Michael Brenes

Michael Brenes is a historian and the senior archivist for American diplomacy at Yale University, where he is writing a biography of Hubert Humphrey.

Recent Articles

The Once and Forever Liberal

On the 40th anniversary of his death, Hubert Humphrey—who prefigured both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton—can offer a corrective to the current debate over the Democrats’ direction.

(Yoichi Okamoto/White House photograph)
This month marks the 40th anniversary of Hubert Humphrey’s death. The senator from Minnesota and vice president under Lyndon Johnson died of bladder cancer on January 13, 1978, ending a long career as one of the most notable and influential liberal Democrats of the 20th century. January 2018 also begins a year-long series of anniversaries where Humphrey’s name is expected to reappear in retrospective takes on the history of the Vietnam War, the New Left and the anti-war movement, the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, and the 1968 presidential election—which Humphrey lost to Republican Richard Nixon. But before those op-eds, editorials, and remembrances are written, we must consider what Humphrey means to Americans today: the lessons he provides for Americans living in the age of Donald Trump. Because if someone were to reanimate Humphrey and insert him into the current political climate, he would be pilloried as a “socialist,” a “radical...