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The Argument

New York Times

Strongly-held opinions. Open-minded debates. A weekly ideas show, hosted by Jane Coaston.

Strongly-held opinions. Open-minded debates. A weekly ideas show, hosted by Jane Coaston.


United States


Strongly-held opinions. Open-minded debates. A weekly ideas show, hosted by Jane Coaston.






After Dobbs: What Is Feminist Sex?

What is good sex? It’s a complicated question that feminists have wrestled with for decades. From destigmatizing premarital sex to embracing no-strings-attached hookup culture of more recent decades, feminism has often focused winning sexual freedoms for women. But some feminists have been asking if those victories have had unintended consequences, such as the devaluing of emotional intimacy in relationships. So: What kind of sexual liberation actually makes women freer? And how do we need...

After Dobbs: Feminism Beyond the Gender Binary

As the feminist movement has regrouped in the wake of the Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, one of the more surprising debates that has emerged has been one about semantics. Some feminists argue that using inclusive phrases like “pregnant person” in reproductive rights advocacy minimizes the experiences of cisgender women. So where do trans and nonbinary people fit within feminism’s big tent? And if the trans rights movement and the feminist movement are...


After Dobbs: Does ‘Big Tent’ Feminism Exist? Should It?

For decades, the story of the American feminist movement seemed like a progression of hard-won gains: Title IX, Roe v. Wade, the Violence Against Women Act, #MeToo. But in a post-“lean in” and post-Roe America, the momentum seems to have reversed, leaving some feminists to wonder: What are we fighting for? And who is in that fight? So this week, “The Argument” is kicking off a three-part series to dive into the state of feminism today. In the first episode, Jane Coaston brings together two...


What Should High Schoolers Read?

Book banning has surged in America’s classrooms. The free speech advocacy organization PEN America has compiled a list of more than 1,500 reported instances of books being banned in public schools and libraries in less than a year. As students head back to school, what are the books we do and don’t want our kids to read? And what are the values America’s students are meant to take away from the pages of books? So on this episode of “The Argument,” Jane Coaston is talking to two writers and...


Best of: Does the Supreme Court Need More Justices?

Today, we're re-airing one of our most timely debates from earlier this year: Reforming the Supreme Court. This episode originally aired before the Dobbs decision was released this summer. 2022 is a big year for supporters of Supreme Court reform. Roe v. Wade, the landmark case that gave women nationwide the right to have abortions, has been overturned, and the debate around changing the way we structure the bench — in particular, packing the court — is getting only more heated. The past...


Best of: Cancel America's Student Loan Debt! But How?

Today, with the Biden Administration weighing whether to extend the federal student loan payment freeze, we're re-airing one of our most timely debates from last year: Canceling student loan debt. The problem of student loan debt has reached crisis proportions. As a college degree has grown increasingly necessary for economic mobility, so has the $1.7 trillion in student loan debt that Americans have taken on to access that opportunity. President Biden has put some debt cancellation on the...


Trump, Dr. Oz and Our Political Cult of Celebrity

Celebrities. They are ubiquitous in American culture and now, ever increasingly, in our politics. From Donald Trump to Dr. Oz, the memeification of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine — the power of celebrity has gripped our democracy and society. We want our elected officials to be superstars, but is that a good thing? So today, host Jane Coaston is joined by Jessica Bennett, contributing editor to Times Opinion and Frank Bruni, a contributing Opinion...


Your Blue State Won’t Save You: Why State Politics Is National Politics

Last week, Kansans voted in overwhelming numbers to protect abortion rights in their State Constitution — the first instance since the overruling of Roe v. Wade in which voters have been able to weigh in on the issue directly. But local battles aren’t just limited to abortion. There’s guns. There’s school curriculums. Most crucially, there’s voting rights. As national politics becomes increasingly polarized and stalemates in Congress continue, how we live is going to be decided by local...


What’s God Got to Do With It? The Rise of Christian Nationalism in American Politics.

Christian nationalism has been empowered in American politics since the rise of Donald Trump. From “Stop the Steal” to the storming of the U.S. Capitol and now, the overturn of Roe v. Wade — Christian nationalist rhetoric has undergirded it all. But given that a majority of Americans identify as Christian, faith also isn’t going anywhere in our politics. So what would a better relationship between church and state look like? To discuss, Jane Coaston brings together two people who are at the...


Is America Stuck in a Gerontocracy?

American politics has an age problem. At least, that’s what voters think. According to a new New York Times/Siena College poll, 33 percent of Democrats who want a different candidate for president in 2024 pointed to Joe Biden’s age as a motivating factor. But a nearly equal percentage say they aren’t keen to have Biden for a second term because of his job performance — or lack thereof. Could the answer to appease voters be that Democrats just need some young blood? Or is there a deeper rift...


