In this Book

How the Left Can Win Arguments and Influence People
summary

If we were to rely on what the pundits and politicians tell us, we would have to conclude that America is a deeply conservative nation. Americans, we hear constantly, detest government, demand lower taxes and the end of welfare, and favor the death penalty, prayer in school, and an absolute faith in the free market.

And yet Americans believe deeply in progressive ideas. In fact, progressivism has long been a powerful force in the American psyche. Consider that a mere generation ago the struggle for environmentally sound policies, for women's rights, and for racial equality were fringe movements. Today, open opposition to these core ideals would be political suicide.

Drawing on this wellspring of American progressivist tradition, John K. Wilson has penned an informal handbook for the pragmatic progressive. Wilson insists that the left must become more savvy in its rhetoric and stop preaching only to the converted. Progressives need to attack the tangible realities of the corporate welfare state, while explicitly acknowledging that "socialism is," as Wilson writes, "deader than Lenin."

Rather than attacking a "right-wing conspiracy," Wilson argues that the left needs one, too. Tracing how well-funded conservative pressure groups have wielded their influence and transformed the national agenda, Wilson outlines a similar approach for the left. Along the way, he exposes the faultlines of our poll- and money-driven form of politics, explodes the myth of "the liberal media," and demands that the left explicitly change its image.

Irreverent, practical, and urgently argued, How The Left Can Win Arguments and Influence People charts a way to translate progressive ideals into reality and reassert the core principles of the American left on the national stage.

Table of Contents

  1. Frontmatter
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  1. CONTENTS
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. xi-xii
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  1. Introduction: The Progressive Majority: How the Left GotLeft Behind
  2. pp. 1-6
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  1. 1. The Death of Socialism
  2. pp. 7-21
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  1. 2. The Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy (and Why the Left-Wing Needs One, Too)
  2. pp. 22-41
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  1. 3. The Failure of Centrism and the Fall of the Democratic Party
  2. pp. 42-52
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  1. 4. Polls: The Circle of Lies
  2. pp. 53-59
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  1. 5. The Politics of Money: Campaign Financing and One Dollar, One Vote
  2. pp. 60-74
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  1. 6. The Myth of the Liberal Media: How the Press Attacks Progressives
  2. pp. 75-109
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  1. 7. The Globalization Wars: How the Left Won (and Lost) the “Battle in Seattle”
  2. pp. 110-120
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  1. 8. Pragmatic Progressives
  2. pp. 121-130
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  1. 9. Talking Tax Cuts: Lowering Taxes on the Poor
  2. pp. 131-142
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  1. 10. Making Crime a Progressive Issue
  2. pp. 143-160
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  1. 11. Winning the Culture Wars
  2. pp. 161-173
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  1. 12. Equality for Every Child: Reforming Education
  2. pp. 174-183
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  1. 13. Fighting the Union Label: Labor on the Left
  2. pp. 184-190
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  1. 14. The Race for Justice: Defending Affirmative Action
  2. pp. 191-202
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  1. 15. Universal Health Care
  2. pp. 203-206
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  1. 16. Greener Politics: Progressives and the Environment
  2. pp. 207-212
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  1. 17. Why We Need Welfare and How to Change It
  2. pp. 213-219
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  1. 18. Ending Corporate Welfare As We Know It
  2. pp. 220-231
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  1. 19. The Defense Industry: How to Protect America by Cutting the Military
  2. pp. 232-240
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  1. 20. Saving Social Security
  2. pp. 241-248
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  1. 21. The Future of Progressives: Generation Left
  2. pp. 249-252
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  1. About the Author
  2. pp. 253-253
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