Harold Meyerson

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

Recent Articles

The Democrats' Response

Far from giving Republicans bragging rights, the Tax Act presents Democrats with a potent line of attack. But can they stay united when they put forth their own alternatives?

This article appears in the Summer 2018 issue of The American Prospect magazine. Subscribe here . On a summer day in 1981, a disconsolate House Speaker Tip O’Neill sat “slumped in a chair far to the rear of the House floor” (as Thomas Edsall recalled the scene in his 1984 book The New Politics of Inequality ) and watched his colleagues vote to end the New Deal order. The vote was on a Republican substitute to a tax bill sent to the floor by the Democratic majority on the House Ways and Means Committee; the substitute cut taxes by $749 billion, bringing down the rate on the highest incomes from 70 percent to 50 percent, lowering the capital gains tax, and reducing the inheritance tax—the first tax reduction since the 1920s, Edsall wrote, “skewed in favor of the rich.” To O’Neill, the unkindest cut was not that the Republican measure passed, but that it passed with the support of 48 of his fellow House Democrats. Most of them represented...

Want a Decent Immigration Policy? Deport Rupert Murdoch!

“All right, we are two nations,” John Dos Passos wrote in his USA trilogy, and it appears to be the primary mission of Rupert Murdoch and his minions to keep us that way. The polling on separating immigrant children from their parents makes our divisions dramatically clear (not that they already weren’t). Quinnipiac shows that Americans oppose the policy by a 66 percent to 27 percent margin; CNN shows they oppose it by 67 percent to 28 percent. But a majority of Republicans in both polls support it: 55 percent (against 35 percent opposed) in Quinnipiac; 58 percent (against 34 percent opposed) in CNN. The chain of bigoted lies and distortions that Donald Trump has spewed forth doubtlessly feeds into many rank-and-file Republicans’ pre-existing biases and fears. But Trump couldn’t do this alone. The key to his rise, and to sustaining GOP support for such obscene policies as family separation, has been the counterfactual “news” outlets online, on...

The California Jungle

C ONGRESS: At second glance, the numbers we have now from Tuesday’s primaries in California may look discouraging to Democrats. (At first glance, Democrats breathed a sigh of relief since they didn’t split their votes so badly in the swing congressional districts that they ran out of the money. In every one of those top-two races, a Democrat made it into the November runoff against a Republican.) But at second glance, in six of the seven House districts represented by Republicans that Hillary Clinton carried in 2016, the total vote for the Republican candidates exceeded that for the Democrats. (The only race in which the aggregate Democratic vote exceeded the Republicans’ came in the 49th District, which Republican Darrell Issa barely carried in 2016 and where he prudently chose not to stand for re-election this time around.) Don’t those aggregate numbers look bad for the Democrats? Well, that’s why we need a third glance. To begin, it always takes...

The Legacy of Paul Schrade

Today’s New York Times has a story on the 50th anniversary of Robert Kennedy’s murder, featuring interviews with Kennedy staffers and supporters. But the piece misidentifies Paul Schrade, who was also critically wounded when Kennedy was shot, as “a campaign aide” (in the caption) and doesn’t quite get it right in calling him “a labor organizer who worked on the campaign” in the text of the article. It’s important to get Paul Schrade’s actual identity right, though—because he was a key figure in California and union history during the pivotal decade of the ‘60s. As a young man, Paul had worked as an assistant to United Auto Workers (UAW) President Walter Reuther, who headed what today has to be viewed as by far the most important progressive union in American history. In the 1950s, Paul headed a UAW local at North American Aviation in Los Angeles, and became the UAW’s western regional director in the early 1960s...

The Last New Frontiersman

(John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum)
Richard Goodwin, who may have been the last surviving New Frontiersman, and who was actually a good deal better than that, died Sunday at 86. As a young man, Goodwin checked every meritocratic box there was to check, including valedictorian at Harvard Law, clerk to Felix Frankfurter, and congressional investigator who helped expose the rigged TV game shows of the 1950s. In 1960, he joined Ted Sorensen to write John Kennedy’s campaign speeches, and then shaped U.S. policy toward Latin America in Kennedy’s administration. With Goodwin’s death, virtually every significant figure who worked with Kennedy is now gone. But Goodwin didn’t go—didn’t leave the administration—when Kennedy was killed. Lyndon Johnson asked him to join Bill Moyers to write his speeches, and Goodwin did, in the process authoring what is clearly the greatest single presidential speech of the second half of the 20th century. In the spring of 1965, as Martin Luther King Jr. led...

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