UCL Uncovering Politics

The State of US Politics

Episode Summary

This week we explore US politics. Who’s up? Who’s down? What are the big issues? And how well is American democracy doing?

Episode Notes

The soap opera of US politics rolls on. Joe Biden – the first octogenarian president – plans to run again in 2024. So too does Donald Trump, despite a series of ongoing legal cases against him

Beneath this surface, serious issues are at stake, around economic and climate policies, relations between the United States and China, the future stance of the US towards the war in Ukraine, and women’s rights and abortion after Roe v. Wade was overturned. And there are major questions to ask about the health of US democracy itself. 

So, it’s high time we had one of our occasional reviews of the state of US politics. Joining us this week are the Co-Directors of the UCL Centre on US Politics:

- Dr Julie Norman, Associate Professor (Teaching) in Politics and International Relations,

- and Dr Thomas Gift, Associate Professor in Political Science, both in the UCL Department of Political Science.


Mentioned in this episode:

Episode Transcription


joe biden, biden, politics, democracy, donald trump, ucl, party, act, julie, democrats, bill, democratic party, china, election, thomas, trump, big, infrastructure, challenges, moderate


Thomas Gift, Julie Norman, Alan Renwick


Alan Renwick  00:06

Hello. This is UCL Uncovering Politics. And this week we explore the state of US politics. Who's up, who's down, what are the big issues, and how well is American democracy doing?


Hello. My name is Alan Renwick and welcome to UCL Uncovering Politics – the podcast of the School of Public Policy and Department of Political Science at University College London. 


The soap opera of US politics rolls on. Joe Biden – the first octogenarian president – plans to run again in 2024. So too does Donald Trump, despite a series of ongoing legal cases against him. 


Beneath the surface, serious issues are at stake around economic and climate policies, relations between the United States and China, the future stance of the US towards the war in Ukraine, and women's rights and abortion after Roe v. Wade was overturned. 


And there are major questions to ask about the health of US democracy itself: Trump, despite seeking to overturn the result of a democratic election, remains a contender for power; the Republican Party is apparently unable to escape his grip; voter suppression threats of violence, hyper-partisan media, the dominance of money. 


These and other features of contemporary American politics lead some observers to ask: Will us democracy even survive the coming years? 


So, it's high time we had one of our occasional reviews of the state of US politics. And joining me to do just that are UCL Uncovering Politics stalwarts and Co-Directors of the UCL Centre on US Politics: Dr Julie Norman, who is Associate Professor (Teaching) in Politics and International Relations, and Dr Thomas Gift, Associate Professor in Political Science, both in the UCL Department of Political Science. 


Welcome back, Julie and Thomas, to UCL Uncovering Politics. It's a while since we last had one of these episodes so I'm really looking forward to hearing what you have to say. 


And we'll explore lots of the issues that I've mentioned in my introduction there, but it would be nice to get past the endless focus on Donald Trump. So can we start maybe by looking at the Biden presidency? Julie, how would you say he's actually doing in office?


Julie Norman  02:29

You know what Alan, with a lot of things with US politics, I think it depends who you ask. But for most Democrats for Biden, he was able to get a lot more done in his first two years probably than his second two years, because in the first two years the Congress was under Democratic control as well and now we're in a situation where the Republicans control the House. 


So Biden, I think, did take good advantage of this in his first two years: Democrats got through an act at the end of last year that put through some of their clean energy priorities and lowering prescription drugs. And Biden also got a lot of bipartisan legislation through, which I think is sometimes overlooked, on everything from infrastructure to gun safety to aid for veterans. So he had some big legislative wins in the bag. 


Again, though, with the split government as we have now, I think he's somewhat limited in what big items he can do. I will say, though, I think it's pretty notable that him, along with Kevin McCarthy, did avert the debt ceiling – us going off the cliff with the debt ceiling – last month. And so that I would say was a legislative win for Biden in the way he was able to negotiate and manoeuvre that in a way that I think really limited the impact and the fallout for Democrats overall.


Alan Renwick  03:40

So you would attribute that to Biden more than you would to McCarthy?


Julie Norman  03:45

I would honestly hand it to both of them. I think they both stepped up and overcame some of the more strident wings of their party that would have wanted to not have those compromises go through. And I think the two of them really did find an agreement that was going to work and that they were able to not only work for them to get over the line with their parties. And that was kind of old school politics back in action – whether one likes it or not, the closed-door negotiations. But it's what I think is needed in something like that. And they both work together and did ultimately get a deal.


