In Search of Progressive America
Edited by Michael Kazin. With Frans Becker and Menno Hurenkamp
"You will find a no more lucid, unsentimental, or better-informed précis on the perils and prospects for social democracy in the U.S. than In Search of Progressive America."—Rick Perlstein, author of Nixonland
Nearly every recent poll finds that most voters agree with views historically labeled as liberal: a hike in the minimum wage, government-mandated health insurance for every American, stronger gun control laws, broader sex education programs, laws that would make it easier for unions to organize, and the use of diplomacy instead of war to combat terrorism. But as a conservative presidential administration exits, how can progressives step into the breach?
In Search of Progressive America presents ten essays by journalists, academics, and government insiders that address the current state of promise and debate within the Left in U.S. politics. The political atmosphere that confronts progressives still poses challenges, and the authors propose thoughtful ways to create a new political order by building an inclusive, durable coalition.
The collection covers several of the most significant aspects of American political life. Matthew Yglesias, Andrew Bacevich, and Gary Gerstle offer three sober evaluations of the United States in world affairs and the impact of the world on American minds. Next, Todd Gitlin and Andrew Rich examine the struggle to control the messages of politics, through the mainstream media and think tanks, respectively. Ezra Klein, Dean Baker, Karen Kornbluh, and Nelson Lichtenstein each call for major changes in domestic policy grounded in both history and common sense. Finally, Michael Kazin recalls the era when Christian activists were found more often on the left than on the right and argues that a second coming of religious progressivism might be possible today.
Michael Kazin is Professor of History at Georgetown University and the author of several books, including A Godly Hero: The Life of William Jennings Bryan and The Populist Persuasion: An American History. Frans Becker is Associate Director of the Wiardi Beckman Stichting, the think tank of the Dutch Labor Party. Menno Hurenkamp teaches sociology at the University of Amsterdam.