Paul Pierson

Paul Pierson is John Gross Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley. He is co-author, with Jacob Hacker, of Winner-Take-All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer—And Turned Its Back on the Middle Class and American Amnesia: How the War on Government Led Us to Forget What Made America Prosper (2016).   

Recent Articles

Powell's Diagnosis—And Ours

Why is the American political system so weakly responsive to the policy preferences of the majority of Americans?

This piece is part of the Prospect' s series on progressives' strategy over the next 40 years. To read the introduction, click here . T he Powell Memo is remembered today as a blueprint for business counter-mobilization. So it’s easy to forget that one of Lewis Powell’s principal goals—and, it seems, achievements—was to wake up business leaders to the nature of the challenges they faced: the hostility in some campus quarters, the strength of foes like Ralph Nader, and, above all, the weakness of corporate political organization. Before he could get business leaders to act on his prescriptions, Powell had to convince them of his diagnosis. A Powell Memo for us likewise has to get the diagnosis right. Today, progressives are having three main conversations—about organization, about messaging, and about policy. Each is crucial. But there’s an even more crucial conversation, and it’s the inverse of the one that Powell sought to start more than 40 years ago. Powell asked why business was...

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