Peter Dreier

Peter Dreier teaches politics and chairs the Urban & Environmental Policy Department at Occidental College. His latest book is The 100 Greatest Americans of the 20th Century: A Social Justice Hall of Fame (Nation Books, 2012).

Recent Articles

Who Was Marjory Stoneman Douglas?

The namesake of the high school where 17 people were killed was a remarkable progressive activist—much like the students now demanding real gun control.

AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee
AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee Law enforcement officers block off the entrance to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida T here’s nothing on the Parkland, Florida, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School website about the woman whose name adorns the school, so its students may not realize that in rising from last week’s tragedy to speak truth to power, they are following in Douglas’s activist footsteps. Douglas would certainly see a bit of herself in Emma Gonzalez, the poised and eloquent young woman whose speech electrified her classmates, teachers, parents, and the whole country at a Fort Lauderdale rally on Saturday, only days after a gunman entered her school and killed 17 people. “If the president wants to come up to me and tell me to my face that it was a terrible tragedy and how it should never have happened and maintain telling us how nothing is going to be done about it,” said the 18-year-old senior, “I'm going to happily ask him how much money he received from the...

Wells Fargo Gets What It Deserves—And Just in Time

Janet Yellen lowered the boom on the crooked bank—but now finance’s regulators are all Trump appointees.

(Ron Sachs/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images)
(Ron Sachs/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images) Wells Fargo CEO Timothy J. Sloan testifies before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs on October 3, 2017. O n Friday, Janet Yellen’s last day as chair of the Federal Reserve, the central bank imposed harsh penalties on Wells Fargo—the nation’s fourth-largest bank and its leading home lender—as punishment for its long-term abuse of consumers and employees. Much more than a slap on the wrist, the Fed announced that it would replace four members of Wells Fargo’s 16-member board, which it accused of failing to oversee the bank and fix problems that have transformed it from a corporate icon to a public disgrace. It also prohibited Wells Fargo from growing any larger than its current asset size ($2 trillion) until the regulator is persuaded that the bank has changed its ways. That means that Wells Fargo won’t be able to keep pace with rival banks engaged in mergers and acquisitions with other financial firms. “We cannot...

Should Democrats Hope that Joe Arpaio Wins Arizona’s GOP Nomination for Senate?

Will the retired sheriff’s candidacy put the Grand Canyon State in play?

(AP Photo/Matt York) Former Maricopa County Sheriff and U.S. Senate candidate Joe Arpaio at his office on January 10, 2018, in Fountain Hills, Arizona S hould liberals and Democrats pray for a Joe Arpaio victory in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate? On the one hand, his primary victory would further poison the political atmosphere and embolden white supremacists, anti-immigrant haters, and other bigots. On the other hand, an Arpaio candidacy would make it more likely that a Democrat will win the Senate seat next November, similar to Doug Jones’s defeat of Roy Moore for the Alabama Senate seat last month. A Democratic victory could help the party gain a majority in the Senate, where the Republicans now have a slim 51-49 edge. On Tuesday, the 85-year-old Arpaio declared his intention to seek the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Republican Jeff Flake, who declined to run for re-election after polls revealed he would have a hard time winning his party’s...

Why Trump Keeps Telling the World 'I’m Smart'

The president has tons of bravado, which masks a myriad of other problems.

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File President Donald Trump, accompanied by Republican congressmen and members of his cabinet, departs after speaking at a news conference following a congressional Republican Leadership Retreat at Camp David L ong before he started running for president, Donald Trump repeatedly claimed that he’s both brainy and well-educated. It is one of his most persistent lies. He did it again on Saturday. In a series of tweets, Trump told the world not only how smart but also how mentally fit he is. “Throughout my life, my two greatest assets have been mental stability and being, like, really smart,” Trump wrote , Crooked Hillary Clinton also played these cards very hard and, as everyone knows, went down in flames. I went from VERY successful businessman, to top T.V. Star ... to President of the United States (on my first try). I think that would qualify as not smart, but genius ... and a very stable genius at that! Later in the day he told reporters that “I went to the...

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