Speaking American: How the Democrats Can Win in the Nineties

David Kusnet, Author Thunder's Mouth Press $11.95 (240p) ISBN 978-1-56025-027-2
The wisdom Kusnet has gleaned from campaign speechwriting stints with Walter Mondale and Michael Dukakis is simple: don't be afraid to sound and look tough regarding crime and foreign policy; reach out to rather than blame the middle class in addressing social problems; stress the party's identity as populist and inclusive rather than as a collection of special-interest groups. For Democrats to regain their political influence, Kusnet believes, they must recapture the traditional Democratic language and rediscover what made the party strong in the first place. He occasionally combines analysis with personal experiences, but mostly to speculate on what campaigners could or should have done. Further, though his analysis of how Democrats can reach middle-class working Americans without alienating specific constituencies seems on the money, he doesn't move from there to ask how the party can get the vote out among those--i.e., the poor--no longer of concern in campaign rhetoric. Since much of Kusnet's advice has become accepted strategy for Democrats in this year's presidential campaign, this work does not carry the punch it might have a year or more ago. (May)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1992
Release date: 01/01/1992
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