Mark Schmitt

Director, Political Reform Program and Senior Advisor, Leadership Team

Mark Schmitt is the director of the Political Reform program at New America and a senior advisor to the leadership team. Launched in 2014, this initiative seeks to develop new approaches to understanding and reforming the market for political power and the crisis of democratic governance. A prominent writer on politics and public policy with experience in government, philanthropy and journalism, Schmitt is an expert on political reform, budget and tax policy, and US social policy.

From 2008 to 2011, Schmitt was the executive editor of The American Prospect, where he was a columnist beginning in 2005. During his tenure, the Prospect won numerous awards, including the Utne Reader award for Best Political Magazine. After leaving the Prospect, Schmitt was a senior fellow and advisor to the president at the Roosevelt Institute, a New York-based think tank. In a previous stint at New America, from 2005 to 2008, he also helped launch a major initiative on the next social contract and an innovative approach to campaign reform.   

From 1997 until 2005, Schmitt was the director of the Governance and Public Policy program at the Open Society Foundations, where he developed grantmaking and research programs on political reform and state-level policy. In the 1990s, he was a speechwriter and later policy director to Sen. Bill Bradley, working on issues including welfare reform, higher education, and urban policy, and he served as a senior advisor on Bradley's 2000 presidential campaign.

Schmitt's political and policy analysis appeared frequently in The New York Times in 2016 and 2017, and he has written for Time, The Washington Monthly, The Financial Times, The New York Times Book Review and other print and web publications, including the Political Reform program’s blog on, Polyarchy. From 2003 through 2007, he published his own blog, The Decembrist, which was named by Forbes as one of the five best political blogs of its time.

Schmitt grew up in New Haven, Conn., and graduated from Yale University. He lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife, Holly Yeager, and their daughter.

All Work

The Art of the Scam

Mark Schmitt wrote for The New York Times about the unstable scam economy that Trump's economic policy will usher in.

Medicaid saved the Affordable Care Act. Liberals should take notice.

Director Mark Schmitt wrote for Vox about why Medicaid's role in saving the Affordable Care Act could signal changes in standard assumptions

This Is Why Americans Hate Congress

In the New York Times Opinion Pages, Mark Schmitt explains why the budget reconciliation process this week exemplifies citizens' frustration

Will the Trump Backlash Nudge American Politics Back Toward Normalcy?

Mark Schmitt wrote for Vox's Polyarchy about whether anti-Trump backlash will edge politicians back towards standard political practices.

I’m Glad ACA Repeal Failed, but I’m Angry about It Too

Mark Schmitt wrote for Vox's Polyarchy about why Republicans' failure to pass the American Health Care Act (AHCA) is infuriating

Congress Has a Responsibility to Engage with Constituents

Mark Schmitt wrote for Vox's Polyarchy on the dangers of Congress members ignoring their phones.

Trump May Make Bipartisanship Popular Again

Mark Schmitt wrote for the New York Times about how President Trump's time in office may lead to a new centrist political alignment.

Jeff Sessions Didn’t Change Since 1986. Here’s What Did.

Mark Schmitt wrote for Vox about Jeff Sessions, Republicans, and black voters.

The Case for Fighting Trump on Norms

Lee Drutman and Mark Schmitt wrote for Vox about fighting Trump on political norms.

Readying Themselves for the Unexpected Must Be the Democrats’ Priority

Mark Schmitt wrote for the Guardian about how Democrats face a period of total uncertainty.

Trump’s Capitol Hill Problem

Mark Schmitt wrote for the New York Times about President-elect Trump's lack of formal relationships with members of Congress.

What Trump Exposed About the GOP

Mark Schmitt wrote for the New York Times about how the political divide between parties has shifted from ideology to identity.