Harold Meyerson

Harold Meyerson is the executive editor of The American ProspectHis email is hmeyerson@prospect.org.

Recent Articles

Race Conquers All

N ew York, like Los Angeles, now has its new mayor; that's the bad news. Seldom has a city elected a leader about whom it knew less or who seemed to know less about his city. Their mutual ignorance--New York's of Michael Bloomberg, Michael Bloomberg's of New York--seems almost total. In the course of his campaign, Bloomberg said nothing whatever to indicate how he'd govern, save that he'd try to follow in Rudy Giuliani's footsteps. And in Los Angeles, new Mayor James Hahn most certainly knows L.A., but L.A. knows less about him now than when he was a candidate. Five months into his term, ducking decisions and staying largely out of public view, Hahn has done virtually nothing to indicate how he's governing--or even that he's governing. Two blank slates now preside over America's two megacities. The news goes from bad to worse. New York and Los Angeles had major opportunities in this year's mayoral elections to inaugurate a new era of urban progressivism in America, and both cities...

Wither the Democrats

The Democrats still haven't found a way to tap America's discontent. Some new political books suggest how they can.

WORKS DISCUSSED IN THIS ESSAY: Kevin Boyle, The UAW and the Heyday of American Liberalism, 1945-1968 (Cornell University Press, 1995). Dan T. Carter, The Politics of Rage: George Wallace, the Origins of the New Conservatism, and the Transformation of American Politics (Simon & Schuster, 1995). E.J. Dionne, Jr., They Only Look Dead: Why Progressives Will Dominate the Next Political Era (Simon & Schuster, 1996). Stanley B. Greenberg, Middle Class Dreams: The Politics and Power of the New American Majority (Times Books, 1995). Michael Kazin, The Populist Persuasion: An American History (Basic Books, 1995). Michael Lind, The Next American Nation: The New Nationalism and the Fourth American Revolution (The Free Press, 1995). Wilson Carey McWilliams, The Politics of Disappointment: American Elections, 1976-94 (Chatham House, 1995). I n the 1940 presidential election, pollster Samuel Lubell developed a simple formula for charting the Roosevelt vote. In each city he surveyed, Lubell...

Waiting for Lefty

Warren Beatty can play a useful liberal role—but not as a candidate.

From where I was sitting at a recent dinner honoring Warren Beatty, hosted by Americans for Demo cratic Action in southern California, I couldn't see Courtney Love, who was certainly among the youngest of the several dozen celebrities who turned out for the first pronouncement of Beatty's not-quite-yet-if-ever-it-will-be presidential campaign. But around Beatty's fourth reference to Walter Reuther, I couldn't help wondering if Hole's lead chanteuse had any idea what the hell he was talking about. For a generation that routinely turns out for benefits to save the rain forest or the Dali Lama, Beatty's fin de siècle social democracy must have seemed the cutting edge in exotica. For an American liberal, however- who'd abandoned all hope of ever again hearing the words single payer or plutocracy in polite conversation, let alone in a Democratic platform- Warren Beatty's coming-out party was a visceral kick. Calling himself "an old-time, unrepentant, unreconstructed, tax-and-spend,...

The Purloined Presidency

T hinking about how Democrats should treat the new Bush administration, let's consider what Bob Dole would do if he were in our shoes. A scant eight years ago, after all, Bob Dole was in our shoes. As the Senate minority leader, he headed the opposition to a newly elected president. Bill Clinton chugged into Washington having dispatched a sitting president by a 7 percent margin--with hefty Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress--and claimed a mandate for universal health insurance and welfare reform. Dole, however, would have none of it. The new president had not received 50 percent of the popular vote, he pointed out, and Republicans still had enough senators to filibuster anything that smelled of big government. And Clinton had won only because Ross Perot had split the conservative vote. Throughout Republican ranks, moreover, there was already ominous rumbling about Clinton's legitimacy. No one argued that he hadn't won the election, but...

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