We Americans are changing. Newspaper companies have added blogs and weird video content. The president chats with Reddit users. Twitter is a “legitimate” source for constantly updated news. So God forbid we pay attention to the presidential election with anything less than the full power of an iPhone.
Sensing a massive gap in both the market and our attention spans, the technocrats have created new tools to help get us through the massive pit of hellfire we sometimes call “election season.” (And much to their credit, they’ve done it with instructions that don’t include “Step 1: Drink a massive amount of alcohol.”) Here are five election apps you should download now.
5. Drudge Report
Call us old-fashioned, but we love misleading, often blatantly racist headlines that link us to right-wing websites peddling Beltway-bubble batshit with a xenophobic hatred of President Obama. It helps us get through the day. Which is why we love the Drudge Report. In the lead-up to the election, there are going to be a lot of polls out there—and sometimes we only want to be linked to the ones showing Mitt Romney in the lead.
For the wonky, horserace-centric politicos amongst us, PollTracker can keep you company better than MSNBC at midnight. The free application gives you an aggregated average of poll numbers for every U.S. Senate, House and governor’s race around the country—and, of course, the presidency. Plus, you can actually look up voter information by gender, age and by issue.
3. Yo! Philly Votes
Local voting-rights activist Faye Anderson will soon be releasing a made-for-Philly app (available on Election Day but accessible online starting the first week October) that’ll allow voters to report mischief at the polls in an attempt to avoid another voter-intimidation controversy like the New Black Panther ordeal back in 2008. PW spoke to Anderson last week about the new app, which you can read about in detail at PhillyNow.com.
For the rabid talk-radio listeners among us, there’s Stitcher. This app will actually provide you a list of radio stations and podcasts so you can find out what went on that day, election-wise. And when you become physically ill from all that Sean Hannity double-speak, fear not. You can just switch over to music.
1. Ad Hawk
Money has ruined politics almost as bad as politics has ruined money (#Goldstandard2013). This year, we’ve got anonymous cash flowing every which way, super PACs running slimy advertisements—and to add insult to injury, we have to watch Mitt Romney pretend to act human. To somewhat ease the pain of these dark ads, there’s Ad Hawk. As you may have read in our cover story this week, when a campaign commercial comes on, Ad Hawk tells you about the political group in charge, where the money for the ad came from and where else it’s airing.
Following campaign money has never been easier—or more important. This year has seen an unprecedented flood of negative campaign ads in swing states like Pennsylvania. In the super PAC era of politics, voters may wonder about the veracity of mean-spirited advertisements sponsored by Orwellian-sounding entities. But courtesy of a group of activist Philadelphia software developers and their collaborators at a nonprofit government watchdog: There’s an app for that.
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