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Act Two: Knowing What We Know

After Huma Abedin’s emails were discovered on her husband’s computer by the FBI, and after FBI Director James Comey publicly declared the agency would be investigating those emails, Hillary Clinton’s poll numbers dropped. What was the conversation Huma Abedin then had with her boss, Hillary Clinton? Actors Tami Sagher and Cady Huffman tried to imagine it.

Prologue

There’s a seismic, historic change going on in the Republican party this year. Producer Zoe Chace tells Ira about a place you can eavesdrop on a group of Republican friends as they fret and argue about that change week after week: a podcast called Ricochet.

Act One: Party in the U.S.A.

One way to understand the split inside the Republican party is to look at immigration. It’s this urgent, emotional issue for so much of the party these days.

Act Two: Party Guy

(Podcast and Internet Only) Another tragic figure this year is the head of the Republican National Comittee Reince Priebus, who has the job of holding the whole party together. A grueling and thankless job, this year.

Prologue

Ira talks about what’s alarming him about this year’s election: facts seem less meaningful than they ever have, and the gap between the mainstream media and right-wing media’s versions of the world have never seemed further apart. CNN’s Jake Tapper explains what it was like to be on the air live when Donald Trump tried to take a huge, obvious lie and pass it off as the truth.

Act One: Lies Become the Truth

Ira's quest continues. He calls his Uncle Lenny, who gets his news from Fox and the Wall Street Journal, and lives with an entirely different set of facts, and Alex Nowrasteh, an immigration expert at the CATO Institute, who explains that the central issue in Donald Trump’s candidacy is based on something that isn’t true.

Act Two: Judges with Grudges

In this election year we look at the story of one small ballot initiative, in one state. We heard this referendum would gut Georgia's Judicial Qualifications Commission (JQC), an independent organization that investigates ethics complaints about judges.

Act Three: Aw, Do We NAFTA?

Ira explains that when Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton all seemed to be against free trade agreements, he got genuinely confused. Is free trade good or bad? Was NAFTA good or evil? Are we down with TPP? He asked Jacob Goldstein of NPR’s Planet Money podcast to explain, once and for all, the pros and cons of free trade.

Act Four: Seriously?

We’ve been wondering about some of the things President Obama thinks about the current election, but can’t say publicly. But since he hasn’t told us his thoughts explicitly, we asked singer/songwriter Sara Bareilles – who did the Broadway musical “Waitress” – to imagine those thoughts for us.

Prologue

A year ago, we did a story about a study that found that a simple 20-minute conversation could change someone’s mind about controversial issues like gay marriage and abortion. But a few weeks after we aired the story, the study was discredited.

Act Two: Not Our Town

When Jon Mooallem went to see his six-year-old daughter in a musical at her after-school program, he didn't know what to expect. But it certainly was not the performance saw.

Act Three: The Spy Who Didn't Know She Was A Spy

On September 29th a medical researcher in Philadelphia fired off a simple, well-meaning tweet, and then barely thought twice about it. Little did she know that by doing that, she was perpetrating covert propaganda on behalf of the U.S. government.

Prologue

Ira talks to cyber cafe workers around the world about something that lots of Americans have never heard of, but that people in other countries know all about: a lottery run by the U.S. government where the prize is a visa to come to America. Each year people flock to cyber cafes to enter it, hoping for a lucky break that will change their life.