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 RuralOrganizing.org’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:
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.
Executive Director of RuralOrganizing.org 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!