As unlikely as it may seem, Senator Ted Cruz has become a top podcaster this week as the Texas Republican has used his newly-launched show Verdict to defend President Trump as impeachment swirls in Washington. Cruz’s show has unseated The Joe Rogan Experience and is ahead of the New York Times-produced The Daily on Apple Podcast’s ranker of top shows. The show has so far been downloaded more than 500,000 times according to Cruz aides, helped in part by a promotional retweet about the podcast from President Trump himself.
“Most people don’t have time to turn on C-Span and watch 13 hours of impeachment proceedings,” said Cruz. “The idea of the Verdict podcast is something easy, that someone can download and listen on the way to work in the morning,” he said in a Twitter post Monday.
Cruz hosts Verdict with Michael Knowles, a conservative political commentator. The pair records the show after each day’s testimony in the impeachment trial wraps up. That means in at least one case they taped a show after 2am. And even once the impeachment process wraps up, Cruz may have plenty to talk about and opt to keep the show running. He’s already begun dipping into his thoughts about the 2020 presidential campaign on the podcast.
In conservative circles more people have been looking at podcasts as a way to reach the next generation of voters. “They’re not going to read books about this, but they are all listening to podcasts,” said Danielle Crittenden, who co-hosts the Femsplainers podcast with Christina Hoff Sommers. Conservatives are spurred on in part by the success of The Daily Wire’s Ben Shapiro, whose show ranks among the top podcasts. It was No. 6 in December according to Podtrac. And McClatchy says many conservatives also see the effort as a way to counter program the left-leaning podcast producers like Pod Save America.