Beltway Briefing Podcast

The Beltway Briefing is an ongoing series covering the news of the day and constantly-evolving state of play in Washington, D.C., hosted by GOP Strategist and former COO of TARP Howard Schweitzer, Democratic strategist and former member of the Obama-Biden Presidential Transition Team Mark Alderman, and former chief of staff to two attorneys general Blake Rutherford.

Recent Podcasts

The Era of Big Government is Not Over

Apr 4, 2021

On the heels of the just-enacted $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief law, President Biden unveiled on Wednesday his $2 trillion infrastructure plan, a far-reaching program that he will seek to pay for with a substantial increase in corporate taxes. If his full set of proposals become law, they would mark a new era of ambitious federal spending to address longstanding social and economic problems. Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, Patrick Martin, and Kaitlyn Martin debate the infrastructure plan, including the challenge Biden has in balancing his big goals and the growing national debt, and discuss corporate America’s willingness to criticize Georgia’s new voting law and otherwise speak out on social justice issues.

How to Talk to the Biden Administration

Mar 28, 2021

With President Biden’s cabinet confirmed, Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, and Kaitlyn Martin discuss how to talk to the Administration, the political implications of the new Georgia voting law, and President Biden’s recent press conference.

What's Going On in New York

Mar 21, 2021

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo faces growing pressure to resign in the wake of numerous allegations of sexual harassment. The allegations, which followed a mushrooming scandal around the deaths of nursing home residents, are complicating other political priorities in the state including negotiation of the State Budget, leaving many to wonder how long it will take to complete four ongoing investigations, whether the Governor can maintain popular public support, and how long the three-term governor can hold on. Meanwhile, 2021 New York City mayoral race is heating up, as incumbent Bill de Blasio is barred from running for third term by term limits. The primaries, scheduled for June, will be the first New York City mayoral election to use ranked-choice voting, as opposed to the plurality voting of previous primaries. The new mayor will inherit a city reeling from Covid, high unemployment, surging gun violence, and an exodus of residents. New York Public Strategies’ Ken Fisher, Stuart Shorenstein, Katie Schwab, and Rose Christ guest-host today’s discussion and break down the state of New York politics.

The Rescue

Mar 13, 2021

On Thursday, President Biden signed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan into law, cementing the first major legislative victory of his presidency that will set off a massive government rescue effort aimed at sending aid to millions of Americans. Is the bill, which had broad bipartisan public support but which no Republican lawmaker voted for, a blueprint for Biden’s legislative agenda? Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, Patrick Martin, and Kaitlyn Martin debate the impact of the landmark legislation and discuss other political, economic and cultural issues that have dominated this week’s headlines.

Biden to the Rescue?

Mar 9, 2021

Since January 20, there has been a noticeable change of style in Washington: in sharp contrast with the previous administration, the Biden White House has been more calculable, with extreme message discipline and carefully managed appearances. Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Patrick Martin, and Kaitlyn Martin discuss whether, despite deep factors in our politics and society that make unity more difficult and the parties’ strong ideological, cultural, and geographical opposition – Biden can achieve success through his governing style.

Promise of Unity, Reliance on Partisanship

Feb 27, 2021

Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Patrick Martin, Matt Glavin, and Kaitlyn Martin discuss the contentious legislative negotiations over the proposed stimulus package and grade the new administration’s efforts during its first 30 days to meet the daunting challenge to balance Biden’s stated desire for bipartisanship with his sense of urgency to provide the much-needed relief to the economy. Matt provides a unique view of the events inside the Beltway from Chicago and Springfield.

Return of the Old-School Political Scandal

Feb 21, 2021

As an unprecedented winter storm crippled the Lone Star state’s deregulated electrical grid and triggered mass outages - leaving millions trapped without heat for days in freezing homes and putting nearly half of all Texans under a boil-water advisory, Ted Cruz, the junior senator from Texas, made a spectacularly ill-timed decision to leave with his family for a vacation in Cancun in the middle of the energy crisis. Speaking of government blunders, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been trying to contain political fallout from revelations that his administration had concealed the full extent of nursing home-related deaths during the Covid pandemic. Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, Patrick Martin, and Stuart Shorenstein discuss the impact of these scandals and whether they seem to indicate the return to old-school, rough-and-tumble, hardball-style politics.

