Thomas Frank is back with a vengeance, this time turning his brilliant, sardonic, barbed tongue towards the Democrats who, he argues compellingly IMO, have consciously chosen to abandon the working class in favor of the professional "creative class" that is winning in the new economy. He traces the arc from McGovern through Bill Clinton, Obama, and even Hillary, showing how they spoke as if they were still the party of the FDR and the protectors of the middle class, but their policy agenda instead exacerbated income inequality and the precariousness of the less fortunate.
His point is that blaming Republicans (as he's done so effectively for years) for the problems we face today as a nation is insufficient, and likewise another term with a Democratic president is not on its own going to necessarily do much to fix things. The left's failure to take seriously the plight of the working class is also what has created the space for alternatives like Trump (the same case made by George Packer, author of the haunting The Unwinding
, in his latest essay: http://goo.gl/wtgcLS
). In the 90s, the theory was "these people have nowhere else go [politically]". Frank points out this theory is now dangerously out of date.
Those of you who have been Feeling the Bern
will no doubt be nodding your heads as you read this book, tho curiously Frank scarcely mentions Sanders. He explains why in an interview (https://youtu.be/4w4I1c8VnbI
): Sanders's career has not actually been as a Democrat, and he's only running as one now because there isn't really an alternative. So although Frank is an admirer and thinks his campaign is helping fix this problem on the left, he didn't consider him to be a refutation of the core criticism against the mainstream Democratic party of the last thirty+ years).
If you've never read any of Frank's writing before, you're in for a real treat, and if you have, you're no doubt eagerly licking your chops as I was. He's true to form and tho it can be painful to hear his frustration and despair with folks closer to home than his usual fodder, it's nonetheless thought provoking and extremely timely. So put this near the top of your reading list and lemme know what you think when you're done!