Cascade PBS Ideas Festival poster

Cascade PBS Ideas Festival

Journalists, politicians, authors and newsmakers from around the world come together.

Hear Me Out: Living History

Historian Heather Cox Richardson talks with Slate podcast host Celeste Headlee about the state of democracy and the presidential election.

As part of the Cascade PBS Ideas Festival, historian Heather Cox Richardson sits down with Celeste Headlee, host of Slate’s Hear Me Out podcast, for a tough conversation about the state of our democracy and the potential long-term impacts of the upcoming presidential election. 

Heather Cox Richardson is the author of Democracy Awakening: Notes on the State of America. She is a self-proclaimed idealist who uses historical context to examine how people can impact politics and achieve tangible results.  

Headlee and Richardson debate the intent of the founding fathers in writing the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution as white male property owners. Did they mean America to be a true representative democracy, or were these documents meant to exclude marginalized people and consolidate power to themselves? 

Richardson and Headlee examine the U.S. Constitution compared to those of other countries and whether we are in fact a nation of laws based on equality and the idea of upward mobility. Going into the presumed Biden vs. Trump rematch in the 2024 presidential election, they unpack the factors at the center of the MAGA movement, the concept of freedom and personal liberty, the American Dream and hope for the future of democracy.   

This conversation was recorded in Seattle on May 4, 2024.   

Listen to full uncut episodes on the Cascade PBS Ideas Festival podcast at