Alan Renwick  04:19

Thomas, what would be your take on how things have been going?


Thomas Gift  04:23

Well, I think that the interesting aspect of the Biden administration so far is a disconnect between his poll numbers and what he's been able to achieve. 


So if you're just judging Joe Biden by his poll numbers, it's really hard to make the case that he's doing very well. I mean, he's hovered in the high 30s to low 40s in terms of the percentage of Americans who think that he's doing a good job. Even by modern standards that's not very good. And it approaches numbers that look like Donald Trump's in his last two years in office, who was also very unpopular. 


At the same time, you know, those numbers do surprise me a bit because, as Julie indicated, he has been able to get quite a few things through Congress. Most of them have been down the line party votes through a special budgetary process now known as 'budget reconciliation'. So this included the American Rescue Plan in March of 2021, which was $1.9 trillion. 


And that did a lot: it expanded unemployment benefits, it increased emergency paid leave, it expanded the Child Tax Credit, granted money to small businesses. So that was a major success early on in his administration. 


And also as Julie alluded to, that was followed up by a significant infrastructure bill known as the Inflation Reduction Act, which was passed in August 2022. That was $1 trillion. This was largely a package that had eluded his two predecessors: both Donald Trump as well as Barack Obama tried and tried and tried to get a big infrastructure bill through and neither was successful. So this led to very significant investments in energy and climate change, investments in roads and bridges, rail, transportation etc. 


And then lastly, as Julie mentioned, this Debt Ceiling Bill, which was a very significant challenge for the federal government. I think the fact that Joe Biden was able to work across the aisle in tandem with with Kevin McCarthy, you know, was a good thing. 


And so, you know, it could be just the case that given how polarised the United States is... And one reason why Joe Biden's numbers are so low, or appear to be so low, is that there's just not much room to go up. There's essentially a ceiling. And so maybe he's approaching that, maybe he's not. 


But I think for Joe Biden, looking ahead to this next election, he does have to be concerned just by virtue of what his poll numbers look like. 


Alan Renwick  07:00

Yeah, I was going to ask you exactly why is it that his poll numbers are not higher given that catalogue of achievements that you've just set out. 


And how is he perceived on his own side? You've mentioned there the possibility that it may just be that many people are never going to support what he's doing and think he's doing a good job. How's he seen within the Democratic Party?


Thomas Gift  07:21

I think in terms of the poll numbers, this might just be the new normal where it's almost impossible for a president to get over maybe 45% popularity, which is really stunning whenever you look back in context historically. Bill Clinton, for example, after his impeachment still had approval ratings somewhere around 70%. So it's kind of remarkable how far we've moved since then


Within his own party, I do think that there's a lot of dissatisfaction with Joe Biden. Certainly the Democratic Party, like the Republican Party, is very splintered across both progressives and moderates. 


Progressives think that Joe Biden hasn't pushed hard enough in some of his legislative agenda and that he has been too willing to compromise with the more moderate wing of his own party. I think at the same time, the moderate wing thinks that Joe Biden has also been kind of too aggressive at the same time, particularly when it comes to kind of cultural issues and these sorts of things, which they feel is alienating to a fairly large section of moderate voters in the country. So I think he's getting it from both flanks. 


At the same time, if the choice ultimately becomes Joe Biden or Donald Trump, probably for most Democrats it's going to be a no brainer to support him.


Alan Renwick  08:46

Julie, would you agree with that?


Julie Norman  08:49

Yeah, I would. I think Thomas just said it absolutely right, that it's hard for a lot of people to really dislike Biden within the Democratic Party, but there's not many people within the Democratic Party who get very passionate and excited about Joe Biden either. 


And I think we see this in some of the polling about him receiving the nomination. You know, more than half of Democrats were reluctant to support that, partly because of his age or partly because, as Thomas said, some of the more hardline Democrats think that Biden is being too moderate. But at the end of the day, in a general election that's what ultimately got him over the line was appealing to moderates and independents. So it's a bit of a catch 22 with US politics in that regard.


Alan Renwick  09:30

We'll get into the politics of 2024 and the coming presidential election in just a moment. But before we do that, it would be interesting to explore some of the policy issues in a bit more depth. 


And so Thomas, you were referring there to the Inflation Reduction Act and the huge infrastructure spending that has been going in there. Do you want to say it in a little bit more detail, kind of, particularly, I guess for listeners who've probably heard of this thing. You know, everyone around the world who is engaged in politics I think is aware of it, but maybe people don't know much about the content and just what it's doing. And also, I guess how that is going down with voters in the United States.


