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2020 Politics War Room

2020 Politics War Room

Political insiders James Carville and Al Hunt offer a backstage pass to the 2020 Election.


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James Lankford on the State of Lincoln's Party and Matt Bai on the Truth about Trumpism

The prevailing belief of the day may be that the Republican Party has sold its soul to the devil and a Democratic victory in November is America's only hope for salvation. But Oklahoma Senator James Lankford begs to differ, asserting that his colleagues in Congress have made efforts to ensure rule of law and equality for all, including introducing police reform and voting protection measures. At the same time, journalist Matt Bai ("All The Truth Is Out: The Week Politics Went Tabloid") argues that by valuing urbanity over all else, the Democrats loosen their connection to some of the most important voters in the country, allowing Trumpism to take hold.

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Walter Dellinger on the Eroding Justice Department and Keith Mason and Paul Begala on the Odds of Texas and Georgia Going Blue

The Supreme Court has dealt powerful blows to the Trump agenda in recent days, protecting DACA recipients' status and upholding anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ individuals. Duke University School of Law Douglas B. Maggs Professor Emeritus of Law Walter Dellinger notes that the conservative justices see beyond the current president, towards a lifetime of decision-making. But that does not mean the U.S. justice system will remain intact with William Barr at the helm, he warns. On the other hand, political consultants Keith Mason and Paul Begala find hope in the new direction communities around Atlanta and Houston are taking, no matter the outcome of 2020.

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Howard W. French on Race and the Media, and Ron Brownstein on Shifts in the Electorate

There is no doubt that footage of George Floyd's death at the hands of four Minneapolis police officer is as shocking as it is damning of the American criminal justice system. But it is far from being the first incident of its kind, and Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism professor Howard French ("Everything Under The Heavens") refuses to let white people use the excuse they didn't already know this was the reality for black people across the country. He notes it is time for America's institutions to take a long, hard look at themselves if they want this tragedy to not be in vain. And political reporter Ron Brownstein (The Atlantic) crunches the numbers on demographic changes among both Democrat and Republican voters, as well as posits some suggestions for the coalition Biden could build. 

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Timothy L. O'Brien on the Methodology and Madness of Trump

Few people have as deep and intimate an understanding of who Donald Trump is as a person as Bloomberg Opinion executive editor Timothy L. O'Brien. Not only has O'Brien written an entire biography of the man in his book "TrumpNation: "The Art of Being The Donald," he was even sued by Trump for libel for giving a true account of the scope of the president's financial worth. In due course, Timothy has actually become an astute observer of the Trump brand, peering beyond the fabricated persona to see what really lies beneath. Plus, Al and James discuss just what might happen if things don't go well for Trump in November.

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David Harris on Essential Police Reforms

Yet another death of an African American man at the hand's of the police has lead to demonstrations across United States and around the world. People are yet again demanding greater accountability, transparency and equality in treatment from their peace officers. But what will it really take to dramatically change how men and women in uniform interact with the public,  especially minorities? David Harris, the University of Pittsburgh School of Law's Sally Ann Semenko Endowed Chair, tries to answer some of the questions about the nature of this issue and suggest how policing systems can be changed at all levels of government. Plus, Al and James touch base on Trump's photo op and Senate election prospects.

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Charlie Sykes and Tim Miller on the Fight for the Soul of the Republican Party and Ron Chernow on the Truth about Ulysses Grant

How has the Republican party fallen so far from grace? Is the rise of Trumpism the cause of this rapid decline, or a symptom of the party leadership's disconnection from its base? What does the future hold for a political organization that has sold it soul for victory? These are just some of the questions Charlie Sykes, editor-in-chief, and Tim Miller, and contributor for the Never-Trump, conservative news site The Bulwark, try to answer. Historian Ron Chernow ("Alexander Hamilton") sets the record straight about Ulysses S. Grant's military prowess, presidential record and alcoholism. Plus Al and James give a rundown on the Senate seats up for grabs in November. 

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David Wessel on the Unpredictability of the Current Economy

To many Americans, the economy is mystery. Normal market trends and fiscal policy aside, though, the coronavirus pandemic presents an unprecedented challenge for understanding how the country might weather the storm of soaring unemployment and a near total halt to business as usual. That's where David Wessel,  director of the Hutchins Center on Fiscal & Monetary Policy at the Brookings Institution, steps in, providing unique insight into what extremely low interest rates and climbing national debt mean for investors and individuals of all stripes. Plus, James presents an outline for how Joe Biden's campaign can springboard off of an existing network of talented creatives rather than build an entire movement from the ground up. 

