Hendrik Hertzberg, a member of FairVote’s board since 1995, is the editorial director of The Nation Institute and a longtime staff writer and editor at The New Yorker.
Mr. Hertzberg first joined The New Yorker in 1969 after serving in the U.S. Navy. But when Jimmy Carter was elected in 1976, he left that magazine for what turned out to be a sixteen-year absence. As the chief White House speechwriter he worked on all the President’s major pronouncements, up to and including the somewhat premature Farewell Address, and traveled with him in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. It was this hands-on experience at the highest levels of government that prompted Mr. Hertzberg’s interest in the effect of electoral systems, not only on policy formation but also on the civic health of a purportedly modern democracy.
For the twelve years after Mr. Carter’s re-election defeat Mr. Hertzberg was associated with The New Republic, alternating with Michael Kinsley as that magazine’s editor. During Mr. Hertzberg’s second and final three-year stint in the editor’s chair, TNR twice won the National Magazine Award for General Excellence – the magazine world’s equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize. In between editorial stints he wrote for TNR and other magazines from a base at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, where he was a fellow at the Institute of Politics and the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy.
Mr. Hertzberg rejoined The New Yorker in 1992, initially as executive editor. His essays there won him a third National Magazine Award, this one for Columns and Commentary, in 2006. He is the author of "Politics: Observations & Arguments" (2004), a New York Times Notable Book and a Washington Post and Los Angeles Times Best Book of the Year, and of “¡Obámanos!: The Birth of a New Political Era” (2009), both published by Penguin Books. He lives in Manhattan and Nyack, New York, with his wife, Virginia Cannon, a New Yorker senior editor. Their son, Wolf, is a student at the University of Chicago.