Does Bipartisanship Matter?

Feb 14, 2021

In the midst of impeachment and the latest coronavirus relief package negotiations, Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, and Kaitlyn Martin debate whether bipartisanship still matters if actions ultimately take place along partisan lines, and ponder whether President Biden is a transitional or transformational president.

Making Sense of the Biden Administration and GOP Power Dynamics

Feb 6, 2021

In the shadow of the former president, the GOP is struggling to find its footing, as it continues to wrestle with a deep cultural divide that has moved to the forefront of Republican politics. Meanwhile, the White House is forming a government that must battle a variety of simultaneous crises. Where is the true power in Washington? Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, Patrick Martin, and Kaitlyn Martin break it all down.

Grading Biden’s First 10 Days

Jan 31, 2021

Facing twin public-health and economic emergencies, racial justice, climate change, and other urgent and compounding crises, President Biden is working with little, if any, political honeymoon. Since January 20, he has signed more than three dozen executive orders and directives aimed at addressing those crises. Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Patrick Martin, and Kaitlyn Martin grade the new administration’s first 10 days and discuss Biden’s daunting challenge to balance his stated desire for bipartisanship with his sense of urgency, as he wrestles with contentious legislative negotiations over his $1.9 trillion coronavirus package, a slow confirmation process for his senior team, and the Senate impeachment trial of his predecessor.

Can Biden Bring the Nation Together?

Jan 25, 2021

Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th president on Wednesday amidst fear and uncertainty and facing a combination of overlapping and compounding crises. President Biden entered the White House hours after the historic inauguration and signed his first executive orders targeting Trump policies on immigration, climate change, racial equity, and coronavirus. Can Biden make the executive branch function effectively and will his appeals for unity bear fruit? Can Congress juggle the Biden agenda and an impeachment trial? Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, and Patrick Martin try to answer these questions as they reflect on the most consequential people of the past four years and discuss the thicket through which Biden and his team are navigating in the first week of the new administration.

The Crossroads of Biden and Trump

Jan 18, 2021

On January 20 – two weeks after a violent mob stormed the Capitol and one week after Trump became the first American president to be impeached twice, Joe Biden will be sworn in as the 46th U.S. President, surrounded by an extraordinary show of security. Even amid a global pandemic and economic downturn, Biden’s most pressing challenge when he takes office may be calming a rattled nation and assuring it that the unrest seen in Washington won’t continue under his watch. Can he restore a sense of normalcy and unite America’s disparate political factions after four tumultuous years? And is this the end of the road for Trump, especially if he is convicted in the Senate and barred from holding future office? If so, what does it mean for a badly divided Republican Party? Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, Patrick Martin, and Kaitlyn Martin discuss the anxious state of the country and ponder the possibility for Biden to restore bipartisan spirit within the government, along with the viability of Trumpism and the MAGA Movement.

A Week That Shook the Nation: Where do We Go From Here?

Jan 11, 2021

January 6 will be remembered as one of the darkest days in U.S. history, when the unthinkable happened: an assault on the U.S. Capitol by a violent mob that drove Congress from its chambers as it was seeking to count Electoral College votes. The day before, a fractured Republican Party lost both Senate runoff races in Georgia, thereby handing the Senate majority to the Democrats, and serving as a prelude to a deadly week. As Washington struggles to decide what to do in the wake of the assault in the 10 days before President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in on Jan. 20, Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, Patrick Martin, and Kaitlyn Martin discuss the events of one of the most consequential weeks in American history and debate where a hyperpolarized country and a deeply damaged electoral system go from here.

