The Pandemic has either caused a crack-up in our politics or accelerated the crack-up that was well under way. And just when it looked like things were stabilizing, the politics of Covid have evolved along with the Delta variant. Ground zero for how this is playing out right now is California.

California is home to approximately 40 million people and the 5th largest economy in the world. It’s about to have an election on whether to re-call its incumbent governor, Gavin Newsom. How California voters have experienced government regulations — from lockdowns, mask mandates, school closings, and not to mention double-standards — shapes the political environment there.

Is this a harbinger of what’s to come to our national politics? To help us understand what’s going on in California is the strategist who masterminded the last successful recall election. Mike Murphy was the chief strategist for Arnold Schwarzenegger’s election in 2003, which was a re-call of then-Governor Gray Davis.

Mike’s campaign resumé goes well beyond California. His past clients include the successful gubernatorial campaigns of Mitt Romney in MA, Jeb Bush in FL, John Engler in Michigan and Tommy Thompson in Wisconsin. And that doesn’t include all the Senate races he’s worked on.

Mike has also worked on campaigns in Europe and Canada. And he was the chief strategist on John McCain’s maverick presidential primary campaign in 2000 and remained a close advisor to the late-Senator McCain for years.

Today, you can catch Mike on the top-rated podcast, “Hacks on Tap” with David Axelrod and Robert Gibbs. He’s a political analyst on MSNBC and NBC, and he co-authors a weekly newsletter with his latest political analysis: At the University of Southern California, he is the Co-Director of the USC Center for the Political Future.

This episode covers a lot of pandemic-related political trend analysis. But first, given the tragic news out of Afghanistan this past week, the episode begins with Mike’s thoughts on President Biden and this crisis. Regardless of what one thinks of President Biden’s policy in Afghanistan, a lot will depend on how our president performs in reassuring the American public and our allies abroad.

This episode begins with a discussion on President Biden and Afghanistan and then the second half looks at political trends during the Delta phase of covid.

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