Peter Dreier

Peter Dreier is the E.P. Clapp Distinguished Professor of Politics and founding chair of the Urban & Environmental Policy Department at Occidental College. 

Recent Articles

Why Trump Keeps Telling the World 'I’m Smart'

The president has tons of bravado, which masks a myriad of other problems.

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik
Long before he started running for president, Donald Trump repeatedly claimed that he’s both brainy and well-educated. It is one of his most persistent lies. He did it again on Saturday. In a series of tweets, Trump told the world not only how smart but also how mentally fit he is. “Throughout my life, my two greatest assets have been mental stability and being, like, really smart,” Trump wrote , Crooked Hillary Clinton also played these cards very hard and, as everyone knows, went down in flames. I went from VERY successful businessman, to top T.V. Star ... to President of the United States (on my first try). I think that would qualify as not smart, but genius ... and a very stable genius at that! Later in the day he told reporters that “I went to the best colleges, or college,” that he was a “very excellent student” and became “one of the top business people.” Trump has frequently insisted that he’s smart. But now he’...

2017: A Year of Reaction and Resistance

Can progressives build on that in 2018?

Albin Lohr-Jones/Sipa via AP Images
2017 began with President Trump lying about the size of his inauguration crowd and ended with his lying about the size of the benefits he’ll get from the new tax bill. The year began with the largest protest marches in American history—the five million strong Women’s Marches on January 21—and ended with an upsurge of pent-up anger and activism around sexual assault toward women. It was a year punctuated by an upsurge in hate crimes and a controversial march of neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, but also an unprecedented wave of Democratic victories in the Virginia state legislature as well as a commanding win by the Democrats’ candidate for governor. It began with liberals traumatized by the results of the presidential election and ended with a surprising Democratic Senate victory in Alabama, galvanized by a dramatic increase in African American voter turnout, offering hope that the party can win a majority of seats in the House, and perhaps even the Senate,...

Bill Moyers, America’s Conscience, Retires Again—This Time for Real

The PBS journalist steps down from his long-time mission to document the lives of Americans and uncover waste, fraud, and abuse in corporate America and beyond.

Dennis Van Tine/Geisler-Fotopres/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images
Bill Moyers has threatened to retire several times. Each time, the many fans and friends have urged the legendary PBS journalist to reconsider, and each time he did. But today, at age 83, Moyers announced his farewell, and this time it is real. Moyers ended his celebrated PBS interview program, Moyers and Company , in 2014. Since then, he’s hosted BillMoyers.com, with original articles by Moyers and others on political topics. The website will continue to serve as the archive of the television journalism that Moyers has produced over the past 44 years. Moyers has been one of the most prolific and influential figures in American journalism. Not content just to diagnose and document corporate and political malpractice, Moyers regularly took his cameras and microphones to cities and towns where unions, community organizations, environmental groups, tenants rights activists, and others were waging grassroots campaigns for change. Moyers gave them a voice. He used TV as a tool to...

How Doug Jones Won and the Takeaway for Democrats

What progressives need to do to retake Congress

In his victory speech Tuesday night, Doug Jones made sure to wish his Jewish supporters a “Happy Hanukkah.” His stunning victory over Roy Moore for the U.S. Senate seat from Alabama coincided with the first night of what Jews call the Festival of Lights. The holiday celebrates the Jews’ triumph over a tyrant king and the rededication of the temple in Jerusalem. As the story goes, they only had enough oil to light the temple’s lamp for one day, but the oil lasted a full eight days. During the holiday, Jews play with a four-sided spinning top called a dreidel, whose Hebrew letters represent the saying, “A great miracle happened there.” Many voters and pundits think that a great miracle happened in Alabama on Tuesday. Who can blame them? Jones is the first Democrat to win a U.S. Senate race in Alabama in 25 years. Even a month ago, a Jones victory seemed like an incredible long shot. Clearly President Trump’s political advisors believed that...

Trump vs. Warren

The president aims to discredit the Bay State Democrat as a possible 2020 rival.

Alex Edelman/CNP/MediaPunch/IPX
President Trump on Monday referred to Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts as “Pocahontas” at an event honoring Native Americans who helped the U.S. Marine Corps develop a secret code during World War II. "You were here long before any of us were here,” Trump said, “Although we have a representative in Congress who they say was here a long time ago. They call her Pocahontas.” This was not the first time that Trump referred to Warren by that derisive nickname. He’s repeatedly called her “Pocahontas” to make fun of her claim of Native American heritage. Trump clearly sees Warren as a rival—a potential Democratic candidate for president in 2020 whose populist message and up-from-adversity life story could threaten Trump’s re-election chances. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended Trump’s slur, explaining, “I think what most people find offensive is Senator Warren lying about her...

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