The Run-Up

The New York Times

“The Run-Up” is your guide to understanding the 2024 election. Host Astead W. Herndon talks to the people whose decisions will make the difference. Listen to this podcast in New York Times Audio, our new iOS app for news subscribers. Download now at

  • 46 minutes 56 seconds
    Can Celebrities Make a Difference? Your 2024 Election Questions, Answered

    If the 2024 presidential election were a road trip, we would now be at the part where you start to wonder: Are we there yet? The matchup is set, but there’s still such a long way to go until November.

    And one of the things we’ve noticed about the questions that you’ve been sending in is that you’re starting to mix it up. You want to know what Donald Trump’s possible vice-presidential picks are, how down-ballot races are shaping up, and what difference celebrity endorsements could make.

    This week, we’re answering your questions by setting the main characters of 2024 aside and talking about the people who aren’t named Donald Trump or Joe Biden. Some are candidates and public officials. Others are a little farther from politics. But they all could have an impact on the election come November.

    Do you have a question about the 2024 election? We want to hear from you. Fill out this form or email us a voice memo at [email protected]

    16 May 2024, 9:00 am
  • 47 minutes 34 seconds
    Inside the College Democrats’ Rebuke of Biden

    Here’s what we know when it comes to the antiwar protests on college campuses and electoral politics: President Biden does seem to have a problem with young activists on the left. The disapproval only intensified in the days after the president spoke critically about the protests.

    But whether or not he has a larger problem with young voters in general remains to be seen. Which is why one statement from a more mainstream group, saying the administration is on a “mistaken route,” is worth considering.

    That group? The College Democrats of America.

    That’s an organization that is closely aligned with national party leadership, and the leaders of the group are delegates to the Democratic National Convention. Which means, they’re the young people who would seem most likely to support Mr. Biden.

    So over the past few days, we reached out to a bunch of leaders within the College Democrats to get the inside story of how that statement came to be — and to understand what it might mean for November.

    9 May 2024, 9:00 am
  • 55 minutes 42 seconds
    The Democrats' New Chance in Wisconsin

    For years, Wisconsin has been one of the most heavily gerrymandered states in the country, with legislative districts that overwhelmingly favored Republicans. In fact, the maps were so one-sided that, even though the state has a roughly equal share of Democrats and Republicans, Republicans were able to lock in large majorities in the State Assembly and Senate.

    But earlier this year, the state adopted new maps, which have significantly changed the political landscape in the state for Democrats. They are newly optimistic.

    So after months of hearing about President Biden’s problems motivating the Democratic base, we traveled to the critical battleground state of Wisconsin to ask: Have new maps led to new energy for Democrats, up and down the ballot?

    2 May 2024, 9:00 am
  • 43 minutes 27 seconds
    The Comedian Roy Wood Jr. on Biden, Trump and What’s Funny About 2024

    The stakes of the 2024 presidential election could not be more serious. But in this matchup of two old, largely unpopular candidates, there is no shortage of material for comedians.

    This may be bad news for voters. However, it’s good news for the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner — essentially the Super Bowl of political comedy — which takes place this Saturday in Washington.

    The president typically attends the dinner and gives a speech, while also trying his hand at some jokes. But the main event is a set from a comedian. Last year, Roy Wood Jr., a veteran performer who was then a “Daily Show” correspondent, did the honors.

    Today, we talk with Roy Wood Jr. about that gig and political comedy in 2024.

    What’s it like to roast the president to his face? And what is there to laugh about in an election that doesn’t seem funny at all?

    25 April 2024, 9:00 am
  • 47 minutes 58 seconds
    The Youngest Voters and the Oldest President

    In a close election, every vote matters. But in the 2020 presidential race, there’s a good argument that young voters mattered a lot — and helped tip the scales for President Biden.

    This year, though, things seem much less straightforward. Polling data shows that Mr. Biden’s approval rating has tanked among young Americans. Polls also show that he continues to be hounded by the perception that he is too old for the job. And young activists are creating a public-relations nightmare for the campaign as they protest for more direct action on climate change and demand a permanent cease-fire in Gaza.

    In this episode, we speak to young voters. We also talk with two leaders of Democratic groups that are focused on young people: Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez, the executive director of NextGen America, which just conducted a poll of young voters, and Santiago Mayer, the founder and executive director of Voters of Tomorrow.

    18 April 2024, 9:00 am
  • 35 minutes 58 seconds
    Nebraska Was Minding Its Business Until Charlie Kirk Came Along

    Right now, President Biden’s clearest path to re-election in November seems to run through the middle of the country.

    Here’s what that would look like: Biden wins the key battleground states of Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan — plus the other states that usually go blue — and it brings him to 269 electoral votes, just one vote shy of securing the presidency.

    And that’s where Nebraska comes in.

    Nebraska is one of just two states that distributes electoral college votes proportionally rather than with a winner-take-all approach. That means that, even though it’s a largely conservative state, Nebraskans sometimes still give one of their five electoral votes to a Democrat, as they did for Biden in 2020.

