Theodore R. Johnson is a political scientist, author, and senior advisor with New America where he leads the flagship US@250 initiative, a program that leverages the nation’s 250th anniversary in 2026 to create a more just and equitable society. His research explores the role of race in electoral politics, the national narrative, and American identity. He is also a contributing columnist at The Washington Post.
Ted previously served as the Senior Director at the Brennan Center for Justice, where his work explored the connection between political inequality and socioeconomic disparities, particularly as they relate to criminal justice reform and voting rights.
A retired Commander in the United States Navy, Ted’s service included numerous deployments as a signals intelligence officer, as a military professor at the U.S. Naval War College, speechwriter to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and selection as a White House Fellow.
Ted’s research and writing on politics and racial disparities have been published in The New York Times Magazine and The Atlantic, among others. His book When the Stars Begin to Fall: Overcoming Racism and Renewing the Promise of America was published in 2021, and he is currently writing a book about race and American democracy’s first principles. Ted was selected for a prestigious Emerson Collective Fellowship in 2021.
He holds a BS in mathematics from Hampton University, an ALM with a concentration in international relations from Harvard University, and a Doctorate of Law and Policy from Northeastern University.
Learn more about Professor Johnson in his Faculty Spotlight.