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.

Here's a question for you: As you prepare to enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday, are you dreading discussions about politics with friends and family? According to a new PBS NewsHour poll, 58 percent of American adults dread having to talk politics around the dinner table.

So what can you do to keep conversations civil or avoid talking about politics altogether? Or is discussing issues that divide us important in these settings? Our guests weigh in:

  • Melanie Funchess, director of community engagement for the Mental Health Association of Rochester
  • Eric Caine, M.D., profess of psychiatry at the University of Rochester Medical Center

Congress is debating a new tax plan that would bring changes for many American families. So how does it work? Who would benefit, and who would pay more? Our guests:

Another election season has come and gone. While national media outlets report that a“surge” of women ran for office in major races since last year’s Presidential election, the gender gap in politics remains. And so we have to ask: “Where are the women?” That question was the title of an article written and researched by WXXI’s Tianna Manon for City Newspaper. It’s a question surrounded by a number of issues - some of guests address on this edition of Need to Know.

Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, author, professor, and activist. He's coming to the Smith Center for the Arts in Geneva for an event titled "Overthrowing the Corporate State."

We talk to him about a wide variety of topics, including advocacy journalism, notions of a liberal media, his ideas about objectivity, and covering modern presidential administrations. Hedges joins us from WEOS, Finger Lakes Public Radio.

On this week's show, from mass shootings and terrorist attacks to ongoing issues of racism, sexism and much more….Rochester area religious leaders come together to address the challenges of our time.

Then, we ask why aren’t more women joining the political arena as candidates? We’ve got some answers that may surprise you.

We discuss the issues raised by WXXI's Tianna Manon in a recent City Newspaper piece: "Where are the women?" We're talking about women in politics, and why so many women decide not to run. Our guests:

  • Jamie Romeo, chairwoman of the Monroe County Democratic Committee
  • Nicole Hushla Re, Irondequoit Town Board member and executive director for the local chapter of WomenElect
  • Diana Cihak, board president and founder of WomenElect/WEPac
  • Tanya Conley, Monroe County Legislator