Select Articles

How I Became an American

The New York Times
March 2017

The oath of citizenship moved me more than I had expected. For a moment, I choked up and found it difficult to get the words out. But then my voice took on a new resolve: proud and determined, I swore to “defend the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic."


America Is Not a Democracy

The Atlantic

February 2018

An enormous amount of money flows into American politics. Many legislators have little in common with their constituents. Meanwhile, some of the most important decisions are now taken by courts, central banks or independent agencies. Like many other ostensible democracies around the world, the United States have long been in danger of turning into a system of "undemocratic liberalism."

Yes, American Democracy Could Break Down


October 2016

Americans tend to think of checks and balances, or the rule of law, as entities that are somehow outside the political process—and can step in to save the day when normal politics fails in some significant way. In times when conflicts are minor, and the attachment to liberal norms runs deep, there is something to this. But that is no longer the world we live in. At this point, the Constitution cannot save us from our politics. On the contrary, we need to fix the deep political crisis of our time—a crisis that is likely to persist well beyond the Trump candidacy—to save the Constitution.


How Liberals Can Reclaim Nationalism

The New York Times
March 2018

Nationalism remains today what it has been for the past two centuries: one of the most powerful and potentially destructive political ideals. Instead of leaving this enormous reservoir of political energy to authoritarians and demagogues, liberals should seek to channel it in a productive direction by reclaiming it as their own.


The Rise of McPolitics

The New Yorker
July 201

"All politics," a famous piece of political folk wisdom holds, "is local." But in the United States, at least, politics has become increasingly national over the past decades: Party programs barely differ from state to state, and most voters in local or state elections decide based on national loyalties. The rise has been a massive rise of partisanship. Can our political system withstand that change?

How Political Science Gets Politics Wrong

The Chronicle of Higher Education
October 2016

Just as economists failed to predict the Great Recession, so political scientists failed to predict a series of momentous political upsets. The most obvious is the dizzying rise of Donald Trump. But the story is bigger than that: In recent years, political scientists have overestimated the forces of stability time and again, failing to foresee Brexit, the chaos wrought in the Philippines by Rodrigo Duterte, and the serious threat posed to Polish democracy by its populist government, among other developments. How could this have happened?

Echt Deutsch

April 2017

Thankful to be alive, Ranim, Ali, Maya, and Amr were taken to Kos, where they applied for permission to continue to Athens. They purchased a tent in which to spend the week they expected to wait for the necessary papers, and huddled together for their first night in the European Union. Some evenings, as soon as Ranim closed her eyes, the nightmares began. She dreamed of Syria, of death and destruction, of Bashar al-Assad’s helicopters dropping bombs on her family. Once, startled awake, she realized that the helicopters were real.

The Week Democracy Died


August 2016

There are years, decades even, in which history slows to a crawl. Then there are weeks that are so eventful that they seem to mark the dissolution of a world order that had once seemed solid and to foretell the rise of one as yet unknowable.

Pitchfork Politics

Foreign Affairs

August 2014

To avoid the serious damage that populists could inflict on democracy, political establishments on both sides of the Atlantic must find a way to channel populist passions for good. To do so, they need to give voice to the justified grievances that fuel populism while convincing voters that the simple solutions offered up by the populists are bound to fail.

What We Do Now


November 2016

The unspeakable has happened: Donald J. Trump has been elected president of the United States. The commander in chief, the most powerful man on earth, the supposed leader of the free world is now a man who holds liberal democracy in contempt.

Responsibility Redefined

Democracy: A Journal of Ideas

January 2017

If we are to reestablish the foundations for the broad-based prosperity on which democracy’s stability has always depended, it’s all the more urgent that we overcome a single-minded focus on personal responsibility that has narrowed what kinds of policy ideas we take seriously, and what kinds of economic institutions we can envisage. It is time to rethink the meaning—and indeed the promise—of responsibility.

German, Jewish and Neither

The New York Times
January 2014

A true New Yorker, E.B. White suggested, is one who has come to the city “in quest of something.” It is because New York is defined as much by its newcomers as by its natives that I hope to spend my life here. My identity is no longer that of a Jew or a German. It is that of a seeker who has found; that of a stranger who has come to be at home; that of, simply and immeasurably, a New Yorker.

Signs of Deconsolidation

Journal of Democracy

January 2017

American citizens are not just dissatisfied with the performance of particular governments; they are increasingly critical of liberal democracy itself. Among young Americans polled in 2011, for example, a record high of 24 percent stated that democracy is a “bad” or “very bad” way of running the country—a sharp increase both from prior polls and compared to older respondents. Meanwhile, the proportion of Americans expressing approval for “army rule” has risen from 1 in 16 in 1995 to 1 in 6 in the most recent survey.