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John Nichols

National Affairs Correspondent

John Nichols, a pioneering political blogger, writes about politics for The Nation as its national-affairs correspondent. His posts have been circulated internationally, quoted in numerous books, and mentioned in debates on the floor of Congress.

Nichols is a contributing writer for The Progressive and In These Times and the associate editor of the Capital Times, the daily newspaper in Madison, Wisconsin. His articles have appeared in The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and dozens of other newspapers.

Nichols is a frequent guest on radio and television programs as a commentator on politics and media issues. He was featured in Robert Greenwald’s documentary Outfoxed, and in Joan Sekler’s Unprecedented, Matt Kohn’s Call It Democracy, and Robert Pappas’s Orwell Rolls in His Grave. The keynote speaker at the 2004 Congress of the International Federation of Journalists in Athens, Nichols has been a featured presenter at conventions, conferences, and public forums on media issues sponsored by the Federal Communications Commission, the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Consumers International, the Future of Music Coalition, the AFL-CIO, the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, the Newspaper Guild [CWA], and dozens of other organizations.

Nichols is the author of Horsemen of the Trumpocalypse: A Field Guide to the Most Dangerous People in America, forthcoming from Nation Books this fall, as well as The Genius of Impeachment (New Press); a critically acclaimed analysis of the Florida recount fight of 2000, Jews for Buchanan (New Press); and a best-selling biography of former vice president Dick Cheney, Dick: The Man Who is President (New Press), which has recently been published in French and Arabic. He edited Against the Beast: A Documentary History of American Opposition to Empire (Nation Books), of which historian Howard Zinn said: “At exactly the time when we need it most, John Nichols gives us a special gift—a collection of writings, speeches, poems, and songs from throughout American history—that reminds us that our revulsion to war and empire has a long and noble tradition in this country.”

With Robert W. McChesney, Nichols has co-authored the books It’s the Media, Stupid! (Seven Stories), Our Media, Not Theirs (Seven Stories), Tragedy and Farce: How the American Media Sell Wars, Spin Elections, and Destroy Democracy (The New Press), The Death and Life of American Journalism (Nation Books), Uprising: How Wisconsin Renewed the Politics of Protest, from Madison to Wall Street (Nation Books), and their latest, People Get Ready: The Fight Against a Jobless Economy and a Citizenless Democracy (Nation Books, March 2016). McChesney and Nichols are the co-founders of Free Press, a media-reform network, which organized the 2003 and 2005 National Conferences on Media Reform.

Of Nichols, author Gore Vidal says: “Of all the giant slayers now afoot in the great American desert, John Nichols’s sword is the sharpest.” (Photo by Robin Holland / Bill Moyers Journal)

  • November 15, 2006

    Back to the Future With Trent Lott

    After losing the House and the Senate in the November 7 election, Republicans have been talking about how to create a new and more appealing public image for the Congressional party that has suffered from its association with corruption scandals, crude policies and divisive statements.

    Well, the search for the fresh face of the Grand Old Party is done.

    Senate Republicans have elected as their "new" whip Mississippi Senator Trent Lott.

    John Nichols

  • November 14, 2006

    What Russell Feingold Wants to Do Now

    When a prominent political figure decides not to make an anticipated bid for the presidency, it is usually said that the exiting contender gave something up -- a chance to define the national debate, to lead the party and, perhaps, to occupy the White House.

    But U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold did not appear to be giving anything up when he sat down the other day for the first extended discussion about his decision -- announced only hours earlier in an e-mail message to supporters -- that he would not be a candidate for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination. After almost two years of speculation, which heightened as the three-term senator campaigned nationwide this year on behalf of like-minded Democrats, Feingold is suddenly out of the running. Even the prospect of a vice presidential nomination, which he does not rule out, seems remote for a Democrat who has often jousted with his party's centrist leadership.

    Still, Feingold sounded, if anything, more engaged, more enthusiastic and more prepared to advance the progressive agenda that would have been the centerpiece of a presidential bid.

    John Nichols

  • November 12, 2006

    Feingold Won’t Seek Democratic Nod

    U.S. Senator Russ Feingold, D-Wisconsin, who many progressive activists had encouraged to seek the Democratic nomination for the presidency in 2008, has decided against making the race.

