Know Your Enemy: The Other Side of the Story, with Michael Kazin

Know Your Enemy: The Other Side of the Story, with Michael Kazin

A discussion on the Democratic Party, from its origins to the crack-up of the New Deal coalition and the rise of the right that followed.

"Shall the People Rule" poster featuring William Jennings Bryan (Library of Congress)

Know Your Enemy is a podcast about the American right co-hosted by Matthew Sitman and Sam Adler-Bell. Read more about it here. You can subscribe to, rate, and review the show on Apple Podcasts and Stitcher, and receive bonus content by supporting the podcast on Patreon.

Matt and Sam are joined by Michael Kazin, Georgetown University historian and co-editor emeritus of Dissent, to talk about his new book, What It Took to Win: A History of the Democratic Party. They discuss the origins of the Democratic Party, its alliance between the urban North and the segregationist South, and its turn toward using government to help ordinary people. Then they turn to the crack-up of the New Deal coalition and the rise of the right that followed. Why did people whose relative comfort and prosperity had been made possible by policies championed by Democrats turn against them? How did Democrats respond to Ronald Reagan winning forty-nine states in 1984? Did it have to turn out the way it did?

Sources and further reading:

Michael Kazin, What It Took To Win: A History of the Democratic Party, Farrar, Straus & Giroux

A Godly Hero: The Life of William Jennings Bryan, Anchor

Whatever Happened to Moral Capitalism? New York Times

Sam Rosenfeld, What Defines the Democratic Party? New Republic

Matthew Sitman, Tribute to Michael Kazin, Dissent

 

…and don’t forget you can subscribe to Know Your Enemy on Patreon to listen to all of our bonus episodes!


Lima