The Stakes

Buy the Book: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, W. W. Norton
Title: The Stakes: 2020 and the Survival of American Democracy
Published by: W. W. Norton & Company
Release Date: September 3, 2019
Pages: 304
ISBN13: 978-1-324-00365-6


To save both democracy and a decent economy, here’s why it’s crucial that Americans elect a truly progressive president.

The 2020 presidential election will determine the very survival of American democracy. To restore popular faith in government―and win the election―Democrats need to nominate and elect an economic progressive. The Stakesexplains how the failure of the economy to serve ordinary Americans opened the door to a demagogic president, and how democracy can still be taken back from Donald Trump.

Either the United States continues the long slide into the arms of the bankers and corporate interests and the disaffection of working Americans―the course set in the past half century by Republican and Democratic presidents alike―or we elect a progressive Democrat in the mold of FDR. At stake is nothing less than the continued success of the American experiment in liberal democracy. That success is dependent on a fairer distribution of income, wealth, and life changes ―and a reduction in the political influence of financial elites over both parties.

The decay of democracy and economic fairness began long before Trump. The American republic is in need of a massive overhaul. It will take not just a resounding Democratic victory in 2020 but a progressive victory to pull back from the brink of autocracy. The Stakes demonstrates how a progressive Democrat has a better chance than a centrist of winning the presidency, and how only this outcome can begin the renewal of the economy and our democracy.

A passionate book from one of America’s best political analysts, The Stakes is the book to read ahead of the 2020 primaries and general election.


“Kuttner astutely makes the case that Democrats must win in 2020 as champions of working people—if they are to win at all. If you read one book about the coming election, read this one.”
Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO

“A beautifully written book, hauntingly disturbing as it describes the Republican assault on our democracy and the real dangers of a second Trump administration, but hopeful as it proposes a way forward for an electoral victory and the enactment of a progressive agenda that would restore dignity and living standards to all Americans.”
—Joseph E. Stiglitz, Nobel Laureate and author of People, Power, and Profits: Progressive Capitalism for an Age of Discontent

“With a mastery of the complexities of American politics; its class, race, and gender dynamics; and recent research on effective strategies, Kuttner offers a brilliant guide to a struggling Democratic Party. If you’re concerned about democracy, read this book.”
—Arlie Russell Hochschild, author of Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right

“In The Stakes, Robert Kuttner steps forward as a twenty-first-century Thomas Paine, revealing the rot that made the triumph of Donald Trump possible and advancing strategies for progressive renewal.” - Randall Kennedy, Michael R. Klein Professor at Harvard Law School and author of For Discrimination and other books

“Kuttner argues that it will not be enough for Democrats to replace Trump with a Democrat who will continue the reign of heedless capital that produced Trump in the first place. What is needed is a focus on what Kuttner calls 'pocketbook populism' that will unite rather than divide Democrats and will lure back voters disillusioned the party’s ties to Wall Street.”
John B. Judis, author of The Populist Explosion: How the Great Recession Transformed American and European Politics: Race, Affirmative Action, and the Law