As the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election Day is upon us, today is the last day for many Americans to make what candidates on both sides of the aisle are calling the most important decision in our nation’s history. As it stands, tens of millions have already cast their ballots through early and absentee voting and many more millions are expected to cast theirs today, November 3rd. No matter if you’re on the fence, your mind is already made up, you’d like to hear what the opposition is saying, or you’d simply like to hear a breakdown of the facts with no political bias, we have a few podcast recommendations for you to get started. The following podcasts are presented in no particular order (some lean left, some lean right, some shoot right down the middle, and some remove themselves from the party divide completely) and do not reflect or represent company preferences, views, or values.
Pod Save America (Crooked Media)
For over 400 episodes now, four former aides to President Barack Obama — Jon Favreau, Jon Lovett, Dan Pfeiffer and Tommy Vietor — have welcomed on journalists, activists, politicians, and other prominent public figures to discuss the latest political news. Whether they’re covering election news on the state, local, or national level, their podcast Pod Save America has prided itself on taking a no-nonsense look at candidates and players to get to the truth of the matter. They’re a valuable listen in the run-up to the election, and they’re sure to be just as informative in the days and weeks that follow November 3rd.
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The Lincoln Project Podcast
One of the more recent podcasts to come out of this 2020 presidential election is The Lincoln Project. Not only are they a new face on the scene, but they also carry one of the more surprising mission statements: After over 200 years of work toward electing republican presidents to the White House, The Lincoln Project has now made it their mission to inform fellow right-leaning voters about alternatives to President Trump. This podcast is ideal for anyone on the left, right, or center who finds themselves longing for a perspective from someone who feels just as lost as they do in the current political landscape. It’s a much more traditional approach to today’s very unconventional election cycle.
Battleground with David Plouffe & Steve Schmidt (iHeartRadio)
While we mentioned that The Lincoln Project is one of the newer podcasts to tackle the presidency this election cycle, Battleground with David Plouffe & Steve Schmidt actually happens to be even newer — with less than 10 episodes so far and less than two months on the air so far, Battleground brings together two rivals-turned-friends, a former member of the Obama campaign (Plouffe) and a former member of the Bush campaign (Schmidt), to discuss the state of this monumental election. The two are no strangers to presidential elections, so their unique, both-sides approach to the Trump-vs-Biden debate is useful for listeners on either side of the aisle.
Left, Right & Center (KCRW)
Combining perspectives from all sides seems to be one of the most useful methods for informing voters who find themselves at a crossroads this election. KCRW’s Left, Right, & Center does exactly that, comparing candidates for the presidency and informing listeners on an episode-by-episode basis to help make voting easier. It’s worth a listen even if your mind is already made up — It never hurts to hear thoughtful discussion from people with opinions other than your own.
Hacks on Tap with David Axelrod and Mike Murphy
Similar to Battleground co-hosts David Plouffe and Steve Schmidt, David Axelrod and Mike Murphy are kind of like superstars in their respective parties: Axelrod did a lot of work for President Obama, while Murphy has worked for the likes of John McCain and Mitt Romney. Clearly, these two were once rivals. Now, they co-host Hacks on Tap: a deep dive into the world of American politics and presidential elections from two people who certainly know their stuff. Their perspective on 2020’s election is definitely a must-listen, no matter who you’re voting for.
The Weeds (Vox)
If you’re the kind of voter who finds themselves put off by both candidates, both parties, or anything even remotely to do with politics, then The Weeds may be the podcast for you. Hosts Matthew Yglesias, Ezra Klein, Dara Lind, Jane Coaston, and various other guests willingly get down into the political “weeds” of the week, dissecting the parts of the election cycle that often get treated with the most polarizing opinions — Topics like immigration, healthcare, housing, and more. Going strong for nearly 500 episodes now, The Weeds will help even the most disillusioned voters come to a decision.
FiveThirtyEight Politics (538)
No one can predict how this presidential race will turn out. The pollsters at 538 can certainly try, though. The podcast FiveThirtyEight Politics takes a mathematical approach to the race for the White House, dissecting polls conducted out on the campaign trail and making educated guesses as to what they might mean. These polls and the numbers they consist of serve as a real-time mathematical reaction to the campaign trail performances of former vice president-turned-presidential hopeful Joe Biden and incumbent president Donald Trump, and they just might contain the secret to predicting the big winner.
The NPR Politics Podcast (NPR)
With new episodes every day for nearly 850 days now, The NPR Politics Podcast has made it their goal to explain what the latest election news means and why it matters to Americans everywhere. Needless to say, they’ve definitely been successful at doing exactly that. Episodes are typically pretty brief, mostly sticking under a half hour, but there’s enough useful information packed inside to make listening well worth the time. If you find yourself wanting to hear the straight facts, then this podcast is absolutely worth listening to.
The Daily (The New York Times)
It’s not often you see a podcast top a thousand episodes, but The Daily has done exactly that. Like you might’ve been able to guess from the name, they — similar to The NPR Politics Podcast — analyze the day’s political news from an unbiased and informative perspective. From foreign policy to ballot concerns to race and all sorts of other issues that shape both Joe Biden and Donald Trump’s campaigns, The Daily keeps track of it all and presents listeners with the most essential election news. Nothing sensationalized, nothing fabricated, just the facts.
Whether you’re interested in discovering more political podcasts or hoping to listen to a completely different kind of podcast entirely, Backtracks has got you covered. There’s an endless supply of great shows on our site in addition to many great curated collections like this one on our blog. For something spooky, take a look at our most recent series on True Crime, Supernatural, and Mystery podcasts. For a change of pace, check out our series on Amplifying Black Voices in Podcasts, Amplifying Queer Voices in Podcasts, or Amplifying Voices in Education.