It’s All Political

Joe Garofoli talks current events, upcoming elections and, occasionally, sports rivalries with guests from the local, state and national political arenas. Joe is the San Francisco Chronicle’s senior political writer, covering national and state politics. He has worked at the Chronicle since 2000 and in Bay Area journalism since 1992, when he left the Milwaukee Journal. He has previously written about the intersection of tech and politics and about the politics of the cannabis industry.

How Can Politics Be More Inclusive?
Swati Mylavarapu, who went from Silicon Valley VC to top Pete Buttigieg fundraiser, talks about her journey as the child of immigrants in Florida — and her efforts to increase the number and diversity of people active in civic life.
35 min
How Rich People Hurt the Rest of Us
Journalist Michael Mechanic talks about his new book, "Jackpot: How the Super-rich Really Live — and How Their Wealth Harms Us All." Wealthy Americans have rigged the system. What can be done to change it?
34 min
Fifth & Mission: Polling on Recall is Good News...
Joe Garofoli joins Demian Bulwa on the Chronicle’s flagship podast discussing a new poll that shows that opponents of California Gov Gavin Newsom have a lot of work to do. A strong 56% of likely voters oppose the recall, compared to 40% backing it. Meanwhile, Newsom’s job approval rating among likely voters is 53%, virtually unchanged from the before the pandemic that ignited anger against him. Joe explains the numbers, how the pandemic is at the center of recall momentum, and how leading Democrats aren't likely to run to replace Newsom.
16 min
A Bay Area Congressman's Near-death Experience
Rep. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, who was on a ventilator last year, talks about where Washington may land on a $15 minimum wage, his friendship with AOC and his former life as a Republican.
19 min
Medicare for All: The Politics Are Changing
Top Bernie Sanders advisor Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, author of the new book “Medicare for All: A Citizen’s Guide,” talks about how the drive for a single-payer health plan is growing — but it’s going to take a while to succeed.
31 min
Exit Interview: John Diaz
John Diaz is retiring after 25 years as The Chronicle’s editorial page editor. He talks about the national leaders he’s watched from the beginning -- like Kamala Harris and Gavin Newsom -- and what editorials he’d want a do-over on.
40 min
Gavin Newsom Recall: Everything You Need to Know
Recall expert Joshua Spivak explains the challenges faced by those who want to oust the governor, as well as how long the process could take — and how the whole thing might end up benefiting Newsom.
27 min
Introducing The Doodler Podcast
It's All Political producer King Kaufman joins Joe Garofoli to talk about The Chronicle's new podcast miniseries, The Doodler, about a serial killer who preyed on San Francisco's gay community in the '70s.
11 min
California Dreaming: Gavin Newsom’s Overly Sunn...
From one of the biggest stages of his governorship, Gov. Gavin Newsom gave a forceful defense of his response to the coronavirus pandemic as he likely faces a recall.
24 min
Best of IAP: "Stars and Strife": Can America Ov...
Filmmaker David Smick and Black Lives Matter leader Hawk Newsome join Joe Garofoli to talk about Smick's documentary, which says America’s "epidemic of hate" is preventing leaders from solving problems. First published Sept. 17, 2020.
34 min
Shirley Weber, California's First Black Secret...
From daughter of an Arkansas sharecropper to top election official in California, Shirley Weber traces her path and and talks about the challenges the state could face in running a recall election of Gov. Gavin Newsom.
40 min
Phil Matier's Exit Interview
A Bay Area media institution, Matier covered Gavin Newsom, Kamala Harris and Nancy Pelosi before they were in politics. As he leaves his Chronicle column, he sits down in Joe Garofoli's back yard to talk about all he's seen.
43 min
Kevin Faulconer: Moderate Enough to Challenge N...
The former mayor of San Diego is pro-choice, pro-same sex marriage and pro-immigrant rights, and he believes in the science behind climate change. But can even a moderate Republican get elected statewide in California?
17 min
Senator Alex Padilla Gets Emotional
California's newly minted senator, the first Latino to represent California and the child of Mexican immigrants, talks about how his background will shape his Senate career.
23 min
The Most Powerful Part of Joe Biden's Speech wa...
George Mason University political scientist Jennifer Victor joins Joe to break down Joe Biden's inaugural speech
20 min
Can Joe Biden Make "Normal" Work Again?
