Meet the Hosts

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After polling misses in the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections, Michelle and Ross ask Nate Cohn, domestic correspondent for The Upshot at The New York Times, whether we can ever trust polls again. They discuss Nate’s four theories of why polling may have been so off this year and how much the coronavirus pandemic affected results.

Then, Michelle and Ross try to read the tea leaves for the next 10 weeks before inauguration with Rosa Brooks, a professor of law and policy at Georgetown University Law Center and a founder of the Transition Integrity Project, whose previous postelection scenarios have proved eerily prophetic. Together they debate what the Republican strategy is right now and what happens if President Trump doesn’t concede.

Plus, a trick for making all your video calls less painful, literally.


Background Reading:

  • Ross’s column on why there won’t be a Trump coup.

  • Michelle’s column on the triumph of ousting Trump.

  • Nate Cohn on the early theories about what went wrong with polling.

  • Rosa Brooks on the Transition Integrity Project’s war games and why Trump’s lies about fraud won’t work.


How to listen to “The Argument”:

Press play or read the transcript (found by midday Friday above the center teal eye) at the top of this page, or tune in on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, Stitcher or your preferred podcast listening app. Tell us what you think at argument@nytimes.com.


Meet the Hosts

Ross Douthat

I’ve been an Op-Ed columnist since 2009, and I write about politics, religion, pop culture, sociology and the places where they intersect. I’m a Catholic and a conservative, in that order, which means that I’m against abortion and critical of the sexual revolution, but I tend to agree with liberals that the Republican Party is too friendly to the rich. I was against Donald Trump in 2016 for reasons specific to Donald Trump, but in general I think the populist movements in Europe and America have legitimate grievances and I often prefer the populists to the “reasonable” elites. I’ve written books about Harvard, the G.O.P., American Christianity and Pope Francis, and decadence. Benedict XVI was my favorite pope. I review movies for National Review and have strong opinions about many prestige television shows. I have four small children, three girls and a boy, and live in New Haven with my wife. @DouthatNYT

Michelle Goldberg

I’ve been an Op-Ed columnist at The New York Times since 2017, writing mainly about politics, ideology and gender. These days people on the right and the left both use “liberal” as an epithet, but that’s basically what I am, though the nightmare of Donald Trump’s presidency has radicalized me and pushed me leftward. I’ve written three books, including one, in 2006, about the danger of right-wing populism in its religious fundamentalist guise. (My other two were about the global battle over reproductive rights and, in a brief detour from politics, about an adventurous Russian émigré who helped bring yoga to the West.) I love to travel; a long time ago, after my husband and I eloped, we spent a year backpacking through Asia. Now we live in Brooklyn with our son and daughter. @michelleinbklyn


“The Argument” is a production of The New York Times Opinion section. The team includes Alison Bruzek, Phoebe Lett, Elisa Gutierrez, Vishakha Darbha, Kathy Tu, Kate Sinclair, Paula Szuchman and Isaac Jones. Special thanks to Corey Schreppel. Theme by Allison Leyton-Brown.

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