Season 1 – Episode 5
Best-selling author Tom Frank joins host Coy Barefoot to discuss his new book, Listen, Liberal or What Ever Happened to the Party of the People. Frank pulls no punches in his assessment of the modern Democratic Party, and how its leaders, beginning in the 1970s, abandoned its historic roots and turns its back on the poor and the middle class.
“It is a widespread belief among liberals that if only Democrats can continue to dominate national elections, if only those awful Republicans are beaten into submission, the country will be on the right course. But this is to fundamentally misunderstand the modern Democratic Party. Drawing on years of research and first-hand reporting, Frank points out that the Democrats have done little to advance traditional liberal goals: expanding opportunity, fighting for social justice, and ensuring that workers get a fair deal. Indeed, they have scarcely dented the free-market consensus at all. This is not for lack of opportunity: Democrats have occupied the White House for sixteen of the last twenty-four years, and yet the decline of the middle class has only accelerated. Wall Street gets its bailouts, wages keep falling, and the free-trade deals keep coming. With his trademark sardonic wit and lacerating logic, Frank’s Listen, Liberal lays bare the essence of the Democratic Party’s philosophy and how it has changed over the years. A form of corporate and cultural elitism has largely eclipsed the party’s old working-class commitment, he finds. For certain favored groups, this has meant prosperity. But for the nation as a whole, it is a one-way ticket into the abyss of inequality. In this critical election year, Frank recalls the Democrats to their historic goals-the only way to reverse the ever-deepening rift between the rich and the poor in America.”
Hosted by best-selling author and award-winning journalist Coy Barefoot, Citizens Band Radio is a production of the Center for Media and Citizenship at the University of Virginia. The program is produced in cooperation with WTJU and WPVC in Charlottesville. The program offers thoughtful conversations exploring issues of media and journalism, democracy and citizenship. The Executive Producers are Siva Vaidhyanathan and Coy Barefoot.