Political Breakdown

59 EpisodesProduced by KQED

Join hosts Scott Shafer and Marisa Lagos as they unpack the week in politics with a California perspective. Featuring interviews with reporters and other insiders involved in the craft of politics—including elected officials, candidates, pollsters, campaign managers, fundraisers, and other political… read more

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Buffy Wicks on Parenting in Politics, Running Campaigns vs. Running for Office, and Her Race for State Assembly

January 18th, 2019

28:29

The government shutdown turns into a Trump/Pelosi showdown, and Governor Gavin Newsom is greeted with a teachers strike in LA and the possible bankruptcy of PG&E (0:58). Then, Scott and Marisa are joined by East Bay …

Newsom’s First Budget and State Senator Holly Mitchell

January 11th, 2019

28:29

Governor Gavin Newsom releases his first state budget proposal, and relishes the opportunity to explain every detail (0:10). Scott and Marisa were there, and they run through the big takeaways with Katie Orr. Then, Los …

Newsom Inauguration Special: LIVE Coverage

January 8th, 2019

1:59:17

Gavin Newsom takes the oath of office to become California’s 40th governor. Live coverage and analysis from KQED’s politics team and Capital Public …

Aaron McLear on Working for Arnold and the ‘Campaign’ Culture at Uber

January 4th, 2019

28:29

Nancy Pelosi regains the gavel as the new Congress is sworn in, and California’s new members fall in line behind the speaker (0:25). Then consultant …

Gavin Newsom’s ‘Blurry’ Childhood, Political Rise and Personal Growth

December 28th, 2018

28:10

On Jan. 7, Gavin Newsom will be sworn in as California’s 40th governor. Scott and Marisa revisit their interview with Newsom during the campaign, when they discussed his parents’ two worlds, his rise in San Francisco …

Gov. Jerry Brown on Leaving Office, Leftover Campaign Cash, Lessons from His Mother, and Car Shopping

December 21st, 2018

28:59

Gov. Jerry Brown sits down with Marisa and Scott at the governor’s mansion in Sacramento to talk about life after office, his plans for his unspent campaign cash, what Democrats need in 2020, challenges for Gov.-elect …

Lobbying at the State Capitol with Amy Brown

December 14th, 2018

28:11

California’s Chief Justice leaves the Republican party, and Scott and Marisa discuss the deal that has Nancy Pelosi poised to recapture the Speaker’s gavel (0:40). Then, lobbyist Amy Brown discusses the ins and outs of …

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand on Inspirational Women, Winning in Rural America, and Softball Trash Talking

December 7th, 2018

28:11

The state legislature is back in session and Marisa and Guy Marzorati recap early bills on wildfires and housing (1:10). Then, a conversation with New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand on the women in her family who …

Democrats Complete California Sweep, and Republican Strategist Matt Shupe on the Cox Campaign and Future of the GOP

November 30th, 2018

29:00

T.J Cox’s victory in the Central Valley gives Democrats a sweep of congressional swing districts, and Nancy Pelosi wins the backing of her caucus in her run for Speaker. Marisa and Scott also discuss the resignation of …

Thanksgiving Special: Nancy Pelosi Pursues the Speaker’s Gavel, Plus Patrick Murphy and David Jolly on Working Across the Aisle

November 22nd, 2018

28:59

On this Thanksgiving episode from Political Breakdown, Scott and Marisa revisit their interview with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, as she moves …

Congresswoman Jackie Speier on Surviving Jonestown and Fighting Back from Personal and Political Losses

November 16th, 2018

28:59

The blue wave crashes in California in the week after the election, nearly wiping out the GOP in Orange County and giving Democrats a supermajority in the state legislature.  Then, 40 years after the Jonestown massacre, …

Wrapping Up the California Midterms with Joe Garofoli

November 9th, 2018

29:00

Scott and Marisa are joined by San Francisco Chronicle senior political writer Joe Garofoli to recap the state and Congressional races, analyze the …

Making Sense of California’s Election Night

November 7th, 2018

1:51:32

Democrats take the House, but key California seats are still up for grabs. Gavin Newsom runs away with the Governor’s race, and Dianne Feinstein wins …

Election Preview: Under the Radar Issues and Races

November 2nd, 2018

28:58

You’ve heard a lot about California’s races for Governor, Senate, and Congress. But we’re devoting this episode to the races and propositions that have gotten less attention. Scott and Marisa are joined by Katie Orr and …

