CTSS to host journalist Jonathan Martin, political operative Amanda Litman


Source: Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times/TNS

Amanda Litman (left) and Ross Morales Rocketto (right) co-founded the Democratic recruitment group Run for Something. Litman, along with New York Times political correspondent Jonathan Martin, will speak at a Thursday CTSS event.

Gabby Birenbaum, Assistant Campus Editor

New York Times political correspondent Jonathan Martin and Run for Something co-founder Amanda Litman (Weinberg ’12) will discuss the state of American politics Thursday in a moderated conversation hosted by the Contemporary Thought Speaker Series and the department of political science, CTSS announced Tuesday.

The event — CTSS’ fifth of the year — will be held in Annenberg Hall, according to a news release. The conversation will be moderated by political science Prof. Laurel Harbridge-Yong, the release said.

CTSS chose Martin, author of New York Times best-seller “The End of the Line: Romney vs. Obama: The 34 Days that decided the election,” because of his prominent career in political journalism and his “great Twitter presence,” Weinberg senior Ben Zimmermann, the CTSS chair, told The Daily.

Run for Something, which Litman co-founded, recruits and supports young, diverse progressives to run for office. Litman is also the author of a book called “Run for Something” and served as the email director of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, the release said.

Trevor Lystad, CTSS vice president of finance and development, told The Daily the two speakers will be able to provide a nuanced and interesting view on the current political climate.

“We all read and talk so much about politics on this campus, and it’ll be good to hear from people who are interacting with American politics every day and interacting with the key players, but also the organizations and the systems that have made politics what it is this year,” the SESP sophomore said.

Lystad said he believes Litman and Martin will make a cohesive panel because Litman can speak to her experience working on political campaigns while Martin can provide a more nonpartisan perspective as a journalist.

Harbridge-Yong, the moderator, researches partisanship in American politics and is the author of “Is Bipartisanship Dead?”, the release said.

“The political science department is pleased to support thoughtful campus conversations about the state of politics in the 2018 elections as well as about how the Trump presidency has altered the media, candidate, and campaign landscape in this election cycle,” Harbridge-Yong said in the release.

Lystad said CTSS wanted to host a “totally politics-driven event” because the organization has not held many political events this year despite the politically charged climate that exists on campus and in the country. Prior speakers this academic year included former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey, actress Lena Waithe and writer Roxane Gay.

Given Litman’s involvement in active campaigns and Martin’s background, Zimmermann said he hopes attendees will gain insight into the 2018 elections.

Zimmermann also said he expects Martin and Litman to discuss the changes occurring within America’s political system in addition to more topical events such as the Russia investigation. With young people at the forefront of political and social movements, Zimmermann said the conversation will be both pertinent and interesting.

“There’s a groundswell of enthusiasm, energy and interest in politics for young people — people our age — who are typically not as attuned to politics,” Zimmermann said. “This is a really important time to talk about politics.”

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