After four years of Trump chaos, the new president promises to bring normalcy back to the White House. Presidential scholar and author Elaine Kamarck talks about what "normal" means and what it should look like.
15 min
House Impeaches Trump Again
What’s next after the House makes the president the first ever to be impeached twice? In this joint episode of It's All Political and Fifth & Mission, Heather Knight and Joe Garofoli talk about what it will mean for California Republicans who backed him.
16 min
Pelosi and the House Move to Impeach
Introducing an article of impeachment, House Democrats accuse President Trump of “inciting violence against the government.” The pressure is on Republicans, say Tal Kopan and Joe Garofoli in this joint episode with Fifth & Mission.
17 min
Should the President be Removed?
On a joint episode of Fifth & Mission and It’s all Political, Demian Bulwa and Joe Garofoli talk about attempts to remove President Trump. Plus reporter Chase DiFeliciantonio on Facebook and Twitter finally cracking down.
23 min
Why Georgia's Senate Races Matter to California
The results in Tuesday's runoffs — Perdue vs. Ossoff and Loeffler vs. Warnock — will have major ramifications Kamala Harris, Nancy Pelosi and Alex Padilla. It's All Political host Joe Garofoli joins Fifth & Mission host Heather Knight in this joint episode.
17 min
Best of IAP: The Real Nancy Pelosi
Journalist Molly Ball, author of the biography "Pelosi," explains what shaped the first female Speaker of the House, how she's dealt with sexism throughout her career and how she's been able to keep Democrats in line. This episode was first published June 9, 2020.
39 min
Now What? Life After @realDonaldTrump
Steve Kettmann, editor of a new book of essays called "Now What: The Voters Have Spoken. Essays on Life After Trump," talks about how — and whether — the United States can heal after the last four years.
33 min
New Senator Alex Padilla
Gov. Gavin Newsom has named California's secretary of state to replace Kamala Harris in the Senate. In this episode published Oct. 3, 2020, Padilla talks to Joe Garofoli about the work he was doing to protect the right to vote leading up to the 2020 election
32 min
Alicia Garza says Gov. Newsom should appoint a ...
The co-creator of Black Lives Matter talks about diversity in the Biden Administration
35 min
Ro Khanna on What Progressives Want From a Bide...
Silicon Valley Rep. Ro Khanna on what he thinks of Biden’s Cabinet picks
23 min
Fifth & Mission: Becerra's Departure is Newsom'...
President-Elect Joe Biden's pick for a big cabinet job — Health and Human Services secretary — is California’s Attorney General Xavier Becerra.
15 min
Who Will Replace Kamala Harris in the Senate?
Will Gov. Gavin Newsom make history by appointing California's first Latinx senator? Or will he pick a woman of color? Sacramento bureau reporter Alexei Koseff joins host Joe Garofoli to break down the candidates.
24 min
Best of IAP: Kamala Harris
The Vice President-elect joined Joe Garofoli and Tal Kopan in April, just as speculation began to build that Joe Biden would ask her to be his running mate. She talked about that, the coronavirus epidemic, cooking and more.
35 min
It's Over: Biden Wins — What's Next?
In a combined episode of the Fifth & Mission and It’s All Political podcasts, Joe Garofoli, Tal Kopan and Demian Bulwa talk about the moment that put the Biden-Harris ticket over the top, the historic nature of their victory, and what to expect now from Donald Trump.
19 min
Election Night Wrap: What We Know
In a combined episode of the Fifth & Mission and It’s All Political podcasts, Joe Garofoli, Heather Knight, Alexei Koseff and Demian Bulwa sum up a tense, inconclusive presidential election day, plus state and local races.
25 min
The Lincoln Project: Trump's 24/7 Nightmare
Prominent GOP strategists Steve Schmidt and Mike Madrid have seen the party's sad demise in California. Now they are determined to defeat President Trump and his Senate enablers to save the party they once served and, more important, the American democracy they cherish.
34 min
What Was Prop 13 Creator Howard Jarvis Really L...
Jason Cohn, director of the new Jarvis documentary, “The First Angry Man,” traces his path from anti-Communist gadfly to movement leader and what Prop 13’s legacy is today.
