WXXI AM News

politics

Comedians are often considered to be truth tellers. But in recent years, critics say they have largely become party props, while pushing the typical limits of civility. Michelle Wolf has been criticized for her performance at the White House Correspondents Dinner; Samantha Bee offered a limited apology for her remarks about Ivanka Trump; Robert De Niro rallied the audience at the Tony Awards by firing an epithet at President Trump.

Our panel of comedians will discuss where the line is, and if there should be one. In studio:

The Washington Post writes that Democrats typically campaign on raising taxes for millionaires, or the wealthiest Americans. But when they finally gain power, they don't follow through. That's the case in New Jersey, where state Democrats pushed a millionaire's tax for years, only to back down once they controlled the statehouse.

Our panel discusses what this means for a party that has long claimed to care about income inequality and wage disparity, and has promised to fund health care and social supports with millionaire's taxes. Our guests:

  • Karen Vitale, co-chair of the Rochester Democratic Socialists of America
  • Douglass Jay, writer for Balloon Juice
  • Adrian Hale, activist, veteran, and manager of strategic initiatives for the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce

A recent Reuters/Ipsos national poll shows the Democratic Party is losing support among millennials. The results of the poll, published last month, also show that millennials increasingly say the Republican Party is a better steward of the economy. That doesn’t necessarily translate into votes, but it has democratic strategists concerned as they head into election season.

We talk with local millennials about their political affiliations, how those affiliations may have changed, and how they feel about the party system. In studio:

  • Alex Hipolito, legislative assistant to Assemblymember Harry Bronson
  • Carolyn Hoffman, political strategist
  • Nick Nevinger, actor
  • Jessica Fleming, human services professional

W.J.T. Mitchell is a writer and a professor of English and art history at the University of Chicago. He’s in Rochester as a guest of the University of Rochester, discussing his piece, "American Psychosis: Trumpism and the Nightmare of History.”

He joins us to share his perspective on the age of Trump in the context of capitalism and democracy.

Are modern politics really more uncivil than most of our historical politics? Are we in a unique time in our history?

We talk to the leader of a national institution that aims to bring civility back to politics. Carolyn Lukensmeyer is the executive director of the National Institute for Civil Discourse. She says this is a dangerous time for discourse, and our children are taking cues from us.

We sit down with her to see what she thinks will lead to change.

A new film explores the murky truth behind what really happened at Chappaquiddick. Nearly 50 years after Senator Ted Kennedy crashed his car off a bridge, killing Mary Jo Kopechne, Chappaquiddick brings a riveting story to the screen -- and it's a story that still resonates, with themes of privilege, abuse of power, political ambition, and more.

The director, John Curran, is a Pittsford native, and he's our guest in studio.

Oprah mania swept the Democratic Party in the past week -- but not everyone feels the same way about it. Some polling indicates that if Oprah Winfrey jumped into the presidential race, she'd instantly lead the field. Is she the answer for the American left, and for voters desperate to beat Donald Trump in 2020?

We discuss it, and we examine how longtime party workers feel about how Democrats should be building for the next elections. Our guests:

  • Beatriz LeBron, leader of the 25th Legislative District of the Monroe County Democratic Party, and newly appointed member of the Rochester City School Board
  • Anthony Plonczynski-Figueroa, leader of the 21st Legislative District of the Monroe County Democratic Party, and co-founder of La Cumbre, Latinos United for Progress 
  • Yversha Roman, leader of the 26th Legislative District of the Monroe County Democratic Party, and member of Women Elect 
  • Jamie Romeo, chairwoman of the Monroe County Democratic Committee

Whatever happened to Obama-era pop music? According to the New Yorker, it's already dated, even embarrassing. Matthew Trammell argues that music reflects the cultural and political mood, and already pop music has moved on from the buoyant, fizzy hits like Katy Perry's "Firework." Is that fair?

Our guests discuss the ways music does, and does not, capture the current mood. In studio:

Is there a way to remove the stain of partisanship from politics? A local developer says yes. Howard Konar is the founder of a nonprofit called Common Ground, and he has written a book that aims to go beyond politics, and offer basic principles.

Konar joins us to discuss his views and how centrism might be the cure to our polarized political culture.

Adam Serwer, correspondent forThe Atlantic Monthly, joins us to discuss his recent piece titled "The Nationalist's Delusion." The piece has been hotly debated since its publication, and many prominent writers of color call it a landmark in analyzing America's history with white nationalism.

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