A leading activist-scholar on what’s next in the Sanders revolution
Bernie Sanders shocked the political establishment by winning 13 million votes and a majority of young voters in the 2016 Democratic primary. Since that upset, repeated polls have judged this democratic socialist to be the most popular politician in the United States. What lessons can be drawn from his surprising insurgent campaign?
Longtime author and activist Heather Gautney was a Policy Fellow in Sanders’s Washington, DC, office and a volunteer researcher and organizer on his presidential campaign. In reviewing what enabled Sanders to reach out to an unprecedented number with a socialist message—and what stalled his progress—she draws lessons on the prospects and perils of building a progressive movement in the United States.
Gautney’s poignant account of the role that race and class played in this election cycle, her anatomy of the conflicting dynamics of movement and electoral ambitions, and her clear-eyed analysis of the Democratic position following Trump’s victory will serve as a useful starting point for many readers newly aware of the limitations of the Democratic Party and the immensity of the challenges ahead.
About the Author
Heather Gautney is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Fordham University. She has written and edited books, opinion essays, and academic articles on US politics, social movements, social inequality, and workforce issues. Dr. Gautney was a senior policy advisor to Senator Bernie Sanders in the US Senate Budget Committee. In 2012-2013, she was a legislative fellow in Sanders’s Senate Office, a volunteer organizer and researcher on his presidential campaign in 2015-16, and representative of the State of Vermont for the 2016 Democratic Party Platform Committee. Currently, she is the Executive Director of Our Revolution.
“This is the powerful and insightful book we have been waiting for on the historic Bernie Sanders presidential campaign. Heather Gautney provides the most sophisticated and subtle analysis of the most significant progressive insurgency within the decrepit electoral political system of the USA. Don’t miss it!” —Cornel West, author of Race Matters
“Of all the books analyzing the what happened in 2016, Heather Gautney’s is unique in its use of a movement lens. For movement builders, there are many critical lessons here about striking the balance between candidates, issues, and deeper organizing.” —Larry Cohen, board chair of Our Revolution and former president of the Communication Workers of America
“A vigorous book that revisits the 2016 election … every argument is worth engaging with.” —Tom Carson, Bookforum “An outstanding piece of work that provides a deep—and importantly the correct—analysis of what Bernie’s campaign was really about.” —Phil Fiermonte, Senior Advisor, Bernie 2016 and former Vermont State Director, Sen. Bernie Sanders Senate Office
“Heather Gautney’s analysis of the 2016 campaign captures Bernie Sanders’ refreshing plainspokenness … it deserves attention on the Left.” —Wall Street Journal
“An encouraging and informative insight into the Sanders campaign and what follows.” —Morning Star