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tv   Viewer Call-in with Lily Geismer Left Behind  CSPAN  May 30, 2022 12:49pm-1:21pm EDT

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energy security depends on having homemade energy home, you know domestic energy and a robust dynamic energy industry. we have that but it's being undermined by this fad. can i add one thing? i just want to say thank you to the institute and thank you to jennifer and your team. i mean, i you and everyone here that are these events matter and your time and your treasure matter and we do this a lot of continental and sometimes it looks like your feels like you're fighting alone and when you can come into rooms like this and and really have these conversations, it's super incredible and helpful. so, thank you so much for having us and and i will say this is the worst beer and i will say this is the worst fear i've ever had, but, but i look forward to it later. [applause] >> you are watching booktv. for a complete television
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schedule visit booktv.org. you can also follow along behind the scenes on social media at booktv on twitter, instagram and facebook. >> right now we're joined by lily geismer. her book is "left behind: the democrats' failed attempt to solve inequality." lily geismer, let's start in the present before we go back in the past, but a lot of the news today about the democratic party is the establishment versus bernie sanders. does that have a history to it? >> thank you so much for having me and talking about the book. i think onet of the things there's a sense that this out of nowhere but there are deep-seated tensions within the democratic party that have existed, i would say since the 1970s i came into the in the 1980s as the party was at another kind of crossroads where to go. after the defeat of walter mondale, and that primary of the
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1984 election there was a sense of three different directions it could have gone in. and one was represented by someone like jackson, ernie sandor supported him but versions of democratic socialism i think santos campaign is represented. the other side was the mondale approach the traditional democratic party third was gary the ideas,,for become a new democrat really focusing on tech and trade and the new economy fors the future of the party and that's what dominated help shape the direction of the party going forward and what it looks like. >> let's talks about 1974. what happened in 1974, and who gott elected then that helped perceive this? >> 1984 election, but i'm just
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giving you a hard time. in 1974 was actually another critical year in political history and the big thing that dominated the news was watergate. you have this new group of people in congress over known as the watergate babies who represent a seachange among party. were against nixon and the republicans, but actually what they wanted was change within the democratic party. they saw the democratic party to be holding to unions to focus on big government and they wanted change and this is representatively people like gary hart tim worth even there's an a whole sort of slew of new of new candidates who come in they're joined later by people like al gore and then the state level like bill clinton, but they really stand for kind of a change in the parties direction and party structure the other big thing that happens in 197 around 1974 is the session and there's a real struggle amongst
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the within the democratic party of educating new solutions to address these larger problems of of the economy and wanting to find new ways to kind of address the problems of the economy and the who be they become the watergate babies who then be who are then known as the atari democrats because of their their love of the tech industry and post industrial growth is a sort of solution to the party problems. so the 1984 election reagan versus mondale reagan wins 49 states. the democratic party was looking to change and how did it change? well one of the key ways it changed and there have been discussion sort of going forward but the 1984 election and this landslide defeat is a sort of wake-up call and a group of democrats come together from a couple of different places one of the group from from congress and another is a group of moderate democratic governors, especially from the south like chuck robb of virginia who sort of see that the party needs to
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shift its direction and they form what is what they comes to me on the democratic leadership council the dlc. and what did the dlc stand for the dlc was believe? d idea that mark free market could was the best means to bring about opportunity for for people? so one of what the things i argue in my book, is that the dlc believed in using sort of private sector means to achieve traditional liberal goals, so they still democrats they still believe in kind of traditional ideas that it's that there's needs to you need to help people create a quality, but they thought they want new means to do that. they also believe that the democratic party had become too beholden to special interest groups, especially to the labor movement. and so they wanted to move both the economy away from a more kind of manufacturing-based economy, which would be a more union oriented economy, but also the democratic party away from it's it's strong focus on these
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kind of special interests especial interest groups. so really out there, they're electoral strategy was really focused on targeting moderate suburbanites who had been drifting towards the republican party in the last previous election cycle, so finding a way to kind of recapture those those that who they saw as critical voters was bill clinton involved in the dlc as governor of arkansas. he was so he was an early member one of the founding members, but he really comes to the forefront as a as a major player in the dlc after 1988. so the other key thing for and for the dlc rights after election and do caucuses yet again historic defeat or his wasn't quite as bad as it wasn't quite as bad as mondale. so we did a little he did better, but there's a sense of soul searching and a sense of really looking that there needs to be something something different and so the dlc comes to tap bill clinton as it's kind of that as someone to both lead it to be it's new. it's new leader and and he takes
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on this role as a mechanism to kind of launch his own career international office and he's someone who really shares their philosophy and views, but also shapes it in many ways his third way his third way, so this is early he the third way term doesn't really come into being so the late 90s, but there that's really what they're thinking is that there needs to be a kind of alternative that can binds kind of using more traditional concert will be considered conservative means to achieve liberal and so that you can kind of find a synthesis and alternative and bill clinton have been testing out a lot of these things especially around issues of economic development. in arkansas in the 1980s, and he he is the the dlc sort of aligns the dlc the other thing about bill clinton that is really critical to the dlc itself. 6 itself success is given his southern and sort of populist demeanor, but he's able to target a lot of different kinds of voters, so he's able to kind of take what was dlc policy and
