Harold Meyerson

Harold Meyerson is executive editor of The American Prospect. His email is hmeyerson@prospect.org.

Recent Articles

The Return of American Socialism

A largely millennial movement, with a surprisingly broad base of support, has staked its claim on the nation’s political discourse and direction.

This article appears in the Fall 2018 issue of The American Prospect magazine. Subscribe here . In 1960, the young socialist Michael Harrington traveled to Ann Arbor to provide what help he could to the fledgling radical movement at the University of Michigan, and to see if he could recruit some students to the Young People’s Socialist League. He had particularly long talks with the 20-year-old editor of The Michigan Daily (the student newspaper), Tom Hayden. Though the two hit it off, Harrington couldn’t make the sale. “He accepted much of my analysis,” Harrington later was to write, “yet he balked at the socialist idea itself.” Harrington was no slouch at converting progressives to socialism; an unusually high percentage of the members of the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee (which he founded in 1973) and its successor organization, the Democratic Socialists of America (which he co-founded in 1982) signed up after having been...

The Constitution's Anti-Majoritarian Bias

The battle over the Constitution has been joined. Writing in the New York Post , National Review editor Rich Lowery has taken it upon himself to counter many of the arguments that liberals have lodged in the wake of the Kavanaugh confirmation that the Constitution is anti-majoritarian. Those arguments have pointed out that the two most recent Republican presidents decisively lost the popular vote but were elected nonetheless due to the anti-majoritarian Electoral College; that the Senate’s one-state, one-vote structure greatly magnifies the power of small states at the expense of popular majorities; and that as a consequence of those two anti-majoritarian distortions, we now have a far-right Supreme Court devoted to imposing its beliefs and biases on its disconsolate compatriots. To which Lowery responds, in essence: Yes, and isn’t that great! Lowery casts this battle as one of regions, asking why the fly-over nation should have to submit to the coasts. Noting that the...

Trickle-Down in Steel

trickle-downers_35.jpg For the American steel industry, these are boom times. President Trump’s tariffs on steel imports have been a boon to domestic manufacturers, who are enjoying profits unlike any they’ve seen in years. And as for the steelworkers? Well, not so much. The profit surge has come just as the multi-year contracts that the United Steelworkers has with the two mega-makers of American steel—Arcelor Mittal and U.S. Steel—have expired. The companies have presented their 31,000 unionized employees with proposed new contracts that appear designed to demonstrate just how farcical trickle-down economics actually is. At first glance, the pay increases appear generous. But the companies are also asking their workers to start paying for health benefits that cost an arm and a leg. According to a report in today’s Los Angeles Times , the net effect “would reduce the overall wage increase to just about 1.7 percent over nine years.” Not...

If McConnell Had Directed the Investigation of Lincoln’s Assassination

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
SCENE: Press conference at Ford’s Theater TIME: Shortly after 7 a.m. on the morning of April 15, 1865. President Lincoln lies dying in a house across the street. Senators Mitch McConnell and Charles Grassley walk to the podium amid shouted questions from the assembled reporters. GRASSLEY: [ pounding gavel on the podium ] Quiet! Silence! [ The reporters quiet down. ] My distinguished colleague Senator McConnell has a prepared statement. Mitch? MCCONNELL: I thank my distinguished colleague. We’ve just received the report that we authorized from the army officers and Washington police offers into the president’s ailment, and we’ll distribute it now to you. [ Aides pass out papers to the reporters. ] As the report makes clear— VARIOUS REPORTERS: [ shouting ] Where’s the rest of it?! This is all? It’s just one page long! MCCONNELL: … As it makes clear, this was the most thorough, exhaustive report of its kind we’ve ever directed. The...

The Back-Up Way of Defeating Kavanaugh

Assume the worst: Let’s posit that within a week, despite the evidence of his abuses when young, his temperament when middle-aged, and his unyieldingly troglodytic beliefs at all times, Brett Kavanaugh is confirmed as a Supreme Court justice. That, of course, would create the first hard-right majority on the Court since 1937—a majority dead-set against modernity, equal rights for women and minorities, and any rights at all for workers. What to do then?

There would still remain one perfectly legal and valid exit ramp from this lowdown circle of hell. In the increasingly likely event that the Democrats take the House this November, the new Democratic majority on the House Judiciary Committee could revisit Kavanaugh’s testimony last week for evidence of deception. Indeed, the senior Democrat on that committee, New Yorker Jerry Nadler—as smart and progressive a congressman as the Democrats have—has already indicated the committee, which he’d be chairing, would do just that.

There is, of course, a kind of testimonial misleading by Court nominees that is standard, legal and all but expected. When asked if they’ll approach issues with an open mind, if their opinions will be empirically based and free from the ideology they’ve adhered to throughout their careers, all judicial nominees swear that that will indeed be how they guide themselves, though that is obviously hardly ever the case. As witnesses, they’re all umpires calling balls and strikes. Once on the bench, however, they put that strike zone on either the left or right side of the plate. They invariably omit that part—where they put the strike zone—from their testimony. That’s normal; that’s not an offense.

But denying the existence of events that actually happened in one’s testimony is another matter altogether. A Democratic House Judiciary Committee would surely delve into that early next year, and if they concluded that in fact Kavanaugh lied to their Senate counterparts during his testimony, they’d have grounds for voting out an impeachment resolution, which a Democratic House would almost surely pass. It’s almost impossible to envision the Senate convicting Kavanaugh—it requires a two-thirds vote, which is to say, Republican support, and given that party’s commitment to anti-empiricism, all evidence will become beside the point—but a House-enacted resolution to impeach would in itself throw the Court into crisis.

First, additional revelations from a House investigation might compel Kavanaugh to resign. Second, were he to stay on the court, the Senate would have to hold a trial (unless, if the Republicans still control the Senate, they refuse to, which would lead to a constitutional impasse that would doubtless have to be decided by, yep, the Supreme Court). Third, whether Kavanaugh could continue to hear and rule on cases while all this was proceeding would be hotly disputed and, again, a matter that the Court would have to decide since there would be no one else who could decide it. Fourth, if after all this Kavanaugh remains on the Court, the legitimacy of its rulings would be questioned as never before in our history, laying the groundwork for the addition of at least two justices to the current nine should the Democrats control the White House and Congress following the 2020 election.

At all events, worse comes to worst, there’s still a Plan B.

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