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On this week’s Slate Political Gabfest, Emily Bazelon, David Plotz, and John Dickerson discuss the fifth GOP debate, the curious case of Bowe Bergdahl, and the political happenings of 2015.
Here are some of the links and references mentioned during this week's show:
- The fifth Republican debate, focusing on national security, was mostly about fear. Who won the debate, if anyone? (Or did fear itself win the debate?)
- Why were no attacks lobbed at Trump from Cruz and Rubio? Did Chris Christie rise in the ranks? Did Jeb Bush successfully position himself as the Trump alternative?
- Did Marco Rubio perform well enough to become the leading mainstream candidate some Republican voters are looking for? And where are the establishment voters these days? Are the early contests in Iowa, South Carolina, and other southern states skewing the visibility of the various factions of conservative voters?
- Why did Bowe Bergdahl desert? Did six soldiers die in search of him, as Bergdahl’s critics claim?
- Should Bergdahl’s immense suffering while in captivity have been a factor in his court martial? How about his punishment?
- Did Bergdahl’s comments to Mark Boal explaining his desertion hurt his case? Why did Bergdahl give Serial permission to use these interviews in the first place?
- What have we learned about politics over the course of 2015? Was this one of the grimmest years we can remember? Is there some hope from #BlackLivesMatter and continued discussion of bipartisan criminal justice reform?
- Read more of Slate's coverage of news & politics
John chatters about the moon hoax of 1835, as learned about in preparation for his Whistlestop podcast this week.
Emily chatters about Matthew Shaer’s “Whatsoever Things Are True,” one of Longform’s “Best of 2015” articles.
David chatters about a lovely novel, evocative of his boarding school years of yore: To Serve Them All My Days.
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Podcast production by Jocelyn Frank. Links compiled by Elle Bisgaard-Church.