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

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...

Most Americans Are Liberal, Even If They Don’t Know It

Don’t believe it? Check out these polls. 

(AP Photo/David Goldman)
We are in the midst of what many pundits call the “Trump era,” but in fact most Americans neither like nor agree with President Trump, as Tuesday’s election results strongly suggest. Since June, Trump’s job approval ratings have hovered between 33 percent and 40 percent, according to the Gallup poll. This is lower than any other president’s approval rating at this point in his presidency. Nine months into the “Trump era”, 65 percent of Americans say he has accomplished “not much” or “little or nothing,” according to a Washington Post -ABC News survey. A national poll conducted in October asked Americans to name the first word that comes to mind when they think of Trump. The most popular words were “strong,” “determined,” and “bold,” followed closely by “arrogant,” “egocentric,” and “narcissist.” The next most popular words were “incompetent...

Americans Agree That Trump Is a Liar. Do They Realize He Is Also a Sociopath?

Mainstream media have no problem calling out Trump’s falsehoods. But they need to do more.

AP Photo/Susan Walsh
Donald Trump has said so many despicable things over the past few decades, especially since he entered politics, that it is hard to choose his most contemptible remark. But two of Trump’s recent comments, one falsely criticizing President Obama for failing to console families of fallen soldiers, and the other, making an unwittingly callous call to the widow of a fallen American soldier in an effort to score political points, surely rank among his most appalling. Trump’s remarks, and the resulting news media coverage, reveals as much about evolving journalistic norms as it does about the president’s mental health. Since Trump’s election, Americans have seen a dramatic shift in the way the news media cover a president. They have been more willing to call out his never-ending falsehoods. Rather than simply report what Trump says, or balance his comments with remarks from his critics, the media have increasingly questioned the veracity of president’s...

Athletes and Activism

American athletes have used their celebrity to spotlight injustices, but the NFL protests may be the largest in professional sports history. Still, there’s more they can do to challenge Trump and his allies. 

(AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes, File)
If #BlackLivesMatter encapsulated a burgeoning protest movement against police abuse, #TakeAKnee took those protests to a new level this week as NFL players responded to President Trump’s attack on athletes who dare to exercise their First Amendment rights to protest against injustice. Aside from professional athletes forming labor unions and going on strike to improve their pay, benefits, and working conditions, the current national anthem protests may be the largest collective dissent in the modern history of professional or collegiate sports. San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick launched the protests last year by kneeling to display his opposition to police killings of African Americans. This year, only a few players took a knee during the preseason games or in early regular season games. But another Trump tantrum turned a somewhat haphazard protest into mass defiance. Last Friday, at a rally in Huntsville, Alabama, for Republican Senator Luther Strange, Trump...

The Virginia Shooting Isn't About Bernie. It’s About the Right’s Embrace of Guns.

Concentrating on James Hodgkinson's political leanings obscures the real problem of gun violence in America—and why it's happening. 

AP Photo/Cliff Owen
Soon after James Hodgkinson brought a 7.62-caliber rifle and a handgun to a baseball field in suburban Virginia and opened fire, injuring Republican politicians and staffers, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich offered his explanation for this horrific incident. “It's part of a pattern,” Gingrich said on Fox News. “An increasing intensity of hostility on the left.” Rush Limbaugh called Hodgkinson part of “the deranged based of the Democratic Party.” The National Review ’s David French referred to the shooting as “a textbook example of lone-wolf progressive terrorism.” We’d expect no less from right-wingers like Gingrich, but this view was also parroted in a New York Times article under the headline “Attack Tests Movement Sanders Founded” by reporter Yamiche Alcindor. She wrote, “The suspect in the shooting in Virginia put a new spotlight on the rage buried in some corners of the progressive left.” These...