Harold Meyerson

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

Recent Articles

So Many Democrats, So Little Time

Brynn Anderson/AP Photo
Brynn Anderson/AP Photo The DNC needs to winnow the field to half-a-dozen candidates, the sooner the better. If it did nothing else, the first Democratic debate proved that brevity is no longer the soul of wit. Squeezing the answers of ten candidates, only four of them (Warren, Booker, and just maybe Klobuchar and O’Rourke) seriously running for president, into roughly 100 minutes yielded a few sound bites and, at a generous most, merely confirmed the basic contours of the race. Those contours pit an aggressive progressive populist left—Warren Wednesday, Bernie Thursday—against a stubbornly incrementalist center—Klobuchar Wednesday, Biden Thursday—with perhaps three candidates—Booker Wednesday, Harris and Buttigieg Thursday—floating between them and relying chiefly on whatever charisma they can summon. Booker managed to summon his share tonight; he certainly appeared the most conventionally presidential. Warren shone in the first hour and...

Climate Change and the Democrats

If they have the smarts, Democrats can prevent a schism in the progressive coalition, and turn the Green New Deal into a jobs machine for workers displaced from the carbon economy.

This article appears in the Summer 2019 issue of The American Prospect magazine. Subscribe here . I’ve seen the face of a Democratic Party civil war, and it’s not pretty. As an 18-year-old staffer for the presidential campaign of Eugene McCarthy, I was at the tumultuous 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. The images that form the popular memory of that convention are of the what-do-we-have-to-do-to-end-this-damn-Vietnam-War kids in the streets being countered—and clobbered—by Chicago cops running amok. But by mid-’68, the conflict between the antiwar kids and many of their elders reflected a whole series of increasingly bitter differences not just of belief, but also of identity—and not just in Chicago’s streets but inside the convention hall as well. To the cops, to the Daley machine that controlled them, and also to many of the convention delegates, from organizations like Daley’s or from George Meany’s AFL-CIO, the...

Bernie, Son of FDR

Andrew Harnik/AP Photo
In 1916, amid the carnage of World War I, the great German-Polish socialist Rosa Luxemburg wrote that humanity was facing a choice between socialism and barbarism. Earlier today, speaking at the George Washington University, Bernie Sanders noted that we live in a time of rising authoritarianism, citing the regimes of Putin, Xi, Orban, Duterte and Trump as indices of the growing threat. His speech was billed as offering his definition of socialism, which, a la Rosa, was said to be the alternative to oligarchy and authoritarianism. Socialism as Sanders proceeded to define it is indeed an alternative to oligarchy and authoritarianism. What his speech left hanging was whether his socialism was in fact socialism. In 2015, as his campaign was just taking off, Sanders came to a different D.C. university—Georgetown—to deliver what was also then billed as his definition of socialism. Before a crowd of wildly cheering college students, he reeled off a series of social democratic...

The God-Damnedest Policy Paper of the Year

Last week, an in-depth analysis of what’s gone wrong with the American economy was released, chockfull of arguments that Prospect readers and others who’ve followed the work of progressive scholars would find very familiar. Its basic contention is that our corporations no longer invest in the domestic economy as they once did, electing instead either to sit on their profits or distribute them to shareholders. The corporate sector, the report reads, “has gone from a system marked by free enterprise to one that is more broadly ‘enterprise-free.’” Not surprisingly, the report relies heavily on the work of William Lazonick, who, in articles for the Prospect and numerous other publications, has outlined how shareholders came to extract money from corporations rather than fund their increasingly few investments. It cites other authorities on this shift in corporate purpose—Andy Grove and Marianna Mazzucato, among others—who have either written...

The Writers Guild’s Dispute Had a Prequel. Lew Wasserman and the Feds Were the Stars.

This article originally appeared at The Los Angeles Times. Subscribe here . If you’re following the kerfuffle between Hollywood writers and their agents , you may have a sense of déjà vu—well, if you’re old enough and have a good memory, or are steeped in the industry’s history. Over the past month, film and television writers have fired their agents , instructed to do so by the Writers Guild of America to protest the fact that the agencies have branched out into “packaging” productions. Instead of simply representing writers (and directors and actors and producers), many agencies now prefer to assemble all the talent for a project and take a fee for it. In some cases, the agencies actually produce the movies and shows themselves, thereby employing the very writers they are pledged to represent. As the WGA has pointed out, when an agency sits on both sides of the bargaining table, that doesn’t work to the writers’ advantage...