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platform but presented in a much more and widely appeal of it widely accessible set of terminologies and that really leads to both his success and their success and welcome to book tv and our coverage of the tucson book festival lily geisler is a professor at clairemont mckenna in california, and she is the author of left behind the democrats failed attempt to solve in equality. and this is a call in program. we're talking about the democratic party past present and future. we want to from you especially democrats. get your view on this 202 is the area code 748-8200 for those of you in the east and central time zones 2 0 2 7 4 8 8 2 0 1 if you live in the mountain in pacific time zones, and if you want to send a text message about the democratic party to professor geisler 202, 748-8903. please include your first name and your city if you would some
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of the things we talked about with the dlc. well, first of what are three? points that the dlc espoused so one was the idea of for less less government so that you that you you can expand opportunity not government was one of their their critical taglines that also you could use use market principles and both in terms of kind of growing the economy, but also applying what tools of the market to make government itself more efficient and also a belief in kind of in opportunity for all but also individual responsibility for people people just take certain action. and those become three kind of key guidelines of the d lc say one thing that's also if i don't mean to jump ahead but in your questions, i think another thing of the differences of sort of today versus versus the dlc of the past by dividing was also an early an early member of the dlc
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and they actually don't they don't they choose not to support him in the 1988 election and support al gore instead for one reason that he wasn't ideological. he was sort of his ideology was a little bit more muddled hard to figure out he was more of a democrat democrat. whereas bill clinton was someone who's actually very ideological who believed fundamentally believed in these ideas and a lot of what the dlc was trying to do was actually to shape shape the electoral strategy at the democratic party, but also to shake reshape theology of the party to make it much more focused on those types, so for the very liberal members of the democratic party back, then what we would call progressives today. what was their critique of the dlc? well, they called it and jesse had many choice words. probably captured on c-span. um, but of really being really frustrated, i mean one of them was that there was an old it was a southern voice network because it was primarily white southern men. another critical one is that they're the democrat he called
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them the democrats of the leisure class and that it was this idea that it was sort of trying to promote more upper middle class and upper class corporate interests and not really standing for what the democratic parties traditional base traditional base and values what there was a fear both that it was trying to marginalize labor from having us say, but also also other marginalized groups and a particularly people of color and instead of strategy that of kind of trying to win elections and having policy that focus on extending the face with within marginalized communities. it was much more focused on these efforts to kind of tailor policy towards a more upper middle class suburban voter and the boat was their response to the electoral success that the dlc saw in the 1990s. so this becomes really challenging and i think especially hers of republican of
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the republican domination it becomes really difficult to challenge the dl the dlc because they have a strategy so many people are critical and especially just someone like jesse jackson, especially after bill clinton as a famous sister soldier moment. they come up publicly critical but ultimately end up supporting bill clinton because they really see it as the only chance that it's better to it's better to have the have a democratic office and have a republican like another four years and this becomes a kind of critical bargain in many ways. i think for many more progressive people in the democratic party, and so i think to go back to your initial question about sort of the direction of the party and where it's going this actually ends up sort of obscuring some of these other tensions in the party's direction more towards bill clinton, but that tensions that i think are very much emerging today, but i've been there really since the eighth and i in early 90s now, there's one gentleman that we haven't talked about who was very involved in
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the democratic leadership council. l from who is al from al from is a fascinating and really impressive figure? who was he he himself was a democratic a congressional staffer who worked his way and throughout the 70s and early 80s and various different positions. he was actually particularly posted in the chief of staff of gillis long. who was then the head of the democratic the customer had a caucus and he becomes the leader of the dls of the dlc. it's executive record and the midnight in the mid 80s and it works in hand in hand with bill clinton to kind of craft to craft it the dlc's message. but also the democratic party's message and one thing that's fasting in the dlc and i think he's a very serious of a serious person who believes an ideas who believes and i think one thing about the dlc in their focus on markets and corporate issues is not that they were trying to make a lot of money, but they actually believe fundamentally believe that this was a better way to help people and one thing
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about the dlc too that they hold a term they come to hold a tremendous amount of power in the late the late 80s and early through the 90s, but it's a very small organization. so it's mostly unlike a kind of big grassroots or even like the democratic national committee. it's it's primarily made up of politicians themselves. and so it's it's really only about a couple thousand people but at its height, but they come to hold to really reshape the party and i think the other piece of the dlc's power is that bill clinton in 1982 selects al gore to be his running mate. who's another dl founding dlc member and so that really solidifies this idea of like this is the new >> instead of thinking the usual of picking up vice presidents who will represent another wing of the party and try to win over other voters date double down on that dlc
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method to get elected. >> professor for, when you espouse some of their principles it sounds like republicans in a sense that tu was one thing in my book, people think of the dlc as republicans like. i think there is actually a critical difference between the dlc style of democrats and the republican party. it they do not support reagan . they got a lot of what reagan was doing was horrible, especially the way it was affecting low income and for people and wanted tofind a different approach . and they really believe that focusing on the market and private sector would be a way to fundamentally help people and move the country in a different direction. >> let's go to the present and the title of your book o.
