How To Stay Informed This Election Season
The 2016 presidential race is quickly shaping up to be one of the wildest in history. As such, it’s easy to keep up with some of its most outlandish moments—especially when said moments involve Donald Trump—given that they tend to be catnip for the media’s 24/7 feeding frenzy. It’s a bit more time-consuming, however, to keep informed on the actual issues, polls and other news that might inform your decision this November. Here is our busy girl’s guide to getting the best information, no matter your party of preference.
How To Stay Informed This Election Season
The Skimm: This daily digest is the best email in our inbox each day (aside from The Zoe Report, of course!). It bullet points all of the biggest news of the day into breezy, conversational paragraphs that will give you the gist of what's happening in under a minute.
NextDraft: NextDraft is very similar to TheSkimm, but without the female bent. Subscribing to both ensures you're doubly covered with soundbites on the most important news of the day.
Firsthand Feeds (Instagram)
Hillary Clinton: Hillary Clinton crushes the Instagram game. Her feed is peppered with inspiration, throwback photos of her family, and A-list celebrity appearances.
Donald Trump: Trump's Instagram is basically just a diary of the road, and it's clear someone on his team has taken it over by the non-controversial tone of its entries.
Bernie Sanders: It's ironic that the oldest candidate on the ticket is charming America's youth, but it makes sense if you think about how few favors America's current political setup has done them. Sanders's feed is another roadshow documentary, but there's something empowering and unifying about his content that warrants it a follow.
Marco Rubio: Rubio's feed has a real man-of-the-people angle, and it often showcases fan mail and other assorted user-generated content. Did you know you could buy a shirt with his face on it and text that reads "RuBAEo"?
Ben Carson: Carson's feed focuses on the people he meets out on the road, his family, and is heavy on videos of Carson's public and TV appearances. He looks awake in 75% of the photos, which is worth seeing.
Ted Cruz: This feed is actually great if you want to know where Cruz stands on issues in five minutes or less. A quick survey of this quotes-heavy account shows posts stating things like "It's time to defund Planned Parenthood" and "Congress must stop their bad Iran deal."
Daily Link Aggregators
Media Redefined: We've been getting this comprehensive newsletter for years, and while it's not always heavy on politics, there are occasionally politically relevant links included.
RealClearPolitics: This one is 100% political. It pulls content from a variety of sources—everything from Yahoo to The Atlantic—so you can pick and choose the headlines that interest you most.
Political Wire: Political Wire aggregates the most important political news of the day from a variety of outlets, with short teasers containing the most important soundbites.
Stats & Poll Predictions
FiveThirtyEight: This site keeps tabs on primary forecasts, so you can see who's expected to win in advance of each voting session.
Pew: There are a lot of political polls on Pew right now, so if you're looking to see where Americans stand on things like how good each candidate would actually be at the job of President, this is the perfect resource.
Gallup: Gallup claims to "know more about the attitudes and behaviors of employees, customers, students and citizens than any other organization in the world", so it's a great resource for learning the mindset of your fellow Americans.
Original, Short-Form Articles
BuzzFeed Politics: We're sure there's a quiz here somewhere asking "Which Presidential Candidate Are You?" but the bulk of the content is perfect for easy-to-digest breakdowns of the latest in political news. As it's Buzzfeed, the headlines tend to be more compulsively clickable than those of other news sites.
NY Mag’s Daily Intelligencer: Head here for smart and concise, left-leaning (or just, anti-Trump) coverage.
Daily Kos: For short, liberal takes on the race, this is your blog.
HuffPo Politics: This site can be a bit overwhelming, but it's nothing if not comprehensive. We suggest exploring the authors/source of each article before reading.
Daily Beast: Like Buzzfeed, The Daily Beast excels at generating enticing headlines. Examples include, "Satanists: We're Watching You, Ted Cruz," "Sanders: 'I Was Made an Honorary Woman'... Whatever That Means" and "Trump Has Lizard Brain."