‘I Get Things Done’ Dianne Feinstein on Her History, Political ‘Style’ and the Future of Compromise in the Senate

October 26th, 2018

28:54

Running for a sixth term in the Senate, Dianne Feinstein talks with Scott and Marisa about how her childhood influenced her career, considering retirement before the assassination of Harvey Milk, the bill she wants to …

Ben Tulchin on Polling for Bernie and the Secret Sauce of Political Surveys

October 19th, 2018

28:55

Fresh off of their first live event of election season, Scott and Marisa recap the Senate “debate” between Dianne Feinstein and Kevin de Leon and …

San Francisco DA George Gascón Discusses Decision Not to Seek Re-Election and Reflects on His Push for Criminal Justice Reforms

October 12th, 2018

28:55

Scott and Marisa recap KQED’s gubernatorial debate and take up the Debate Over Debates: whether California needs a system to regulate debates …

Gavin Newsom on His Childhood, Personal Growth, and Teenage Wine Cellar

October 5th, 2018

28:36

Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom says the story of his childhood and career ascent is often misrepresented. So Scott and Marisa talk with the …

Analyzing the Californians at Center of the Kavanaugh-Ford Hearings

September 28th, 2018

29:00

Palo Alto professor Christine Blasey Ford and Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh grip the nation with their testimony in front of the Senate Judiciary committee, with questions from Californian Senators Dianne …

Orange County Road Trip! Assessing a Potential Blue Wave with Gustavo Arellano

September 21st, 2018

29:00

Political Breakdown is in Orange County, where a handful of closely watched Congressional races could decide the balance of power in the House of …

State Senate President Toni Atkins on Her Appalachian Roots, San Diego’s Political Culture, and Leadership in the #MeToo Era

September 14th, 2018

28:59

Governor Jerry Brown takes center stage at the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, and State Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins joins Marisa and Scott to talk about her journey from western Virginia to …

Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye on Confirmation Hearings, Bail Reform, and the Vacancy on California’s High Court

September 7th, 2018

29:00

California Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris take different tacts in their questioning of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh (0:12) Then, Scott and Marisa talk  with California Chief Justice Tani …

End of Legislative Session Madness with Gubernatorial Advisor Dana Williamson

August 31st, 2018

28:33

We’re in Sacramento this week as lawmakers advance hundreds of bills to the Governor’s desk before Friday’s deadline. Scott and Marisa run through a major change to the state’s bail system, unfinished business on …

Nancy Pelosi on Running Against a ‘Culture of Corruption,’ Challenges to Her Leadership, and Dark Chocolate

August 24th, 2018

28:33

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi talks with Scott and Marisa about this week’s indictment of San Diego Republican Congressman Duncan Hunter and the legal troubles of President Trump’s allies, learning to have thick …

Debbie Mesloh on Bail Reform, Working with Kamala Harris and Women in Politics

August 17th, 2018

28:33

It’s crunch time: The legislative session in Sacramento ends later this month, and lawmakers are deciding the fate of many bills. Marisa and Katie look at what’s been squashed and what’s staying alive (0:45). Then, …

Kevin de Leon on Fatherhood, His Legislative Battles, and Taking on DiFi in the U.S. Senate Race

August 10th, 2018

28:34

The state legislature continues to weigh reforms around utilities and wildfires, and Republicans jump on a failed attempt to audit the state DMV (00:40). Then, State Senator Kevin de Leon joins the show to talk about …

Eric Swalwell on His Iowa Roots, Lessons of Knocking Off an Incumbent, and How to Talk About Trump and Russia

August 3rd, 2018

28:35

The skyrocketing costs of California’s wildfires raise new fiscal questions for the Governor and the legislature, while Barack Obama and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez make splashes in California (0:40). Then, Congressman …

Governor Brown Unveils Controversial Plan on Wildfire Damages, and Drew Godinich Talks Orange County Swing Seats

July 27th, 2018

28:30

Governor Brown proposes new changes to laws governing utility liability in response to the state’s wildfires (1:12) and Scott and Marisa talk about new data that sheds a different light on poverty in California (6:46). …

Kristin Olsen on Challenges Facing Political Moderation and Barriers to Women Running for Office

