Title: Going Big: FDR’s Legacy, Biden’s New Deal, and the Struggle to Save Democracy
Published by: The New Press
Release Date: April 26, 2022
As the 2022 midterm election season approaches, Republicans, increasingly the national minority, are trying to break our democracy in order to cling to power. As Robert Kuttner writes in GOING BIG: FDR’s Legacy, Biden’s New Deal, and the Struggle to Save Democracy (New Press, April 26, 2022; $23.99), “Joe Biden’s presidency will be either a historic pivot back to New Deal economics and forward to energized democracy, or a heartbreaking interregnum between two bouts of deepening American fascism. We are facing the most momentous threat to the American republic since the Civil War.”
Yet Going Big presents an optimistic path for Democrats to hold Congress in 2022, and reclaim the alliance of Democrats and working families that was squandered by three neoliberal Democratic presidents, paving the way for Trumpism.
Some have argued that Biden overreached, and that it’s time for him to move to the center. But it’s a fantasy to imagine that thinking small would have produced a better bulwark against Trumpism, much less addressed the cumulative ills that led to it. Going small would have produced a slower economic recovery, would not have ended the pandemic any faster, would not have fixed the supply chain, and would not have led Republicans to reciprocate. Instead, it would have been taken as a sign of weakness and invited even more far-right ferocity.
Moreover, Kuttner writes: “A mere return to economic ‘normal’ would have condemned most Americans to declining economic horizons, more frustration, and more support for demagoguery. Biden’s return to the New Deal was long overdue.”
"Kuttner has been fighting for the New Deal, and against its ferocious enemies, for his entire life."
—Jon Schwarz, The Intercept
“The latest from one of the most tenacious and principled journalists in American politics has arrived at just the right moment. This should be required reading among Democrats in Washington and across the country. ”
—Heather McGhee, New York Times-bestselling author of The Sum of Us
“A cogent reminder of the importance of federal policy, presidential leadership, and the elusiveness of economic justice.”
“Kuttner makes a convincing case that bold policies are needed to address the country’s ills.”
“There is a political war going on, with one side engaging in voter suppression and a campaign of mis- and disinformation. The progressive side can’t match the tactics—that would be self-defeating. It has to win by engendering engagement, through an understanding of where we are, how we got here, and what are the stakes. Kuttner’s book makes all of this crystal clear.”
—From the Foreword by Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph E. Stiglitz
As Joe Biden might put it, Going Big is a BFD—one with an urgent, essential, and ultimately hopeful message. If I could convince the president to read just one book at this perilous moment, this would be it. ”
—Jacob S. Hacker, Stanley Resor Professor of Political Science, Yale University, and co-author of Let Them Eat Tweets
“Robert Kuttner is a modern Tom Paine who explains brilliantly the frightening crisis we face and then offers a remarkable, bracing, impassioned prescription for salvation and, indeed, renewal. Spreading the word about Going Big is absolutely imperative. ”
—Randall Kennedy, Michael R. Klein Professor, Harvard Law School, and author of New York Times 2021 Notable Book Say It Loud
“Can Joe Biden and the Democrats take a page from Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal to ‘go big’ and thereby reconstruct America and its politics? Robert Kuttner, the nation’s most perceptive critic of the predatory capitalism that so bedevils us, answers with a resounding and insightful YES!”
—Nelson Lichtenstein, Distinguished Professor, University of California, Santa Barbara, and author of State of the Union