Paul Starr

Paul Starr is co-founder and co-editor of The American Prospect. and professor of sociology and public affairs at Princeton University. A winner of the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction and the Bancroft Prize in American history, he is the author of eight books, including Entrenchment: Wealth, Power, and the Constitution of Democratic Societies, which will be out next year.

Recent Articles

The Big Choice about the Supreme Court that Democrats Will Face

AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, looks over his notes during a third round of questioning on the third day of his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill W ith Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation nearly certain—and perhaps other right-wing justices to follow in coming years—Democrats are going to face a fundamental choice about the Supreme Court the next time they control the presidency and Congress and try to carry out substantial reforms. When that moment comes in 2021, 2025, or later, the Court will likely have reversed many long-standing liberal precedents and policies and be poised to strike down new progressive initiatives. Many people assume there is nothing Democrats could do that in that circumstance. But instead of simply acceding to the Court’s dictates, they could take a fateful step that the Constitution leaves open: increasing the size of the Court and appointing additional justices to shift the...

Did Democrats Just Set Themselves Up for a Fiasco?

How the new presidential nominating procedures could backfire.

AP Photo The 1924 Democratic National Convention went to 103 ballots, a record that stands as a challenge to the party's rules committee. I have a strange idea about a party’s rules for nominating a presidential candidate. The main purpose, it seems to me, should be to choose a candidate who can win and then govern well. But I admit that in the Democratic Party my view has lost out to the insistent demand that the nomination procedures put one criterion above all others: reflecting the wishes of primary voters and caucus participants, even though those groups represent a small fraction of the voters the candidate and the party will need in November. The Democratic National Committee, you may have read, voted in late August to “strip” power from superdelegates. “Voters—and Nobody Else—Will Pick the 2020 Democratic Presidential Nominee” ran the misleading headline on an article by Larry Cohen, the Bernie Sanders-picked vice chair of the party’s Unity Reform Commission. The...

No, Trump Is Far from Finished

The Manafort and Cohen convictions haven’t changed the political realities. 

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster President Donald Trump speaks at Fort Drum, New York. I n a 1920 study that is now regarded as a pioneering example of press criticism, Walter Lippmann and Charles Marz found that in its coverage of the Russian Revolution, The New York Times had repeatedly told its readers that the Communist government was on the verge of its demise. The Times coverage, Lippmann and Marz wrote, was “a case of seeing not what was, but what men wanted to see.” Last week, immediately after Paul Manafort’s conviction and Michael Cohen’s guilty plea, pundits on television and in print were saying that Donald Trump was on the verge of his political demise. Some future media critic will probably do a study of all the many times since the beginning of the 2016 campaign when one event or another led to claims that Trump had reached a turning point and would soon be finished. (For a partial refresher, see J.M. Rieger’s video compilation at The Washington Post .) The Manafort verdict and...

The 2018 Gubernatorial Races that Matter Most for 2020 and Beyond

Here’s where Democrats could reclaim some of the power they lost in 2010.

(AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
(AP Photo/Brynn Anderson) Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gwen Graham speaks to voters in Miami Lakes, Florida, on August 18, 2018. C apturing control of state governments in 2010 proved to be a crucial step for Republicans in engineering a dominant position in American politics for the past decade. They used their power in the states to entrench themselves in office by gerrymandering both congressional and state legislative districts after the 2010 census, changing critical voting rules and procedures, and passing legislation such as “right to work” laws weakening unions and rewarding the wealthy donors to their campaigns. With the 2018 election, Democrats have a chance to recover some power in the states in advance of the 2020 presidential election and the redistricting that will follow the 2020 census. In the gubernatorial races, Republicans are defending 26 of the 33 seats they hold, while Democrats are defending 9 of 16 (the one remaining is in Alaska, currently held by an...

A Good Formula for Losing the 2018 Election

The “Abolish ICE” slogan hands Republicans an opportunity on an issue where they ought to be entirely on the defensive.

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) Activists protest the Trump administration's immigration policies in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill on June 28, 2018. T here’s a current of opinion on the left of the Democratic Party that the party just needs to excite and turn out its progressive base and should forget about appealing to Republicans and independents. The demand to “abolish ICE” (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) reflects that premise and epitomizes what’s wrong with it. The brutal inhumanity of Trump’s child-separation policies, turning away of refugees, and deportations of immigrants who have long been well-regarded members of their community should put Republicans this fall wholly on the defensive on immigration. Republican candidates ought to have a lot of awkward explaining to do, and Democrats ought to have opportunities to win back support. Not all conservatives and independents are hopelessly anti-immigrant; many Republicans have supported bipartisan...