Gabrielle Gurley

Gabrielle Gurley is The American Prospect’s deputy editor. Her email is

Recent Articles

Parkland Copycats Bide Their Time

Law enforcement officers thwarting school plots seize caches of weapons as the gun debate continues.

(Sarah Reingewirtz/The Orange County Register via AP)
In the wake of the Parkland massacre, amid the din of CNN town halls and CPAC chest-thumping, the copycats slink out. Every school shooting leads to an uptick in threats to schools. Police must investigate people who post photos of AR-15s with callous captions on social media, along with students who think threatening a massacre is funny. But there’s been little attention paid to the sum total of post-Parkdale disasters-in-the-making that have been prevented. Law enforcement officials responding to tips in multiple states have discovered caches of weapons in the homes of young men who have made threats against schools, some of them featuring the same AR-15 semi-automatics used in Parkland. Some of the incidents since the February 14 shootings: A Whittier, California, school resource deputy heard a 17-year-old student say that “the school will be shot up in three weeks.” When sheriffs raided the teen’s home , they found 90 high-capacity magazines, two handguns,...

Q&A: What Cities Can Do About the Gun Epidemic

A conversation with former Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter

AP Photo/Cliff Owen
I n 2008, National Rifle Association sued Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, a Democrat, after he signed five new gun measures into law. A state court later upheld three provisions, but struck down the two strongest ones that limited gun purchases and banned the purchase and ownership of certain assault weapons. Although Nutter continued to take on state lawmakers over gun issues throughout his two terms, heavily Democratic Philadelphia must contend with Pennsylvania’s Republican-controlled General Assembly on a hot-button issue like gun safety. Pre-emption was one of the thorny issues that Nutter tackled during his two terms in office. Nutter now teaches at the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia. He stopped by The American Prospect ’s offices in downtown Washington to discuss his new book Mayor: The Best Job in Politics with Prospect Deputy Editor Gabrielle Gurley. This conversation has been condensed and edited for clarity. The American Prospect: You write that,...

Parading into a Cataclysm

President Trump loves the idea of a grand military parade—all the better to get Americans prepared for a major conflict that he seems eager to unleash.

(Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)
The 45th president of the United States craves a military parade in the nation’s capital. Most presidential inaugural parades feature hundreds of members of the armed forces along with school bands and civic groups. But the 2017 fete clearly was not enough of an ego-booster for the new president. Unique among recent commanders-in-chief, Donald Trump has an unhealthy fixation on soldiering and levying deadly threats. Should a military parade ever come to fruition, it would be intended to be a psy-ops spectacle—one designed to rouse Americans to rally against a one-of-a-kind foreign threat: North Korea. Trump desperately wants a face-off between his armed forces (and he clearly believes they are his to use as he sees fit) and those belonging to his designated adversary of the moment, Kim Jong-Un. The former reality television star understands which buttons to push and which symbols to deploy—and a parade’s the thing. Trump’s reckless bellicosity comes at a...

Not a Drill: Oil and Gas Exploration Dead in the Water for Governors

With most coastal chief executives ready to battle to protect their seashores and fisheries, the Trump administration storms into the country’s first energy-environmental showdown.

Scott Keeler/Tampa Bay Times via AP
The Trump administration’s draft five-year plan for leasing most continental shelf areas for oil and gas drilling met with equal parts of horror and consternation from most Republican and Democratic coastal governors. “Responsibly developing our energy resources on the Outer Continental Shelf in a safe and well-regulated way is important to our economy and energy security, and it provides billions of dollars to fund the conservation of our coastlines, public lands, and parks,” Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said in a January statement announcing the plan. (Note that safety has been the least of the administration’s concerns: Zinke had already rolled back Obama-era offshore drilling safety regulations in late December.) So fearful was Republican Governor Rick Scott of Florida of this plan that he plunged into the fray and cut his own deal with the Interior Department to protect the Sunshine State’s multibillion-dollar tourist industry. Scott extracted a...

Hudson River Tunnel Supporter Bites the Dust

Democrats do get excited over Republican retirements. As things stand now in New Jersey, full of people incensed by President Trump and recently departed GOP Governor Chris Christie, the 11th Congressional District, a longtime Republican stronghold, may turn blue in the fall.  

But for commuters and travelers wanting to get from New Jersey to New York, it’s tough to be completely enthused about the departure of Republican House Appropriations Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen, who this week announced he wouldn’t run for re-election in New Jersey’s 11th.

Even with more conservative Republicans accusing Frelinghuysen of flirting with earmarks, the 12-term Republican somehow managed to secure hundreds of millions in funding for the Gateway Program—the $30 billion infrastructure project to replace and upgrade the 19th century cross-Hudson antiques that currently connect the two states.

Doing away with earmarks seemed a good idea to Republicans and some pliable Democrats back in the sands of time (2010 to be exact). But living without earmarks—a convention that forced members of Congress to give in order to get—has pretty much turned the body into a hornets’ nest of aging Republicans refighting sectional battles: sticking it to the so-called coastal elites and steering funds that could build tunnels and bridges between New Jersey and New York (and more than a few other places) into tax cuts for their campaign donors.

Frelinghuysen may have violated Republican orthodoxy by working with Democrats to secure funding for the tunnels and voting against the GOP tax plan (which clearly penalized his New Jersey constituents). But one of the wealthiest men in Congress went wobbly on the Affordable Care Act, which he voted to repeal (despite his initial opposition to the repeal-and-replace effort); earned his constituents’ wrath for not holding town hall meetings; and sparked NJ 11th for Change, a fired-up grassroots movement dedicated to throwing him out of Congress.

In the end, he couldn’t deliver for the Hudson tunnels, either. At the end of December, Frelinghuysen got royally screwed over by the president, who elected not to support the Obama administration’s Gateway funding program after all. It will likely require a Democratic president and a Democratic Congress—which might well include a Democratic successor to Frelinghuysen—to come up with the funds for the tunnels.

The seat has been in the hands of Republican since 1985, and Hillary Clinton lost the district by only one percentage point in 2016. The 11th Congressional District, a wealthy, moderate, suburban area outside New York City, could be a good get for the blue team this fall: Already two Democratic women are in the race to succeed Frelinghuysen.