Harold Meyerson

Harold Meyerson is editor-at-large of The American Prospect. His email is hmeyerson@prospect.org.

Recent Articles

Who’s Up, Who’s Down, Who’s Out to Lunch

Well, Bernie and Liz didn’t fight each other. Of course, that was partly because CNN pitted everyone else against them. I look forward to the future debates chiefly because they will not feature Messrs. Delany and Hickenlooper. One particularly noxious line of attack leveled against Liz and Bernie was that their support for Medicare for All and the Green New Deal was really an attack on workers who’d won health insurance through their union contracts and would therefore have to lose it (that came from Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan) and that workers in the construction trades and the fossil fuel industry would be cast aside by the Green New Deal-niks (that came from Montana Governor Steve Bullock). Ryan particularly singled out members of the United Auto Workers as those who would feel betrayed by the enactment of Medicare for All. Among the many things that Ryan doesn’t know, apparently, is the history of the UAW, whose legendary president, Walter Reuther, was the nation...

Why Democrats Can’t Pick One of Those Many Senators for Veep

agenda_2020.jpg Over the next two nights, we’ll see seven Democratic senators (counting Bernie Sanders as the Democrat he effectively is) on the debate stage. Not all of them, of course, are really running for president. The more obscure, the non-frontrunners, may have calculated that the exposure they are getting will set them up for a vice-presidential nod. (Some of the other candidates now polling at one percent appear to be running for a post on the level of deputy assistant secretary for Horseshoeing in the Department of Commerce.) Senators Michel Bennett, Kirsten Gilllibrand, and Amy Klobuchar might well have had Joe Biden’s old job in mind when they declared their candidacies. In previous years, that would have been a highly rational calculation. Democratic convention delegates have given the vice-presidential nomination to sitting senators in every covention save one since 1944 (not counting the sitting vice-presidents nominated for a second term, all of whom were...

The Fight for 15’s Long, Winding, and Brandeisian Road

When the House voted today along straight party lines to raise the minimum wage to $15 by 2025, it not only marked a milestone in the battle to create (and in some cases, restore) a more vibrant and egalitarian economy. It also illustrated the geographic and Brandeisian course of progressive reform within both the Democratic Party and the United States. Louis Brandeis famously termed the states “laboratories of democracy”—the places where progressive policies could be tried out and perfected before going national. Today, however, it’s really cities that have become Brandeis’s labs. Disproportionately home to minorities, immigrants, and millennials (who are the leftmost generation in modern American history), it’s the cities where progressive ideas spring up, take root, and become law. Such is certainly the case with the $15 minimum wage. The Fight for 15 began with a job action of a couple hundred fast food workers in New York City in November of...

How Centrists Misread Scandinavia When Attacking Bernie and Elizabeth

Now that a rising American left has made such subjects as economic inequality, social democracy and even democratic socialism required topics for our chattering classes, one popular argument that the center and right are advancing is that the Nordic countries—the closest the planet comes to democratic socialism—are really bastions of capitalism, albeit with a welfare state. Take David Brooks (insert Henny Youngman joke here). In his column in today’s Times, Brooks writes that those nations “can afford to have strong welfare policies only because they have dynamic free-market economies. No Nordic country has a minimum wage law.” He’s right that they don’t have minimum wage laws, but why is that? Probably because the vast majority of Scandinavian citizens belong to unions—indeed, the key to Nordic social democracy is that these nations have long been by far the world’s most unionized. The rates of unionization in the five Nordic...

Handicapping the Democratic Field After the First Debates

Brynn Anderson/AP Photo A few quick thoughts about the Democratic presidential field now that the first debates have been concluded. First, Joe Biden made sadly clear on Thursday night that were he not the former vice president, he’d not be taken seriously as a candidate. I’m well aware that many within the Democratic establishment have viewed him as the surest bet to beat Trump. After Thursday, a lot of them will be trying to figure out who is that surest bet now. Second, two candidates emerged over the two nights as “naturals”—at home on the political stage, able to speak compellingly on a wide range of issues. They are Kamala Harris and Cory Booker. Harris’s performance established her as the Democrat most likely to make mincemeat of Trump on the debate stage. She challenged Biden on his remarks about James Eastland and his record on busing in a forceful, precise, and not too aggressive way, clearly seeking to bring down his numbers among African...

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