program Executive of the Democratic National Convention and previously the Deputy Campaign Manager for President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign, to discuss the first 2020 presidential debate and upcoming Supreme Court nomination. The Battleground team analyzes Biden versus Trump in temperament and tactical skill ahead of this week’s debate, peaceful transitions of power and what it would take to stop a Supreme Court confirmation before Election Day. Learn more about your ad-choices at
Sep 28, 2020
Florida: The Checkmate State
David Plouffe and Steve Schmidt are joined by Rick Wilson and Steve Schale, two of the top political strategists in the Sunshine State, and they discuss the ultimate electoral battleground – Florida. The quartet dissects the Trump and Biden strategies in Florida, puzzles over the Trump campaign's shocking ability to squander money and ponders the horrors that await the nation in a post-Trump world where disaffected, MAGA conspiracy theorists refuse to accept the legitimacy of the election. Learn more about your ad-choices at
Sep 21, 2020
The Existential Election
In the first episode of Battleground, David Plouffe and Steve Schmidt dissect the upcoming presidential contest – the most important election America has faced since 1864. The two former foes turned friends discuss Biden's chances in Florida and Pennsylvania, Trump's attempts to turn Minnesota and Nevada into battlegrounds, Biden's appeal to blue collar voters and Trump's ability to expand the electorate. Learn more about your ad-choices at
Sep 14, 2020
Introducing: Battleground with David Plouffe & Steve Schmidt
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Sep 01, 2020