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ChatChat - Claudia Cragg

Oct 10, 2019

Claudia Cragg (@ClaudiaCragg) speaks here with Robert Kuttner (@rkuttnerwrites) whose latest book is The Stakes: 2020 and the Survival of American Democracy.

Some of those interviewed in this long-running series are in such high demand that time in discussion is sorely limited. Recently, one such has been Robert Kuttner, co-founder and co-editor of The American Prospect, and professor at Brandeis University's Heller School. 

In 'The Stakes....', Kuttner argues that the 2020 presidential election will determine the very survival of American democracy. To restore popular faith in government―and win the election― Kuttner believes that Democrats need to nominate and elect an economic progressive. The Stakes explains how the failure of the economy to serve ordinary Americans opened the door to a demagogic president, but also 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 a progressive Democrat is elected 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.

The American Prospect is "devoted to promoting informed discussion on public policy from a progressive perspective. In print quarterly and online daily, the Prospect brings a narrative, journalistic approach to complex issues, addressing the policy alternatives and the politics necessary to create good legislation. (They) help to dispel myths, challenge conventional wisdom, and expand the dialogue."

We are delighted to run this interview here even though it was curtailed by sheer pressure of those in a long long queue wanting to pick Kuttner's brains to promote a winning outcome in 2020. We were lucky to get to speak to him at all. 

Kuttner also writes for HuffPost, The Boston Globe, and The New York Review of Books.