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26 Compelling Political Movies + TV Shows to Watch During Quarantine

Political Movies and TV Series

April 24, 2020

In a year where we expected campaign rallies and a never-ending series of ads, Iowa political followers are instead left watching C-SPAN and waiting for the Iowa State Legislative Session to resume. During this break from normalcy, it’s important to continue to entertain policy minds. What better way than to spend free time watching politically themed movies and TV shows? This post is chock-full of suggestions — ranging from personal favorites of The Partnership’s Government Affairs team to Twitter recommendations. The following list of titles, in no particular order, can serve as the perfect government relations viewing guide. Enjoy!

Note: All descriptions below are from IMDB.


Thank You for Smoking

“Satirical comedy follows the machinations of Big Tobacco's chief spokesman, Nick Naylor, who spins on behalf of cigarettes while trying to remain a role model for his twelve-year-old son.” LEARN MORE>

The American President

“A widowed U.S. President running for reelection and an environmental lobbyist fall in love. It's all above-board, but "politics is perception," and sparks fly anyway.” LEARN MORE>

The Distinguished Gentleman

“A conman discovers during a "job" that US Congress is where the money is. "Name recognition" gets him elected. Will he develop a conscience?” LEARN MORE>

Black Sheep

“A gubernatorial candidate hires a wormy special assistant whose only job is to make sure the candidate's well-meaning but incompetent brother doesn't ruin the election.” LEARN MORE>

Advise & Consent

“Senate investigation into the President's newly nominated Secretary of State, gives light to a secret from the past, which may not only ruin the candidate, but the President's character as well.” LEARN MORE>


“A chronicle of the weeks after the 2000 U.S. Presidential election, and the subsequent recounts in Florida.” LEARN MORE>

The Campaign

“An incumbent Representative embroiled in personal scandal faces a no-holds-barred challenge from a naive newcomer funded by two unscrupulous billionaire lobbyist brothers.” LEARN MORE>


“New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison discovers there's more to the Kennedy assassination than the official story.” LEARN MORE>

Casino Jack

“A hot shot Washington DC lobbyist and his protégé go down hard as their schemes to peddle influence lead to corruption and murder.” LEARN MORE>

King Ralph

“As the only relative to take over the Royal throne, a down on his luck American slob must learn the ways of the English.” LEARN MORE>


“As the American Civil War continues to rage, America's president struggles with continuing carnage on the battlefield as he fights with many inside his own cabinet on the decision to emancipate the slaves.” LEARN MORE>


“The story of Harvey Milk, and his struggles as an American gay activist who fought for gay rights and became California's first openly gay elected official.” LEARN MORE>

Ideas of March

“An idealistic staffer for a new presidential candidate gets a crash course on dirty politics during his stint on the campaign trail.” LEARN MORE>

Best of Enemies

“A documentary on the series of televised debates in 1968 between liberal Gore Vidal and conservative William F. Buckley.” LEARN MORE>

Miss Sloane

“In the high-stakes world of political power-brokers, Elizabeth Sloane is the most sought after and formidable lobbyist in D.C. But when taking on the most powerful opponent of her career, she finds winning may come at too high a price.” LEARN MORE>

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

A naive man is appointed to fill a vacancy in the United States Senate. His plans promptly collide with political corruption, but he doesn't back down. LEARN MORE>

TV Shows

West Wing

“Inside the lives of staffers in the West Wing of the White House.” LEARN MORE>


“A newsroom undergoes some changes in its workings and morals as a new team is brought in, bringing unexpected results for its existing news anchor.” LEARN MORE>

Last Week Tonight

“Former Daily Show host and correspondent John Oliver brings his persona to this weekly news satire program.” LEARN MORE>

Schoolhouse Rock

“A series of shorts illustrating various songs that teach multiplication tables, grammar, science, American history, computers, economics, and environmentalism.” LEARN MORE>


“A former White House Communications Director starts her own crisis management firm only to realize her clients are not the only ones with secrets.” LEARN MORE>


“Former Senator Selina Meyer finds that being Vice President of the United States is nothing like she hoped and everything that everyone ever warned her about.” LEARN MORE>

Madam Secretary

“A political drama which looks into the life of the Secretary of State as she tries to balance work with family.” LEARN MORE>

House of Cards

“A Congressman works with his equally conniving wife to exact revenge on the people who betrayed him.” LEARN MORE>

Designated Survivor

“A low-level Cabinet member becomes President of the United States after a catastrophic attack kills everyone above him in the line of succession.” LEARN MORE>

Parks and Recreation

“The absurd antics of an Indiana town's public officials as they pursue sundry projects to make their city a better place.” LEARN MORE>

The Partnership's Public Policy team engages with local, state and federal officials to create public policy that generates economic growth, business prosperity and talent development in Greater Des Moines (DSM). The Partnership is a nonpartisan organization.

You can count on The Partnership to continue to share accurate and fact-based updates as well. See more on COVID-19 here.

Ryan Moon

Ryan Moon is the Director of Government Relations and Public Policy at the Greater Des Moines Partnership.