Many were appalled when then-White House chief strategist Steve Bannon framed the Trump administration’s agenda in its early days as the “deconstruction of the administrative state.” Appalled about Bannon’s bluntness, but also about the truth of what Trump’s base really wanted.
But as In the Public Interest Executive Director Donald Cohen describes in his new book Dismantling Democracy, Trump is a significant milestone in a forty-year assault on the public sector that has fueled a generalized distrust of government.
With a gift of $10 or above to In the Public Interest, you’ll receive a free copy of Dismantling Democracy in your choice of hard copy or PDF.
In the book, Cohen outlines a values war between those who believe in the common good and those who promote a vaguely defined national philosophy that protects the privileges of the wealthy and powerful. He uses all kinds of evidence, like tweets by Paul Ryan, to describe a steady erosion of support for public solutions to our problems, and an equally steady concentration of wealth, power, and influence over the things that matter to us all.
“Progressives have won significant policy battles across the country in the past few years, such as minimum-wage increases and public investments in child care. But those victories have not translated into increased understanding of and support for the kind of basic public powers that they depended on,” he writes.
“The bottom line is that progressives are losing the larger war for the soul of the nation.”
But Dismantling Democracy isn’t just a chronicle of declining trust in government and the uphill battle progressives now face. Donald devotes half of the book to ten ideas and strategies for building a movement and a nation rooted in protecting and advancing the common good.
“Our task is to organize a pro-public, pro-democracy movement that makes government work for the majority. It should be clear by now that there are no easy answers, no one winning message, no one master plan, and no one organization that can do it alone. But we can start by trying and trying together.”