37 min
“Mr. Vice President, I’m speaking”
Joe Garofoli is joined by Heather Knight, John Diaz and John Wildermuth to break down the historic Harris-Pence vice presidential debate, where a fly became a social media star.
20 min
Cyberattacks! Pandemic! Misinformation! Calming...
As voters receive their mail-in ballots, California Secretary of State Alex Padilla talks about the safeguards in place to protect voters against all the challenges of voting in 2020, both here and nationally.
32 min
Trump Biden Debate 1: What the Hell Was That?
Chronicle editorial board editor John Diaz and — GENTLEMEN, PLEASE! — political writer John Wildermuth join — EXCUSE ME! — host Joe Garofoli to analyze the first presidential — PLEASE LET HIM FINISH! — debate.
19 min
Adam Schiff: What a Post-Trump World Looks Like
The House Intelligence Committee chair talks about reforms that would prevent many things that Donald Trump has done as president and explains how the Russians are planning to disrupt the 2020 election.
32 min
"Stars and Strife": Can America Overcome Hate?
Filmmaker David Smick and Black Lives Matter leader Hawk Newsome join Joe Garofoli to talk about Smick's new documentary, which says America’s "epidemic of hate" is preventing leaders from solving problems.
34 min
Bob Woodward's Trump Book Won't Change the Race
Chronicle editorial page editor John Diaz talks about the revelations in "Rage," why climate change isn't an issue in the campaign despite California's wildfires, and how the endorsement process has changed during the Zoom era.
26 min
A'shanti Gholar: Trump Is "Dog-Hollering" on Race
The president of Emerge — which recruits and trains Democratic women to run for office — joins Joe Garofoli to talk about how President Trump is inflaming the racial divide in America.
38 min
Fifth & Mission: Terror at the RNC!
On the Chronicle's flagship Fifth & Mission podcast, It's All Political host Joe Garofoli joins Heather Knight to talk about the GOP's strategy at the Republican National Convention: Scare the base with a bleak picture of America,
18 min
Weirdest Democratic National Convention Ever: A...
Joe Biden is facing an enthusiasm gap. Can Dems rally excitement for him with no roaring crowd, no balloon drop? Political writers John Wildermuth and Tal Kopan join Joe Garofoli to explain what challenges Democrats are up against.
16 min
Katie Hill: Sex Scandal Won't Stop My Comeback
The former California congresswoman was a rising Democratic star until a conservative website published nude photos of her. She joins Joe to talk about exploitation, double standards — and her new book, “She Will Rise.”
27 min
Fifth & Mission: Why Kamala Harris is Joe Biden...
On The Chronicle's flagship news podcast, Joe Garofoli and Tal Kopan talk to Demian Bulwa about the former San Francisco DA and California attorney general who'll be Biden's running mate in November.
19 min
Can Joe Biden’s shift on immigration excite Lat...
Many Latino voters still associate Joe Biden with Barack Obama, known to some as “the deporter in chief.” Marielena Hincapié of the National Immigration Law Center’s Immigrant Justice Fund discusses Biden's changes in approach to immigration in 2020.
28 min
Black Lives Matter's Alicia Garza on the future...
Alicia Garza, the co-creator of Black Lives Matter, talks about the next steps for the movement, what Joe Biden should do to get young Black people to vote, and the difference between allies and co-conspirators.
25 min
Stacey Abrams: VP Search, Voter Suppression and...
Stacey Abrams talks about what it was like being mentioned as a possible Biden running mate, her concerns about voter suppression and the census, and what should be done with Confederate monuments and tributes to John Muir.
36 min
Women, Declare Your Independence From Men!
Jennifer Palmieri, a former Clinton and Obama adviser, talks about her new book, “She Proclaims” — which explains how women should stop trying to fit into a man’s world and create their own. Plus: Insights on the Biden campaign.
33 min
Potential Biden VP Pick Karen Bass
The Southern California congresswoman, who is on the shortlist to be Joe Biden's running mate, talks about her leadership of police reform efforts in Congress as chair of the Congressional Black Caucus.
27 min
What Joe Biden Has to Do to Win Young Voters
NextGen America is spending $45 million on one of the largest youth voter turnout campaigns in history. NextGen leader Ben Wessel explains how Biden can appeal to the younger generation.