Thomas Gift  10:16

So the Inflation Reduction Act is probably in my mind the marquee piece of legislation that Joe Biden has been able to pass. And again, he did this through a party line vote, through this special budgetary process known as 'reconciliation', which essentially didn't require any Republicans to get on board. 


But he still had difficulty pushing it through precisely because there were some Democratic holdouts – namely, Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema – who are part of the moderate wing of the Democratic Party who resisted the amount of spending and what spending was going into initially. 


You know, some of the earlier drafts proposed upwards of $3 trillion for an infrastructure bill, which was kind of a nonstarter from the outset. But I think what Joe Biden was trying to do was essentially stake out a considerable bargaining position with the understanding that this would be pared back. 


So the Inflation Reduction Act invested a lot in climate and energy. But that's not all that it did. It also invests in funds in roads and bridges and rail and transportation, in health care, in housing, in education. Really lots of areas, both in terms of physical infrastructure as well as human infrastructure. 


Of course, this was billed as the Inflation Reduction Act. I guess one issue that I would have is it's kind of a misnomer: there's really no evidence that I can see that it will actually reduce inflation in the United States. And if you look at kind of independent estimates from the Congressional Budget Office, for example, they found that there would be no major effect on reducing inflation, even over the long term. The Penn Wharton Budget Model, which is based at the University of Pennsylvania, also those kind of nonpartisan analysis on these types of legislation, also found that the Bill would not have a statistically significant effect on inflation. So I think that important to note.


Alan Renwick  12:19

And is it popular?


Thomas Gift  12:21

Is it popular? I think generally yes, simply because most Americans, despite the fact that they may say they want limited government, whenever you go line by line actually favour big government. That's a big tension, both for Democrats and Republicans, in terms of how they're selling this Bill. But if you looked at kind of polling, at least in the immediate aftermath of the Inflation Reduction Act, majorities – not large majorities, but majorities – certainly supported this piece of legislation.


Alan Renwick  12:56

And are people actually starting to see the effects of it on the ground? Is it one of these things where it translates into people's real lives very quickly or is it that the benefits will take some time to come through?


Thomas Gift  13:09

I think there's a little bit of both. I mean we heard before about 'shovel-ready projects'. I think a lot of this investment, though, will not be expected to really yield significant dividends until, you know, years down the line, you know. Some of the process just takes a lot – it takes a lot just to do the procurement to actually build these projects. 


I think it does have some short run implications for employment. And I think that it has essentially acted as a stimulus. And some critics of the Bill said that in the short term it has actually been inflationary rather than anti-inflationary. 


So by and large, though, I think that this is a bill that is designed to yield improvements over the long run.


Julie Norman  13:59

And, of course, we should remember, again, there's been a lot of infrastructure talked about. There was an initial infrastructure bill back in 2021 that did have some bipartisan support and was the more traditional roads and bridges. And then, of course, the Democrat package – the Inflation Reduction Act later in 2022 – was putting in more Democratic priorities like clean energy infrastructure. So that's really been a theme through Biden's presidency I would say on both his party line as well as bipartisan votes.


Alan Renwick  14:27

It's kind of encouraging, actually, that some things... Because I think we sometimes get the impression in this country that everything is done on party line votes and there's just no cooperation across the aisle. But actually you're suggesting that sometimes they can cooperate, which of course now, given that there's divided control of Congress, is very important.


Julie Norman  14:46

Absolutely. And I would say the word 'cooperative' is maybe a bit aspirational. Like when we say 'bipartisan', it might mean a handful of the other party goes on board with it. So these aren't, you know, Kumbaya kind of moments. 


But I would say that under Biden I think there has been more of that possible than maybe with some other administrations because he does have such a long history in the Senate, with specific individuals across Congress, that he's been able to kind of nudge some of these things through. And I think he has, you know, doubled down on that personal skill, even sometimes to the chagrin of people in his own party.


Alan Renwick  15:21

And is there anything – perhaps Thomas, we should go back to you – that we can learn from the raising of the debt ceiling, because that was genuinely bipartisan and that was a lot of people, I think it was the majority on both sides, wasn't it, who backed that decision.


Thomas Gift  15:35

I actually think that both Joe Biden and Kevin McCarthy may emerge from the debt ceilings stronger rather than weaker. Certainly, they are both going to encounter significant blowback from the flanks of their own party. So from progressives on the Democratic side and from the Freedom Caucus – kind of hardline Republican fiscal hawks – on the Republican side. 


