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Party Primaries, State Election Primaries, and the General Election

DiStefano laments the loss of the benefits of the party boss driven primary system. You've taken the position that elimination of gerrymandering, implementation of open primaries, and the use of rank choice voting are not a cure to the current of political polarization / binary political atmosphere. There is a solution in the mix, I think: eliminate party primaries from public involvement. Let the party primary process be the private affairs they once were. State primaries should be qualifying races for anyone who can get sufficient signatures from registered voters on a nominating petition - without any party affiliation noted on ballots. The parties would have a leg up in this process, obviously. But minor parties and political affiliations would be more competitive. With that adjustment, the parties could still exert their influence - with a dose of coalescing compromise built into the process, the primary process would serve the public - not just the parties, and rank choice voting would drive orientation in both the primary and general to the center rather than to the extremes. Knowing that the founders were extremely wary of political parties and their influence, I would like to hear some history on how the primary process was usurped by the parties and hear about efforts to curtail that usurpation. How did the parties hijack the primary process? --- Keep up the good work! The podcast is great and getting better.

Can't reform itself be a temporary ideology?

If you believe the problem in America at the moment is "politics doesn't work for normal people," so you say "structural reforms are necessary in order to make politics work for normal people," isn't this an ideological answer to the crisis/solution question? Sure, this doesn't solve the problem of how to rule if you gain power and are able to institute reform, but it sounds, Marshall, like you want Forward to cede a binary framework upfront when part of the project is to reject that framework. You may be correct that this is a bad way to get elected, but presumably they could if enough people agree it's worthwhile to create a system that isn't so susceptible to binary thinking, right? I think people are capable of holding a personal binary opinion on something like abortion, yet elevating process above issues. Willing to consider that that's too hopeful or just based on my own experience. Or maybe it just requires some convincing.

A question about Dr. Mark Trexler's critique of Alex Epstein

I don't understand the critique discussion from Dr. Mark Trexler's episode. He attacked fossil fuels as bad for the climate, 100% true, but never addressed the actual point of Epstein's proposed philosophy. My understanding of the philosophy is "more energy is better for humanity than less." Thus cheap reliable power is a benefit for all of humanity and using less energy actually costs humanity. From this point of view Dr. Trexler's is also correct that the cost of enegy is more than just the current economic cost but a cost of potential futures. I wanted to get your thoughts on Dr. Trexler's statement that walking away from the nuclear power companies 40 years ago was the right thing to do even though the cost of doing so allowed for 40+ more years of increasing reliance on the very fuels he is railing against.

Dark Brandon

Shortly after the Inflation Reduction Act passed, Dems — including White House staffers— tweeted “Dark Brandon” memes, which were pictures of Biden with laser eyes. I have a couple of questions: What do you both think of the IRA and in particular, the new Dem narrative around Manchin? Many Dems — at least on Twitter — are now Manchin Stans but were saying he was going to destroy the planet a couple of months ago. Do you think this reflects just a larger misunderstanding of how MOC’s think about political incentives? The second question: What do you guys think of Dems turning this conservative Brandon meme on its head? Thanks!

Which president do you believe has the raw talent to adapt to any political moment to win any past or future presidential election?

I would say Bill Clinton. ALSO if you have the time please do a Louis CK style podcast episode on each president!