A Six Part Series Launching September 2018

The presidency of Donald Trump has sparked a national conversation in America. Is our democracy at risk? Across the country, scholars, activists and citizens are taking stock.  With an eye on how democracies have failed throughout history, and on the rise of authoritarian leaders across the globe, they ask the question …can it happen here? From a deepening of hyper partisanship and political intolerance, to a heightened distrust in public institutions, to the erosion of the political norms that support the architecture of American democracy, they ask us to pay attention to the warning signs of democratic decline and what we can do to prevent it.

‘The Democracy Test” will give a broad and diverse national platform to this work. Over the course of six weeks, we’ll examine the faultlines of American democracy. Our guests will bring the kind expertise needed to understand what is truly unique in this moment of our nation’s history, what brought us here, and what it would take to emerge with an even stronger understanding of what democracy means in America and how we can more toward an even stronger expression of  its ideals.

Truth, Politics & Power Archives

For the first year of the Trump Presidency, Truth,Politics and Power produced timely programs on the changes brought in by the new administration.  They are still relevant today. Here are of our favorites. Visit our EPISODES page  for links to all episodes.


February 9, 2018  Episode 46

President Trump and his allies have launched a campaign to discredit the FBI and, by extension, the Russia Investigation.   Former FBI Agent Asha Rangappa on declassified memos, smoking guns and the culture of the bureau.  NPR’s Ron Elving on the political history of the FBI from gangbusters to Watergate, and Garrett Graff, on how the bureau’s changed since 9/11.



February 2, 2018  Episode 45

In his address to the World Economic Forum in Davos, President Trump turned to a slogan he trumpeted during his campaign and his inaugural address to describe American trade policy.  “America First”. Host Neal Conan asks whether the slogan more accurately describes a nationalist revision of American foreign policy that threatens to make the world more chaotic and more dangerous.

The Politics of Denial

March 2, 2018  Episode 49

Legions of lobbyists and lawyers obscured the facts on tobacco and cancer for decades…even when tobacco companies knew their products caused cancer.  Host Neal Conan talks with writer Alan Schwarz, who found that the football industry followed the same pattern in response to discoveries about the long term effects of concussion, and with Science Historian Naomi Oreskes, who argues that the chorus of climate deniers also follows tobacco’s lead, and that the result, will be global calamity.

The Politics of Disaster

September 29, 2017

Episode 30

As people in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico struggle to recover from storms, the Politics of Disaster is the next edition of Truth, Politics and Power. Host Neal Conan with conversations about how federal policy contributes to catastrophe, how an enormous flood in 1927 changed the way Americans think about the size and role of government , and the secret history of FEMA, the agency created to manage the ultimate disaster…nuclear apocalypse.

Gun Rights and Gun Control

February 23, 2018

Episode 48

As the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, reignites the debate on guns,  we update the “Gun Rights and Gun Control” episode of Truth Politics and Power, produced after a gunman murdered dozens in Las Vegas last fall. Host Neal Conan delves into the history of the debate between gun rights and gun control with UCLA constitutional law specialist Adam Winkler, author of “Gun Fight: The Battle over the Right to Bear Arms in America.” The Founding Fathers required every adult white male to own a musket, and bring it to musters where it was inspected and registered. On the next Truth Politics and Power, how a  duty for community self defense evolved into an individual right to bear arms and how the laws changed with both weapons technology and the rise of the National Rifle Association. Plus a conversation on restrictions on research into guns and gun deaths.