Battleground with Amanda Litman and Faiz Shakir

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 Dec 10, 2020

 Sep 17, 2020

 Sep 15, 2020


Battleground brings you inside the fight for political power. Hosts Amanda Litman and Faiz Shakir aren't your typical pundits – in fact, they're not pundits at all. They're doing the work day-in and day-out, and have the inside scoop on what's really happening behind the tweets and headlines. (Imagine listening to the mic'd-up quarterback in the final down of the fourth quarter, but instead of talking football, it's about saving democracy.) Every week, Amanda and Faiz have a wide ranging, unguarded, and occasionally profanity-laden conversation with reporters, activists, organizers, political scientists, campaign operatives – and even some conservatives – in order to shine a light on the problems we face and figure out how we can fix them. Both bring deep knowledge and experience building grassroots movements for change. Amanda is the co-founder and executive director Run for Something, which recruits and supports young progressives running for local state and local offices, and host of the Run for Something podcast on Dear Media. Faiz was the campaign manager for Bernie Sanders 2020 presidential campaign, and he's the founder of the progressive media non-profit More Perfect Union. Listen to new episodes each Thursday on your favorite podcast app.

Episode Date
How to Undo GOP Control of the Courts with Brian Fallon
It’s no surprise that the Supreme Court has a 6-3 conservative majority: progressive legal elites have been telling Democrats for decades that the judicial branch must remain apolitical, while for decades, Republicans have been successfully reshaping the courts. Brian Fallon, the co-founder and executive director of Demand Justice (and a recovering establishment Democrat), explains the history behind the Republicans’ decades-long judicial strategy and how Democrats can counter it. He and Amanda also discuss Stephen Breyer’s decision to remain on the court; what Democrats should do about the FBI’s bungled investigation into Brett Kavanaugh; and term limits for Supreme Court justices. (Amanda flies solo this week as Faiz continues to hang with his very cute new baby.) Learn more about your ad-choices at
Jul 29, 2021
Why ‘No Climate, No Deal’ Makes Sense with Jamal Raad
ExxonMobil, and other major polluters like it, would love for you to feel like your personal choices are what will make or break this climate crisis, but the truth is, global warming can only be slowed through massive, systemic changes to the energy, transportation, and building sectors. Legislators must pass new laws curbing emissions, and the reconciliation bill winding its way through Congress is the best, and possibly last, chance to get this right. Amanda and Faiz talk to Jamal Raad, the co-founder and executive director of Evergreen Action, a climate advocacy group fighting to ensure that real action on climate change doesn’t get derailed by politicians bought by the oil and gas industry. The trio discusses why clean energy standards need to be in the reconciliation bill; how Republicans aren’t interested in good faith negotiations; and whether climate advocacy groups should continue to focus their energy and ire at Biden and the Democrats, or pivot towards Republicans. Learn more about your ad-choices at
Jul 22, 2021
How to Spend Ad $$ with Danielle Butterfield of Priorities USA
Campaigns spent $8.5 BILLION on political advertising in the 2020 election cycle. That may seem astonishing, excessive, or even absurd, but if you want to know how campaigns win (and lose), you need to understand ad dollars. Danielle Butterfield is the executive director of Priorities USA – the largest Democratic super PAC. Before Priorities she ran digital advertising campaigns for Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in 2016 and 2012. Amanda and Faiz talk with Danielle about the challenge of convincing Democrats to fully fund digital advertising campaigns (as opposed to TV); why Donald Trump does so well online; and why new privacy changes will make it difficult to target voters. Learn more about your ad-choices at
Jul 15, 2021
Anti-CRT is the New Tea Party with Tyler Kingkade
Americans are being treated to a new and improved version of last decade’s infamous Tea Party movement. It’s another astroturfed moral panic, sponsored by conservative think tanks, brought to you by Fox News, and designed to win votes for Republicans: the war on “critical race theory.” Faiz and Amanda talk to Tyler Kingkade, a national reporter for NBC News who has written extensively on the subject, about how a term from the world of legal scholarship is on the tip of everyone’s tongues – and what progressives should do about it. Learn more about your ad-choices at
