Hell & High Water with John Heilemann

Hell & High Water with John Heilemann

A ravenous pandemic. A ruinous recession. Protests, riots, racial strife, police brutality. And, of course, Donald Trump. The turmoil and upheaval roiling America in 2020 is the subject of Hell & High Water with John Heilemann. Through a series of conversations with the people shaping our culture — in politics, entertainment, business, technology, sports, food, and beyond — best-selling author and TV host John Heilemann (Game Change, Double Down, Showtime's The Circus) explores how the country is grappling with this apocalyptic moment and its existential stakes... and attempting to pull through and rise above it.... Show More

Episodes

February 23, 2021 75 min

The story of John Brown and Harpers Ferry is a pivotal piece of American history that's neither well-known nor well-understood — to the extent it's known or understood at all. In 1859, Brown, a militant white abolitionist and religious zealot, led a raid on the federal armory in that small Virginia (now West Virginia) town to acquire weapons and spark a slave revolt to end the peculiar institution and cleanse America of its...

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February 16, 2021 71 min

Jaime Harrison is one of the brightest young rising stars in the Democratic Party. Born and raised by a single mother in Orangeburg, South Carolina, educated at Yale and Georgetown Law, and mentored by legendary Palmetto State congressman Jim Clyburn, Harrison became the first African American chairman of his home state's Democratic Party in 2013, at the age of 37. After a stint as an Associate Chair of the Democratic National ...

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February 9, 2021 83 min

Joyce White Vance and Jill Wine-Banks entered the Trump era with gold-plated resumes and sterling reputations in the legal world but modest public profiles outside it. Today, however, they are widely known as two members of a cadre of MSNBC legal analysts who conducted a four-year national civics lesson about the rule of law when it was being tested in unprecedented ways — a cadre notably dominated by women, many of them pioneers i...

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February 2, 2021 66 min

If you looked up the hyphenate "artist-activist" in an illustrated dictionary, next to the entry would likely be a picture of Sean Penn. In a film career spanning forty years, Penn has appeared in more than 50 features, received five Best Actor Oscar nominations and won the award twice — for his leading roles in "Mystic River" and "Milk" — and staked a plausible claim to being the preeminent actor of his gen...

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January 26, 2021 78 min

Kurt Andersen and Lawrence O’Donnell first met 46 years ago as undergraduates at Harvard, forming a friendship that’s flourished alongside their careers as two of their generation’s most incisive, insightful observers of American politics and culture. Andersen made his mark in the 1980s as co-founder of the iconic Spy magazine, then went on to serve as editor-in-chief of New York magazine, host of the Peabody Award-winning radio pr...

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January 19, 2021 71 min

Over the course of the past four decades, Robert Reich has worn a multitude of hats: professor and professional idea merchant; federal official in three presidential administrations, candidate for governor of Massachusetts, and economic adviser to Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and Bernie Sanders; author of 18 books, creator of heralded documentaries, and wildly popular social media dynamo. But in all these roles — including the one f...

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January 12, 2021 57 min

The Lincoln Project launched in late 2019 with an op-ed in The New York Times under a headline that made the group’s identity and intentions clear: “We are Republicans, and We Want Trump Defeated.” Since then, the group has established itself as a leading force in the fight against Trumpism, becoming a household name in the process. Led by an array of lapsed Republican operatives including Heilemann’s guests this week, Jennifer Hor...

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January 12, 2021 49 min

The Lincoln Project launched in late 2019 with an op-ed in The New York Times under a headline that made the group’s identity and intentions clear: “We are Republicans, and We Want Trump Defeated.” Since then, the group has established itself as a leading force in the fight against Trumpism, becoming a household name in the process. Led by an array of lapsed Republican operatives including Heilemann’s guests this week, Jennifer Hor...

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January 5, 2021 81 min

Shannon Watts is the founder of Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense in America — a self-described “accidental activist” who, in less than a decade, went from being a stay-at-home mother in Indiana to the face of a national grassroots movement with more active members than the National Rifle Association. When Watts launched her advocacy group as a simple Facebook page in the wake of the Sandy Hook school shooting in December 2012, she ...

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December 29, 2020 78 min

When Jack Black and Kyle Gass formed the mock-rock band Tenacious D in 1994, they were just a pair of unknown members of The Actors' Gang in LA with a spiritual and satirical kinship with Spinal Tap, a penchant for R-rated lyrics about their sexual prowess and prodigious cannabis consumption, and surprisingly serious musical chops. Twenty-six years later, Tenacious D has accumulated a large and passionate following, released th...

