Adam Serwer

Adam Serwer is a writing fellow at The American Prospect and a graduate of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He also blogs at Jack and Jill Politics and has written for The Village Voice, The Washington Post, The Root, and the Daily News.

Recent Articles

When Identity Politics Backfire

Nikki Tinker's resounding defeat in her primary challenge to Rep. Stephen Cohen may suggest that identity politics don't work quite as well as they used to.

This week the Democratic primary in the mostly African-American 9th Congressional District in Memphis, Tennessee made national headlines. Much of the coverage was focused on the aggressive ads African American challenger Nikki Tinker ran against incumbent Steve Cohen. One of the ads associated Cohen, who is white and Jewish, with the Ku Klux Klan; the other expressed indignation that Cohen was in “our churches, clapping his hands and tapping his feet” while voting against school prayer. But Tinker's gambit failed, and in last night's election, Cohen trounced her with nearly 80 percent of the vote. Media coverage of Tinker's identity-based ads showed how people across the country were shocked by one candidate's attempt to cast the other as an outsider not by tying him to Hamas or Fidel Castro but to the Ku Klux Klan. But the novelty of a black politician using wedge identity politics against a white Jewish opponent obscures the fact that this kind of politics is extremely common. There...


The recently released Democratic Party platform places "fatherhood" among its priorities. But a closer look indicates that the party may be willing to move forward on the problem of more than two million Americans in prison, and even more who have just left or are on their way back. (emphasis mine). Children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty and are more likely to commit crime, drop out of school, abuse drugs and end up in prison. We need more fathers to realize that responsibility does not end at conception. We need them to understand that what makes a man is not the ability to have a child-it's the courage to raise one. We will support fathers by providing transitional training to get jobs , removing tax penalties on married families, and expanding maternity and paternity leave. Now obviously there are some other important points here, particularly on maternity leave, but I find it interesting that the Party chose to present its support for "...


Following up on my post from yesterday , McCain bundler Harry Sargeant III just keeps getting more interesting. According to The New York Times , Sargeant raised a great deal of money from contributors who appear to be giving beyond their means. In some cases, donors seem either apolitical or utterly opposed to McCain as a candidate, but so far all of them have said the donations came from them and they were not reimbursed. The donations were raised through a Mr. Mustafa Abu Naba’a , a business partner of Sargeant's. Erik Kleefield at TPM notes that Naba'a and Sargeant are currently being sued by a third business partner, Mohammed Al-Saleh , a relative of King Abdullah of Jordan, who alleges that he was defrauded out of profits from their joint venture. Sargeant's company, the International Oil Trading Company, was able to secure a 913 million dollar U.S. contract shipping fuel to Iraq through Jordan, despite not offering the lowest bid. According to an MSNBC article Kleefield points...


I think it's good that the Times is hitting Obama on raising millions from businesses with political interests while his campaign touts the small contributions that nevertheless make most up half of the money. It's important for reporters to carefully scrutinize how politicians raise money, and from whom. But the story seems a little weak, mostly because none of the claims made by the campaign are wrong or misleading. That said, as long as we're talking about bundlers from large industries and how they could potentially influence presidential candidates, The Washington Post has an interesting article on McCain 's fundraising efforts. It focuses on an influx of money bundled by oil trading company owner Harry Sargeant III , (who also raised money for Giuliani and Clinton ) on behalf people who would seem not to have an interest in the election, or who are donating more money than you would think they could afford. In some cases, the donors aren't even registered to vote. When asked,...


Via Ben Smith , after days of the RNC snorting chocolate milk out of their noses with laughter, McCain reverses himself on tire gauges. " Obama said a couple of days ago says we all should inflate our tires. I don’t disagree with that. The American Automobile Association strongly recommends it..." This isn't a real flip-flop though. McCain's tire gauge policy is based entirely on conditions on the ground. -- A. Serwer