The Weeds

The Weeds

The Weeds is Vox's podcast for politics and policy discussions. Every Tuesday, Jonquilyn Hill and guests take a deep dive into the policies shaping our world — from immigration to climate change to crypto and more. Produced by Vox and the Vox Media Podcast Network.


January 31, 2023 52 min
One of the most important pieces of civil rights legislation in American history is the Fair Housing Act of 1968. It is also a piece of legislation that has rarely been properly enforced. So, in early January, the Biden administration released a proposal that would give the FHA a new set of teeth. Vox senior policy reporter Rachel Cohen (@rmc031) explains.   PLUS: The Biden administration wants to hear from you. Click here to ...
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When insulin was discovered in 1923, the scientists sold the patent for only a dollar, hoping to make it accessible to those who need it. At the time, one of the discoverers said, “Insulin is for the world.” Fast-forward over 100 years, and some diabetics are rationing the lifesaving drug because the price is so high. Why does insulin cost so much, and what does that cost tell us about the American health care system? Host Jonquily...
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Buckle up for another trip in the Weeds Time Machine! Today, we are going back in time to 1965 to talk about one of the most significant pieces of civil rights legislation in American history: the Voting Rights Act. Once again, its fate is in the hands of the Supreme Court. Professor Atiba R. Ellis walks us through the legislative and judicial history of this landmark policy. References: Atiba Ellis  Brief amici curiae of Boston U...
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January 10, 2023 32 min
Gerrymandering shapes our political maps, which in turn shape our policies. While there are concerns about how hyperpartisan voting maps are becoming, there’s one state where grassroots organizers have changed the system. On today’s episode of The Weeds, we pass the mike to one of you and answer your burning questions about redistricting in this polarized era.  References: Where Did the Term “Gerrymander” Come From? | History| Smi...
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December 27, 2022 51 min
(Originally aired May 2022) Dylan Matthews and Dara Lind are joined by Annie Lowrey (@annielowrey), a staff writer at the Atlantic, to talk about why it’s so hard for people to get government benefits. Frequently called the “time tax,” the administrative burden of applying for and distributing government benefits leads to thousands of people not getting the aid they qualify for.  References: Annie Lowrey on Code America’s effo...
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December 20, 2022 45 min
In 2022, we saw a lot of climate change news. Europe hit record-high temperatures, Pakistan was devastated by flooding, and in the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency got a little less powerful. While those are major causes for concern, there is a bright spot on the climate change policy landscape: 2023. Vox’s Rebecca Leber (@rebleber) tells us what to look forward to next year.  References: The next frontier fo...
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December 13, 2022 47 min
Last month, New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced a new mental health policy that lowers the threshold for involuntary commitments for psychiatric care. While the Adams administration argues this shift is a solution for growing crime and homelessness numbers, critics argue it’s a step in the wrong direction. What’s the history behind involuntary holds, and what does it say about mental health policy in America? References: 988 ...
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With the 2022 midterm elections mostly over, members of Congress are back on the Hill to wrap up loose legislative ends. One of the bipartisan bills floating through the lame-duck session is the Electoral Count Reform Act, a bill that would add protections to the presidential transfer of power. So, what exactly does this legislation do to protect elections, and is it enough?  Hosts: Jonquilyn Hill (@jonquilynhill) Credits: So...
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November 29, 2022 42 min
(Originally aired August 2022) Vox senior correspondent Dylan Matthews sits down with Felicia Wong (@FeliciaWongRI), president and CEO of the Roosevelt Institute, to talk about a new era of industrial policy. They discuss the theory of modern supply-side economics, the passage of the Inflation Reduction and CHIPS acts, and how much common ground exists between the political left and the right. Hosts: Dylan Matthews (@dylan...
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November 22, 2022 57 min
The world of cryptocurrency is infamously unregulated, but what happens when a major crypto exchange crashes, uprooting almost the entire crypto ecosystem, and there’s no regulatory body in charge? You have the FTX crash of 2022. And it’s hard to ignore the elephant in the room: why don’t we have a regulation framework for crypto? It seems like an obvious solution, but as The Verge’s Liz Lopatto (@mslopatto) and financial regul...