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left behind: the democrats failed attempt to solve inequality. how did you come up with the title and why? >> the first part of the title comes from the language of bill clinton and democrats talk about people who are left behind and communities being left behind and the way they could use the new economy of tax, trade and finance to help those people become part of the new economy and not left behind so that's one part of the trade-off. the other part is about leaving the left behind in the effort to win success. and then the subtitle which we do a full explanation of the subtitle is about the type of program that the democratic, the new democrats espouse and promote before office and what was implemented and i look at these differenttypes of
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programs that are there to help poor people using the market . so the book will say things like empowermentzones, charter schools . public housing, closing the new divide. a lot of it is about banking so all these different efforts to use market oriented means to address poverty and inequality. >> the book is left behind: the democrats failed attempt to solve inequality. lily geismer is the author and you are the first color up on the tv. >> caller: i'm in detroit michigan, i'm retired so have i have a chance to look at c-span all the time . my comment is this. the democrats will probably lose and never hold office again because of the way the republican party has structured itself for voting rights because they don't em like to vote they get a
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certain way. democrats have a problem that we live in cities and we do not live in rural areas per se. so the republicans have more legislatures. in office around the country. this is why they're doing all these heinous things to orus and unfortunately i will buy your book, i plan to read it but that's my comment. it's not necessarily a question because i see the writing on the wall. >> were going to have her address that. lily geismer, is your bookat all about what the republican eaparty is today ? >> one of the things is i look at the democrats reaction but to the callers important points, one of the things the democratic leadership will focus on and of course the democratic party focus on was winning national elections and especially winning the presidency and what this did
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is create a real vacuum at the state and local level which republicans have taken advantage of the last several years. one of the critical things that have happened is the caller is absolutely right. republicans have been effective at reworking legislation at the state and local level so one of the critical lessons is for the democraticparty to do more at the state and local level . because critical issues of democracy are being addressed there. >> host: don is coming in from maryland, go ahead. >> good evening. what's your opinion on the future of the progressive wing of the party and what about bernie sanders? do you see bernie running again in the future? and why is ...
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>> host: don, what is your opinion of the progressive wing of the party and the uc bernie sanders running again in the future and would you like that ? >> i would definitely like to see him run again. opinion about theprogressive movement , i think it's very viable ybut i think that the messaging , they just have a bad label. all the negativity about socialism and communism. that's what i think hurts them but overall, i think it would be better for the country if they could get some progressive candidates to run. >> thank you don and let's hear from lily now. >> i think one of the things that happened is because of the kind of new democrats approach and the kind of clinton era power over the democratic party for so long in terms of policy and strategy crowded out progressive havoices but one thing that's happened since i
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think especially since 2015 was even starting in 2011 with the occupy movement is many people from a wide array of constituents are feeling fed up with the democrats and saying there have to be different approaches. the progressive ring has really been researching in a way that's been really effective. i don't know necessarily that sanders will run again. one of the issues is his age but finding another lcandidate can fill in in that way. i think getting beyond some of the questions of the labeling but looking at the policy that there are lots of things that democratic candidates at the national and state and local level of the conference have been powerful . >> politics is agalso pragmati . there has to be electoral success. >> it's true. i think that's a fact and i'm fascinated that standards has
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done as well as he has. i think he wouldn't have been the first person i think if you work a political consultant you would think would be a really frontrunning presidential candidate. >> arthur color is named don. we have three dons in a row. alan montana, go ahead. >> i'd like to have you do book reviews on laptopfrom hell. and redhead . i think hithey pertain to the democrat party. >> don, thank you very much. book tv has covered both of those books. peterschleicher and miranda devine. and miranda devine has aired already . peter schleicher has not aired yet.but will be airing in the near future.
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so thank you for thatadvice. we appreciate it. mary, astoria ohio. you're on with author lily geismer r talking about the future of the democratic party . >> i wonder if you could tell a little bit about ... >> you got to turn down your tv, we are listening. >> i'll turn it down. so i mentioned that t the republicans are probably 60 but i've learned to observe and to analyze politics. and it seems to me that today just want to win. and i wonder if you could comment on that because it's really important that both parties do what they can and not try to edge each other out.