Jul 08, 2021
Introducing: The Recount Daily Pod
Every morning on The Recount Daily Pod, host journalist Reena Ninan will break down the most important news of the day, both domestically and abroad. In 5 minutes or less, you’ll walk away feeling smarter and more in sync with the world. Then, tune in for an interview with journalists who are on the forefront of the stories that affect us all.  Learn more about your ad-choices at
Jul 06, 2021
'Should the Dems Pick a Fight?' with Michelle Goldberg
Amanda and Faiz are joined by Michelle Goldberg, a Pulitzer Prize-winning Op-Ed columnist for The New York Times. The three of them rate the Biden administration's performance, discuss the Democrat's branding problem, and get into a debate over how Biden should deal with Senators Manchin and Sinema's intransigence on filibuster reform. They also consider whether the Democrats should strategically pick a fight in order to motivate their base and how the party can recruit more candidates from working class backgrounds – like India Walton, its recently elected mayoral nominee in Buffalo. They end the episode on an optimistic note, as Goldberg explains what it's like to see New York City begin to emerge from the pandemic. Learn more about your ad-choices at
Jul 01, 2021
A Nuanced Look at ‘Cancel Culture’ with Alyssa Rosenberg
What are the costs and benefits of living in a society where people can be cancelled for their speech? Are "cancelled" people, like Gina Carano, irredeemable? Amanda and Faiz use “cancel culture” as a jumping off point for what ends up being a wide-ranging, deeply analytical conversation with Washington Post columnist Alyssa Rosenberg. They cover the performative nature of online discourse; the primacy of persuasion; whether or not (and how) to engage with people spewing hate online; and ultimately, the idea that we may come to understand e ach other better by working through our differences. Learn more about your ad-choices at
Jun 24, 2021
'Trump Needs to Spend Time in Jail' with Elie Mystal
Elie Mystal, the justice correspondent for the Nation magazine and a frequent contributor on MSNBC, joins Amanda and Faiz. They discuss the quest to bring justice to Donald Trump and what Merrick Garland's Department of Justice should be – but isn't – doing in order to achieve that goal. Elie wraps up by explaining why legislation won't solve any problems until Democrats pack the court. Learn more about your ad-choices at
Jun 17, 2021
Perpetual Minority Rule with David Faris
Political scientist David Faris joins Amanda and Faiz to discuss how Republicans are using extreme gerrymandering, combined with their structural advantages in the Senate and electoral college, to subvert democracy. In states like Wisconsin and North Carolina, they're created a circular structure of authority, where legislatures elected by a minority of voters can strip Democratic governors of any real power, and courts stacked with conservatives can override a governors' veto of newly gerrymandered maps – further entrenching their minority rule. Now, as state after state passes restrictive voting laws and give legislators the ability to override election officials, they're laying the groundwork to potentially steal the presidential election in 2024. Learn more about your ad-choices at
Jun 10, 2021
'24/7 Fear' with Astead Herndon
Amanda and Faiz speak with Astead Herndon, a national politics reporter for the New York Times, political analyst for CNN, and guest host of "The Daily." The trio talk about two voting rights bills – the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act – and discuss why some members of the Congressional Black Caucus have expressed hesitation at some of the more transformational elements of the For the People Act. Then, they get into the Democrats' disastrous down-ballot performances in the past 10+ years, what the Republican base really wants, and whether or not winning elections is enough to save American from itself. It's a raw, incisive conversation and one where Amanda, Faiz, and Astead don't pull any of their punches. Learn more about your ad-choices at
Jun 03, 2021
Turning Point or Temporary Reprieve? with Edward-Isaac Dovere
What is the role of political journalism? Years from now, what will people take away from this period in the Democratic party's evolution? What role did former President Obama play in the 2020 primary election? For the answers to these questions, and many more, Amanda and Faiz turn to to Edward-Isaac Dovere, lead political correspondent for "The Atlantic" and author of the new book, "Battle for the Soul: Inside the Democrats' Campaigns to Defeat Trump." The trio have a boisterous conversation that includes everything from Faiz and Isaac's Bernie Sanders impersonations, to Jill Biden's cursing, and an anecdote about a wistful Mike Bloomberg. Learn more about your ad-choices at
