Oct 16, 2021 • 1HR 3M

Theory of Change #022: Greg Sargent on Republican obstructionism and the Biden policy agenda

Why is Republican obstruction assumed to be a fact of American politics?


Appears in this episode

Matthew Sheffield
Lots of people want to change the world. But how does change happen? History is filled with stories of people and institutions that spent big and devoted many resources to effect change but have little to show for it. By contrast, many societal developments have happened without forethought from anyone. And of course, change can be negative as well as positive. In each episode of this weekly program, Theory of Change host Matthew Sheffield delves deep with guests to discuss larger trends in politics, religion, media, and technology.
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Episode Summary

Democrats have the narrowest of majorities in the House and Senate. And after a few months of a presidential honeymoon for Joe Biden, they really are feeling the constraints of their tiny margin for error. The Senate is split 50 50 with a tie breaking vote going to Vice President Kamala Harris, which means the Democrats there have to reach unanimous agreement in order to do anything that Republicans in the chamber are against.

And with Mitch McConnell as their leader, Republican senators are pretty much against everything Democrats want to do. So what’s the plan and how are they moving forward in the face of such obstruction?

And that obstruction is a formidable obstacle outside of domestic politics. Because nine months after the January sixth Capitol riot, so much about what happened on that day and why it happened is still unknown.

Law enforcement officials have been conducting many investigations of various people, but none of their findings become public unless they’re relevant to a trial. And after several months’ delay, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi decided to launch a Select Committee to investigate what happened.

In this episode of Theory of Change, we feature Greg Sargent, an opinion columnist with the Washington Post and a blogger there as well. And prior to that, he wrote for the American Prospect and Talking Points Memo and New York magazine. He’s also the author of a book that came out a few years ago called “An Uncivil War, Taking Back Our Democracy in an Age of Trumpian Disinformation and Thunderdome Politics.”

Beyond discussing why Democrats don’t talk about far-right radicalism more, I also talk about some of my own experiences in Republican politics and why I left.

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