Today, Explained

News comes at you fast. Join us at the end of your day to understand it. Today, Explained is your all killer, no filler, Monday to Friday news explainer hosted by Sean Rameswaram and featuring the finest reporters from the Vox Media Podcast Network and beyond.

News
Daily News
Politics
1
The military’s far-right problem
Sen. Tammy Duckworth wants the military to do a better job of rooting out extremism in its ranks. A military investigator explains how to solve a decades-old problem.
23 min
2
Coronavirus, 365 days later
One year after our first episode on the novel coronavirus, Vox’s Julia Belluz explains what we got right, what we got wrong, and what comes next.
21 min
3
Marianne Williamson on healing America’s soul
Marianne Williamson was applauded as well as ridiculed on the presidential debate stage when she warned of the “dark psychic forces of collectivized hatred.” Now, just a few weeks after a lethal insurrection, a historic second impeachment, and the inauguration of President Joe Biden, she talks about the possibility of unity.
23 min
4
Second in command, first in history
Kamala Harris has already broken barriers, but ahead lies the rare task of leading a polarized and evenly divided Senate.
24 min
5
Biden’s first 17 actions (in 17 minutes)
In his first few minutes in office, President Biden hit CTRL+Z on former President Trump’s agenda.
20 min
6
46
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were sworn in today and got straight to work. Vox’s Laura McGann and Dylan Matthews explain what will be done immediately, and what’s possible with the slimmest of majorities in Congress.
34 min
7
Abolish the lame-duck period?
America’s two-month lame-duck period gave supporters of the outgoing president ample time to plan a violent uprising. Vox’s Ian Millhiser argues the long transition needs to end.
22 min
8
The first global vaccination
Was distributed by 22 orphans.
19 min
9
Okay, Google: unionize!
A very big tech company now has a very small union. Recode’s Shirin Ghaffary explains why highly paid workers in an anti-union industry still organized and made history.
23 min
10
The people behind the insurrection
President Trump has been impeached for inciting an insurrection on the Capitol one week ago. CNN’s Elle Reeve was there and explains who was duped into mobbing the government. Plus, Washington Post’s Dan Lamothe reports on how the government plans to prevent another mob from wreaking havoc.
21 min
11
A step past impeachment
Impeachment won’t stop the United States’ slide towards authoritarianism. Voter reform might.
22 min
12
Deplatforming Donald
First he lost his Facebook. Then he lost his Twitter. As of today, President Trump had been limited or booted by more than a dozen platforms. Casey Newton, editor of Platformer, explains the historic shift on social media.
26 min
13
The flamethrowers and the fire extinguishers
Infighting among Republican lawmakers reached a breaking point this week. The Atlantic’s McKay Coppins explains why and the tough road ahead for the GOP.
33 min
14
How security at the Capitol failed
Washington Post national security reporter Dan Lamothe explains how a number of agencies and politicians put together a historically bad security plan for Congress on Wednesday.
25 min
15
The breach, explained by Rep. Maloney (locked i...
Rep. Carolyn Maloney of New York explains what it was like to live through today’s violent transfer of power.
11 min
16
The virus gets more contagious
Viruses mutate, but this time it’s different.
18 min
17
All eyes on Georgia
Tuesday’s election will decide who controls the Senate, but the president is still hung up on the election he already lost.
25 min
18
The year in revue
It’s been a year.
6 min
19
How 2020 changed us
In the final episode of our five-part series, “You, Me, and Covid-19,” people look back on a very long year.
26 min
20
Animals catch Covid-19, too
In the fourth of our five-part series, “You, Me, and Covid-19,” a reminder that we’re not the only animals who got Covid-19 this year. Science writer David Quammen explains why our health and theirs are intertwined.
20 min
21
Dr. Fauci’s nightmare before Christmas
In the third of our five-part series, “You, Me, and Covid-19,” Dr. Anthony Fauci reflects back on his pandemic year, what he’s learned, and what he’d do differently.
21 min
22
The year live music died
In the second of our five-part series, “You, Me, and Covid-19,” musicians explain how they got creative when live shows and tours were canceled.
26 min
23
Moving home
In the first of our five-part series, “You, Me, and Covid-19,” millennials are moving back in with their parents (again), but they are discovering multigenerational living has its perks.
