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Politically Sound

The stakes of our political choices have never been higher, but with new headlines every hour it can be hard to separate the signal from the noise. On Politically Sound, we’re going to take a step back and look at the big picture. We’ll explain the issues of the day, take a look back at how we got here, and draw a line ahead to what it all means. Hosted by David Chalian and Nia-Malika Henderson. 

Presenting Total Recall: California's Political Circus Politically Sound
You probably remember that Arnold Schwarzenegger was elected Governor of California. But do you remember how it all happened? The blackouts, the budget and of course, the car tax! CNN’s Chief Political Correspondent, Dana Bash, takes you back to the origins of the 2003 California Recall and talks with Schwarzenegger and the man he beat, Gray Davis to learn why this election became such a circus.
If you like what you hear, go to and follow Total Recall: California's Political Circus, wherever you listen to podcasts.
Sep 8, 2021
It’s Never Too Early Politically Sound
Politics is all about the future... and so it’s never too early to look at how upcoming elections are going to play out. In this episode, David Chalian and Dana Bash take a look at how the 2022 midterms and 2024 presidential race are shaping up, and how former President Donald Trump is the wildcard that could drastically affect both elections.
May 14, 2021
Dr. Fauci's Long Year Politically Sound
This week, we wanted to bring you an episode from Dr. Sanjay Gupta's podcast. When we look back on this pandemic, who and what will we remember? Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, is at the top of that list for many. CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta talks to Dr. Fauci about the past year-plus of non-stop press conferences and media appearances, and about what comes next.
May 7, 2021
The Axe Files: Ambassador Linda Thomas Greenfield Politically Sound
This week, we wanted to bring you an episode from The Axe Files podcast we think you'll enjoy. In this episode, UN Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield joins CNN's David Axelrod to talk about growing up in the segregated South, facing down death in Rwanda, the importance of the US engaging with both adversaries and allies, and her reaction to the jury finding former police officer Derek Chauvin guilty in the murder of George Floyd. They also talked about the security threats posed by climate change and the Leaders Summit on Climate hosted by the Biden administration.
Apr 30, 2021
The Right to Bear Arms, But at What Cost? Politically Sound
America has experienced at least 50 mass shootings this past month alone. And now, President Biden faces the same problem as his predecessors: a gun violence crisis and a country completely divided on the Second Amendment. This week, David Chalian is joined by gun policy expert Professor Adam Winkler of UCLA to explore this uniquely American concept of freedom within the context of the gun debate and what kind of change, if any, is possible.
Apr 23, 2021
Why Cultural Change Can’t Be Stopped Politically Sound
Protests and marches in the streets, a rising generation of activists, and an embattled President who’s just left the White House... it sounds an awful lot like today, but that’s actually the story of the 1970’s. In this episode, David Chalian is joined by Ron Brownstein, the author of Rock Me On the Water: 1974 - The Year Los Angeles Transformed Movies, Music, Television, and Politics, to take you back in time and explain what the culture wars of 1970s can tell us about today’s conflict and the political future of the country.
Apr 16, 2021
What Schoolhouse Rock Didn’t Teach You Politically Sound
Despite a Democratic controlled Senate, two obscure aspects of Senate procedure, the filibuster and reconciliation, hold the key to the success or failure of President Biden’s entire agenda. In this episode, David Chalian is joined by former Senate parliamentarian Alan Frumin to nerd out and explain the quirky history and incredibly important future of these two procedures.
Apr 9, 2021
Stories Behind the Statistics Politically Sound
Record numbers of migrants traveling from Central America have been arriving at the US southern border over the past couple of months. Border Control facilities are now overwhelmingly past capacity, with thousands of unaccompanied minors in custody. As the Biden administration scrambles to safely accommodate them, President Biden has garnered criticism from both sides on his handling of the crisis. This week, David Chalian is joined by Melissa Lopez, Director of the Diocesan Migrant and Refugee Services in El Paso, Texas, to discuss to discuss the ongoing crisis at the southern border and how President Biden’s policies affect those crossing into the United States.
Apr 2, 2021
Restricting Access to the Ballot Politically Sound
More people voted in the 2020 election than any other in modern American history. Now, many Republican legislatures across the country are trying to pass laws rolling back voter access. At the center of that fight is Georgia, where this week the Governor signed a bill that restricts voting. In this episode, David Chalian speaks with the head of the Georgia ACLU, Andrea Young, about the voting rights fight in Georgia and the response to similar laws across the country.
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Mar 26, 2021
"Women Have to Interrupt" Politically Sound
Women’s History Month is an opportunity to reflect on the landmark achievements of women everywhere. This week, CNN Chief Political Correspondent Dana Bash talks with Madeleine Albright, the first female US Secretary of State. Secretary Albright shares stories from being the only woman in the room, putting women’s rights at the heart of US foreign policy, her early life escaping Nazis in Europe, and her thoughts on the January 6 insurrection.
Mar 19, 2021
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