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Come one, come all to The Circus. This documentary series pulls back the curtain on the Trump era of presidential politics, revealing the intense, inspiring and infuriating stories behind the headlines. Key characters and events are presented in real time, as they are happening. The Circus is a non-partisan, never-before-attempted take on one of the most fascinating and consequential political periods in modern American history.

Genres: History
Station: Showtime (US)
Rating: 8.5/10 from 2 users
Status: Running
Start: 2016-01-17

The Circus Season 5 Air Dates


S05E01 - Obligations and Opportunities Air Date: 27 January 2020 01:00 -

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The Circus lives up to its name as the impeachment trial of President Donald J. Trump begins in earnest, and the all-important Iowa caucuses are less than two weeks away. With three of the top five presidential candidates locked in the Senate chamber hearing testimony, the Iowa race is too close to predict. Biden and Buttigieg have the state to themselves—and they're taking advantage of it—while Senators Sanders, Warren and Klobuchar must rely on surrogates at campaign events and off-hour interviews from DC.


S05E02 - Closing Arguments Air Date: 03 February 2020 01:00 -

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In the last full week before the caucuses, the focus is on Iowa and the closing pitch all of the Democratic candidates are making to voters. Campaign leaders for the major candidates weigh in on their final sprints, what they're excited about, and what is keeping them up at night. And even as his impeachment trial is underway in Washington, President Trump makes an appearance at an Iowa rally and The Circus is there to cover it.


S05E03 - Clusterf**k Air Date: 10 February 2020 01:00 -

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In one of the wildest political weeks in memory, the fumbled tallies at the Democratic Iowa caucus prevented the typical winnowing of candidates and essential momentum builds for the victors. With the stakes of the New Hampshire Democratic primary dramatically raised, all eyes go to the Friday night debate stage. Meanwhile, President Trump has the wind at his back, with a completed State of the Union address and an acquittal on both articles of impeachment from the Senate.


S05E04 - Unfinished Business Air Date: 17 February 2020 01:00 -

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The Circus is on the ground for the New Hampshire primary: the lead up, the results, and the fallout. With Bernie Sanders emerging as the favorite for the progressive branch of the Democratic party, and suddenly-ascendant Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar making compelling cases for the moderates, electability arguments are solidifying now that actual votes are being cast and results are coming in. Meanwhile, Michael Bloomberg waits in the wings, threatening to change everything.


S05E05 - What Happens in Vegas Air Date: 24 February 2020 01:00 -

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All eyes have turned to Nevada and its Democratic caucus. Bernie Sanders has the chance to cement his frontrunner status with a strong showing, and the other candidates are looking for opportunities to challenge him. The arrival of Michael Bloomberg on the debate stage shakes things up, with every candidate seeking to take on his controversial campaign. And with the memory of the botched Iowa caucus still fresh, Tom Perez, the president of the Democratic National Committee, is on the ground in Nevada to make sure this caucus runs smoothly.


S05E06 - On the Boil Air Date: 02 March 2020 01:00 -

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In the week of the South Carolina Democratic primary, with Super Tuesday closely following, voters are deciding if there is a viable challenger to leading candidate Bernie Sanders. African American voters in South Carolina and beyond could bolster Joe Biden's campaign, but will the results dramatically affect the race going forward?


S05E07 - Super Duper Tuesday Air Date: 09 March 2020 00:00 -

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In the run up to the Democratic primaries on Super Tuesday, The Circus covers the political theater of the annual Civil Rights march in Selma, AL, the endorsements of candidates who dropped out, and the remaining candidates crisscrossing the country in a last-minute hunt for undecided votes. And when the results of Super Tuesday turn the race upside down, the hosts check in with experienced Democratic strategists to wade through the repercussions.


S05E08 - The Cruelest Month Air Date: 16 March 2020 00:00 -

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The results of the Big Tuesday Democratic primaries in 6 states cemented Joe Biden's frontrunner status and gave him a seemingly insurmountable lead in delegates over rival Bernie Sanders. But Sanders has announced he isn't dropping out, and is planning to debate Biden and continue to push his progressive agenda. Meanwhile, with cancelled rallies and limits on travel, the coronavirus pandemic is affecting the race in ways large and small.


S05E09 - The New Abnormal Air Date: 17 August 2020 00:00 -

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Hot off the press after an interminable hiatus, The Circus returns with all the reaction to Joe Biden's monumental VP selection: Sen. Kamala Harris, the first woman of color to appear on any major party ticket. As forceful coverage from conservatives looms, former Veep candidates offer their candid advice. Elsewhere, the hosts get a behind-the-scenes look at the planning of history's first-ever virtual Democratic National Convention. Mid-season premiere.


S05E10 - Unconventional Air Date: 24 August 2020 00:00 -

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During the first-ever virtual Democratic National Convention, The Circus takes an in-depth look at the party's efforts to hold the best unconventional convention. Hosts dissect strategy, speeches and media coverage, as well as the Trump campaign's counter-programming attempts in Joe Biden's hometown of Scranton, PA. With the wisdom of her 2016 convention lingering, Hilary Clinton joins guest contributor Jennifer Palmieri to discuss Joe Biden's long road ahead as the Democratic nominee taking on President Trump.


