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

5 Reasons Why MAGA Conservatism Has Never Made Any Sense

John M. Chase/Shutterstock Trump supporters in Washington, D.C. M AGA hats have become a symbol of support not just for Donald Trump but for a return to a lost world of white privilege. In the slogan “Make America Great Again,” the operative word is “again.” The slogan points vaguely to a time in the past when things were “great,” when white men were free to push black people, women, and immigrants around. But, for the sake of argument, let’s admit the possibility of a more generous interpretation. In the wake of the Great Depression, many Americans during the mid-20th century—white Americans chiefly—experienced greater social mobility and economic security than at any time since. In the generous interpretation, “Make America Great Again” could mean let’s rebuild an America with that high level of opportunity and security. On its face, it could even mean let’s create those conditions for all Americans today. But that generous view runs into a problem. The kinds of policies Trump and...

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...

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