We've Got People is out!!!!!!
Today's the day.
For the last ten years or so, I’ve been fiddling with a book idea that I felt like I was almost uniquely positioned to write, one that took a serious look at what happens when progressive energy collides with Washington, a book that would be a history of the modern left and the Democratic Party that actually took each of them seriously.
Most writers and reporters either care about the progressive movement or about the machinations of power players inside Washington, whereas I’ve always covered and cared about both. But I had long been convinced that nobody would want to read that book. That pessimism started to change with the rise of Elizabeth Warren, who was willing to call out her fellow Democrats for serving interests other than those they were elected to represent. Then Bernie Sanders’ 2016 campaign brought a disaffected generation into politics. Finally, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez thumped Joe Crowley in her Democratic primary, and went on to become a global political star, joined by other leading insurgent figures like Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar. People cared now, and I’d been covering every one of those developments in an incremental way — so I finished the book.
The title, We’ve Got People: From Jesse Jackson to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the End of Big Money and the Rise of a Movement, borrows a phrase from AOC’s viral campaign ad, which laid down the terms of her challenge to Crowley: “This race is about people vs. money: We've got people; they've got money."
The day a book is published is both exhilarating and absolutely terrifying. And so I have a favor to ask, and I think this is the first thing I’ve ever truly asked in the five-plus years I’ve been writing this newsletter. Actually, I have two favors:
1. Please buy this book — and buy it today. Hell, buy three copies and give two away. Call your library and local book store and ask them to stock it. Tell everybody you know to buy it, too. First-day and first-week sales are extremely important, because they send a signal to bookers at places like NPR whether an author should be invited on, and those sales otherwise build the momentum that propels a book into the national conversation. A lousy first week, and you’re basically done.
2. Please forgive the next few weeks of self-promotion. On one level, this email is inherently self-promotional: I’m usually promoting stories I either reported or edited, after all. But over the next few weeks, I’ll be pushing this book pretty shamelessly (though as a Gen Xer, it still deeply shames me, but I’m pushing through). Bear with me, and it’ll all be over soon enough, and we will return to our regularly scheduled Bad News programming. My last book was published in 2009, so you won’t have to go through this again until 2029.