47 episodes

On February 10th, 1796, Vice President John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail, lamenting the state of discourse in the country. The election was nearing—and becoming heated. Newspapers screamed, factions warred, and John Adams was dismayed with what he called “the wicked Game.”
Americans in 2020 can relate. They still have to endure weeks of shouting, outrage, and the worst sort of political rancor as the country once again chooses its president.
But it’s almost always been this way. And to prove it, American Elections: Wicked Game will review the entire history of presidential elections, from the unanimous and inevitable election of George Washington in 1789 to Donald Trump’s surprise electoral victory in 2016.
From the host of the American History Tellers and American Scandal, this new podcast will explore all 58 presidential elections to discover that there never never was a “good ol’ days,” and that presidential politics has always been played dirty.

American Elections: Wicked Game Wondery

    • History
    • 4.8, 2K Ratings

On February 10th, 1796, Vice President John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail, lamenting the state of discourse in the country. The election was nearing—and becoming heated. Newspapers screamed, factions warred, and John Adams was dismayed with what he called “the wicked Game.”
Americans in 2020 can relate. They still have to endure weeks of shouting, outrage, and the worst sort of political rancor as the country once again chooses its president.
But it’s almost always been this way. And to prove it, American Elections: Wicked Game will review the entire history of presidential elections, from the unanimous and inevitable election of George Washington in 1789 to Donald Trump’s surprise electoral victory in 2016.
From the host of the American History Tellers and American Scandal, this new podcast will explore all 58 presidential elections to discover that there never never was a “good ol’ days,” and that presidential politics has always been played dirty.

    1960, Nixon vs. Kennedy: Behind the Curtain

    1960, Nixon vs. Kennedy: Behind the Curtain

    Democrat John F. Kennedy and Republican Richard Nixon fight for the White House on new technological turf: the rise of television sets the stage for an unprecedented campaign defined by race, religion and dirty tricks. But on the campaign trail, “Tricky Dick” Nixon meets his match in John F. Kennedy’s relentless brother, Bobby Kennedy.  

    Created, hosted and executive produced by Lindsay Graham for Airship. Sound design by Derek Behrens. Audio editing by Mollie Baack. Co-Executive produced by Steven Walters in association with Ritual Productions. Written and researched by Thomas Addy. Fact checking by Gregory Jackson and Cielle Salazar from the podcast History That Doesn’t Suck. Music by Lindsay Graham.

    If you like this show, please support it! Become a subscriber at www.wickedgamepodcast.com

    • 42 min
    1956, Stevenson vs. Eisenhower: A Chance for Peace

    1956, Stevenson vs. Eisenhower: A Chance for Peace

    In the run up to the 1956 contest, Ike battles severe health issues, an intensifying Cold War and enemies in the Democratic party. But his greatest struggle during the campaign isn’t with Adlai Stevenson and the Democrats, it’s with his Secretary of State: John Foster Dulles. The conflict between these two political titans comes to a head in the middle of a contentious domestic election largely defined by foreign affairs.   

    Created, hosted and executive produced by Lindsay Graham for Airship. Sound design by Derek Behrens. Audio editing by Mollie Baack. Co-Executive produced by Steven Walters in association with Ritual Productions. Written and researched by Cielle Salazar. Fact checking by Gregory Jackson and Cielle Salazar from the podcast History That Doesn’t Suck. Music by Lindsay Graham.

    If you like this show, please support it! Become a subscriber at www.wickedgamepodcast.com.

    • 39 min
    1952, Stevenson vs. Eisenhower: The Fund Crisis

    1952, Stevenson vs. Eisenhower: The Fund Crisis

    Dwight “Ike” Eisenhower takes on a determined Democratic party united behind the popular Illinois governor, Adlai Stevenson. But in the run up to the 1952 contest, Ike’s biggest cross to bear is not the Democrats; it’s a member of his own party. As Ike defies the Republican establishment and fights for the White House on his own terms, he does his best to reign in his Vice President; a political power house named Richard Nixon. 

