Peter Dreier

Peter Dreier is the E.P. Clapp Distinguished Professor of Politics and founding chair of the Urban & Environmental Policy Department at Occidental College. 

Recent Articles

Is Donald Trump a Bald Bald-Faced Liar?

Elizabeth Frantz/Concord Monitor via AP

 

It is well established that Donald Trump is a liar. Many journalists have documented his consistent disregard for the truth. For example, the highly regarded Politifact points out that 76 percent of Trump's statements are “mostly false,” “false,” or “pants-on-fire” outrageous lies.

But Politifact didn't bother to investigate Trump's comments about one of his most interesting characteristics—his hair. Last year, Today's Emily Sher compiled Trump's statements about this important topic, including this explanation, which Trump tweeted in April of 2013: “As everybody knows, but the haters and losers refuse to acknowledge, I do not wear a ‘wig.’ My hair may not be perfect, but it's mine.”

Last August, at a campaign rally in Mobile, Alabama, Trump said: "If it rains, I'll take off my hat, and I'll prove once and for all that it's mine."

The color, cut, and combing of Trump's hair beg the question: Is the GOP's nominee-in-waiting also lying when he claims that his hair is his own?

In other words, we know that Trump is a bald faced liar. We just don't know for sure if he's a bald bald-faced liar.

This has been the subject of much journalistic investigation and speculation.

In “An Illustrated History of Donald Trump’s Hair,” Vanity Fair offered photos of the evolution of Trump's hairstyle over many years, but came to no conclusion about whether the mop on top was actually his.

In “The 100 Greatest Descriptions of Donald Trump’s Hair Ever Written,” The Washington Post's Monica Hess explored the many ways, over 30 years, that people have categorized and labeled Trump's hair (both color and style), but refused to resolve the question: real or fake?

Earlier this year, for an article headlined “Hairdressers Reveal the Secrets of Donald Trump's Hair,” The New York Post's Doree Lewak talked to Louis Licari, who colored the hair of Trump's first wife, Ivana, for 20 years. Licari told Lewak: “I think it's all his hair—through transplants,” adding, "I saw him several times in the office of Dr. Norman Orentreich in the early '80s,” referring to the specialist who, in 1952, performed the first-ever hair transplant.

In an extensive investigation for Gawker, “Is Donald Trump's Hair a $60,000 Weave?” Ashley Feinberg reached a bolder, as well as balder, conclusion: Trump probably wears a $60,000 hair weave.

In light of Trump's obvious insecurity about his masculinity, his vanity and his narcissism, it will hardly be surprising if an independent PAC tries to get under Trump's skin (and on top of his scalp) by running an ad showing The Donald without any hair, accompanied by the headline, BALD BALD FACED LIAR?”

Trump is likely to go ballistic.

History books might record the ensuing controversy as the Battle of the Mane.

A Five-Point Plan for Sanders

Bernie Sanders supporters are still convinced that he can win the Democratic nomination, but at this point they would do better to help him build a progressive legacy.

AP Photo/Sandy Huffaker
When Bernie Sanders announced a year ago that he was running for president, few of his supporters—and probably not even Sanders himself—expected that he would actually win. It appeared that Sanders, like his hero Eugene Debs—who ran for president five times in the early 1900s on the Socialist Party ticket—was running mainly to inject progressive issues into the national debate and to help build a movement for radical change. Debs never captured more than 6 percent of the popular vote (in 1912), but his campaigns played an important role in shaping Americans’ views. In the 1912 presidential race, Democratic candidate Woodrow Wilson (the eventually winner) and Progressive Party candidate Theodore Roosevelt co-opted many of Debs’s ideas. Congress eventually adopted some of the planks of the Socialist Party’s 1912 platform , including the minimum wage, child labor laws, women’s suffrage, Social Security, unemployment insurance, occupational...

The Jackie Robinson Story: Ken Burns Documentary Captures the Man and the Movement

The Ken Burns documentary airing on PBS this week demonstrates how the fight to break baseball’s racial barrier went beyond Robinson’s personal heroism and rested on a broad political movement.

AP Photo/Frank Filan
Even if you’re not a baseball fan, the two-part Ken Burns documentary on Jackie Robinson that airs on PBS Monday and Tuesday will have you rooting for the Major League’s first African American player to overcome the racist obstacles put in his way. It is an iconic tale of courage and determination that resonates today. At a time when racial tensions are flaring in police departments, on college campuses, and on the presidential campaign trail, Robinson’s story serves as a reminder of the nation’s best impulses—and its worst. It is difficult today to summon the excitement that greeted Robinson's achievement of breaking Major League Baseball’s color line in 1947 playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers. As Americans readjusted to life after returning from World War II, Robinson’s success on the baseball diamond was a symbol of the promise of a racially integrated society. He did more than change the way baseball is played and who plays it. His actions...

“The Full Spectrum of the Republican Party”

In his victory speech Tuesday night after winning the Wisconsin primary, Senator Ted Cruz pointed to his endorsements from former GOP presidential candidates former Texas Governor Rick Perry, Senator Lindsey Graham, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Carly Fiorina, and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, as proof that he has the “full spectrum of the Republican Party coming together and uniting behind this campaign.”

But what’s most striking about these political figures is how much they have in common. They differ in height, weight, charisma, and personality, but there’s hardly any distance between them when it comes to what they believe about government and public policy. On a scale of one to ten—with ten being the most reactionary—every candidate rates an eight or above.

Here’s where Cruz and those ex-rivals who now support him stand on the major issues facing the country:

·       Obamacare—against

·       Raising the minimum wage—against

·       Raising taxes on the super-rich—against

·       Overturning Citizens United—against

·       Abortion and Planned Parenthood—against

·       Same-sex marriage—against

·       President Obama’s executive actions to protect Dreamers and the parents of children who are citizens or legal permanent from deportation—against

·       Strengthening regulations on Wall Street—against

·       Tightening gun control laws—against

·       Allowing Syrian refugees to enter the U.S.—against

·       Eliminating the death penalty—against

·       Promoting green jobs—against

·       Reducing military spending—against

·       Making voter registration easier—against

·       Labor unions—against

The “full spectrum” of Cruz supporters covers an extremely narrow ideological niche that is out of sync with the vast majority of the American public.

How the Fight for 15 Won

A timeline of the events that led to California's progressive victory

(Photo: AP/Rich Pedroncelli)
The political earth has shifted. Last week’s tectonic jolt began in California, where the legislature voted Thursday to raise the statewide minimum wage to $15, the highest in the nation. The ripple effects of California’s huge victory for progressive forces are already being felt around the country. The California legislation will increase the current $10 minimum wage to $10.50 next January, then $11 the following year, and increase it by $1 annually until 2022, when it will reach $15. Thereafter, it will increase each year at the same rate as the cost of living. The federal minimum wage has been stuck at $7.25 an hour since 2009, frozen in place by the Republican opposition. In response to that gridlock, 29 states and Washington, D.C., have enacted higher minimum wages than the federal level. The hike to $10.50 in January will put California ahead of all other states. The new law will boost paychecks for millions of California workers. More than 40 percent of California...

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