Decipher the presidential race with these iPhone apps

Oct 24, 2011
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Between Presidential hopeful Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan, Mitt Romney’s skinny jeans and Michelle Bachmann’s Christian ideology, it’s hard to get a grip on the Republican presidential primary. Add to it President Obama’s re-election bid and the mixed messages of Occupy Wall Street and it’s a wonder that anyone knows how they are going to vote […]

Between Presidential hopeful Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan, Mitt Romney’s skinny jeans and Michelle Bachmann’s Christian ideology, it’s hard to get a grip on the Republican presidential primary. Add to it President Obama’s re-election bid and the mixed messages of Occupy Wall Street and it’s a wonder that anyone knows how they are going to vote come November 6, 2012.

The good news is that we all have a little bit of time to figure things out, and there are several clever iPhone apps on the market to make life easier. So take a look at the following. Whether you are learning right or left, or somewhere in between, they will serve you well.

Before delving into the nitty-gritty of 21st century American politics it might behoove you to brush up on its origins. The free Politics – The Essential College app has the works of the most famous political writers of all times including Aristotle, John Locke, and Niccolò Machiavelli. If any of the candidates quote “common sense” mid-debate, you will be able to keep pace no problem.

The C-SPAN Radio app (also free) might also make for a good investment for someone trying to make sense of what is happening in Washington, D.C. It includes live feeds for C-SPAN radio, C-SPAN, C-SPAN 2 and C-SPAN 3. But for non-insiders, we recommend the app’s podcasts, which are broken down into more manageable categories that can be searched by topic or person.

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Unsure who represents you in U.S. Congress? The Congress app ($0.99) includes every member of the Senate and House of Representatives, as well as critical information such as their political party, contact information, margin of victory in the last election and a short personal bio. Another cool feature is that it includes links to campaign finance tracking websites. Money is a driving force in politics and it’s nice to see where it is coming from.

As anticipation for the 2012 election builds, you are going to want to chose your news sources carefully. We trust you know how to find the traditional newspapers, so we’ll suggest a few others. The free Politico app, like its namesake website, is full of insider news from Capitol Hill. With reporters hitting the campaign trail alongside candidates, it offers lots of smart analysis and commentary. Some of Politico’s best stuff is dissecting how the media itself is covering the race.

The Slate Magazine app (free) is another good alternative to The Washington Post, The New York Times, etc. The editors and writers always seem to find clever, creative angles to news stories that are beaten dry by other journalists. Currently, Slate has some great articles on Cain’s lighting-fast rise in the polls, and the long-term implications of Muammar Gaddafi’s death for political stability in the Middle East.

With all sorts of facts and figures flying around, it can be tough to decipher who is telling the truth and who is stretching it. The $1.99 Politifact Mobile app will help you do just that. The app does the leg work for you, fact checking all sorts of statements and soundbites made by the political contenders. The app also tracks the percentage of promises kept by political parties and individual leaders.

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Related iPhone App List: 10 Must Have Apps for the Political News Junkie

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Megan O'Neil

Megan O'Neil is a journalist and freelance writer in Los Angeles. When she isn't lounging at the beach or socializing in the Hollywood Hills, she writes for the Park Labrea New/Beverly Press newspaper and the Los Angeles Times Community News Group.

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