Faiz Shakir, Bernie Sanders’ Campaign Manager: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Faiz Shakir

Twitter Photo from Faiz Shakir's Twitter when he was giving a Reddit AMA.

Bernie Sanders has hired Faiz Shakir, political director for the ACLU, as his campaign manager for his 2020 run. Here’s everything you need to know about Shakir.


1. While Faiz Shakir Was the National Political Director for the ACLU, He Opposed Anti-BDS Bills for First Amendment Concerns

Shakir, 39, has served as the national political director of the ACLU since 2017, The Daily Beast reported. At noon, Shakir told the ACLU that he was leaving to help with Sanders’ campaign.

In his role with the ACLU, Shakir developed and implemented strategies for advancing the ACLU’s goals at the federal and state level, his bio reads.

In an interview with Tablet in 2017, Shakir explained why he and the ACLU opposed the anti-BDS bill. He told Tablet: “Of course, the ACLU’s concern here is that we may be criminalizing speech, chilling speech, and chilling political beliefs—targeting certain political beliefs through this bill. Maybe it was inadvertent, or maybe it’s intentional, we’re not sure, but the fact is that the bill as constructed would target individuals and potentially cause them legal jeopardy for expressing support of a boycott that they might feel is in their own political belief system. And that kind of approach from the government sends a very chilling signal to all that certain speech is going to be criminalized. That’s a first amendment concern for us.”

He also recently tweeted Sanders’ response to the question:


2. Shakir Is the First Muslim to Serve as a Campaign Manager for a Major Presidential Campaign

Shakir is a Muslim, The Daily Beast shared, and will be the first Muslim to serve as the campaign manager for a major presidential campaign.

He started out as a junior staff research for John Kerry’s campaign in 2004, Ozy.com reported. He was also vice president for communications at the Center for American Progress, The Hill reported.

Shakir is a graduate of Harvard and Georgetown University Law Center. He had a bachelor’s in government at Harvard, according to his LinkedIn profile.


3. Shakir Was the Editor & Founding Member of ThinkProgress

Before the ACLU, Shakir was the senior advisor to Harry Reid while he was the Senate Majority Leader. Before that, he was Senior Advisor and Director of Digital Media for Nancy Pelosi.

Shakir was also the editor and founding member of ThinkProgress during the Bush and Obama administrations. At one point, he misrepresented himself as a conservative blogger while covering a Republican Senate campaign, Ozy.com pointed out. He was even once falsely accused of being an anti-Semite based on tweets by people who worked under him at ThinkProgress. He told Ozy, “It cut pretty deeply. It’s the type of thing I’ve been working my life against. I was always deeply involved in forging relationships across ethnic and religious differences.”

You can see some of the articles he’s written for ThinkProgress here. The last one was written in 2012.


4. Podesta Was Unhappy When Shakir Helped Bernie’s Campaign in 2016 &  Wrote, ‘[I] Gave Him a Very Hard Time. This Does Not Go Down Easy with Me’

Shakir has done some work for Sanders before, The Daily Beast noted. He worked informally for Sanders’ campaign in 2016.

In a leaked email shared by WikiLeaks in 2016, Shakir was chided for advising Sanders’ campaign. John Podesta was not happy about Shakir’s decision to work with Sanders. Judd Legume started out the email chain with a subject titled “Faiz advising Bernie” and wrote, “I think it’s just kind of informal for now but he’s like writing speeches and stuff or at least speech language.”  Neera Tanden forwarded the message to Podesta and wrote: “you know about this? Jesus.” Podesta responded, “Yes. Gave him a very hard time. I have to say this does not go down easy with me. Wish him well in life.” The message was sent in late February 2016.


5. He’s the Son of Pakistani Immigrants & Grew Up in Florida

Shakir is the son of Pakistani immigrants, Ozy.com reported. He grew up in Florida and is a big fan of baseball, even playing baseball for four years at Harvard.

Shakir has expressed many of his political views on his Twitter account. A few examples include sharing that the border crossing isn’t a national emergency, although Katrina was.

He has also argued that court debt should not lead to people losing their jobs.

His Twitter also shows that he has a good sense of humor.