18 min
24
A climate change of address
An estimated 143 million people will relocate to escape climate change in the next three decades. Quartz’s Amanda Shendruk explains how cities can transform themselves into climate havens.
19 min
25
How Netscape created our tech world
In this episode of the Go for Broke podcast, host Julia Furlan travels back to the mid-’90s to explain how a bygone web browser set the stage for modern tech.
29 min
26
Pornhub just deleted 80% of its videos
One of the most popular porn sites on the internet just purged more than 10 million videos. Vice’s Samantha Cole explains why.
18 min
27
Your vaccine questions, answered
The Covid-19 vaccine is being distributed in the United States, and you have questions. Vox’s Umair Irfan has answers.
29 min
28
India’s farmers strike
The world’s biggest democracy is contending with what might be the world’s biggest labor stoppage.
21 min
29
How movie theaters might survive
On this episode of the Decoder podcast, host Nilay Patel speaks with Shelli Taylor, the CEO of Alamo Drafthouse.
41 min
30
The vaccine, explained by Martin (who got it)
Martin Kenyon was one of the first people to get the Covid-19 vaccine this week. He talks about his experience, and an epidemiologist explains how to talk to the “vaccine hesitant” people in your life.
21 min
31
No coup for you!
Joe won. And won. And won. Rudy can fail. And fail. And fail.
22 min
32
How Melbourne eradicated Covid-19
Melbourne, Australia, had a first wave. Then it had a second wave. Then it decided it was done with Covid-19.
18 min
33
It’s beginning to look a lot like stimulus
In an end-of-year plot twist, Congress is working on a fresh bipartisan stimulus bill.
22 min
34
A woman’s work is never done
Millions of women left the workforce as Covid-19 forced school closures, but that doesn’t mean they have less on their plates. Is government-funded child care the answer?
20 min
35
God-given right?
The Supreme Court ruled that New York State can’t limit how many people gather in church, even during a pandemic. Vox’s Ian Millhiser explains why this is one of the most significant religious liberty cases in the last 30 years.
21 min
36
America Offline
Low-income students are dropping out of college because many don’t have a reliable way to get online. Vox’s Emily Stewart says the solution is simple: Give everybody the internet.
18 min
37
The key to the Cabinet
President-elect Biden has started announcing his Cabinet nominees, but Matthew Yglesias says the most important positions aren’t the ones you’d think.
20 min
38
What if developing a vaccine was the easy part?
Covid-19 vaccines are coming out faster than many thought possible. But distributing the vaccines could be an even tougher challenge.
15 min
39
Unexplainable
Scientists all over the world are searching for dark matter: an invisible, untouchable substance that holds our universe together. But they haven’t found it. Are they chasing a ghost?
31 min
40
Withdrawing won’t end the war
With two months left in the Trump presidency, the US is reducing the number of troops in Afghanistan in an attempt to end America's longest war. But Biden will still inherit the conflict.
19 min
41
All the mall things
Retail was struggling. Then came the virus. Recode’s Jason Del Rey explains how the American mall will never be the same, and how the machines might save retail.
20 min
42
The peacemaker’s civil war
An ethnic conflict in Ethiopia has thrown the Horn of Africa into disarray and could upset order on the continent.
18 min
43
Badlands
Covid-19 is surging across the United States, just in time for cold weather and major holidays. North Dakota is doing particularly badly. Vermont may offer hope.
19 min
44
America said yes to drugs
Oregon decriminalized all drugs. Red states and blue states are doing the same with weed. It’s the culmination of a failed drug war.
23 min
45
MAGAlomaniac
A weekend of protests, violence, and enmity in DC revealed what Donald Trump has planned post-presidency.
20 min
46
(Home)school is cool
Covid-19 is surging (again). Schools are closing (again). Kids are learning online (again). And more American parents than ever are turning to homeschool (for the very first time).
23 min
47
They fought the Lyft and the Lyft won
California tried to strengthen labor rights for gig workers. Uber, Lyft, and their food-delivering cohorts responded with a $200 million propaganda offensive
19 min
48
Fox & Frenemies
After a fraught Election Week, cable news is finally cutting away from President Trump’s falsehoods.
18 min
49
No concession!
The 45th president of the United States has thus far refused to acknowledge the 46th.
