Peter Dreier

Peter Dreier is the E.P. Clapp Distinguished Professor of Politics and founding chair of the Urban & Environmental Policy Department at Occidental College. 

Recent Articles

Trump Mega-Donor Geoff Palmer Is Also LA’s Most Controversial Developer

Real-estate developer Geoff Palmer has a lot in common with Donald Trump, including a controversial record of lawsuits and real estate dealings that invariably put the wealthy first.

AP Photo/Nick Ut
Los Angeles real estate developer Geoff Palmer has emerged as one of Donald Trump’s biggest sugar daddies. Well known in Los Angeles for his ostentatious luxury apartment complexes, as well as his opposition to affordable housing, Palmer contributed $2 million in June to the pro-Trump super PAC, Rebuilding America Now. Palmer and Trump have much in common. Both grew up in wealthy families. Trump’s father, Fred Trump, was a big-time developer of middle-class apartment complexes in New York. Palmer’s dad, Daniel Saxon Palmer , was a prominent Los Angeles architect who designed modernist tract homes for the region’s booming postwar suburbs. Both sons have family secrets that shaped their careers and their identities. The elder Trump was once arrested at a Ku Klux Klan rally in 1927. (He and Donald were later charged by the federal government for violating anti-discrimination laws for banning black tenants in his apartments). The elder Palmer was born Dan...

Record Number of Women May Serve in Senate

It’s well known that Hillary Clinton may make history as the nation’s first woman president, but less noticed are the many women running for Senate this year, who may break a record of their own.

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via AP Images
Americans might not only elect their first woman president in November; they might also install a record number of women in the 100-member Senate. There are currently 20 women in the Senate—14 Democrats and six Republicans—according to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. Twelve women—including three incumbents—are currently running for ten Senate seats. (There are 34 Senate races this year). If things break well for the Democrats, the next Senate could have 24 women—19 Democrats and five Republicans. This would be a record number of women in the Senate. Public opinion about women running for public office has changed dramatically over the last several decades, according to Gallup surveys. In 1937, only 33 percent of Americans said they would vote for a “qualified” woman for president. By 1955, a majority (52 percent) of Americans first told Gallup pollsters that they would be willing to vote for a “qualified...

Trump Touts Pledge of Allegiance with Socialist Roots

Donald Trump’s vision of America clashes sharply with the original intent behind the Pledge of Allegiance, penned during the Gilded Age to promote equity, tolerance, and progressive ideals.

AP Photo/Evan Vucci
“We want young Americans to recite the Pledge of Allegiance,” Donald Trump said in a speech to the American Legion National Convention in Cincinnati last week. Trump told the war veterans organization that he would work “to strengthen respect for our flag,” a not-too veiled swipe at San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick's refusal to stand for the national anthem at a late-August preseason game. In a Trump administration, the GOP nominee said, “We will be united by our common culture, values and principles, becoming one American nation, one country under one constitution saluting one American flag—and always saluting it—the flag all of you helped to protect and preserve, that flag deserves respect.” Four years ago, GOP candidate Mitt Romney also invoked the Pledge of Allegiance to portray himself as a patriot. During his presidential campaign, Romney reminisced about reciting the pledge in his fourth grade class, and used each...

‘Chasing Dreams: Baseball and Becoming American’

A new exhibit spotlights American Jews and the fight for equality in baseball. 

AP Photo/Preston Stroup
“Whoever wants to know the heart and mind of America had better learn baseball,” wrote Columbia University scholar Jacques Barzun in 1954. In the history of baseball, great attention has been justifiably paid to the sport’s important role in battling racism. The moment when Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier will always be one of baseball's most memorable. Less noticed in our national pastime‘s history has been its contribution to combating anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry. Equally important, baseball has helped immigrants and minority groups to assimilate into mainstream America and forge their own separate identities. A glorious exhibit, Chasing Dreams: Baseball and Becoming American, refracts that history through the lens of baseball. The exhibit displays over 130 artifacts, original films, and interactive experiences that highlight how Jews and other minority groups, including Italians, African Americans, Latinos, Asians, and others, used...

Will Ailes Jump on Trump’s Troubled Campaign Train?

Both men are kindred spirits, with long histories of bullying women.

(Photo: AP/Richard Drew)
On August 16, The New York Times reported that former Fox News chief Roger Ailes planned to advise Donald Trump's campaign ahead of the presidential debates this fall. In an August 1 article, American Prospect contributor Peter Dreier assessed what Ailes would bring to the Trump campaign and how a decision to link up with Trump might affect the 2016 race. If the rumors that Roger Ailes, the deposed Fox News guru, may be joining Donald Trump’s floundering campaign are true, Democrats should be concerned that he could help Trump win the White House. The decision would come with considerable risks. After all, Ailes is damaged goods. Last month, Rupert Murdoch, whose 21st Century Fox empire owns Fox News, dumped Ailes, who had run the right-wing network since it began in 1996, for alleged sexual harassment of at least two dozen women employees. Even if Trump makes Ailes an informal “adviser” or gives him a perch as a consultant to some pro-Trump PAC, the appointment...