PopPolitics: ‘Cartel Land’ Director on the Politics of Controlling the Border

Matthew Heineman Cartel Land
Courtesy of Matthew Heineman

As Donald Trump and other presidential candidates debate what to do about strengthening the U.S.-Mexican border, the Oscar-nominated “Cartel Land” examines the drug wars and the hold that the cartels have in Mexican towns and villages.

The film’s director, Matthew Heineman, tells Variety‘s “PopPolitics” on SiriusXM that he wishes “there was a silver bullet, but I don’t think there is.”

“The elephant in the room in all of this is America’s voracious appetite for drugs,” he says. “Stopping the border is something we have tried to do for decades. The cartel will always find a way to ship drugs northward. They are using all different means of doing so. They are still doing the old school way of walking across the border with backpacks. They have tunnels. They have submarines. They have aircraft. The drugs will always find their way northward. Similarly, guns will always find their way south as well as the money that is reaped from selling all these drugs. This cycle of supply and demand, I don’t see stopping any time soon.”

Listen below:

The new US

Jose Antonio Vargas talks about his new digital platform EmergingUS, with a crowdfunding campaign for the news venture to cover America’s diversity.

He also talks about why he’s grateful for the emergency of Trump.

“I am actually really grateful for Donald Trump,” Vargas says. “I think Donald Trump is showing us parts of the country we know have been there, but now we have to face. And I would rather face them than not.”

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Billions’ and Bernie

Brian Koppelman and David Levien, co-creators of Showtime’s “Billions,” talk about the show’s fortuitous timing, and Bernie Sanders talks about Wall Street corruption and income inequality. The show focuses on hedge fund billionaire Bobby Axelrod (Damien Lewis) and the New York U.S. attorney Chuck Rhodes (Paul Giamatti) determined to prosecute him.

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Millennial fever

Alexander Heffner, host of “The Open Mind” on PBS, talks about the millennial vote, and why Sanders has so captivated younger voters. On the Republican side, Marco Rubio may be the youngest candidate, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that he’ll draw conservative college age voters.

Nasty politics

Nikki Schwab of Daily Mail and David Cohen of Variety talk about why the political race has taken on such a tone of nastiness.

Listen below:

“PopPolitics,” hosted by Variety‘s Ted Johnson, airs Thursdays at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT on SiriusXM’s political channel POTUS.