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The Weeds

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In politics, you’re often told not to get lost in the weeds. But we love the weeds! That’s where politics becomes policy – the stuff that shapes our lives. Every Tuesday, Dylan Matthews, Dara Lind, and other voices dig into the weeds on important national issues, including healthcare immigration, and housing. Produced by Vox and the Vox Media Podcast Network.

In politics, you’re often told not to get lost in the weeds. But we love the weeds! That’s where politics becomes policy – the stuff that shapes our lives. Every Tuesday, Dylan Matthews, Dara Lind, and other voices dig into the weeds on important national issues, including healthcare immigration, and housing. Produced by Vox and the Vox Media Podcast Network.


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Vox Media


In politics, you’re often told not to get lost in the weeds. But we love the weeds! That’s where politics becomes policy – the stuff that shapes our lives. Every Tuesday, Dylan Matthews, Dara Lind, and other voices dig into the weeds on important national issues, including healthcare immigration, and housing. Produced by Vox and the Vox Media Podcast Network.




It’s time to regulate crypto

The world of cryptocurrency is infamously unregulated, but what happens when a major crypto exchange crashes, uprooting almost the entire crypto ecosystem, and there’s no regulatory body in charge? You have the FTX crash of 2022. And it’s hard to ignore the elephant in the room: why don’t we have a regulation framework for crypto? It seems like an obvious solution, but as The Verge’s Liz Lopatto (@mslopatto) and financial regulation expert Yesha Yadav explain, it’s not as simple as it...


The Weeds’ weed episode

Let’s be blunt: Weed policy is complicated. As with many elections in the past decade, recreational marijuana was on the ballot again during the 2022 midterm elections. After Colorado and Washington voted to legalize recreational use in 2012, more and more states have decided to ride the green wave. And recent moves by the Biden administration signal the federal government may finally come around to decriminalizing marijuana. But do these policies have any power? References: Marijuana...


How to call an election

We did it, y’all – we made it to Election Day! And if you’re like us, tonight you’ll be glued to your TV and constantly refreshing waiting for the returns to come in. We’re pretty used to knowing the winner that same night, but in 2020, we had to wait days before a winner was announced. So this got us thinking: How do news networks know when to make a call? And how has that changed through the years? We talked to three experts to find out. References: The 2022 midterm elections,...


How to fix inflation

With only a week to go until the US midterm elections, inflation is the issue at the top of most voters’ minds. As Democrats and Republicans make their cases for who can get prices to come down, one thing remains true: High prices are not going to go away overnight. Economists Mike Konczal (@rortybomb) of the Roosevelt Institute and Michael Strain (@MichaelRStrain) of the American Enterprise Institute discuss how we got here and the least painful way out of this. References: Is the cure for...


Why scaring voters works

Midterm elections are around the corner, and while voters are concerned about the economy, inflation, and abortion, there’s one other issue jumping to the top of the list: crime. Rising crime comes up in campaigns like clockwork, but during this election season, it's making a particular mark on two key Senate races: Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Vox’s Nicole Narea (@nicolenarea) and Li Zhou (@liszhou) explain. References: The 2022 midterm elections, explained 2021 crime rates are a big mystery...


The most interesting issues on the ballot

The midterm elections are three weeks away, and candidates aren’t the only ones on the ballot. Voters across the country will decide new laws and policy through ballot initiatives, which can include proposals like legalizing recreational marijuana, funding in-state college tuition, and raising taxes to fight climate change. But how do these issues get on the ballot in the first place, and will they stay there? Vox policy editor Libby Nelson (@libbyanelson) explains. References: The 2022...


The candidates haunting the GOP

The midterm elections are four weeks away. Senate control is on the line, and races in battleground states are tightening. Few things say “close election” like an October surprise. The one getting the latest buzz this election cycle comes from Georgia, courtesy of Republican senatorial candidate Herschel Walker. Vox politics reporter Li Zhou (@liszhou) explains the race, and Rutgers professor David Greenberg (@republicofspin) tells us the origin of the October surprise. References: Herschel...



Pollsters are starting to panic. There’s headline after headline after headline ahead of the midterms on whether this election cycle’s polling is accurate or not. How does polling actually work? Is it really representative of how voters are feeling and what the outcome will be on Election Day? And when it comes to Democrats, why is polling so wrong? Amy Walter, publisher and editor-in-chief of the Cook Political Report, explains why polls are complicated, lessons to learn from past...


Abbott and DeSantis: Stunt queens or policy makers?

US immigration policy is complicated. And when Republican Govs. Greg Abbott and Ron DeSantis chartered buses and planes to relocate migrants to “blue cities,” it raised a ton of legal questions. But it also ignited the age-old question about our immigration system: Why is it so complicated? Weeds veteran Dara Lind (@DLind) explains. References: Why Ron DeSantis is baiting Biden on the border Opinion | Ron DeSantis Is Making an Asylum Crisis of His Own Host: Jonquilyn Hill (@jonquilynhill),...


