Selected Articles

Living with VANxiety: The Present and Future of Progressive Movement Tech
April 29, 2024

How did the progressive movement come to be nervously dependent on core technology owned by an overseas private equity fund? How bad is this situation? And what can be done going forward to change things for the better?

Here’s a handpicked mix of some of my favorite published writing from over the years.


Living with VANxiety: The Present and Future of Progressive Movement Tech

April 29, 2024

by Micah L. Sifry April 29, 2023 Table of Contents Introduction Part One — History of NGP VAN Part Two – How Serious a Problem…

The New Republic: What Can Americans Learn from the Israeli Protests? A Lot.

July 13, 2023

The powerful demonstrations in Tel Aviv and elsewhere can teach us a lot about how to build a truly unifying opposition.

NYTimes: Fed Up With Democratic Emails? You’re Not the Only One.

August 1, 2022

Hammering voters with breathless emails and apocalyptic messages is preventing Democrats from building a lasting political movement. With Lara Putnam.

The American Prospect: Focus on the Grassroots

February 7, 2021

Grassroots Democratic civic life is a desert that only gets watered for a few months every two or four years, and then only in battleground…

Inside Philanthropy: Where is the Next Andrew Carnegie? The Case for Funding America’s Civic Infrastructure

November 24, 2020

Most of America is a civic desert, lacking in year-round infrastructure dedicated to bringing people together. In this guest post, Micah L. Sifry argues that…

The American Prospect: To Change Voters’ Sympathies, It’s Time to Go Deep

February 24, 2020

A new model known as ‘deep canvassing’ is being tested in the swing areas of Pennsylvania. Here’s an inside look.

The New Republic: The Loneliness of the Resistance Protester

January 15, 2020

Grassroots Democrats are marching and donating, but they are not forging a movement.

The Nation: Before Donald Trump, There Was Ross Perot

July 11, 2019

Perot was a “welfare billionaire” who grew rich off Medicare and Medicaid contracts—and turned the deficit into a national fetish.

The American Prospect: Here’s the Real Trouble With Tech

April 1, 2019

Once you understand the tech giants are capturing unguarded human experience, their business makes sense.

The New Republic: Escape From Facebookistan

May 21, 2018

Can a public sphere worth living in ever be built online?

The New Republic: Obama’s Lost Army

February 9, 2017

He built a grassroots machine of two million supporters eager to fight for change. Then he let it die. This is the untold story of…

Mother Jones: Facebook Wants You to Vote on Tuesday. Here’s How It Messed With Your Feed in 2012.

October 31, 2014

The social network tries to promote voting, but it also has conducted tests that affect users’ voting behavior—without telling them.

The Nation: The Global Nervous System

April 19, 2010

Stranded in Europe, I don’t feel like a displaced person. I’m buoyed by an invisible network of friends and strangers all connected by social media.

The Nation: The Rise of Open-Source Politics

November 4, 2004

Thanks to Web-savvy agitators, insiderism and elitism are under heavy attack.

The Nation: Counterforce in NY

October 22, 2002

It’s Friday afternoon in early October at the Working Families Party’s shabby but bustling headquarters in downtown Brooklyn, and no one is going home early

The American Prospect: Finding the Lost Voters

December 19, 2001

Among active voters, the trend is away from the major parties and toward independence.

The Nation: Israel Diary

May 6, 1999

March 28: SECURITY (I). At moments, I wonder whether we’ve left America.

Latest writing:

The President Has No Clothes!

Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes? If you watched the presidential debate, you know what you saw. Read more

The Road Not Taken: Hard Truths about Jamaal Bowman’s Loss

Don't blame AIPAC. Political malpractice by the incumbent plus bad advice and self-delusion from national groups did him in. Read more

The Empire Strikes Back: Latimer v Bowman Goes Down to the Wire

A last look at the Democratic primary in my home district as the political circus really comes to town. Read more