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Left Behind: The Democrats' Failed Attempt to Solve Inequality

Left Behind: The Democrats' Failed Attempt to Solve Inequality cover

Left Behind: The Democrats' Failed Attempt to Solve Inequality

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The 40-year history of how Democrats chose political opportunity over addressing inequality—and how the poor have paid the price

For decades, the Republican Party has been known as the party of the rich: arguing for “business-friendly” policies like deregulation and tax cuts. But this incisive political history shows that the current inequality crisis was also enabled by a Democratic Party that catered to the affluent.

The result is one of the great missed opportunities in political history: a moment when we had the chance to change the lives of future generations and were too short-sighted to take it.

Historian Lily Geismer recounts how the Clinton-era Democratic Party sought to curb poverty through economic growth and individual responsibility rather than asking the rich to make any sacrifices. Fueled by an ethos of “doing well by doing good,” microfinance, charter schools, and privately funded housing developments grew trendy. Though politically expedient and sometimes profitable in the short term, these programs fundamentally weakened the safety net for the poor.

This piercingly intelligent book shows how bygone policy decisions have left us with skyrocketing income inequality and poverty in America and widened fractures within the Democratic Party that persist to this day.

Lily Geismer is an associate professor of history at Claremont McKenna College. She researches and teaches about recent political and urban history in the United States with a focus on liberalism and the Democratic Party. She is the author of Left Behind: How the Democrats Failed to Solve Inequality and Don’t Blame Us: Suburban Liberals and the Transformation of the Democratic Party.  Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Washington Post, New Republic, Jacobin, and Dissent and on NPR and other podcasts. A native of Massachusetts, Geismer currently resides in Los Angeles.

 

ISBN: 9781541757004

ISBN-10: 9781541757004

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Publication Date: 03/01/2022 - 12:00am

On Sale: 03/01/2022 - 12:00am

Pages: 448

Language: English

Categories

Political Science / Public Policy / Economic Policy

Political Science / Political Process / Political Parties

Social Science / Poverty & Homelessness