The Niskanen Center is pleased to announce the launch of The Vital Center Podcast, a series of conversations that will help make sense of the post-Trump political landscape. The podcast will be hosted by Geoffrey Kabaservice, Niskanen’s director of political studies, with the regular participation of director of government affairs Kodiak Hill-Davis and other Niskanen colleagues. The first episode, featuring  The Week’s Damon Linker, will air on Wednesday, February 17.

We are inaugurating this podcast at a time when factions of both the Republican and Democratic parties are struggling to defend the political center against illiberal extremes. Simultaneously, the governing elements of both parties have a common interest in advancing policies to take on the huge problems that confront the U.S. both internally and externally. The moderate majority of Americans have a vital interest in these center-left and center-right factions’ success.

These conversations will be focused on current politics, but seen in the context of our nation’s history and the participants’ personal biographies. The series will highlight the Niskanen Center’s policy initiatives and those of other non-partisan think tanks and institutions. It also will draw upon current academic scholarship and political literature from years past, including Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. ‘s 1949 classic “The Vital Center.” 

The present moment resembles the turbulent postwar era in which Schlesinger wrote, when the country grappled with the collapse of old certainties, the menace of anti-democratic ideologies, polarizing political divisions, and widespread fears about the nation’s future course. Once again, America must put forward policies that can reverse our political and governmental dysfunction, advance all citizens’ social welfare, combat climate change and the disintegration of the U.S.-led postwar global order, and confront the other forces that threaten our common interests. Once again, we must make the defense of the liberal democratic order into a fighting faith.

Please join us as we embark on what we hope to be the first of many timely and illuminating conversations.