21 min
50
Biden’s coronavirus plan
And some big vaccine news, too.
24 min
51
Joe Biden wins
And Kamala Harris, too.
29 min
52
What happened to Congress?
Vox’s Ella Nilsen explains why Democrats are waving goodbye to the blue wave.
19 min
53
President Biden?
Vox’s Andrew Prokop explains the latest election math, and Ezra Klein argues that, despite record-setting turnout, it wasn’t a great night for American democracy.
27 min
54
Today (should be a holiday), Explained
This Election Day, voter turnout is projected to break records in the United States, but it won’t get anywhere close to Australia’s. Professor Lisa Hill explains what happens when you make voting mandatory.
19 min
55
What to expect when you’re electing
Vox’s Andrew Prokop explains how Joe Biden — or President Trump — could win 270 electoral votes.
25 min
56
The Trump Years: State of our union
In the final episode of our five-part series, New York Magazine’s Rebecca Traister and Vox’s Ezra Klein explain how four years of the Trump presidency have changed the American people and their politics.
29 min
57
The Trump Years: Health of the nation
In the fourth of our five-part series, Vox’s Dylan Scott explains how a president with no plan on health care evolved into a president with no plan for the pandemic.
31 min
58
The Voters
Election turnout is on track to be the highest in a century. Farmers, essential workers, prisoners, and two ladies named Ruth explain their 2020 presidential pick.
23 min
59
The Supreme Court may disenfranchise you now
Pandemic or not, the highest court in the land won’t extend Wisconsin’s deadline for mailed ballots. Good thing it’s not a swing state. Oh, wait ...
16 min
60
#EndSARS
Alexis Akwagyiram, bureau chief for Reuters in Nigeria, explains how a protest to reform the country’s police made its way around the world.
22 min
61
The Trump Years: Win at all costs
In the third of our five-part series, Vox’s Andrew Prokop says there’s one key takeaway from the Mueller investigation and impeachment: Trump will do anything to win an election.
29 min
62
“Hey Google,” the United States is suing you
Bill Barr and Elizabeth Warren have found a common enemy.
18 min
63
Will Covid-19 cancel the holidays?
Last Christmas, I gave you my health.
18 min
64
Block the vote?
The 2020 election is well underway, as are efforts to prevent people from voting.
19 min
65
The parody-proof president
Live from New York, impressions are trite! Vox critic-at-large Emily VanDerWerff explains why late-night TV struggles to satirize President Trump, and argues the internet is doing a much better job.
25 min
66
The Trump Years: America First
In the second of our five-part series, Vox’s Nicole Narea and Jenn Williams explain how President Trump has fundamentally changed the perception of the United States at home and abroad.
26 min
67
Do you believe in magic?
A Los Angeles magician struck gold with a glorified Zoom meeting. Some are asking if he’s figured out how to save theater.
19 min
68
Amy Coney Barrett’s originalism
The judge isn’t saying much in her confirmation hearing, but Vox’s Ian Millhiser explains how her legal theory will guide her on the Supreme Court.
23 min
69
The case for ending the filibuster
Even if Democrats win the White House, take the Senate, and hold the House, most of their legislation could be doomed because of the filibuster. Vox’s Ezra Klein says it’s filibusted.
21 min
70
The Trump Years: Deregulator in chief
In the first of our five-part series, Vox’s Matthew Yglesias explains why President Donald Trump seldom boasts about his biggest accomplishment.
21 min
71
Did anyone defund the police?
In June, nine members of the Minneapolis City Council stood onstage at a community rally and pledged to dismantle the police. Council member Alondra Cano returns to explain why it’s taking so long.
23 min
72
1600 Coronavirus Avenue
After months of downplaying the risks, the White House has come down with Covid-19. Vox’s Aaron Rupar gives the updates, and Future Perfect’s Sigal Samuel sifts through the moral complexities in the gleeful reactions.
19 min
73
Who are the Proud Boys?
President Trump told a fringe group of misogynistic racists to “stand back and stand by” at the first presidential debate. Vox’s Jane Coaston explains.
17 min
74
It’s time to talk about Mike Pence
President Trump is battling Covid-19 and the vice-presidential debate is days away. McKay Coppins from the Atlantic explains the man waiting in the wings.