S05E11 - Party of One Air Date: 31 August 2020 00:00 -

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The Circus is in the thick of the Republic National Convention in D.C., covering speakers, key speeches and the subsequent public reaction. Among other steady Trump confidants, Senior Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway and Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz preview the race ahead and break down President Trump's appeal to swing voters. Can Republicans offer a winning perspective on "law & order" in response to national rallies over recent police brutality in Kenosha, Wisconsin?


S05E12 - Law and Disorder Air Date: 07 September 2020 00:00 -

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The Circus travels to Kenosha, Wisconsin, the site of a week of civil unrest after the shooting of Jacob Blake. President Trump attempts to redefine the struggle for racial justice into a political choice between Black and Blue lives with his visit. And kicking off his campaign travel, Joe Biden faces the challenge of satisfying all wings of the Democratic party while condemning looting & violence. Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes joins Alex Wagner to speak on police reform and his states' response to protests.


S05E13 - Going Postal Air Date: 14 September 2020 00:00 -

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As states roll out mail-in ballots, The Circus takes a look at the controversy surrounding mail-in voting and its effects on the 2020 election. Despite no widespread evidence of voter fraud, what safeguards are in place to ensure the security of people's votes? The hosts speak with a Colorado election clerk and the Philadelphia Postal Service Union President. As Trump continues to vocalize his distrust of vote by mail, Biden campaign manager Jen O'Malley Dillon joins John Heilemann to discuss how strategy is adapting to guarantee voter turnout.


S05E14 - Force Majeure Air Date: 21 September 2020 00:00 -

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As the United States approaches a grim 200,000 deaths, The Circus investigates the politicization of COVID-19. While the Trump campaign continues to prioritize the economy, Joe Biden has emphatically upheld health experts, causing many to question how the discourse between Red & Blue will play in the 2020 election. With regard to the current political game in key battleground states, the hosts interview Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer, Biden Senior Advisor Symone Sanders and Republican political consultant Susie Wiles.


S05E15 - Full Court Press Air Date: 28 September 2020 00:00 -

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The Circus profiles the legacy of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and examines the political battlefield her death has created. Eager to capitalize, Senator Mitch McConnell and conservatives have zealously pushed to fill her vacancy before election day, while progressives strongly object. Republican strategist Charlie Black joins Mark McKinnon to analyze McConnell's motives. Meanwhile, former Principal Deputy Solicitor General Neal Katyal and Director of Demand Justice Brian Fallon discuss the implications of rushing a successor.


S05E16 - October Surprise Air Date: 05 October 2020 00:00 -

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The Circus covers the fiery first debate between President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden. Jen Palmieri explores Trump's aggressive debate strategy, swapping war stories with Philippe Reines, a member of the Clinton 2016 debate prep team. John Heilemann spends debate night with former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon. Alex Wagner and Mark McKinnon are on the ground in Cleveland gauging public reactions to the debate, as all the hosts react to the seismic news that President Donald Trump tested positive for COVID-19.


S05E17 - Crisis Mismanagement Air Date: 12 October 2020 00:00 -

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In a turbulent week following President Trump's COVID-19 diagnosis, The Circus is covering all the inquiry surrounding his health. As more people in Trump's circle test positive, the current functionality of the White House and outlook for the campaign has come under scrutiny. Alex Wagner talks with Kevin Madden, one of the top GOP communication experts, to discuss the White House's strategy in the days remaining until the election. Meanwhile, John Heilemann sits down with members of The Lincoln Project on the heels of the first Veep debate.


S05E18 - Steal This Election Air Date: 19 October 2020 00:00 -

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An examination of voting integrity, including issues concerning election day disputes, voter suppression and re-election rhetoric from the President, who is on the campaign trail despite his recent COVID-19 diagnosis.


S05E19 - End Games Air Date: 26 October 2020 00:00 -

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In the week leading up to the last Presidential Debate, The Circus takes stock of the 2020 race as Joe Biden and President Donald Trump play out their campaign endgames. With rising COVID-19 cases causing alarm, Barack Obama stumps in the key battleground state of Pennsylvania while Biden hunkers down to prioritize his health and debate prep. Former CDC head Tom Frieden gives his outlook on the virus and Cook Political Report editor David Wasserman provides a data-driven glimpse at the current state of the race.


S05E20 - Landslide? Air Date: 02 November 2020 01:00 -

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As the moment draws closer to election night, President Trump is struggling to contend with Biden in swing states. Biden takes a stand in Georgia, hoping to boost voter enthusiasm in competitive red-state Senate races. The Circus covers debate prep with SC Democratic nominee Jamie Harrison as he threatens incumbent Senator Lindsay Graham's seat. With both presidential candidates using new Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett to fuel their supporters, the hosts speak with NPR correspondent Nina Totenberg about the impact of her appointment.


S05E21 - Who the F*** Are We? Air Date: 09 November 2020 00:30 -

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As election night passes with many a ballot remaining uncounted, The Circus wraps up an unhinged election season with a special one-hour look at how the 2020 race between Donald Trump and Joe Biden has evolved. With results permeating into the days following, the hosts are on the ground in every key battleground state offering a unique perspective of how the Presidential race is playing out.

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