Robert Kuttner

Robert Kuttner is co-founder and co-editor of The American Prospect, and professor at Brandeis University’s Heller School. His latest book is The Stakes: 2020 and the Survival of American Democracy. In addition to writing for the Prospect, he writes for HuffPost, The Boston Globe, and The New York Review of Books. 

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Recent Articles

Elizabeth Warren’s Unifying Race Narrative

Elizabeth Warren has been getting a lot of attention for her smart, creative policy proposals. She deserves praise for something else. Warren talks about race better than any candidate, certainly any white candidate, we’ve seen for a long time. This is crucial because Trump once again will use racism to deflect attention from the real issues of class that are leaving Americans of all races so vulnerable. It’s also crucial because voters of color are still experiencing extreme whiplash in the aftermath of the abrupt transition from Obama to Trump—and expect a candidate who will keep faith with them. And Democrats need both blacks and whites to turn out, big-time. The challenge is to define and narrate the top-down class war in today’s America in a way that bridges over race, while also acknowledging the more damaging impact on black Americans. Warren is just about pitch-perfect on that. Here is Warren at Netroots Nation last August: In Trump’s story, the...

A Conversation with Sherrod Brown

Susan Walsh/AP Photo
Susan Walsh/AP Photo Senator Sherrod Brown speaks during a Senate Finance Committee hearing. S enator Sherrod Brown of Ohio disappointed many Democrats when he announced in March that he would not be a candidate for president. Brown was re-elected to the Senate last November in a race where other Democrats running statewide in Ohio were defeated. He is especially effective at reaching working class voters based on pocketbook issues—voters who are otherwise attracted to rightwing racist nationalists. Yet Brown does so without sacrificing leadership on progressive social issues. Though he is not running for president, his voice is an important one. We were curious to explore how he might continue to exercise influence in the campaign. Sherrod Brown spoke with Prospect co-editor Robert Kuttner. Robert Kuttner: In the upcoming campaign, how do we make Donald Trump vulnerable for having failed to deliver for the kind of people who voted for him? You must have a lot of insights on...

Unions Take On the Worst of the Hedge Funds Pillaging the News Biz

Richard Drew/AP Photo
Alden Global Capital, one of the most predatory of hedge funds, has been trying since last December to mount a hostile takeover of the Gannett newspaper chain. Gannett, with over 100 dailies and nearly 1,000 weeklies and 19,000 employees in 43 states, is one of the main surviving newspaper chains. Legacy chains like Gannett have been laying off workers. They are not exactly the heroes of this story, but they do maintain some residual commitment to journalism. Outfits like Alden, which treat news, shoes, real estate, and workers as just so many objects of financial plays, are far worse. Last year, a colleague and I wrote about the business model of private equity companies and hedge funds like Alden and its subsidiary Digital First Media. They strip assets from newspapers, sell off real estate, cut staff to the bone, incur debt that they then put on the newspaper’s own balance sheet, and pull out short-term profits. They take out so much money so fast, much of it from debt, that...

Impeachment: the False Choices

Jon Elswick/AP Photo
In recent days, the Democrats have been obsessively arguing about two questions. First, should they turn the country’s attention to an impeachment, or stay focused on policy arguments where they can gain ground against Trump? That way, presumably, they can oust him the old-fashioned way, in an election. Second, should they move directly to an impeachment? Or should they let the House investigating committees take the lead? Both of these debates miss the point. Take the first debate. If some Democrats think that an impeachment will crowd out discussions of, say, debt relief for college students, or shoring up Social Security, or a massive public infrastructure program, or an expansion of Medicare, they misunderstand politics, and underestimate the voters. People are actually capable of focusing on more than one thing. And the more Trump is consumed by defending himself against the corrupt reality of his presidency and calling on Republicans to spend political capital to save his...

Trump’s Huddled Masses and the Politics of 2020

Eric Gay / AP Photo
Eric Gay/AP Photo Immigrants from Central America seeking asylum prepare for bed at Travis Park Church, which is serving as a make-shift shelter, in downtown San Antonio, April 2, 2019. Here’s a hard question for progressive advocates of refugee rights. Did Trump just get perversely lucky? Until a few months ago, critics of Trump’s wall, his caravan obsession, and his claim of an invasion had a foolproof rejoinder. His story was a fantasy. Immigration from Mexico was notably down over the past several years. Now, however, border crossings from refugees are way up . And Trump’s story of what draws refugees from Central America is not entirely wrong. They’ve heard from friends and relatives that parents with kids and credible accounts of persecution are sometimes allowed into America and released in short order. None of this excuses Trump’s brutal policies of separating parents from kids. Nor could the U.S. bar such refugees without violating treaty...