5 Podcasts that Will Help You Make Sense of Politics

Podcasts are one of the best ways to stay informed while doing mundane everyday tasks. Driving, walking the dog and doing laundry can all be transformed by great and educational podcasts. Personally, I even like to listen to them at the gym instead of music. Over time, I’ve discovered some great podcasts on everything from body image to pop culture to my personal favorite, politics. As we begin to enter the 2020 campaigns, (only 600+ days to go, people) it’s more important than ever that I stay fully informed on the issues and candidates that will define and shape the U.S. for the next two years. Check out my picks for the best politics podcasts below.

FiveThirtyEight Politics Podcast

If you still haven’t checked out FiveThirtyEight, we need to talk. This website uses statistics and data to make predictions about politics, sports and pop culture. Their bi-weekly podcast, featuring a group of the site’s chief editors and writers, is a data-driven discussion about politics mixed with nerdy humor and a comforting, friendly camaraderie among its hosts. This podcast gives an unbiased look at the Trump presidency, daily political news and lately, a “theory of the case” for each of the 2020 candidates. Whether it’s an insightful conversation, honest analysis or amiable hosts, this podcast is one of the best for a deeper understanding of the deluge of political news.

Pod Save America

This podcast is probably most well-known among the resistance, offering a mix of astute analysis, grassroots activism and sharp criticism of the Trump administration. In the wake of the 2016 election, Pod Save America has become one of the most popular politics podcasts in the country. According to its hosts, it offers a “no-BS” look at the increasingly insane political landscape. If you’re looking for news analysis that doesn’t shy away from the explicit truth, this podcast is for you. Given that one of its hosts, Jon Lovett, was once a speechwriter for Barack Obama, you can imagine it will be just as engaging and evocative as a great Obama speech.

United States of Anxiety

Relatable name, I know. This podcast by WNYC is fantastic for delving deeper into the people and issues that shape modern politics. The hosts explore the history of American culture and politics and do in-depth profiles of significant but sometimes unknown figures. This season, gender and power have been at the forefront of several episodes; I really enjoyed two episodes that discuss the “right” kind of female politician and how women’s speaking voices affect their public perception. It’s absolutely essential to understand how gender stereotypes and female-led movements will affect the political landscape of 2020 and beyond, and this pod is a perfect way to get your daily dose of knowledge. Previous seasons explore the deeper issues underlying the Trump administration, profiles of female leaders and even the music that shaped the antiwar movement in the 60s. It’s hard to say if this podcast is the cause or answer to political anxiety, but either way, it’s totally worth it.

Why Is This Happening? with Chris Hayes

As host Chris Hayes puts it, this podcast answers the questions that keep him up at night. Hayes is a popular MSNBC host known for his open and funny analytical style, which he puts to great use in this pod. Experts on timely subjects like trade wars, presidential scandal, socialized medicine and Roe v. Wade are featured in the episodes. The titular question is answered in clear and informative terms. Why Is This Happening? is the perfect podcast for listeners who sometimes find themselves confused about the complex and technical issues dominating the news and want answers from foremost experts. Becoming a knowledgeable voter means understanding the dominant issues of the campaign season, and this podcast offers depth and clarity so you can make informed political decisions.

Pantsuit Politics

“Bipartisanship” is the word for this female-hosted podcast. Mixing daily politics news with women’s issues, the hosts hail from opposite ends of the political spectrum but offer nuance, depth and coherence in this highly polarized political atmosphere. Touching on everything from millennial burnout to feminism to foreign policy, Pantsuit Politics exists in the shades of gray between the often black-and-white politics of our age. Female-driven analysis is bolstered by appearances by women shaking things up in the cultural and political spheres offering a refreshing insight in an incredibly male-dominated political world. This podcast offers up friendly debate between women who “refuse to see each other as enemies,” something we all need to hear from time to time.

Podcasts make it easy to learn and critically think about topics with minimal effort and easy accessibility no matter where you are. So there's no excuse to not get caught up on what's going on in our political world with a few listens to these amazing ones. Add them to your daily playlist and stay informed and entertained as your trek through your week.