I have been a regular listener of the podcast Pod Save America since it launched in the dark days of January 2017 before Donald Trump assumed office. It is a great twice-weekly way to keep abreast of the craziness that is American politics right now and it is filled with hope for how the left can organise and defeat Trump and find a new Democratic politics that works for the electorate. That is not to say that there isn’t a mountain to climb, but rather to show that organising and protesting and showcasing the voices of new politicians can make a difference. The movement that Pod Save America is part of has helped organise the resistance to Trump and has so far helped to protect Obama Care. Some of my favourite episodes are where they join the marches and speak to people about why they are protesting.
So, when one of the co-hosts of Pod Save America Dan Pfeiffer wrote a book Yes We (Still) Can: Politics in the age of Obama, Twitter and Trump I knew I would enjoy it. Pfeiffer was Obama’s Communications Director in the White House and had been with Obama since his presidential campaign.
I expected the book to be about now and what next, but much of it is about Pfeiffer’s time working for Obama. However, it’s a fascinating account of being on the inside of the White House and it is still peppered with lessons about what is needed now to counter Trump. There is a very good analysis of why Hillary lost the election and the overriding message Pfeiffer has for Democrats now is ‘don’t be afraid to play to win’. The Democrats need a strong candidate who can connect with voters with a clear message of why the Democrats will help them and why they are the party of the working people. There’s clearly still some way to go on both finding that candidate and on finding a clear message that people can relate to. So whilst that gets figured out, I’d recommend reading this book to remember what it is like to live in progressive times.