Thomas E. Mann

Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution

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About Thomas

Mann has spent the past 42 years in Washington, DC studying, writing and speaking about American politics and policymaking, including campaigns, elections, campaign finance reform and the effectiveness of Congress. This included serving as an expert witness to the Justice Department on McConnell vs. FEC and directing a number of initiatives on congressional and electoral reform.

In the News

Opinion: "Republicans Created Dysfunction. Now They’re Paying for It.," Thomas E. Mann (with Norman J. Ornstein), The Washington Post, March 8, 2016.
Interviewed in "Republicans Gone Wild: Q&A with Mann and Ornstein," Bloomberg View, October 14, 2015.
Guest on Utah Public Radio, September 16, 2015.
Quoted by Todd S. Purdum in "Hastert Allegations Cast New Light on His Speakership," Politico, June 8, 2015.
Opinion: "State of the Union 2015: Obama Proposal Too Taxing for the GOP," Thomas E. Mann, Brookings Institution, January 20, 2015.
Quoted by Ayan Sheikh in "Can Obama and the Republican Congress Get Anything Done Together?," PBS Newshour, January 8, 2015.
Guest on Brookings Cafeteria Podcast, November 24, 2014.
Opinion: "The Senate after Filibuster Reform," Thomas E. Mann, Reuters, November 25, 2013.
Opinion: "America Needs a Grand Bargain. But Not on the Budget.," Thomas E. Mann (with John Hudak), Washington Post, October 11, 2013.
Opinion: "GOP House Can't Claim to Speak for America," Thomas E. Mann, CNN, October 4, 2013.
Interviewed in "Norman Ornstein and Thomas Mann Explain Why Congress is Failing Us," Moyers & Company, April 26, 2013.
Guest on NPR's Weekend Edition, March 3, 2013.
Opinion: "Five Myths about the Sequester," Thomas E. Mann (with Norman J. Ornstein), Washington Post, February 28, 2013.
Research discussed by Dan Froomkin, in "How the Mainstream Press Bungled the Single Biggest Story of the 2012 Campaign," The Huffington Post, December 7, 2012.
Interviewed in "Does Journalistic ‘Balance’ Hurt America?," Columbia Journalism Review, July 31, 2012.
Interviewed in "Political Division and Dysfunction in Congress," (with Norman J. Ornstein) Comedy Central's "The Daily Show", June 4, 2012.
Opinion: "Want to End Partisan Politics? Here’s What Won’t Work — And What Will," Thomas E. Mann (with Norman J. Ornstein), The Washington Post, May 17, 2012.
Opinion: "Let’s Just Say It: The Republicans are the Problem," Thomas E. Mann (with Norman J. Ornstein), The Washington Post, April 27, 2012.
Opinion: "Congress: The Good News is, No More Gridlock...," Thomas E. Mann (with Norman Ornstein), The Washington Monthly, January/February 2012.
Regular contributions by Thomas E. Mann to Brookings Institution.


"It's Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided with the New Politics of Extremism" (with Norman J. Ornstein) (Basic Books [Revised and Expanded Edition], 2016).

Presents a grim picture of how party polarization and tribal politics have led Congress - and the United States - to the brink of institutional failure. Discusses the underlying dynamics of the situation - extremist Republicans holding government hostage to their own ideological, anti-government beliefs. Argues that Republicans are not merely ideologically different from Democrats, but engaged in a unique form of politics that undermines the system itself. 

"It’s Even Worse than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided with the New Politics of Extremism" (with Norman J. Ornstein) (Basic Books, 2012).
Analyzes the extreme polarization and partisanship plaguing U.S. government, their causes, and potential solutions.
"The Broken Branch: How Congress is Failing America and How to Get it Back on Track" (with Norman J. Ornstein) (Oxford University Press, 2006, paperback 2008).
Offers a detailed account of Congressional dysfunction and polarization, and their ruinous effect on the policymaking process.
"Linking Knowledge and Action: Political Science and Campaign Finance Reform" Perspectives on Politics 1, no. 1 (March 2003): 69-83.
Reviews the evolution of research on campaign finance from the early twentieth century to the present, the intellectual tensions between the scholarly and reform communities, the conditions in the 1990s that promoted collaboration among these groups, and the continuing disagreements over how best to manage the problems associated with money and politics.