10 Best Political Podcasts to Keep You Informed (And Become Smarter) About US Politics and the Upcoming Elections

10 Best Political Podcasts to Keep You Informed (And Become Smarter) About US Politics and the Upcoming Elections

As of 16 October, 22 million voters have already cast their ballots in the U.S presidential election, representing roughly 16 percent of the 2016 votes. Analysts are predicting that the voter turnout this year may be highest in all of the presidential elections since 1908.

Of course, this election is considered the most important, ever.

“Internationally, it is a world-historical moment—America’s role in the world, and the organisation of the global system, is also on the ballot.”

John Ikenberry of Princeton University

Occurring in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic without a clear solution in sight, a seemingly losing battle against the effects of climate change, and worsening hunger and poverty problems among the poorest nations, so much of the world’s fate relies on who will live in the White House for the next four years.

Just to give you an example, if Donald Trump wins the presidency yet again, the United States will be out of the Paris Agreement and won’t help with funding global efforts to fight climate change. If Biden wins, however, he says the U.S. will immediately rejoin the Paris Agreement and with his Green New Deal framework, the nation along the rest of the world will urgently work towards net zero emissions by 2050.

Related Post: Trump Hastens Climate Catastrophe by Slashing Endangered Species Act, Environmental Groups Sue

Donald Trump speaking with supporters at a 2016 campaign rally at the Prescott Valley Event Center in Prescott Valley, Arizona. Photo: Gage Skidmore.

This explains why leaders and people across the globe are just as invested in the U.S. presidential elections as the average American citizen. News about the campaign trail is everywhere. Campaign news and updates can be seen on TV, the internet, on radio, across social media, and other platforms and with so much going on in our daily lives and so much online noise from all sides it can be difficult to keep up with all the political hullabaloo.

Podcasts gaining popularity

Good thing there are podcasts to keep us updated with news about the U.S. elections. Podcasts are an effective medium because they are very convenient and help us get to the bottom of the most significant issues without taking so much of our time. They deliver in-depth coverage of a topic with few advertising distractions. And unlike other mediums such as television and news sites, allows us to do other things at the same time as absorbing the information being relayed; we can listen while driving, exercising, or (if you’re really good at multitasking) even while working. Audio content allows us to do that. You just have to plug in your earphones, use Bluetooth in the car or put your smartphone on speaker and that’s all there is to it. Some podcast shows are also informative and entertaining too. This is why podcasts are becoming the new normal for millions of people for accessing news.

A podcast for everybody

There are different podcasts to cater to your audio content preferences especially if you want to keep updated about the U.S. elections. Whether you like straight up no-nonsense news, political discussions from experts or a light-hearted talk amongst friends about what’s going on in the political arena, the who’s who in the campaign trail, what issues and policies should you be looking out for and more, there are plenty of podcasts to cater to your preferences. It doesn’t matter if you identify as a Republican, Democrat or just a spectator from the other side of the world, there’s a podcast for you out there.

Related Post: These Women-Led Political Podcasts Are Inspiring a Generation of Female Politicos

Because it helps (and it’s best) to be in the know, we’ve rounded up the best podcasts to tune into to keep you up to date on the U.S. elections.

US Presidential candidate Joe Biden holds an event with voters in the gymnasium at McKinley Elementary School in Des Moines. Photo: Phil Roeder.

Top 10 Political Podcasts

1. The Daily

This podcast runs for about 20 minutes every weekday. Hosted by Michael Barbaro for the New York Times, it present to us key issues in the electoral process. The team provides the context, then launches into a deep dive as they analyse the most pressing issues affecting America and the rest of the world. Recent podcast shows explore the key policies of both Donald Trump and Joe Biden.

2. The Field

Another podcast from the New York Times, this one gives listeners a better understanding of what matters most to American voters as Times field reporters travel to various American states and cities to speak directly to voters regarding their hopes and fears about the 2020 election results.

3. Up First

When you want the hottest news for breakfast, listen to this podcast, hosted by NPR. It features three of the biggest news that “you need to start your day” combined with intelligent analysis. In just 10 minutes you’ve had your fill of insightful news for the rest of the day, so if you’re time poor and prefer your news updates short and succinct, subscribe to this podcast and get your daily news fix.

4. CNN Political Briefing and CNN Politically Sound

These CNN podcasts are great to listen to when you only have limited time. With 10 minutes or less, you’ll be updated on election news and how these developments are connected to other social issues; a great format because sometimes we’re clueless on how a particular development connects to the bigger picture. Political Briefing is produced daily, while Politically Sound is released once a week.

5. FiveThirtyEight Politics

Elections are all about numbers and this is where this podcast excels. Nate Silver and his team have become popular among listeners for their “notorious statistical analysis” and how they use this to form critical opinions about our current political climate. If you love numbers and data, here’s a serving of your favorite political dish with a side of truth and reality.

6. NPR Politics

With episodes released daily now that the elections are near, this podcast provides insightful recaps of all the political happenings during the day, making it a top choice among listeners who want to be updated about the elections. We like it because “they don’t just tell you what happened, they tell you why it matters.”

7. Political Gabfest

This is one of the most popular political podcasts out there. The hosts – John Dickerson, David Plotz, and Emily Bazelon, dish out the biggest news in politics on a weekly basis. According to Business Insider, “This is the podcast for people looking for good political discussions in a light-hearted, free-flowing manner.” It’s like you’re talking about politics with your smart friends who are there not to feed you their opinions but for you to have your own.

8. Stay Tuned with Preet

This podcast is hosted by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara. He dwells not only on the top news but on legal aspects of the elections and how they shape social justice and policies. Preet presents substantial content to the public and he is a “guiding voice to listeners this election process” which is why this is among our favorite political podcasts.

9. Left, Right & Center

There are lots of podcasts with their own political inclinations but this podcast is not among them as it seeks to examine all sides and present different points of view to their listeners. As the producer KCRW says, this show features “civilized yet provocative confrontation over politics” which will leave listeners thinking about how the issues presented affect their view of their society. This is what smart listening is all about.

10. The Argument

This is another podcast that we feel is fair in presenting the news. Produced by the New York Times, The Argument presents issues which are tackled from both sides of the political spectrum so that listeners can decide for themselves where they stand on these matters. “This podcast from New York Times works to show you all the angles.” At the end of the day, we want you to have a comprehensive and holistic view of the political situation in the US and how it affects the world.

There are lots of good political podcasts out there but we’ve carefully selected these ones for their no-nonsense news, healthy political discussions, and presentation of both sides of the spectrum to be the guiding light to all of us listeners throughout this election process. There may be a buffet of podcasts, but it’s up to you to choose which ones will make you smarter about politics and global issues. Be mindful of the lens you’re using for analysis. Be aware of the biases of the podcasts you’re listening to so that we will also consciously seek other viewpoints to enlarge our perspective and to have a thorough understanding of important issues.

Final note

To the voting citizens of the United States, we ask you to make an informed and smart choice. Go out and vote and vote wisely. So much depends on a single vote. It can change the course of a nation and the whole world. The rest of us are waiting with bated breath. We will keep watch and continue to hope that the one who lives in the White House in the next four years will have not only America’s best interests in heart and in mind, but also the rest of the world.

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Cover image via Everything Bagel/Shutterstock.

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