Special Midwest Edition - Land of Lincoln and the Windy City

Jan 9, 2021

The State of Illinois and the City of Chicago are going through periods of profound political change. Governor J.B. Pritzker and Mayor Lori Lightfoot, both first-time officeholders, are dealing with a number of political and fiscal challenges related to the Covid-19 pandemic. Michael Madigan, the longest-serving state legislative leader in American history, faces an unprecedented challenge to his decades-long career as Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives. How will the leadership standoff play out and who will ultimately be in charge in Springfield? How will the pandemic impact the business of the state legislature and city council? And how do Governor Pritzker and Mayor Lightfoot respond to the multitude of challenges they face in the coming year? Public Strategies’ Patrick Martin, Matt Glavin, Darren Collier, John Dunn, and Pat Carey reflect on the political battles of 2020, the road to recovery in 2021 and beyond, and what the future may hold for some of the biggest names in Illinois and Chicago politics.

‘Twas the Night Before the Election

Dec 20, 2020

‘Twas the Night Before the Election -by Howard Schweitzer 'Twas the night before the election when all through the land, Not a Trumpster was mailing, not even by hand; Democratic ballots were sent by the thousands with care, In hopes that Joe Biden soon would be there; The Democrats assumed the elections was theirs, With visions of Chuck and Nancy passing mores CARES; But out in the country, Republicans arose with a clatter, Other than Joe Biden, their votes surely did matter; Away from DC the Donald will go, The future is looking much like Obama 2.0; In 2021, the White House will be redecorated and life will renew, But no Mark, contrary to your predictions, the country’s not blue; Let’s get rid of Covid and put it out of reach, And say goodbye to Donald and his solution of bleach; We wish you happy holidays and hope you come back for more, No, not you Donald, it’s not yet ‘24.

Back to the Future?

Dec 14, 2020

As members of the electoral college are convening in state capitals throughout the country to formally vote for the nation’s next president and vice president, Public Strategies' Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, Patrick Martin, and Kaitlyn Martin share their views on how President-elect Biden’s administration is taking shape now that he has announced top White House staffing picks and unveiled key members of his national security, foreign policy, economic, and health teams, many of whom served in the Obama administration.

Is Trumpism Here to Stay?

Dec 6, 2020

In the 2020 elections, a polarized nation yielded a polarized outcome. On the one hand, Biden won more votes than any U.S. presidential candidate in history. On the other, millions of Americans who rejected Trump also voted for the Republicans who backed his policies on down-ballot races. Is the inescapable reality of the election results then that Trumpism remains a powerful current in American politics? As President-elect Biden continues to assemble his Cabinet, Public Strategies' Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, Patrick Martin, and Kaitlyn Martin evaluate the current state of the Biden-Harris transition team and ponder whether the highly polarizing, highly mobilizing Trumpism is a platform that is here to stay.

What Doesn’t Kill you Makes You Stronger

Nov 25, 2020

The grinding 2020 presidential election that rendered millions of Americans exhausted and frustrated represented a big test for our democracy, a test the country would eventually pass. The election system appears to have worked in the face of many challenges – including a pandemic and the resulting unprecedented shift to widespread mail-in voting, as well as a threat from foreign interference from sophisticated adversaries. Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, Patrick Martin, and Kaitlyn Martin reflect on the bruising route to the White House and share their views on how President-elect Biden’s administration is taking shape after he unveiled his national security and foreign policy team and top White House staffing moves.

What do Donald Trump and the Democrats have in Common?

Nov 16, 2020

The results of the 2020 presidential election, in which each candidate received more than 70 million votes, show that the nation remains deeply divided. As Trump campaign’s legal challenges to the results continue, Biden’s team forges ahead with transition planning, and the pandemic rages on, Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer and Mark Alderman discuss the current state of the election and ponder whether, despite a bitter split, there may be some policy issues where Trump and the Democrats could find common ground.

The People Have Spoken . . . Now What Does It Mean?

Nov 6, 2020

The polls have closed and the voters have cast their ballots, but the nation has yet to find out who the winner of the 2020 presidential election is. As several states work to finish counting the ballots, with key battleground states too close to call, Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, and Kaitlyn Martin discuss and analyze the current state of the presidential election.

What Happened Last Night? Making Sense of the 2020 Election Returns.