July 20th, 2018

28:31

Breaking Up Is Hard to Do: Scott and Marisa recap the demise of the ballot measure to split California, and discuss Rep. Devin Nunes’ ad attacking the Fresno Bee (1:25). Then, Stanislaus County supervisor and former …

Attorney General Xavier Becerra on California’s Legal Battles with the Trump Administration

July 13th, 2018

28:32

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra joins Scott and Katie Orr to talk about the recent dismissal of challenges to California’s sanctuary state law (1:30) how his parents dealt with bigotry as Mexican immigrants …

Rep. Barbara Lee on Activism with Pom-Poms, Fundraising for the Panthers, Her Toughest Votes, and First Pitch Jitters

July 6th, 2018

28:47

A federal judge blocks the Trump administration’s request to stop California’s sanctuary state law (1:02). Scott and Guy Marzorati also discuss the White House’s Twitter attack on California Senator Kamala Harris over …

Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg on His Reforms to California’s Initiative System and Addressing Homelessness Locally

June 29th, 2018

28:46

Marisa and Scott run through a wild day in the state legislature, with last-minute deals on digital privacy, lead paint cleanup, and soda taxes to avoid ballot measure battles in November (0:50). Then, Sacramento mayor …

Emergency Breakdown: Anthony Kennedy, California’s Supreme Court Justice, Announces Retirement

June 28th, 2018

28:47

Scott and Marisa discuss the retirement of Supreme Court Justice (and Sacramento native) Anthony Kennedy, and his departure’s impact on California.

Reporting from Border Migrant Camps and State Senator Connie Leyva on Labor Politics and #WeSaidEnough Legislation

June 22nd, 2018

28:46

California Report host John Sepulvado joins Scott and Marisa to share his experience of reporting from migrant camps in Tornillo, Texas (0:45) Then, …

London Breed’s New Life as Mayor-elect and What Delaine Eastin Learned in Her Run for Governor

June 15th, 2018

28:47

San Francisco Mayor-elect London Breed talks with Scott and Marisa about her victory and shares the good (and bad) advice she’s gotten since (00:38) Then, Delaine Eastin joins the show to talk about what inspired her to …

The #MeToo Movement’s Primary Impact and Josh Newman on the Lessons of His Recall

June 8th, 2018

28:46

Scott and Marisa are joined by KQED’s Katie Orr and the San Francisco Chronicle’s Joe Garofoli to recap Tuesday’s primary, look ahead to the general …

June Primary Special: Newsom and Cox Advance to November Governor’s Race

June 6th, 2018

1:28:21

After a heated jungle primary, Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom and Republican businessman John Cox are set to face off in the November governor’s race. Plus, both Democrats and Republicans appear pleased with their …

California Chief Economist Irena Asmundson on the Governor’s Charts and Projecting the State’s Fiscal Future

June 1st, 2018

28:34

With the primary election less than a week away, Marisa Lagos and Scott Shafer run through the latest poling in the Governor’s race (00:40) and the …

Former FEC Commissioner Ann Ravel Talks Money in Politics, Russian Election Meddling and Stormy Daniels

May 25th, 2018

28:33

The race for California Governor heats up as Antonio Villaraigosa and John Cox vie for the second spot behind front-runner Gavin Newsom (0:55), and Dave Jones sues his rival for Attorney General, Xavier Becerra, over a …

‘Call Me a San Franciscan’: Angela Alioto on Political Lessons from Her Dad and Her Run for Mayor

May 18th, 2018

28:33

The State Assembly wraps up its sexual harassment investigation of Cristina Garcia, and California Republicans gather at the White House to denounce the state’s ‘sanctuary’ law (0:45) Then, Scott and Marisa are joined …

The Sacrifice Question and a Look Inside The Press Office with Gil Duran

May 11th, 2018

28:28

The six leading candidates for Governor square off in a high-profile debate, and (try to) talk about sacrifices in their lives. Political Breakdown …

Mark Leno on Playing the Legislative Long Game and His Run to ‘Shake Up’ City Hall

May 4th, 2018

28:27

An internet privacy measure appears headed to the November ballot (00:45) and Republican endorsements coalesce around businessman John Cox in the California governors race (2:55). Then, former State Senator and San …

‘The Week That People Start to Melt Down’ With Consultant Eric Jaye

April 27th, 2018

28:27

A new poll shows two Republicans rising in the race for governor (1:05), and Jerry Brown is gearing up for what could be a final campaign to protect …

