About me:

I'm a historian of Haiti, race, and revolution. I spend most of my time studying economic and social threats to families during the build-up to the Haitian Revolution and therefore read/write on current politics and policy as a break. Directed Mormons for Obama from June-November 2012 and then helped organize & launch LDS Democrats of America in April 2013. During the 2012 campaign, I had the privilege of speaking on a DNC Faith panel on caring for the poor & needy at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. Former member of the leadership team of Young Democrats of America's Faith & Values Initiative. My writings at MormonPress largely focus on family, race, and education policy, though I do occasionally succumb to writing about campaigns.

  • published National Week of Service: #LightWithService in Blog 2016-12-22 11:37:46 -0800

    National Week of Service: #LightWithService

    Since the election of President-Elect Trump, many Latter-day Saints contemplate how they can stand for Democratic values like freedom, fairness, families, and the future.

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  • Dear Allies: Instead of Voting for McMullin Help Us Get Out the Vote for Hillary

    Recently, we at LDS Dems have been fielding queries from friends about whether they should engage in tactical voting and support Evan McMullin to deny Donald the state's electoral message. The short answer: NO. The long answer:

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  • "Mormonism in the New America": Imagining the Deseret News a Year from Now

    Intro: A recent op-ed in the Deseret News praising Trump’s family values prompted us to go to the archives (start pg 19, “Mormonism in the New Germany,” 9 December 1933) to see what a DesNews puff piece about a Trump presidency might be like. The following is satire.

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  • LDS Dems of America Endorses Hillary Clinton for President

    While some members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are trying to decide whether to vote for Donald Trump or Gary Johnson, we'll be putting forth the case that our Mormon sisters and brothers should consider a third, too-often-overlooked option: Hillary Clinton.

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  • commented on Lying Liars Who Lie: 2016 Edition 2016-07-18 18:14:29 -0700
    I’m sure I could as well. Fifty wasn’t the number of statements Politifact tallied; it was the cut-off for the person making the chart to include in the tally. So, for Barack Obama, it would have been close to 600 statements; Hillary a little over 200; Donald Trump around 150, etc. The text of the post is less about the chart and more about the visceral, angry reaction the chart causes and suggests that this reaction is rooted in some core American attitudes that have also bled into LDS culture.
  • commented on Bernie and Political Change 2016-05-15 21:46:55 -0700
    Wow- comments! To respond to Gwendolyn and Carolynn’s concerns, briefly:

    Three contests tend to be the biggest areas of concern.

    Arizona, which has far fewer polling places now that the Voting Rights Act has been gutted. Hillary, Bernie, and the DNC have teamed up to sue Arizona over the voter suppression. (http://www.cnn.com/2016/04/14/politics/dnc-lawsuit-arizona/)

    New York, where a local elections supervisor purged 100,000 names from a Brooklyn voter roll. There’s an investigation that’s ongoing and the supervisor is suspended, though perhaps the wrong supervisor. It’s clear that New York needs to get their act together, but even assuming that all 100,000 went to Bernie— if they were all eligible and all voted, and keep in mind Brooklyn went for Hillary— that would have only been a third of Hillary’s vote margin. (Story: http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/04/new-york-primary-voter-purge)

    Nevada, where Hillary won the popular vote on election night, Bernie out-hustled her in the county conventions, and then 56 Bernie supporters and 8 Hillary supporters (at last report) were disqualified at the state convention, tipping it back to Hillary (oddly, looks like that it now matches the expected 20-15 breakdown based on the February vote results.) Here’s a write-up: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/05/15/heres-what-happened-at-saturdays-dramatic-nevada-democratic-convention/ Generally, Nevada appears to be a mess and I’m relieved that there’s already chatter about changing from caucus to primary for 2020 and beyond.

    Gwendolyn mentioned the exit polls.

    The problem with exit polls is that despite networks’ best efforts (they want to be right, after all), they still tend to over-report the side with the more enthusiastic supporters. So John Kerry won the Ohio exit polls in 2004; the exit polls often inflated Obama’s vote share in the 2008 primaries, and now the same thing is happening to Bernie.

    I’m not saying no mistakes were made in the running of this primary, or that there’s no room to improve the process (there’s lots!), but it’s also in the Bernie campaign’s interest— to a certain extent— to emphasize allegations and the way the deck’s been stacked against them. This is the same campaign that lost access to the voter database for 48 hours (after improperly accessing the Hillary campaign’s data) and then pursued a lawsuit against the DNC over the loss of access for the next four months. Bernie signed the same joint-fundraising agreement as Hillary to help downticket, did nothing with it, and then slammed her repeatedly for raising money for the party. So, yes, the DNC could have done more, especially early on by scheduling better debate times, but respect is also a two-way street.

    Looking at the primary at this point: it’s been a hard-fought contest that’s brought to the forefront some great ideas from both candidates on how to help our country. It’s been generally substantive, with few negative ads (none from Hillary directed at Bernie, and Bernie’s ads have stayed at the “implied” level). And while it’s close enough to go through June, Hillary’s margin— in pledged delegates and in percentage of the popular vote— is over twice what Obama’s ever was in 2008. Seven of her ten biggest victories so far have been in open primary states. She will almost certainly be the nominee. I hope that in her victory speech she thanks Bernie and his supporters for the energy and new people they’ve brought into the process; she would be foolish if she doesn’t. And I hope Bernie campaigns hard for her and for the issues he cares about, helping guide his supporters into avenues where they can keep fighting for change; he would be foolish if he doesn’t.
  • What Liberals Should Read to Understand the GOP Primary

    McKay Coppins' new book The Wilderness bills itself as a deep dive into the Republican Party's quest to take back the White House. Although my personal politics lean to the left, I found the book a captivating read that helped me better understand the current chaos in the Republican Party and the challenges we face in the United States regarding wealth, gender, and racial inequality.

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  • published Mormon Progressives - Still Here in Blog 2015-11-09 16:31:23 -0800

    Mormon Progressives - Still Here

    These last few days have been ones for reflection on the work of MormonPress and Mormon Progressives. What is that work?

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  • published Why the Confederate Flag Must Go in Blog 2015-06-24 20:01:57 -0700

    Why the Confederate Flag Must Go

    I've been thinking about Eric's post since last night. Eric talks persuasively about not letting the furor over the Confederate flag distract us from gun rights. At the same time, the sea change in popular opinion and establishment acceptance of the CSA's battle flag is crucial and a major victory for the United States.

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  • The Most Important Line of Hillary's Kick-Off Speech

    The coverage of Hillary's kick-off speech earlier today on Roosevelt Island has portrayed her as a center-left fighter. The pundits are missing, however, what I consider to be the most monumental lines of her speech: 

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  • published Not Hillary? McCaskill 2016 in Blog 2015-03-10 08:12:49 -0700

    Not Hillary? McCaskill 2016

    If not Hillary, then who? Claire McCaskill!

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Historian and public policy analyst. National Director, Mormons for Obama 2012; Chair, LDS Dems of America.


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