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Norman Pearlstine on Journalism During a Global Crisis and Jung H. Pak on the Real Power of North Korea

Balanced, accurate and informative journalism is possibly more important now than it ever has been. Yet with financial limitations and logistical nightmares a plenty, publishing the most important stories in an rapidly changing world is no easy task. Los Angeles Times executive editor Norman Pearlstine expounds on the precautions his newspaper has taken, as well as the need to shift focus away from from Europe and North America. In that same vein, Brookings Institute senior fellow and former CIA analyst Jung H. Pak explains how the often maligned and misunderstood dictator of North Korea poses a greater threat to global peace than many anticipate, as laid out in her book ?Becoming Kim Jong Un: A Former CIA Officer?s Insights into North Korea?s Enigmatic Young Dictator."

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Marlo Thomas and Phil Donahue on Marriage Lessons from Quarantine

While facing the global pandemic on your own might seem frightening and difficult, going through this one-of-a-kind crisis with a partner does still present its own challenges. How does one keep themselves and their significant other healthy, safe and entertained enough in quarantine to not be at each others' throats? Well actress Marlo Thomas and her husband, American media personality Phil Donahue, have 40 years of successful marriage to pull from in that regard, in addition to the cumulative knowledge gathered for their forthcoming book "What Makes a Marriage Last ? 40 Celebrated Couples Share with Us the Secrets to a Happy Life." Plus, Al and James discuss the moral and intellectual incompetence of the Trump administration's coronavirus response.

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Drew Faust on Dignity and Death in the COVID Era and John Feinstein on the Sports World's Pandemic Response

The grim toll of the coronavirus pandemic is a reality many Americans have come face-to-face with in recent months. And with the number of COVID-19 related deaths rising daily, it can be difficult for those who have yet to experience loss from it firsthand to understand the scope of this terrible disease. There is historical precedent, however, for how the country has dealt with this sort of tragedy, author and former Harvard president Drew Faust (The Republic of Suffering) notes. How the U.S. handled its hundreds of thousands of Civil War dead revealed a great deal about the country, she says, as does the current crisis. And while many of us might seek reprieve from our harrowing circumstances in the world of basketball, baseball or football, sports writer John Feinstein (The First Major) paints an unfortunately complex and nuanced picture of what it might take for athletes to get back to their respective games.

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John R. Allen on The Readiness of the U.S. Military During the Pandemic

If the title of president of the Brookings Institution isn't impressive. enough, John R. Allen has plenty on his resume to raise your eyebrows at. Retired four-star Marine Corps general. Former commander of the NATO International Security Assistance Force and U.S. Forces in Afghanistan. Department of State Distinguished Honor Award winner. So when he suggests that America's adversaries are taking advantage of the global pandemic, it's time to pay attention. But when he says that the country's military has never been more ready to take on these looming threats, it should offer some solace. Plus, Al and James talk out the pros and cons of Klobuchar, Harris and other possibilities for Biden's VP spot.

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Madeleine Albright on America's Role as a Global Leader

From Secretary of State to Ambassador to the United Nations, Madeleine Albright has been a major player on the world stage in many different capacities, and therefore has spent a decades-long career embracing the bigger picture and seeking solutions to humanity's problems on a global scale. So there are few people better equipped to step back and evaluate the magnitude of America's involvement in geopolitics and the need for its leadership in an ongoing crisis like the coronavirus. She also acknowledges that the next step our government should take is to look within and try to heal the partisan fracturing in order to better deal with the larger issues at play. In that vein, Al and James offer praise to governors on the other side of the aisle who have taken it upon themselves to go against the White House and their party leadership in addressing the pandemic.

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Michael Tackett Talks Going Toe-to-Toe with Trump and Joanne Lipman Illuminates A Hidden Healthcare Crisis

Associated Press Deputy Bureau Chief for all White House, Congressional and political coverage Michael Tackett has seen a lot in his career, and never backed down from a challenge. He discusses how covering controversial basketball coach Bobby Knight in college trained him to deal with Trump, and explains how he stays focused on the issues at hand, even when the president makes things personal. Meanwhile, journalist Joanne Lipman (USA Today, Wall Street Journal) shares details of one the most important stories surrounding the coronavirus pandemic: its impact on a variety of medical treatments and procedures, many of which are lifesaving. And to top things off, Bernie Sander's surprise announcement creates clarity for November.

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Journalist David Shribman Juxtaposes Canada's Coronavirus Response With The United States' Efforts

As a dual citizen of the United States and Canada, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Shribman (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette/Boston Globe) has had keen insight into how the two countries have been operating since coronavirus first reached North America. On the one hand, he notes, Canada has taken decisive action directed by a head of government who exemplifies the seriousness and gravitas needed for these extreme circumstances. On the other, he points out that the U.S. has been directionless and far from uniform in its approach, and the difference shows. Al and James also hold their breath in the hopes that things don't get any more outrageous before November.