SB 827 Goes Down and Republican Consultant Tim Miller Shares the Art of Opposition Research

April 20th, 2018

28:27

The latest feud between Donald Trump and California continues over sending National Guard troops to the southern border (00:30). Then, Kim-Mai Cutler …

Jane Kim on Learning from Losses, Clean Streets, and Wu-Tang Love

April 13th, 2018

28:24

A shakeup of leadership in the House of Representatives sets California up for increased influence in 2019 (00:25), and a California mayor has his sights on Iowa (3:23). Then, San Francisco supervisor and mayoral …

Alameda County Public Defender Brendon Woods on Mass Incarceration, Racial Bias and Bail Reform

April 6th, 2018

28:28

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is set to testify before Congress next week amid a privacy scandal involving data from tens of millions of users . NPR …

Attorney John Burris on How to Turn Police Shootings into Long-Term Reforms

March 30th, 2018

28:40

The shooting of Stephon Clark sparks protests in Sacramento and renews the conversation around statewide policing reforms. KQED’s Katie Orr gives an …

For the Love of Organizing with Newsom Campaign Manager Addisu Demissie

March 23rd, 2018

28:25

A mayoral forum in San Francisco gets wild (1:10), and new poll numbers in the Governor’s race show Republican John Cox hopping over Antonio …

Trump in California and Harmeet Dhillon on Life as a San Francisco Republican

March 16th, 2018

28:06

President Trump visits California and calls out Governor Jerry Brown. Scott Shafer and Marisa Lagos talk to Los Angeles Times reporter Seema Mehta about her hunt to find Trump’s L.A. fundraiser (1:00) Then, Republican …

Sessions in Sacramento and Consumer Politics with Shannon Coulter

March 9th, 2018

28:34

Attorney General Jeff Sessions visits the Capitol on the heels of the Trump administration’s immigration lawsuit against California (00:20). Devin …

Angie Wei on Organized Labor’s Clout in Sacramento and Life After Janus

March 2nd, 2018

28:35

California Democrats meet in San Diego but leave without endorsements in the Senate and Governor’s race. (00:50). In Oakland, Mayor Libby Schaaf draws the Trump administration’s ire for warning of an immigration raid …

Willie Brown on Power at the Capitol, the Mayoral Election, and His Newspaper Column

February 23rd, 2018

28:31

Former California Assembly Speaker and San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown talks with Scott Shafer and Marisa Lagos about the levers of power in …

Immigration Stalemate and Gubernatorial Conspiracies with Mike Madrid

February 16th, 2018

28:32

A bipartisan immigration proposal splits California senators Kamala Harris and Dianne Feinstein (00:40). Then, Republican consultant Mike Madrid …

Supervisor London Breed on Her Childhood in San Francisco and Her Run for the Mayor’s Office

February 9th, 2018

28:18

The latest turn in the #MeToo movement in Sacramento finds Legislative Women’s Caucus chair Cristina Garcia in the spotlight, with new harassment …

Unpacking the Initiative Process with Sacramento Strategist Gale Kaufman

February 2nd, 2018

28:19

Political Breakdown hosts Scott Shafer and Marisa Lagos run through President Trump’s State of the Union, and the latest campaign filings in …

Tom Steyer on President Trump’s ‘High Crimes’ and the Stigma of Being a Big Donor

January 26th, 2018

28:08

KQED Political Breakdown hosts Scott Shafer and Marisa Lagos recap Gov. Jerry Brown’s final State of the State address.

(6:40) Democratic donor and …

Xavier Becerra on ICE Raids and Sean Walsh on the Politics of Immigration

January 19th, 2018

28:06

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra talks to KQED Political Breakdown’s hosts Marisa Lagos and Scott Shafer, and reacts to rumors of stepped …

Gov. Jerry Brown on Sexual Misconduct at the Capitol, Criminal Justice Reform, and Life after Office

January 12th, 2018

28:01

Governor Jerry Brown sat down with KQED’s Political Breakdown hosts Scott Shafer and Marisa Lagos, hours after releasing his annual budget proposal.

Welcome to Political Breakdown

December 20th, 2017

1:43

Political Breakdown is a new series that explores the political intersection of California and the nation. Each week hosts Scott Shafer and Marisa …

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