29 min
How to Defund the Police
Alex Vitale, author of “The End of Policing,” has been a leader in the police reform movement for years. He makes the case for defunding and talks about what works, what doesn’t and how long true reform will take.
35 min
Eric Swalwell’s Insider View of Impeachment
Rep. Eric Swalwell talks with Chronicle editorial page editor John Diaz about his new book, “Endgame: Inside the Impeachment of Donald J. Trump,” which gives a backstage look at the historic moment.
29 min
Molly Ball on the Real Nancy Pelosi
The journalist and author of the new biography "Pelosi" explains what shaped the first female Speaker of the House, how she's dealt with sexism throughout her career and how she's been able to keep Democrats in line. | Get full Chronicle access:
39 min
How Silicon Valley Will Look Different After th...
Carl Guardino, president and CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, talks about how America's tech capital will transform now that many companies have told their workers they can work from home in the coronavirus crisis.
36 min
Barbara Lee Wants a Racial Healing and Truth Co...
The Oakland congresswoman talks to Joe Garofoli and Tal Kopan about how white people can be better allies, plus who she thinks Joe Biden's pick for vice president should be.
22 min
The Digital Divide Is Getting Worse
FCC commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel talks about how the coronavirus is widening the gap between information haves and have-nots, hurting people like high school junior Jessica Ramos, who shares her experience.
24 min
Michael Franti: Positivity in Politics and Life
The Bay Area native’s new album, “Work Hard and Be Nice,” is less concerned with social consciousness than his previous work. But it’s a reflection of his belief in staying positive through political campaigns and pandemics.
35 min
Shahid Buttar Is Challenging Nancy Pelosi From ...
While the speaker is known as the epitome of a San Francisco liberal and an antidote to President Trump, Shahid Buttar, her challenger for reelection, says she hasn't done enough for working people and thinks she has enabled Trump.
31 min
Pramila Jayapal on PPP, Bernie Sanders and Joe ...
The co-chair of the House Progressive Caucus explains her new Paycheck Guarantee Act to get money directly to the unemployed, and how Bernie Sanders will help get more progressives excited about candidate Biden.
38 min
Election Day Nightmare? Dirty Tricks, Suppressi...
UC Irvine professor Richard Hasen, author of "Election Meltdown: Dirty Tricks, Distrust, and the Threat to American Democracy," warns about all of the threats to a free and fair election in November.
32 min
From the Tea Party to "Open the States"
Mark Meckler, an early leader of the Tea Party movement a decade ago, is now at the forefront of the drive to convince states to reopen for business during the coronavirus pandemic. How are the two movements similar — and different?
29 min
Will a Presidential Transition Work?
The teams are forming now and David Marchick, director of the Center for Presidential Transition, explains how this will be the most important transition since 1932, during the Great Depression.
21 min
Kamala Harris "Would Be Honored" to Be VP
California Sen. Kamala Harris reveals what she'd say if Joe Biden asked her to be his running mate. She also says she's "very concerned" about being able to do oversight on the $2 trillion of coronavirus relief.
35 min
Katie Porter: We Need Real Time Stimulus Oversight
Orange County Democratic Rep. Katie Porter has become a rising star, largely for her oversight role. That is needed now with Washington spending $2 trillion to fight fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.
33 min
Will Coronavirus Boost Support for Medicare for...
Medicare for All didn’t die when Sen. Bernie Sanders suspended his presidential campaign. Its advocates predict support will grow because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Michael Lighty, a top Sanders advisor on health care, explains.
19 min
Who's Showing Leadership in the Pandemic?
As the coronavirus crisis grows, Chronicle editorial page editor John Diaz joins Joe to talk about the leadership performances of Donald Trump, Gavin Newsom, London Breed, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders.
24 min
Elizabeth Warren Out: Revisiting "Electability"
In this episode from Aug. 14, 2019, Brenda Choresi Carter of the Reflective Democracy Campaign tells Joe Garofoli about her research, which shows that claims of candidate electability are more damaging than they are realistic, especially for women of color.
29 min
Fifth & Mission: What Did We Learn?
Super Tuesday is over and we're down to a two-man race. It's All Political host Joe Garofoli and John Wildermuth join Audrey Cooper on the Chronicle's flagship podcast to break down the results.