Nov 4, 2020

The 2020 election is still fluid. There are millions of votes left to be counted in the presidential race, including in key battleground states, and the outstanding votes will ultimately decide the presidency. Public Strategies’ bi-partisan team, including Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, Alex Campau, Patrick Martin, and Kaitlyn Martin, discuss the current state of the presidential election and analyze the results of last night’s House and Senate races ((based on data available prior to the start of the webinar).

Final Predictions

Nov 2, 2020

One of the most divisive and intensely personal presidential campaigns in contemporary history is coming to a close tomorrow. Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer and Mark Alderman discuss the two presidential candidates’ starkly different political identities and make their final predictions for the election that is likely to be a referendum on the president. Will it be Mr. Trump, who has largely wasted his chance to show emphatic leadership, has shifted almost exclusively to law-and-order rhetoric, and effectively has no second-term message beyond four more years of himself? Or will it be Mr. Biden, who has offered himself as the candidate best equipped to halt the nation’s raging coronavirus pandemic and heal its economic decline and whose key message is that the election is a fight for the soul of the nation?

Biden 1.0 — Looking Ahead to a Potential Transition and First Biden Term

Oct 29, 2020

Five days before the 2020 elections, Public Strategies Chairman Mark Alderman is joined by Patrick Martin - the group’s Midwest Director, Alex Campau - Health Policy Director, and Kaitlyn Martin - Government Relations Adviser, to discuss the current state of the presidential race and what a potential Biden-Harris administration would look like in Washington. CEO Howard Schweitzer moderates the discussion.

Trump 2.0 Part 2

Oct 26, 2020

Public Strategies CEO Howard Schweitzer is joined by Alex Campau, the group’s Health Policy Director, and Kaitlyn Martin, Government Relations Adviser, to discuss the current state of the 2020 presidential race and what a potential second Trump administration would look like in Washington, primarily from a health-policy perspective. CPS Chairman Mark Alderman moderates the discussion

Trump 2.0 Part 1

Oct 26, 2020

Public Strategies CEO Howard Schweitzer is joined by Alex Campau, the group’s Health Policy Director, and Kaitlyn Martin, Government Relations Adviser, to discuss the current state of the 2020 presidential race and what a potential second Trump administration would look like in Washington, primarily from a health-policy perspective. CPS Chairman Mark Alderman moderates the discussion

Conversation about the Election and Moving the Country Forward with Congresswoman Robin Kelly

Oct 18, 2020

17 days before the 2020 election, Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, and Darren Collier are joined by Congresswoman Robin Kelly, who has served as the U.S. Representative from Illinois’s 2nd Congressional district since 2013. They discuss the current state of the presidential race and, regardless of who becomes President-elect on November 3, what it will take to move the fiercely politically divided nation forward and repair the health and economic damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

' A Vice-Presidential Reassurance?'

Oct 11, 2020

Howard, Mark and guest Kaitlyn Martin engage in a spirited debate about the consequences of the vice presidential debate, the direction of the country in a post-Trump world and what’s to become of the Senate races.

Illness and Election

Oct 5, 2020

Washington insiders and public policy strategists Mark Alderman and Howard Schweitzer are joined by friend Jerry Kilgore to debate the impact of Trump’s illness on Washington, speculation about a new stimulus bill and how conservatives have received a strong return on their 'Trump investment’.

Juxtaposition of a Supreme Court Confirmation and Questions About the Peaceful Transfer of Power

Sep 27, 2020

Yesterday, the day after a divided Washington came together to honor Justice Ginsberg, President Trump nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett for the Supreme Court. A law clerk to and mentee of the late Justice Scalia, Barrett is described as an "originalist" and a "textualist" and the polar opposite of the liberal icon in judicial philosophy. Trump, who calls himself “president of law and order,” says the nomination was the fulfillment of one of his constitutional duties, but how does that square with his refusal to commit to a peaceful transfer of power? Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, and Jerry Kilgore discuss a partisan and ideological battle Barrett’s nomination has ignited and its impact on the final days of the presidential campaign.

