Several days after the startling attack on the U.S. Capitol, Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ), a former Navy helicopter pilot and federal prosecutor, alleged that members of Congress “had groups coming through the Capitol that I saw on Jan. 5 for reconnaissance for the next day.”

Within days, more than 30…

This is a loose transcript of the Close Read podcast for 1/9/20. I’ll be cross-posting these to Medium with more frequency.

As I’m recording this, I can look out my window and see the very top of the Capitol dome. I’ve lived in Washington for 15 years. My grandmother was…

Democrats really did it. They flipped the Senate. Now the party has control of both chambers of Congress and the presidency for the first time since 2009.

This victory is due to hard work from Georgia organizers who have been battling voter suppression for decades—and Trump’s wild conspiracy theories about…

It’s tempting to think that better messaging is the key to advancing good policy and getting big political wins.

Think tanks, pollsters, cable news pundits, and elected officials constantly debate which messages will be the most effective at moving public opinion and mobilizing people to vote. It’s also easy (and…


I’ve moved my writing to Ghost in solidarity with Medium workers who faced union busting from their managers. You can find this article here.


Despite losing a major presidential election, conservatives are urging liberals to earnestly listen to “half the country” that voted for Trump. …

Often, visualizations about election data focus on the margin of victory (the gap between a winner and loser) and share (what percent of the electorate a candidate captured).

But 2020 was a very high turnout election. And such elections create some quirks in how we visualize election results.

Preliminary turnout estimate from 11/4. We can’t compare modern turnout 1:1 to pre-Civil Rights Era turnout due to extensive voter disenfranchisement and suppression, some of which is unfortunately still with us.

For instance…

This is a reference post for some political emails we’re discussing for Close Read.

First Email

From: Elizabeth Warren <>
Date: Wed, Jan 29, 2020 at 1:59 PM
Subject: Afraid


Donald Trump has been president for 3 years, and there are a lot of people out there who are afraid.


The ongoing protests against police violence in America are among the largest civil rights demonstrations in history. They’ve rapidly shifted the debate on racial justice and policing and they’ve been overwhelmingly peaceful, except for when police and policymakers instigate violence or try to restrict people’s First Amendment rights.

But as…

Harper’s “A Letter on Justice and Open Debate” has gotten a lot of attention and there are some fine responses out there already, including this very funny one.

But I wanted to dive into a few specific claims about the letter itself, who signed it and whatever (possibly odd!) process…

You may have heard the new idea.

It sounds intriguing at first, but a note of caution is warranted.

First, advocates for the new idea have framed their demands in simple terms, but it’s actually quite complex.

Second, the new idea hasn’t been tried before. …

Aaron Huertas

Democracy is pretty cool. We should try it some time. Voting rights, science policy, political communication and grassroots activism.

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