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>> i think there are two parts of that. one is an issue of what happens after you win and what policies help officials so they will pass policies because when you have your parties your only focused on winning.that leaves many americans behind because you don't have politicians fighting for their interests. i think another critical issue has been this increase in polarization and lack of bipartisan cooperation so cactually the 90s are an era where you start to see that increased polarization hemorrhage but there was more bipartisan cooperation. in the 90s. on many critical issues. and for better orfor worse . i think that has sort of gone away and is has affected i think focused on winning some of these other kinds of real questions of actually holding many americans who feel like their voices are being represented. >> host: one of the things you talk about in your book is that with this market oriented approach to the problems, some dedicated
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government funding has gone away and has been picked up by foundations and ngos etc. >> that's a really tricky part of what happens. because when you focus on the efforts of the private sector to deal with the work of government you are actually getting over the roles and responsibilities of government to those issues so the key place of his charter schools that are technically publicly are public but there often run by nonprofits, funded by foundations and that removes a lot of democratic accountability out there. voters don't vote in the deep foundation to do the work of government and you don't have to say and you can't hold them accountable. i don't agree with that because you didn'tlike them . it takes away powerful voice that citizens and voters have and i think also gives away some of that transparency because a lot of those
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decisions are happening even died further closed doors and what's going on in capitol hill. >> robert in stockton california, good afternoon . >> hello. i called because ymany years until i was about60 i was a democrat . and the last 10 years or so, before trump i was kind of indifferent. but personally, i think the democratic party has switched completely and has become a party controlled by the elites. and have offered no one with really any talents. if you look at joe biden and the vice president, my god. what do you think of the people that the democratic party is offering to run our country ? >> guest: i think actually robert! is more your sense of
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frustration with the party's a lot of the shift away from more focusing on postindustrial growth. that helps is many people who we consider elites but it's helped many corporations make money. and made money many voters and many people who thought were long-standing democratic voters feel more alienated. i think about it less in terms of the politicians in terms of the policies that have been put in place. it has made many people feel the party is not really speaking for their interest. >> host: bob, fort lauderdale . >> good afternoon. i'm a lifelong democrat since 1972, i voted for shirley chisholm in the eprimary and i've been a voterin the general election so i'm on the left side of the party . how do we get to the point where we do solve anyquality issues is my question . thank you.
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>> guest: thank you and you were a post, even before watergate baby.ng i think that one of the really, there are important ways. often times there are policy problems and policy solutions and many of them have to do with restructuring and recommitting to a social welfare space . and restoring the social safety net so people don't feel possibly vulnerable and insecure and have a sense of really quality. there are ways of doing more government regulations but there's not the inequity in pay where you have ceos making large amounts of money and their lawyers not even having to work several jobs to stay afloat. another important way is to bolster the power of the labor movement and that's one thing there's been this kind of alienation and marginalization of labor voice in power by the democrats in the country more broadly . the labor movement treally
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fight for working people and can give living wages, benefits and security so making labor more sensible is a way to address on the mental problems of inequality . >> host: professorgeismer, was the clintons reputation in the democratic party ? >> it's interesting because they've lost their cultural all that they had so there's they no longer have , i think the fact that bill clinton was not a speaker at the convention is a sign of the party shifting in a different direction in some capacity or leaving behind them slightly but i think that their policies have still have to say and ace way. i think also the particular point that democrats win elections seems pragmatic and the clinton approach is one that is quite pragmatic . i think often times especially in this moment right now , of fear of the democrats losing the midterms
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there is a real potential double back to the clinton playbook. >> lily geismer is the author of leftbehind, democrats attempt to solve any quality. she's been our guest on book tv . >> here's a look at books being published this week. president trumps 2016 campaign manager and white house counselor kelly and conway as a personal and political memoir titled here's the deal. messages is republican governor charlie baker spoke results. getting beyond politics to get important work done. it's a book and how he achieved policyvictories in a very blue state . retired admiral james dupree has a new book looking at nine key moments in the history of the u.s. navy and decision-making under fire. journalist dan abrams and martin luther king jr.'s defense attorney ray look
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back at the 1956 alabama v king court case which was a key early moment in the civil rights movement. find these titles this coming week wherever books are sold and watch for these authors to appear in the near future on book tv. >> julie wong is one with us courtesy of joyce and ed conlon. julie juan is a graduate of the yale law school. formerly a commercial litigator she is not managing partner of gottlieb and when, a firm dedicated to advocating for education in civil rights. her writing has appeared in major publications such as the new york times and washington post. she lives in brooklyn with her husband and their two rescue dogs, salty and pepper. get a warm savanna

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