19 min
Fifth & Mission: Super Tuesday Troubles
It's All Political host Joe Garofoli joins Audrey Cooper and John Wildermuth on the Chronicle's flagship news podcast to break down what's likely to happen as Californians head to the polls.
29 min
Can Bernie Sanders win?
Addisu Demissie, the Oaklander who managed Cory Booker’s presidential campaign and Gavin Newsom’s gubernatorial run, stops by to untangle the Nevada caucuses and look ahead to the California primary.
40 min
What Nevada Voters Are Saying
Joe Garofoli spent several days in Las Vegas ahead of the Nevada caucuses. He talked to organizers and voters about what they're thinking. Somehow, soccer, crying and Harry Potter are involved.
16 min
What's a Never-Trumper To Do?
Top GOP consultants and longtime friends Rob Stutzman and Mike Madrid disagree on how to oppose Trump. Oppose any Republican who supports the president, or vote against Trump, but for the party?
38 min
Dan Pfeiffer: Who Can Beat Trump?
The Obama White House director of communications, now a co-star of Pod Save America and author of the new book “UnTrumping America,” talks about which Democrat would be Trump’s best and worst opponent.
47 min
California Lt. Governor Endorses Buttigieg
In an exclusive, Eleni Kounalakis tells Joe Garofoli why she's backing Mayor Pete and what it will take to win the California primary.
15 min
Democrats Explain How They Will Win California
The California state directors of four top Democratic presidential campaigns explain how they will win in California. Recorded live at a panel discussion Joe Garofoli hosted at the Sacramento Press Club.
62 min
Fifth & Mission Live: Primaries 2020
In this episode of the Chronicle's flagship news podcast, Fifth & Mission, Editor in Chief Audrey Cooper, politics writer Joe Garofoli and columnists Heather Knight and Phil Matier talk about Iowa, the upcoming primaries, and local politics at a Chronicle Talks event at Manny's in San Francisco.
60 min
Can Trump Win Again In Battleground States?
Justin Myers, CEO of For the Future, a progressive, labor-funded super PAC that’s planning to spend $80 million in seven battleground states, talks about lessons from 2016, how impeachment will affect the race and what Midwestern voters really care about.
25 min
The Most Political Super Bowl Ever
Howard Bryant of ESPN and NPR, author of “Full Dissidence,” talks about how the NFL is duplicitous around police misconduct protests, and the impact of its embrace of the military and law enforcement.
19 min
Bill Weld: The GOP Alternative to Trump
The former Massachusetts governor tells Joe Garofoli he thinks the president should be impeached and will likely vote for a Democrat if he doesn’t win the nomination. Yet he still thinks he has a path to victory.
20 min
Mike Bloomberg on Apologies, Facebook and Biden
At a campaign stop in Oakland, the former New York City mayor talks to Joe Garofoli about stop-and-frisk, how Facebook should be regulated and why he is a better candidate than Joe Biden.
7 min
Orange County: Still a Political Hotbed
Democrats shocked the world in 2018 when they flipped four seats in the GOP stronghold as they retook Congress. Can they hold those seats? The chair of the OC Democratic Party, Ada Briceño, tells Joe Garofoli how they'll try.
21 min
Diving Into the Mind of Jerry Brown
Jerry Brown is a California original, and the KQED's The Political Mind of Jerry Brown captures the state’s only four-term governor in all his glory — and in some of his defeats. KQED’s Scott Shafer and Guy Marzorati join Joe Garofoli to talk about it.
29 min
Can Barbara Lee Stop the War in Iran?
The Oakland congresswoman talks about what Congress can do to prevent President Trump from going to war with Iran.
33 min
Could This Democrat Win Texas?
Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez is running for John Cornyn’s Senate seat in Texas. Beto O’Rourke didn’t want to do it. Julian Castro didn’t want to do it. Why does Ramirez stand a better chance? And could any Democrat win statewide in Texas?
31 min
How Trump’s Inner Circle Profited From the Hous...
Award-winning journalist Aaron Glantz talks about his new book, “Housewreckers,” which explains how Wall Street titans, including President Trump’s treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, profited off those who lost their homes.
24 min
Debate Recap: In Vino (Cave) Veritas?