Salon: Salon's oft irreverent tone is fun to read--"Ted Cruz declares war on gluten-free meals (because we are living through the dumbest election in history)" is a recent headline--and its writers don't shy away from delivering strong opinions.
Breitbart: This site, known as "the Huffington Post of the right," has an election hub that takes on news with a conservative angle.
HumanEvents.com: This website is a great source for opinion pieces from conservative voices like Ann Coulter and Pat Buchanan.
Wonkette: If you'd like to laugh more (and cry less) about the ridiculousness that is the 2016 presidential campaign so far, this might be the site for you. Its content isn't exactly known for being nice, however--think old school Perez Hilton in terms of its tone.
Insider DC Gossip
Politico: The cartoons alone are reason enough to make regular visits to this site.
Foreign Policy: For politics as it pertains to foreign policy, this site is a great source.
The Monkey Cage: This is the Washington Post's politics blog, with a mix of short form and longer form content. The only setback here is that there's a paywall, but it's affordable at $0.99 the first month and $2.50 a week thereafter.
National Review: This is your go-to for conservative opinion pieces. Its mission statement asserts that the National Review is out of place in American society because "in its maturity, literate America rejected conservatism in favor of radical social experimentation," so expect to find here what you might not elsewhere.
Christian Science Monitor: Despite this outlet's moniker, its content--outside of one article per week--is secular. We particularly recommend checking in on The Monitor Breakfast series for constructive conversations between journalists and public figures.
Vox.com: For short-form content catered to millennials, add Vox to your daily reading list.
The Washington Post: This outlet has one innumerable Pulitzer Prizes, so its (left-leaning) reporting on politics is definitely worth a read this election cycle.
FactCheck.org: This is a nonpartisan site dedicated to reducing 'the level of deception in U.S. politics.'
Politifact: This fact-checking site won a Pulitzer, so it's a good source for validating the truth in candidates' claims.
Slate's Political Gabfest: This podcast is described as 'the kind of informal and irreverent discussion Washington journalists have after hours over drinks.' It's one of the most popular political podcasts out there, so it might be a good place to start.
Decode DC: The aim of this podcast is to 'help Americans understand how crucial political issues affect everyday life,' so it might be a good one if you're a newbie to politics.
Washington Week: This is PBS's award-winning, political news show in podcast form. It's been around for over 45 years, and it features roundtable discussions with journalists on the issues of the day.
Best of the Left: This podcast takes an in-depth look at some of the major issues of our day, with a leftist lens.
Left, Right and Center: This NPR show provides well-rounded discussions that attack issues from all sides. If you're not sure which party you identify with on a particular issue, or you want to make sure you're making the most informed decisions, this is a great podcast to pick.
The Majority Report with Sam Seder: This daily podcast features interviews of authors, economists, journalists, activists and politicians.
The New Yorker: Politics and More: This weekly podcast offers in-depth political discussions hosted by The New Yorker's executive editor, Dorothy Wickenden. Episodes are short, averaging out at around 15 minutes each.
Politico: The Scrum: Just as insider-y as you'd expect from Politico.
Real Time with Bill Maher: If you don't have HBO or just want to multitask on your commute, we suggest tuning into this podcast, which also offers extras from the show.
Common Sense with Dan Carlin: If you're looking for an objective viewpoint, this podcast from the voice of Hardcore History is a great option.
Ken Rudin's The Political Junkie: Expect interesting guests from Rudin, who made a name for himself by hosting the "Political Junkie" segment on NPR's Talk of the Nation.
NPR's Politics Podcast: If you want to get all the news you need on your way to or from work, we suggest tuning in to NPR's Politics Podcast segments "Quick Take," which offers news-of-the-day, and "Weekly Roundup," which offers a look at all of the major political news of the week.
Showtime's The Circus: Tune into this Showtime docuseries if you want insider access delivered as Sorkin-style entertainment.