If the past few months have been any indication, we’re in for a long, fluffy, gaffe- and poll-filled ramp-up to the 2016 presidential elections. As the former producer and social media manager for Ken Rudin’s Political Junkie podcast for nearly two years and a lifetime avowed news junkie, I’ve successfully slimmed down my Twitter lists to only include people who make their 140-character limits worth a glance. If your Twitter feed is absolutely bursting with BS hot takes, pointless polling, and utter nonsense, follow the people below instead. (Like anything to do with politics, you might not agree with what they tweet or the analysis they share, but it's important to see as many sides as possible to get through what's going to be a long race to the White House.)
Howard Mortman / @HowardMortman
Twitter bio: C-SPAN fan/C-SPAN staff. Influence: Larry Sanders. I was retweeted by @GarryShandling on 5/17/2015 -- same day as Mad Men finale. Which is really interesting.
Why you should follow: C-SPAN’s archives were absolutely essential to me in pulling archival tape for the podcast, but to the rest of the world, the round-the-clock cable network is largely shorthand for boredom. But Howard shares my enthusiasm for connecting political dots, and manages to put every news day into context by tweeting throwback screenshots, short clips, and years of institutional knowledge.
Case in point: Because C-SPAN captures everything, Howard tweeted this great video of Ted Cruz singing ‘Amazing Grace’ to the tune of “Gilligan’s Island.
Twitter bio: National Journal columnist. Political affiliation: Disruption. Imported from Detroit. Rights good at http://t.co/zearFUbNen
Why you should follow: Fournier is an equal opportunity critic with a long history of covering the Clinton family. He got his start covering Bill and Hillary Clinton when they were Arkansas’ first family, and moved up to become Washington bureau chief with the AP when the Clinton family came to the White House. Fournier is now a sharp-tongued columnist for NJ who is quick to interact with followers. Keep an eye out for him on TV and on radio interviews, too. He lends rare energy to usually stodgy set-ups.
Case in point: Ron’s rolling coverage of where 2016 candidates fell on the recent Confederate Flag debate, and his follow up article.
Twitter bio: NPR White House Correspondent, covering the Hillary Clinton campaign for the duration. Runner, baker, iphone junkie, terrible speller.
Why you should follow: an NPR reporter who once covered Congress, then the White House, now campaign 2016, Keith is an all-around badass who is great about interacting with her followers. A no-nonsense lady with an ear and eye for non-fluffy personal context behind the candidates and NPR’s signature storytelling style.
Case in point: Her contributions to NPR’s Journey Home series, talking about how presidential candidates’ homes inform their politics and personalities.
Twitter bio: Media Reporter, POLITICO | Phone: 571-269-1882 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | G-Chat: w.dylan.byers | Views are my own. RTs ≠ endorsements.
Why you should follow: Byers is worth a follow for non-political types who are fascinated with all the moving parts behind covering campaigns. He can tell you who’s landed a big interview, what reporter is covering which campaign, and which staffers are being fired for terrible gaffes. A no-nonsense tweeter who rarely uses up all 140 characters, Byers seems to be all about efficiency, sharing the best stuff, and disclosing as much as possible.
Case in point: His full release of the memo describing a ‘climate of fear’ at Bloomberg News’ Washington bureau.
Twitter bio: Managing editor at the Washington Post's The Fix blog. Dog person. Lover of condiments. And, yes, I have seen that Key and Peele sketch. Thanks for asking.
Why you should follow: Aaron is a snappy, meme-friendly tweep who hosts a weekly Q&A on the Washington Post's website on all the latest political news. He’s lightning fast at translating the biggest political stories of the day (usually in under 6 paragraphs), and shares some of WaPo’s best lighter fare that’ll make politics more digestible for non-junkies. I will stop scrolling for an Aaron tweet because it never wastes my time.
Case in point: His exchange with fellow WaPo reporter Philip Bump on Donald Trump’s improbable run -- check out his Jun 22nd tweets.
Twitter bio: Political columnist @DMRegister, covering Iowa state politics and the Iowa caucuses. Diehard Cyclones fan. Tweets and RTs are not endorsements.
Why you should follow: If you get sick of the DC echo chamber but still want a pulse on national campaigns, Kathie is a must-follow. She has been watching candidates parade through Iowa for years ahead of the caucuses and the now-defunct Ames straw poll. Des Moines press get access to candidates and understand voters in a way some national columnists just can’t. And she gives equal coverage to candidates of note in a very very crowded field.
Case in point: Her great live-tweeting of former Ohio governor John Kasich’s recent presser, and her obit for the straw poll.
Twitter bio: Roving reporter for @bpolitics. Finishing a book about progressive rock (W.W. Norton, 2015). email@example.com, 302-507-6806
Why you should follow: Another sharp-tongued tweep who is heavy on memes, jokes, and catching BS. Fair warning, he tweets a lot. His write-ups rarely focus on horse race, he continually pleasantly surprises me by covering an angle or subject I never thought of, and RTs some interesting partisan perspectives.
Case in point: His profile of a 35-year-old comedian who portrayed Bernie Sanders and other notable politicians throughout the years in several Funny or Die videos.
Twitter bio: The Political Junkie. Former NPR, ABC, Hotline, Camp Lokanda. Junkie podcast/column/ScuttleButton have all returned! http://www.krpoliticaljunkie.com
Why you should follow: I don’t just think you should follow Ken because he’s my former boss and I worked on his podcast. You should follow him because there are only a handful of people active on social media who know as much obscure and fascinating campaign trivia as this man. Aside from sharing his weekly interviews with newsmakers and the country’s best political scientists and pollsters throughout the week, Ken also regularly shares snapshots of his 70,000 strong campaign button collection, bits of history, political trivia and silly puns.
Twitter bio: Presidential campaign correspondent for NYTimes, political analyst for CNN. RTs don't necessarily mean agreement.
Why you should follow: Maggie started out as one of my favorite POLITICO writers, and has since moved up to cover Hillary Clinton for the New York Times. Aside from having a fantastic avatar, her Clinton coverage is extremely conversational and turns over every stone. She’s also a frequent writer for the New York Times’ “First Draft” morning newsletter, which is a must-read.
Case in point: Her take on how the Koch Brothers will factor in to 2016, and how left-leaning PACs will work against them
@amychozick - for her great Clinton coverage
@ConsultReid - for wide-ranging state-based political coverage
@mviser - for national politics and coffee tawk
@BuzzFeedBen - if you’re willing to give BuzzFeed’s political coverage a whirl
@TexasTribAbby - one stop shop for presidential candidates with Texas pull (Rick Perry, Jeb Bush, and Rand Paul)