In the ’80s and ’90s, the Democrats took a jackhammer to education, housing, and social welfare. This isn’t the story of a weak party unable to defend its earlier gains, but a transformed party demolishing them in service of a new neoliberal ideology.
Lily Geismer is an assistant professor of history at Claremont McKenna College and the author of Don’t Blame Us: Suburban Liberals and the Transformation of the Democratic Party.
The Democratic establishment’s obsession with courting affluent suburbanites imperils progressive policies and overlooks the changing composition of US suburbs. A progressive strategy must look to mobilize the increasingly diverse, increasingly working-class parts of American suburbia.
Before Bernie Bros vs. the DNC, there was Jesse Jackson vs. the Atari Democrats.
Bill Clinton’s New Markets initiative tried to fight poverty by showering incentives on the private sector. And now Hillary has embraced it.
As organized labor lost strength, the Democratic Party turned to professional-class voters to shore up its base.