Michelle Bernard

Political Analyst, MSNBC and Founder, The Bernard Center for Women, Politics & Public Policy

Exclusively WSB

An attorney by training, Michelle D. Bernard is a political analyst and pundit, social critic, author, columnist and public speaker. Fiercely independent in her political views, Ms. Bernard, an advocate of “transpartisanship,” believes that American democracy is best served when the electorate votes for candidates and issues rather than on the basis of political ideology or party affiliation.  She is particularly interested in how national and local politics, policy, and elections affect matters of racial, social and gender justice, national security, terrorism and the military, and the advancement of democracy, economic liberty, and the human rights of women and ethnic and religious minorities globally. An outspoken advocate of the human rights of people of color and women globally, Ms. Bernard is, among other things, a passionate advocate of the significance of the Black Lives Matter movement and has assisted in the development and implementation of training programs built on the pillars of democracy, women’s rights and religious freedom, political activism in a democracy, issues of governance, free markets, and non-governmental organizations.

As the president and CEO of the Bernard Center for Women, Politics & Public Policy, she concentrates on domestic and foreign policy matters and provides commentary on topics as varied as presidential politics; the path to the White House in 2016; various congressional and gubernatorial campaigns and elections; the political participation and voting trends of African Americans, Latinos, women and millennials; education reform and school choice; foreign policy and national security issues; and advancing democracy, economic liberty and international human rights. Additionally, she is a columnist for Roll Call and U.S. News & World Report and a contributor to The Huffington Post and The Root. 

In March 2016, Ms. Bernard was awarded a distinguished alumni achievement award from Howard University for outstanding post-graduate achievement in the fields of media, journalism and public policy. In 2015, she was awarded the Anvil of Freedom Award for journalism and democracy by the University of Denver’s Estlow International Center for Journalism and New Media. Later that year, the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics at Iowa State University announced that Ms. Bernard was being honored on the University’s Plaza of Heroines. She was also named by Upscale magazine as one of “25 Power Players … who have defied traditions, the odds, and more to get where they are today—at the top of their games.” Ms. Bernard was named in the November 2014 issue of Essence magazine as a “Rising Star” on its annual Money & Power list.

Ms. Bernard appears regularly as a political analyst and media commentator on CNN’s Smerconish; HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher; MSNBC’s 2016 election programming, Hardball with Chris Matthews and MSNBC Live; andTV One’s NewsOne Now with Roland Martin. In 2008, she joined The McLaughlin Group as a rotating panelist. In addition, Ms. Bernardhas guest hosted The Michael Smerconish Program on SiriusXM’s POTUS channeland is a regular guest commentator on National Public Radio. In 2009, she co-created and hosted MSNBC’s education reform television special, About Our Children.

Ms. Bernard is the author of “Naming the Sin: Are Churches Helping to Stop Domestic Violence or Enabling It?” (Sojourners, December 2013); Moving America Toward Justice: The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, 1963-2013 (2013); and Women’s Progress: How Women Are Wealthier, Healthier, and More Independent Than Ever Before (2007). She is also a contributing author to the National Urban League’s State of Black America 2009: Message to the President (2009) and Lifetime Network’s Secrets of Powerful Women: 25 Successful American Politicians Tell How They Got Where They Are—And What It’s Like (2010). Additionally, Ms. Bernard was the author of numerous opinion editorials that appeared in The Washington Post’s She the People blog, a platform for exploring the intersection of women and politics and culture.

She has been featured in several publications, including Essence, Fast Company, Jamaque magazine, the Legal Times, the New York Daily News, the Washington Business Journal, the Washington City Paper, Washington Lawyer, The Washington Post, The Washington Post Sunday Magazine, and the Washington Times. Additionally, Ms. Bernard has appeared on BBC America; BBC Radio; CNN’s The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer; C-SPAN’s Q&A (with Brian Lamb) and Washington Journal; MSNBC’s Decision ’08 (with Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann)and Morning Joe; NBC’s Today and Nightly News Weekend Edition; andTV One’s Washington Watch. She has also been a guest of PBS’s This is America with Dennis Wholey, SiriusXM’s Satellite Radio presidential election channel POTUS, various hosts with XM Satellite Radio’s The Power, and several Middle Eastern radio and cable television programs. 

Ms. Bernard’s opinion editorials and commentaries have appeared in G8 Summit magazine, The Hill, The Huffington Post, Roll Call, U.S. News & World ReportThe Washington Post’s She the People, the New York Post, the Philadelphia Daily News, The Root, and the Washington Times.

She is a member of the journalism advisory board of The Seventy Four. Additionally, she is a member of the International Women’s Forum of Washington, D.C., and served as its leadership foundation liaison from 2013 to 2015.She is also a former member of the board of trustees of Hampton University and the board of directors of the Coalition for Opportunity in Education. Prior to founding the Bernard Center for Women, Politics & Public Policy and joining the Independent Women’s Forum, Ms. Bernard was a partner at Patton Boggs, LLP in D.C.

Ms. Bernard holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy and political science from Howard University and a Juris Doctor degree from the Georgetown University Law Center.