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How do we determine what the stakes actually are?

I really appreciated hearing someone like Shadi Hamid say that we need to stop treating every election as if it is the most important election of our lifetime. TDS went far beyond being merely annoying, and Trumpist election denial sets a bad precedent to say the least. But while I agree that not every election is the most important election, it does feel as if we are living through an existential moment. If either the Progressive Left or the MAGA Right gains a solid legislative majority, I think it is fair to say that the country would charter an entirely new course. Hamid responded to this by saying that politicians then have the obligation to offer an alternative and we then have the opportunity to vote out the majority coalition. But this seems to ignore the fact that a new governing coalition rarely if ever fully undoes what the prior coalition had made. Reagan did not eliminate social security for example, and if either the Progressive Left or the MAGA Right make changes at that most fundamental level of American life it seems like they would never be fully undone. I’m not a doomer on either side, but I’m wondering if Marshall and Saagar could weigh in on the exact level of existential CHANGE (not necessarily threat) the US is facing at the moment. I think it’s fair to say anyone who listens to this show believes there is a realignment currently happening in American politics, but as we move further away from 2016 I feel like it’s harder than ever to understand what exactly is at stake and what exactly could change. Keep up the great work, Josh

Crime as an issue in the midterms

While the Democrats pound on the topic of abortion, it seems the Republicans' go-to issue right now is crime. I assume that means it's an effective angle for them, but why? I've read that violent crime is a bit down but murders are a bit up... but is any of that enough to affect a significant number of voters? (I live in the suburbs of Denver so I admit may be privileged to be mostly insulated from any rise in crime, if there is one.) Or is the Crime message a cypher for BLM protests and anti-law enforcement sentiment that raises conservatives' hackles and gets them to the ballot box? Or is it a purely emotional appeal to an abstract notion of law and order? We know why abortion is on the minds of voters. So why crime?

Translating cultural power into political power

Why can’t Dems build political power the way they have built cultural power? Liberals have been extraordinarily disciplined in how they have pushed certain ideas (CRT, for example) originating from academic circles into the corporate & government world. Dems, however, don’t have the same political discipline (they don’t have an impressive political bench, Republicans have consistently beat them in appointing judges, don’t have the same leadership institutions that groom the next generation, like FedSoc on GOP side, etc). Curious if Marshall or Saagar have any thoughts!

Why did J.D. Vance underperform?

As someone who was a big J.D. Vance fan before he went into politics, I was surprised to see him struggle in the election. He won, but underperformed, based on everything I've heard. Why do you think that is and what does is bode for the national conservative wing of the Republican Party?

Russian Power and the End of History

I'm interested in the idea that Russia's failure in Ukraine validates the theory of "The End of History", that Autocracy cannot triumph over liberal democracy. This contrasts in my view with the success of the USSR in WW2. After being knocked on their asses, the Soviets stood up again and were the Axis Powers' fiercest opponents for the rest of the war. Granted Nazi Germany wasn't an example of a liberal democracy, but many people believe that if the Red Army had not stopped in Germany they could have easily rolled back Western forces all the way to the Atlantic. From your other podcasts, it seems like the failure of communism to keep pace with the West economically or technologically were key factors leading to the decline of the USSR. Putin's pathetic performance in Ukraine though, seems like they didn't just fail to keep pace - they've backslid significantly! I wonder whether the Russian army today would lose to Stalin's Red Army, even given the disparity in military technology. You opined that China's COVID failures further confirm this narrative. I'm worried that we may underestimate them, though, like Hitler underestimated the Soviets. It's not yet clear that the strength of our system outweigh the burdens of freedom when it comes to geopolitical power. It feels right, but we don't exactly have the double blind studies done yet to prove it. What do you think?