The Best Political Android Apps for the 2016 Election
The next presidential election is still more than a year away, but you wouldn’t know it from watching the news. Candidates from both major parties are already deep into their campaigns in early voting states, and while Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are currently the heavy favorites for the Democrats and Republicans respectively, it’s still too early to say anyone is a lock for a party nomination. Luckily, there are already a few handy apps out there to help you wade through the political muck, or just have a bit of fun in America’s political circus.
Fox News Election HQ 2016
If you follow politics in the slightest, you’re familiar with Fox News, and odds are you either really love it or really hate it, but this is a well done app regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum. The app’s news section is regularly updated with tons of video content. Even if Fox’s slant on the news isn’t for you, there’s still a useful debate schedule for both the Democrats and Republicans and a scorecard for users to update during live debates. The app also features short profiles on every major candidate along with their Twitter feeds and related news articles. When it comes to following presidential politics on your Android, this is about as good as it gets.
It’s not the prettiest app, but it gets the job done. Like the Fox News app, this includes the Twitter feeds of all the major party candidates (plus Sen. Elizabeth Warren who says she’s not running and Vice President Joe Biden, who still hasn’t announced whether he’s running, and who isn’t featured in Fox’s app). Of more use though are the easily accessible Twitter links to a wide variety of political news outlets, including The Huffington Post, Time, The Hill and The Washington Post. There’s also some handy information about the electoral college and which way each state traditionally swings, so you can start figuring out now which candidate will win the most states next November.
Ted Cruz 2016
Texas Senator Ted Cruz’s campaign hasn’t exactly set the world on fire. He’s mostly struggled in the middle of a crowded Republican field, but he might have the best official app of any candidate running for president in 2016. Along with a newsfeed full of Cruz supporters, information about upcoming campaign events and the obligatory links to the senator’s social media accounts, the app makes supporting Ted Cruz into a game (something that rival Republican Rand Paul’s official app is sorely missing). You get 10 points for donating to his campaign, 25 points for inviting a friend to download the app, and 75 points for signing either a petition to “Stop the Iran Nuclear Deal” or another petition to “Defend Religious Liberty.” At 100 points you hit the rank “Intern,” and at 250,000 points, the app declares you a “Revolutionary.” It’s unclear if you get some sort of reward for topping the leaderboard, but I’d like to think that anyone who puts that much effort into supporting Ted Cruz at least gets an autograph or personal phone call.
Bernie Sanders 2016
None of the Democratic candidates have an official app for Android, but of the third-party apps for Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, the Bernie Sanders 2016 app is the most well-made. The app contains issue statements put out by the Sanders campaign, and a variety of “grassroots actions” such as pushing for endorsements from different groups on Facebook and Twitter. Probably the most creative feature of the app though is the “Bernrate,” which tracks by day or hour how many followers the Vermont Senator is picking up on Twitter and how many people are tweeting the hash tags #FeelTheBern or #Bernie2016.
And finally, how can you write a story about the 2016 election without examining the phenomenon that is Donald Trump? Unlike some other Republican candidates, Trump doesn’t have an official app, but that hasn’t stopped developers from publishing numerous games about the controversial candidate. The best currently available has to be “Trumpealo.” Each game begins with Trump on a stage making a controversial statement about Mexican immigrants. You then throw bottles, shoes and cacti at him to score points and keep him from leaving the stage. It may not have all the features of a traditional candidate app, but it’s actually a pretty good representation of the Trump campaign so far.
There you have it, the best Android apps available right now for keeping up with the 2016 election, but with more than a year of campaigning to go, it will be interesting to see what else pops up in the next few months, and if the eventual Republican and Democrat nominees choose to launch official apps of their own.