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November 15, 2022 50 min
Let’s be blunt: Weed policy is complicated. As with many elections in the past decade, recreational marijuana was on the ballot again during the 2022 midterm elections. After Colorado and Washington voted to legalize recreational use in 2012, more and more states have decided to ride the green wave. And recent moves by the Biden administration signal the federal government may finally come around to decriminalizing marijuana. But d...
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November 8, 2022 55 min
We did it, y’all – we made it to Election Day! And if you’re like us, tonight you’ll be glued to your TV and constantly refreshing waiting for the returns to come in. We’re pretty used to knowing the winner that same night, but in 2020, we had to wait days before a winner was announced. So this got us thinking: How do news networks know when to make a call? And how has that changed through the years? We talked to three expe...
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November 1, 2022 60 min
With only a week to go until the US midterm elections, inflation is the issue at the top of most voters’ minds. As Democrats and Republicans make their cases for who can get prices to come down, one thing remains true: High prices are not going to go away overnight. Economists Mike Konczal (@rortybomb) of the Roosevelt Institute and Michael Strain (@MichaelRStrain) of the American Enterprise Institute discuss how we got her...
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October 25, 2022 50 min
Midterm elections are around the corner, and while voters are concerned about the economy, inflation, and abortion, there’s one other issue jumping to the top of the list: crime. Rising crime comes up in campaigns like clockwork, but during this election season, it's making a particular mark on two key Senate races: Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Vox’s Nicole Narea (@nicolenarea) and Li Zhou (@liszhou) explain. References...
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The midterm elections are three weeks away, and candidates aren’t the only ones on the ballot. Voters across the country will decide new laws and policy through ballot initiatives, which can include proposals like legalizing recreational marijuana, funding in-state college tuition, and raising taxes to fight climate change. But how do these issues get on the ballot in the first place, and will they stay there? Vox policy editor Lib...
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October 11, 2022 46 min
The midterm elections are four weeks away. Senate control is on the line, and races in battleground states are tightening. Few things say “close election” like an October surprise. The one getting the latest buzz this election cycle comes from Georgia, courtesy of Republican senatorial candidate Herschel Walker. Vox politics reporter Li Zhou (@liszhou) explains the race, and Rutgers professor David Greenberg (@republicofspi...
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October 4, 2022 56 min
Pollsters are starting to panic. There’s headline after headline after headline ahead of the midterms on whether this election cycle’s polling is accurate or not. How does polling actually work? Is it really representative of how voters are feeling and what the outcome will be on Election Day? And when it comes to Democrats, why is polling so wrong? Amy Walter, publisher and editor-in-chief of the Cook Political Report, explains wh...
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US immigration policy is complicated. And when Republican Govs. Greg Abbott and Ron DeSantis chartered buses and planes to relocate migrants to “blue cities,” it raised a ton of legal questions. But it also ignited the age-old question about our immigration system: Why is it so complicated? Weeds veteran Dara Lind (@DLind) explains. References: Why Ron DeSantis is baiting Biden on the border  Opinion | Ron DeSantis Is Making a...
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September 20, 2022 59 min
For the September issue of The Highlight, the Vox politics team examined the fastest growing voting bloc in the country: Latino voters. But the 32 million voters that make up the Latino electorate are not a monolithic group. In today’s episode, we’ll look at the intricacies and nuances of the Latino voting bloc and what might happen in the 2022 midterm elections. References: Ruben Gallego's ready for a fight — even if the Dem...
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September 13, 2022 66 min
How do we make life better for future generations? Who gets to make those decisions? These are tough questions, and today’s guest, philosopher William MacAskill (@willmacaskill), tries to help us answer them. References:  What We Owe the Future by William MacAskill Effective altruism's most controversial idea  How effective altruism went from a niche movement to a billion-dollar force Effective altruism’s longtermist goals...
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