But I do think, you know, just to an extent, it might teach them that not every deal has to be, or is, torpedoed by the most polarised wings of their parties, and that, in fact, there may be more consensus than is typically presumed among kind of the broad centre of both parties. So I think that that is encouraging to have some of these, you know, factions somewhat sidelined in a major piece of legislation.


Alan Renwick  16:32

Just thinking there – potentially some lessons for politicians in the UK to learn from this as well. But that's another subject. 


And Julie, you're also our foreign policy expert as well as our US politics expert. And relations with China. This is one of the big issues that are likely to shape our politics and the world in years to come. Where are we there?


Julie Norman  16:58

Yeah, it's a good question, Alan, because I think for a while in Washington there was almost a jockeying to see who could be tougher on China. This kind of started under the Trump administration, but the Biden administration really carried this 'tough on China' approach through.


I would say in recent months, if not weeks, that's become a little bit more nuanced as the administration tries to figure out: how to actually move this relationship forward; how to try and avert a real confrontation or conflict around Taiwan; and really crucially, how to be able to maintain what is quite significant economic interdependence with China while also taking into consideration security concerns. 


So I think there's been a bit more reevaluating, a bit more attempts to have an open hand approach to China, at least on some areas – trying to get some dialogue going and set a floor, if you will, with these relations that have just been nosediving for the last six, almost 12, months. 


So I see a little bit of shifts as the administration tries to moderate the approach a bit. 


We've seen it through some very distinct, again, bipartisan legislation. Both parties came together last year to pass the Chips Act, which essentially jumpstarts semiconductor and microchip manufacturing in the US. So creating jobs in the US but also countering China in a very key area. 


But I'd say the security concern is a bit more of where I and some others have been keeping watch: again, what's happening in Taiwan, what's happening with China's military spending, what's happening with surveillance. So you have both these things kind of happening at the same time. Trying to find on their way through this and realising that China is not going away, how are you going to find ways to work with them, but also watch out for national security at the same time.


Alan Renwick  18:47

And you mentioned that the Chips Act had bipartisan support. Is this generally an area of policy where there is a degree of bipartisanship? 


We're going to get onto the 2024 election in a moment. But, you know, clearly one of the possibilities there is a Trump victory. What effect would that have on US-China relations?


Julie Norman  19:08

Yeah. So I would say to your first question: in general, foreign policy tends to have a bit more consensus in US politics than domestic issues. Again, with China there's been a sort of consensus of a 'tough on China' approach. I do think that would look very different with a Trump presidency or even a DeSantis or another Republican candidate presidency. 


The Biden administration, as I alluded to, has been attempting to take a bit more of a scalpel approach to this. They've zeroed in on a couple of particular industries and technologies where they are focusing. It's not a blanket, you know, isolationism or protectionism. And there's not quite the belligerence and language that we heard under Trump as well – a bit more of an open-handed approach in general. So I would say that that would change. 


I think what would change even more significantly, though, would be an approach to Ukraine. And obviously the other major foreign policy issue. That is one where quite interestingly the split is not demarcated between Democrats and Republicans so much as between different parts of the Republican party where you have about half of the party very committed to aid to Ukraine, to US leadership on that, and increasingly close to about half the party that is very resistant to continuing aid and prefers a more isolationist approach to that issue in particular, but foreign policy more broadly.


Alan Renwick  20:30

Okay, that's really helpful. It's a nice little tour of some of the big issues. 


Are there any other big issues that we ought to be paying attention to before we move on to electoral politics? Thomas, is there anything that you would like to add in?


Thomas Gift  20:43

I don't think so.


Julie Norman  20:44

I'll just add: in connection to electoral politics is abortion, which we haven't touched on yet. Obviously, last year that was a big Supreme Court case that overturned turned Roe v. Wade and continues to be a pretty galvanising issue in US politics, currently at the state level, and I think will be, you know, really deployed by both parties in 2024. 


So I think that's one that will continue to be there. And it's, if anything, more on the radar now than it was then it was prior to the Supreme Court ruling.


Alan Renwick  21:14

Yeah, absolutely. 


Okay, we must talk about electoral politics. And we've already alluded to this in various ways already. 


Thomas, on the Democratic side, is Biden a shoo in for the nomination? Can we assume that he's going to be the candidate?


Thomas Gift  21:33

I think that we can. You know, there's some more minor candidates who have jumped into the race, including Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. as well as Cornel West as well. But these are just more kind of thorns in the side of Joe Biden. They're not serious contenders. 


