Deputy Managing Editor Stephanie Slade was a pollster before she came to work at reason. She puts that experience to use on page 24, telling the history of an industry that no longer quite seems up to the task of predicting elections ("Why Polls Don't Work"). So why did Slade, 29, leave a stable career in survey research in favor of life as a magazine scribe? "What I realized was that ultimately, on policy, the politicians will go where the public is leading them," the Florida native says. "I wanted to be a part of the conversation that's shaping people's views."
Reecy Pontiff is a freelance writer, a vaudeville performer, a tour guide, and, in her own words, a "professional vagabond." The 34-year-old's politics are just as eclectic: "Generally speaking, I believe that both major parties today are bought and sold by the same corporations," she explains. "I've lived in the inner city of New Orleans and an off-grid homestead in Montana and know it's difficult to legislate across the board for such different places." In "Folk Artists vs. the State" (page 50) she explores the sometimes political but always colorful "art environments" created by other American free spirits, often to the chagrin of state and local authorities.
George Mason University law professor David Bernstein is best known for his scholarship about a hotly disputed 1905 ruling that invalidated a law limiting bakers' working hours. "Lochner used to be up there with Plessy and Dred Scott as the worst Supreme Court case ever," he says, but Bernstein's work has helped "take it out of the so-called 'anti-canon' of cases that everyone agrees were obviously incorrect." On page 55, the 48-year-old reviews The Workplace Constitution: From the New Deal to the New Right, a tale of how African Americans and conservative activists co-opted the labor movement's push for a codification of employees' rights.