Jacobin Radio w/ Suzi Weissman: Failures of the New Democrats w/ Lily Geismer

Suzi talks to historian Lily Geismer about her new book, Left Behind: The Democrats’ Failed Attempt to Solve Inequality, which explores the Democratic Party’s promotion of market-based solutions to social problems. We get the origin and development of the Democratic Leadership Council or DLC, the ways Bill Clinton came to personify it, and how their politics changed the Democratic Party: running away from the politics of The New Deal and the Great Society to embrace essentially Republican ideas dressed up with the language of empowerment. No wonder Clinton was so hated by the Republicans, who saw him stealing their program. Geismer takes us through the various applications of the 'new thinking' defining the New Democrats, which they characterized as “doing well by doing good.” In area after area, from community development banking, market based healthcare reform, charter schools, empowerment zones, microenterprise, and free trade, the neoliberal market fundamentalist credo left disasters in its wake. We see the way figures like Jesse Jackson, Al Gore, Robert Reich, Barack Obama, and Joseph Biden ‘develop’ in this narrative with great import for today as we head to the midterms, and the DLC is busy blaming the left for the Democrats' poor showing to come. Lily Geismer makes the connections.

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