Thomas Frank: What's the Matter with the Democrats?
Thomas Frank, Author, What’s the Matter with Kansas? and Listen, Liberal: Or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the People?
James Taylor, Ph.D., Director of African American Studies and Professor of Political Science, University of San Francisco—Moderator
Come hear the best-selling author of What’s the Matter with Kansas? echo that question as it relates to the Democratic Party. Frank says liberals like to believe that if only Democrats can continue to dominate national elections, if only those awful Republicans are beaten into submission, then the country will be on the right course. But he says this view fundamentally misunderstands the modern Democratic Party.
Frank says that the Democrats have in fact done little to advance traditional liberal goals: expanding opportunity, fighting for social justice, and ensuring that workers get a fair deal. Indeed, he argues that Democrats have occupied the White House for 16 of the last 24 years, and yet the decline of the middle class has only accelerated, Wall Street gets its bailouts, wages keep falling, and the free-trade deals keep coming. In this critical election year, Frank recalls the Democrats back to their historic goals—what he says is the only way to reverse the ever-deepening rift between the rich and the poor in America. A former columnist for The Wall Street Journal and Harper’s, Frank is the founding editor of The Baffler and writes regularly for Salon.