Politics: Steady Diet of…Something

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump

Just seventy-four days left until Election Day. I don’t talk about politics here very much but I do spend a lot of time thinking about it, particularly during this crazy campaign season. In fact, these days I find myself consuming more about Clinton and Trump than just about any other topic. Here’s a rundown of all the news sources I hit regularly…

Politico Though I’ve never counted, it wouldn’t surprise me if I refresh Politico as many as fifty times a day to see what’s new. This was especially true several weeks ago, during that stretch after the two political conventions, when Donald Trump seemed to say something outrageous every eight hours or so. Though I have lots of quibbles with its mobile app (its breaking news notifications often lead nowhere) I find Politico’s reporting to be, on the whole, quite good and very timely.

Playbook This is Politico’s daily tip sheet, sent out each morning around 7:30. It’s often the first thing I check; it provides a terrific overview of what all the major political outlets have published, and what will be driving the day.

Real Clear Politics A decent round-up of notable politics stories from around the web, updated twice a day. I check it regularly, but I don’t often click through to the actual stories. Many times I’ve already read them or they are so partisan (both liberal and conservative) that I don’t bother.

FiveThirtyEight Nate Silver and company’s superb, insightful, statistics-based outlook on politics, sports, and more politics doesn’t publish at a rapid clip (“just” once or twice a day), but it is a delight to read. It was a real shame for The New York Times when they lost that team.

The New York Times After all the furor of the election is over, the Times will be the one that I keep reading, day in and day out. The reporting is still superb and more definitive than any other source, though the way its content is offered is not without its problems. The politics desk’s Election 2016 section doesn’t seem to wake up too early in the day, as it can sometimes take until late in the morning for its “What to Know” section to get updated. The section is also buried in the site, so you really have to dig for it. Similarly difficult to navigate to are its First Draft daily politics newsletter (decent, though not essential) and The Upshot, which is their replacement for having lost FiveThirtyEight several years ago.

The Washington Post I wish that The Post and The Times would get together and offer a single bundle: if you subscribe to one at full-price, you’d have the option of adding a subscription to the second at half-price. As it is, I can only justify paying for access to The Post during election years, even though they produce a lot of very good content, and at a faster clip than The Times does. Their site however is in even worse shape than The Times’. Most of its politics stories have a right-hand column that goes into an overbearing, app-like elections news mode, triggered automatically whenever you look at the left column funny.

The Wall Street Journal Very solid stuff, though I “only” check it several times a week. Their Blue Feed, Red Feed tool is a really remarkable if sad illustration of the echo chamber at both ends of the political spectrum.

Talking Points Memo I’ve been reading Josh Marshall’s work for years, so I come back here from time to time. They do some genuinely valuable reporting, but I have little patience for heavily liberal coverage these days, and that’s a lot of what you get here. There’s a whole universe of much, much more liberal sites than this one that I largely don’t bother with, too. To be clear, I’m a dyed-in-the-wool lefty, but I’ve lost my taste for unhinged partisanship.

That’s what I read every day, but I’m also listening to a ton of politics coverage on my phone. Here are the podcasts I subscribe to—for each one, I listen to new episodes almost as soon as they’re out:

NPR Politics This is really my favorite politics podcast, bar none. It’s got great, insightful commentary and genial banter that doesn’t try too hard. They release new episodes on Thursdays, though there are often quick hits released earlier in the week, too.

FiveThirtyEight Elections Podcast Pretty much exactly as good as you’d expect from the people who write the web site.

NYT The Run-Up Podcast Recently launched and very good. Timespolitics reporter Michael Barbaro makes for a great host, though some of the segments on the show are a bit too overproduced for my taste.

Keepin’ It 1600 Terrific name. I’m not sure I understand why The Ringer exists or what the heck it is, but this podcast hosted by Jon Favreau and Dan Pfeiffer, former advisers to President Obama, is consistently good. It’s a little more partisan than I prefer, but it’s very revealing to get into the heads of people who have worked directly on campaigns and at the White House.

Ken Rudin’s Political Junkie Veteran radio reporter Ken Rudin is a real pro—both as an encyclopedia of political knowledge, and a host who brings together an eclectic collection of political stories.