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

The Feisty Group That Exposed Wells Fargo’s Wrongdoing

The whistleblowing heroes are the bank’s employees who formed the Committee for Better Banks—not that you’d know this from the media’s coverage.

DW labs Incorporated/Shutterstock
Front-page stories in Tuesday’s New York Times, Wall Street Journal , and Los Angeles Times revealed that Wells Fargo’s board would be slashing $75 million in compensation from two former top executives whom it blamed for the bank’s scandal over fraudulent accounts. But missing from these three papers’ stories—and from similar stories in other major print and broadcast news outlets—was the feisty group of bank employees that initially exposed the wrongdoing: the Committee for Better Banks . A report issued Monday by a four-person committee of Wells Fargo’s board determined that John G. Stumpf (the former CEO) and Carrie L. Tolstedt (the former head of community banking)—both of whom were ousted last year—were primarily responsible for pressuring low-level employees to create and foist two million unwanted bank and credit card accounts on unsuspecting customers. To penalize the two former executives, it demanded a “clawback...

The Anti-Trump Movement: Recover, Resist, Reform

The profusion of citizen organizing as defense—and offense

(Photo: Flickr/mobili)
This article appears in the Spring 2017 issue of The American Prospect. Subscribe here. Every day since Donald Trump’s January 20 inauguration, Hetty Rosenstein gets up at 6 a.m. to write an email to activists throughout New Jersey about upcoming rallies, marches, meetings, and other events to protest Trump’s agenda. The list began with 80 names, but by the end of February, the 62-year-old Rosenstein, state director of the Communications Workers of America union, was sending her daily email blasts to more than 2,700 people. Her missives include information on protests at town meetings sponsored by Republican Congress members, weekly vigils to defend the Affordable Care Act, training sessions of burgeoning activists, rallies for immigrant rights and transgender students, a talk and rally at a Trenton church by activist Reverend William Barber II, reminders of upcoming marches like the International Women’s Day strike (“Wear red in solidarity”), and an...

Trump Doesn’t Have the Balls

The president declines to throw out baseball’s ceremonial first pitch on Monday and face a certain barrage of boos.

AP Photo/Frank Eltman
President Donald Trump likes to wear baseball caps adorned with the words “Make America Great Again” across the front. But offered a chance to wear a real major league baseball cap in a real baseball stadium next week, Trump balked. In yet another break from tradition, Trump declined an invitation to throw out the ceremonial first ball at the Washington Nationals’ opening day game next Monday. On Tuesday, Politico reported that Trump was “in talks” with the team to toss the first ball, but hours later the White House claimed that Trump had a “scheduling conflict,” without providing any information about why he’s skipping this ritual. A more likely explanation is that Trump feared that he’d be greeted with a deafening chorus of boos as soon as he stepped into Nationals Park. Last November, 91 percent of Washington, D.C., voters supported Hillary Clinton over Trump. Voters in the suburban counties outside Washington, D.C., also gave...

Anti-Trump Suburbanites Force New Jersey Republican to Think Again on Health-Care Bill

Representative Rodney Frelinghuysen's defection signals the power of the anti-Trump grassroots movement—and the vulnerability of many suburban Republicans.

(Photo: AP/Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
There’s no story that better illustrates the power of the growing anti-Trump grassroots resistance movement than Representative Rodney Frelinghuysen’s about-face on the president’s health-care bill. Frelinghuysen’s defection was a major victory for a new liberal grassroots movement that sprung up in his affluent New Jersey district soon after Donald Trump’s surprise November victory, and pressured him to change his vote. As chair of the House Appropriations Committee, Frelinghuysen is a key member of House Speaker Paul Ryan’s leadership team. The New Jersey Republican has been an important ally on the president’s policy initiatives. Like other party stalwarts, he repeatedly pledged to support Trump and Ryan’s Obamacare “repeal and replace” bill. But just hours before Ryan scheduled a vote on their American Health Care Act last Friday, Frelinghuysen threw the administration a curveball. Calling the legislation “...

Will Trump’s Tax Records Be the Next Pentagon Papers?

A broad coalition of activists is agitating to force the release of Donald Trump’s tax returns, but it may turn out that the only way we’ll ever see his records is if someone leaks them to the media.

Democrats, liberals, activist groups, and the media are scrambling to figure out how to respond to the dizzying array of crises triggered by the Trump administration. People concerned about immigrants, refugees, reproductive rights, the environment, mass incarceration and police racism, workers’ rights, and other issues are taking to the streets, lobbying, mobilizing new local groups, and other actions. But there is one piece of information that, if revealed, could single-handedly undermine Trump’s presidency before he is able to gain momentum: his federal tax returns. A broad coalition of activists—which so far includes the leaders of the January women’s marches that galvanized five million people in cities across the country,, the American Federation of Teachers, the Indivisible Project (which has inspired more than 7,000 local groups to organize, including protests at local town halls sponsored by members of Congress), Americans For Tax Fairness,...