Rachel M. Cohen

Rachel M. Cohen is a journalist based in Washington, D.C., and a former American Prospect writing fellow.

Recent Articles

Can a Blue Wave in a Blue State Make Ben Jealous Maryland’s First African American Governor?

He’s running to unseat one of the last remaining moderate Republicans—and he’s running on the left.

This article appears in the Fall 2018 issue of The American Prospect magazine. Subscribe here . Thirty-six governor’s mansions are up for grabs this November, and Ben Jealous, the 45-year-old former president of the NAACP turned venture capitalist, is on a mission to reclaim Maryland’s for the Democrats. In theory, this shouldn’t be such a heavy lift. Registered Democrats outnumber Republicans 2 to 1 in the state, and Hillary Clinton swept it in 2016 by 26 points. The election carries some symbolic weight as well: If Jealous won, he would become the first African American governor of this former slave state where Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman once toiled. Like his fellow black gubernatorial nominees, Stacey Abrams in Georgia and Andrew Gillum in Florida, Jealous could make some history this November. But the media and most political observers remain skeptical of Jealous’s prospects. His opponent, Republican Larry Hogan, who previously worked as a real-...

Teachers Are Finally Winning Raises, But Many of Their Co-Workers Aren’t

The public’s support for teachers isn’t there for pre-school teachers or school bus drivers, who often don’t make a living wage.

Teachers are on the march across America. This year has seen a stunning eruption of invigorated teacher movements in states that rarely make this kind of political news—places like West Virginia, Oklahoma, and Arizona. Though these mobilized teachers have been careful to frame their demands for higher pay in the context of increased spending for students and schools, there is no doubt that raising their own salaries has been a key priority. Local and national media have worked hard to lift the voices of teachers taking to the streets. We’ve read about educators with virtually no savings or chance of affording a vacation . We’ve met teachers forced to moonlight as cashiers and Uber drivers . We’ve learned about educators’ stagnant or falling wages, and their spiking health-care premiums. The stories have been infuriating. That’s partly why the teacher movements have commanded such strong public support. A national poll released in late April found...

Q&A: Getting Millennials Off That Treadmill

An interview with Malcolm Harris, author of Kids These Days

Marcos Mesa Sam Wordley/Shutterstock
H ow are millennials stereotyped as lazy, despite being a highly efficient and productive generation? Why are millennials characterized as spoiled and entitled, yet just 6 percent of us expect to one day receive Social Security benefits like those enjoyed by current retirees? In Kids These Days: Human Capital and the Making of Millennials , writer Malcolm Harris explores these and other questions—unpacking the precarity, the economic pressures, and the contradictions surrounding those born between 1980 and 2000. This interview has been lightly edited and condensed. Rachel Cohen: Let’s talk a little about “human capital.” What does that mean? Malcolm Harris: Generally speaking, human capital is the skills, abilities, talents, accomplishments, and resumes that go with you when you work. It refers to the relationship between workers and owners. What some people get wrong is thinking that we own our human capital, and that we can sell it. That’s not true. We...

Arkansas and Hawaii Medication Abortion Cases Present New Challenges

Two cases winding their way through federal courts involve non-surgical abortion access.

(AP Photo/Danny Johnston)
The U.S. abortion rate recently hit its lowest level since Roe v. Wade , but medication abortion—non-surgical abortions induced through drugs—has increased in popularity since the Food and Drug Administration first approved Mifeprex in 2000. (Medication abortions typically involve using both Mifeprex—colloquially known as “the abortion pill”—and another drug, misoprostol .) Yet despite the proven efficacy of medication abortion for safely terminating early-stage pregnancies, a series of regulatory and statutory restrictions have prevented many women from being able to use this abortion option. Two different legal battles taking place right now—in Arkansas and Hawaii—illustrate why. In 2015, Arkansas passed a law requiring physicians who prescribe drugs for non-surgical abortions to secure contracts with a second doctor who has hospital-admitting privileges. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Medical...

The Rift Among Charter Schools

Independent schools move to declare their independence from the for-profit and nonprofit chains.

Action Sports Photography/Shutterstock
It’s a surprisingly challenging moment for the charter school movement. In August, Education Next —an education policy journal published by the Hoover Institution at Stanford—released its 11th annual public opinion poll examining Americans’ views on K-12 education. They reported a stunning 12-percentage-point drop in support for charters from spring 2016 to spring 2017—from 51 percent to 39 percent. African-American support fell from 46 percent to 37 percent, and Hispanic support fell from 44 percent to 39 percent. A Gallup survey released a week later found growing partisan divides on charters, with Democratic support standing at 48 percent, down from 61 percent in 2012. Republican support, by contrast, has remained steady over the five years at 62 percent. While Gallup’s senior editor, Lydia Saad, suggested that Democratic support may have declined because chartering has become more closely tied to Donald Trump and Betsy DeVos, the Education Next...