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 Debtors' Prison: The Politics of Austerity Versus Possibility. He writes columns for The Huffington Post, The Boston Globe and the New York Times international edition. 

Recent Articles

Democracy Trumped

(Photo: AP/Steven Senne)
(Photo: AP/Steven Senne) GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump is greeted by supporters in New Hampshire on December 28, 2015. I ’ve been having incessant conversations with friends, family, and colleagues about politics, and they all boil down to the same question. Could Donald Trump be our next president? Here is an amalgam of the conversation. See which side you’re on: —I think Trump might actually win. —You mean the Republican nomination? —No, I mean the election. —Get serious. For starters, the Republican leaders would never allow that. They’d be much better off with Rubio-Kasich or Kasich-Rubio. —Maybe they would. But there are no smoke-filled rooms anymore. Leaders don’t make these decisions. Primary voters do, and they love Trump. The more outrageous he is and the less connected to facts, the more his support grows. —Yeah, but he’s a media phenomenon. He is such an egomaniac that he hasn’t even bothered to build an organization. He has no ground game. That’s why Cruz has...

Movies of the Year: A Bracing Dose of Reality

This year's most powerful movies all draw on actual events and tackle big public issues and ethical dilemmas.

(Photo: Courtesy of Open Road Films)
(Photo: Courtesy of Open Road Films) Michael Keaton as Walter "Robby" Robinson and Mark Ruffalo as Michael Rezendes in Open Road Films' "Spotlight." The most powerful movies of the year were based on actual events. All combined big public issues with private ethical dilemmas, and provided vehicles for terrific thrillers as well. The fact that we knew the outcome in advance did nothing to detract—the suspense was in how the protagonists found their way to the conclusion. Even better, these movies offered career-topping performances for several of the leads. Start with the amazing “Spotlight.” In January 2002, Boston Globe readers picked up their newspapers to learn that a Catholic priest had engaged in serial episodes of sexual child abuse. But this was just the beginning. The four-person team reporting the story had discovered that close to 200 Boston area priests had been serial abusers, that the Church hierarchy—right to up the unctuous Cardinal Bernard Law—knew all about the...

Gunfight at the GOP Corral

(Photo: AP/CQ Roll Call/Bill Clark)
(Photo: AP/CQ Roll Call/Bill Clark) A rally for gun control in Washington, D.C., in 2013 R epublicans, despite the fact that easy purchase of assault weapons makes America far more vulnerable to terrorist attacks, continue to take an absolutist view of the Second Amendment. But, over time, this posture is likely to become a political liability. The case for AK-47s as weapons of self-defense looks increasingly absurd. Then there is the case of open-carry laws. Egged on by the NRA, Republicans have promoted the right of citizens to show off and bring their weapons virtually anywhere, including to schools, sporting events, bars, hospitals, and public buildings, just like gunslingers of the Old West. (Meanwhile, Disney World has prohibited toy guns at its theme parks, as well as real ones, in order to reassure its customers.) But what will the Republicans do about guns at their upcoming national nominating convention in Cleveland? Ohio is an open-carry state. If Republicans have the...

Thinking About President Trump

Frightening as it may seem, the Donald could actually win the White House. 

AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall
AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally, Friday, December 11, 2015, in Des Moines, Iowa. This article originally appeared at The Huffington Post . I t appears that nothing Donald Trump says deflates his standing in the polls. The more outlandish his comments, the more his support grows. The Washington Post recently reported on a focus group conducted by arch-Republican strategist Frank Luntz with 29 Trump supporters. Literally no argument Luntz could devise shook their faith in Trump—but only reinforced it. America has been a sitting duck for a figure like Trump for a long time. The combination of a deeply eroding democracy, the downward mobility of white men other than the top 10 percent, and the fusion of shallow media celebrity with politics—all this has created tinder as vulnerable to conflagration as a brittle forest after years of drought. Combine these conditions with a real threat of terrorism that is...

How ISIS and Trump Enable Each Other

AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall
AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally Saturday, December 5, 2015, in Davenport, Iowa. This is an updated version of an article that originally ran at The Huffington Post . I SIS is the best thing that happened to Donald Trump since he narrowly averted bankruptcy as a real estate mogul. And Donald Trump is the best thing to happen to ISIS since George W. Bush blew up the status quo in the Middle East by needlessly invading Iraq. The new normal is random acts of mayhem, inspired but not coordinated by ISIS. We have feared something like this ever since the attacks of 9/11. Until now, these were problems for somebody else’s country like Spain or France, places where homegrown, deeply alienated Muslim young people were either recruited and orchestrated by radical Islamists or looked to ISIS for inspiration. Now the reality of freelance terrorists has come home. If mayhem can strike an obscure health facility in San...

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