Every Friday, Guardian columnist and former Washington correspondent, Jonathan Freedland, invites experts to help analyse the latest in American politics. From politicians to journalists covering the White House and beyond, Jonathan and his guests give listeners behind the scenes access to how the American political machine works.
Why do so many Americans believe the Taylor Swift and Joe Biden conspiracy?
32:47Just under a fifth of Americans believe Taylor Swift is part of a conspiracy to help Joe Biden win re-election in November, a new poll found this week. The global pop star has been a regular feature at NFL games since September, when she was first spotted linking arms with the Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce. Before the Chiefs won the Super Bowl on Sunday, rightwing commentators had suggested the championship was rigged by the Biden administration and Swift was secretly helping in order to sway the election in November. So where did this conspiracy theory come from? Why are conservatives so obsessed with Swift? And did the Biden team do the right thing by jokingly feeding the conspiracy? Jonathan Freedland speaks to Nikki McCann Ramírez of Rolling Stone magazine to try to figure it out
Who tanked the border bill?
20:26Illegal immigration via the US-Mexico border remains one of the most pressing problems for Congress. And yet the much anticipated $118bn border security bill, which included aid packages to Ukraine and Israel, was blocked by senators after a chaotic week. Why did this crucial piece of legislation with bipartisan support get rejected by the very people who demanded it? This week, Joan E Greve is joined by Marianna Sotomayor, the congressional reporter for the Washington Post, to discuss why the border bill failed
A year on from the East Palestine toxic train derailment, what’s changed?
34:00A year ago on 3 February a train carrying toxic chemicals derailed in a small village on the border of Ohio and Pennsylvania. A few days after the derailment, officials decided to vent and burn the chemicals it was carrying to prevent an explosion. Those still living in East Palestine and the surrounding communities have been told the air they breathe is safe, but many aren’t confident in what they’re being told. So what led to the derailment? What’s changed in terms of legislation to make sure this kind of accident doesn’t happen again? And how are residents coming together to advocate for their safety and that of fellow Americans in the future? The Guardian’s fossil fuels and climate reporter, Dharna Noor, travelled to East Palestine to see for herself what’s changed in the 12 months since the disaster
Haley vows to fight on despite Trump win in New Hampshire
22:30Donald Trump has won the first in the nation primary election in New Hampshire, making it almost inevitable that we’re poised for the first rematch in a general election since 1956. Despite coming in second in a two-person race, Nikki Haley celebrated at her election night event in Concord. So in our final episode of this special three-part series from New Hampshire, Jonathan Freedland speaks to Lauren Gambino and Semafor’s David Weigel about whether or not Haley actually has reason to be positive. Or is she running on hope rather than reason?
DeSantis drops out, Trump rallies and Haley brings out Judge Judy
29:02Two days before voters in New Hampshire were due to head to the polls, Ron DeSantis announced he was suspending his campaign to become the presidential nominee for the Republican party. Donald Trump had already focused his attack lines on his remaining opponent, Nikki Haley, but can she pull a shock win out of the bag? Jonathan Freedland heads out on the campaign trail, talking to voters along the way
What is the future of the New Hampshire primary?
24:47Residents say the New Hampshire primary was once like a festival coming to town, where voters got to come face to face with big name presidential hopefuls in their living rooms, barns and school gymnasiums. Things are different in 2024. Joe Biden isn’t even on the ballot and there are only three remaining Republican candidates – Donald Trump, Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley – who are doing fewer events than ever. Jonathan Freedland talks to Dante Scala of the University of New Hampshire, and James Pindell of the Boston Globe, as well as some longtime voters to try and figure out when it all changed for the Granite state, and whether the festival of civic duty will ever truly come back.
Trump wins big in Iowa as Haley and DeSantis fall short
19:44It took just 30 minutes for the Associated Press to project Donald Trump the big winner in Iowa. Trump’s victory was expected, but as the night went on, all eyes were on the real contest – the race for second place. Ron DeSantis came out on top in Iowa, but is projected to fall far behind Nikki Haley in the New Hampshire primary. So what happens now? As the majority of Iowans put their faith in Trump, should we just assume he will be the Republican nominee? Can Haley and DeSantis take any positives away from such a poor showing behind the former president? Jonathan Freedland speaks to Joan E Greve, who spoke to him from a Haley caucus event, about all the potential avenues for the remaining candidates
Who benefits as Christie ends presidential bid before Iowa caucus?
27:56Hours before Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis took to the debate stage in Iowa on Wednesday night, more than 1,000 miles away in New Hampshire Chris Christie shocked his supporters by announcing he was dropping out of the race. The former New Jersey governor was the only candidate to consistently attack Donald Trump, in a field of Republicans trying to beat the former president, all the while keeping his base sweet. With only three days until the Iowa caucus, Jonathan Freedland speaks to Elaine Kamarck about who is most likely to come out on top
Civil war gaffes and robotic smiles: can anyone beat Trump?
30:19Nikki Haley, Ron DeSantis, Chris Christie, Vivek Ramaswamy and Asa Hutchinson are all still putting on a brave face and trying to convince Republicans they would be a better president than Donald Trump. With the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary fast approaching, polling suggests the odds are against them, but does any campaign have a chance? This week, Jonathan Freedland speaks to Bill Kristol, editor-at-large at the Bulwark
Revisited: Al Sharpton on 60 years since the march on Washington
40:01The Politics Weekly America team are taking a break. So this week, we’re looking back at one of our favourite episodes of the year. From August: Jonathan Freedland sits down with Rev Al Sharpton to discuss why he believes Martin Luther King Jr’s ‘I have a dream’ speech has been abused by some on the right, why he is still fighting for police reform, and how James Brown was so influential on his life