But perhaps you, or someone you know that I don’t, would also make a great guest. The more the merrier – truly, so if after reading this description of what I’ve got in mind you want to be a guest please consider this an invitation and drop me a line and if you’ve got someone else in mind please forward this to them.
So, what is 435 Voices? Well, the 435 comes from the number of voting districts in the US House of Representatives. There will be one podcast episode devoted to each of the 435 congressional districts and every day until the 2020 election we will publish a new one. “Woah, that’s a lot of podcasts and a lot of politics you might well be thinking. If I wanted help sleeping I’d just download the sound of ocean waves.”
So let me start with what 435 Voices isn’t. It isn’t about politics. It isn’t about the 2020 Presidential Election. It isn’t about who is right and who is wrong and it isn’t about which “side” is winning or losing.
My thesis is that there is more in common among the interests of the people of the New York-21st district and the Georgia-14th than there is between them and either of their geographic neighbors. The same is likely true of the California-21st and the Iowa-1st. We’ve been sold this idea, for a variety of reasons you can read more about here and here, that there are only two types of people out there, liberals and conservatives, we’ve given them each a color and told that every policy question can be answered by choosing your flavor.
This fable is as ridiculous as it is destructive to the process of making laws. The last 20 years of policy making represents the worst extended stretch in US history. You know this and it explains why Congress’ latest performance rating was woeful. According to Gallup’s July poll, 17 percent of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing, 76 percent disapprove. You would have to go back a decade to get to a place where that number got even as high as 30 percent.
“But wait”, I can hear my intended guests saying, “you said this podcast isn’t about politics.” It isn’t. It’s not about Republicans and Democrats or Liberals or Conservatives or even Independents. It’s about us. The things we want as Americans, the things we can agree on that would make this country better. It’s not about politics, it’s about policy.
The goal of each of the episodes of 435 Voices will be to help listeners understand a bit about a part of our country they may not be too familiar with and along the way, I’m guessing, find out that we have many things in common that we would like to see get better in our world and thus things we would like our government to do or stop doing to enable that progress.
I am inviting 2-4 people that live or work in each district to be guests and each episode will run 25-30 minutes. The format will be roughly the same for each show.
- An overview of the district, where it is, what it includes. What drives the local economy
- Each guest will share something that most visitors don’t know about their district
- Each guest will share their perspective on an outcome or two that is particularly important to the people of their district. We will start with the outcomes poll on this site but any outcomes are welcome as long as they are framed as outcomes.
- We will then move to discussing any ways in which the government or private sector, either in the district or elsewhere are coming up with ways to make progress on these outcomes. Guests are encouraged to share links to be used on the show notes page.
- We will wrap up with each guest sharing the thing they like best about living where they do.
If these questions sound good to you and you are willing to share your thoughts, I’d love to have you. My hope is to begin recording the segments in the next two weeks and although I plan to publish an episode every day I also want to record them close to their air date so it might be several months until we reach your district.