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Seth Abramson
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Seth Abramson teaches at the University of New Hampshire. He is also an attorney, editor, and author. You can find him online here.

A graduate of Dartmouth College, Harvard Law School, and the Iowa Writers' Workshop, Abramson is the author of six books, including An Insider's Guide to Graduate Creative Writing Degrees (Bloomsbury, forthcoming 2018); DATA (BlazeVOX, 2016); Metamericana (BlazeVOX, 2015); Thievery (University of Akron Press, 2013), winner of the 2012 Akron Poetry Prize; and Northerners (Western Michigan University Press, 2011), winner of the 2010 Green Rose Prize from New Issues Poetry & Prose. His poetry and prose have appeared in The Washington Post, Poetry, American Poetry Review, Boston Review, The Philadelphia Review of Books, Fence, Best New Poets (University of Virginia Press), and elsewhere. An essayist and film/TV reviewer for Indiewire, he is also Series Editor for Best American Experimental Writing, whose third edition will be published by Wesleyan University Press in the fall of 2016.

Abramson's editorials and research have been covered by such media outlets as The Washington Post, The New York Times, Rolling Stone, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, New York Magazine, Playboy, The Guardian, The Economist, Newsweek, Politico, Salon, The Chicago Tribune, The Boston Globe, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Los Angeles Times, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, The New York Post, The New Hampshire Union Leader, The Los Angeles Review of Books, Publishers Weekly, Poets & Writers, Pitchfork, The Kenyon Review, Boston Review, PBS, NPR, ABC News, Country Music Television, and others.

From 2001 to 2007, he was an attorney for the New Hampshire Public Defender.

Entries by Seth Abramson

Clinton's VP Pick Is The First Major Test Of Her Presidency, And She Will Fail It

(0) Comments | Posted June 21, 2016 | 2:52 PM


I used to assume, along with everyone else in the media, that Clinton and Trump having roughly similar "unfavorable" and "untrustworthy" ratings, and being neck-and-neck in the national polls, meant that this would be a toss-up general election. Then it became clear that Trump's inability to pivot away...

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If Sanders Wins California, Trump Would Be An Idiot Not to Debate Him at RFK in DC at 7PM on June 11

(19) Comments | Posted June 6, 2016 | 2:22 PM

Nobody knows what will happen in the votes upcoming on June 7th -- CNN gives Sanders a 44% chance of winning California, a 24% chance of winning New Mexico, a small but non-zero chance of winning New Jersey, and a better-than-even chance of winning all the other states -- but...

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Clinton in 2008 Opposed Early Call of Primary, Told Media 'Nomination Will Be Up to Superdelegates'

(10) Comments | Posted June 2, 2016 | 3:42 PM

{NB: The full text of Clinton's 2008 letter can be found at The Atlantic, here.}

In 2008, in a move that surprised Democratic superdelegates as well as many in the media, Hillary Clinton issued a stern warning via letter to both the media and elected Democratic officials clarifying...

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How to Explain the Sanders Campaign to an Idiot, Paul Krugman or a Clintonite in 8 Sentences

(1401) Comments | Posted May 30, 2016 | 11:55 AM

Sentence #1: If a Democratic primary candidate can win 59 percent of the Party's "pledged" (primary- and caucus-won) delegates or more, the primary is decided by pledged delegates; if a Democratic primary candidate fails to meet that threshold, they are considered by DNC electoral processes to be a weak front-runner...

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Clinton Clinches Democratic Nomination

(870) Comments | Posted May 27, 2016 | 12:53 PM

MSNBC's Chris Matthews has revealed that the major television networks plan to call the Democratic primary for Hillary Clinton during the day on June 7th -- hours prior to the close of polls in California -- on the grounds that Clinton has "clinched" the nomination as soon as...

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National Media Retracts Its Claim That There Was Violence at the Nevada State Democratic Convention

(69) Comments | Posted May 26, 2016 | 9:55 AM

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It was reported by the Associated Press, CBS, and MSNBC. It was reported by CNN and National Public Radio and even Comedy Central. It was reported by -- okay, long story short, it was reported by everyone.

Sanders supporters in Nevada committed on-site...

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Fox News Should Give America What It Wants: A Primetime Sanders-Trump Debate

(377) Comments | Posted May 24, 2016 | 11:03 PM

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In early March, Fox News Channel almost made "primary debate history," according to an article in The New York Times.

The conservative cable network now appears poised to do in May what it was unable to do two months ago.

...
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America Doesn't Need Another Franklin Delano Roosevelt, It Needs Another Millard Fillmore

(61) Comments | Posted May 22, 2016 | 8:43 PM


The optimism of Bernie Sanders' latest viral video belies the fact that what we need is another politician like our under-valued 13th President, Millard Fillmore.

Much has been made by the majority of American Democrats under 45 who support Bernie Sanders of recent comparisons between the Vermont Senator and Franklin Delano Roosevelt -- the American President who won World War II and authored "The New Deal," an economic plan that shepherded America from the Depression to its most productive and prosperous decades.

