Have you been feeling the political enthusiasm lately? I have. My day job is in public policy, and the political side has always been my least favorite aspect of it. But this year's presidential election has got me hooked like no other, and I just can't look away. If you're feeling the same way -- and even if you aren't -- I think you'll really enjoy listening to these ten great political podcast episodes. Most of them aren't about this year's election, they're just really great stories about hopeful candidates, those who won, the voters who elected them, and the billionaires who funded them.
From Prison to President from Radio Diaries [Dec. 24, 2015, 21 minutes]. Nelson Mandela spent twenty-seven years in prison, was released at the age of seventy-two, and became president of South Africa four years later. His first days in office are remembered in this great episode.
Harold from This American Life [Nov. 21, 1997, 59 minutes]. The story of Chicago's first black mayor from the mouths of those who knew him best. In the words of Ira Glass, "If you don't know anything about Harold Washington, you're in for a treat."
Heels in the Halls of Power: Ann Kuster from The Riveters Podcast [March 8, 2016, 41 minutes]. Congresswoman Ann Kuster talks candidly about reaching across the aisle and the unique skills women often bring to public office.
I Don't Have To Answer That from Radiolab [Jan. 29, 2016, 35 minutes]. Are politicians entitled to privacy when it comes to their personal lives? Hosts Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich explore the question journalists have grappled with for decades.
Livin' on a Mayor from Baltimore: The Rise of Charm City [March 18, 2016, 26 minutes]. In the midst of a pivotal election, host Stacia Brown chats with Baltimore's past mayors and the people who've known them well.
Take the Money and Run for Office from This American Life [March 30, 2012, 58 minutes]. A look at the absurd amount of money in U.S. politics, and how the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision altered the playing field.
That's One Way to Do It from This American Life [Feb. 19, 2016, 58 minutes]. A young, unlikely Donald Trump supporter comes to terms with the real reason he backs the campaign (hint: it has nothing to do with his policies).
When Mad Men meet Dark Money from Reveal [March 12, 2016, 52 minutes]. A look at the billionaires funding today's campaigns and the powerful role Super PACs are playing, even in small-town mayoral races across the country.