THE OPTIMISTIC LEFTIST by Ruy Teixeira

THE OPTIMISTIC LEFTIST

Why the 21st Century Will Be Better Than You Think
BUY NOW FROM
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

A political analyst offers American liberals a host of reasons to be cheerful.

Even when Democrats were assuming that Hillary Clinton would succeed Barack Obama as president, liberals were generally a pessimistic lot in light of the income-inequality chasm and the influence of big money on politics. Center for American Progress senior fellow Teixeira (co-author: The Emerging Democratic Majority, 2002) provides an often counterintuitive argument that embraces capitalistic growth, technological advancement, globalization, environmental activism, and a more optimistic attitude in general toward the course of history. With the notable exception of the Great Depression that led to the New Deal, the author maintains, “by and large, the left has achieved much more success when times were good than when times were bad.” Everywhere Teixeira looks, he sees good times ahead: greater prosperity, better health, longer life spans, better education, and major gains for the left in terms of social and environmental issues. Furthermore, he sees the left’s constituency—minorities, millennials, women, the well-educated—increasing, while the working-class voting bloc of the populist right is diminishing. He also sees the welfare state giving way to the “opportunity state,” and “the rise of the opportunity state will not only mean more growth but less inequality.” Rather than retreat toward austerity, the left must celebrate the growth of capitalism and advances in technology, which should help shrink the wealth gap. “There will be a commitment to abundance,” he advises. “This means the left will discard its flirtation with antigrowth ideologies and fully embrace the idea that material abundance is a very good thing and should be extended to all.” In other words, happy days are here again, if only the left will accept its good fortune and recognize that optimism is a better rallying spirit than pessimism.

A useful political book that makes it hard to understand how Donald Trump could have possibly won the election.

Pub Date: March 7th, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-250-08966-3
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 2017




SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

NonfictionOUR REVOLUTION by Bernie Sanders
by Bernie Sanders
NonfictionWE DO OUR PART by Charles Peters
by Charles Peters
NonfictionIT'S BETTER THAN IT LOOKS by Gregg Easterbrook
by Gregg Easterbrook
NonfictionLISTEN, LIBERAL by Thomas Frank
by Thomas Frank