Best US politics podcasts to help you understand the election and inauguration

Katie Strick
·5-min read
 (BBC Sounds)
(BBC Sounds)

So, you want to sound like you know what you’re talking about ahead of Biden’s inauguration? It’s T minus 24 hours until the big day and, mercifully, a host of big names in podcasting are gearing up to help you get ahead.

HuffPost has a series specifically for Brits looking to make sense of all the Trump-Biden drama, Jon Sopel and Emily Maitlis go behind-the-scenes of all the chaos at the Capitol in the BBC’s twice-weekly Americast episodes, and Apple Podcasts is brimming with audio gold-dust straight out of Washington: every big name from CNN to US pollster FiveThirtyEight has its own hot-take.

From three female White House veterans discussing the key talking points of Biden’s upcoming presidency to Pod Save America’s star interviews with new vice president-elect Kamala Harris, this is your US election-cast directory.

Getty Images
Getty Images

Nerdcast: for Trump geeks

Every Friday, Politico’s top reporters dive into the American political landscape, the latest poll numbers, and detail what's really happening behind closed doors. Hosted by the site’s Washington campaign editor Scott Bland.

Weekly, Apple Podcasts, Spotify

Pod Is A Woman: for feminists

Three female veterans of the Obama White House - Alejandra Campoverdi, Darienne Page and Johanna Maska – discuss the issues that matter to women most in the presidency changeover. Interviewees include new First Lady Jill Biden and Sarah Lenti, executive director of the Lincoln Project.

Weekly, Apple Podcasts, Spotify

Americast: for Brexitcast fans looking for an American download

BBC big dogs and old friends Jon (“Sopes”) Sopel and Emily Maitlis bring all the latest gossip and on-the-ground details from the American political landscape. Episodes were traditionally weekly but have been dropping every few days as inauguration day inches closer.

Twice weekly, Apple Podcasts, BBC Sounds

BBC Sounds
BBC Sounds

Can He Do That?: for anyone confused by the boundaries of Trump’s power

The Washington Post breaks down current events in the US to understand the powers of the president. Each week, host Allison Michaels asks a new question, from how he incited a mob to why a country should impeach a president who is already on his way out.

Weekly, Apple Podcasts, Spotify

Tech and Science Daily, Inauguration Special: for tech geeks

The Evening Standard’s very own Tech and Science daily podcast now has an inauguration special. Listen for a download on how Washington DC is in tech lockdown for Biden’s inauguration day as cybersecurity experts reveal behind-the-scenes artificial intelligence strategies to stop repeat of Capitol violence.

One-off special, Apple Podcasts, Spotify

Running Mate: for Brits looking to make sense of the US election

HuffPost’s new election podcast wrapped up in November, but it’s a helpful reminder of all the dramas of the election run-up and aftermath if you need a refresh. Topics range from everything you need to know about Joe Biden to the sexism at the heart of US politics. In one episode, host Graeme Demianyk hears from Sky News’ US correspondent Cordelia Lynch and Vice News senior reporter Tess Owen about what it's like living in and reporting on America.

Weekly, Apple Podcasts, Spotify

Pod Save America: for anyone who misses the days of the Obama White House

Another one from ex Obama staffers – this time the fab four hosting team of Jon Favreau, Jon Lovett, Dan Pfeiffer and Tommy Vietor. Since topping the charts during the 2016 election and securing Obama’s final interview of his presidency, Pod Save America has become a legend on the political airwaves, known for bagging interviews with all the big names in the Democratic Party every Monday and Thursday. Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris and Joe Biden himself are among the most notable guests.

Twice weekly, Apple Podcasts, Spotify

AFP via Getty Images
AFP via Getty Images

In The Thick: for a more diverse perspective

A roundtable politics podcast from journalists of colour, hosted by award-winning journalists Maria Hinojosa and Julio Ricardo Varela. Episodes range from 17 to 47 minutes and guest panellists have included Jacob Soboroff, a correspondent for NBC News, and Jamaal Bowman, 2020 Democratic nominee for Congress in New York’s 16th District.

Three times weekly, Apple Podcasts, Spotify

CNN Political Briefing: for people in a rush

A daily download of the US election news, in 10 minutes or less. CNN Political Director David Chalian summarises the day’s events, from America’s impeachment problem to what to look forward to once Biden becomes president. If you prefer your American updates less regularly, download its weekly sister podcast, CNN Politically Sound – also a maximum of 10 minutes.

Daily, Apple Podcasts, Spotify

FiveThirtyEight Politics: for numbers nerds

Analysis of all the US political action from ABC news and data site fivethirtyeight.com. Each week, host and founder Nate Silver is joined by a team of political journalists for an insight into voters’ thinking and what led to the attack on the Capitol.

Weekly, Apple Podcasts, Spotify

AFP via Getty Images
AFP via Getty Images

The Brown Girls Guide to Politics: for listeners interested in women of colour running for office

20-minute conversations with women of colour killing it in the world of American politics. This one also wrapped up in November but its interviews are inspiring and still relevant as we approach inauguration day.

Now onto season five, host A’shanti Gholar interviews women from representative Barbara Lee of California to Jenny Kaplan, host of Women belong in the House podcast, on Kamala Harris making history as he first Black woman and South Asian woman on a major party presidential ticket.

Monthly, Apple Podcasts

For more US inauguration analysis, see the Evening Standard’s Lockdown Session with George Osborne and Philip Collins discussing what to expect from Biden’s presidency

@katie_strick