April 6, 2018

The Impossible Dream

Before he leaves the Senate for good, Republican Jeff Flake is trying to get a bill passed. He has his work cut out for him, with a Senate that barely brings anything to the floor, a party he feels estranged from, and a president who seems to hate his guts. Producer Zoe Chace hung out with him for four months.

Alex Edelman/AP Images


Producer Zoe Chace talks with host Ira Glass about following Senator Jeff Flake, and how when he announced his retirement she thought her reporting had ended. But when a Democrat was elected to the senate in Alabama, Flake suddenly found new relevance — in Republican Party politics, and also in the senate where his lame-duck vote now held incredible sway.

Act One

The Bluff

Senator Jeff Flake tries use his newfound leverage to get a commitment to bring DACA to the Senate floor in exchange for his vote for the Republican tax bill. Things change at the last minute. (15 minutes)

Act Two

Flakes Second At Bat — Now With the President

Senator Jeff Flake goes to the White House and discovers a president who seems to be very open to doing whatever immigration deal the senate brings him. He spends an optimistic 24 hours writing a bill with his bipartisan partners. (17 minutes)

Act Three

When the Cat’s Away, the Mouse, He Can Run Around

Senator Jeff Flake breaks from the plan and speaks openly about the bipartisan DACA proposal to the media before the president has a chance to sell the deal himself. Turns out, that’s not what actually kills the deal. (6 minutes)