From the bestselling author of What's the Matter With Kansas, a scathing look at the standard-bearers of liberal politics -- a book that asks: what's the matter with Democrats?
It is a widespread belief among liberals that if only Democrats can continue to dominate national elections, if only those awful Republicans are beaten into submission, the country will be on the right course.
But this is to fundamentally misunderstand the modern Democratic Party. Drawing on years of research and first-hand reporting, Frank points out that the Democrats have done little to advance traditional liberal goals: expanding opportunity, fighting for social justice, and ensuring that workers get a fair deal. Indeed, they have scarcely dented the free-market consensus at all. This is not for lack of opportunity: Democrats have occupied the White House for sixteen of the last twenty-four years, and yet the decline of the middle class has only accelerated. Wall Street gets its bailouts, wages keep falling, and the free-trade deals keep coming.
With his trademark sardonic wit and lacerating logic, Frank's Listen, Liberal lays bare the essence of the Democratic Party's philosophy and how it has changed over the years. A form of corporate and cultural elitism has largely eclipsed the party's old working-class commitment, he finds. For certain favored groups, this has meant prosperity. But for the nation as a whole, it is a one-way ticket into the abyss of inequality. In this critical election year, Frank recalls the Democrats to their historic goals-the only way to reverse the ever-deepening rift between the rich and the poor in America.
In an astute dissection of contemporary Democratic politics, Frank (Pity the Billionaire) asserts that stagnant wages and the decline of the American middle class were neither unavoidable nor wholly the work of a plutocratic Republican party. He skewers Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and lesser liberal lights such as former Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick with the savage clarity of a man who never bought what they were selling. He tracks three grim decades of the party's abrogation of the working class that once filled its rank-and-file membership, replaced by harmful fealty and obsequious reverence toward the "Liberal Class," well-educated, impeccably credentialed white-collar professionals. By the first Clinton administration, non-college-educated laboring voters were left open to widening inequality, a shocking erosion of workers' rights, and a growing concentration of power and capital facilitated by trade pacts like NAFTA. Worse, Democratic establishment figures such as the Clintons have embraced this dynamic, failing to confront abusive financial practices and engaging in fatuous reverence for "innovation" and startup companies. Frank demonstrates, cogently and at times acidly, how the party lost the allegiance of blue-collar Americans.
Customer ReviewsSee All
In this book, Thomas Frank really nails what has gone wrong with the Democratic Party, and he wrote it in 2016 before Donald Trump had even won the Republican nomination for president. The writing style is typical Frank—lucid and witty. I have been recommending “Listen Liberal” to my Democratic friends who cannot understand how their party could get pummeled so badly in 2016. It is still as relevant today as it was then.
Just a bunch of clap back to conservatives. Same level of study has "proved" Jesus rode a dinosaur. Waste of time for folks who are just seeking half truths or outright lies to feel good about bashing the left.
Valid criticism turns insane
Each party has its faults and this book starts off with some valid criticism of the Democratic Party. Unfortunately it goes down hill fast after the first 50 pages. While offering no suggestions to improve the party, the author plays Monday morning quarterback and acts like a 6 year old blaming everyone for "bad" decisions made by the party elite. It actually becomes unreadable at the end. In summary, there should be a major focus on the wage gap but the author doesn't want any help from the fake liberals of the professional class or the party elite, rich democrats or the creative class democrats or those in technology, etc. Sure, let's exclude people from the party. Yeah, good luck with that.