Harold Meyerson

Harold Meyerson is the editor-at-large at The American Prospect and a columnist for The Washington Post. His email is hmeyerson@prospect.org

Recent Articles

Outside Chance

There are two kinds of Democrats in George W. Bush's America: those who are on the outside and know it, and those who are on the outside and don't. And the peculiar fascination of the Democratic presidential campaign is to watch the interplay between these two groups. It is the Bush White House and the Republican Congress that set up this dynamic. By winning office with a negative 540,000-vote margin and then proceeding to govern in the most relentlessly partisan fashion from the right, the president has made unmistakably clear that the concerns of Democrats are of no interest to him. On Capitol Hill, meanwhile, the Republican leadership relies solely on Republican votes to get its measures passed, going so far as to exclude mainstream Democrats from conference committees. When America's new laws are to be negotiated, Republicans talk only to themselves. Disastrously, it's been the Democrats in Congress who've been the slowest to pick up on their new marginality. Some of the Democrats...

Las Vegas as a Workers' Paradise

From the archives: Why the current battle over holding Nevada caucuses in casinos? It comes down to the power of the hotel worker's union which transformed dead-end jobs into middle-class careers.

Editors' Note: This piece was originally published in the January 2004 print issue. Harold Meyerson has further reflections on the upcoming Las Vegas caucus here . What's right with this picture? LAS VEGAS -- In the middle of his life, Sylvester Garcia decided he'd had enough of the cold and the heat. He'd been a welder in the copper-mining towns of New Mexico for almost a quarter of a century, but, he says, "I got tired of welding, of the mud, of the rain, of too much hard work. So I told my wife, 'I'll try the casinos.'" In short order, he became a dishwasher at the Dunes Hotel on the Las Vegas Strip, then moved to the Luxor when the Dunes was leveled to make way for the Bellagio. At first glance this wasn't a great career move. Dishwashing in America, as everybody knows, is almost always a minimum wage job devoid of benefits or security. Nonetheless, Garcia insists, "I love my job." And he's not kidding. Among his fellow dishwashers, however, he has to be in a distinct minority...

Unkindest Cut

The Arnold has landed. Over the past two weeks, California's new chief executive has made abundantly apparent the kind of governor he means to be. During his abbreviated gubernatorial campaign in late summer, Arnold Schwarzenegger ran as something of a Rorschach test. Voters could choose from among a number of Arnolds: the enviro, the tightwad, the Kennedy-by-marriage, the Friedmanite-by-inclination, the compassionate centrist. By scrupulously avoiding print journalists and limiting his debate appearances to a measly one, Schwarzenegger never had to clarify exactly which Arnold would be calling the shots in the statehouse. Now we know. It's Conan the Barbarian, in one of his less reflective moods. Schwarzenegger's plan for dealing with the state's budget crisis is to put before the voters in next year's March primary a $15 billion bond measure to cover the shortfall in this year's budget. But not the entire shortfall. Rather than float a $17 billion bond or a $19 billion bond, he's...

Buckeye Bull's-eye

The Democrats' scenario for picking up the White House next year looks increasingly like drawing to an inside straight. That doesn't mean they won't be able to do it. A number of states could fill their hand. But with the continuing rightward gallop of the South, the Democrats are going to have to perform near-perfectly in the swing states of the Midwest. Like Richard Nixon before him, George W. Bush has waged a war in a way that has polarized the American people -- infuriating Democrats while strengthening his support among conservatives. But as a recent mega-survey from the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press makes clear, the American people were drifting apart -- and the South was going south for the Dems -- even before Bush used his war as a wedge. The survey documents a widening rift between the political beliefs of Democrats and Republicans, as well as a post-Sept. 11 shift in party registration toward Republicans and independents. The gap between the political...

Judging Terry

Terry McAuliffe doesn't know how to shut it off. The chairman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), says Democratic strategist Harold Ickes, "is a great salesman; he has this infectious optimism." Even in the face of abjectly awful election outcomes, McAuliffe hasn't been able to tone down that optimism. Nuance seems beyond him. On election night 2002, as all available intelligence pointed to a Democratic debacle, McAuliffe nonetheless told Larry King, "I think it's going to be a very good night for the Democrats." And when the chairman sits down with me two nights after this November's election, in which the Democrats lost the governorships of Mississippi and Kentucky, he remains true to form. He has just flown in from Florida, where he'd spoken to his usual audience -- Democratic high rollers -- and he seems to still be flying. Plopping himself on a couch, he immediately launches into a high-voltage, somewhat hyperbolic account of his tenure at the DNC. "Look, we'd love to...

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