Nate Silver’s data journalism site FiveThirtyEight and ESPN Films will debut the first of a five-part series of short films tomorrow that promise to dive into some of the most iconic moments in U.S. election history.
Each episode of FiveThirtyEight Elections will be paired with a podcast and related-feature content to provide greater context to each moment.
The first, titled “The Dean Scream,” explores former presidential candidate Howard Dean’s infamous speech following his defeat in the 2004 Iowa Caucus. The special features interviews with the former Vermont governor and breaks down what many consider to have been his downfall.
“The films are going to bring people back to these moments we all remember, then break them down from a FiveThirtyEight perspective. In the podcasts, we’ll do the same, but also have a chance to dive a little deeper on some of the lesser-told angles,” FiveThirtyEight podcast host and producer Jody Avirgan told TheWrap. “For example, with ‘The Dean Scream’ podcast, we have a mini piece-within-a-piece that explores the way the microphone Dean was using that night may have distorted the sound of his yell.”
Silver and senior political writer and analyst Harry Enten are joined by several political insiders and observers, including former Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin, Dean’s former communications director Tricia Enright, campaign manager Joe Trippi, filmmaker Rob Reiner and 2004 John Kerry campaign manager Mary Beth Cahill.
“Dukakis” is the next episode in the series, exploring the infamous image of Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis’ small frame perched awkwardly on a 68-ton M1A1 Abrams tank in the summer of 1988. The picture is often blamed for sending Dukakis’ campaign into a tailspin, but the film promises to reveal other important factors beneath the surface that contributed heavily to the largest drop in favorability of any presidential candidate in history.
“Obama/Wright” is another scheduled episode, which plans to tell the story of Barack Obama’s speech that distanced the eventual presidential election winner from controversial Rev. Jeremiah Wright. The film will feature commentary from speechwriter Jon Favreau and chief campaign strategist David Axelrod.
Silver’s FiveThirtyEight first gained national attention during the 2008 presidential election, when it correctly predicted the results of the presidential election in 49 of 50 states, along with all 35 U.S. Senate races.