How The Democrats Lost Their Soul & The End of the American Dream: Ed Burmila & Alissa Quart

Why does the Democratic Party struggle so much to win elections by comfortable margins (when it isn’t losing them) despite the fact that the Republicans are so extreme?

Could there be a hint in the fact that so many ordinary Americans keep losing ground economically, no matter who holds the reins of power? Clearly, the myth of the American Dream isn’t working.

In this episode, we talk first with Ed Burmila about his book, Chaotic Neutral: How the Democrats Lost Their Soul in the Center. Then, Alissa Quart of the Economic Hardship Reporting Project tells us about her just released new book, Bootstrapped: Liberating Ourselves from the American Dream.

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Have The Democrats Lost Their Soul?
In Chaotic Neutral, Burmila examines the Democratic Party’s shift towards the political center-right over the past three decades and argues that this has come at a great cost, both to the party and the country.

He makes the case that the party has lost its soul and its ability to effectively represent its constituents, suggesting that it’s time for a new approach.

The American Dream Doesn’t Work Anymore (it never did)
The American Dream says, anyone can go from rags to riches by pulling themselves up by their bootstraps. It’s a cruel myth that Alissa Quart of the Economic Hardship Reporting Project explodes in her new book, Bootstrapped: Liberating Ourselves from the American Dream.

In Bootstrapped, Quart explores the ways in which the “American Dream” has been sold to us as a means of achieving success and happiness, but has instead created a culture of overwork, burnout, and inequality. She provides practical solutions for breaking free from this cycle and creating a new American Dream based not on “rugged individualism” but on social solidarity.

In this episode, we dive deep into these two important books and have a thought-provoking discussion about the state of American politics and culture.

About the Authors
Ed Burmila has written for the Nation magazine and the Washington Post and hosts the podcast Mass for Shut-ins.

In addition to Bootstrapped, Alissa Quart is the author of four other nonfiction books, including Squeezed: Why Our Families Can’t Afford America. She is the Executive Director of the Economic Hardship Reporting Project and the author of two books of poetry, Thoughts and Prayers and Monetized.