Institute of Politics

Perry Bacon Jr.

Columnist for The Washington Post & Former Writer for FiveThirtyEight & MSNBC Commentator

  • Spring 2022 Pritzker Fellow

  • Seminar Series: "The Promise & Perils of the Resurgent Left"


Perry Bacon is a columnist at the Washington Post, where he focuses on local, state and national government and elections. He has served in that role since May 2021. He was previously a national elections and government writer at Time Magazine, TheGrio, and FiveThirtyEight, as well as a prior stint at the Washington Post. He has also served as a political analyst at MSNBC and a fellow at New America. He is a graduate of Yale with a degree in political science. A Louisville native, he returned to his hometown in 2018 and lives there with his wife Ann and daughter Charlotte.


"The Promise & Perils of the Resurgent Left"

There have always been left-wing movements in American politics. And they have always had a complicated relationship with the modern Democratic Party. This seminar will look at key left-wing movements and ideas that have emerged over the last decade, such as Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaigns, The Squad, Black Lives Matter, Defund the Police, the push to get rid of standardized tests in education, Modern Monetary Theory, Supreme Court expansion and critical race theory.

The goal of the seminar will be to deepen our understanding of these ideas and movements. How did these ideas emerge? What are their historical roots? Are they workable? Are they at all viable electorally and politically? What are the objections to them from the right - and the center-left? We will go beyond “Defund the Police doesn’t poll well” to “here’s where the Defund concept comes from and here’s where/how/why/when its creators think that it could be implemented in the future.”

Each week will focus on a specific policy area and feature a question and answer session between Perry and a progressive person in that issue space, followed by students questioning the guest.

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