1/6 Why The Democrats Still Don’t Understand “Party Politics” w/ Adam Hilton

January 6, 2022

Sam hosts Adam Hilton, assistant professor of politics at Mount Holyoke College, to discuss his recent book True Blues: The Contentious Transformation of the Democratic Party, on how the party apparatus of the Democratic Party went from a three-majority monster in the midst of the 20th Century to a hollow shell of an organization. Professor Hilton begins by walking through where political parties came from, looking at them as creatures of political officials seeking to form a structure of internal coalition, while in contentious interaction with the social groups that make up their base, before they help contextualize where the Democratic Party was coming out of the New Deal. Adam and Sam walk through the coalition of Southern conservatives, big city Democratic machines, and Northern liberals that took hold of US politics for three decades after FDR’s Presidency, exploring the Confederate-like arrangement that allowed states and localities autonomy over their agendas, and why this both bolstered the unity over those decades, while also ultimately undermining the Democratic association with growing movements for civil rights, with continued coalition with a segregationist south. Next, they dive into the four years from 1968-1972 that saw a complete deconstruction of the Democratic apparatus, starting with the ’68 conventions election of Hubert Humphrey – against the public’s engagement –  and shifting towards a New Politics ideology of good government reformation amidst a rejection of racial populism. Professor Hilton then dives into how organizations like the Coalition for a Democratic Majority put themself at the center of the party in the wake of George McGovern and New Politic’s overwhelming loss to Nixon in ’72, effectively working to completely deconstruct the party reformation, leaving behind solely a shell of an organization, largely relying on outside groups for their electoral efforts. Hilton and Sam also explore the major differences between the Democratic and Republican parties at this time, before diving into how we can see the DNC or other organizations work to rebuild the party’s structure. Sam also gives some updates on Omicron and Education.

And in the Fun Half: Sam reunites with Matt and Brandon as they take on Nate Silver’s descent into a whole new realm of fear-mongering, Hannity and Meadows reflect on the true meaning of January 6th, and the crew reflects on their Omicron run-ins. Ron DeSantis debates the politicization of coup d’etats, and Brandon and Matt reflect on the legacy of the 1/6 narratives. Lin Manuel Miranda inspires a conversation on the relationship between talent and corniness, and Nathan from Chicago chats about WWE’s exploitative practices. They also chat about the Democrats’ desire to respect existential threats, plus, your calls and IMs!

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