May 27, 2021
'Shamelessness is a Now a Virtue' with Charlotte Alter
Elise Stefanik, a moderate Republican who zealously supports former President Trump and his lies about the election, has replaced hardcore conservative Liz Cheney as the G.O.P. Conference Chair. Amanda and Faiz talk to Charlotte Alter, a senior correspondent for TIME and author of "The Ones We've Been Waiting For." Charlotte profiled Stefanik in her book, and since then she has reported on the Congresswoman's transformation from Trump-skeptic to Trump-enabler. The trio discuss Stefanik, and what her rise says about the current G.O.P, Cheney's next steps, and "cancel culture." Learn more about your ad-choices at
May 20, 2021
Do the Democrats Need Billionaires? with Teddy Schleifer
According to The Center for Responsive Politics, the 2020 elections cost a combined $14.4 billion. That money has to come from somewhere, and while the last cycle saw an unprecedented number of small donors, a lot of those dollars came from billionaires. Amanda and Faiz talk with Teddy Schleifer, a senior reporter covering money and influence (or billionaires) for Recode. They discuss how tech billionaires with relatively little political experience, like Reid Hoffman and Dustin Moskovitz, spent gobs of money trying to get Democrats get elected; whether it actually helped; and whether Democrats should partner with billionaires in the first place. Learn more about your ad-choices at
May 13, 2021
How to Flip a Red State Blue with Tram Nguyen
Virginia is for lovers – and, for a long time, it was also for Confederate nostalgia and Republican politics. Richmond, Virginia's capitol, was one of the capitals of the Confederacy. Virginia still has over 150 public locations, like streets and parks, that bear Confederate names – for example, Lee Jackson Memorial Highway, which is named after Gen. Robert E. Lee and Gen. Stonewall Jackson. So, given the state's Confederate pride, it should come as no surprise that, from 1968-2004, the state voted exclusively for Republican presidential candidates. But starting in 2008, things began to change. That year, and every four years since, Virginia's electors have gone to the Democratic presidential candidate. Now, Virginia is Democratic trifecta – the party control both legislatures and the governor's office – and the state is renaming its streets and parks to get rid of any associations to the Confederacy. Tram Nguyen played a huge role in flipping Virginia blue. She is the co-founder and Co-Executive Director of New Virginia Majority, an organization that has registered nearly 300,000 new voters and knocked on 3.1 million doors to get out the vote. They've also played a vital role in restoring formerly incarcerated Virginians' right to vote, expanding Medicaid, and getting undocumented immigrants the right to drivers' licenses. Amanda and Faiz speak with her to learn how she did it and to find out what advice she has for activists and politically engaged citizens, in purple and red states, with similar aspirations. Learn more about your ad-choices at
May 06, 2021
"Seeking Common Ground" with Frank Luntz
Frank Luntz is one of the most famous pollsters in politics. Called "the Nostradamus of pollsters," by Sir David Frost, Luntz is perhaps best known for two things: the focus groups he conducts on TV and his work shaping political language on behalf of Republican politicians. For example, he somewhat notoriously counseled them to say "climate change" instead of "global warming" and "electronic intercepts" instead of "eavesdropping." In recent years, Luntz shifted from an avowedly partisan Republican into a more a heterodox thinker, and he has expressed remorse for some of his past work. Luntz butted heads Donald Trump before and after the 2016 election, but nonetheless, he also reportedly helped shape the administration's language on immigration. Amanda and Faiz planned to speak with Frank about voters' appetites for progressive policies, the state of the Republican party, and COVID-hesitancy, and they did – to an extent. The conversation quickly took a combative turn. Listen in to find out why . . . Learn more about your ad-choices at
Apr 29, 2021
Introducing: News Items Podcast with John Ellis
