Harold Meyerson

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

Recent Articles

If You’re Going to Deport Mexicans, Why Not the Irish?

(Photo: Sipa USA via AP/Anthony Behar)
(Photo: Sipa USA via AP/Anthony Behar) Candidates for U.S. citizenship hold American flags during a naturalization ceremony for new citizens in New York City on January 13, 2017. C onsider the paddy wagon. From the mid-19th century through the mid-20th, this was the common term for the vehicles in which police hauled convicts and arrestees to jails, courts, and prisons. Consider, now, the origin of the term. The “paddies” were Irish immigrants, who were flocking to the United States in the 1840s and 1850s, fleeing the great famine that had descended on Ireland. And the Irish, some right-thinking Protestant Americans believed, were inherently a criminal bunch. In the 1840s and 1850s, there were enough of those right-thinking Americans to form a political party: The American Party, they called it, though (because when asked about their doings, many apparently paranoid members responded, “I know nothing”) it soon came to be known as the Know Nothings. With Irish and German immigrants...

Anti-Elitism, the Trump Version

It’s all been Washington’s fault. Wall Street? What’s that?

(Photo: AP/Patrick Semansky)
(Photo: AP/Patrick Semansky) D onald Trump’s inaugural address, for which the heavens wept, culminated a strand of American conservatism that has been with us since Republicans began attacking Franklin Roosevelt. It is to refocus any anti-elitist sentiment away from finance and big business, and toward the political establishment. In one form or another, it has long been a defining motif of the American right, stretching from Joe McCarthy’s allegations of treason by striped-pants diplomats, to George Wallace’s attacks on pointy-headed bureaucrats, to Ronald Reagan’s war on government, up to Trump’s assault today on Washington for selling out the (largely white) factory workers to the benefit of—as Trump put it—themselves. “Their victories were not yours,” he noted. Their days of power, of betraying American workers, were at an end. Missing from his indictment, of course, was the real American elite: Wall Street , which urged CEOs to boost profits by offshoring labor, and those CEOs...

Why Republicans Can’t Come Up with an Obamacare Replacement

(Photo: AP/Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
(Photo: AP/Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call) Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Vice President-elect Mike Pence, Speaker Paul Ryan, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and Majority Whip Steve Scalise speak during a news conference after a meeting of the House Republican Conference on January 4, 2017, to discuss a strategy to repeal the Affordable Care Act. I t took the United States three and two-thirds years to move from the standing start (to put it mildly) of Pearl Harbor to victory in World War II. Perhaps more germane, it took Franklin Roosevelt’s administration two years and three months from FDR’s first inauguration to conceive, refine, and enact its defining pieces of legislation, Social Security and the National Labor Relations Act—and just a few short weeks to enact federal insurance for depositors’ bank accounts. Now, compare these endeavors—some arduous, some intellectually challenging—with the Republicans’ efforts to come up with a replacement for the Affordable Care Act (...

How Not to Make America Great Again

AP Photo/Claire Galofaro
AP Photo/Claire Galofaro Terry Wright, a 59-year-old retired union painter, adjusts the U.S. flag on his porch in Portland, a white, working class neighborhood in Louisville. I t’s the 1950s, Donald Trump told New York Times reporter David Sanger , that is the “again” he has in mind when he speaks of making American great again. We may cavil that in the Fifties, African Americans still suffered under Jim Crow laws and women endured their own distinctive discrimination, but for the white male working class—whose heirs, today, are the core of Trump’s support—things had never been better. They were still the guys who’d won World War II, and their newfound material prosperity was the social miracle of the age, and testament to the rightness of the American way. But if Trump’s appeal to his base is his promise to restore these onetime protagonists of the American epic to their rightful place, he’ll need a radically different set of economic policies than those he now champions. Bringing...

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