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. 

Follow Bob at his site, robertkuttner.com, and on Twitter

Recent Articles

Why Trump Blinked First

As I’ve been observing, his Republican Senate support was steadily crumbling. LaGuardia shutting down was the last straw, and more government employees were starting to refuse to work. You can imagine Trump’s fantasies about firing them all and finding temps to work as air traffic controllers (oops), but when Mitch McConnell defects, then Trump knows the game is up. McConnell took the pressure from the Senate Republican caucus as long as he could—and then turned the pressure on Trump . So once again, the Deep State—otherwise known as the U.S. Constitution—has held: barely held, but held. Nancy Pelosi made a monkey of Trump when he thought he could barge into the people’s House without an invitation. His threat to invoke a state of emergency was a nonstarter, too. Presidential power is a funny thing. You have it, until you don’t. The Republican defections also bode well for Trump’s impeachment—and eventual removal...

Why Trump Will Lose His Shutdown Ploy

President Donald Trump’s latest offer of a deal to resolve the government shutdown was an inept playing of a weak hand. It was never in the cards for Democrats to agree to Trump’s $5.7 billion wall demand in exchange for just three years of protection for the Dreamers plus temporary reprieves for some other immigrants. Trump obviously knew this when he made the offer. He is still betting that the public will accept his argument that a physical wall is needed to protect Americans from an invasion of refugees and an inflow of illegal drugs. But public opinion isn’t buying it . There is no such invasion. Flows of undocumented migrants have dramatically slowed in recent years, and most illegal drugs are smuggled in on commercial flights, not via illegal border crossers. The main driver of the opioid epidemic is not illegal imports across the Mexican border, but a commercial U.S.-based drug company, Purdue Pharma , which hyped demand for its product OxyContin. A wall...

Trump’s Crumbling Wall -- of GOP Political Support

The increasing Republican skittishness about Trump’s wall and the continuing government shutdown offers an instructive preview of how the Trump presidency is likely to end: when key Republican senators decide that Trump is more trouble than he’s worth. What’s new about this crisis is the increasing number of Republican defections. Politically, Trump’s obsession has backfired. His demand for the wall and his holding the rest of the government hostage become more unpopular by the day. The most recent polls show that the public blames Trump more than the Democrats for the shutdown by margins approaching 2–to–1. There are at least seven Republicans in tight re-election races in 2020, and they aren’t happy. They include Cory Gardner of Colorado, Susan Collins of Maine, and Rob Portman of Ohio. Senators Pat Roberts of Kansas, who is retiring, and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska have also expressed exasperation in comments to the press . One can only...

Can Trump Really Use Emergency Powers to Build a Wall?

President Trump has threatened to use his emergency powers as president to build his $5 billion vanity wall. Can he do this? Maybe he can. A series of laws gives extraordinary emergency powers to the president—in a true emergency. One emergency law authorizes the secretary of the army during a presidentially declared emergency to direct troops to help construct “authorized civil works, military construction and civil defense projects that are essential to the national defense.” Another law allows the secretary of defense, to reprogram funds to build necessary military projects, if so directed during a presidentially declared emergency. These laws, however, are in conflict with the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, which generally prohibits he use of the military on American soil, except in very narrowly specified circumstances. It all turns on whether this is a bona fide national emergency. Who decides what’s a true emergency? In the first instance, the president...

Republicans Finally Find Major Perpetrators of Ballot Fraud—and It’s Them!

For decades, Republicans have been claiming that ballot fraud was endemic. Supposedly, thousands if not millions of people were improperly voting, for Democrats. This was the basis for photo-ID requirements and excessive purges of the voting rolls, and felony penalties for people found to have voted improperly. Any serious person understood that all of this was a cynical smokescreen for depressing the votes of Democrats. The people targeted were from groups inclined to vote Democratic, notably African Americans, Latinos, the foreign born, poor people, and college students. The targeting reached an extreme where in some states gun licenses could be used as photo ID, but not ID cards from state universities much less welfare, food-stamp or Medicaid cards. Serious research found that the actual number of verified improper voting, over several decades, was in the low double digits. The New York Times , in an exhaustive investigation, found just four cases. The Washington Post , going back...

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