Robert Kuttner

Robert Kuttner is co-founder and co-editor of The American Prospect, and professor at Brandeis University's Heller School. His latest book is Can Democracy Survive Global Capitalism? In addition to writing for the Prospect, he writes for HuffPost, The Boston Globe, and The New York Review of Books. 

Follow Bob at his site,, and on Twitter. 

Recent Articles

Pelosi, AOC, Trump, Bannon—and the Stakes

J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo
For the moment, Trump’s racist tweets have produced the one thing that Democrats couldn’t muster in their destructive infighting last week—party unity. But will it last? And was Trump crazy to make himself and his racist comments the issue and divert the spotlight from the increasingly personal feud between Speaker Nancy Pelosi and AOC’s Squad of four? Or was he crazy like a fox? That verdict, I think, will ultimately be up to the Democrats. For now, there is unity and a merciful break from the infighting, as well as a president on the defensive with all but his hardest core base. The House will vote tonight on resolution of condemnation , putting Republican members in a splendidly awkward position. Pelosi termed Trump’s remarks xenophobic and disgusting. Ocasio-Cortez, meanwhile, declared, “We’ll stay focused on our agenda and we won’t get caught slipping, because all of this is a distraction.” Yet the bitterness between the AOC...

Legal, Safe, Rare—and Bad Advice

The Times just published another piece urging Democrats to temper their support for reproductive rights. This piece, “Democrats Shouldn’t Be So Certain About Abortion,” by one Michael Wear, a political consultant on religious issues, is a classic of cherry-picked poll numbers and disingenuous reasoning. Read it with care. In fact, as Pew’s polling shows , support for keeping abortion legal has actually increased slightly in recent years. As I explained in a post last month in response to another misleading Times piece, Americans are ambivalent about having abortions but a healthy majority supports a woman’s right to choose whether to have one. The longtime phrase—legal, safe, and rare—still describes how most voters feel about abortion and the right set of public policies. As I wrote in that post: Americans have been personally ambivalent about whether and why to have an abortion ever since Roe v. Wade . Nobody is eager to have an abortion. At...

Barr Throws Trump Under the Bus

You might have missed it, but the most important moment at Trump’s Thursday joint press conference with Attorney General William Barr was the one where Barr committed Trump to obeying the Supreme Court. By making an explicit commitment to obey the courts and the rule of law, Barr has boxed in his president. Trump, at various points, has suggested that he might defy or circumvent the courts. But Barr this time left no wiggle room. In discussing how the administration was dropping its efforts to add a citizenship question, because there was no time to pursue appeals and still comply with the Constitutional census deadline and high court ruling, Barr said this (read it slowly and carefully): Some in the media have been suggesting in the hysterical mode of the day that the administration has been planning to add the citizenship question to the Census by exec fiat without regard to contrary court orders or what the Supreme Court might say. This has been based on rank speculation. As...

Why Immigration is Not a Simple Winner for Democrats

Let’s be honest. This one is really tough. Yes, most Americans are disgusted by children separated from parents and living in cages. And yes, most Americans support welcoming the Dreamers; most also back an earned path to citizenship for longtime immigrants here without documents. Trump’s policies and behavior on both issues are to his everlasting shame, and electoral disadvantage. So what’s the problem? The problem is the flow of economic and political refugees from Central America. On the one hand, human rights treaties legitimately require the U.S. and all other signatory countries to admit bona fide political refugees. On the other hand, many of the refugees are more economic than political and most Americans do not support open borders for all of the world’s wretched refuse, Emma Lazarus and the Statue of Liberty notwithstanding. Every time I hear spokespeople for immigrant rights being interviewed on this conundrum, they waltz around the practical and...

NAFTA 2.0: Can Trump Thread the Needle and Win Democratic Support?

Ben Margot/AP Photo
Trump’s effort to get Congress to approve his revised version of NAFTA isn’t quite dead, but it’s close. The so called USMCA deal that Trump negotiated last year to replace NAFTA makes some modest improvement in the North American auto content required to qualify for tariff-free treatment; and it rolls back some of the power that corporations have to challenge regulations as anti-trade. The draft agreement also gives more standing to genuinely independent trade unions in Mexico, and adds labor rights to trade—at least on paper. However, several of its provisions make it a non-starter in the Democratic House. It gives new power to big pharmaceutical companies to keep prices high. And its labor rights provisions are strong on rhetoric and weak on enforcement. The coalition of corporations that back NAFTA 2.0 had counted on New Democrats and some Democratic freshmen in swing seats to support the deal, but so far the entire caucus has displayed surprising unity in...