A dark horse speaks, advancing, after the fact, “an agenda for a new America.”
Leave it to Sanders to be contrary: most politicos, Trump included, write their campaign books while still campaigning. We can only imagine the author believes that his efforts will be ongoing and continual; in that interest, this book capably captures the main points of his message: Washington is corrupt, money needs to be taken out of politics, and the working class needs a fair shake and, yes, a new deal. Sanders begins on a note that could only have come after the race, of course: namely, that nearly 1.5 million people attended his rallies, and his campaign “attracted the energetic support of hundreds of thousands of volunteers in every state in the country.” Here, the author, writing very much as he speaks (“Fortunately, we won that battle,” he says of a Republican effort to cut aid to disabled veterans, “but it sickens me that we even had to wage the fight”), takes a long look at some of the planks that he and his movement pressed onto the Democratic Party platform in the 2016 election, including immigration reform, the $15-per-hour federal minimum wage, and the breakup of banks too big to fail. In the place of any regrets comes plenty of fire and a little ire, as when he impatiently recalls what he considers to be Hillary Clinton’s mischaracterization of his position on guns. “This was an unfair attack,” he writes, “but one that I didn’t handle well.” He adds, “to suggest, as Clinton did, that I was somehow sympathetic to the gun lobby was absurd.” Most of the author’s scorn is reserved, though, for those who stand in the way of his common-sense if sometimes-technical recommendations on such matters as capital gains taxation, Medicare expansion, and infrastructure spending.
There’s not much what-if here and certainly no indecision. Instead, as if rallying the troops, Sanders writes confidently of a program that’s sure to be revisited in 2020.