It’s midterm season. Whether you’re on your way to the polls, or waiting in line to vote, we’ve compiled an Election Day podcast playlist to commemorate the day. Hear episodes on democracy and power in the United States and beyond, episodes to teach you about facts and history behind elections, plus fictional stories with an Americana touch.
The Memory Palace, “Election Eve Rebroadcast (In Line)”
A rebroadcast from the night before the 2016 election. There are a gajillion things that you can and should read about this period. Some of the details for this story were found in this remarkable article by Claude Sitton.
West Wing Weekly, “Election Night (with Clark Gregg)”
As the characters anxiously await election results and Donna tries to swap votes with Christian Slater, Josh and Hrishi interview Clark Gregg about how everybody wants to call him Agent Something. And, Josh looks back fondly on the mighty superpowers that allowed him to summon rain from a clear sky.
99% Invisible, “Gerrymandering”
Gerrymandering has become a scapegoat for what’s wrong with the polarized American political system, blamed for marginalizing groups and rigging elections, but there’s no simple, one-size-fits-all design solution for drawing fair districts. Drawing districts may be the most important design problem of representative democracy. On this episode, FiveThirtyEight discusses the ways different states have tackled this problem.
What Trump Can Teach Us About Con Law, “Presidential Immunity”
There have already been a few high profile lawsuits against President Trump and the first defense against such a lawsuit is to claim that the president cannot be sued in civil court. But it turns out, the Supreme Court has ruled different ways on whether or not the president is immune from lawsuits. We look a three cases from history and hear how they’re being used to argue for and against the current cases filed against Trump.
The Allusionist, “Election Lexicon”
Aired on the eve of the 2015 General Election in the UK, this episode takes a jaunt through the etymology of election-related words. Find out why casting a vote should be more like basketball, and why polling is hairy.
The Mortified Podcast, “Totally Juvenile Election Special”
Need relief from all the juvenile antics of campaign season? Mortified’s Totally Juvenile Election Special is your antidote to the political tantrums featuring stories of the strange campaigns we waged as kids.
The Kitchen Sisters Present, “Black Chef, White House: African American Cooks in the President’s Kitchen”
Hear about cooking for the Founding Fathers — the story of Hercules and Hemings, the enslaved chefs of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. And an interview with Zephyr Wright, President Lyndon Johnson’s cook who worked for the family for 27 years.
Song Exploder, “Mitski — Your Best American Girl”
Mitski has been making records since 2012. Her third record, Puberty 2, came out in June 2016 and was critically acclaimed. Pitchfork gave it Best New Music status. In this episode, Mitski breaks down her song Your Best American Girl, along with her long-time collaborator Patrick Hyland.
The Bugle, “A truly British democracy”
It’s the 2017 UK election that no one wanted, no one won, and yet everyone is celebrating. Andy, Helen and Aparna Nancherla try to work out what happened.
Benjamen Walker’s Theory of Everything, “Man Without a Country (1 of 3)”
What happens when you curse your own country? In this version of the classic Americana tale your host is sentenced to live out the rest of his days in a hot air balloon. In part one we hear the story of what happened when he fought the “three strikes you are out forever” law and lost. Plus Howard Zinn on the myth of American Exceptionalism.
Radio Diaries, “Women Who Fought for the White House”
This episode looks back at three of the most groundbreaking female presidential candidates — who never won the White House.
The Memory Palace, “Hoover”
The life of Herbert Hoover, the 31st president of the United States.
West Wing Weekly, “Live with FiveThirtyEight”
Josh and Hrishi team up with the FiveThirtyEight Elections Podcast to discuss how polling is used in The West Wing, by looking at a few scenes from the show. This episode was recorded live at the Crest Theatre in Los Angeles. They talk about scenes from seasons 1–4, so there are spoilers throughout.
What Trump Can Teach Us About Con Law, “Impeachment”
Impeachment is talked about a lot, but it is extremely rare. Impeachment is the constitutional emergency measure written into the constitution itself. This episode is about the procedure impeachment and why it’s so hard.
Benjamen Walker’s Theory of Everything, “Man Without a Country (2 of 3)”
In part two of the story your host has his first human interaction in ten years. Plus radio host Glynn Washington tells us what it was like to grow up black in a white-supremacist Christian cult.
The Truth, “That’s Democracy”
A teacher gives his students lesson about democracy that they’ll never forget.
99% Invisible, “The Political Stage”
On this episode, the 99% Invisible team joins forces with Andrea Seabrook of DecodeDC to investigate all the thought that goes into the most minuscule details of a political campaign.
The Allusionist, “US Election Lexicon”
As a continuation of “Election Lexicon,” this episode considers the linguistically appropriate age of a senator, and whether Congress should get sexy.
Radio Diaries, “The Story of ‘Ballad for Americans’”
How a ten minute operatic folk cantata managed to unite Democrats, Republicans and Communists.
The Memory Palace, “A Washington Monument”
If you want the story of the construction of the actual Washington Monument, you could check out John Steele Gordon’s book.
Benjamen Walker’s Theory of Everything, “Man Without a Country (3 of 3)”
The story concludes(?) when your host attempts to turn bread into wine. Plus learn about the origins of the tale of the Man without a Country and the various versions that have been produced over the last hundred years.