Government & Policy


Race for the White House: A talk with Michael Duffy

February 7, 2024

Race for the White House: A talk with Michael Duffy

Michael Duffy

Opinions Editor at Large, the Washington Post

Willy Walker and Michael Duffy discuss everything from the upcoming election to how the media’s relationship with politics has shifted.

I recently had the pleasure of sitting down and chatting with Michael Duffy about everything from the upcoming presidential election to the consolidation of media companies. Mike is the Opinions editor at large, at the Washington Post. Before his work at the Washington Post, he spent over three decades working at Time Magazine, where he covered the Pentagon and the White House starting in 1985. Mike has also co-authored two New York Times best-selling books, including his most recent work, The Presidents Club: Inside the World’s Most Exclusive Fraternity. He has also won two Gerald Ford awards for distinguished reporting and a Shorenstein award for investigative reporting.

Does diversity matter in US politics?

Having diverse leadership in a country is key, especially in a country as diverse as the United States. When you look at our past presidents, you might not think that they are very diverse. When you dig a bit deeper, you’ll find that their backgrounds are actually much more diverse than the past leaders of other developed nations. In many countries, there’s a predefined path you need to follow if you want to become president or prime minister. However, in the US, there is no predefined path. Reagan was an actor, Jimmy Carter was a peanut farmer, and JFK served in WWII. One can only assume that as the years move on, our presidents will become more and more diverse.

How did US politics get to where we are today?

While politics in the US have certainly changed drastically, these changes didn’t happen overnight. Over time, the values of each party have drifted further and further from the center and closer to the extremes. This is at least partly attributable to the fact that the Democratic Party lost touch with the working middle class. This opened the door for a more populist Republican Party to swoop in and cater to those voters.

The implications of a Trump-Biden frontrunning election

As of the recording of this episode, over 70 percent of Americans are displeased by the fact that we will likely be seeing yet another Trump-Biden election. Although many are worried that either Biden will experience a health issue or Trump will be found guilty before the election, they should know that each party has several contingency plans that can be put into place. These contingency plans aren’t anything new either; they’re put together by each party for every single presidential election. That said, neither party has any recent experience enacting one of these plans, so it will be interesting to see how things unfold if something does go awry.  

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