    This year, Nebraska and the up-for-grabs nature of that one electoral vote have caught the attention of the right-wing commentator Charlie Kirk, former President Donald Trump and his supporters. In recent weeks, they’ve mobilized and are throwing Nebraska’s unique electoral system into flux.

    On “The Run-Up” this week: A story about the electoral college, the power of right-wing media and the ongoing fight over who gets a voice in U.S. elections.

    Do you have a question about the 2024 election? We want to hear from you. Fill out this form or email us a voice memo at [email protected]

    11 April 2024, 9:00 am
  • 48 minutes 22 seconds
    Biden Is Winning the Money Race. Does It Matter?

    Last week President Biden, flanked by former Presidents Obama and Clinton, came to Radio City Music Hall for what Biden’s campaign called “the most successful political fund-raiser in American history.” The former Presidents, alongside celebrities like Stephen Colbert, Mindy Kaling, Lizzo, and Queen Latifah, spoke to an audience of 5,000 donors. And according to the Biden campaign, the event brought in more than $25 million.

    That fund-raising haul further tips the scales in the money race between Trump and Biden — a race that, so far, the Democrats have been winning. But Biden’s big cash advantage hasn’t helped solve his political problems. And when two candidates are as well known as Biden and Trump, there might be a limit to what money can buy.

    This week, we speak with longtime Democratic donor Robert Wolf about the Radio City fund-raiser and why he’s donated to Biden. And National Political Correspondent Shane Goldmacher explains the vast financial gap between the candidates.

    4 April 2024, 9:00 am
  • 47 minutes 23 seconds
    What About the People Who Don’t Vote?

    The people who don’t vote are often left out of the political conversation. Campaigns don’t spend much money on them, and the media doesn’t devote much coverage to them. But to understand a presidential contest like the 2024 race — one that threatens to be extremely close — we have to understand not just the people who show up to vote, but also those who sit out elections.

    This week, we talk to several people who skipped the last Trump-Biden matchup in 2020 and ask how they’re thinking about 2024. We also speak to Anthony Williams, who directed a project at the Knight Foundation that surveyed 12,000 nonvoters ahead of the 2020 election. We ask: How do you define this group of people? And what, if anything, will change their minds when it comes to voting?

    Do you have a question about the 2024 election? We want to hear from you. Fill out this form or email us a voice memo at [email protected]

    28 March 2024, 9:00 am
  • 42 minutes 15 seconds
    Don’t Ask RFK Jr. About Being a Spoiler

    This week, the Democratic National Committee formed a unit to push back against third-party candidates and independents. At the same time, a number of Biden allies have formed a super PAC called Clear Choice, which plans to do the same, signaling the seriousness of the potential impact of an outsider candidate.

    One such candidate, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., is polling above 10 percent in national surveys and is well known for his family lineage.

    Today, the candidate shares why he decided to jump in, the issues that matter most to him personally and his thoughts on positioning himself as a potential spoiler.

    Do you have a question about the 2024 election? We want to hear from you. Fill out this form or email us a voice memo at [email protected]

    21 March 2024, 9:00 am
  • 43 minutes 48 seconds
    Why It Had to Be Trump

    On Tuesday night, Donald J. Trump won another four nominating contests and officially became the presumptive Republican nominee. That’s despite the criminal charges, the judgments made against him in defamation and sexual abuse cases, the hundreds of millions of dollars in legal penalties and the continued fallout from the events of Jan. 6, 2021.

    Considering all of that, we want to ask Republicans the same questions we posed to Democrats last week — and to answer them more directly than we have before:

    How exactly did we end up with Donald Trump as the Republican nominee again? And why?

    To answer these questions, we turn to two different branches of the Republican Party today.

    First, we speak with Henry Barbour, who has been a member of the Republican National Committee since 2005, a consummate party insider. He supported Nikki Haley in the primary but now supports Mr. Trump. Then we speak with Vivek Ramaswamy, who ran against Mr. Trump for the nomination, but was most similar to the former president among the other candidates in terms of ideology and style. He now fully backs his one-time rival and embraces the MAGA philosophy he represents.

    Do you have a question about the 2024 election? We want to hear from you. Fill out this form or email us a voice memo at [email protected]

    14 March 2024, 9:00 am
  • 49 minutes 46 seconds
    Why It Had to Be Biden

    With Super Tuesday behind us, this week is the end of one chapter of this campaign.

    On the Republican side, former President Donald Trump’s only remaining challenger, Nikki Haley, is out of the race. And on the Democratic side, President Biden has so far secured more than 70 percent of the delegates he needs to secure the nomination.

    The general election is here. And so too is the rematch we’ve been expecting, despite the fact that the majority of Americans continue to say they wish they had other options.

    So for the next two episodes, we’re going to focus on a question we hear more than anything else: How exactly did we wind up with these two candidates? And why?

    First up: We map Mr. Biden’s path to the 2024 election through conversations with Elaine Kamarck, a longtime member of the Democratic National Committee and the author of “Primary Politics: Everything You Need to Know about How America Nominates Its Presidential Candidates,” and Ron Klain, the president’s former White House chief of staff.

    Do you have a question about the 2024 election? We want to hear from you. Fill out this form or email us a voice memo at [email protected]

    7 March 2024, 10:00 am
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