RBG and the Consequences for the Election

Sep 21, 2020

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Supreme Court Justice and a liberal icon who dedicated her life to defying and dismantling institutionalized gender discrimination, died on Friday at the age of 87. This being one of the most polarized moments in our history, on the eve of an election in which the stakes were already extremely high, it was inevitable that the politics of replacing her would surge to the fore even before most tributes had been delivered. As President Trump prepares to nominate a successor and Republican leaders move urgently to make the political and procedural case for bucking recent precedent in order to seize a monumental chance to solidify the court’s rightward ideological shift, Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, and Kaitlyn Martin discuss the maelstrom on Capitol Hill and its impact on the election, which is just 44 days away.

Is the Presidential Race Biden’s to Lose?

Sep 14, 2020

On the heels of Labor Day, when traditionally the most intense campaigning begins, Joe Biden continues to hold a lead over President Trump. A brace of new polls suggest a majority of voters don’t like the President or approve of the job he is doing. Is the race then Biden’s to lose? Will Trump’s inflammatory campaign tactics be sufficient to alter the underlying dynamics of the election? The future is unpredictable. Data and polls certainly have its limits. As anyone who lived through the 2016 election or the first eight months of 2020 knows, surprises happen and things can change quickly. 50 days before the Election Day, Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer and Mark Alderman discuss the current state of the presidential race, as the public health and economic crises continue to grip the nation.

Conversation about Politics and Policing with Congressman Eric Swalwell (D-CA 15)

Aug 31, 2020

On today’s episode of Beltway Briefing podcast, Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, and Jim Schultz are joined by Congressman Eric Swalwell, the U.S. Representative in California’s 15th Congressional district and a U.S. presidential candidate in the 2020 Democratic primaries. Less than 70 days before the Election Day, they discuss the just-completed Democratic and Republican National Conventions, the continuing debate about police violence, use of force and the need to reform America’s criminal justice system, as well as the ongoing public-health and economic crises.

COVID-19 and the Conventions

Aug 24, 2020

More than 170,000 people in the U.S. have died from coronavirus. Beyond the terrible death toll, the pandemic has wrecked the economy and interrupted everyday life. As a result, while Americans may be more politically polarized than ever, if there is one thing people on all sides of the political spectrum agree on, it is that COVID-19 has fundamentally disrupted the 2020 presidential election. On August 17, the general election season kicked off with back-to-back political conventions which, thanks to the pandemic, have taken an unconventional turn, swapping a week of festivities for each party with somber-toned, two-dimensional television shows, indicating the seriousness of the moment. On the heels of the Democratic convention and on the eve of the Republican one, Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, and Jim Schultz discuss this year’s biggest political events and what to expect over the next 70+ days, as the turmoil in the country continues and the election nears.

Special Guest: Congressman Dan Meuser (R-PA 9)

Aug 15, 2020

On today’s episode of Beltway Briefing podcast, Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, and Jim Schultz are joined by Congressman Dan Meuser, the U.S. Representative in Pennsylvania's 9th Congressional district, who previously served as the Secretary of Revenue in Governor Tom Corbett’s cabinet. 79 days before the 2020 Election Day, they discuss the current state of the presidential race, including the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s historic choice of Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) as his running mate, President Trump’s recent executive orders on COVID-19 relief, and the ongoing twin public-health and economic crises.

Veepstakes

Aug 11, 2020

Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer and Mark Alderman discuss the current state of the 2020 presidential race and the presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s candidates for Vice President. N.B. Shortly after today’s podcast concluded, former Vice President Joe Biden announced that he has chosen Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA), as his running mate. Harris, who previously served as San Francisco district attorney and California attorney general, is the first African American woman and first Asian American to run for vice president, representing a historic choice. Should Biden win, she would become the nation’s first female vice president.

