Beltway Banthas

Beltway Banthas

Politics and Star Wars fuse together on this unique and fascinating show! Beltway Banthas is your place for insightful political commentary featuring the galaxy far, far, away.

Beltway Banthas is a Star Wars podcast about the intersection of fandom and the things that drive daily life. For hosts Stephen Kent & Swara Salih, one of those things is politics. Star Wars draws from our world’s politics just as much as it contributes to it by influencing policymakers, journalists and thought leaders.

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On the show, you’ll learn about the politics within the Star Wars universe. From Alderaan and Naboo’s monarchies to the function of the Senate on Coruscant, Stephen and Swara will cover it all. In between episodes, we feature interviews with real world change-makers. We’ll discuss how Star Wars impacted their lives and view of the world.

Stephen Kent lives outside of DC with his wife and daughter. He works at a political non-profit that does outreach to millennials. He enjoys political podcasts, cosplay, and making jokes that only he thinks are funny. Connect on Twitter @Stephen_Kent89

Star Wars Military

Beltway Banthas Episode 29: Star Wars Military (Live from Star Wars Celebration)

Our good friend John Liang was in Orlando for Star Wars Celebration, where he was part of a panel discussing the military history of the Star Wars universe. He joined Thomas Harper, who led the panel, and Jason Fry to discuss the galaxy's history of military engagement, background on weapons and armaments, military justice in the Star Wars universe, and more! 
Beltway Banthas Special: Swara's Round Table (Live from Star Wars Celebration)

Beltway Banthas Special: Swara’s Round Table (Live from Star Wars Celebration)

Like so many Star Wars fans, Swara of Beltway Banthas was Orlando last weekend for Star Wars Celebration (SWCO)! It goes without saying that the Force was strong there, and so was a love of politics. Huddled together in a hotel room in Orlando, Swara brought together a group of friends and fans to talk about Star Wars, politics and escapism. 
Beltway Banthas #28: Budgets, Bombs & Bankers

Beltway Banthas #28: Budgets, Bombs & Bankers

This week we’re discussing the most exciting and most invigorating you could think of: budgets! Specifically, military appropriations and government spending in the Star Wars universe! We’re joined by our friend John Liang, military journalist and mega Star Wars fan, to discuss how fiscal battles played out during the Clone Wars, and how we see that in our own politics.
Beltway Banthas #27: The Powerful Politics of Padme

Beltway Banthas #27: The Powerful Politics of Padme

No character captures intergalactic and real world politics better than Padme Amidala Naberrie of Naboo. This week we dive into the political ideals of Padme and also her legacy with fans. Allyson Gronowitz (The Mary Sue, Polygon) joins the show to help break down why Padme is beloved, but also divisive for so many fans. Spoiler: It has something to do with politics. Perfect for an episode of Beltway Banthas!
Beltway Banthas #26: Live at Oak City Comicon

Beltway Banthas #26: Live at Oak City Comicon

It’s our second Comicon panel! Stephen and Swara are joined by friend of the show Nick Dicolandrea of Coffee With Kenobi to discuss “Star Wars goes to Washington,” and a bit of the international perspective of Star Wars as well.
Beltway Banthas #25: The State of the Podcast Address

Beltway Banthas #25: The State of the Podcast Address

To inaugurate 25 episodes of Beltway Banthas, we sit down to talk about the evolution of the podcast. In a fun and free-wheeling conversation we share some of our favorite moments doing this show and what we have learned along the way.
Beltway Banthas #24: The Imperial Conundrum

Beltway Banthas #24: The Imperial Conundrum

Most Star Wars fans love the Empire. They’re orderly, professional, and have the best fashion sense in the Galaxy. But is our love for them misplaced and even a little weird? 
Alexandra Petri

Beltway Banthas Interview: Alexandra Petri (Washington Post)

This week we speak with Alexandra Petri, columnist and satirist for The Washington Post. Alexandra and Swara talk about keeping up with the crazy politics of the day, how it affects satire, her love of Star Wars and so much more! 

