A weekly discussion about politics, hosted by The New Yorker's executive editor, Dorothy Wickenden. The New Yorker is a weekly magazine with a mix of reporting on politics and culture, humor and cartoons, fiction and poetry, and reviews and criticism.
More than two years after British voters approved a measure to withdraw their nation from the European Union—a gigantic undertaking with no roadmap of any sort —Prime Minister Theresa May unveiled a plan: essentially, that the U.K. would remain in the European customs union, participating in trade with the E.U. and remaining subject to its trade policies, but exit the political process of the E.U. The deal was seen by some as the worst of both worlds, and several cabinet ministers resigned; May could well lose a no-confidence vote in the immediate future. David Remnick talks with the London-based staff writers Sam Knight and Rebecca Mead about the ongoing challenges of Brexit.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act injected almost nine hundred billion dollars into the U.S. economy to help the nation recover from the 2008 financial crisis. Ninety billion dollars went to clean energy, with the intention of jump-starting a new green economy and replacing aging fossil-fuel technologies. Instead, the bill may have done the opposite. Low interest rates, which made borrowing easier, encouraged a flood of financing for the young fracking industry, which used novel chemical techniques to extract gas and oil. Fracking boomed, and made the U.S. the leading producer of oil and gas by some estimates. The financial journalist Bethany McLean and the investor and hedge-fund manager Jim Chanos tell The New Yorker’s Eliza Griswold that something in the fracking math doesn’t add up. If interest rates rise, thereby reducing the flow of cheap capital, they believe that the industry will collapse.
The reporter Eliza Griswold has long been following political campaigns in Pennsylvania. She has found that, for voters across a wide swath of the state, the thing that’s foremost on people’s minds isn’t Donald Trump but a pipeline running through their back yards. The Mariner East 2 pipeline project carries gas by-products of fracking from the Marcellus shale in west-central Pennsylvania, and carries them east, to a port where the products are shipped overseas. The Democratic governor and Republican legislature have both supported it. The opposition, too, is bipartisan. Griswold followed Danielle Friel Otten, a first-time candidate for the state Assembly, as she went door to door in Exton, Pennsylvania, campaigning against the Mariner East pipeline. Friel Otten would like to unseat her Republican opponent—and then hold her own party accountable.
While the big story going into the midterm elections has been the possibility of a “blue wave”—an upsurge of Democratic progressives, including a high number of women and minority candidates—the divisive political climate has also given us the very opposite: candidates on the far right openly espousing white-supremacist and white-nationalist views. Andrew Marantz, who covers political extremism, among other topics, says that these views have always been on the fringes of political life, but, in the era of Trump, they have moved closer to the center. Candidates who used to “dog-whistle”—use coded language to appeal to racist voters—now openly make white-supremacist statements that Republican Party leadership won’t disavow. Marantz talks with David Remnick about the campaigns of Steve King, the incumbent in Iowa’s Fourth Congressional District; Corey Stewart, a pro-Confederate running for a Senate seat in Virginia; and Arthur Jones, a neo-Nazi running in Illinois’s Third Congressional District.