The Democratic Party is not going to hold primary debates. And to the extent that some debates happen, Joe Biden is not going to participate in them. And so every indication is that Joe Biden will be the party's nominee.


Alan Renwick  22:04

Do we know who his running mate is? This may be a completely ignorant question, but do we know? Is it Kamala Harris again?


Thomas Gift  22:12

He has committed to running again with Kamala Harris, which of course has raised some concerns within the Democratic Party who are looking at her poll numbers and saying that they're even lower than Joe Biden's. But I think it's the case that it was always going to be her and, you know, abandoning her as a running mate was just going to be too alienating for a certain section of the Democratic Party.


Alan Renwick  22:39

And Julie, presumably she matters here. And given Biden's age and, you know, he doesn't come across as the fittest of 80-year-olds in the world, people will be thinking about, well, who's the number two?


Julie Norman  22:53

Exactly. There were a lot of eyes on Kamala Harris in the last election, but I think even more so this time around from both Democrats but also from Republicans. I think Republicans are really going to try and focus on her as a vulnerability for Biden, especially for some swing or independent voters who are kind of vulnerable to go either way and say, you know, a vote for Biden is essentially a vote for Harris. 


And I think it's, you know, true in the sense that, you know, people are looking at Biden's age and the vice presidency, always important, but definitely a bit more in focus this time simply because of his age.


Alan Renwick  23:31

So the Republican race: is Trump going to win, Julie?


Julie Norman  23:37

Well, he is by far the front runner. And that includes up through today when we're recording when he is facing indictment and arraignment later in a federal case. So I would say right now he is leading the closest contender, Ron DeSantis, by upwards of 30 or 40 points, depending on the polls. 


So I think this comes as a surprise to some listeners outside the US how much Trump is still in the lead and by such a large margin as well. I would note that there are many challengers to Trump right now. Ron DeSantis is the name people are probably familiar with. Also Nikki Haley, Tim Scott, Chris Christie. It's a pretty crowded field. 


And in some ways this is the sort of paradox. It's like the more people who have stepped up to challenge Trump, the more likely it makes his nomination because there's a pretty sizable percentage of the party who will back Trump no matter what, and as the vote splits across these other candidates, it keeps him in that number one position moving forward. 


So again, we're still very far out – a lot can change. But for right now he's very much the front runner.


Alan Renwick  24:44

Yeah. We should explain for listeners that we are recording this a little bit ahead of when the podcast will be released, so things can happen in the interim, of course. 


What would you say is in the minds of his supporters when they look at these legal cases that he's going through. Why does it apparently not have any impact upon their perceptions of him?


Thomas Gift  25:09

Well I think one thing that we know from Donald Trump's base is that they are incredibly loyal. I don't think we've ever seen a base that is quite so loyal to Donald Trump in American politics. 


And so if we're just looking at previous scandals, every indication is that they will continue to back him. The Mueller investigation over Russia, impeachment 1.0, impeachment 2.0, January 6th. On every single one of those instances, we saw Donald Trump's support either stay constant or actually increase a bit among the Republican primary base. 


And if you look at the New York City indictment by Alvin Bragg or if you look at this most recent indictment over the mishandling of classified documents, we've actually seen Donald Trump be able to fundraise and actually bolster his poll numbers. And I don't think that the details of those cases really matter so much because that's what it is to be part of the maggot base, which is that you follow Donald Trump and you really don't question him. 


And it's just something unique about Donald Trump I think that inspires this kind of loyalty among his supporters. And I think that they see a certain charisma, they see a certain degree of willingness to fight, and it's sort of become for many voters almost, you know, part of their cultural and political identity. And when something becomes part of one's cultural-political identity, right, this is how it manifests. It manifests by sort of ignoring all the details or the facts or, you know, the controversies, and just looking in one direction.


Julie Norman  27:01

And I'll add to that, too. I mean Trump came to power in 2016 by being the outsider candidate and kind of challenging Washington and challenging the elite in the deep state. And I think one question for him for reflection, either 2020 or 2024, was: how could he do that if he was kind of working from within the system he had been in? 


With the indictments, he's pretty much spun that into back into being not only the outsider, but the victim – the one that the government is against, this witch hunt. And if you listen to his speeches in this last period, it's not just framing himself that way. He's saying: they're out to get you too and I am standing here to protect you. So it's very much giving this narrative of: the deep state, the elites that are not paying attention to people like you, and I am here as your defender and protector. 


