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The Argument

New York Times

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


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






Is It Time to Break Up With Your Political Party?

In her two years hosting “The Argument,” Jane Coaston has changed her mind about many things — from court packing to police reform (though not on whether we should contact alien life). But this year, she has changed her political party; once a proud card-carrying member of the Libertarian Party, Jane is now a registered independent. And she isn’t alone: Kyrsten Sinema, former Democrat of Arizona, just became an independent, and we heard from many listeners of “The Argument” with their own...


Should America Intervene in Haiti? ‘Go to Hell’ and Other Views

The United States has a long history of military intervention in other countries. Today, Haiti is in crisis. The country is facing gang violence, extreme hunger and intense political turmoil, sparked largely by the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse last year. And with a call from acting Prime Minister Ariel Henry, requesting international military assistance, the United States faces a familiar question: To intervene or not to intervene? To discuss, Jane Coaston brings together New...


The One Thing Democrats Can Control — and How They Should Do It

Are the Democrats, finally, in array? They’ve just had the best midterms by a sitting president’s party in about 20 years, and passed significant legislation in 2022. And now House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is stepping down after nearly two decades as leader, without the specter of intraparty battles. So what comes next for Dems, and what should the party’s future strategy be? Today on “The Argument,” Jane is joined by two writers with close eyes on the Democratic Party. Bhaskar Sunkara is the...


Best of: Is the News Media Setting Trump Up for Another Win?

This week, we're bringing you an episode from our archives that's more relevant than ever. After former President Donald Trump’s recent announcement of his 2024 White House bid — and his reinstatement on Twitter — there’s the matter of the media: What role should the press play in preserving democratic institutions? When we first asked this question back in December 2021, Times Opinion columnist Ross Douthat pushed back on media critics like N.Y.U. associate professor Jay Rosen, who...


Has Donald Trump Lost His Grip on the Republican Party?

Donald Trump is running for president — again. Yet the results of last week’s midterms and the red wave that wasn’t signaled that perhaps Trump’s hold on the Republican Party isn’t so strong after all. But now that he’s back on the presidential stage, what does it mean for the future of the Republican Party? Today on “The Argument,” Jane Coaston convenes two conservative writers to provide an analysis of the party now. Ross Douthat is a columnist for Times Opinion and Kevin D. Williamson is...


Donald Trump Was the Midterm’s Biggest Loser

As midterm election results continue to trickle in, one thing is clear: There’s no predicting American voters. After an unexpected showing for Democrats in tight races across the country, Jane Coaston speaks with the Times editorial board member Michelle Cottle and Times Opinion columnist Ross Douthat to recap what happened at the polls. Together they discuss how the Democrats won “the expectations game,” who had the worst night (Donald Trump) and what the clouded results reveal about the...


The Price of $5 Donations: Is Small-Dollar Fund-Raising Doing More Harm Than Good?

As midterm frenzy reaches its peak, your inbox might be full of imploring fund-raising emails with increasingly desperate headlines: “Just $3 can make all the difference.” “Can you chip in today?” “Ultimately, it’s up to you.” In theory, the small-dollar donation model is a good thing: It enables voters to have a say in who their candidates are and counterbalances the influence of superdonors and industry lobbyists. But as extremist candidates increasingly adopt grass-roots approaches and...


‘Maybe Gen Z Is Just Kinder’: How America’s Youngest Voters are Shaping Politics

Members of Gen Z (Americans under 26 years old) have come of age during the Trump presidency and a pandemic, in an era of protests over police violence, attacks on reproductive rights, rising economic inequality, and frequent school shootings. These young people are calling for major changes, but many aren’t confident that politicians will act with the urgency necessary to carry them out. As Gen Z voters consider the midterms, they are prioritizing the issues, not party allegiance. But with...


Has Polling Broken Politics?

Election Day is just three weeks away — and that means it’s peak polling season. For political hobbyists, polling is the new sports betting: gamifying elections to predict outcomes that haven’t always proven accurate. If the 2016 election revealed anything, it’s that polls are sometimes off — very off. So as America faces another high-stakes election, how much faith should we put in them? On today’s episode, Jane Coaston brings together two experts to diagnose what we’re getting wrong in...


Is America Headed for Another Civil War?

America is divided and battling many different internal “wars” — over politics, culture, language, religion. Is it possible all this internal division could culminate in a civil war? Today’s episode of “The Argument” brings together Jamelle Bouie and Tim Alberta to assess. Bouie is a Times Opinion columnist and historian of America’s Civil War. Alberta is a staff writer at The Atlantic and made the case that the F.B.I. Mar-a-Lago search is the tipping point for political violence that could...


Are You ‘Third-Party-Curious’? Andrew Yang and David Jolly Would Like a Word.

For years, hopeful reformers have touted the promise of third parties as an antidote to our political polarization. But when so many of the issues that voters care about most — like abortion, or climate change, or guns — are also the most divisive, can any third party actually bring voters together under a big tent? Or will it just fracture the electorate further? Today’s guests say it’s worth it to try. Andrew Yang and David Jolly are two of the co-founders of the Forward Party, a new...

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...