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

The Democratic Emergency

This is American democracy's stress test. We have only limited time to pass it.

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik President Donald Trump takes a question from reporters on the South Lawn of the White House This article will appear in the Spring 2018 issue of The American Prospect magazine. Subscribe here . “ It is now clear that the most frightening threats to ordinary politics in the United States are empty or easily contained. … The sky is not falling and no lights are flashing red.” So wrote two distinguished historians, Samuel Moyn and David Priestland, in an article in The New York Times last August. With surprising confidence only a half-year into the Trump administration, they warned not against dangers to democracy, but against “tyrannophobia,” the irrational fear of tyrants. Fourteen months into Trump’s presidency, it’s even more surprising to see that same view still being expressed in serious quarters. A few of the contributors to Can It Happen Here? —a new collection of essays about the potential for authoritarianism in America, edited by Cass Sunstein of...

An American Way for America Now

Why the country needs a Democratic party that knows it needs white working-class voters

National Archives/Public Domain
National Archives/Public Domain Many of the efforts promoting national unity in the World War II era left out blacks—but not this poster from 1942, which encouraged racial tolerance among factory workers. This article appears in the Fall 2017 issue of The American Prospect magazine. Subscribe here . A mericans often look back to the mid-20th century as a time when the country was cohesive and unified, unlike today’s bitterly divided society. That image of mid-century America was always incomplete, but insofar as there was a culture of consensus, it was not a wholly spontaneous development. Much of the country’s leadership and national media from the 1930s through World War II and the early postwar years made concerted efforts to foster unity across social and religious lines in the face of threats from abroad and at home to America’s stability and survival. The United States is surely different today—the lines of cleavage have shifted, the media have fractured into separate worlds,...

After Comey, Congressional Republicans Totally Control Trump

To avoid impeachment, the president has no real choice but to do their bidding.

(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) From left, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, House Speaker Paul Ryan, White House adviser Jared Kushner, Deputy National Security Adviser Dina Powell, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise wait in the Roosevelt Room of the White House for a meeting with President Trump and Vice President Pence on June 6, 2017. F ormer FBI Director James Comey’s testimony may have seemed like a boon to Democrats, but it has another effect that has been little commented on: Donald Trump is now totally dependent on congressional Republicans to avoid impeachment and therefore has no choice but to be a cheerleader for their policies and to sign whatever legislation they send him. When Trump was nominated, many people accepted his own self-characterization as a disruptive force within the Republican Party. But the party itself had already moved toward more...

A True Republican Health-Care Unraveling

The reaction against the GOP could boost progressive organizing and bolder reforms.

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik House Speaker Paul Ryan pauses during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, March 24, 2017. The following article, which appears in the Spring 2017 issue of The American Prospect under the title “The Republican Health-Care Unraveling: Resist Now, Rebound Later,” went to press on Tuesday, March 21, before the Republicans gave up on their health-care bill and pulled it from a vote. But while the first section of the article is now moot (at least for the time being), the second part (“Blocking Trump’s Chaos Option”) and the third (“The Next Progressive Health Agenda”) are pertinent to what happens next. - P.S., March 24, 2017. I magine if Donald Trump had been a genuine populist and followed through on his repeated promises to provide health insurance to everybody and take on the pharmaceutical and insurance industries. Populists in other countries have done similar things, and Trump might have consolidated support by emulating them. Of course,...

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