10 necessary political podcasts we need right now


The country is heading into the midterm elections, but politics is increasingly hard to keep up with. Luckily, there are some great podcasts to help us out.

It’s so important to stay politically engaged and active now more than ever. Especially with the midterm elections coming up, we have to be armed with knowledge and truly understand what’s been happening in our country in order to make a well-informed vote and hopefully (in our opinion) fix things.

But let’s face it: politics and the news have been exhausting. And it’s hard to keep track of what’s going on. Did Russia meddle in our elections? Did Trump collude with Russia? Are those the same thing? Moving on! Before we can even wrap our minds around one huge problem that would normally consume an entire presidency, we’re on to something else. There’s also immigration, healthcare, the economy, and more to deal with. Plus, Roe v. Wade may be in jeopardy now that Anthony Kennedy is retiring and Brett Kavanaugh is up for the job. It truly is hard to keep up with it all.

We’ve got scandal after scandal constantly flying at us. And somehow, magically, after all that news, one day can feel like four years. It’s a lot to take in, figure out what’s really going on, and form an opinion on. But that’s exactly what we have to do if we want any chance of making a difference in the midterm elections.

Luckily, there are some great political podcasts out there to help us out. They’ll explain things to us, show us which stories are important and what to keep track of, and, yes, even get outraged with us. Because there’s plenty to be outraged about.

Here’s a look at 10 political podcasts that we need right now:

Pod Save America

Washington D.C. is like nowhere else in the world. So it almost becomes necessary to go to someone from that world to untangle this mess. The Crooked Media podcast, Pod Save America, is hosted by former Barack Obama staffers Jon Favreau, Tommy Vietor, Jon Lovett, and Dan Pfeiffer. So these guys know what they’re talking about. They understand the animal that is politics in D.C. and they can talk about what can realistically be done right now. But they’re also just as outraged as the rest of us. It’s oddly comforting.

And despite being about something as serious as the erosion of our democracy, Pod Save America is a really entertaining, fun, and funny podcast. It’s nice to have some levity. And because they’ve worked in Washington, the hosts get some amazing guests like Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren and even Hillary Clinton and Obama himself. Pod Save America has new podcasts twice a week, tours, and will even have four HBO specials covering the midterm elections. Of course, Crooked Media has other great podcasts to listen to including The Wilderness, Pod Save the World, Pod Save the People, Lovett or Leave It, and more. You can check out Pod Save America here.

Slate Political Gabfest

Slate’s Political Gabfest is a weekly podcast that covers the week’s political news. While Pod Save America is hosted by people that have worked in politics, the Political Gabfest is hosted by people in the media. David Plotz is a journalist who worked for Slate since it began and currently serves as the CEO of Atlas Obscura. Emily Bazelon edited for Slate and now writes for The New York Times Magazine and works at Yale Law School. And John Dickerson wrote for Slate and more before hosting Face the Nation and then CBS This Morning.

The Political Gabfest offers different perspectives on the week’s news. Plotz is a great host and always has a strong opinion, Bazelon breaks down some of the legal stuff, and Dickerson can talk about Washington and politicians. It’s really informative and always includes a great discussion and lively debate. And their cocktail chatter segments at the end are always fun. Even Stephen Colbert’s a fan! The Political Gabfest comes out every Thursday and also has live shows.


Podcasts can be a bit of a boy’s club. But women have such high stakes in politics, especially right now. Enter Hysteria: a podcast for “opinionated, mouthy women to discuss news, politics, and cultural stories that affect women’s lives.” What a novel concept! Hysteria is another podcast from Crooked Media. And it manages to be fun and entertaining while talking about serious things like the real possibility that Roe v. Wade could be reversed or at least dismantled, and what that means for women around the country.

It’s hosted by Erin Ryan with co-hosts Alyssa Mastromonaco, Blair Imani, Grace Parra, Kiran Deol, Megan Gailey, and Ziwe Fumudoh. It’s so important for women to be able to hear other women talk about the issues affecting them from the serious to the ridiculous. And everything in the podcast is created by women. “As you listen, you might notice that I’m a woman,” Ryan says in the premiere. “You might further notice that none of the other voices you hear on this podcast belong to men. That is on purpose. Podcasting seems a little dude-heavy and while I love dudes as much as the next person, Hysteria is designed to be a space for women and anybody who doesn’t identify as a man to talk to each other.” Hysteria comes out on Thursdays.

