Harold Meyerson

Harold Meyerson is executive editor of The American Prospect. His email is hmeyerson@prospect.org.

Recent Articles

The Case for Keith

(Photo: AP/Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
(Photo: AP/Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call) Representative Keith Ellison attends a news conference at the Capitol on December 8, 2016. I n normal circumstances, the men and women who chair the Democratic and Republican National Committees labor in a rather just obscurity. As the state and local party organizations of the late 19th and early 20th centuries withered and dissolved before a host of challenges—a national welfare state, television advertising, the rise of primaries and the fall of conventions—the role of the national party chairperson shrank to that of exalted fundraiser. Prominent chairs are now the exception, not the rule. It took hacked emails to give Debby Wasserman Schultz her 15 minutes of notoriety, while Reince Priebus emerged from some dank hole only because he was one of the few Republican officials last spring to stand by Donald Trump. Closer to the norm of anonymity is Preibus’s new replacement at the RNC, Ronna Romney McDaniel. That there is now a hotly contested...

Can California Fight Trump’s Threats?

From emission standards to sanctuary status, the state has options for countering Trump’s attacks.

AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli
AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli California Governor Jerry Brown discusses his 2017-2018 state budget plan he released at a news conference. This article originally appeared at The Los Angeles Times . Subscribe here . W e’ve seen states fight the federal government before. In 1860 and 1861, it was the states that set off the conflict, taking up arms to oppose the new president. Today, it’s the new president who has initiated the break, vowing to punish states and cities that treat immigrants with respect and the environment with care, and against California and Los Angeles most of all. In his first weeks in office, Donald Trump took dead aim at the policies that state and local governments have put in place to enhance public health and safety. He threatened them with withdrawal of federal funds if they remain sanctuary cities—and no major city has claimed that status longer than Los Angeles, which has barred its police from cooperating in deportation operations since 1979. Trump also has...

The Building Trades’ Faustian Bargain

The construction union leaders who met with Donald Trump hope he’ll create jobs for their members. They must also hope he won’t deport their members because they’re immigrants.

(Photo: AP/Christian Torres)
(Photo: AP/Christian Torres) Workers continue building a taller fence on the Mexico-U.S. border separating the towns of Anapra, Mexico, and Sunland Park, New Mexico, on January 25, 2017. T he first time I ever saw Terry O’Sullivan, he was sporting a T-shirt on a sunny Los Angeles day more than 15 years ago. I remember him shouting to a crowd of workers and activists, making an impassioned case for immigrant rights. Newly installed as the international president of the Laborers Union , O’Sullivan told his listeners in no uncertain terms that the nation needed to give its undocumented immigrants the right to become citizens, to let them live their lives out of the shadows, to stop raiding the places where they worked. O’Sullivan came by these positions honestly. Of all of America’s current labor leaders, he is the most Irish—he’s a longtime supporter of Sinn Fein, and the chairman of D.C. Friends of Ireland—and knows just how reviled and despised the Irish immigrants who came to this...

If You’re Going to Deport Mexicans, Why Not the Irish?

(Photo: Sipa USA via AP/Anthony Behar)
(Photo: Sipa USA via AP/Anthony Behar) Candidates for U.S. citizenship hold American flags during a naturalization ceremony for new citizens in New York City on January 13, 2017. C onsider the paddy wagon. From the mid-19th century through the mid-20th, this was the common term for the vehicles in which police hauled convicts and arrestees to jails, courts, and prisons. Consider, now, the origin of the term. The “paddies” were Irish immigrants, who were flocking to the United States in the 1840s and 1850s, fleeing the great famine that had descended on Ireland. And the Irish, some right-thinking Protestant Americans believed, were inherently a criminal bunch. In the 1840s and 1850s, there were enough of those right-thinking Americans to form a political party: The American Party, they called it, though (because when asked about their doings, many apparently paranoid members responded, “I know nothing”) it soon came to be known as the Know Nothings. With Irish and German immigrants...

Anti-Elitism, the Trump Version

It’s all been Washington’s fault. Wall Street? What’s that?

(Photo: AP/Patrick Semansky)
(Photo: AP/Patrick Semansky) D onald Trump’s inaugural address, for which the heavens wept, culminated a strand of American conservatism that has been with us since Republicans began attacking Franklin Roosevelt. It is to refocus any anti-elitist sentiment away from finance and big business, and toward the political establishment. In one form or another, it has long been a defining motif of the American right, stretching from Joe McCarthy’s allegations of treason by striped-pants diplomats, to George Wallace’s attacks on pointy-headed bureaucrats, to Ronald Reagan’s war on government, up to Trump’s assault today on Washington for selling out the (largely white) factory workers to the benefit of—as Trump put it—themselves. “Their victories were not yours,” he noted. Their days of power, of betraying American workers, were at an end. Missing from his indictment, of course, was the real American elite: Wall Street , which urged CEOs to boost profits by offshoring labor, and those CEOs...