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Author Deborah Fallows and Journalist James Fallows Examine the Pandemic's Effect on Small Town America

Author Deborah Fallows and journalist James Fallows spent years traveling to small cities and towns outside America's major population centers in order to research their national bestseller "Our Towns A 100,000-Mile Journey Into the Heart of America." In following up with those communities recently, they are able to share how individual leaders and local groups have stepped up to deal with the growing coronavirus outbreak in spite of the lack of guidance from higher levels of government. Al and James also ponder what a candidate like Joe Biden can do in a situation as dire as this.

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Stephanie Cutter Discusses Joe Biden's Next Moves and Dr. Zeke Emanuel Explains the Scope of the Coronavirus

Political consultant Stephanie Cutter (former Deputy Campaign Manager for Obama 2012) weighs in on how Joe Biden can gracefully accept Bernie Sanders near-certain defeat in the primary. She also offers some advice on how Biden can appear more presidential in the months to come. University of Pennsylvania Department of Medical Ethics chair Dr. Zeke Emanuel lays out just how much of an effect coronavirus will have on American society, as well as offers some thoughts on how to manage the crisis. Al and James also discuss how Bernie Sanders can keep his movement alive, even in near-certain defeat.

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John Barry Compares the Coronavirus to the 1918 Spanish Flu

Historian and author John Barry ("The Great Influenza") draws comparisons between the follies of Woodrow Wilson's handling of the of the major flu outbreak over 100 years ago and the Trump administrations approach to the ongoing global health crisis. Al and James examine the outcomes of this week's primaries and offer some advice to Joe Biden as he makes his way towards the Democratic convention and a near-certain nomination.

2020 Politics War Room is produced by Native Creative Podcasts from American University in Washington, DC.

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James Carville Wraps Up Super Tuesday and Roger Altman Analyzes the Economy

James Carville and Al Hunt analyze Joe Biden's super Super Tuesday taking the delegate lead over Bernie Sanders. Evercore CEO Roger Altman examines the volatility of the stock market amidst CoronaVirus concerns.

2020 Politics War Room is produced by Native Creative Podcasts.

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Antjuan Seawright on South Carolina and Amy Dacey on Possible Brokered Convention

Blueprint Strategies founder and CEO Antjuan Seawright shares insight on the debate and primary from South Carolina. Former CEO of the DNC and the current Executive Director of the SINE Institute of Policy and Politics at American University Amy Dacey discusses a possible brokered convention. On the 'Back Page', James and Al lament the administration's management of the coronavirus outbreak. 

2020 Politics War Room is produced by Native Creative Podcasts from American University in Washington, DC.

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Jon Ralston on Nevada and Ruy Teixeira on Ideological Motivations

Nevada debate moderator Jon Ralston from The Nevada Independent discusses Bloomberg's first debate in Nevada. Ruy Teixeira helps us understand the ideological motivation providing greater context on his Washington Post column. On the 'Back Page', James and Al talk about the pervasiveness of corruption.

2020 Politics War Room is presented by the SINE Institute at American University. Read the transcripts of every episode at

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Governor Terry McAuliffe and Jeff Berman talks Delegates

Former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe talks election politics postulating that Michael Bloomberg could take Virgnia. James and Al borrow time from Tom Steyer's senior advisor Geoff Berman to share his expertise on delegates. Christy 'Numbers' Harvey tries to keep baseball boring. Find transcripts at

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Ann Selzer on Iowa and The Fate of the Democratic Party

Pollster Ann Selzer explains what happened in Iowa. James Carville proposes we let Nancy Pelosi pick the Democratic nominee. Christy 'Numbers' Harvey highlights the lowlights with the White House threatening to remove millions of poor kids from student meal program. Lastly, on the 'Back Page', James suggests a permanent site for the DNC Convention. 

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The Integrity of the Senate's Impeachment Trial Crumbles Without a Witness

James Carville and Al Hunt dissect the President's Impeachment trial in the Senate excluding witnesses officially heading towards conclusion. In the war room political strategy session, we focus on key states Georgia and North Carolina. Christy 'Numbers' Harvey examines voting rights and the Super Bowl. In the 'Back Page' segment, we celebrate the life of Judy Woodruff's mentor Jim Lehrer and the 250th anniversary of James's family parish St. Gabriel Catholic Church in Louisiana


2020 Politics War Room is partnered with the SINE Institute at American University in Washington, DC.

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Former White House legal counsel Greg Craig compares Trump's impeachment defense to Clinton's and Jim Dunnam breaks down Trump's legal defense team member Ken Starr

Former White House Counsel Greg Craig shares stories from the 1990s comparing the legal defense he helped craft for Bill Clinton to Trump's impeachment. Texas State Representative Jim Dunnam sheds light on the ongoing legal action against Baylor amidst ousted University President Ken Starr's mishandling of sexual assault cases as he joins Trump's legal team. And Christy "Numbers" Harvey delivers highlights from this year's Baseball Hall of Fame induction announcements.

