(My review on goodreads)
Gautney talks about the consistency of Sanders’ political views over the decades; views that have been shaped since the early 60s by principled defense of working class interests. That consistency, and those principles, are what led me to support Sanders during the primaries in 2016. Whether he could have won the general election is debatable: given the level of hatred and hostility towards him by the media elite, it would have been an uphill battle. We’ll never know.
Most of this book examines the Clinton and Sanders campaigns, looked at from the class-based Sanders campaign, and the identitarian focus of the Clinton campaign. As has been often pointed out, Clintonians would be quite happy with the present level of economic inequality and class oppression, as long as the oppressors were 50% female, 17% black, and 20% latino. That’s social justice! A far cry from the social solutions to social problems proposed by Sanders and wildly popular with his supporters: free higher education, expansion of Social Security, Medicare for all, higher taxes on the rich. Programs that would be direct concrete benefits to all citizens, and which would provide the greatest benefit to those in lower economic strata.
Gautney concludes with some discussion of the distinctions between electoral campaigns and mass movements, and notes that none of the Sanders policies have a chance of being enacted without mass movements to force the issue.
I didm’t find any great new insights in this book - but I have been reading Sanders-based post mortems on the election for 18 months. Even so, this is a concise and clear explanation of the Sanders phenomenon and its aftermath by a Sanders campaign insider.