What does ISIS defeat in Raqqa mean? Plus: What’s wrong with Thomas and Sally, Virginia’s gubernatorial race and US voting patterns

Hosts Cat Brooks and Brian Edwards-Tiekert begin by talking to Phyllis Bennis about the US-led recapturing of Raqqa, the last serious urban holdout of the Islamic State in Syria. They discuss military significance, civilian casualties and what challenges the city will face as it tries to recover.

Next, theater actresses Ryan Nicole Austin and Safiya Fredericks speak out against Thomas and Sally, a play that depicts the relationship between Thomas Jefferson and his underage slave Sally Hemings as a “love affair.”

Then, Steve Phillips talks about the tight gubernatorial election in Virginia and how this race could be a litmus test for Donald Trump’s presidency. He also explains how the demographic shifts currently occurring in the United States could influence—or not influence—the election results.

After that, Christopher Achen explains how and why people do not always vote in their best self interest.


  • Phyllis Bennis is a fellow of the Institute for Policy Studies and the author of Understanding Isis & The New Global War On Terror: A Primer
  • Ryan Nicole Austin and Safiya Fredericks are members of a coalition of Black women actors and theater artists speaking out against the depiction of the relationship between Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings in Thomas and Sally
  • Steve Phillips is the founder of Democracy in Color and author of Brown Is the New White: How the Demographic Revolution Has Created a New American Majority
  • Christopher Achen is a professor of politics at Princeton University and the author of Democracy for Realists: Why Elections Do Not Produce Responsive Government
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