Ben Adler

Ben Adler writes on national politics and domestic policy. Ben has been a staff writer for Politico and an editor at Newsweek and the Center for American Progress. His writing has also appeared in The Atlantic, The Nation, The Daily Beast, Columbia Journalism Review, Salon, The Washington Monthly, The New Republic, The Guardian and Next American City among other publications. He lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Recent Articles

A Tale of Two Exurbs

Most outer-ring suburbs are being developed into unwalkable sprawl. But it doesn't have to be that way.

Leesburg, Virginia, is the archetypal American exurb. Named after an ancestor of Robert E. Lee, it is the seat of Loudoun County, 35 miles northwest of Washington, D.C. -- the farthest true suburb west of Washington. To its west are small towns and a few remaining farms; to its east are highways lined with chain hotels, mega-malls, and the office towers of the defense contractors powering the recent growth in Northern Virginia's economy and population. In 2004, Loudoun was the nation's fastest-growing county, and median home prices were rising by about one-fifth every year. In 1990, Leesburg had only 16,000 people. Now it has 38,000. Ask denizens of Leesburg what they love most about the town and they are almost certain to mention the downtown -- a quaint outpost of the antebellum South, with the requisite ancient diner known for its peanut soup. Downtown Leesburg is a small warren of narrow streets laid out at right angles with brick buildings housing shops on the ground floor and...

Would the National Popular Vote Advantage Red-State Republicans?

Republican states seem to suffer the worst from the vicissitudes of the Electoral College, but they are also the least interested in switching to a national popular vote.

Editors' Note: This piece has been corrected . If you thought the presidential election was decided back in November, you were wrong. On Thursday, Jan. 8, the Electoral College's votes for president were counted by Congress. In theory, those 538 obscure individuals could have decided to make John McCain, or, for that matter, Bob Barr, the next president. They did nothing of the sort. But, just to be on the safe side, perhaps it is time to get rid of this arcane institution? Shortly before Election Day, The Washington Post published a map of presidential-candidate visits by state. It showed the attention paid to states was not just a reflection of their population. California, Texas, and New York received hardly any love from Barack Obama or John McCain. And while perennial favorites Ohio and Pennsylvania battled for the top slot, relatively tiny states such as New Hampshire received more visits than any of the nation's three largest. Some medium-sized non-swing states, such as...

Are Cows Worse <br/>Than Cars?

Everyone knows driving an SUV or leaving the lights on is bad for the earth. But when it comes to your environmental impact, what's on your plate is just as important.

Image by Flickr user Stuart Chalmers used under a Creative Commons license.
This article has been corrected. These days almost any proposal to reduce global warming gets taken seriously, even by conservatives. Solar panels are proposed for powering everything except submarines. Oilman T. Boone Pickens wants to put windmills on every empty patch of land in Texas, and Republicans have finally found something to like about France: nuclear power. But when Rajendra Pachauri, who runs the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), made a suggestion that could reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 18 percent, he was excoriated. Why was his proposal so unpalatable? Because he suggested eating less meat would be the easiest way people could reduce their carbon footprint, with one meat-free day per week as a first step. "How convenient for him: He's a vegetarian ," sneered a Pittsburgh Tribune Review editorial. "Dr. Pachauri should be more concerned about his own diet. A new study shows that a deficiency of vitamin B-12, found primarily in meat,...

Progressive Re-Generation

At times in American political history, young generations have formed lasting ties to parties and ideologies. Is 2008 one of those times?

Charismatic leaders and tidal shifts in public policy have always shaped the party allegiance and policy preferences of generations that come of age at critical moments. After enduring the Depression, the Greatest Generation developed a commitment to Social Security and Medicare and to a Democratic Party that delivered those programs. Conversely, people who first voted during the 1980s, when Ronald Reagan's anti-welfare and pro-warfare rhetoric was reshaping the political terrain, remain more Republican today than voters both older and younger. 2008 presents progressives with a similar mobilizing opportunity. The bumbling of the Bush administration, the corruption of the recent Republican Congress, and the economic insecurity of the post-industrial information economy has led young voters to reject the Republican Party in droves. "It's a Democratic-leaning generation at the moment," says nonpartisan pollster Scott Rasmussen. Upon ascending to their leadership roles, one of the first...


GIULIANI'S FOREIGN POLICY: If you haven't seen it yet I highly recommend reading Matt Bai 's cover story in this week's New York Times Magazine on Rudy Giuliani . Bai gets at the essential contradiction of Giuliani running a campaign on the claim that he is the best-equipped to fight terrorism. As Bai notes, Giuliani had no known pre-occupation with Islamic radicalism prior to 9/11, nor did he do much to equip New York's first responders for the event of such a catastrophe. ( Ari Paul recently reported for TAP Online on the NYC firefighters particular disappointment with Giuliani's performance.) But Bai also gets at what makes Giuliani's pitch so appealing to many voters nonetheless. It is an assertion of characterlogical, rather than experiential or policy-based superiority. I'm the baddest cop out there, Giuliani seems to be saying, and his record as a prosecutor and tough-on-crime mayor make it seem pretty plausible. Just because Giuliani is ahead in the polls doesn't prove to me...