Ninety percent of the news out there tells you nothing about where the world is going — ten percent of it tells you everything. On the News Items Podcast with John Ellis, John and Rebecca Darst dissect news items that help you understand where the world is going. Tune in every Monday through Thursday afternoon to hear decades of journalistic experience packed into 20 minutes of insight, plus guest interviews on finance, U.S. politics, foreign affairs, science and technology. Learn more about your ad-choices at
Apr 28, 2021
Why Everyone Hates Political Consultants (but they still run campaigns) with Tim Lim
As a group, political consultants have terrible reputations. They're supposedly grifters, scammers, and embezzlers who line their pockets with donors' money while running uninspired, cookie cutter campaigns. And yet, even though everyone in Democratic politics seems to hate them, they almost always end up running campaigns. Amanda and Faiz talk with Tim Lim to find out why. Tim Lim is a Democratic strategist, an entrepreneur, a leading voice in comprehensive media planning and yes – a political consultant. He is President of Lim Consulting Services and a Partner at the Hooligans Agency, a progressive creative agency. Tim most recently served on the National Finance Committee of Biden for President as well as for the Biden-Harris Transition. He also served as a founding Co-Chair for Gen44, the young professional arm of President Obama's re-election campaign and served on the National Finance Committee of the Hillary for America campaign in 2016.   Learn more about your ad-choices at
Apr 22, 2021
"How F*cked Are We Regarding Voting Rights?" with Ari Berman
Georgia recently passed one of the most restrictive voting laws in the country, and many Republican-led state legislatures hope to pass similar bills. Amanda and Faiz speak with Ari Berman, a senior reporter for Mother Jones and the author of "Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America," to ask him, "how f*cked are we?" They discuss new Georgia law, its implications for our democracy, and the racist reasoning behind the GOP's historical rationale for limiting the franchise. Then they look forward and examine the Democrats' options for expanding voting rights and their chances of persuading a couple fellow Democrats who are currently standing in the way. Learn more about your ad-choices at
Apr 15, 2021
"Don't Be Afraid" with Amazon Union Organizers Jennifer Bates and Joshua Brewer
As workers in Alabama wait for their votes to be counted in the most consequential union election in recent years, Amanda and Faiz connect with two key organizers to answer the question, "How do you beat the most powerful company in the world?" Jennifer Bates has worked at an Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, AL since early 2020 and has been a lead organizer in the union drive since September of the same year. She was born and raised in Marion, a small city in Perry County, AL. Some of her interests include singing, reading and motivational speaking. Joshua Brewer, is the director of organizing, for the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union Mid-South Council. He has been organizing labor in the South since early 2016. Joshua is a husband, a father of three, and a former youth pastor.  Jennifer and Joshua, along with fellow workers and organizers, have been working around the clock in a fight against one of the richest and most powerful companies in human history. In this episode of Battleground, they discuss their strategy, their motivation, and their hopes. Learn more about your ad-choices at
Apr 08, 2021
"The Hand Off" with new hosts Amanda Litman and Faiz Shakir
David presides over his final episode as host of "Battleground" and hands over the reigns to our new hosts: Amanda Litman and Faiz Shakir. Amanda is the co-founder of and executive director of Run For Something, which recruits and supports young progressives who want to run for local office. In the past four years, they've helped approximately 500 of them win elections. She's also a seasoned Democratic campaign operative who worked on President Obama's 2012 re-election campaign, Charlie Crist's 2014 gubernatorial campaign, and Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign. Faiz Shakir is one of the most experienced progressive strategists in the country. He was a senior advisor to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, the political director for the ACLU, and the campaign manager for Bernie Sanders' 2020 presidential campaign. David chats with Amanda and David to find out why they got into politics, what bits of conventional wisdom in progressive politics they'd like to dispel, and how they envision the new version of "Battleground." Their first episode as the hosts of this podcast will premiere on Thursday, April 8th. Learn more about your ad-choices at
