Paul Starr

Paul Starr is co-founder and co-editor of The American Prospect. and professor of sociology and public affairs at Princeton University. A winner of the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction and the Bancroft Prize in American history, he is the author of eight books, including Entrenchment: Wealth, Power, and the Constitution of Democratic Societies, which will be out next year.

Recent Articles

Race and Class Are Old Bases of Political Divisions. Gender is Different.

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster Demonstrators protest against Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court in Washington. T he other day Gallup released some striking survey data on migration. No, it wasn’t about how many people want to come to America. It was about the rising proportion of Americans who say they want to leave the country, up to 16 percent under Donald Trump from 10-11 percent under his two predecessors. One finding jumped out: 40 percent of women under 30, twice the proportion of men their age, say they’d leave America if they could. I’m not expecting a mass exodus of young women, but the Gallup report was one more sign of the depth of their alienation from America in the age of Trump. This didn’t happen overnight; women’s anger about both politics and everyday culture in America has been building for a while. Until the past few years, however, it didn’t seem as though national politics would be fought out on the battleground of sex. In the debate on the left about the...

How Gender Became Our National Political Battleground

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster Demonstrators protest against Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court in Washington. T he other day Gallup released some striking survey data on migration. No, it wasn’t about how many people want to come to America. It was about the rising proportion of Americans who say they want to leave the country, up to 16 percent under Donald Trump from 10-11 percent under his two predecessors. One finding jumped out: 40 percent of women under 30, twice the proportion of men their age, say they’d leave America if they could. I’m not expecting a mass exodus of young women, but the Gallup report was one more sign of the depth of their alienation from America in the age of Trump. This didn’t happen overnight; women’s anger about both politics and everyday culture in America has been building for a while. Until the past few years, however, it didn’t seem as though national politics would be fought out on the battleground of sex. In the debate on the left about the...

‘I Have an Absolute Right to Cry Wolf,’ Claims the President

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster President Donald Trump gives a prime-time address about border security at the White House. T he boy who cried “Wolf!” when there wasn’t one should have been stopped the first time, and taught a lesson. A president who declares “national emergency!” when there isn’t one should be stopped the first time too, but it’s not clear our laws will enable that to happen, or that enough people appreciate the danger of not teaching him a lesson. “I have an absolute right to cry ‘wolf,”” Donald Trump said this week. Actually, what he said was “ I have the absolute right to declare a national emergency ,” but the first is close enough. Where others see desperate women and children on the border seeking asylum, Trump sees wolves—rapists and murderers, gang members, and criminals. Many people in Washington are apparently relieved that by using an emergency declaration to secure the $5.7 billion in funds he wants for his wall, the president could end the impasse with Congress...

The Progressive Caucus and New Democrat Coalition Could Help Consolidate the Party’s Presidential Field

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik Senator Elizabeth Warren, right, accompanied by Senator Bernie Sanders, left, speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill. T he Democrats are now likely to have even more presidential aspirants in 2020 than the 17 that the Republicans had in 2016, a precedent that ought to inspire concern about the outcome. A large field favors a candidate who enters the race with certain assets—high prior name recognition, a big personality, personal wealth or a large donor network, perhaps a talent for capturing attention by stoking intense reactions. In the first Iowa poll of likely Democratic caucus-goers by CNN/ Des Moines Register /Mediacom, three male B’s—Biden, Bernie, and Beto—dominated the field (Joe Biden at 32 percent, Bernie Sanders at 19 percent, and Beto O’Rourke at 11 percent), with all the other candidates in single digits, though Elizabeth Warren trailed O’Rourke only slightly, at 8 percent. Of course, it’s an early poll, with a large margin of error (4.6...

The Democrats Are Being Pulled Both to the Left and to the Center

David Guralnick/Detroit News via AP Gretchen Whitmer gives her acceptance speech after being elected the next governor of Michigan, in Detroit. A re the Democrats, as so many people believe, moving left, or are they gravitating to the center? Actually, the results of this year’s primary and general elections show there is movement in both directions, setting the party up for future conflicts. Let’s look at the congressional results. Perry Bacon, Jr. at FiveThirtyEight makes the case that the Democrats are moving left by comparing their House membership in 2010, the last time they controlled the chamber, to their incoming membership. Eight years ago, the Progressive Caucus had 80 members, while the Blue Dog Coalition, the most conservative Democrats, had 54. But in 2019, according to Bacon, the Progressive Caucus will rise to 96, while the Blue Dogs will number only 24. By that measure, the House Democrats have moved sharply to the left. The picture looks different, however, if we...

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