Jonathan Chait

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Jonathan Chait
Jonathan Chait.jpg
United States
EducationUniversity of Michigan
OccupationPolitical commentator, editor, author
Notable credit(s)senior editor at The New Republic; former assistant editor of The American Prospect; author of The Big Con; former fellow at New America Foundation; frequent guest on
SpouseRobin Chait
Parent(s)Illene Seidman Chait
David Chait

Jonathan Benjamin Chait (/ˈt/) (born May 1, 1972) is an American pundit and writer for New York magazine. He was previously a senior editor at The New Republic and an assistant editor of The American Prospect. He writes a periodic column in the Los Angeles Times.[1][2][3]

Early life and education[edit]

Chait is the son of Illene (née Seidman) and David Chait.[4]


Chait began working at The New Republic in 1995. In January 2010, The New Republic replaced The Plank, TNR's group blog, with the Jonathan Chait Blog. His writing has also appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Slate, and Reason. He took over The New Republic's TRB column from Peter Beinart in March 2007. Chait was named a finalist for the 2009 Ellie (National Magazine Award) in the Columns and Commentary category for three of his 2008 columns.[5]

On March 16, 2009, Chait appeared on Comedy Central's The Colbert Report to counter conservative arguments that the New Deal was a failure. The impetus for that appearance was an article that he wrote for The New Republic, "Wasting Away in Hooverville".[6]

Chait appears in The Rivalry, a 2007 HBO documentary about the history and culture of the Michigan-Ohio State football rivalry. Chait joined the staff of New York magazine on September 6, 2011, leaving his post as senior editor of The New Republic.[7] He explained his move: "Obviously, I love TNR and had no plans to leave, but the opportunity at New York was irresistible. Everybody who works there raves about it, and my friends in journalism have noticed for a while it's become phenomenal — 'the best magazine in America', as one editor friend of mine told me."[8]


Chait usually writes about domestic politics and policy. Many of his writings are critiques of what he perceives to be illogical conservative positions. A self-described liberal hawk,[9] he has written pieces critical of left-wing figures such as Naomi Klein and wrote a New Republic cover article condemning Delaware's tax haven policies.[10]

Chait was a supporter of the 2003 Invasion of Iraq.[11] More a decade later, he drew considerable attention with his "Case for Bush Hatred," in which he defended his dislike not only of Bush's policies but also his personality and mannerisms.[12]

Chait occasionally writes about sports, particularly stories involving his alma mater, the University of Michigan (A.B. 1994)[13] where he was a columnist for The Michigan Daily. He strongly criticized the editorial staff of The Detroit Free Press after a controversial article by Michael Rosenberg that alleged systematic infractions of NCAA rules by the Michigan football program under former head coach Rich Rodriguez. Chait suggested Rosenberg's editor should "lose his job" and referred to the investigation's methodology as "journalistic malpractice."[14]

On February 22, 2010, following an investigation stemming from allegations raised in Rosenberg's article, the university announced that the NCAA has found probable cause that the school committed five major violations,[15] corroborating some of the allegations in Rosenberg's article. On May 24, 2010, the University of Michigan responded to the NCAA Notice of Allegations, stating in part, "the University is satisfied that the initial media reports were greatly exaggerated if not flatly incorrect."[16][failed verification] Chait then claimed Rosenberg's allegations that Rodriguez "operated a football sweatshop has been totally debunked."[17]

On September 26, 2011, Chait, while admitting he had not read Gilad Atzmon's book The Wandering Who, in order to assess the context of a number of quotes, responded to John Mearsheimer's comment about Atzmon's book by citing passages which he regarded as characteristically anti-semitic.[18] On January 27, 2015, Chait wrote an article for New York magazine on political correctness, which he labeled "a system of left-wing ideological repression" and cited examples from academia and social media.[19][20] Chait's piece drew parallels between forms of political correctness popular in the 2010s with those popular in the 1990s. However, he also argued that the advent of social media had contributed to a form of political correctness that was more ubiquitous and less constrained to academia.

In February 2016, Chait wrote a piece for New York magazine titled "Liberals Should Support a Trump Republican Nomination," in which he predicted that a Trump presidency would develop similarly to the governorship of Arnold Schwarzenegger in California (who, like Trump, was a celebrity who became a Republican politician without any public service experience).[21] In 2019, The Outline selected this piece as one of the "worst takes of the 2010s", opining that "Chait's immensely confident take [...] is a humiliating crystallization of the wrongheaded thinking that propelled [Trump] to the White House."[22]

Chait has written extensively in support of charter schools.[23][24] On January 14, 2019, he accused Senator Elizabeth Warren of selling out to "powerful interests" for her opposition to an initiative which would have expanded the number of charter schools in Massachusetts.[25] Chait has been criticized for often failing to disclose his wife's career in charter school advocacy.[26]

Chait was highly critical of 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, arguing that Sanders would have been "an extremely, perhaps uniquely, risky nominee" whose "vulnerabilities [were] enormous and untested."[27] Chait also negatively compared Sanders to 1964 Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater. In the same article, Chait stated that Democrats could not win with a populist, anti-corporate agenda.