The fastest growing voting bloc in America

For the September issue of The Highlight, the Vox politics team examined the fastest growing voting bloc in the country: Latino voters. But the 32 million voters that make up the Latino electorate are not a monolithic group. In today’s episode, we’ll look at the intricacies and nuances of the Latino voting bloc and what might happen in the 2022 midterm elections. References: Ruben Gallego's ready for a fight — even if the Democratic Party isn't Yes, most Latinos are Christian. No, that...


Who decides how we’ll save the future?

How do we make life better for future generations? Who gets to make those decisions? These are tough questions, and today’s guest, philosopher William MacAskill (@willmacaskill), tries to help us answer them. References: What We Owe the Future by William MacAskill Effective altruism's most controversial idea How effective altruism went from a niche movement to a billion-dollar force Effective altruism’s longtermist goals for the future don’t hurt people in the present Hosts: Bryan Walsh...


Vitamin X

Today on The Weeds, we are sharing an episode of another Vox podcast, Unexplainable, that originally aired in June 2022. Millions of Americans take dietary supplements — everything from vitamins and minerals to weight-loss pills and probiotics. But because supplements are loosely regulated in the US, their makers don't have to prove that they work, or even that they are safe. Full transcript available here. Want to support The Weeds? Please consider making a donation to Vox:...


It’s a policy team takeover!

Join editor Libby Nelson (@libbyanelson) and reporters Rachel Cohen (@rmc031) and Madeleine Ngo (@maddiengo) for a summer policy wrap-up. Inflation, the economy, and gas prices were on everyone’s minds, but we have even more policy news to talk about. Both Congress and the Biden administration made one last late-summer policy push with the Inflation Reduction Act and student loan cancellation. What does this all mean for you? Listen to find out! References: School vaccine mandates for...


The rebirth of industrial policy

Vox senior correspondent Dylan Matthews sits down with Felicia Wong (@FeliciaWongRI), president and CEO of the Roosevelt Institute, to talk about a new era of industrial policy. They discuss the theory of modern supply-side economics, the passage of the Inflation Reduction and CHIPS acts, and how much common ground exists between the political left and the right. Hosts: Dylan Matthews (@dylanmatt), senior correspondent, Vox Credits: Sofi LaLonde, producer and engineer A.M. Hall, editorial...


Could the war on terror be over?

Vox senior correspondent Zack Beauchamp and Vox senior foreign writer Jonathan Guyer discuss the killing of al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, one of the organizers behind the September 11, 2001, attacks on the US. His death marks a turning point in the “war on terror” and US foreign policy, but what kind of turning point? Can we say the war on terror is over, or is it just entering a new stage? References: What Ayman Zawahiri’s death tells us about terrorism and US foreign policy Ayman...


The new politics of abortion

In a surprise to many, last week Kansas overwhelmingly voted down an anti-abortion ballot initiative. If abortion rights can win in a deep-red state, what does that mean for the midterms this fall? Join Vox policy editor Libby Nelson (@libbyanelson), Vox senior policy reporter Rachel Cohen (@rmc031), and Vox politics reporter Nicole Narea (@nicolenarea) for a conversation about the new state of abortion politics. References: Abortion was on the ballot in Kansas. Access won. Why the Kansas...

Maybe we’re not doomed?

As the Earth swelters through yet another record-breaking summer, a surprise push for climate legislation on Capitol Hill gave us a shimmer of optimism and hope toward fighting climate change. But, while it’s a step in the right direction to reduce carbon emissions, it’s not a panacea. How do we maintain optimism, even when the right steps feel too small? References: Summaries of the climate, tax, and prescription drug parts of the Manchin deal What Democrats' big new bill would actually do...


Weeds Time Machine: The ADA

Dylan Matthews, Dara Lind, and special guest Ari Ne’eman (@aneeman) fire up the Weeds Time Machine for a special episode on the Americans with Disabilities Act. The ADA was signed into law 32 years ago today, and while the legislation had a profound impact on almost every corner of American society, the bill wasn’t perfect. So hop into the Time Machine to learn about the history of the disability rights movement, how the ADA came to be, and what the movement is working toward today....


What the hell is up with SCOTUS?

Dara Lind is joined by Vox senior correspondent Ian Millhiser (@imillhiser) to discuss the major decisions handed down by the Supreme Court this term. They talk about the Court’s emphasis on historical narrative, its move away from settled legal doctrine, and the politicization of the Court. Plus, a white paper on originalism and stare decisis written by then-professor Amy Coney Barrett. References: The post-legal Supreme Court Originalism and Stare Decisis Hosts: Dara Lind (@dlind), Weeds...


The legal limbo of abortion rights

Vox Supreme Court correspondent Ian Millhiser (@imillhiser) speaks with Michele Goodwin, a law professor, bioethicist, and leading expert on reproductive health policy, about the future of abortion rights in a world without Roe. References: Policing the Womb by Michele Goodwin Credits: Sofi LaLonde, producer and engineer Libby Nelson, editorial adviser Amber Hall, deputy editorial director of talk podcasts Sign up for The Weeds newsletter each Friday: Want to support The...