    Created, hosted and executive produced by Lindsay Graham for Airship. Sound design by Derek Behrens. Audio editing by Mollie Baack. Co-Executive produced by Steven Walters in association with Ritual Productions. Written and researched by Cielle Salazar. Fact checking by Gregory Jackson and Cielle Salazar from the podcast History That Doesn’t Suck. Music by Lindsay Graham.

    If you like this show, please support it! Become a subscriber at www.wickedgamepodcast.com.

    • 43 min
    1948, Dewey vs. Truman: The Gangbuster

    1948, Dewey vs. Truman: The Gangbuster

    In the wake of World War II, as President Truman fights to establish a new peace, Republican Governor Thomas Dewey gears up for a second run at the White House. As Truman strives to fulfill Franklin D. Roosevelt’s progressive legacy with his “Fair Deal” for America, Dewey tries to capitalize on a growing anti-Truman sentiment brewing all across the nation. 

    Created, hosted and executive produced by Lindsay Graham for Airship. Sound design by Derek Behrens. Audio editing by Mollie Baack. Co-Executive produced by Steven Walters in association with Ritual Productions. Written and researched by Steven Walters. Fact checking by Gregory Jackson and Cielle Salazar from the podcast History That Doesn’t Suck. Music by Lindsay Graham.

    If you like this show, please support it! Become a subscriber at www.wickedgamepodcast.com.

    • 40 min
    1944, Dewey vs. Roosevelt: The Last Stand

    1944, Dewey vs. Roosevelt: The Last Stand

    As World War II rages on, FDR is in the political fight of his life against a young political newcomer, Republican Thomas Dewey. Riding the wave of Republican gains in the 1942 midterms, the youthful, fresh-faced Dewey attacks the tired old man in the White House by promising to bring about a swift end to the war.

    Created, hosted and executive produced by Lindsay Graham for Airship. Sound design by Derek Behrens. Audio editing by Mollie Black. Co-Executive produced by Steven Walters in association with Ritual Productions. Written and researched by Steven Walters. Fact checking by Gregory Jackson and Cielle Salazar from the podcast History That Doesn’t Suck. Music by Lindsay Graham.

    If you like this show, please support it! Become a subscriber at www.wickedgamepodcast.com.

    • 45 min
    1940, Willkie vs. Roosevelt: Storm on the Horizon

    1940, Willkie vs. Roosevelt: Storm on the Horizon

    Against the backdrop of World War II, FDR’s position of neutrality is threatened as he seeks to become the first president to serve three terms in office. To win the White House in the 1940 contest, FDR must get the best of business tycoon Wendell Willkie, a former Democrat and an affable political outsider with an axe to grind.

    Created, hosted and executive produced by Lindsay Graham for Airship. Sound design by Derek Behrens. Co-Executive produced by Steven Walters in association with Ritual Productions. Written and researched by Steven Walters. Fact checking by Gregory Jackson and Cielle Salazar from the podcast History That Doesn’t Suck. Music by Lindsay Graham.

    If you like this show, please support it! Become a subscriber at www.wickedgamepodcast.com.

    • 43 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
2K Ratings

2K Ratings

genuinejake ,

Great Storytelling

I think 1865 is the crown jewel of this producer's crown, but American Elections is fantastic as well. As a history teacher, there's some idiosyncrosy or even factoid I pick up that I hadn't previously known. For that, I'm grateful.

Rich Woolery ,

Illinois did not decide the 1960 election

If JFK had lost Illinois, he still would have won the election with 276 electoral votes. Thus, Mayor Daley’s alleged theft made no difference.

Crazyeddie56 ,

Please make a correction.

We love your podcast. In a month and a half I’ve caught up to today’s episode on Kennedy-Nixon. For the sake of your credibility, though, you need to make a change. The Nixon-Kennedy debate was not held in Los Angeles. It was held in WBBM in Chicago. Please make the change.

Top Podcasts In History

Listeners Also Subscribed To

More by Wondery