In Case You Missed It: November 2016

Some of the best stuff on Medium, month by month

Kate Lee
The Medium Blog


Processing politics

Leaders in politics and activism took to Medium before and after the election to process their thoughts, defend their viewpoints, and mobilize their readerships.

In the week leading up to Election Day, voices from all corners of the political landscape entreated readers to get to the polls. Thumbtack founder, former Republican West Wing staffer, and #NeverTrump’er Jonathan Swanson encouraged readers to cast their votes in favor of Clinton rather than an independent protest vote. Feminista Jones dove into the complexities that black voters faced in the election, proposed a way forward, and asked readers to weigh in with their thoughts. Current California attorney general Kamala Harris appealed one last time to voters two days before becoming the state’s senator-elect, and activist Edie Windsor wrote to the LGBT community encouraging them to vote for Hillary Clinton on the eve of the election.

On November 7, Hillary Clinton reflected on the journey of her campaign; two days later, she returned with her concession to Donald Trump in the form of a thank-you letter to her supporters, staff, party, and family.

The wake of the election brought with it an array of reactions, observations, and opinions, where conservatives and liberals alike seized the opportunity to evaluate their parties. Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren took stock of the Democratic party and the future of her own involvement in economic reform during Trump’s presidency. Blogger and viral tweetstormer Marybeth Glenn laid out steps for improving the conservative movement, while writer and activist Lindy West passed along specific suggestions from an anonymous friend about what liberals can do to mitigate their situation, starting now. U.S. Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith spoke directly to her fellow techies to encourage active public service and political participation.

When entrepreneur Trent Lapinski gave Democrats his two cents on why Trump won, actor and writer Wil Wheaton fired back with a harsh critique — inspiring two more responses from Lapinski in defense of his position. Through commenting on the American election, French politician Emmanuel Macron announced his decision to run for president of France in May.

More personal stories around the experience of the election rose to the top of Medium as well: New York Times political writer Jason Horowitz described the scene at the Trump International Hotel on election night as it evolved from “impromptu watch party” to the “biggest bash in town.” Former Wall Street Journal reporter Asra Nomani explained in the Washington Post why she — as a Muslim, woman, and immigrant — voted Trump. Political strategist and Evan McMullin supporter Joel Searby told the story behind his recruitment of McMullin as an independent presidential candidate and launching a campaign in three days. Writer and actress Jordan Reid weighed in on the puzzle of Jared Kushner, whom she dated in college.

The rise of hate crime didn’t go unnoticed on Medium: Reporter and photographer Sean O'Kane documented disturbing reports of such across the country in the two days following the election, and Nevada Senator Harry Reid recapped the wave of bullying and white supremacism immediately following the election, calling on Trump to denounce it through rescinding his appointment of Steve Bannon.

Following a meeting with Trump, Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard defended her decision to sit down with the president-elect to talk about Syria and other foreign policy challenges. And from within Trump’s camp, digital advertising director Gary Coby detailed his view of Twitter’s mistreatment of the campaign, culminating in a phone call with Jack Dorsey himself.

Medium was ground zero for conversations around the question of whether the Clinton campaign wanted to encourage a recount in key battleground states. Responding to a New York magazine article about his advisory of the Clinton campaign, computer scientist J. Alex Halderman assessed the possibility that the election was hacked. Clinton campaign lawyer Marc Elias disclosed a number of quiet steps the campaign took in the weeks following the election to rule out the possibility that a number of states’ voting systems were hacked.

Elsewhere in politics, individuals shared meaningful memories. Former Secret Service agent Clint Hill told a pair of stories about his experience after the assassination: one memory of accompanying Jackie Kennedy down the most exposed streets of Washington, D.C. during JFK’s funeral march, and another of jumping atop the president’s car to protect the first family moments after he was fatally shot.

Progressive lobbyist and former Assistant Attorney General Robert Raben warmly remembered his former boss, former United States attorney general Janet Reno, on the day of her passing. Jeanette Rubio shared anecdotes of her husband Marco Rubio’s commitment to the rights of young women. And Minnesota Congressman Rep. Keith Ellison recalled his early days as a political organizer and activist in the context of his run for DNC chair.

