Gabrielle Gurley

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

Recent Articles

Steve King’s Bridge Too Far?

The outrage that greeted the Iowa Republican’s latest transgression means little so long as the GOP continues to let Donald Trump off the hook. 

Representative Steve King’s dog-paddling through the cesspool of white supremacy is winding down. The racist inanities that the Iowa Republican spewed to The New York Times are actually among the tamer comments from a man who not so long ago invited a cable television panel to consider what people who were not white had contributed to civilization. Deciding that his latest foray into the etymology of “white nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization”is untenable, House Republican leaders have moved to save their colleague from a harder fall. To that end, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy delivered a coup de grace of sorts, stripping King of his committee assignments and—so far—staving off a censure motion from Democrats. Meanwhile, Mitch McConnell, Chuck Grassley, Joni Ernst, Liz Cheney, and Mitt Romney served up lukewarm bromides of condemnation from afar. In a sense, King paved the way for Donald Trump, thereby helping install an avatar of...

ExxonMobil Can’t Hide Its Climate Records Any Longer

The Supreme Court has allowed Massachusetts to access the fossil fuel giant’s records—one of many legal challenges the company now faces. 

Last Monday, the Supreme Court batted off ExxonMobil’s attempt to quash Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healy’s investigation of the company’s outsized influence on the country’s climate change policies. Exxon has long been one of the fiercest climate change deniers in the fossil fuel industry. The company has also played a major role in feeding disinformation to the public and to a news media mired in he-said-she-said notions of journalistic balance. In the wake of the Supreme Court’s rejection of its petition to hear the case, the company could now be poised to take a hard fall as Massachusetts and other states and jurisdictions investigate how the company reacted to the climate threat. In 2016, Healey launched an effort to obtain several decades worth of materials on the company’s internal deliberations on climate to uncover what Exxon knew about the crisis as it crafted its policies. After the Supreme Judicial Court, the top Massachusetts...

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...