The Complete Tom & Russell Talk Politics Podcasts

Starting in Mid-September 2016, my long-time friend, Tom Paynter, and I recorded a series of podcasts discussing the Trump-Clinton election. We recorded every week from then through to the election. Below are all of them collected, in order:

Episode 1 – Sept. 11, 2016

Not too long ago it dawned on me that absolutely nowhere have I heard two reasonable people, one a Trump supporter and the other a Hillary supporter, having a reasoned discussion about the election. This certainly isn’t happening on television (not that I watch much of it), and of course it doesn’t happen in print.

Without going into too much background (it’s all in the podcast), this is just to say: my friend Tom Paynter and I are trying out an experiment. He’s a Trump supporter; I’m a Hillary supporter. From now until the election, every week Tom and I will record a discussion about how we’re responding to the news of the week and talk about where our thinking is generally on politics, the election, and the issues which are driving national discourse.

Without further prologue, I give you, Episode 1:


Episode 2 – Sept. 19, 2016

Evidently we made it to a second week of “Tom & Russell Talk Politics.” In this episode:

  • Trump’s “Birther” press conference
  • Hillary’s health episode
  • Russell’s explanation of why he thinks Trump should be disqualified
  • Tom’s explanation of why he still thinks it should be Trump


Episode 3 – Sept. 25, 2016

We tried a new episode in the spirit of discussion rather than argument, and while I’m not sure we quite got there, we certainly did take a deep dive on some things. In this episode we talk about:

  • The increasing trend toward the media’s calling out Trump falsehoods (not withstanding a sloppy Tweet Russell used as evidence)
  • Our fundamentally opposing worldviews on whether immigration is good for America or not

And, for the first time we’re linking to everything we discussed, below the Podcast.


Episode 4 – Oct. 1, 2016

In this episode:

  • We talk about our reactions to Monday’s presidential debate.
  • We dive deep on the ethical & moral arguments around immigration, as motivated by a Sam Harris podcast.

Our show notes this week:


Episode 5 – Oct. 10, 2016

Wow, is news moving fast. We recorded this Podcast early Saturday afternoon, which is to say, just after news of Trump’s lewd tape broke, but before moderators had a chance to question him on it during Monday night’s debate. In that debate, Trump made two statements which Tom and I could only speculate about in the podcast.

First, Trump said he did use the nearly $1 billion loss on his tax returns to avoid paying taxes. Second, Trump said he did not assault women by groping them, which he is recorded bragging about in the tape. Both of those tidbits would surely have impacted our conversation if we’d heard about them earlier. I would say we’ll get to them on our next episode, but who knows where this race will be by then.

As usual, here are some show notes:


Episode 6 – Oct. 16, 2016

As Tom and I mentioned to each other after recording, this was a discouraging discussion. It seems we’ve been around and around on some of these issues, with hours of dialogue and before that countless thousands of words in email, and with no progress.

Our main notes this week come from another Sam Harris podcast, which I do highly recommend:


Episode 7 – Oct. 23, 2016

In which we discuss Trump’s claim that the election is “rigged,” as well as other instances in which the “guardrails” of democracy may be being threatened. Amazingly, we managed an entire episode without talking about immigration. Show notes include:


Episode 8 – Oct. 29, 2016

In which we take a much needed break from election news to talk about the broader question of what people feel vs. the reality of what’s going on. Show notes include:


Episode 9 – Nov. 5, 2016

Our final pre-election podcast, in which it gets ugly. We examine each of our best- and worst-case scenarios for a Trump or Clinton presidency. Show notes:


Episode 10 – Nov. 12, 2016

In which we pick up the pieces of what happened, what it might mean going forward, and how people should respond to a Trump Presidency.

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  1. Pingback: The Year Behind, the One Ahead (A 2016 Review and 2017 Preview) | Russell Max Simon

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