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Jonathan Martin on the Democratic Debate and LSU's Historic National Championship

New York Times National Political Correspondent Jonathan Martin joins James and Al to breakdown the Democratic debate and Louisiana State University's historic National Championship victory. Christy Harvey runs the 'Numbers' segment with the focus on the Houston Astros' sign stealing scandal. On the 'Back Page', the spotlight is on LSU and Impeachment.

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Trump Plays the War Card and Michael Gartner on the Iowa Caucuses

James Carville and Al Hunt discuss the President's smokescreen assassination of Iranian General Soleimani to distract from impeachment and the indictment of Bibi Netanyahu leading up to the Israeli election. Pulitzer prize-winning editor Michael Gartner, who worked with Al at The Wall Street Journal before running NBC News putting Tim Russert on the air, shares the nuance - both dysfunction and charm - of the Iowa Caucuses.

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Michael McDonald, Senate Impeachment Predictions and a Democratic Candidate Report Card

University of Florida Associate Professor of Political Science Michael McDonald discusses the astounding growth of interest in the 2020 Presidential Election. James and Al deliver their Democratic Candidate Report Card. During Christy 'Numbers' Harvey's segment, we handicap Impeachment in the Senate. Last, but not least, a farewell to Bob Greenstein on the 'Back Page'.

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Judy Woodruff and Mary Matalin are 'The Better Halves' for the Holidays

Judy Woodruff and Mary Matalin join their husbands Al Hunt and James Carville, respectively, on 'The Better Halves' Holiday Episode. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from the 2020 Politics War Room family to yours.

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Former Secretary of Defense Bill Cohen on Impeachment

Former Secretary of Defense and Senator (R-Maine) Bill Cohen brings his experience from the impeachment of President Nixon to evaluate the President's actions as offenses clearly warranting impeachment, and hopes for restored civility in the nation's highest office. James and Al discuss the latest research on guns during Christy Harvey's 'Numbers' segment, and we take a look at the polls during the 'Back Page' segment.

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Jill Abramson on the Media's Coverage of Impeachment

Jill Abramson is the former Executive Editor of The New York Times and the author of Merchants of Truth and she dissects the media, bubbles and the truth with impeachment front and center. Christy Harvey shares a list of who's been naughty or nice and the 'Back Page' focus is on college football.

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Walter Dellinger Explains Why Trump is Impeachable and Kamala Harris Bows Out

Impeachment scholar Walter Dellinger explains the difference between a crime and the impeachable offenses committed by this President. James Carville and Al Hunt react to Kamala Harris calling it quits. We admit we are addicted to our phones on Christy Harvey's 'Got Our Number' segment, and we wrap the show with the 'Back Page'. 

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Roger Altman on the Economy and The Fall of Rudy Giuliani

Roger Altman, CEO of Evercore and former Deputy and Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, explains why the tax bill was a bust for America. After Christy Harvey's 'Got Your Number', James Carville and Al Hunt analyze the fall of Rudy Giuliani, the artist formerly known as 'America's Mayor'. 

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Pollster Ann Selzer on the Pete Buttigieg Surge

The foremost respected expert on polling Ann Selzer enters the War Room to discuss the latest Des Moines Register poll in which Pete Buttigieg surged to the top of the Democratic pack. James and Al react to the latest in the impeachment saga. Christy Harvey's 'Got Your Number' segment features the Washington football team before we take a look at the 'Back Page'.

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Elizabeth Warren Rejects the War Room and Ed Luce Dissects Brexit

Al Hunt and James Carville talk impeachment and respond to Elizabeth Warren's rejection of the "War Room" political strategy James made popular. Financial Times US national editor and author of The Retreat of Western Liberalism Ed Luce dissects the UK elections and the ramifications of Brexit on the world at large.

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Election 2020 presented by The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette & Highmark

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Executive Editor Emeritus David Shribman moderates a panel with our hosts Al Hunt and James Carville. 'Election 2020' presented by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette & Highmark Health was recorded in front of a live audience at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 

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Nancy Pelosi - Charlie Cook - Tom Edsall

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi joins James & Al in the first interview following the vote on the Impeachment Inquiry. Then, it's a Countdown Roundtable 365 days out from the 2020 Election with Cook Report publisher Charlie Cook and New York Times columnist Tom Edsall.

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Nancy Pelosi Preview - Listen Sunday!

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi speaks to James Carville and Al Hunt in her first interview following the big vote to move forward with the Impeachment Inquiry. Listen to the full interview this Sunday, November 3rd as part of a countdown roundtable 365 days before the 2020 Election. 

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The War Room is coming in November!

James Carville and Al Hunt go deep into the politics of impeachment and the 2020 US Presidential Election.

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