President Trump's Handling of the Pandemic

Aug 4, 2020

In a matter of months, the COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped our society and changed our entire way of life. President Trump has said over the weekend that the virus is “under control as much as you can control it” in the U.S., yet infection rates, hospitalizations and deaths have been soaring in recent weeks. So far, more than 152,000 U.S. deaths and more than 4.72 million coronavirus cases have been reported nationwide. The Administration’s response to the pandemic has been criticized for months, as it has failed to produce a coordinated, national strategy to contain the virus and set up national programs for testing and contact tracing. According to a recent poll, nearly two-thirds of Americans disapprove of President Trump’s handling of the pandemic. 91 days before the November election, Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, and Jim Schultz discuss President Trump’s response to the worst public-health crisis in a century, which stands to be one of the key issues that will ultimately determine who becomes President-elect on Nov. 3.

Where’s the Race Headed with 99 Days To Go?

Jul 28, 2020

99 days before the 2020 Voting Day, the public health and economic crises are emphatically far from over and political rifts are intensifying. How President Trump and the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Biden plan on handling pressing issues will become emblematic of their values and priorities and will ultimately determine who becomes President-elect on Nov. 3. Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, and Jim Schultz discuss the country’s fractured state, the two presidential candidates’ starkly different political identities, and what we can expect over the next few months, as the anxiety deepens and the nation braces for one of the most divisive, intensely personal, and anything-but-typical general election campaigns in contemporary history.

Polls, Polls, and More Polls . . . What do They Mean?

Jul 21, 2020

As coronavirus cases climb, Trump’s poll numbers, stagnant for the first three years of his presidency, have largely evaporated. A double-digit advantage in numerous national polls, solid leads in a number of battleground states, and competitive showings in states Trump carried handily in 2016, suggest Biden is the favorite to win on November 3. Even the Trump campaign’s efforts to define the presumptive democratic nominee with a bombardment of negative advertising, has yet to dent the former vice president. Many people are wary of polls now, however, and understandably so. The overwhelming majority of polls four years ago indicated Trump would lose, too. So why put much faith in the 2020 polls that show Biden consistently on top? Will enthusiasm for a candidate translate into enthusiasm about voting? Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, and Jim Schultz break it all down and discuss what we can expect over the next 105 days, as the pandemic continues, the economy reels, and the election nears.

Biden v. Trump

Jun 27, 2020

Amidst the dramatic changes that the U.S has undergone in the last four months, the 2020 presidential election remains ongoing. How the two presidential candidates plan on handling pressing issues will become emblematic of their values and priorities and will ultimately determine who becomes President-elect on Nov. 4. Will it be Mr. Biden, whose key message is that the election is a fight for “the soul of the nation” and who hasn’t even had to campaign to take a large lead in battleground states? Or will it be Mr. Trump, who has largely wasted his chance to show emphatic leadership, has shifted almost exclusively to “law-and-order” rhetoric, and effectively has no second-term message beyond four more years of himself. But are four more years more risk than millions of Americans can stand? Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, and Jim Schultz discuss the two candidates’ starkly different political identities and what we can expect over the next 129 days, as the public health crisis continues and the pandemic-patchwork nation braces for its most divisive presidential election.

Not Your Typical Election Season

Jun 22, 2020

After three months of little public activity, and on the heels of a blockbuster week at the Supreme Court, both presidential candidates have launched their campaigns in earnest. Amid widespread civil unrest and ongoing public health and economic crises, the opening stage of what is likely to be one of the most divisive, intensely personal, and anything-but-typical general election campaigns in contemporary history began to unfold. 134 days before the election, Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, and Jim Schultz discuss the current events and what to expect next.

Confusion Heading into the Home Stretch

Jun 13, 2020

142 days before the 2020 Voting Day, the public health crisis is emphatically far from over, demonstrations against racial injustice continue to spread, political rifts intensify, and the pandemic patchwork nation seems unable to understand the direction it is going as it braces for its most divisive presidential election. Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, and Jim Schultz discuss the country’s fractured state, two presidential candidates’ starkly different political identities, and what we can expect over the next few months, as the crisis continues, the anxiety deepens, and the election nears.

A Chaotic Week in America

Jun 6, 2020

For the past eight days, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic that has so far claimed more than 100,000 U.S. lives and left more than 40 million Americans unemployed in its wake, protests have been held in all 50 U.S. states and spread to countries around the world, in an all-out rebuke of aggressive police tactics and racism. A wave of epic changes and profound events seen in more than 100 cities since the heartbreaking and unjustified killing of George Floyd, has cut through the hyper-polarized divides of modern America. Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman and Jim Schultz discuss what has undoubtedly been an unprecedented week in the country and one that has communicated a powerful and transformative sense of urgency.

