Norman Ornstein is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), where he studies politics, elections, and the US Congress. He is a cohost of AEI’s Election Watch series, a contributing editor and columnist for National Journal and The Atlantic, a BBC News election analyst, and the chairman of the Campaign Legal Center.

Dr. Ornstein previously served as codirector of the AEI-Brookings Election Reform Project and senior counselor to the Continuity of Government Commission. A longtime observer and analyst of American politics and the US Congress, he has been involved in political reform for decades, particularly campaign finance reform and the reform of Senate committees. He has also played a part in creating the Congressional Office of Compliance and the House Office of Congressional Ethics.

Dr. Ornstein was elected fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2004.

His many interviews have been aired on C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal,” CBS, CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, NPR, and “PBS NewsHour,” among others. His articles and opinion pieces have been published widely, including in Politico, The New York Times, NY Daily News, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post.

Dr. Ornstein’s books include the bestsellers “One Nation After Trump: A Guide for the Perplexed, the Disillusioned, the Desperate, and the Not-Yet Deported,” with E. J. Dionne and Thomas E. Mann (St. Martin’s Press, 2017); and “It’s Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided with the New Politics of Extremism;” “The Broken Branch: How Congress Is Failing America and How to Get It Back on Track,” with Thomas E. Mann (Oxford University Press, 2006); and “The Permanent Campaign and Its Future” (AEI Press, 2000).

Dr. Ornstein has a Ph.D. and a master’s in political science from the University of Michigan and a B.A. from the University of Minnesota.


  • Chairman, 2017–present; Board Member, 2002–17, Campaign Legal Center
  • Contributing Editor and Columnist, National Journal and The Atlantic, 2013–present
  • Election Analyst, BBC News, 2012–present
  • Codirector, Project to Examine Alternatives to the Independent Counsel Statute, 1999–present
  • Member, Board of Contributors, USA Today, 1997–present
  • Founder and Director, Campaign Finance Reform Working Group, 1996–present
  • Senior Adviser, Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, 1987–present
  • Columnist, “Congress Inside Out,” Roll Call, 1993–2012
  • Election Analyst, CBS News, 1982–2012
  • Codirector, AEI-Brookings Election Reform Project, 2005–11
  • Senior Counselor, AEI-Brookings Continuity of Government Commission, 2002–11
  • Director, Transition to Governing Project, 2000–03
  • Member, Commission on the Future International Financial Architecture, Council on Foreign Relations, 2000
  • Co-chair, President’s Advisory Committee on the Public Interest Obligations of Digital Television Broadcasters, 1999–2000
  • Codirector, Renewing Congress Project, 1992–96
  • Commentator and Pollster, Political Coverage, Comedy Central, 1992, 1996
  • Member, National Commission on Public Service Board, 1987–90
  • Faculty, Catholic University of America and Johns Hopkins University, 1971–84
  • Series Editor and Cohost, “Congress: We the People,” PBS, 1977–78


Ph.D., M.A., political science, University of Michigan
B.A., University of Minnesota