Mar 22, 2021
"Politically Savage" with Yamiche Alcindor
Yamiche Alcindor is the White House correspondent for the PBS NewsHour and a frequent contributor on NBC and MSNBC. In 2020, she won the National Association of Black Journalists "Journalist of the Year Award" and the White House Correspondents’ Association's "Aldo Beckman Award for Overall Excellence in White House Coverage." Prior to joining PBS, Yamiche was a political reporter for The New York Times, a breaking news reporter for USA Today, and reporter for Newsday in Long Island NY. Yamiche joins David on "Battleground" to discuss the role of white supremacy in American politics, the Covid relief bill, journalism in 2021, and Governor Cuomo's future. Learn more about your ad-choices at
Mar 15, 2021
"Hamilton Saw Mitch McConnell Coming" with Adam Jentleson
Adam Jentleson is the Executive Director of the progressive organization Battle Born Collective, a former deputy chief of staff to Senator Harry Reid, and the author of "Kill Switch: The Rise of the Modern Senate and the Crippling of American Democracy." In it, he argues that the filibuster not only runs contrary to the Framers' designs, but that it has created a perverse incentive structure that rewards obstruction by the minority party and significantly lessens the chances of bipartisanship. Adam and David discuss the filibusters origins in white supremacy, its evolution, and why Mitch McConnell will jettison it as soon as he thinks it's convenient. Learn more about your ad-choices at
Mar 01, 2021
"Not a Winsome Argument" with Eugene Scott
Eugene Scott covers identity politics for The Fix at The Washington Post. Even those who use the term derogatorily have to admit that American politics, on both the left and right, is defined by identity. So, we thought who better to talk to than the reporter who's been covering the identity politics beat for years. Before coming to The Washington Post, Scott was a breaking news reporter at CNN. He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina and Harvard University and was recently a fellow at the Georgetown University Institute of Politics. Eugene is also the host of “The Next Four Years” podcast which is available exclusively on Amazon Music. Learn more about your ad-choices at
Feb 15, 2021
"They Made Up An Entire County" with Marc Elias
Marc Elias is both the founder of Democracy Docket, a platform for information about voting rights, elections, and redistricting, and the Democratic Party’s super-lawyer. During the 2020 election cycle, Marc’s voting rights practice brought over 150 cases in 30 states, totaling over 120 victories in courtrooms around the country. After Election Day, Marc led the charge against Trump’s baseless claims of voter fraud and won 64 times. Steve and David talk to Marc about those cases, the Republican push to pass restrictive voting laws in battleground states around the country, and the role corporations can play in pushing back against the GOP’s march towards autocracy. Learn more about your ad-choices at
Feb 08, 2021
"No One Should Have That Much Money" with Rev. James Martin, SJ
Although he is far too humble to admit it, the Rev. James Martin, SJ, is a beacon of moral clarity. He is the editor-at-large of "America" magazine, where he recently published the article "How Catholic Leaders Helped Give Rise to Violence at the U.S. Capitol," a consultor to the Vatican’s Dicastery for Communication, and a best-selling author. His latest book, published this month, is "Learning to Pray: A Guide for Everyone." Father Martin is also known for delivering the closing benediction at the Democratic National Convention last year and for maintaining a strong and unflinching presence on Twitter. David and Steve talk to Father Martin about the role religion played in the insurrection at the Capitol, the spell Donald Trump seems to have cast over some religious leaders, how to think about forgiveness in context of the insurrection, and the current state of American capitalism. Learn more about your ad-choices at
Feb 01, 2021
"It Is About Race" with Abby Phillip
Abby Phillip is CNN's senior political correspondent, the new anchor of "Inside Politics Sunday," and one of the most astute political reporters on television. She joined CNN after working as a national political reporter for The Washington Post and as a White House reporter for Politico. David and Steve talk with Abby about how the January 6th insurrection should be framed, the role of racism in the Republicans' attempts to overturn the election, and how to report on politics in this age of disinformation. Then, they wrap up the conversation with a short discussion of "Dream Deferred," Abby's upcoming book about Jesse Jackson's presidential campaigns in 1988 and 1984. Learn more about your ad-choices at