    In a letter to be sent to supporters on Sunday, Feingold writes, "I want you to know that I've decided to continue my role as Wisconsin's Junior Senator in the U.S. Senate and not to seek the Democratic nomination for President in 2008."

    Feingold, the sole senator to oppose the Patriot Act in 2001 and the first senator to advocate a timeline for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, stoked speculation about a possible presidential run during the 2006 congressional campaign season. His call for the censure of President Bush for authorizing warrantless wiretapping was wildly popular with party activists -- even if most of his fellow Democratic senators shunned the move. Feingold's addresses to state party conventions and campaign events across the country were well received. And he began to develop the infrastructure for a candidacy by setting up a new campaign group, the Progressive Patriots Fund, which aided candidates around the country who shared his anti-war and pro-civil liberties positions.

    John Nichols

  • November 11, 2006

    Listening to a Veteran

    Next week, one of the greatest war heroes to ever serve in Congress will return to Washington to discuss how the U.S. should extract itself from the quagmire in Iraq.

    Former Sen. George McGovern will address members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Already, conservatives are accusing the Democrats in the House and Senate of being "McGovernite" liberals because some members of the House caucus will meet with the South Dakotan.

    Let's hope the conservatives are right - because if this Congress wants to know about issues of war and peace, they should start listening to veterans. And McGovern is one of America's wisest old soldiers. Like a lot of the veterans of World War II, he understands that there are times when it makes sense to fight, just as there are times when it makes sense to bring the troops home.

    John Nichols

  • November 10, 2006

    The Crowded Progressive Caucus

    What will be the largest of the ideological caucuses in the new House Democratic majority?

    Why, of course, it must be the "centrists" affiliated with the Democratic Leadership Council's "New Democrat Coalition." Yes, that's got to be the case because all the commentators at the Wall Street Journal keep saying that centrists were the big winners on Tuesday.

    Er, no.

    John Nichols

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  • November 9, 2006

    Hundreds of Communities Vote for Rapid Withdrawal

    Political and media insiders were willing to admit, albeit cautiously, that Tuesday's election results -- in which Democrats took control of Congress, with explicitly anti-war candidates posting frequently unexpected wins in districts across the country -- represented a repudiation of the Bush administration's invasion and continued occupation of Iraq.

    President Bush comfirmed the assessment when he welcomed the resignation of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

    Unfortunately, while the analysts finally acknowledged the deep and broad opposition to the war, they continued to question whether Americans really want to bring the troops home now. They were not willing to speak the truth that Siobhan Kolar, who helped organize an anti-war referendum campaign in Illinois, did when she declared: "The antiwar majority has spoken!"

    John Nichols

  • Elections November 9, 2006

    Measuring the Mandate

    Democrats will claim their electoral mandate by understanding how they won: by fielding activist candidates with a clear antiwar message and by defending civil liberties.

    John Nichols

  • November 8, 2006

    Tester Takes Montana; Dems Close In on Majority

    Democrat Jon Tester has defeated Montana Republican Conrad Burns, winning the 50th Democratic seat in the Senate.

    The Tester victory by a margin of more than 3,000 votes out of a little over 400,000 cast in Montana assures Democrats an even split in the 100-member Senate.

    Will they get the 51st seat and a clear majority? Probably.

    John Nichols

  • November 8, 2006

    The Senate! UPDATED

    With an early morning win in the tightly-contested state of Missouri and results that seemed to show Montana and Virginia tipping toward them, Democrats ended one of the most intense election nights in recent American history with control of the Senate in their grasp.

    Around 2 a.m., Democrat Claire McCaskill won Missouri for the Democrats.

    As the night wore on, Democrat Jon Tester maintained a narrow but consistent lead over Republican incumbent Conrad Burns in the distant state of Montana. And in Virginia, Democratic challenger Jim Webb opened up a steadily wider lead in his campaign to oust Republican Senator George Allen.

    John Nichols

  • November 8, 2006

    The Iraq War Election

    What is a one-word description for an anti-war Democrat? "Winner."

    Despite all the attempts to spin Tuesday's election results as something else, the single most important message to take away from the voting is this: The American people cast their ballots against the Bush administration's approach to the war in Iraq Tuesday.

    Pro-war Republican majorities in the House and Senate were upset.

    John Nichols