16 Podcasts to Help You Make Sense of the 2016 Elections

For the next 15 months or so, we’ll all be inundated with news and chatter surrounding the 2016 presidential race. Whether you’re hungry for in-depth analysis or just want to hear about the most buzzworthy stories, there’s probably a podcast to suit your needs. 

This week I share a few shows that tackle politics from all angles (preferably with little to no screaming). For other podcast recs, visit the archive. Feel free to share suggestions via the comments or Twitter.


Popular, insightful podcasts about politics 

Slate’s Political Gabfest
If I want to hear intelligent, insider-y political discussions, this is where I look first. The hosts are excitable but civil, making for episodes that enlighten and rarely bore. 

Common Sense with Dan Carlin
Podcast superstar Carlin (Hardcore History) specializes in digging below the surface. Unlike many other hosts, he treats all political viewpoints with equal scrutiny. 

The Young Turks
This bold and lively show airs weekdays and is available as audio or video. Hosts are often drawn to provocative political news, but they throw in pop culture stories from time to time, too. (Note: The language can get pretty salty, as I discovered while listening in the car with my toddler.)

The Majority Report with Sam Seder
Described as “American politics for the non-brain dead or knuckle draggers,” Seder’s show features an array of political analysts, experts, and opinionated listeners. Those who prefer to live in real time and/or participate can listen live at

Ken Rudin’s Political Junkie
Rudin, best known for hosting the popular “Political Junkie” segment on NPR’s Talk of the Nation, now runs his own site and show. His passion shines through, and he nabs interesting guests, like GOP strategist Roger Stone (who offered insight on what makes Donald Trump tick, for better or worse). 


Podcasts featuring recent headlines and timely, lively debates 

The Ticket 2016
Radio station KUT partners with the Texas Tribune for this weekly show that follows national political campaigns with a dash of Texas flavor.

KCRW’s Left, Right & Center
Here’s another fine show from the station, in which experts from both ends of the political spectrum dissect the latest headlines. 

This podcast isn’t as concerned with sharing scoops as it is with telling a solid, engaging story. Episodes have addressed the Supreme Court, Iran, and … the intersection of politics and bourbon. 


Political shows from popular publications

Politico: The Scrum
This show is a good destination for political interviews and insider chatter. Last week’s ep addressed “Trump fatigue,” and a recent interview was dubbed “50 Shades of Barney Frank.” 

The Federalist Radio Hour
Hosted by publisher Ben Domenech, this show runs Monday through Friday. It excels in explaining big topics—a recent episode broke down the Hillary Clinton email story—and highlights its reporters’ latest pieces. 

The Huffington Post: So That Happened
Hosts of this weekly show promise “an alternative to the Sunday morning shows they’ve stopped watching,” with an emphasis on water-cooler topics and recognizable political figures (like senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders).

New Yorker: The Political Scene
Hosted by New Yorker executive editor Dorothy Wickenden, this show specializes in smart, taut discussions about the political landscape. Episodes usually run about 15-20 minutes. 


Political podcasts with unique angles 

Real Time with Bill Maher
Don’t have HBO? You can still hear Maher’s show each week as a podcast, along with “Overtime” interviews and bonus episodes. 

We the People
Produced by the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, this weekly show digs into constitutional issues with the help of high-profile politicians and experts. 

The Pollsters
This show is all about the numbers. Each week, hosts Margie Omero (a Democrat) and Kristen Soltis Anderson (a Republican) break down the latest data and polls alongside special guests. 

Slate’s Whistlestop
If the current presidential race sounds wacky, just wait until you hear some of the stories on this podcast, which highlights great and not-so-great moments in presidential campaign history.

Here's What the Elaborate Maze From S-Town Looks Like

John B. McLemore created a world of wonders in the middle of nowhere. The protagonist of the popular S-Town podcast was famous in his hometown for his loud mouth and regular diatribes about tattoos and climate change. Elsewhere in the world, he was better known as a master craftsman and a genius.

Much of McLemore’s income derived from his extraordinary work as a horologist, or clockmaker, but his property in Woodstock, Alabama, is littered with other inventions and projects—including his legendary hedge maze.

Photo courtesy of Imgur

Photo courtesy of Imgur

Reddit users report that the maze has recently begun to fall into disrepair, news that upsets the S-Town listeners who have grown so fond of the clockmaker and his complicated, beautiful creations.

Photo courtesy of Imgur
Serial Productions/iTunes
Serial Creators Announce Release Date for S-Town, Their New Murder Mystery Podcast
Serial Productions/iTunes
Serial Productions/iTunes

It has been more than two years since the creators of Serial captured listeners’ attention with season one of their investigative podcast. Now USA Today reports that the team behind the true crime sensation is returning this March with a brand-new story.

Titled S-Town, the new podcast from Serial Productions will center around murder rumors that have been percolating in a small Alabama town. It starts when a Serial listener reaches out to S-Town host and This American Life producer Brian Reed about a wealthy resident who has reportedly been boasting about committing the crime. From there, news of more death, a feud, and treasure add further intrigue to the mystery.

Executive producer Julie Snyder promises that S-Town will be more than just another true crime story. “It’s a story that goes beyond any expectations,” she told USA Today. Following three years of reporting, all seven chapters of the podcast will be released at once on March 28. You can get a taste of what’s to come in the new preview, available now on iTunes.

[h/t USA Today]


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