Robert Kuttner

Robert Kuttner is co-founder and co-editor of The American Prospect, as well as a distinguished senior fellow of the think tank Demos. He was a longtime columnist for Business Week and continues to write columns in The Boston Globe. He is the author of Obama's Challenge and other books.

Recent Articles

Beyond The Spin, Deep Differences

After one of the emptiest political conventions on record, the stage is actually set for a very consequential November election. Though the Republicans did their best to camouflage it,theirs remains a highly conservative program. There really are enormous differences of substance between the two major candidates. If the election can be made to turn on issues, it probably cuts in Al Gore's favor. If it turns on atmospherics and personality, the winner will likely be George W. So all eyes now shift to Gore: Can he rouse the electorate to focus on issues? Can he rouse himself to be a plausible messenger? And can the voters grow up? Watching the Republican National Convention, it was difficult to believe the atmospherics fooled anybody. Writing in The New York Times, editorialist Brent Staples referred to the over-representation of black and brown symbols at a mostly white party as Minstrelsy. The real divisions within the GOP over issues such as...

What Makes People Think Bush Has Won?

''Politics ain't beanbag'' -- Finley Peter Dunne One of the many oddities of this cliffhanger election is what might be called the entitlement gap. Right from election night, the Republicans have behaved as if the election was theirs, while Vice President Gore has temporized. This sense of Republican entitlement in turn translates into a partisan rage that if Gore should win,the election will have been stolen. But consider: It's pretty clear that more Florida voters intended to vote for Gore. At least 19,000 votes in Palm Beach County were voided because they were punched twice, reflecting voter confusion over which hole meant Gore and which one meant Buchanan. These were nearly all Gore votes. Another 3,000 or so Palm Beach voters who voted for Buchanan meant to vote for Gore. There is also the plain illegality that some 15,000 absentee ballot applications in Seminole County that should have been disqualified as incomplete were...

Two Bad Calls: The Faulty Ballots, The Bumbling Process

Americans will be asking questions about the 2000 election for some time to come. Here are two big ones: How could the world's most secure democracy have ended up with a balloting system in which millions of votes routinely get lost, miscounted, stolen, or spoiled? The premise seems to be: What the hell, it's close enough for politics. There is nothing more fundamental to a free and fair election than an accurate count. But on the way to the 21st century we belatedly realized that we're stuck with 19th-century voting technology. Actually, it's worse than that. The voting machine that recorded my ballot, using a technology invented in the 1890s, is more reliable than the punch-card technology contrived in the 1950s. Voting machines have nice, clearlevers, splendid bells to chime in the vote, and no hanging chads. The antique technology, in turn, reflects an 18th century conception of what is properly local and what is necessarily national...

The Lynching of The Black Vote

Many books will be written about the stolen presidential election of 2000. And when they are, one prominent factor will be the Republicans systematic and extra-legal effort to reduce black voting, details of which are just now being pieced together. Black turnout was way up this year, and nowhere more dramatically than in Florida. Black voters there were upset with Governor Jeb Bush's retreat on affirmative action. They were mobilized by effective registration and get-out-the-vote drives by civil rights groups and black churches. Jesse Jackson spent weeks in Florida, speaking to large African-American crowds, with a punchline that became a familiar refrain: Stay out of the Bushes! Although black turnout tends to slightly lag white turnout, this year 16 percent of registered voters in Florida were black, up from 10 percent in 1996. And blacks, loyal to Clinton-Gore and unhappy with the brothers Bush, gave Gore-Lieberman a striking 90 percent...

The Two-Party System is Letting us Down

This year voting turnout could fall to a record presidential low. The decline partly reflects two dreadful candidates but also the long-term impoverishment of politics. Membership organizations have been displaced by professional fund-raisers and TV spots. The time squeeze leaves no leisure for ordinary people to go to meetings. Civic values are crowded out by entertainment, celebrity, and marketing. If the Bush-Gore show has to compete as entertainment, it loses, and so do we. But so much that affects our private lives is inherently and irrevocably political. Either we embrace political questions as a free people or decisions get made for us. And this year, most of the big questions are off the political radar screen. Start with kids. The new, 24-7 economy operates at the expense of children, especially children from families not affluent enough to buy their way out. Did you and your spouse have a spat this week about who had to juggle work...

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