The superficial similarities between the two men, which almost exclusively relate to their economic policies and support for new forms of diplomacy abroad -- Roosevelt having been instrumental to the creation of the United Nations -- was, frustratingly, only bolstered when the world's foremost left-leaning economist, Thomas Piketty, said recently that "Sanders' success today shows that much of America is tired of rising inequality...and intends to revive both a progressive agenda and the American tradition of egalitarianism." The lavish praise was bad enough, but the comparisons to Roosevelt, again superficially reasonable due to the two politicians' synchronicity in most areas of public policy, dangerously misunderstand what America needs in this time of economic and international crisis.

As pointed out in the excellent 2015 essay "Incrementalism Versus Disjuncture," written by Marc Landy and published in the Tulsa Law Review, the nation's roster of "forgotten" Presidents -- which includes William Henry Harrison, who died just days into his term, but also the understated Fillmore, who resisted efforts by fellow Whigs to dictate his executive appointments -- suggests that sometimes uninspiring and uncharismatic Presidents can have much more impact than we anticipate they will.

While Landy ultimately rejects the theory that incrementalist Presidents are preferable to ones who are ideologically counter-institutional (as he notes, "Overall, one is struck by how little the Forgottens contributed to the development of the presidency as compared to the Remembered"), his analysis of the nation's least-heralded Presidents underscores that sometimes what is wanted is a cautious bureaucrat whose sense of the possible is decidedly modest even by contemporary standards.

There has been an assumption that if America were to demand a "New New Deal" from its government, one that again deployed spending and legislative strategies which were historically transformative for the nation in ways now considered almost entirely positive, it would likewise achieve the same result today. Yes, it might, but why take the chance that it won't and we come right back to where we started? As things stand now, approval ratings for Congress are at acceptable levels, legislation to rename post offices or other government buildings often achieves bipartisan support, and only a minority of Congressional races are competitive -- one of the major pluses of gerrymandering, as when too many Congressional districts can be contested every two years it makes the citizens of these districts restless and even intemperate.

Far better than any President of the period from 1842 to 1856, Millard Fillmore knew how to deal with restlessness. When Lajos Kossuth, a leader of the failed Hungarian Revolution, demanded that the U.S. recognize Hungary's independence, the demand electrified Americans from Maine to California -- a sense of unease that Fillmore quite adequately quelled by refusing to change American policy toward the Eastern European nation. Would Bernie Sanders have had that level of foresight? There's nothing in his twenty-five year Congressional record, nor indeed anything in the three terms Roosevelt was in the White House, to suggest either man would have reaffirmed America's neutrality toward Hungary in the highly charged atmosphere of 1851.

But you know who would have reaffirmed America's neutrality toward Hungary, and done so with the appropriate pomp and caution? Hillary Clinton. And that's exactly the sort of understated but in a certain way bold incrementalism America needs right now. Bernie Sanders might appear to most American Democrats under 45 and several of the world's foremost economists -- Piketty being just one example -- like the Second Coming of FDR, but what America really needs to ask itself is, was FDR really so great? If you think about it, it seems absolutely clear what the answer to that is.

Seth Abramson is the Series Editor for Best American Experimental Writing (Wesleyan University) and the author, most recently, of DATA (BlazeVOX, 2016).

Also on HuffPost:

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On Bernie Sanders and Experimental Journalism

(65) Comments | Posted May 21, 2016 | 2:02 AM

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We all know people who, after the sudden and bitter end of a seemingly loving relationship, say, "Well, I guess it wasn't love after all." Perhaps we've said this ourselves on certain occasions. In either case we must also know, too, the cruelty...

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Clinton to Californians: Your Votes Will Not Affect the Democratic Primary Whatsoever

(1213) Comments | Posted May 19, 2016 | 5:42 PM

On Thursday, Chris Cuomo had the temerity to use conditional language in speaking of Hillary Clinton's chances of becoming the Democratic nominee for President.

It didn't go over well.

The relevant portion of the transcript is below:

{at 10:40 in the video}

CUOMO (CNN): So you get into the general election, if you're the nominee for your party, and --

CLINTON: I will be the nominee for my party, Chris. That is already done, in effect. There is no way that I won't be.

CUOMO: There's a Senator from Vermont who has a different take on that --

CLINTON: Well --

CUOMO: He says he's going to fight to the end --

CLINTON: Yeah, it's strange.

It's hard to take Clinton's first comment as anything but a statement that nothing California could possibly do in its primary could change the outcome of the Democratic race -- even though it's now widely accepted that Clinton can't win the primary with pledged delegates alone. This means that the Democratic nomination will be decided by super-delegates, who don't vote for more than two months -- at the Democratic National Convention, to be held in Philadelphia on July 25th. As the DNC has repeatedly advised the media, those super-delegates can and often do change their minds -- and are free to do so up until they actually vote this summer.

CNN analyst Carl Bernstein noted several times Wednesday night that between mid-May and late July countless things could happen that would cause super-delegates to move toward Sanders en masse.

