What I need, as an outsider of American politics, is an explanation of what is going on right now - such as the pre-elections for the candidates to the presidency. In addition to that I need background exposes in order to get the general picture right. The blog Democracy in America on The Economist does exactly that. It also provides audio which is integrated in the general Economist Podcast. Alternately there is a review of the latest caucuses and their results and an interview with a specialist on a certain general topic in the US.
The latest to issues I listened to with great interest carried these two marks. One analyzing the latest results and evaluating the three most likely candidates as things stand right now: McCain, Obama and Clinton. McCain earned from the success of the surge in Iraq and seems to manage to overcome the hesitations Republicans have with him (as not being enough of a conservative). Obama is characterized as the one who may mobilize 60% of the electorate, yet can also drop to 40%. Clinton on the other hand is named a controversial figure who may hold 49% and has no chance on the opposing 49% and whose presidential campaign should mean to to win over the remaining 2%.
The other episode features an interview with Bradley Smith about the way campaign financing is regulated in the US. Should this be reformed? What ideas are about that. (Among others from McCain) Generally, financing is not coming from the government but from private organizations and individuals. To what extent does that lead to more corruption or less?
More from the Economist:
Issues of Race,
The primary system,
The Economist in New Hampshire,
A biography for Barack Obama and one for Hillary Clinton,
The Economist podcast.