Chronicle editorial page editor John Diaz joins senior political writer Joe Garofoli to talk about Thursday's Democratic debate. It was a big night for Amy Klobuchar, a gaffe-free night for Joe Biden, and a tough night for wine caves.
17 min
How Latinos Will Decide the Presidency
Jacqueline Martinez Garcel, CEO of the Latino Community Foundation, talks about the nearly all-white Democratic debate; Latinos and the presidential race; her concerns about the 2020 census; and why Bernie Sanders is so popular among Latinos.
25 min
Tom Steyer: I'm ‘Completely Different’ Than Mik...
The former hedge fund manager and billionaire who’s running for president talks about why he’s running instead of spending his money elsewhere.
30 min
The Impeachment Veteran
Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose, is the only lawmaker who’s played a role in all three modern impeachments. Now, Lofgren is center stage again as the House Judiciary Committee hurtles toward a vote on Trump’s fate. She talks about what she learned from the Nixon and Clinton inquiries, and why Trump’s case is unlike any other.
14 min
Can Orange County Remain Blue?
Jason Berlin spent two decades working on reality TV shows. Now he's become a force in registering voters through his Field Team 6 organization. He talks about how Democrats can hold four House seats they flipped in Orange County.
21 min
How Old is Too Old to Be President?
Louise Aronson, a geriatrician at UCSF and author of the new book “Elderhood: Redefining Aging, Transforming Medicine, Reimagining Life,” talks about whether the top three Democratic candidates and President Trump — all of whom are in their 70s — are too old to be president.
23 min
Scandalous Stanford
Just in time for the Big Game, Oakland author and journalist Roland De Wolk, author of “American Disruptor: The Scandalous Life of Leland Stanford,” talks about the robber baron’s dark side.
33 min
Trump, Impeachment and the California GOP
Jessica Patterson is in her first year as chair of the California Republican Party. There’s no place to go but up for the state’s GOP, and Patterson explains what she’s done so far to try to revive its fortunes — and how President Trump's unpopularity in California affects that.
39 min
What’s Next for Indivisible?
Ezra Levin and Leah Greenberg, the co-executive directors of Indivisible, the nationwide grassroots organization that led the anti-Trump resistance shortly after he was elected, talk about their new book, “We Are Indivisible: A Blueprint for Democracy After Trump.”
28 min
Could Voter Suppression Wreck the 2020 Election?
Robert Greenwald, the longtime liberal filmmaker, talks about his latest film: “Suppressed: The Fight to Vote.” It’s about voter suppression in Georgia in 2018, and how it could happen again there and elsewhere in 2020.
23 min
“How the Rich Dodge Taxes”
Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman are the UC Berkeley economists behind Bernie Sanders' and Elizabeth Warren’s tax-the-rich tax plans and the authors of the new book “The Triumph of Injustice: How the Rich Dodge Taxes and How to Make Them Pay.” Joe talks to Saez in his campus office.
26 min
How Close Are Joe Biden and Barack Obama — Really?
Steven Levingston, author of the new book “Barack and Joe,” joins Joe Garofoli to talk about how close the former president and vice president really are. Can Biden count on his former boss to endorse him?
27 min
Tom McClintock: Impeachment Is a Terrible Idea
One of California’s few Republican congressmen talks about why he thinks impeaching Trump is a bad idea, plus why he thinks thinks concerns about climate change are overblown and what he thinks is wrong with the California GOP.
31 min
Bernie or Warren: Who Should Progressives Pick?
Maurice Mitchell, national director of the Working Families Party, talks about why the organization endorsed Elizabeth Warren. And he explains why his party sees a lot of Americans not being served by the “corporatist” Democratic Party.
21 min
A Master Class in Shade: Dem Debate Review
Chronicle Washington correspondent Tal Kopan and Deputy Opinion Editor Caille Millner join Joe to break down the fourth Democratic primary debate. Who gave that master class?
27 min
Ro Khanna on Impeachment and Bernie Sanders
Silicon Valley Rep. Ro Khanna breaks down the latest on the battle to investigate President Trump from his perch on the House Oversight Committee. He also talks about how the recent health problems of Sen. Bernie Sanders — Khanna is a campaign co-chair — will reshape the presidential race.
26 min