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

Mueller, Impeachment, the Media, and the Democrats

The takeaway from Mueller’s testimony keeps changing by the hour. After the huge build-up, the initial reaction was gloating in the Trump/Fox camp, deep disappointment among many Democrats, and a pile-on by the press. Mueller looked like a tired old man with his best years behind him, inclined to temporize when asked merely to confirm the multiple crimes laid out in his report. “Much as I hate to say it, this morning’s hearing was a disaster,” said Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe, who has argued that the House should pursue impeachment, wrote on Twitter . “Far from breathing life into his damning report, the tired Robert Mueller sucked the life out of it. The effort to save democracy and the rule of law from this lawless president has been set back, not advanced.” In this morning’s New York Times , chief Washington correspondent Carl Hulse wrote , rather incautiously, “President Trump was probably never going to be impeached by the...

Is Trump Really on Track to Win Re-Election?

There has been a lot of political talk and pollster analysis lately suggesting that Donald Trump has a clear path to re-election. The usually estimable Nate Cohn in The New York Times pointed to numbers showing Trump’s popularity among his base in the Midwest. Cohn speculated that high turnout could allow Trump to win key states like Wisconsin and Michigan once again, and maybe flip states that Hillary Clinton narrowly carried such as Minnesota. In addition, Cohn noted, though Trump’s approval rating is low nationally, it’s close to 50 percent in Wisconsin and Florida. So while the national picture looks bleak for Trump, the Electoral College is more promising for him. Other commentators have pointed to Democrats’ schisms on race, and Trump’s efforts to make AOC and her squad the leftwing and Muslim face of the Democratic Party, in the hope of both rallying his base and alienating moderates. Never underestimate the capacity of Democrats to turn on one...

Planned Parenthood Made the Right Decision

On Tuesday, Planned Parenthood ousted its new president, Dr. Leana Wen, who had served in the job less than a year. Wen, a 36-year-old Shanghai-born physician and former health commissioner in Baltimore, was the first doctor to head the organization in half a century. Wen had defended abortion rights, but had endeavored to shift Planned Parenthood’s focus from reproductive rights to a broader conception of women’s health. She had also alienated staff and board alike with a high-handed management style. The ouster came a day after the Trump administration’s latest effort to cut off federal funding for clinics that provide abortions or even provide abortion counseling. Behind the question of Wen’s personal style is a huge strategic question about the role and future of Planned Parenthood at a time when the right has succeeded in restricting abortion access and created the mistaken impression that the public is increasingly divided on the abortion question. (...

At Last, Legislation to Stop Private Equity Abuses

Alex Edelman/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images
The private equity industry represents the great, hidden-in-plain view predator of American capitalism. As the Prospect has detailed in numerous articles examining markets like newspapers , grocery stores , and retail , these firms are secret entities whose basic business strategy is to borrow money to buy healthy companies and then loot the assets. They accomplish this feat first by putting the acquisition debt on the balance sheet of the target company. Next they pay themselves exorbitant dividends and management fees, further stressing the companies they purchase. This forces target companies to slash costs by cutting wages, benefits, laying off workers, and selling off real estate. And when the company goes broke, they abuse the bankruptcy process. Whether the company fails or manages to survive, the private equity managers have often made back their money many times over. Sometimes, as in the case of the great abuser of iconic Sears Roebuck , Eddie Lampert, the private equity...

Pelosi, AOC, Trump, Bannon—and the Stakes

J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo
For the moment, Trump’s racist tweets have produced the one thing that Democrats couldn’t muster in their destructive infighting last week—party unity. But will it last? And was Trump crazy to make himself and his racist comments the issue and divert the spotlight from the increasingly personal feud between Speaker Nancy Pelosi and AOC’s Squad of four? Or was he crazy like a fox? That verdict, I think, will ultimately be up to the Democrats. For now, there is unity and a merciful break from the infighting, as well as a president on the defensive with all but his hardest core base. The House will vote tonight on resolution of condemnation , putting Republican members in a splendidly awkward position. Pelosi termed Trump’s remarks xenophobic and disgusting. Ocasio-Cortez, meanwhile, declared, “We’ll stay focused on our agenda and we won’t get caught slipping, because all of this is a distraction.” Yet the bitterness between the AOC...