You want something positive to listen to? Here’s a compilation of Daily Kos’ The Brief podcast

This past year, Daily Kos’ Markos Moulitsas and Kerry Eleveld began hosting a podcast called The Brief. With loads of help from Daily Kos’ Cara Zelaya, Carolyn Fiddler, and Dorothy He, and myself, we have rolled out a year’s worth of episodes, with interviews with elected officials, political advisers, legal experts, grassroots organizers, and our own in-house elections experts and reporters. Every week has been a learning experience, whether it’s talking with’s Matt Hildreth to discuss what is happening on the ground with rural voters or talking with The Nation’s Elie Mystal about the legal ramifications of anti-choice laws and the Supreme Court.

The show is an optimistic one, and in this day and age, with our democracy hanging in the balance, it has been a real oasis of hope to talk with the people working to make changes on the ground at the state and local level.

First, let me plug the show with hyperlinks! You can find intros and recaps on Daily Kos here. You can watch those podcasts on the Daily Kos YouTube channel here. You can listen and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts, like here or here.

And now some 2021 highlights:

The History of the Republican Party’s Dedication to Whiteness:

In February, with Trump’s second impeachment trial looming, Markos and Kerry spoke with historian Kathleen Frydl to discuss the potentials of the Biden administration and the historical “politics of whiteness” embraced by the Republican Party since the late 1960s.

Can the Republican Party be saved? What about rural America?

Executive Director of Matt Hildreth joined the crew to talk about the work going on locally to disconnect rural America from right-wing misinformation and what the Democratic Party has to do in order to cut down the margins and gain the political power the majority of Americans—rural communities included—desire.

Arizona is ground zero for the GOP’s assault on democracy. How’s 2022 looking?

A popular name around the watercooler in progressive circles these days is Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego (AZ-07). Gallego is at the top of the list of people everyone except Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell hopes will primary Sen. Kyrsten Sinema in 2024. We had him on in June to talk about Sinema and the future of Arizona’s progressive movement.

The fight for rural America is alive and well. Can progressives win the rural vote?

You may remember J.D. Scholten when he came out of nowhere, running a grassroots campaign that exceeded all expectations in challenging racist Iowa Rep. Steve King. Kerry and Markos spoke with Scholten of Rural Objective PAC and John Ray of YouGov Blue to talk about what was being done and the data being used to connect with rural voters long neglected by the Democratic Party. 

Has the political press learned anything in its coverage of the Trump Republican Party?

Markos and Kerry spoke with former senior writer at Media Matters for America Eric Boehlert. They talked about the shifting role of the media under the Trump administration and what that means for politics and the Republican Party’s willingness to shamelessly push fascism.

Mississippi, believe it or not, should be a purple state and the future of the Trump Party

Former U.S. House member, secretary of agriculture, and Senate candidate Mike Espy was the guest for this episode where Markos and Kerry talked about the once believed to be impossible reality of a more purple Mississippi. While many folks in the traditional political world have long dismissed Mississippi as forever red, the same was once said about Georgia—and we all know what happened in Georgia.

So, how about that census? The future of America is less and less white

Executive Director of NextGen America Cristina Tzintun Ramirez spoke with Markos and Kerry about what exactly the changing demographics of our country mean for grassroots activists and democracy writ large in the coming years and decades. Ramirez also spoke to the need for candidates and officials to recognize the damage being done to many new Americans as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and the opportunities it offers all of us to create relationships that help make our country stronger.

The Texas anti-abortion law, and how we can fight it

Elie Mystal became one of The Brief’s first return guests to discuss the outrageous Texas abortion ban law and what could and could not be done about it. Mystal gave a solid criticism of the Biden administration and what it was failing to do as GOP-led state legislatures continued their war on civil rights and civil liberties.

What the polls show us about our democracy, on Daily Kos' The Brief

Markos cofounded Civiqs, a polling and data analytics firm that conducts public opinion research online, with Drew Linzer back in 2013. Civiqs generates its data and polling in a more granular and real-time fashion than has been done previously. Linzer came on the show in July to talk about what polling has shown in regards to Americans’ beliefs over time. He spoke to the truth that can be found in the tracking of people’s beliefs and how frequently the facts of polling belie the media narrative being pushed about what does and does not change public opinion. 

These are just 10 of the dozens of shows that include guests like Julián Castro, Rev. Dr. Barber, Historian Elizabeth Hinton, VoteVets Jon Soltz, and New Georgia Project’s Nse Ufot. Are there any guests or subjects you would like—dare I say love—to see The Brief tackle in the future? Comment away!

New York State Democrats Want To Rename Donald J. Trump State Park

Democrats in the New York state legislature are pushing a bill to rename Donald J. Trump State Park, a park about 50 miles north of New York City.

The park is a 436-acre area of unused land about eight miles east of Peekskill, New York.  

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‘For These Reasons The Donald J. Trump State Park Should Be Renamed’

“New York State has always been known for its history of welcoming and embracing people of all cultures and backgrounds,” the bill states. “Even our park system reflects these values.”

The bill continues, “According to the Declaration of Policy of the Office of Parks Recreation and Historic Preservation, our parks should foster and strengthen the sense of purpose, well-being and identity of the citizens of this state.”

“The names of these parks and green spaces should embody the goals of uplifting and unifying New Yorkers,” the bill puts forth.

“For these reasons the Donald J. Trump State Park should be renamed.”

Trump bought the land for the purpose of building a golf course. That plan was changed so the former president donated the land to the state in 2006.

His only stipulation was that the area was named after him. But the land never actually became a state park.

The Push To Rename The Park Is Not New

Trying to change the name of this New York land is not a new effort.

In 2015, two Democratic lawmakers introduced a bill titled the “Anything But Trump Act.”

Democratic Assemblyman Charles Lavine said six years ago, “It is time the state of New York sends a message to Donald Trump that his hate speech is not welcome in our great state.”

“I am confident that the governor will take our letters into consideration,” he added. “If he is unable to act, then we are prepared to move forward with this legislation.”

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‘We Want People To Be Able To Appreciate Parkland… Without Shame’

The latest bill to change the name was sponsored by Democratic Assemblywoman Nily Rozic who said, “Our parklands should be reflective of New Yorkers that we can be proud of, New Yorkers that have expressed our values.”

She added, “There are a lot of other New Yorkers who are worthy of the honor of having a park named after themselves.”

“We’ve been working on this for a number of years, and I certainly am hopeful that it will get the green light and move forward,” she continued.

She finished,  “At the end of the day, we want people to be able to appreciate parkland and be able to visit it without stigma, without shame, and we want to be able to be proud of our open spaces.”

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