Theory of Change Podcast With Matthew Sheffield
Theory of Change #068: Timothy Shenk on what history can teach us about making political change

Theory of Change #068: Timothy Shenk on what history can teach us about making political change

American politics is becoming increasingly destabilized by far right radicalism. But this escalation is actually the symptom of an even bigger problem: That our two major political parties have been stuck in a trench warfare system for decades.

It's been nearly 40 years since a presidential candidate won more than 55 percent of the national popular vote. It's been 51 years since someone had more than 60 percent.

In all this time, neither party has been able to create a mass movement for their ideas. Republicans haven't done so because they've openly embraced a minoritarian political strategy based on winning rural states with lots of religious White people. But Democrats haven't built a movement for progressive ideas either, and that's a critical mistake for people who ostensibly want to protect democracy.

So why have Democrats lost interest in mass movements and large coalitions? It's a very important question and one that the guest on today's show, Timothy Shenk, attempts to answer in his book, Realigners: Partisan Hacks, Political Visionaries, and the Struggle to Rule American Democracy.


Access the full audio, video, and transcript of this episode on Flux or at the Theory of Change Substack.

Timothy Shenk's book: https://us.macmillan.com/books/9780374138004/realigners

On Twitter: https://twitter.com/Tim_Shenk

Dissent archive: https://www.dissentmagazine.org/author/timothyshenk


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Matthew Sheffield on Twitter: https://twitter.com/mattsheffield

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