The Daily

Hey, maybe you’re a real news junkie and once or twice a week is just not enough podcast for you. Well, we’ve got great news. Michael Barbaro hosts The New York Times’ podcast, The Daily, which goes over the biggest news stories of the day, for twenty minutes a day, five days a week. It’s all ready by 6 a.m. And, hey, with so much news happening all the time, we need this. If you have a weekly podcast, something that happened over the weekend can be irrelevant by the time you get to recording on Thursday. But it’s up to us not to let things go and not to get distracted by all the other stories coming out. And having to go over the important news every day can be a real help. You can listen to The Daily here.


There’s no way around it: Politics are all about Donald Trump right now. So, of course, any political podcast you listen to is going to have a lot about him. But if you want a podcast that is literally all about Trump, then Trumpcast is the way to go. And there is a lot to say about the man. Trumpcast is another Slate podcast. It’s hosted by Slate chairman Jacob Weisberg along with Jamelle Bouie and Virginia Heffernan nearly every day.

Left, Right, and Center

While the majority of the podcasts on this list are left-leaning, there are plenty of podcasts for you centrists and right-wingers out there. There are even some that do a good job of incorporating various political sides. KCRW’s Left, Right, and Center is exactly what it sounds like: it takes people from the left, right, and center of the political spectrum and has them discuss the week’s news. It’s a great way to get different opinions on contentious topics and to be able to make up your own mind about them — because it is easy to get trapped into just listening to people who you know you already agree with. Left, Right, and Center comes out every Friday.

Counter Stories

MPR’s Counter Stories talks about politics and the news through the lens of race. Anthony Galloway, Luz Maria Frias, Don Eubanks, and Hlee Lee “discuss race, identity, social justice and culture in a region grappling with demographic changes.” The podcast has tackled topics like family separations, shootings, racism, and more. There’s no denying that we have race issues in America. Just look at the family separations, or all the times the cops have been called. This is why it’s so important to listen to a podcast that focuses on race and to really confront race and racism in our county. Counter Stories comes out on Thursdays around once a month.

NPR Politics Podcast

If you’re looking to just get a rundown of what’s going on in the world of politics, rather than a more partisan take on the week’s news, the NPR Politics Podcast is a good place to go. Brought to you by NPR’s amazing team of political reporters who “talk to you like they talk to each other,” the NPR Politics Podcast gives listeners all they need to know about what’s going on in politics. The NPR Politics Podcast comes out at least once a week, but also has episodes when big news breaks. It really comes out nearly every day.

Vox’s The Weeds

Vox’s The Weeds is a real deep-dive into policy. If you love getting caught up in the details, then The Weeds is for you. Ezra Klein, Sarah Kliff and Matthew Yglesias host the podcast, which is all about talking about the real issues affecting us rather than the distracting stories about gaffes or scandals that we always see on the news. “Everyone is always warning you not to get lost in the weeds,” the description says. “But not Vox’s Ezra Klein, Sarah Kliff, and Matthew Yglesias. They love the weeds. That’s where all the policy is.” Vox’s The Weeds comes out on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Chapo Trap House

Hosted by Will Menaker, Matt Christman, Felix Biederman, Amber A’Lee Frost, and Virgil Texas, Chapo Trap House is a leftist political and comedy podcast. While they identify with the left, they’re not afraid to take swings at liberals or the Democratic Party and won’t shy away from the tough issues. They’re the ones on the left criticizing the left. And it’s important for liberals to understand what they’re doing wrong. Plus, it’s a really funny podcast. Chapo Trap House comes out twice a week. They even have a book!

Next: 10 comedy podcasts for when you need a good laugh

Politics really can be a lot to take in, especially in these times. So if you need some help putting everything together, or you’re just down for some political talk, you’ll want to add these podcasts to your list immediately.