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A SCATHING LOOK AT THE STANDARD-BEARERS OF LIBERAL POLITICS—A BOOK THAT ASKS: WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH DEMOCRATS?
Hailed as “the most prescient book” of the year, Listen, Liberal accurately described what ailed the Democratic Party even before the election of 2016 made their weaknesses obvious. It is the story of how the “Party of the People” detached itself from its historic constituency among average Americans and chose instead to line up with the winners of our new economic order.
Now with a new afterword, Thomas Frank’s powerful analysis offers the best diagnosis to date of the liberal malady. Drawing on years of research and firsthand reporting, Frank points out that the Democrats have over the last decades increasingly abandoned their traditional goals: expanding opportunity, fighting for social justice, and ensuring that workers get a fair deal. With sardonic wit and lacerating logic, he uncovers the corporate and cultural elitism that have largely eclipsed the party’s old working- and middle-class commitment. And he warns that the Democrats’ only chance of regaining their health and averting a future of ever-increasing inequality is a return to their historic faith.
“Thoroughly entertaining . . . Frank delights in skewering the sacred cows of coastal liberalism. . . . He argues that the Democratic party—once 'the Party of the People'—now caters to the interests of a 'professional managerial class' consisting of lawyers, doctors, professors, scientists, programmers, even investment bankers. . . . A serious political critique.”—The New York Times Book Review (front page)
“What makes Frank’s book new, different and important is its offer of a compelling theory as to how and why the party of Jefferson, Jackson and Roosevelt is now so unlikely to champion the economic needs of everyday people. . . . In such a looking-glass world, Listen, Liberal is a desperately needed corrective.”—History News Network
“In his new book, progressive commentator Thomas Frank says Democrats need to take a good long look in the mirror if they want answers to why blue-collar workers are feeling abandoned and even infuriated by what used to be their party.”—New York Post
“Over the past four decades, Frank argues, the Democrats have embraced a new favorite constituency: the professional class—the doctors, lawyers, engineers, programmers, entrepreneurs, artists, writers, financiers and other so-called creatives whose fetish for academic credentials and technological innovation has infected the party of the working class. . . . For that class, Frank argues, income and wealth inequality is not a problem but an inevitable condition.”—The Washington Post
“An astute dissection of contemporary Democratic politics that demonstrates, cogently and at times acidly, how the party lost the allegiance of blue-collar Americans.”—Publishers Weekly
“A tough and thought-provoking look at what’s wrong with America . . . Frank puts forth an impressive catalog of Democratic disappointments, more than enough to make liberals uncomfortable.”—Booklist
“Important . . . Engaging . . . An edgy—even disturbing—analysis of the Democratic Party’s jilting of its traditional base.”—The National Book Review
“Thomas Frank’s new book Listen, Liberal documents a half-century of work by the Democratic elite to belittle working people and exile their concerns to the fringes of the party’s platform. If the prevailing ideology of the Republican establishment is that of a sneering aristocracy, Democratic elites are all too often the purveyors of a smirking meritocracy that offers working people very little.”—The Huffington Post
“Democrats often use the fact that Republicans have gone off the deep end to ignore their left flank, on the grounds that those liberals have nowhere else to go politically. Listen, Liberal contributes to the literature that expresses deep frustration with that decision, the fuel for a revolt.”—The Fiscal Times
“As with Frank’s other books, Listen, Liberal is a piece of contemporary history that tells us not only what the powerful are up to, but how the trick is being pulled, with an admirable deployment of irony. . . . While his previous books are essentially about devils being devils, this one shows how the angels have fallen further than they realize.”—Prospect magazine (UK)