Beltway Banthas #23: Beltway Banthas Meets NPR Politcs

This week Beltway Banthas was joined by Tamara Keith & Scott Detrow of the NPR Politics Podcast.
Beltway Banthas #22: Don't Tax My Trade Routes Bro

Beltway Banthas #22: Don’t Tax My Trade Routes Bro

This week Stephen and Swara discuss the key points of the article “Star Wars Politics Part Two: The Right Side Strikes Back.” How does the franchise reach out to and inspire conservative audiences? Did Star Wars take any inspiration from family values, limited government, and other issues on the political right? 
Derek Kilmer

Beltway Banthas Interview: U.S. Congressman Derek Kilmer

This interview with U.S. Congressman Derek Kilmer is a continuation of the Beltway Banthas interview series!

Beltway Banthas #21: You Might Be A Separatist If…

This week on Beltway Banthas we discuss the Confederacy of Independent Systems, a.k.a. The Separatists. The theme of disenchantment with government is never more relevant than in 2017, so we dug back into the prequel era to discuss the Separatist movement, why it happened and who was involved.
Cheston Lee

Beltway Banthas Interview: Cheston Lee (Hillary For America)

This interview with Cheston Lee is a continuation of the Beltway Banthas interview series!

Beltway Banthas #20: The Politics of Rogue One

We are back! To kick off 2017 we catch up on all the feelings we have about Rogue One, the passing of Carrie Fisher, and we of course dive into the rich politics of Rogue One. Joining us for this episode is Tirso Perez, you might know him as the missing host of Beltway Banthas!
Brittany Hunter

Beltway Banthas #19: Rebellion & Radicals

It’s finally here! Our pre-Rogue One episode! As we get increasingly amped up to see the film, Stephen, Swara and special guest Brittany Hunter delve into a discussion of why rebellions and revolution occurs. To do this we look at case studies including the American Revolution and the Arab Spring and compare these events to the formation of the Rebel Alliance.
Beltway Banthas #18: Krennic vs Tarkin

Beltway Banthas #18: Krennic vs Tarkin

Cabinet appointments, promotions, and castings...oh my! In this episode of Beltway Banthas, we discuss competitions for power taking place in both Star Wars and our own universe.
2016 election

Beltway Banthas #17: Built On Hope (ft. Bobby Roberts)

Stephen and Swara dig into the results of the 2016 election with guest Bobby Roberts! In the final days and hours of the elections, Star Wars references, memes and jokes abounded as Americans digested what they saw on the news. In this episode, Beltway Banthas seeks to understand why this happens and much more.
Seth Masket

Beltway Banthas Interview: Seth Masket (VOX)

This interview with Seth Masket is a continuation of the Beltway Banthas interview series!
Star Wars Goes to Washington

Beltway Banthas #16: Star Wars Goes To Washington

This week the Beltway Banthas podcast had the opportunity to be at VA Comicon in Richmond, VA. Stephen, Tirso and Swara presented a panel called "Star Wars Goes To Washington."
Star Wars Propaganda

Beltway Banthas #15: Star Wars Propaganda

Stephen and Tirso dig into the new book, Star Wars Propaganda by Pablo Hidalgo of LucasFilm. This book offers a look into persuasive art all the way from the Republic to the First Order. It hits bookstore shelves on October 25th, so enjoy this special advance look into the world of art & politics in Star Wars.
Eric Geller

Beltway Banthas Interview: Eric Geller of Politico

This interview with Eric Geller is a continuation of the Beltway Banthas interview series! Past guests include Kristen Soltis Anderson (author, CNN & FOX News contributor), NC Rep. Jason Saine, and Tamara Keith (NPR White House Reporter).
Beltway Banthas #14: Sounding Like a Seperatist

Beltway Banthas #14: Sounding Like a Seperatist

We proudly welcome Beltway Banthas to the RetroZap family! Star Wars + Politics? Stephen and Tirso have a lot to discuss.