Robin Johnson

Host of Heartland Politics

Robin A. Johnson is a governmental relations, public policy and political consultant. He is an expert on government reform issues and has consulted with numerous local governments on consolidation/merger, public-private partnerships and full-cost accounting of public services. Robin has also helped candidates win elections for the U.S. Senate, U.S. Congress, state legislature, judiciary and local government. Robin served as a consultant to the Office of Statewide Performance Review in the Illinois Governor’s Office and is former director of the Illinois Center for Competitive Government, a partnership between the Illinois Comptroller’s Office and the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs at Western Illinois University. Prior to that, he was Director of the Local Government Affairs Division of the Illinois Comptroller’s Office. Robin served on the Board of Directors of the National Council for Public-Private Partnerships (NCPPP) in 1999-2000.

What are the implications of the shift from manufacturing to health care jobs in the US?

  Peter Slevin, a contributing writer with The New Yorker magazine, talks about his recent reporting from Iowa and the Carolinas on the future of the Republican Party. He discusses his conversations with Iowa Republican voters and the toxicity of the Democratic brand at the GOP grassroots level.

Is Iowa going the way of Nebraska politically? Ross Benes, author of Rural Rebellion: How Nebraska Became A Republican Stronghold, discusses his book and the forces that shaped Nebraska’s turn into a solid Red State.

Bill Ruthhart, Rock Island native and Chicago Tribune political reporter, talks about the fall of former House Speaker Mike Madigan and the demise of the Chicago Machine and what it all means for residents of Downstate Illinois.

Jessica Bruder discusses her book, Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-first Century and her trek from research to living and working with ‘workampers’—a growing subgroup of downwardly mobile older Americans. A story of both uplift and struggle.

Madeleine Doubek, executive director of CHANGE Illinois, provides an update on the push for Fair Maps in Illinois and the chances for success with new legislative leadership. She also discusses other reform proposals, including nonpartisan blanket primaries, ethics reform and abuse of succession practices.

Terry Teachout, drama critic of the Wall Street Journal, talks about his book Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong. He describes Armstrong’s significant impact on American culture, his upbringing, Chicago and Harlem years, criticisms of his style, and, of course, the songs he’ll be most remembered for.

  Paul Kendrick will discuss his latest book, Nine Days: The Race to Save Martin Luther King Jr.’s Life and Win the 1960 Election, that he co-authored with his father, Stephen Kendrick. While JFK’s call to Coretta Scott King is well-known, the authors reveal little-known details of the behind-the-scene effort that led to the call and the enormous political consequences.

Dale Maharidge, Pulitzer Prize winner, author, journalist and academic, talks about his latest book F**cked at Birth: Recalibrating the American Dream for the 2020s. He tells the story of the title of the book and its relation to his cross country drive that explores our nation increasing class divide.

  Michael Lind talks about his latest book, The New Class War: Saving Democracy From the Managerial Elite. He shows how the decline of trade unions, churches and grassroots political parties disempowered the working class and offers ideas on how Western democracies can include working class majorities in politics, the economy and culture to overcome class warfare.