What Next

A Rust-Belt City Might Elect a Socialist

India Walton would be the first socialist mayor around the country in over half a century.


Episode Notes

India Walton won the Democratic primary for mayor of Buffalo, New York, in June. Her victory put her on track to become the first socialist mayor in the city’s history, and the first nationwide in more than half a century. The only problem is, her opponent—current Mayor Byron Brown—refuses to bow out, and is waging a well-funded write-in campaign in the hopes of keeping his post.

How has a self-styled socialist gotten so close to running Buffalo? And why are some Democrats standing in her way?

Guest: Ross Barkan, a contributing writer to the Nation and the author of The Prince: Andrew Cuomo, Coronavirus, and the Fall of New York.

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Podcast production by Mary Wilson, Davis Land, Danielle Hewitt, Elena Schwartz, and Carmel Delshad.


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The problem with the news right now? It’s everywhere. And each day, it can feel like we’re all just mindlessly scrolling. It’s why we created What Next. This short daily show is here to help you make sense of things. When the news feels overwhelming, we’re here to help you answer: What next? Look for new episodes every weekday morning.

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  • Mary Harris is the host and managing editor of What Next, Slate's new daily news podcast. She has reported throughout the public radio system, for NPR, Marketplace, and WNYC.