Gabrielle Gurley

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

Recent Articles

Q&A: Vietnam and the Road to Disaster

A Naval Academy historian examines how a savvy president and his smart advisors failed in Southeast Asia and helped sow the seeds of polarization in American politics and society.

roadtodisaster_cover.jpg E quipped with fresh insights from the fields of cognitive science and psychology, Brian VanDeMark’s Road to Disaster: A New History of America’s Descent Into Vietnam examines how Lyndon Johnson and his Vietnam advisors, “best and the brightest,” as David Halberstam’s famously called them in his seminal work, unspooled the decisions that cost the lives of more than 58,000 Americans. VanDeMark, an associate professor of history at the U.S. Naval Academy, has taught courses on the Vietnam War for nearly 30 years. As a young historian, he assisted Robert McNamara, Lyndon Johnson’s Secretary of Defense, with his controversial 1995 memoir on the war and got to know other senior advisors like Clark Clifford, McNamara’s successor. After Vietnam, Americans embraced a less jaundiced view of veterans and military service, but VanDeMark also tells The American Prospect that the contemporary polarization that now runs deep in...

Civil Rights Advocate Elected to North Carolina Supreme Court

Can a leading voting rights attorney win election to a Southern state’s supreme court? On Tuesday, she did.

Democrat Anita Earls, founder and executive director of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, won a seat on the North Carolina Supreme Court on Tuesday in the Tar Heel State’s “blue moon” election, so-called since once every 12 years there is an election with no high-profile statewide races on the ballot. Earls is the daughter of a black father and a white mother. Her victory underscores the importance state-level judicial decision-making as the Supreme Court of the United States appears headed into a period of retrenchment on civil rights. Yet in her remarks Tuesday night, Earls turned to Washington as she condemned President Trump’s assertion that he can strike down the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of birthright citizenship through an executive order. “The president is sworn, just as I will be, to uphold the Constitution. For him to openly say that essentially he can negate a constitutional amendment by executive order,” Earls tells The...

Charlie Baker Can’t Have It Both Ways

The Massachusetts Republican governor running for re-election sometimes criticizes President Trump, but he’s also helped fill Republican National Committee coffers for GOP heavy-hitters.

(Meredith Nierman/WGBH-TV via AP)
If moderate Republicans ever coalesce around a standard-bearer determined to draw a bright line between Trumpism and difficult issues on which people of good will can disagree, that person could emerge as an important force in a country in dire need of healing and leadership. Governor Charlie Baker could have been a contender for such a spot. Running for a second term, the Massachusetts Republican has bipartisan appeal in a Democratic state that likes its Republicans reasonable. On the national scene, the former health-insurance industry executive emerged as a behind-the-scenes point-person, working with other governors to protect the Affordable Care Act. Bay State voters also have long supported fiscal conservatives/social liberals like Baker to serve as a counterbalance to the state legislature’s longstanding Democratic supermajority. But Trumpism has seeped into body politic in the so-called liberal bastion of Massachusetts. Baker’s attempts to stage-manage this...

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary

(AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)
There’s no better way to drive a stake through the heart of anti-poverty programs than to appoint a new administrator with documented success in heaving low-income adults and children off of social welfare systems. America, meet Mary Mayhew, aka “Mary Mayhem,” as she is sometimes known in her home state of Maine. The former secretary of Maine’s Department of Health and Health Human Services (DHHS) is now the number two at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and director of Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program. Could Mayhew be any worse than any other official appointed by President Trump to strangle an agency from within? Yes, she could. The announcement of her appointment prompted a collective gasp from the Pine Tree State. It should take very little time for Mary Mayhew to become know as the “Scott Pruitt” of #Medicaid . #p2 #resist #UniteBlue #mepolitics — Bruce Bourgoine (@...

What Happens When You Can’t Catch a Ride to the Polls?

Voter-suppression tactics can create transportation challenges, especially for young people and minorities.

(AP Photo/Steve Karnowski)
mobility_icon.png Getting a ride with Uber or Lyft doesn’t spring immediately to mind as an example of democracy in action, but on Election Day, the companies plan to offer discounted rides and free trips to voters facing transportation challenges in partnership with groups like #VoteTogether and DemocracyWorks (Uber) and the National Federation of the Blind, Voto Latino, and the National Urban League (Lyft). There’s more to this than good corporate citizenship, as the firms anticipate profiting from their discounted fares and from broadening their rider base, though they also are working with voting-rights groups to raise awareness of voter-registration tools and other election information. Forward-thinking transit systems in some cities and smaller locales also offer free rides on Election Day. But most people fend for themselves. Many voters do not have access to alternatives like early voting—and even if they do, they may not know about them or use them. An...