Peter Dreier

Peter Dreier, who teaches politics at Occidental College, is the author of The 100 Greatest Americans of the 20th Century: A Social Justice Hall of Fame (Nation Books, 2012).

Recent Articles

Why We Need EFCA

Despite its paltry membership, the U.S. labor movement remains the nation's most potent force for progressive change and the most effective vehicle for electing Democrats.

Three weeks before the November election, The New York Times Magazine ran a cover story that asked, "Will Gun-Toting, Churchgoing White Guys Pull the Lever for Obama?"

When the polls closed, the question was answered: Nationwide, white men, white women, working-class whites, white gun owners, and white weekly churchgoers supported McCain by wide margins.

But a significant number of whites in each category broke ranks and voted for Obama -- enough to help him win key battleground states and the presidency. Exit polls conducted by Guy Molyneux, a survey expert with Peter D. Hart Research, explain why.

Does Obama Really Have a Race Problem?

There is no doubt that working-class whites harbor resentments against blacks. But wealthy whites are more likely than working-class whites to use the race card in the voting booth.

Why He Was In Memphis

Most Americans today know that Reverand Martin Luther King Jr. was killed in 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee, but fewer know why he was there.

King went to Memphis to support African American garbage workers, who were on strike to protest unsafe conditions, abusive white supervisors, and low wages -- and to gain recognition for their union. Their picket signs relayed a simple but profound message: "I Am A Man."

Livable Los Angeles

In 2000, a group of environmentalists and housing advocates founded Livable Places to promote new housing construction in neighborhoods with good transit as an antidote to continuing sprawl. With more than 150 nonprofits building affordable housing in Southern California, Livable Places is unique in its dual strategy of both advocating and developing housing using a smart-growth model. Livable Places both talks the talk and walks the walk.

Not Just for the Gentry

We need to imagine a future in which Los Angeles is the greenest and cleanest big city in America,” Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said in his April 2006 state of the city address. That's a tall order when you consider Los Angeles' long-standing love affair with the twin icons of suburbia -- the car and the single-family home. Yet many agree with Villaraigosa that it's time for Los Angeles to kiss the suburban sweetheart goodbye and start courting urban green.