11 Political Podcasts For The Turbulent Trump Times Ahead

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I recently received this question in my inbox:

“wasn’t sure who to ask about this, and i’ve been loving your queer your tech column on autostraddle. super helpful. would you and/or others on the autostraddle team consider putting together a post about podcasts to listen to right now? i’ve been loving keepin’ it 1600; for once, the cis white men therein are helping me feel more sane. samantha bee hasn’t been doing it for me since the election. i want frank, in-depth discussion — i’m still not really ready for jokes. any thoughts? i know rachel did a great post about newsletters that’s been a total game-changer for me.”

Oh friend, I am not ready for jokes either. I was not a terribly jokey person before this election, and let me tell you, this killed my very limited sense of humor dead. I’m with you. In my podcast listening landscape, I crave things that have nothing to do with the American political landscape, but get actively angry when my faves don’t denounce white supremacy and the neo-Nazi movement. They seem to be existing in a world where this isn’t happening; it’s super frustrating. So not only am I with you on “not ready for jokes,” I am also “not ready for other things.” It’s exhausting. But as Mad-Eye Moody reminds us, CONSTANT VIGILANCE.

Here’s a list of podcasts that either I listen to, researched or have been vouched for by my sister-in-law, who isn’t queer but is a total raging feminist and consumes more podcasts than I do. They might engage in some pop culture on occasion, they might not only be about politics but when they touch politics, they do so really thoughtfully and discuss the terrifying reality of our current political landscape with a well-informed and educated perspective. I hope this helps. Stay strong.


Call Your Girlfriend

It’s not solely politics, but this podcast for long-distance besties hosted by long-distance besties Ann Friedman and Aminatou Sow centers the concerns of women in this totally fucked time. They are tender about feelings during these discussions and also intellectually rigorous. It’s been one of the only things soothing me in the aftermath of this, our American tragedy. Listen here.

538 Politics Podcast

As upset as I am with 538 and polls, this podcast delves into some nerdy things to do with data and facts. This feels like a good antidote to a world where post-truth is Oxford Dictionary’s word of the year. Their latest episode is a repub and analyzes the use of polling in The West Wing—the television show, not the actual West Wing—so it’s both an excellent respite from the litany of awful things AS WELL AS still discussing something extremely relevant to this dumpster fire of a year. Listen here.

Politically Re-active

Okay, W. Kamau Bell and Hari Kondabolu aren’t putting out any more episodes as of yet (though if you like them, you should Tweet at them and ask them to continue using the hashtag #politicallyreactive), but if listening to dispatches from a pre-Trump-Presidency-world won’t enrage you, this might be a good way to process some of the shit that went down. I was first introduced to this podcast when these two lovely gentlemen answered kids’ questions about the election on The Longest Shortest Time. It’s a pretty wonderful episode and you should listen to it, too. Listen here.

The New York Times’s The Run-Up

This podcast was designed to cover the surprising news that came out of the campaign. But as they say, the story has just begun. So they’re continuing to cover all the weird and scary things that the incoming administration is doing. Their latest episode includes audio from an interview with Alec Baldwin about how he crafted his portrayal of Trump. Listen here.

Buzzfeed’s Another Round

Okay, this is one that’s not always politics, but when they touch on politics (like when they interviewed Hillary Clinton), they are unafraid to ask hard questions. Tracy and Heben interview National Security Advisor Susan Rice in their latest episode. Listen here.

Slate’s Political Gabfest

This is one is recommended by my sister-in-law, and after listening to a few minutes of it, I gotta say, I agree. I tried out the “How Bad Could 2017 Be Anyway” episode. The world is terrifying and North Carolina is a facsimile of a democracy! Lalalala. Listen here.

Slate’s Trumpcast

I really quite like Virginia Heffernan and the latest episode of this Trump-critical podcast is her talking to Ian Bremmer about the end of American leadership. Listen here.

NPR Politics Podcast

This one might be obvious, but in case it’s not—NPR’s podcasts are generally good, well-rounded takes that stand up to high standards of journalistic integrity. NPR’s Politics Podcast is no different. They provide good overviews so you don’t have to be in the weeds to know what’s happening. Listen here. And speaking of in the weeds…

Vox’s The Weeds

I’m new to The Weeds, but I like that they’re unapologetic policy nerds AND that they call Bannon a “crazy Breitbard person.” I’m all about this one right now. Listen here.

The President’s Inbox

This also comes recommended by my sister-in-law. It’s a newish look at all the things the President-Elect will have to deal with as he steps into office and is put together by the Council on Foreign Relations. Because it’s newer, it’s easy to catch up if you want to have a total look at things. This started before the election, so it’s not necessarily focused at Trump and it’s pretty nonpartisan. Listen here.

Politico’s Off-Message

In this podcast, Glenn Thrush interviews the movers and shakers in politics today. The latest is Keith Ellison, so. Listen here.

So, what does your podcast library look like in the aftermath? Help each other out in the comments below.

Staff Writer for Autostraddle, Part-time Faculty at The New School (teaching digital storytelling), Managing Editor for Scholar & Feminist Online at Barnard Center for Research On Women. Follow me on Twitter @AEOsworth or on Instagram, also @AEOsworth.

A.E. has written 542 articles for us.

