Rachel M. Cohen

Rachel M. Cohen is a journalist based in Washington, D.C., and a former American Prospect writing fellow.

Recent Articles

Larry Hogan Can Be Beat

Maryland’s presumably invulnerable Republican governor is anything but.

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky
AP Photo/Patrick Semansky Maryland Governor Larry Hogan delivers remarks at the mayoral inauguration ceremony for Catherine Pugh inside the War Memorial Building in Baltimore, Tuesday, December 6, 2016. W hen Labor Secretary Tom Perez announced in mid-December that he was jumping into the race for Democratic National Committee chair, analysts immediately began to speculate what his motivations could be for challenging Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison. Ellison had already been in the race for a month , and had received diverse endorsements from the AFL-CIO , Elizabeth Warren , Chuck Schumer , among many others. Was the White House putting Perez up to this, nervous about a key Sanders supporter leading the party? Was this about preserving support from billionaire donors like Haim Saban, who said electing Ellison would be a “ disaster ” for Democrats? And, wait, wasn’t Perez—a former Maryland state official and a longtime resident of the D.C. suburbs—considering a 2018 run against...

Ben Carson, the GOP, and Subsidized Housing

Conservatives will tap into Clinton-era thinking on welfare reform to reshape public housing and voucher programs 

(Christian Murdock/The Gazette via AP)
(Christian Murdock/The Gazette via AP) Republican Dr. Ben Carson speaks during a rally for Donald Trump on Friday, Nov. 4, 2016 L ast week, Ben Carson, Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development, gave a talk at Yale University. He told students that the rumors that he planned to end housing programs for the poor are “a bunch of crap” and there is “no way” he’d ever do that. But housing advocates shouldn’t relax just yet. Even if Carson and Trump decide not to axe entire programs, they could still implement policies that create all sorts of new hardships for the millions of low-income people who live in public housing and use federally subsidized housing vouchers. Trump would not be the first president to go after federal benefits for the poor. In 1996, President Bill Clinton signed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, which dramatically upended welfare in the United States. The law mandated two significant changes:...

Vouchers, Home Schooling, Virtual Education -- Conservatives’ Wish List

At a recent national conference, right-leaning education advocates spelled out a sweeping agenda that could shift the nation’s focus sharply away from public schools. 

(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) Former Gov. Jeb Bush speaks in Washington D.C. in June 2015. T hese are heady times for free-market education reformers. Republicans control Congress, GOP governors will lead 33 states, the vice-president elect is a champion of private school vouchers, and a conservative Supreme Court might soon have the power to thwart teacher union power irreparably. Best of all for the school choice crowd, billionaire GOP donor Betsy DeVos, a leading advocate of education reform, has been nominated to head up the Education Department. The excitement of education advocates with conservative policy priorities was palpable last week at the annual reform conference hosted by the Foundation for Excellence in Education (FEE), a group founded by Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor and unsuccessful GOP presidential contender. More than 1,000 people from across the U.S. gathered at the Marriott Marquis hotel in Washington, D.C., for two days of panels, plenary sessions...

The Right Way to Assess Charter Schools

(AP Photo/Becky Bohrer)
(AP Photo/Becky Bohrer) Protestors gather on the steps of the state Capitol in Juneau for a "Save Our Schools" rally in February, 2014 to speak out on a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow public money to be used for private and religious schools. O n November 8, Massachusetts residents went to the polls not only to cast their vote for president but also to weigh in on a hotly debated question regarding charter schools. The ballot initiative —which proposed lifting the state’s cap to allow establishing up to 12 new charters or expanding existing charters annually—had generated a heated battle for months, with voters inundated by mailings and advertising from both sides. About $34 million was spent on these efforts, making them easily the most expensive ballot initiative campaign in state history. Teacher unions provided nearly all the money to fight the measure, while out-of-state donors and Boston’s business community shelled out most of the money in support. The...