A View From the Right on Progressives’ ‘Moral Crusade’

For years, Republicans have been known as the party of moral outrage. Take for instance the recent book banning wars, or Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill. But Democrats aren’t immune to moral outrage. At least that’s what Noah Rothman, a conservative writer and commentator, believes. He is the author of the new book “The Rise of the New Puritans: Fighting Back Against Progressives’ War on Fun.” In it, he argues that progressives, in their pursuit of liberal ideals, are fueling a movement of...


First Person: Why One Progressive Public Defender Hoped for an N.R.A. Victory

Today we're bringing you an episode of another Times Opinion show, First Person. Hours after this episode was released, the Supreme Court overturned New York State’s gun-permitting system — a decision with major implications for the regulation of guns outside the home. The case was, unsurprisingly, backed by the National Rifle Association. But it also found supporters in typically liberal public defenders, like Sharone Mitchell Jr. Mitchell is the public defender for Cook County, which...


Roe Is Dead. How Will Democrats and the G.O.P. Evolve Without It?

For nearly 50 years, the issue of abortion has driven voters of all persuasions to the polls. But now that Roe v. Wade has been overturned and the question of reproductive rights has been returned to the states, America’s political parties are going to have to figure out how to metabolize that energy in the years ahead. To discuss what comes next for Democrats and Republicans alike, host Jane Coaston is joined by Times Opinion columnists Ross Douthat and Michelle Goldberg. As colleagues,...


‘This Really Changes Things’: Three Opinion Writers on Cassidy Hutchinson’s Jan. 6 Testimony

For the past month, the House select committee on Jan. 6 has held a series of public hearings on President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Yesterday it surprised all of us with some of its most stunning evidence yet. In revelatory testimony, Cassidy Hutchinson, who was a top aide to Trump’s White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, divulged details about just how much Trump and some of his supporters knew about the potential for violence at the Capitol before Jan. 6....


Is Crime That Bad, or Are the Vibes Just Off?

From New York to San Francisco, there’s a sense that crime is on the rise in American cities. And in some ways, that’s true: Violent crime has risen. Murders are up nearly 40 percent since 2019. But property crime has fallen for years. And how we define crime, and what’s causing its increase, is a complicated issue — as is what we should do about it. So on today’s episode of “The Argument,” Jane Coaston is joined by Rafael Mangual and Alex Kingsbury to debate what’s really going on with...


Who Can Write About What? A Conversation With Roxane Gay and Jay Caspian Kang

When does creative license become cultural appropriation? Take “American Dirt” and “The Help,” two books by white authors that drew criticism for their portrayals of characters of color. Artists’ job is to imagine and create, but what do we do when they get it wrong? To discuss, Jane Coaston is joined by the Opinion writers Roxane Gay and Jay Caspian Kang. Roxane is an author of multiple books, including “Hunger” and “Bad Feminist.” Jay is a contributor for The New York Times Magazine and...


Best- and Worst-Case Outcomes of the Jan. 6 Public Hearings

On Thursday, a bipartisan House select committee will begin public hearings on the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol. The weeks ahead will be awash with news as the committee reveals what happened in the days and weeks before the attack — and to what extent the rioters were emboldened, or enabled, by the White House and Republican lawmakers. To wade through the news and help us understand what to pay attention to as the hearings unfold, host Jane Coaston calls upon two experts on the...


A Debate Over ‘Common Sense’ Gun Legislation

The recent shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde, Texas, indicate that gun violence, and how to address it, is a conversation we unfortunately need to keep having. But what policies would make a difference and stop some of these mass casualty events? On today’s episode, host Jane Coaston focuses on the solutions to gun violence and what measures would help stop mass shootings specifically, in addition to curbing homicides, suicides and other forms of gun violence. The three policy proposals up...


Who Decides the Right Way to Protest?

Two years ago, the murder of George Floyd sparked protests across America, gathering an estimated 15 million people into the streets during the summer of 2020. Since then, Americans of all political persuasions have taken to the streets to make their views known, on everything from mask mandates to abortion rights. But did protesting result in any real change? And looking back, where does that moment of collective outrage fit in the broader history of dissent in America? This week, host...


The Economy Is Weird. Two Experts on Where It Goes From Here.

If you’re confused about the current state of the economy and where it’s headed, you’re not alone. The United States is experiencing inflation at the highest rate since the 1980s, and most Americans generally feel as bad about the economy as they did during the Great Recession of 2008. At the same time, unemployment is low and wages are rising. On today’s episode of “The Argument,” host Jane Coaston consults two economics reporters to break down these conflicting trends in the economy and...