The State of the Union is???

May 30, 2020

The twin health and economic crises have reached a tragic new milestone, as the pandemic death toll has surpassed 100,000 and the American economy has shed more than 30 million jobs. Meanwhile, a police killing of a black American has once again sparked outrage and violent protests across the country, laying bare the country’s political dysfunction and racial inequalities. As a grim tableau of a union in crisis has emerged, leaving some to believe that a fundamental change is at hand, Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, and Jim Schultz discuss what to expect next.

Blue v. Red, the Pandemic

May 16, 2020

House Democrats on Friday passed a $3 trillion relief package, named HEROES Act in honor of the front-line workers and designed to assuage the health and economic damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The mammoth bill, approved largely along the party lines, seeks to add pressure on Senate Republicans to start negotiations on a new round of emergency aid and avoid making the process yet another partisan flashpoint. Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, and Jim Schultz break it all down and discuss what’s next, as the patchwork approach to reopening the economy continues to reveal divides between states and the federal government, on the one hand, and between blue and red states, on the other, that are likely to widen as the pandemic continues and the election nears.

The Politics of Leadership

May 9, 2020

After weeks of stay-at-home orders, millions of lost jobs, and trillions in emergency government spending, President Trump is calling for state and local governments to reopen their economies. Governors, for their part, are moving ahead with their own plans for how to safely resume normal activity, as they face the same competing pressures between keeping people safe in a pandemic and reviving some elements of a more functioning society. Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, and Jim Schultz assess the leadership of both the President and the governors and look ahead to the November election, which will be not just about who can better return the country to normalcy but also about who can better stem the damage from what is likely to be the worst economic contraction in 90 years.

Show me the Money???

May 2, 2020

After more than a month under pandemic-related shutdown, and a resulting economic nosedive, the reopening of America is happening with little consensus on how it should proceed. Is testing really the deus ex machina that many claim? Several governors have issued a joint call for Congress to approve extra money in direct aid to states, depicting an increasingly dire financial strain on states struggling with the coronavirus crisis. It is also clear that the crisis will have a profound effect on this year’s presidential campaign and on American politics in the long term. Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, and Jim Schultz discuss these and related issues and ponder what lies ahead as the country enters the next phase of an unprecedented national experiment resulting from the pandemic.

Disinfecting America

Apr 25, 2020

President Trump last week signed the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, freeing up almost half-a-trillion dollars in additional relief funds to deal with the pandemic and its blow to the American economy. Less than three months since the first known COVID-19 death in the U.S., the country's reported fatalities make up a quarter of the world's known coronavirus death toll. Meanwhile, as many states still struggle to secure critical test kits, governors across the political spectrum continue to lack persuasive arguments to safely reopen the country and have asked that the federal government step up its support for state efforts. Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, and Jim Schultz discuss how the crisis continues to reshape the American economy and life as we know it.

Politics and the Reopening of America

Apr 20, 2020

Less than seven months before the November election, the issue of reopening the country in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic is a high-wire act for the president. The politics of the situation is hanging over the health data, as a swift economic restart could backfire politically for Trump if it causes a flare up. Meanwhile, governors across the political spectrum are also facing growing pressure to revive economies decimated by the coronavirus. But if they drew praise for taking quick action to protect public health, taking responsibility for when and how to reopen the country could prove far more politically perilous. Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, and Jim Schultz discuss what lies ahead, as the ongoing public health crisis continues to test both the economy and the public’s patience.

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The Beltway Briefing Road to the 2018 Midterm Elections – Live Election Day Edition

This live election day edition of our Beltway Briefing Road to the 2018 Midterm Elections podcast, Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, and Blake Rutherford give their final predictions and analysis before polls close. Will the Democrats take the House? Can Republicans keep the Senate? What does that mean for Washington going forward? 

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