Harold Meyerson

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

Recent Articles

The Fight for 15’s Long, Winding, and Brandeisian Road

When the House voted today along straight party lines to raise the minimum wage to $15 by 2025, it not only marked a milestone in the battle to create (and in some cases, restore) a more vibrant and egalitarian economy. It also illustrated the geographic and Brandeisian course of progressive reform within both the Democratic Party and the United States. Louis Brandeis famously termed the states “laboratories of democracy”—the places where progressive policies could be tried out and perfected before going national. Today, however, it’s really cities that have become Brandeis’s labs. Disproportionately home to minorities, immigrants, and millennials (who are the leftmost generation in modern American history), it’s the cities where progressive ideas spring up, take root, and become law. Such is certainly the case with the $15 minimum wage. The Fight for 15 began with a job action of a couple hundred fast food workers in New York City in November of...

How Centrists Misread Scandinavia When Attacking Bernie and Elizabeth

Now that a rising American left has made such subjects as economic inequality, social democracy and even democratic socialism required topics for our chattering classes, one popular argument that the center and right are advancing is that the Nordic countries—the closest the planet comes to democratic socialism—are really bastions of capitalism, albeit with a welfare state. Take David Brooks (insert Henny Youngman joke here). In his column in today’s Times, Brooks writes that those nations “can afford to have strong welfare policies only because they have dynamic free-market economies. No Nordic country has a minimum wage law.” He’s right that they don’t have minimum wage laws, but why is that? Probably because the vast majority of Scandinavian citizens belong to unions—indeed, the key to Nordic social democracy is that these nations have long been by far the world’s most unionized. The rates of unionization in the five Nordic...

Handicapping the Democratic Field After the First Debates

Brynn Anderson/AP Photo A few quick thoughts about the Democratic presidential field now that the first debates have been concluded. First, Joe Biden made sadly clear on Thursday night that were he not the former vice president, he’d not be taken seriously as a candidate. I’m well aware that many within the Democratic establishment have viewed him as the surest bet to beat Trump. After Thursday, a lot of them will be trying to figure out who is that surest bet now. Second, two candidates emerged over the two nights as “naturals”—at home on the political stage, able to speak compellingly on a wide range of issues. They are Kamala Harris and Cory Booker. Harris’s performance established her as the Democrat most likely to make mincemeat of Trump on the debate stage. She challenged Biden on his remarks about James Eastland and his record on busing in a forceful, precise, and not too aggressive way, clearly seeking to bring down his numbers among African...

Never Mind the Russians. It’s the Court That Rigs Our Elections.

Meddle though they may, the Russians aren’t the ones who decisively rig American elections to the Republicans’ advantage. That distinction belongs to the five Republican justices on the United States Supreme Court. On Thursday, in a sadly predictable 5-to-4 decision, the Court ruled that judges have no authority to overrule partisan gerrymandering. The ruling will enable the current Republican legislatures in North Carolina, Wisconsin, and kindred states to misshape new districts in the decennial post-Census line-drawing to their considerable advantage. These are states where Democrats have swept recent statewide elections, but where Republicans have outsized majorities in their legislative and congressional delegations. In North Carolina, for instance, Republicans hold ten of the state’s 13 congressional seats, though the statewide vote for House members has been split roughly evenly between the Democrats and the GOP. The case of North Carolina illustrates the...

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...

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