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...

Union Man

Steve Rosenthal, political director of the AFL-CIO, is perhaps the only one of America's thousands of political strategists who genuinely has armies to deploy. And as Rosenthal sees it, the time to elect Al Gore is now. "The campaign is going to be won or lost between now and August, not after Labor Day," he told me on a mid-March morning. "The most important thing we can do over the next five months is to reach the quarter of the electorate that comes from union households, to let them know that Bush has opposed raising the minimum wage, that he supports anti-union 'right to work' legislation federally as well as in the states. We have a sustained message; we'll be leafleting in the work sites every month, phoning, mailing... ." The AFL-CIO long ago targeted key states for this year's general election; the budgets and coordinators have been in place for many months now. Like his fellow strategists, Rosenthal thinks the presidential contest is likely to be decided in a belt of old-...

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...

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...

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...

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