Others used Medium to provide firsthand insight into broader political issues: Cyber investigation specialist and former FBI agent E.J. Hilbert gave context into the James Comey controversy from the perspective of someone who’s experienced the process of internal investigation at the agency firsthand. Doug Hughes, the infamous mailman-cum-gyrocopter felon, broke down his decision not to ask for a presidential pardon — and the ability to vote as an American citizen.

The writer, professor, and political commentator Melissa Harris-Perry spread cheer on Medium in November when she spotted a post from an admiring audience member Veronica Chambers and returned the love.

Two cents from business & tech

After Election Day, bigwigs in business and tech weighed in on the results. BBG Ventures president Susan Lyne penned a letter to Mark Zuckerberg about rethinking the impact of the Facebook feed in today’s political environment. Box CEO Aaron Levie shared the email he sent to his employees with thoughts about moving forward as a company. Y Combinator partner Justin Kan reflected on Silicon Valley’s selfish streak, and PR heavyweight Brooke Hammerling reacted to the election results through advocating for action.

As the world continued to turn in November, business leaders spoke expertly to what they know best. Forerunner Ventures investor Kirsten Green outlined her firm’s response to the rapid changes taking place in the retail industry. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis President Neel Kashkari commented on the release of his plan to solve the Too Big to Fail problem in American banking. Monumental Sports & Entertainment CEO Ted Leonsis supported the rise of “smart city” technology (and moved his and Steve Case’s Revolution website over to Medium entirely). And on a humorous note, Slack published its viral full-page newspaper-ad-slash-open-letter addressing Microsoft’s announcement of the new, conspicuously Slack-like Microsoft Teams group chat software.

Giving readers a peek behind the curtain, Uber summarized the process behind redesigning its app interface, and Gab CEO Andrew Torba entreated readers to donate to the company’s first round of funding. The professional learning platform GLG launched its contributor network, Smarter.

Stances on-set

Pre- and post-election, the Hollywood and entertainment community weighed in on the national conversation.

Musician Michael Franti made a pre-election case for optimism, while filmmaker and television host Max Joseph explained his fixation on Trump as Hitler. Lightening the mood, JIM CARREY posted an Election Day-themed cartoon. Once the results were in, Vampire Diaries producer and co-creator Julie Plec had an epiphany about privilege in the wake of the election. Musician Ani DiFranco reacted, too, urging the Electoral College to vote against the results and her readers to stand up with her. George Takei described life following the attack on Pearl Harbor and the subsequent interning of Japanese-Americans living in the United States, and pledged his dedication to making sure a Trump presidency doesn’t sink to a parallel low.

In other news from Hollywood, actress Mila Kunis took a stand against ingrained sexism in Hollywood and working with entities and individuals that perpetuate it, and The Black Lists’s Scott Myers made a new home on Medium for its screenwriting blog, Go Into the Story.

Medium & media

This month in media, voices chimed into conversations and kicked off new ones.

Bestselling author Julie Lythcott-Haims expanded on her viral Facebook post about an unsettling conversation she had with college dormmate Peter Thiel about apartheid, defending herself against allegations from Thiel and his team that the interaction never took place.

Author, Atavist co-founder, and New Yorker website editor Nicholas Thompson reversed the commonly held opinion that contemporary technology discourages deeper thinking, and chief Slate political correspondent Jamelle Bouie started a new to recap what he’s reading, starting with the first three chapters of W. E. B. DuBois’s Black Reconstruction in America.

In conclusions, Gawker Media founder Nick Denton marked the official end of his legal battle with Hulk Hogan and Peter Thiel. And in beginnings, Arianna Huffington’s Thrive Global launched its journal on Medium, with posts from Marie Kondo, Danny Meyer, Priyanka Chopra, Phil Jackson, our very own Ev Williams, and many others.

Charitable contributions

Post-election, organizations took the chance to affirm their values. The Social Justice Coalition of the Cambridge Health Alliance (SJC@CHA) collected signatures from over 6,000 prominent healthcare leaders to affirm core principles behind American healthcare in the face of a changing administration. Journalism advocate Josh Stearns shared methods to find and support trustworthy journalism amid national conversations about the prevalence of “fake news.”

Later in the month, Medium was abuzz with stories about giving back on #GivingTuesday, with contributions from the Clinton Foundation, Crowdrise, Girls Who Code, charity:water, and many others. Read on for more about philanthropy on Medium in our Highlighting Generosity publication.



Kate Lee
The Medium Blog

currently @stripe, ex-@WeWork, @medium, ICM Partners