What is The Monkey Cage?

“Democracy is the art of running the circus from the monkey cage.” —  H.L. Mencken

The Monkey Cage’s mission is to connect political scientists and the political conversation by creating a compelling forum, developing publicly focused scholars, and building an informed audience. Using the discipline’s research, we help make sense of the circus that is politics.

At TMC, political scientists draw on their  expertise and the discipline’s research to provide in-depth analysis, illuminate the news, and inform civic discussion. We want the political conversation to include timely, accessible, and sound knowledge from a publicly oriented political science discipline, and to be less dominated by evidence-free arguments.

TMC is an independent site currently published here at the Washington Post.

Who can write for TMC?

We publish political scientists, usually in universities or comparable research positions, writing about their particular area of expertise. Occasionally we publish pieces by scholars in affiliated disciplines — such as sociology, economics, psychology, or history — if their contributions are relevant to politics.

We are especially committed to cultivating and publishing contributors from historically underrepresented groups as well as contributions about issues that have been neglected in the past.

How do I write for TMC?

First, please download and read carefully our Contributors’ Guide and Ethics Code.

If your proposed piece fits with our guidelines, please email us (monkeycageblog@gmail.com) with a one- or two-paragraph pitch that briefly explains:

  • which news or current issue your piece will illuminate
  • which research findings you will bring to bear on this topic
  • how your post will change public or policymakers’ perceptions on this topic

Decisions are made by a board of editors all of whom are political scientists with expertise in various areas. We are supported by professional editors who edit posts and manage the site.

Please note:

  • We do not publish traditional op-eds or editorials that advocate for political parties, candidates, or public policies.
  • We accept only pitches from authors, not from public relations professionals.
  • We do not automatically extend the right to respond to anything published on TMC.


John Sides is a Professor of Political Science at George Washington University. He specializes in public opinion, voting, and American elections. His books include Identity Crisis: The 2016 Presidential Campaign and the Battle for the Meaning of America He has also written for the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, the New York Daily News, Salon, Boston Review, and Bloomberg View.  Follow him on Twitter @johmsides.


Henry Farrell is a Professor of Political Science and International Affairs at George Washington University. He studies trust, the politics of the Internet, and international and comparative political economy. His recent book is The Political Economy of Trust. Follow him on Twitter @henryfarrell.

Joshua Tucker is a Professor of Politics and an affiliated Professor of Russian and Slavic Studies and Data Science at New York University. He is the Director of the Jordan Center for the Advanced Study of Russia and the Co-Director of the NYU Social Media and Political Participation (SMaPP) lab. He is the author of Regional Economic Voting and the co-author of the forthcoming Communism’s Shadow. Follow him on Twitter @j_a_tucker.

Kim Yi Dionne is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Riverside. She studies public opinion, political behavior, and policy aimed at improving the human condition, with a focus on African countries. She is the author of Doomed Interventions: The Failure of Global Responses to AIDS in Africa. She has also written for Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, and Africa is a Country. Follow her on Twitter at @dadakim.

Marc Lynch is Professor of Political Science and International Affairs at George Washington University.  His books include The New Arab WarsThe Arab Uprising,Voices of the New Arab Public, and State Interests and Public Spheres. He is also Director of the Project on Middle East Political Science (POMEPS) and  a nonresident senior associate at the Carnegie Middle East Program. In 2016 he was named an Andrew Carnegie Fellow. Follow him on Twitter at @abuaardvark.

Laura Seay is an Assistant Professor of Government at Colby College. She studies African politics, conflict, and development, with a focus on central Africa. She has also written for Foreign Policy, The Atlantic, Guernica, and Al Jazeera English.  Follow her on Twitter at @texasinafrica.

Sarah Binder is a Professor of Political Science at George Washington University and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. She has authored or co-authored four books on legislative politics, and she has a mild obsession with congressional rules, the history of Congress, and the Fed. Follow her on Twitter at @bindersab.

Elizabeth Saunders is an Associate Professor of Political Science and International Affairs at George Washington University and a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.  She studies U.S. foreign policy and international security, especially the role of leaders, the presidency, and the politics of using force.  She is the author of Leaders at War: How Presidents Shape Military Interventions. Follow her on Twitter at @ProfSaunders.

Jessica Chen Weiss is an Associate Professor of Government at Cornell University. She studies Chinese politics and international relations in the Asia-Pacific. She is the author of Powerful Patriots: Nationalist Protest in China’s Foreign Relations. Follow her on Twitter at @jessicacweiss.

Michael Tesler is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Irvine. He studies American politics and especially race and ethnic politics. His books include Obama’s Race, Post-Racial or Most-Racial?, and Identity Crisis.

Managing Editor
E.J. Graff

Associate Editors
Vanessa Lide
Lauren Baker
Stephanie Dahle

Marketing Director
Gihane Askar

Occasional Contributors
Larry Bartels (Vanderbilt)
Chris Blattman (University of Chicago)
Erica Chenoweth (Denver)
Stephen Benedict Dyson (University of Connecticut)
Patrick Egan (NYU)
James Fearon (Stanford)
Chris Federico (Minnesota)
Andrew Gelman (Columbia)
David Karol (Maryland)
Gregory Koger (Miami)
Jason Lyall (Yale)
Nolan McCarty (Princeton)
Corrine McConnaughy (George Washington)
Andrew Rudalevige (Bowdoin)
Erik Voeten (Georgetown)