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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 3/20/16

Robert Scheer Talks With Thomas Frank About Democrats' Shift Away From Addressing Inequality (Audio)

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Reprinted from Truthdig


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In this week's "Scheer Intelligence," Truthdig Editor in Chief Robert Scheer sits down with journalist Thomas Frank to discuss his new book, "Listen, Liberal," about how the Democratic Party abandoned working Americans.

Frank has written several books -- including the acclaimed "What's the Matter with Kansas?" -- as well as founded the magazine The Baffler. His newest book, "Listen, Liberal: Or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the People?" seeks to understand why Democrats have moved away from addressing inequality.

In their conversation, Frank tells Robert Scheer how the party has become class-based, now representing primarily the "professional" or upper socioeconomic class. Frank also talks about the Clintons' role in this shift and why he believes people who might have earlier voted for Democrats are now flocking to Donald Trump.

When Scheer suggests that Bill and Hillary Clinton may not represent a lesser evil -- when compared to Republicans -- but merely a "different kind of evil," Frank responds: "You could make the argument that Bill Clinton did things in the 1990s that no Republican would have been capable of doing. ... Reagan couldn't push bank deregulation as far as Clinton did. Clinton did things that Reagan would never have dared to do: welfare reform ... [and] NAFTA. George Bush couldn't get NAFTA passed. ... So you start to think that the game that the Clintons play with us, where we vote for them because we have nowhere else to go. ... There's a sort of political economics of how we the voters are manipulated in this situation, and they're very, very good at playing that game. And so people like you and me who are on the left are captured, basically. We don't have anywhere else to go. And they play us in a certain way."

He continues: "I have a lot of friends who say you can't criticize the Democrats because you'll just weaken them and then the Republicans will get in. But I say that we can't give up our critical faculties just because of the ugly historical situation that we're in."

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