Paul Starr

Paul Starr is co-founder and co-editor of the The American Prospect. and professor of sociology and public affairs at Princeton University. A winner of the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction and the Bancroft Prize in American history, he is the author of seven books, including most recently Remedy and Reaction: The Peculiar American Struggle over Heath Care Reform (Yale University Press, revised ed. 2013). Click here to read more about Starr.

Recent Articles

An American Way for America Now

Why the country needs a Democratic party that knows it needs white working-class voters

National Archives/Public Domain
National Archives/Public Domain Many of the efforts promoting national unity in the World War II era left out blacks—but not this poster from 1942, which encouraged racial tolerance among factory workers. This article appears in the Fall 2017 issue of The American Prospect magazine. Subscribe here . A mericans often look back to the mid-20th century as a time when the country was cohesive and unified, unlike today’s bitterly divided society. That image of mid-century America was always incomplete, but insofar as there was a culture of consensus, it was not a wholly spontaneous development. Much of the country’s leadership and national media from the 1930s through World War II and the early postwar years made concerted efforts to foster unity across social and religious lines in the face of threats from abroad and at home to America’s stability and survival. The United States is surely different today—the lines of cleavage have shifted, the media have fractured into separate worlds,...

After Comey, Congressional Republicans Totally Control Trump

To avoid impeachment, the president has no real choice but to do their bidding.

(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) From left, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, House Speaker Paul Ryan, White House adviser Jared Kushner, Deputy National Security Adviser Dina Powell, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise wait in the Roosevelt Room of the White House for a meeting with President Trump and Vice President Pence on June 6, 2017. F ormer FBI Director James Comey’s testimony may have seemed like a boon to Democrats, but it has another effect that has been little commented on: Donald Trump is now totally dependent on congressional Republicans to avoid impeachment and therefore has no choice but to be a cheerleader for their policies and to sign whatever legislation they send him. When Trump was nominated, many people accepted his own self-characterization as a disruptive force within the Republican Party. But the party itself had already moved toward more...

A True Republican Health-Care Unraveling

The reaction against the GOP could boost progressive organizing and bolder reforms.

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik House Speaker Paul Ryan pauses during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, March 24, 2017. The following article, which appears in the Spring 2017 issue of The American Prospect under the title “The Republican Health-Care Unraveling: Resist Now, Rebound Later,” went to press on Tuesday, March 21, before the Republicans gave up on their health-care bill and pulled it from a vote. But while the first section of the article is now moot (at least for the time being), the second part (“Blocking Trump’s Chaos Option”) and the third (“The Next Progressive Health Agenda”) are pertinent to what happens next. - P.S., March 24, 2017. I magine if Donald Trump had been a genuine populist and followed through on his repeated promises to provide health insurance to everybody and take on the pharmaceutical and insurance industries. Populists in other countries have done similar things, and Trump might have consolidated support by emulating them. Of course,...

The Next Progressive Health Agenda

Part II of The Republican Health-Care Unraveling

Erik McGregor/Sipa via AP Images
Erik McGregor/Sipa via AP Images Health-care justice advocates and other grassroots groups gather outside Trump Tower to protest against President Trump's pledge to repeal the Affordable Care Act. This is the second part of a two-part article. Part I is here . The full version appears in the Spring 2017 issue of The American Prospect under the title: “The Republican Health-Care Unraveling: Resist Now, Rebound Later.” This is the “rebound” part. Subscribe here to the magazine. E ven as they resist the Republican rollback of the ACA and Medicaid, Democrats should be thinking about new initiatives in health care. No doubt the next steps will depend in part on what Trump and the Republicans end up doing. In the wake of federal legislation, many of the critical decisions in the short run may move to the states. But Democrats cannot limit themselves to defensive efforts to salvage the ACA at either the federal or the state level. They need to think about a more attractive national agenda in...

The Republican Health-Care Unraveling

Part I

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via AP Images
Michael Reynolds/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy discuss the House Republican's new health-care plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. This is the first part of a two-part article. The full version appears in the Spring 2017 issue of The American Prospect under the title: “The Republican Health-Care Unraveling: Resist Now, Rebound Later.” This is the “resist” part. Subscribe here to the magazine. I magine if Donald Trump had been a genuine populist and followed through on his repeated promises to provide health insurance to everybody and take on the pharmaceutical and insurance industries. Populists in other countries have done similar things, and Trump might have consolidated support by emulating them. Of course, Trump’s promises about health care weren’t any more genuine than his promises about Trump University. But even if he had been in earnest, he would have still faced a problem. Unlike right-...

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