Jan 25, 2021
"QAnon: Totally Detached From Reality" with Travis View
Travis View is a writer and researcher who has been reporting on the QAnon conspiracy community for over two years. He is one of the hosts of "QAnon Anonymous" a podcast that has assiduously (and hilariously) chronicled the rise of what is now America's most notorious political conspiracy theory. View has travelled across the country to go to QAnon events, tangled with adherents online, and kept close tabs on them for over 200 episodes. David and Travis talk about the conspiracy, how it affects American politics, why it has such a firm grip on its followers, and what it all means for the future of the country. QAnon Anonymous: Learn more about your ad-choices at
Jan 18, 2021
"Bottom of the Moral Scale" with Michael Beschloss
Two days after a violent mob of domestic terrorists incited by Donald Trump stormed the Capitol, disrupted Constitutional proceedings, and murdered a police officer, Steve and David spoke with historian Michael Beschloss. He is a bestselling author, a scholar of leadership, and the perfect guest to help make sense of a profoundly sad day for American democracy – and its aftermath. Learn more about your ad-choices at
Jan 11, 2021
"It's Not Politics, It's Identity" with Jordan Klepper
Jordan Klepper is one of the most compelling political comedians in America and, undoubtedly, one of the comedians who's been to the most Trump rallies. He is best-known for his work as a special correspondent on "The Daily Show." He is also the creator and host of the docu-series, "Klepper," the talk show "The Opposition with Jordan Klepper" and the special, "Jordan Klepper Solves Guns," all on Comedy Central. David and Steve chat with Jordan about Trump's appeal, where his followers go now that his presidency is over, and what it all means for American democracy. Learn more about your ad-choices at
Jan 04, 2021
"Ground Zero for Misinformation" with Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein is one of the savviest political analysts in the Peach State. He covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, co-hosts their podcast "Politically Georgia," and recently moderated the debate between Senator Kelly Loeffler and Raphael Warnock. This week David and Steve call Greg to talk about the unprecedented internecine warfare among Republicans in Georgia, how the political chaos could hurt the state’s economy, and how claims of election fraud are confusing the voters Republicans need to keep the Senate. Learn more about your ad-choices at
Dec 21, 2020
"What the Hell Have We Been Through?!" with Carl Bernstein
Carl Bernstein needs no introduction. He, along with his colleague Bod Woodward, broke the Watergate story that eventually led to President Nixon's resignation. He has also written five best-selling books, including "All the President's Men," as well as seminal magazine essays for publications like Rolling Stone and The New Republic. Carl joins Steve and David to chat about America's first "subversive president," share a historical perspective on the threat posed by President Trump, and try to diagnose what ails our democracy. Learn more about your ad-choices at
Dec 14, 2020
"Democrats Ride the Data Train Into Absurdity" with Dr. Rachel Bitecofer
David and Steve chat with Rachel Bitecofer, a nationally recognized election forecaster and the founder and editor of The Cycle. Rachel rose to prominence after forecasting the "blue wave" that swept the House in the 2018 midterms. The three of them break down the Democrats' disappointing down-ballot performances, parse messaging strategies for the party going forward, and dissect the power of propaganda. Plus, Rachel announces her super PAC, Strike PAC, that she’s co-founding alongside Laurie Spivak. Learn more about your ad-choices at
Dec 07, 2020
The Month American Democracy was Poisoned: Listener Q&A
David and Steve take listener questions and tackle topics like: What would Steve do if he was the United States Attorney General? Is it okay to be scared that Trump is attempting a coup? Will outside groups hurt Democrats' chances in Georgia? And more!  As always, David and Steve puts this political moments' stakes into crystal clear relief, and they even manage to discuss their love of scrapple. Learn more about your ad-choices at
Nov 30, 2020
"The Other Side is Feeding Them Jim Crow" with Majority Whip James 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