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December 22, 2020 55 min

Over the past three decades, Aaron Sorkin has staked a claim as America’s most renowned film and television writer. With a list of credits that runs from "A Few Good Men," "The American President, "The Social Network," and "Moneyball" on the big screen to "Sports Night," "The Newsroom," and his crowning achievement, "The West Wing," on TV, Sorkin's work has achieved vast popul...

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December 15, 2020 85 min

Rich Eisen has been a fixture in the sports media firmament for a quarter century. Sharp and funny, as well-versed in pop culture as in the prevent defense or the pick-and-roll, Eisen was still in his twenties when he first lit up ESPN during its heyday in the 1990s, before becoming the face of the NFL Network and his eponymous talk show and podcast. But what sets Eisen apart from many of his peers is his comfort in the place where...

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December 8, 2020 88 min

Joe Scarborough is a rare figure in the news business: a broadcaster who has known both Donald Trump and Joe Biden well for years and will be as influential in the political era now dawning as the one quickly coming to a close. Though he first came to prominence in the 1990s as a firebrand Republican congressman from Florida, Scarborough is best known as the co-host and namesake of MSNBC's "Morning Joe" — and an outspok...

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December 1, 2020 46 min

Michael Santiago Render, aka Killer Mike, is one of the most vital figures in the worlds of both hip hop and progressive activism. Best known as one half of the acclaimed rap duo Run The Jewels, Render gained notoriety in the political realm as a prominent backer of Bernie Sanders and a fierce advocate for Black economic empowerment. In the wake of George Floyd’s killing, Render delivered a tearful televised plea to protestors not ...

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December 1, 2020 68 min

Michael Santiago Render, aka Killer Mike, is one of the most vital figures in the worlds of both hip hop and progressive activism. Best known as one half of the acclaimed rap duo Run The Jewels, Render gained notoriety in the political realm as a prominent backer of Bernie Sanders and a fierce advocate for Black economic empowerment. In the wake of George Floyd’s killing, Render delivered a tearful televised plea to protestors not ...

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November 24, 2020 70 min

Lawrence Lessig and Laurence Tribe are among the most important and influential legal minds of this or any era. Lessig, a pioneer in the field of cyber-law, is the Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Leadership at Harvard Law School and founder of Equal Citizens, a non-profit focused on the cause of electoral reform. Tribe, the Carl M. Loeb University Professor Emeritus at Harvard, is arguably the preeminent constitutional scholar o...

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November 17, 2020 72 min

Laurie Garrett has been tracking epidemics and outbreaks since the early 1990's. She is the author of The Coming Plague, Betrayal of Trust, and I Heard the Sirens Scream and has won a Pulitzer Prize, a George Polk Award (twice), and a Peabody Award. With Thanksgiving approaching, and Covid-19 infection rates shooting up in all 50 states, Heilemann turns to Garrett, one of the foremost science journalists in the world, for her i...

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November 10, 2020 73 min

Maya Wiley is a nationally recognized racial justice and equity advocate. She is the former Counsel to the Mayor in New York City, the former Chair of the NYPD Civilian Complaint Review Board, and she founded the Digital Equity Laboratory on universal and inclusive broadband at The New School. Jon Meacham is a Pulitzer Prize–winning biographer, a contributing writer for The New York Times Book Review and a contributing editor of Ti...

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November 7, 2020 72 min

For the first time ever, all four of The Recount podcast hosts team up for a bonus episode. Jennifer Palmieri, host of "Just Something About Her," David Plouffe and Steve Schmidt, hosts of "Battleground," and John Heilemann, Executive Editor of The Recount and host of "Hell & High Water," discuss the collision of expectations and reality, poll trouble, what may have held Democrats back from bigger wins, ...

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November 3, 2020 60 min

Nicolle Wallace is a journalist, author, and the host of "Deadline: White House" on MSNBC. But, most importantly for the purposes of this podcast, she’s a dear friend of Heilemann’s. Their friendship began when Nicolle was the White House Communications Chief to George W. Bush and deepened after Heilemann published "Game Change." The book chronicles the 2008 Presidential campaign and, with it, Nicolle's role as ...

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