Jim Grossfeld

Jim Grossfeld is a writer living a Bethesda, Maryland.

Recent Articles

How One Democratic Representative Transforms Young Progressives into Electoral Activists

Maryland’s Jamie Raskin offers an all-too-unique political skills-and-smarts education every summer.

If research by the Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics offers any clue, and there’s no reason to think it doesn’t, after the polls close on Tuesday roughly 40 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds will have voted—a rate almost twice as high as it’s ever been for a midterm election. What’s more, because Harvard’s poll shows that 66 percent of them favor Democratic control of Congress, their votes may well play an important role in flipping some of the swing districts whose names have now been burned into our memories. And yet, even though many millennials have been involved in political campaigns over the course of the year, few may leave with the skills and the commitment to become more politically engaged after the ballots are counted. There is, however, one initiative that’s showing how to change that equation. It’s called Democracy Summer, a unique program founded by U.S. Representative Jamie Raskin. Training the next...

Women Bolster the Democrats’ Midwestern Prospects

Michigan Democrats are making a comeback. Women candidates, activists and voters are the reason why.

Meet Nicole Breadon. She’s 46, a lifelong resident of Clarkston, a town of fewer than 1,000 that’s become one of Detroit’s distant exurbs. Her husband Todd grew up in Clarkston, too. Breadon, a sous chef, left her job six years ago to spend more time with her two sons, both special needs children. She’s also an archetype of lasting change in Michigan Democratic politics. “I wasn’t politically active before Trump’s election, but afterwards I felt I had to fight,” Breadon says. “I was concerned that because of him—and especially Betsy DeVos—my children and other kids in the special education system wouldn’t receive the services they need.” Paying careful attention to Trump’s post-election pronouncements and appointments, in mid-January, 2017 Breadon joined the North Oakland County Democratic Club. Then, only a few days later, came an event that left a lasting impression on Breadon: the January 21 Women...

It Will Take More Than Single-Payer to Make Baltimore Healthy

More than lack of access to health care, the ongoing legacies of Jim Crow diminish African Americans’ health.

Tracy Perkins
This article appears in the Fall 2017 issue of The American Prospect magazine. Subscribe here . “See that over there?” I pull over to the curb and Glenn Ross points to a half-acre patch of weeds and tall grass wedged between a railroad bridge and a new East Baltimore elementary school, the first to be built in the neighborhood in more than 30 years. “You’ve got the playground there and over there’s a brownfield”—the term for the sites where factories, refineries, and other businesses closed after poisoning the land and water beneath them. “Trains used to leave coal there,” Ross says. “Then a truck repair shop opened up. The ground there is hard and black with oil. Why would you ever build a school next to a contaminated site?” A burly Vietnam vet and one of Baltimore’s most seasoned activists, Ross has been on the front lines of dozens of the battles facing the city’s African American community, which today...

Faith in Action

A review of Mark Shriver's new book about the life of his father, progressive hero Sargent Shriver.

Tributes to politicos written by their children don’t have a special place in literary hell, but they probably deserve one. Most are warm and fuzzy reminisces from kids who seem to know little more about their fathers—and it almost always is fathers—than their dads’ press secretaries. And, like the handiwork of a press secretary, their books often present a version of events so thin and sanitized that they make the History Channel look like PBS. Not so with Mark Shriver’s A Good Man: Rediscovering My Father, Sargent Shriver. Unlike Scott Stossel’s 800-page Sarge The Life and Times of Sargent Shriver (Smithsonian Books, 2004), the younger Shriver’s book doesn’t attempt to be the definitive biography of his father’s life and career. Instead, it is an elegantly written meditation on faith, public service, and parenting from someone who’s clearly spent much of his life grappling with all three. On one level, Shriver’s book...

A New Union Contract

While public-sector unions fight for survival, Bob King proposes to rebuild the United Auto Workers for a new, and more vexing, century.

United Auto Workers President Bob King (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
Last August, just two months after he became president of the United Auto Workers, Bob King drove upstate to a conference that the Center for Automotive Research was hosting in Traverse City, Michigan, and proposed to redefine the role that American unions play in the economy. "The 20th-century UAW joined with the companies in a mind-set that it was the company's job to worry about profits, and the union's job to worry about getting the workers their fair share," King said. "The 21st-century UAW embraces as our own the mission of producing the highest quality, best value products for our customers." King went on to renounce a laundry list of "20th century" practices ranging from bargaining "lengthy contracts" that "hindered flexibility" to the union's "failure to focus on the needs of consumers." Actually, as King, a student of both UAW and auto-industry history, is well aware, the UAW, under the leadership of the iconic Walter Reuther, did focus on the needs of consumers during the...