27 min
75
Contact tracing President Trump
The president had a very busy week, then tested positive for the coronavirus. Vox’s Aaron Rupar traces his steps and Ella Nilsen explores the possible scenarios.
18 min
76
Missing Chapter
A forgotten protest movement in a seaside Florida town helped end legal segregation in the United States. Vox’s Ranjani Chakraborty explains.
33 min
77
Joe Versus the Volcano
While it might feel as though nothing could be worse than last night’s presidential debate, Vox’s Ezra Klein explains what could happen if President Trump loses the election and refuses to leave office.
24 min
78
Amy Coney Barrett
President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee first garnered attention after being questioned about her Catholic faith. Vox’s Ian Millhiser says that attention likely motivated her nomination.
20 min
79
$750
That's how much "billionaire" President Trump paid in federal income taxes his first year in office, according to reporting from the New York Times.
20 min
80
Justice For Breonna Taylor (Part II)
One of the three officers who shot at Breonna Taylor’s apartment was indicted ... for endangering her neighbors. Tessa Duvall from the Louisville Courier-Journal explains. And Vox’s Fabiola Cineas says the ruling isn’t surprising.
21 min
81
Dr. Fauci on pandemic politics
With mounting concerns over the politicization of federal health agencies, Dr. Anthony Fauci explains why Americans should still trust the vaccine approval process.
24 min
82
Working from work
What do a bus driver, a teacher, a McDonald’s employee, and a project manager with a conference on her calendar all have in common?
21 min
83
RBG’s seat
Republicans appear ready to fill the seat left vacant by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg before the end of the year. Vox’s Ian Millhiser explains Democrats’ last defense.
19 min
84
Supreme
The fight over Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Supreme Court seat has already begun, but let’s not forget to celebrate her legendary life.
28 min
85
Class of Covid-19
Colleges reopened. Outbreaks followed. Robert J. Jones, chancellor of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, explains why he still thinks bringing students back was the right decision.
24 min
86
ICE and involuntary hysterectomies
A whistleblower complaint alleges immigrants being detained by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement in Georgia have been subjected to involuntary procedures — including hysterectomies. Vox’s Nicole Narea explains.
18 min
87
A firefighter on battling wildfires
After 16 seasons of wildfires, Glen Haydon has figured out how to cope. For everyone else, there’s an app for that.
21 min
88
This is the future Joe Biden wants
Trillions spent on the environment, caregiving, manufacturing, and the racial wealth gap: Vox’s Dylan Matthews explains how Biden wants to “Build Back Better.”
22 min
89
Can the Democrats take the Senate?
Vox’s Ella Nilsen says the implausible is now looking possible.
22 min
90
Cupid-19
The pandemic hasn’t stopped Americans from dating, hooking up, or tying the knot. In fact, lockdown has been helping people get down.
21 min
91
What was Putin the tea?
A chief political rival of Vladimir Putin has been poisoned in what Foreign Policy’s Amy MacKinnon says is a watershed moment for Russia.
18 min
92
The truth about herd immunity
Some people think it’s the only way out of the pandemic. Those people are very wrong.
17 min
93
A Fake News Survival Guide
As the election draws near, of fake news you must steer clear. For you (and your uncle), this episode is here.
20 min
94
The movies are back*
*But that doesn’t necessarily mean you should go see one.
25 min
95
Is the stock market bull?
Vox’s Emily Stewart clears up the mystery of the market, and Ella Nilsen offers an update on the stimulus that has collapsed into stalemate.
18 min
96
Let’s talk about ventilation
Ventilation is key to reopening office buildings safely. But The Atlantic’s Derek Thompson says many workers aren’t going back, even when it’s safer.
22 min
97
Is Facebook ready for the election?
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says the company made an “operational mistake” in its handling of Kenosha militia groups. The Verge’s Casey Newton explains whether that has implications for November’s election.
21 min
98
Wakanda forever
The actor Chadwick Boseman died of cancer on Friday, but because of Black Panther he’ll live forever.
17 min
99
The Island of Explained: A Summer of Protest
All summer long, we have been explaining complex news stories to kids. In our final summer camp journey to the Island of Explained, we tackle the fight for racial justice in the United States.
24 min
100
Unconventional (Part II)
The GOP proved that laws were made to be broken at its 2020 convention.
24 min