Harold Meyerson

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

Recent Articles

Republicans Against Legroom

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren Alaska Airlines planes wait for takeoff, Monday, April 4, 2016, at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. T he amendment was defeated , but no one actually rose to speak against it. That was because the measure’s opponents couldn’t come up with a defense of their position that didn’t sound absurd. Last week, as it considered a bill that would re-authorize funding for the Federal Aviation Administration, the Senate defeated an amendment by Democrat Chuck Schumer, of New York, that would have blocked airlines from reducing the “size, width, padding, and pitch” of airline seats, the legroom between seats, and the width of the aisles. It would also have required the FAA to set minimum standards for the space airlines provide passengers to ensure their “safety, health, and comfort.” Schumer’s amendment went down on a 42-to-54 vote , with every Republican voting against it except Maine’s Susan Collins, and every Democratic voting for it except a DLC-ish trio consisting...

Fifteen Dollars, Fathers and Sons

(Photo: AP/McLendon)
(Photo: AP/McLendon) California Governor Jerry Brown waves to supporters in Los Angeles after his 1978 re-election. Behind him is his father, former Governor Pat Brown. W hen Jerry Brown and Andrew Cuomo—the Democratic governors of America’s two biggest and most important blue states—signed bills hiking their respective states’ minimum wage to $15 on Monday, the press noted that there seemed to be a bit of a race between the two to see who could sign the landmark legislation first. (Thanks to the time difference between New York and California, Cuomo put pen to paper a couple of hours before Brown.) What the press didn’t note, then or ever, were the odd similarities, both political and biographical, between the nation’s two most consequential Democratic governors. So, let’s note them: Jerry Brown and Andrew Cuomo both govern states previously governed by their fathers. Both of their fathers were iconic liberals. The sons, by contrast, have made a point of distancing themselves from...

At the Court and in California, a Great Week for Labor

AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin People participate in a rally at the Supreme Court, Monday, January 11, 2016, as the court heard arguments in the F riedrichs v. California Teachers Associatio n case. I t’s been a very good week for American labor, and such weeks don’t come along often. On Monday, the Supreme Court delivered a four-to-four split decision in the Friedrichs case, which would have decimated public-sector unions had the Court been able to produce a fifth vote for the plaintiffs. The saved-from-the-hangman’s-noose decision merely confirmed what everyone knew when Associate Justice Antonin Scalia died earlier this month: that the court no longer has a union-busting majority and isn’t likely to get one unless Barack Obama is succeeded by a Republican president. Also on Monday, California Governor Jerry Brown announced he had reached a deal with the leaders of the state Assembly and Senate, and with labor leaders, that would raise the state’s minimum wage, currently $10, to $15 by...

Sanders's Chances in November: A Bloomberg Addendum

An update to "Why Bernie May Have a Better Shot at Winning Than Hillary"

In the past, I’ve written that if Bernie Sanders were the Democratic nominee, Michael Bloomberg would enter the race and thereby win enough electoral votes to throw the election into the House, which, assuming it’s still under Republican control, would elevate the GOP nominee—that is, Donald Trump or Ted Cruz—to the presidency. So why didn’t I raise that possibility in assessing Bernie’s strengths and weaknesses should he become the Democrats’ nominee?

Chiefly because the one thing even Michael Bloomberg can’t buy is time.

When Bloomberg announced last week that he wasn’t going to run, one of the reasons behind his announcement—one he didn’t articulate—was time. If he were going to become a candidate, he’d have to start the process of collecting signatures to get on various state ballots right away. Perceiving that Hillary Clinton would almost surely be the Democrats’ choice, and not wishing to tilt a Clinton-Trump contest to Trump, he bowed out.

Clinton’s path to the nomination has become longer and more tortuous in the wake of Sanders’s Michigan victory, but she’s still the prohibitive favorite. Looking at the delegate numbers, even if Sanders were to somehow overtake her, it wouldn’t be until California votes in early June. By then, it would be too late for Bloomberg to change his mind. Indeed, even today, it may be too late for Bloomberg to change his mind.

The last gazillionaire to wage an independent campaign for the White House, Ross Perot, understood this perfectly. He declared his candidacy very early in the 1992 process and had time to collect the signatures to get his name on every state’s ballot. Then he dropped out in mid-summer, announcing, in effect, that he thought Bill Clinton would be a good enough president. He re-entered the race in the fall—but he already had his name on the ballots because he’d secured his ballot lines in the spring.

Even if Bloomberg believes he could theoretically prevail in a three-way race against Trump and Sanders, he couldn’t do it if his name wasn’t on a host of different states’ ballots. If a late Sanders surge causes him to rethink, it will be too late for him to run unless he’s resigned to winning an insufficient number of states to get to 270 electoral votes. In which case, the election would almost surely be thrown to the House, and thence to Trump or Cruz—the very scenario he’s stated he cannot in good conscience countenance.

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