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The Road to Now

Bob Crawford (The Avett Brothers) & Dr. Ben Sawyer (MTSU History) share conversations with great thinkers from a variety of backgrounds – historians, artists, legal scholars, political figures and more –who help us uncover the many roads that run between past and present. For more information, visit TheRoadToNow.com If you'd like to support our work, join us on Patreon: Patreon.com/TheRoadToNow
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Now displaying: November, 2016
Nov 28, 2016

American politics has changed a lot in the last few decades. Jimmy Williams, has observed this from inside the beltway, and has made a few changes himself. When he first arrived in DC in 1992, he was a Republican working for the George H.W. Bush’s reelection campaign. A few years later he was a Democrat working on the staff of Democratic Senator Dick Durban. Since then he has been a lobbyist, a contributor at MSNBC, the founder of his own online media outlet and, most recently, the host of the political podcast Decode DC.

In our interview, Jimmy tells Bob and Ben of the road that led him through all of these career changes, and the path that led him from a Republican to a self-professed “progressive Democrat who owns guns.” Jimmy discusses his experience of coming out as gay in the 1990s and the ways his faith have informed his political views. We also discuss HB2 in North Carolina and the greater history of discrimination and inclusion in American politics.

Jimmy Williams is a political commentator and the host of the Decode DC podcast, which explains how politics in Washington, DC affects Americans’ daily lives.

More on this episode and The Road to Now can be found at our website: www.TheRoadToNow.com

 

Nov 21, 2016

The 2016 election is over and many Americans are trying to understand how Donald Trump was able to defeat the political establishment and reveal major flaws in the ways experts assess public opinion. To help us understand this election, Bob and Ben speak with Dr. Brian Rosenwald about his research on the history of conservative talk radio. Brian traces the rise of Rush Limbaugh and other conservative radio hosts in the 1980s, and the ways they have both reflected and shaped their listeners’ views. He also explains why there is truth to claims of liberal bias in the mainstream media, but not for the reasons most critics assume.

Our conversation with Brian also provided an excellent opportunity for Bob and Ben to discuss the 2016 election and our take on the best ways to move forward. 

Dr. Brian Rosenwald is a fellow at the Robert A. Fox Leadership Program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is currently converting his doctoral dissertation, “Mount Rushmore: The Rise of Talk Radio and its Impact on Politics and Public Policy,” into a book for Harvard University Press. Brian also conducts research for the Slate podcast Whistlestop.

For more on this and many other episodes of The Road to Now, check out our website: www.theroadtonow.com

 

Nov 14, 2016

The relationship between the United States and Russia was hotly debated in the 2016 election, and will likely be one of the most important issues in US foreign policy for years to come. To help us better understand how this relationship looks from the Russian perspective, we spoke with Dr. Arch Getty, Distinguished Professor of History at UCLA. Arch explains where Vladimir Putin fits within the greater history of Russian leaders, as well as the ways that history and geography have shaped Russians’ understanding of their place in the world. He also shares his own story of living in Moscow in the last year of the Soviet Union, and the changes he’s seen since he first visited Russia in the late 1970s.

Dr. J. Arch Getty is a Distinguished Professor of History at UCLA whose work focuses on the Stalin period of Russian history. Arch is a John Simon Guggenheim Fellow, a Research Fellow of the Russian State Humanities University (Moscow), and has been Senior Fellow of the Harriman Institute (Columbia University), and the Davis Center (Harvard University.) His most recent book, Practicing Stalinism: Bolsheviks, Boyars, and the Persistence of Tradition, was published by Yale University Press in 2013.

A special thanks to Roscoe and Lucy Strickland for the generous donation that supported Dr. Getty’s visit to Middle Tennessee State University, and to the Department of History at MTSU for arranging this interview.

Links and more info on this and other episodes can be found at our website: www.theroadtonow.com

Nov 7, 2016

For the final installment in our election week series, we speak with Bruce Carlson, the creator and host of the podcast My History Can Beat Up Your Politics podcast, about the interesting moments and valuable lessons from the history of American Presidential Elections. Along the way we discuss party realignments, “October surprises,” and other moments that shaped American politics. We also discuss the history of podcasting, and Bob reveals that he and Bruce went to college together at the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey (now Stockton University).

 Bob and Ben highly recommend My History Can Beat Up Your Politics, which you can get anywhere you get The Road to Now (or you can click on the link below).

For more on The Road to Now: www.theroadtonow.com

For more on Bruce Carlson's My History Can Beat Up Your Politics:
http://www.myhistorycanbeatupyourpolitics.com/

Nov 3, 2016

In the second installment of our election week series, Road to Now contributors Matt Negrin & Alex Trowbridge of Bloomberg Politics offer up another round of Path to the Present (the podcast inside a podcast) to explain the role that surrogates have played in Presidential Elections in the past and present. Through their own research and interviews with Donald Trump’s Senior Advisor/Surrogate Boris Epshteyn & Hillary Clinton surrogate/US Congressman Gregory Meeks (D-NY), Matt & Alex discuss what motivates individuals to speak on behalf of a candidate, what we can learn from speaking with surrogates, and what makes a surrogate good (or bad) at their job.

For more on The Road to Now: www.theroadtonow.com 

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