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Ari Berman

Ari Berman is a senior contributing writer for The Nation magazine and a Fellow at The Nation Institute. His new book, Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America, was published in August 2015 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. He has written extensively about American politics, civil rights, and the intersection of money and politics. His stories have also appeared in The New York Times, Rolling Stone, and The Guardian, and he is a frequent guest and commentator on MSNBC and NPR. His first book, Herding Donkeys: The Fight to Rebuild the Democratic Party and Reshape American Politics, was published in 2010 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. (Photo by Ports Bishop)

  • Campaigns and Elections April 30, 2010

    From Willisville to Washington?

     Can an outspoken black progressive make history in Arkansas?

    Ari Berman

  • History April 5, 2010

    Labor to Lincoln: You’re Not Obama’s BFF

     Organized labor takes on Arkansas Senator Blanche Lincoln in a pair of new ads.

    Ari Berman

  • Political Figures March 31, 2010

    Lincoln Suddenly Stands With Obama

    Facing a tough primary, Blanche Lincoln changes her tune on healthcare reform.

    Ari Berman

  • Film March 10, 2010

    Remember 11/4/08?

     A new participatory documentary captures the excitement of Obama's election.

    Ari Berman

  • Campaigns and Elections March 2, 2010

    So Long Harold (Don’t Call)

     Harold Ford was the best thing that ever happened to Kirsten Gillibrand.

    Ari Berman

  • The Nation is reader supported.

  • Campaigns and Elections January 11, 2010

    Bad Model Ford

    The news that Harold Ford Jr., a conservative Democrat from Tennessee, is considering a primary challenge to New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is as laughable as ludicrous. I'm still having trouble taking Ford's bid seriously, but judging from a front page story in today's New York Times, Gillibrand's camp is preparing for war.

    Ari Berman

  • December 16, 2009

    Recall Lieberman (If Only We Could)

    Democrats have had more than enough of Joe Lieberman and his antics, including in his home state.

    "No one should hold health care hostage, including Joe Lieberman, and I'll say it flat out, I think he ought to be recalled," said Congresswoman Rosa DeLaura, the dean of Connecticut's Democratic Congressional delegation. "I know that may not even be an option in Connecticut, but 45,000 people die every year because theydon't have health care. We don't have the luxury to hold up a bill that could make a difference in people's lives. This is what we were sent here to do."

    DeLaura endorsed Lieberman during his race against Ned Lamont in '06, calling him "a very close friend of our family" and a "person of integrity who has fought so many good fights for people. I am proud to have worked side-by-side with him in this primary." (She endorsed Lamont after he defeated Lieberman in the Democratic primary.)

    Ari Berman

  • November 9, 2009

    The Just Say No Democrats

    The New York Times has an excellent graphic up today profiling the 39 Democrats who voted against healthcare reform in the House of Representatives on Saturday night. The Times notes that 31 of these Democrats represent districts won by John McCain, as if that's a sufficient excuse. But take a closer look at the numbers. Paradoxically, those Democrats voting against healthcare reform represent constituents most in need of health insurance.

    Dan Boren of Oklahoma, arguably the most conservative Democrat in Congress, leads the way. Twenty-nine percent of his non-elderly constituents lack health insurance. He's followed by Harry Teague of New Mexico (25 percent uninsured), Waco's Chet Edwards (23 percent), North Carolinians Mike McIntyre (23 percent) and Heath Shuler (21 percent), Blue Dog leader Mike Ross (22 percent) and fellow Southerners Gene Taylor (22 percent), Jim Marshall (22 percent) and John Barrow (21 percent).

    These Democrats will talk about fiscal responsibility and cost containment and preserving the free market, but let's get real--their votes had nothing to do with ideological concerns. After all, the legislation was severely watered down to please people like Mike Ross, who voted against the bill anyway. It was all politics, even though 22 of these Democrats won their districts by double-digits. Ross led the way, defeating his practically nonexistent GOP opponent by 72 points! He's hardly an endangered species.

    Ari Berman

  • November 6, 2009

    Injustice in Illinois

    There's a very important editorial in The Nation this week that I hope everyone will take the time to read. It's about the wrongful conviction of Anthony McKinney, who's been in prison for thirty-one years for a murder he did not commit. I'm posting the relevant portions below.


    On the evening of September 15, 1978, a white security guard named Donald Lundahl was murdered in a robbery gone awry in a racially fraught southern suburb of Chicago. Police fingered Anthony McKinney, an 18-year-old African-American with no criminal record, as the killer. The prosecution sought death by lethal injection; the judge sentenced McKinney to life in prison.


    McKinney has long maintained his innocence. Based on newly uncovered evidence, there's strong reason to believe that he has spent thirty-one years in prison for a crime he did not commit.

    Ari Berman

  • October 28, 2009

    Centrist Democrats = Corporate Sellouts

    Every time I hear about Joe Lieberman's latest apostasy, I think, Oy vey! There he goes again. More Joementum.

    Remind me why we still call this guy a Democrat? Sure, Lieberman caucuses with Democrats in the Senate--Joe is nothing if not opportunistic and who wants to be part of a lowly Republican minority?--but I think he forfeited his right to call himself one when he almost became John McCain's VP and campaigned stridently against an Obama presidency. Yet somehow he managed to keep his chairmanship of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Gotta love those Senate Democrats--they always find a way to reward someone for stabbing them in the back. See Baucus, Max.

    Following Lieberman's threat to filibuster a public option, every paper played up the story of how the "centrists" are now rebelling. Watch out, the centrists are coming! "Centrists unsure about Reid's public option," the Washington Post reported today. Let's get real. These holdouts are not centrist Democrats; they are corporate Democrats, which should be an oxymoron. They'll do whatever the healthcare industry wants and use their red state constituents as an excuse to do so. Only Lieberman is from Connecticut, one of the bluest states in the country. So what's his excuse?

    Ari Berman