Post Reports

How secure are U.S. elections? (Hint: Still much less than you might think.)

Karoun Demirjian paints a grim picture of election security. Sam Schmidt on the 2020 Democrats flaunting Spanish skills — and the Latino candidate who isn’t. Plus, Marina Lopes explains Brazil’s C-section parties.
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Post Reports is the daily podcast from The Washington Post. Unparalleled reporting. Expert insight. Clear analysis. Everything you’ve come to expect from the newsroom of The Post -- for your ears.

In this episode

What’s stalling election security measures?
Threats to the country’s election infrastructure are no secret: Former special counsel Robert Mueller raised the alarm at hearings on Capitol Hill, and a bipartisan Senate report on the dire situation was released shortly after. Despite the concerns, Congress has been slow to act, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) last week blocking a House bill that would have provided $775 million to beef up state election security systems. 

Reporter Karoun Demirjian points to party divisions over how to handle Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election as a root cause of the inaction. “We’re having this political battle,” Demirjian says, “that effectively should be a nonpartisan issue.”

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Julián Castro doesn’t speak fluent Spanish. Stop asking him about it.
Democratic primary candidates Beto O’Rourke, Cory Booker and Pete Buttigieg flaunted their ability to speak Spanish during the first debate. Their push to appeal to Latino voters didn’t go unnoticed.

Neither did the relative silence from Julián Castro, a third-generation Mexican American who — like many U.S.-born Latinos — does not speak fluent Spanish. 

Reporter Samantha Schmidt says the expectations placed on Castro by reporters and critics are accompanied by a lack of awareness about the language discrimination faced by U.S. Latinos, who for decades were prohibited from speaking Spanish in segregated public school systems.

“To him, it’s such a small part of what it means to be Latino,” Schmidt says.

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A new kind of birthday party
Elective C-sections have long been a status symbol among Brazil’s elite, a way for some of the country’s wealthier women to avoid the unpredictability of natural childbirth. 

Now, the phenomenon has inspired a new industry of party planners, makeup artists and caterers focused on turning these operations into wedding-like spectacles, produced for an audience. 

Brazil correspondent Marina Lopes says the seemingly innocuous procession actually comes from a place of fear. 

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About Post Reports

Post Reports is the daily podcast from The Washington Post. Unparalleled reporting. Expert insight. Clear analysis. Everything you’ve come to expect from the newsroom of The Post -- for your ears.