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

Gore's Mating Ritual

T o those of you who've been feeling socially inadequate because your mind goes blank whenever the subject of Who Should Be Al Gore's Running Mate comes up at barbecues or on white-water rafting trips: relax. The American Prospect 's poll of the experts conducted in late June has uncovered a similar dearth of suggestions among the Democrats' keenest thinkers, not to mention an objective dearth of suitable vice presidential material. Consider this sample of responses from the party's ablest strategists: From one of the Democrats' most respected consultants: "I don't think we've got anybody who it makes political sense to put on the ticket." From one of Washington's most highly regarded pollsters, asked about the merits of the Democrats' heavyweights: "Who are the Democratic heavyweights?" From one of the most politically savvy members of the House: "If you want a woman--who? Kathleen...

A Clean Sweep

On Friday, April 7, I came upon one method of increasing the income of the working poor that, I confess, had never even occurred to me. The janitors of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1877, embroiled in a countywide strike, were marching down Wilshire Boulevard from downtown Los Angeles to tony Century City, roughly an eight-mile walk. Ten years earlier, another such march had culminated in one of the LAPD's periodic riots, when police set upon the marchers in Century City, beating and injuring scores. This time L.A.'s city attorney was in the parade's front row, flanked by a dozen other elected officials, Jesse Jackson, and a host of ministers, priests, and rabbis. But that wasn't all that was different about this march. Web-Only! A Conversation with Harold Meyerson Author Interview. As the janitors left downtown, the people on the sidewalks--few of whom had known in advance about the march--started giving them a thumbs-up sign. After a couple of miles, the...

Solidarity Sometimes

N othing divides the labor movement like a good city election. To watch the calculus of narrow self-interest play out in the scrambled union endorsements of candidates in this month's New York mayoral primary is to be grateful that all politics isn't literally local--that at least rudimentary concerns of ideology tend to loom larger in state and national contests. In the several recent presidential elections, the national labor movement has gone to great lengths to unite behind a single Democratic candidate early and to stay unified. Though some of these candidates were not everything labor might have wished, a look at the fragmentation in many local elections gives one a new appreciation for the unity-above-all strategy. To be sure, the four-way contest for the Democratic nomination, culminating in the September 11 primary, hasn't exactly been a rousing battle of ideas--or one, for that matter, of contesting political forces or charismatic candidates. "So far, this is a race where...

Dead Center

The centrist politics of the election produced a shrunken electorate and mandate. Are there fresh sources of progressive energy at the grass roots?

W e're going to govern from the center," White House political director Doug Sosnik said in the immediate aftermath of the election, and no doubt they will. The question is, which center? There's the balanced budget center, which has demonstrable popular support. There's the preserve-universal-entitlements center, for which every poll shows majority backing. And there's the slash -universal-entitlements center, and the expand-NAFTA-to-all-the-Western-Hemisphere center—centers that don't have much mass support, positions for which you'd never have heard an encouraging word in the election just completed. Democrats and Republicans alike assured voters that cutting entitlements was the farthest thing from their minds, while expanding NAFTA went totally unmentioned. And yet, there's every reason to think that the reduction of entitlements and the expansion of free trade have emerged from the Stalemate of 1996 at or near the top of the governing center's to-do list for the next four years...

A Paler Shade of Gray

In the beginning was the money. Gray Davis isn't running for anything in 2000; he is just now beginning the second year of his initial four-year term. Yet in his first 13 months as governor, he's managed to collect about $1 million a month for his campaign treasury. That's about five times as much as Pete Wilson, his Republican predecessor, was able to assemble during his first year as governor. Davis may be the most prosaic of pols, but his fundraising has long been the stuff of legend. His entry into politics, back in 1973, was as the gofer for liberal money-man Max Palevsky during Tom Bradley's first successful campaign for mayor of Los Angeles. But it was Senator Alan Cranston to whom Davis looked in awe; Cranston, Davis has said, was his hero, the man who taught him you could never be too zealous, too methodical, too unflagging in the pursuit of campaign dollars. Indeed, it was Davis's reputation as a latter-day Cranston, the supreme...

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