In November 2021, Chait appeared to reverse his position on anti-corporatism as a viable strategy, saying that the Democratic Party had made a mistake by supporting what he described as a combination of far-left political correctness, and pro-business economic policies, which he stated had driven away white working-class voters, and that Democrats should instead take a centre-left, populist stance on both economic and cultural issues.[28]

Personal life[edit]

Chait is married to Robin Joy Chait, an analyst and pro-charter school advocate.[29] He has three children.[4] Chait is Jewish.[30][31]

Partial bibliography[edit]

  • Chait, Jonathan (2007). The Big Con: The True Story of How Washington Got Hoodwinked and Hijacked by Crackpot Economics. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
    • Reprinted as The big con: crackpot economics and the fleecing of America. Boston: Mariner Books. 2008.
  • Chait, Jonathan (2017). Audacity: How Barack Obama Defied His Critics and Created a Legacy That Will Prevail. Custom House. ISBN 978-0062426970.


  1. ^ Chotiner, Isaac (May 4, 2017). "Jonathan Chait on his new book Audacity, and the Democratic Party's future". Retrieved June 30, 2017.
  2. ^ Chait, Jonathan (November 20, 2011). "Jonathan Chait on Liberal Disappointment - New York Magazine". Retrieved June 30, 2017.
  3. ^ Vedantam, Shankar (May 9, 2012). "Partisan Psychology: Why Do People Choose Political Loyalties Over Facts?". NPR.
  4. ^ a b Conte, Carolyn (November 6, 2019). "On Oct. 14, Bernice B. Seidman at the age of 98". Baltimore Jewish Times.
  5. ^ "Winners and Finalists Database". American Society of Magazine Editors. MPA. Archived from the original on October 10, 2018. Retrieved April 12, 2016.
  6. ^ Jonathan Chait, "Wasting Away in Hooverville", The New Republic, March 18, 2009.
  7. ^ "On Media: Jonathan Chait to New York; Timothy Noah to New Republic", Politico, September 6, 2011.
  8. ^ "On Media: Jonathan Chait to New York; Timothy Noah to New Republic", Politico, September 6, 2011.
  9. ^ Criticisms of Charles Krauthammer,; accessed February 16, 2015.
  10. ^ Chait, Jonathan. "Rogue State". The New Republic. Retrieved May 9, 2014.
  11. ^ "User account | NewsBank". Retrieved October 12, 2018.
  12. ^ "Case for Bush Hatred",; accessed February 16, 2015.
  13. ^ "Rabble Rouser | U-M LSA U-M College of LSA". Retrieved August 21, 2021.
  14. ^ Chait criticisms of Michael Rosenberg,; accessed February 16, 2015.
  15. ^ University of Michigan broke football rules,; accessed February 16, 2015.
  16. ^ "U-M Responds to NCAA Notice of Allegations". Ann Arbor, Michigan: CBS Interactive. May 25, 2010. Archived from the original on June 13, 2015. Retrieved June 13, 2015.
  17. ^ Chait comments after the University of Michigan response to the NCAA Notice of Allegations",; accessed February 16, 2015.
  18. ^ Jonathan Chait. "John Mearsheimer Ready for Rosh Hashanah in Style". NYMag. Retrieved August 27, 2014.
  19. ^ Chait, Jonathan (January 27, 2015). "Not a Very P.C. Thing to Say: How the language police are perverting liberalism". New York. Retrieved June 13, 2015.
  20. ^ Taub, Amanda (January 28, 2015). "The truth about "political correctness" is that it doesn't actually exist". Vox. Archived from the original on June 6, 2015. Retrieved December 9, 2020.
  21. ^ "Why Liberals Should Support a Trump Republican Nomination". Intelligencer. Retrieved December 12, 2019.
  22. ^ Staff, Outline. "The worst takes of the 2010s". The Outline. Retrieved December 12, 2019.
  23. ^ Chait, Jonathan. "Charter Schools Are Losing the Narrative But Winning the Data". New York Magazine. Retrieved January 14, 2019.
  24. ^ Chait, Jonathan. "Charters Didn't Cause Segregation. They're a Solution for Its Victims". New York Magazine. Retrieved January 14, 2019.
  25. ^ Chait, Jonathan. "What Happens When Elizabeth Warren Sells Out to Powerful Interests?". New York Magazine. Retrieved January 14, 2019.
  26. ^ Russo, Alexander. "Why NY Mag's Jonathan Chait Should Disclose Wife's Role In Education Columns". Washington Monthly. Retrieved October 8, 2020.
  27. ^ Chait, Jonathan. "Running Bernie Sanders Against Trump Would Be an Act of Insanity". New York Magazine. Retrieved June 6, 2020.
  28. ^ Chait, Jonathan. "Joe Biden's Big Squeeze". New York Magazine. Retrieved January 2, 2021.
  29. ^ Russo, Alexander (March 17, 2016). "Why NY Mag's Jonathan Chait Should Disclose Wife's Role In Education Columns". Washington Monthly - Education.
  30. ^ Weiss, Anthony (December 9, 2014). "What will New Republic exodus mean for American Jewish thought?". The Jewish Journal.
  31. ^ Jonathan, Chait; Singal, Jesse (November 16, 2016). "How Alarmed Should American Jews Be Right Now? Two Jews Kibitz". New York Magazine. wo of New York Magazine’s Jewish staffers, Jonathan Chait and Jesse Singal, decided to discuss the question.

External links[edit]