A win in the California primary could be chief among them.

As has been exhaustively explained to both Clinton and the mainstream media over the past year, and as Clinton herself says during the interview above -- "the name of the game is delegates" -- should enough super-delegates switch their votes to Sanders in late July on the argument that he's more electable than Clinton in the fall (the conventional metric used by super-delegates forced to decide a primary since 1984), Clinton will not, in fact, be the Democratic nominee. Indeed many believe that a Clinton loss in the California primary -- coupled with a string of polls showing Clinton tied with or losing to Donald Trump in every battleground state as well as behind the unpredictable billionaire nationally -- could cause super-delegates to switch their votes in large numbers.

The most recent national poll showed that voters consider Trump substantially more trustworthy than Clinton.

Sanders is on pace to win as many as 18 of the final 24 state primaries and caucuses; while Clinton often says that she won "nine of the last 12 contests" in 2008, in fact Clinton and Obama evenly split the final ten state primaries and caucuses of the 2008 primary season.

In the final 23 state primaries and caucuses in 2008, Clinton won 8 and lost 15.

Seth Abramson is the Series Editor for Best American Experimental Writing (Wesleyan University) and the author, most recently, of DATA (BlazeVOX,...

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Make No Mistake, Sandersism Has Defeated Clintonism

(1010) Comments | Posted May 18, 2016 | 2:23 PM

In 2008, Hillary Clinton -- on her way to losing the Democratic nomination -- won nine of the final 25 nominating contests. In 2016, she may well -- despite being treated as the likely winner of this year's Democratic primary by the mainstream media -- win only seven or eight...

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Sanders Supporters Have Been Lied To, and Here's How

(672) Comments | Posted May 18, 2016 | 2:21 PM

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For a full year -- from early 2015 to early 2016 -- Sanders supporters were told that superdelegates pick whoever they believe is the strongest general-election candidate.

They were told this, first and foremost, by the 359 superdelegates who endorsed Hillary Clinton before...

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Bernie Sanders Could Still Win the Democratic Nomination -- No, Seriously

(1409) Comments | Posted May 11, 2016 | 9:37 AM

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Last night on CNN, while discussing Bernie Sanders' landslide victory over Hillary Clinton in West Virginia -- which followed a 5-point Sanders win in Indiana last week -- Michael Smerconish said that "Democratic super-delegates might have to rethink" their support of Hillary...
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Clinton and the DNC Are Not Just Colluding -- They're Changing the Rules for Superdelegates

(685) Comments | Posted May 9, 2016 | 7:07 PM

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The award for most deliberate and egregious burying of a lead has just been handed out.

It goes to NBC News, for a story entitled, "Bernie Sanders Makes Things Awkward for Hillary Clinton's DNC Takeover."

Put aside for a moment that...

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Clinton Must Release Her Wall Street Transcripts Now That the Prerequisite She Set Has Been Met

(792) Comments | Posted May 6, 2016 | 6:55 PM

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We know the mainstream media thinks that Secretary Clinton releasing transcripts of all her speeches to Wall Street is a legitimate -- and indeed significant -- campaign issue.

Indeed, Dana Bash of CNN pursued the topic ruthlessly in a Democratic...

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5 Reasons Bernie Sanders Wins Big With Cruz Dropout

(1168) Comments | Posted May 3, 2016 | 9:46 PM

Here are five immediate repercussions to Ted Cruz dropping out of the Republican primary:

1. News coverage for the Democratic primary, and thus Bernie Sanders, will increase exponentially -- immediately.

Without Trump in the field, all of the focus on future election nights -- nine states and several territories over...

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End of Democratic Primary Means Anyone Who Ever Wanted to Can Now Vote for Bernie Sanders

(695) Comments | Posted April 28, 2016 | 1:01 PM

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There's no need to link to the scores of articles declaring the Democratic primary race effectively over, as surely anyone reading this has already read those articles.

Nor is there any need to link to Clinton campaign press releases declaring Clinton's delegate...

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5 Things We've Learned About Hillary Clinton Since She Won the New York Primary

(370) Comments | Posted April 25, 2016 | 3:29 PM

Last Tuesday, Hillary Clinton won her home state 58 percent to 42 percent.

The New York primary -- which disallowed independents from voting; required prospective voters to register as Democrats six months before the election, at a time when few knew who Bernie Sanders was; saw a minimum of 126,000...

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5 Pieces of Advice for Bernie Sanders From Hillary Clinton Circa 2008

(235) Comments | Posted April 22, 2016 | 3:19 PM

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Hillary Clinton has a lot of opinions on how a candidate losing a Democratic primary should act -- it's just that she's shed all of them since she became the front-runner.

Fortunately, the Internet.

With the help of this tool apparently no...

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The Case for an Open Democratic Convention

(175) Comments | Posted April 20, 2016 | 8:09 PM

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If you don't understand why Bernie Sanders and the half of American Democrats who support him are pushing hard for a contested convention, you don't understand anything about either the man or the movement he heads. That's fine if you're a Clinton supporter...

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