31 Comments

  1. I have two more to add. First of all, Rachel Maddow’s daily show on MSNBC is available as a podcast starting around 8 AM EST every day after the episode airs. I usually listen on Stitcher. Also, Slate’s Amicus podcast with Dahlia Lithwick is great for explaining what’s going on with the Supreme Court, which is also SUPER important for politics.

  2. Yes Vox’s The Weeds! A month before the election I unfollowed all the political podcasts I had been listening to because I was just so overwhelmed (don’t worry! I keep volunteering for the campaign regularly!) but I kept that one. It’s my favorite. They’re all very funny and very smart, and it’s just refreshing to focus on policy rather than Trump’s tweets.

  3. also, i’m not really here for Slate’s Political Gabfest. Maybe i’ll give it another shot, but I tried it some months back and there was a bait-y episode titled “Is Trump a Racist?” and in another episode they bickered with each other about whether or not it’s appropriate to draw comparisons between Trump and Hitler. I gave up.

  4. I listen to Slate Political Gabfest, The Weeds, Trumpcast and Keepin it 1600. They all have their pros and cons, but I really like Gabfest. They’re not all political wonks — the main host David Plotz is from Atlas Obscura and he has really good aside commentary that echoes exactly how I feel… mostly swears. As for The Weeds – when the whole team is there (Matt Yglesias, Sarah Kliff, and Ezra Klein) it’s amazing. But for a while it was just Matt, and while he’s awesome and so smart, his voice can grate on me. Has anyone watched Portlandia? Once I realized Matt’s voice sounds like the character Peter, it’s hard to hear it.

  5. I also recommend Code Switch (NPR). It’s commentary about race and culture, so naturally they get into some election stuff. It’s been very helpful to me post-election.

  6. This list is truly excellent – it’s the perfect mix of stuff I already listen to and would absolutely recommend (Keepin’ It 1600, Slate’s Gabfest, The NYT Run Up, 538, The Rachel Maddow Show) and also new stuff I didn’t know about and will now be adding to my weekly rotation (Humourless Queers, Call Your Girlfriend, The Weeds, and The President’s Inbox).

    Thanks so much for putting this together, Ali!

  7. another round is dope. bitchmedia’s podcast popaganda is awesome. i also deeply recommend see something, say something as it talks from a muslim perspective, not always news focused, but definitely touches on current events.

    my favorite political podcast as of late is the black joy mixtape, which is a radical podcast created by and for black women, specifically black queer women and femmes and it is AMAZING. they delve deeply into policy and can shade like no other. it’s so good. the read isn’t always political, it’s more pop culture but they do cover some political events, like the election when it specifically pertains to black folk.

  8. Is there any way that you and the autostraddle team could get together a pod cast! I would love it and i would subscribe….. Poly pocket, business arrow, and kaelyns new activist series could all work as regular podcasts, and a conversation for, you need help would be amazing…..as would irregular fools journeys….representing queer voices in podcasts is….hearing diverse queer voices. Ali you are so awesome I know you could make this tech work!

    On laughs…a novel i just read had a theme of comedy about the current political situation being dangerous because laughing at a comics take on a serious situation uses your energy to react against it. Comedy as anti activist propaganda if you will. So dont freakout if you dont think its funny, its just not funny anymore. Use that energy to voice your opposition to scrotus and flatus in 2017, on Aurostraddles podcasts….

    Heather interviews….

  9. You may find solace not in podcasts going on about the absurdity of Donald Trump but in something else. Take a page from the Trump supporters, live your life the way you always have. Don’t take crap from no one. You may live in the whitest most Christian neighborhood in the whitest most Christian town in Texas and you may be completely out of place but you are not. You are a human regardless of what you call yourself. Take pride in that. Remember the words Michelle Obama, when they go low, you go high. Live your life the way you want to and be respectful of those around you.

  10. Enthusiastically seconding Bitch Media’s Popaganda! It’s not a weekly political commentary (so, typically not immediately responsive to specific events), but it’s always interesting and relevant regardless. I’ve been listening to back episodes ever since Buffering the Vampire Slayer closed out its first season, and even those recorded a year ago easily hold my attention.

  11. fortification: a podcast about the spiritual lives and spiritual sustenance of leaders in social justice movements — is a really sweet fascinating look at organizing and spirituality—lots of amazing interviews with radical queer ladies too!! Caitlin Breedlove who produces it used to co-lead Southerners on New Ground (Southern queer organizing for justice)

  12. The Ezra Klein Show (hosted by Ezra Klein of Vox, one of the three hosts of The Weeds) is really great—long, in-depth interviews with really interesting people, many focusing on politics but some focusing on other things, not funny but also not just a horrible parade of sadness about the coming Trvmp presidency (which would be too much for me right now).

    And, a bit weirder, but Slate’s Dear Prudence is an advice podcast hosted by a bi woman (Mallory Ortberg, of The Toast) whose advice is informed by intersectional feminism. It’s funny, which I know you said you didn’t want, but in a few months if you feel ready to laugh again, this would be a good place to start because the jokes are never at the expense of marginalized communities.

  13. I run a podcast called Over It! exploring grassroots efforts to combat political inequality, discrimination, and all around craziness on the national stage. Check it out at overitpodcast.com.

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