And so it's a very compelling narrative and one that he has tapped into, you know, very, very deeply. And I would say, he's probably going to continue to do so as these legislative challenges continue.


Alan Renwick  28:07

That leads us on very nicely to, alas, what's going to have to be our final question. And it's this question around the health of democracy in the United States. 


So in my introduction at the start of the episode I listed a whole series of things that, from the perspective of the outsider to US politics, seemed like kind of shocking things that are going on and really make us question whether democracy in the US is really robust. 


But I've always been struck when you've done episodes of UCL Uncovering Politics in the past that, actually, you've been quite sanguine. And you've felt that no, actually, the system is robust to these challenges and it is responding and it is defending itself adequately. 


I wonder what you both think now about the state and the prospects for democracy in the United States. Julie, do you want to go first?


Julie Norman  28:58

Sure. It's a big question and a tough one, I think. And I think we're all aware of some of the democratic backsliding that we've seen, some of the weaknesses in US democracy that have been exposed. 


But with that said, even with everything continuing through this day, I'm still confident overall on US democracy. And we can look at that procedurally in terms of voter turnout, which we continue to have record setting, you know, voter turnout in elections. Substantively, we have, you know, people engaged in all different kinds of free expression and media and protest and what have you. So I would say, in many ways that we normally look to measure democracy, I think it's still holding and, importantly, I think both parties think that they are the one who is really defending democracy. So you see this will in the US to defend democracy. 


I think where it will get tested again is if there's a question again around the elections. There's always to me going to be ups and downs of trust in Congress and the president and these kinds of things, but the questioning of the election outcome was a major scar, I think, from 2020. 


January 6 obviously was very visual and encapsulated that, but just the election, questioning and denials before that I think was what was threatening democracy the most. And I think if we have that again in 2024, that will create some real challenges. I don't see a civil war, that kind of thing. But I do see potential for civil unrest and these, but more just a threat to the belief in the electoral system if it's challenged again by Donald Trump in particular, but by anyone.


Alan Renwick  30:40



Thomas Gift  30:41

There's certainly a lot of catastrophising and hyperbolised in my view about the state of American democracy. 


I am pessimistic on one front, which is that I think polarisation – partisan polarisation and cultural polarisation – are so deeply embedded into the fabric of American society now that it's going to be very difficult for Democrats and Republicans to come together on much. 


But when it comes to kind of this broader question about, is this going to lead to extreme levels of political violence or civil war, I just don't see that happening. Granted, it is the case that it only requires a relatively small amount of individuals to do a lot of damage. We saw that on January 6. 


But at the same time, I think the lesson that comes from the Trump administration is that even when you have a president who has shattered all kinds of democratic and executive norms, the institutions are still quite resilient. 


The challenges to the 2020 election led to a lot of court cases. They were adjudicated on their own merits and largely dismissed. Donald Trump, despite his best efforts, is not President. And even when it comes to these political indictments that Donald Trump is facing – yes, that's going to certainly create risk within the American electorate and within Washington, but they're still playing out through a legal process, and the courts are ultimately going to decide, and that's how it how it should be. 


So I think that, you know, to say that the United States is kind of verging – or teetering – on the brink of authoritarianism is just language that certainly attracts a lot of attention. And you can see why the media wants to play this narrative. But I personally don't think that it reflects the reality of the situation on the ground.


Alan Renwick  32:41

Well, there's an optimistic note on which to conclude. Let's hope you're both correct on that front, and we shall see how things develop over the coming years. 


Thank you so much, Julie Norman and Thomas Gift. It's been wonderful to catch up with you both and hear your take on developments in US politics. 


And for lots more information on the UCL Centre on US Politics, known universally as CUSP, just search online or go to the show notes for this episode where you'll find the link. 


This is our last episode for the current season. UCL Uncovering Politics will be taking a little break over the summer while we all knuckle down doing some research. But you can always look up our back catalogue where you'll find episodes on topics as diverse as military technology, LGBT+ politics, the parliamentary battle over Brexit, and the proper roles of praise and blame. We'll be back in the autumn. 


So remember – to make sure you don't miss out on future episodes of UCL Uncovering Politics, all you need to do is subscribe. You can do so on Apple or Google Podcasts or whatever podcast provider you use. And while you're there, we'd love it if you could take a moment of time to rate or review us too. 


I'm Alan Renwick. This episode was produced by Eleanor Kingwell-Banham and Alice Hart. Our theme music is written and performed by John Mann. 


This has been UCL Uncovering Politics. Thank you for listening and have a great summer.