The Stakes in 2020
By Robert Kuttner | Aug 12, 2019
I have long argued that neglect by Democratic presidents of the long slide of America’s working families paved the way for Trumpism. The rules and rewards were increasingly tilted to elites. Legitimate economic grievances were then racialized, by Bannon, Trump and company, and the stench of racism lingers.
Now democracy itself is at stake. So Democrats must not just win in 2020, but win as economic progressives, with a broad appeal that can bridge rather than inflame divisions of race and identity. The common foe is not other working people of different races—it’s Wall Street heisting all the economy’s gains.
That’s why the line we often hear—I’ll vote for anyone who can beat Trump—doesn’t make sense. A progressive appeal and a progressive candidate are needed, both to beat Trump and to reclaim America. More corporate centrism won’t accomplish either.
I’ve put this case into a short book titled, The Stakes: 2020 and the Survival of American Democracy. It’s being published on Labor Day.
Surprisingly, it’s an optimistic book. Democracy is battered, but as the 2018 midterms showed, we can still win elections when progressives are mobilized.
Trump is not quite self-destructing, but he keeps narrowing his appeal to only the haters; and thankfully the haters are nowhere near a majority. And we actually have progressive candidates who connect a radical program to a human narrative, and they are being heard above the noise.
We’re having several book events, to which you are cordially invited, beginning with the D.C. bookstore Politics and Prose at the Wharf, 7:00 p.m. on September 3. It’s a free event with no RSVP needed. Others will be held in New York, Boston, Chicago, Madison, and elsewhere. I’ll keep you posted.