Harold Meyerson

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

Recent Articles

What the Socialists Just Did—and Why

It’s a good thing that organizations don’t have children or grandchildren. If they did, you could envision little tykes (well, little infant prodigies) 50 years from now asking their grandparent—the Democratic Socialists of America—“What did you do in the war against the neofascist Donald Trump?” only to be met by an awkward pause. At its biennial convention last weekend in Atlanta, DSA (which, with 56,000 members, is now the largest American socialist organization in the memory of anyone under 80) passed a headline-grabbing resolution declaring that it would not endorse any Democrat save Bernie Sanders in next year’s November presidential runoff. The vote on the resolution was actually fairly close, though support for Sanders in the primaries is overwhelming within the organization. And its proponents provided a number of qualifications and caveats, making clear that DSA members are free to campaign for the eventual Democratic nominee if they...

Biden Didn’t Dodder, and Other Observations

Wednesday’s debate having proceeded in minute-length chunks, I’ll try to convey my reactions with similar brevity. First, Joe Biden was considerably more caffeinated this time than in his first go-round. He passed the normal candidate test, which is the ability to answer questions about (in his case, the many) questionable positions he’s taken by changing the subject. Far from the best debater on stage, he was nonetheless wide awake and not notably doddering. Fending off more progressive proposals, though, he did occasionally call to mind Alexander Pope’s sometimes-reassuring, sometimes-not line, “Whatever is, is right.” Second, Kirsten Gillibrand managed in her closing statement to claim that she was both a liberal and a moderate. Why, though, did she stop there? Why not also a conservative, a libertarian, a Trotskyite, or a longtime auto mechanic from Salt Lake City? Third, what was Tulsi Gabbard up to? After Joe Biden made his one (because...

Who’s Up, Who’s Down, Who’s Out to Lunch

Well, Bernie and Liz didn’t fight each other. Of course, that was partly because CNN pitted everyone else against them. I look forward to the future debates chiefly because they will not feature Messrs. Delany and Hickenlooper. One particularly noxious line of attack leveled against Liz and Bernie was that their support for Medicare for All and the Green New Deal was really an attack on workers who’d won health insurance through their union contracts and would therefore have to lose it (that came from Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan) and that workers in the construction trades and the fossil fuel industry would be cast aside by the Green New Deal-niks (that came from Montana Governor Steve Bullock). Ryan particularly singled out members of the United Auto Workers as those who would feel betrayed by the enactment of Medicare for All. Among the many things that Ryan doesn’t know, apparently, is the history of the UAW, whose legendary president, Walter Reuther, was the nation...

Why Democrats Can’t Pick One of Those Many Senators for Veep

agenda_2020.jpg Over the next two nights, we’ll see seven Democratic senators (counting Bernie Sanders as the Democrat he effectively is) on the debate stage. Not all of them, of course, are really running for president. The more obscure, the non-frontrunners, may have calculated that the exposure they are getting will set them up for a vice-presidential nod. (Some of the other candidates now polling at one percent appear to be running for a post on the level of deputy assistant secretary for Horseshoeing in the Department of Commerce.) Senators Michel Bennett, Kirsten Gilllibrand, and Amy Klobuchar might well have had Joe Biden’s old job in mind when they declared their candidacies. In previous years, that would have been a highly rational calculation. Democratic convention delegates have given the vice-presidential nomination to sitting senators in every covention save one since 1944 (not counting the sitting vice-presidents nominated for a second term, all of whom were...

The Fight for 15’s Long, Winding, and Brandeisian Road

When the House voted today along straight party lines to raise the minimum wage to $15 by 2025, it not only marked a milestone in the battle to create (and in some cases, restore) a more vibrant and egalitarian economy. It also illustrated the geographic and Brandeisian course of progressive reform within both the Democratic Party and the United States. Louis Brandeis famously termed the states “laboratories of democracy”—the places where progressive policies could be tried out and perfected before going national. Today, however, it’s really cities that have become Brandeis’s labs. Disproportionately home to minorities, immigrants, and millennials (who are the leftmost generation in modern American history), it’s the cities where progressive ideas spring up, take root, and become law. Such is certainly the case with the $15 minimum wage. The Fight for 15 began with a job action of a couple hundred fast food workers in New York City in November of...

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