Impeachment: Catharsis and Impunity


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The Senate’s trial and acquittal of Donald Trump left many with mixed emotions. But did it move us any closer to a reckoning with the worst of America’s political culture?

Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David Blight returns to the show to help Kai put the trial in historical context. Blight has warned that the former president is trying to create a Confederate-style Lost Cause mythology. So where’s that project stand now?

Then WNYC’s Brian Lehrer and The Nation’s Elie Mystal join Kai as he checks in with listeners about the impeachment trial. Did it serve any meaningful purpose in your life or community, or was it a disappointment? The answer, it seems, is both.


The ‘Indoor Man’ and His Playmates” (10/02/18)

One caller reacted to the impeachment trial by making connections between domestic abusers and Donald Trump. Her call reminded us of this episode, in which Sara Fishko offers a history of the men’s liberation movement, and we consider its echo in the Trump era.

MAGA, the New Confederate Lost Cause” (11/16/20)

Our first conversation with historian Douglas Blight, in which he explains how secessionist mythology survived after the Civil War and echoes in Donald Trump’s movement today.

“The United States of Anxiety” airs live on Sunday evenings at 6pm ET. The podcast episodes are lightly edited from our live broadcasts. To catch all the action, tune into the show on Sunday nights via the stream on or tell your smart speakers to play WNYC.

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