I give more of my time to podcasts than any other medium. My favourite podcasters are constant companions as I go about my day. So as I process the shocking outcome of the US presidential election this week, I’m not surprised that the responses I’ve valued most have been podcast episodes.

I’ve chosen two episodes—one a heartfelt exploration of two voters’ post-election emotions, one a thoughtful analysis of the lessons to be learned—to highlight today. They deserve the widest possible audience.


Exponent 095—The Backlash Has Arrived

Exponent is a podcast about business and technology, but the hosts frequently have interesting thoughts on politics as well (unsurprisingly, considering how much overlap there is between those three fields). In particular, Facebook’s and Twitter’s impact on political opinion has been a long-running theme of their discussions.

There are many quotable insights in this episode, but I want to pick out one early comment that cuts to the heart of what I’ve seen expressed on Twitter (both this week and after the Brexit referendum):

There’s been a lot of talk in the last couple of days about the Facebook effect and people being in their own filter bubbles. And I get the sense that a lot of the angst in, frankly, the coastal elite circles we travel in is blaming Facebook for Trump supporters reading false news, or something along those lines. And no question there’s that sort of stuff going on […].

But there’s a bit of ‘pot calling the kettle black’ here. What I mean is, if this happened and you’re sitting there and you cannot even fathom how this happened, then you are probably in a bubble too.

The temptation to surround yourself with inputs that you agree with and you understand and to view everything from your own personal background: that’s not unique to Brexit supporters or Trump voters. That’s unique to the human condition. From what I can see, it has been very prevalent and every single one of us […] who cannot fathom this is guilty of exactly the same thing they are railing about.

Ben Thompson (6:02 in)

If you’re politically engaged, you might find that this episode touches a nerve or two. But approach it with an open mind and I promise you will find it valuable, as an alternative way of interpreting recent events if nothing else.


The Talk Show with John Gruber—Ep. 172: ‘Holiday Party’, with Special Guest Merlin Mann

Two ordinary Americans who voted Hillary, working through the hangover (in every sense of the word) from election night. It’s very low key and personal, and they make a genuine effort to be inclusive and light-hearted despite feeling anything but those things. It’s sweet, funny, scary, and reflective, and they’re not afraid to divert onto whimsy and trivialities to keep the conversation light.

I think the difference here is, it’s not that my team didn’t win, it’s that maybe I just don’t understand baseball anymore.

Merlin Mann (16:04 in)

This was a wonderful respite from the cheerless fatalism affecting so many people I know and like at the moment.


bonus tweets

The commentariat smoothly switched from articles chronicling Trump’s ‘inevitable’ defeat to opinion pieces ‘explaining’ his victory. Many are enlightening (or at least thought-provoking), but these more cynical notes are worth bearing in mind: