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June 6th, 2019
In this week's playlist you'll find:

1.
The Venn Weekly
A selection of top political podcasts we recommend for enhancing your understanding of the week's news 

2.
The Venn Deep Dive
Three great episodes from the podcast archives exploring our political topic of the week. This week we're focusing on How To Win An Election: Gerrymandering

3.
2020
We're less than three weeks out from the first Democratic primary debates. Hear from Senator Amy Klobuchar from Minnesota who is set to be among the 20 candidates to join the debate stage

 
LISTEN TO THE FULL PLAYLIST HERE

How to access the podcasts:

Option 1: Click the yellow link above for the full easy-to-use playlist.  To learn how to download into your preferred podcast app follow the tutorial on our Instagram story.
Option 2: Click on any of the pictures below to go to the individual episode on the podcast host's website


THE VENN WEEKLY

This week we look at the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre and its erasure from Chinese history books, President Trump's latest tariff dispute with Mexico, and the measures being taken by Canada to safeguard its forthcoming election from foreign interference.

THE TIANANMEN SQUARE MASSACRE: 30 YEARS ON

There are certain photographs that capture a significant moment in history and preserve how future generations see that event thereafter. The iconic ‘Tank Man’ image is one such photo. It depicts a Chinese demonstrator who stood defiantly in front of an oncoming Chinese Army tank during the 1989 student protests in Tiananmen Square, Beijing. The protest was violently squashed and although it is still commemorated around the world, it has largely been erased from the history books in China.  
This week marked the 30th anniversary of the massacre, and in this episode from First Person, we hear from journalist John Pomfret, who was there at the time reporting on the ground.


00:37:59


 

MORE TRADE ‘SQUABBLES’

Last week, President Trump threatened to impose tariffs on Mexico, opening up a second front in his ongoing trade wars with America’s main trading partners.
Starting at 5%, the tariffs would gradually rise to 25% on all Mexican exports to the U.S. if the Mexican authorities don’t crack down on the rising number of migrants crossing illegally into the U.S.. While Senate Majority leader, Mitch McConnell, has said there is little support for the measure within the party, the move has cast serious doubts over the ratification of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (U.S.M.C.A).
In this episode, Today Explained explores the impact of this latest tariff dispute.


00:20:27


 

MAKING ELECTIONS SAFE AGAIN

Last week Robert Mueller officially closed his 2-year investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election. In his speech, he reminded the American public of the very real and ongoing threat of foreign interference in its electoral processes. But what can and should we be doing to tackle this issue?
In this podcast, Front Burner turns to Canada and the series of measures ministers there revealed earlier this year to combat the threat of foreign interference in its forthcoming election.
As the 2020 U.S. election approaches, should the U.S. follow suit?


00:28:19


 

THE VENN DEEP DIVE

The issue of gerrymandering is back in the courts as new cases challenging the constitutionality of this redistricting process have been brought before the Supreme Court. But what does it all mean?
This week we look at How to Win An Election: Gerrymandering

 

WHEN POLITICIANS PICK THEIR VOTERS...

Every 10 years the U.S. census counts the number of residents in the United States, and uses this data to determine the number of seats each state has in the House of Representatives. For example, a state that elects 13 House members will be divided into 13 congressional districts. According to the law in most states, the majority party in the state legislature gets to redraw these congressional boundaries following the census. 
So what happens when a party uses this map-drawing process to help it gain more seats? This is called partisan gerrymandering, and with increasingly sophisticated computer programs giving politicians evermore detailed information on voters, it has become a far more powerful tool for securing electoral victory in the past 20 years. 
But who are the winners and losers in the redistricting process?
In this episode, 538 discusses the impact of gerrymandering and what reformers are trying to do to change the system. 


00:30:19


 

FROM BLUE TO RED

In 2010 the Republican party spent an estimated $30 million on an innovative strategy called REDMAP (short for the Redistricting Majority Project) in order to win control over a number of vulnerable statehouses and thereby seize control over the redistricting processes. The REDMAP website was clear in their intentions: “The party controlling that effort controls the drawing of the maps—shaping the political landscape for the next 10 years.”
And it worked. The Republicans gained nearly 700 state legislative seats, flipping 21 statehouses from Democrat to Republican - the largest increase in modern electoral history. This meant they gained complete control over the redistricting process in half the country. And what happened next fundamentally changed the course of the elections that followed.
In this episode, Planet Money discusses the impact of REDMAP on the U.S. electoral system… and what it means for democracy.


00:21:59


 

THE COURT RULES… MAYBE 

“Gerrymandering isn’t just a problem for Democrats, it’s a problem for democracy…"
The courts have long ruled that racial gerrymandering is unconstitutional - that is, spreading minorities across voting districts in order to weaken their voting power. But, Supreme Court judges have been reluctant to take the same approach with regards to partisan gerrymandering… until recently.
In this episode, Slate’s ‘What Next’ discusses whether the Supreme Court may finally be ready to put the nail in the coffin of partisan gerrymandering, and the court cases and judges to watch as this process unfolds.


00:18:13


This rounds up our deep dive, but stay tuned as we will return to the topic of How to Win An Election in a future issue.
 

2020

We are less than three weeks out from the Democrat debates. Twenty-one candidates have qualified, but only twenty will now be allowed to participate. Senator Amy Klobuchar is set to be one of them.

WHO IS AMY KLOBUCHAR?

Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn) announced in February that she was running for the 2020 Presidency in the middle of a blizzard in Minnesota, leading President Trump to brand her “Snow-woman”. She said the country needed a leader with “grit” and her demonstrable ability to withstand the elements showed she had just that. She has since staked out her position on a spate of key policy issues, including healthcare (she supports Medicare Advantage as an alternative to Medicare); mental health (she has a $100 billion plan to combat mental health problems and substance abuse over the next decade); climate change (she stands behind the Green New Deal), criminal justice (she supported the bipartisan First Step Act for federal prison reform); and infrastructure (she has a trillion-dollar policy plan to update the country’s infrastructure, which is her “top budget priority”). 
In this episode, recorded live at SXSW, Recode’s Kara Swisher sits down with Amy Klobuchar to discuss her vision for the Presidency, and where she stands on the regulation of Big Tech. As antitrust officials laid out plans earlier this week for investigating the business practices of tech giants like Facebook, this discussion feels particularly pertinent. 


01:08:45


 

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