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Grand New Party: How Republicans Can Win the Working Class and Save the American Dream [Hardcover]

by Ross Douthat, Reihan Salam
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)

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Book Description

June 24, 2008 0385519435 978-0385519434 1

Memo to John McCain: Please, please READ THIS BOOK. It can help you win the election and guide Republicans in shaping the political future.

Memo to Democrats: Don’t read this book. It's going to be THE political book of 2008. Republicans will be better off if you choose to ignore it.”
--William Kristol, editor, The Weekly Standard

In a provocative challenge to Republican conventional wisdom, two of the Right's rising young thinkers call upon the GOP to focus on the interests and needs of working-class voters.

Grand New Party lays bare the failures of the conservative revolution and presents a detailed blueprint for building the next Republican majority. Blending history, analysis, and fresh, often controversial recommendations, Ross Douthat and Reihan Salam argue that it is time to move beyond the Reagan legacy and the mind-set of the current Republican power structure.

In a concise examination of recent political trends, the authors show that the Democrats' cultural liberalism makes their party inherently hostile to the interests and values of the working class. But on a host of issues, today's Republican Party lacks a message that speaks to their economic aspirations. Grand New Party offers a new direction—a conservative vision of a limited-but-active government that tackles the threats to working-class prosperity and to the broader American Dream.

With specific proposals covering such hot-button topics as immigration, health care, and taxes, Grand New Party will shake up the Right, challenge the Left, and force both sides to confront and adapt to the changing political landscape.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Coauthored by Atlantic Monthly writers Douthat and Salam, this book (like David Frum's Comeback) is part of a movement to reconstruct the Republican Party's core principles and reinvigorate the conservative electorate. The authors' strategy is to win back the working class through a combination of prudent government intervention and entrepreneurship. Relying on a bevy of sociological analysis, class scrutiny and historicism—a style resembling New York Times columnist David Brooks's, but stripped of his literary flair—Douthat and Salam take a nuts-and-bolts approach, perhaps because their book is prescriptive rather than observational, policy advocacy not entertainment. Whether or not readers will agree with the tenor of their arguments, rarely have moderate conservative ideas been so intelligently streamlined and so self-consciously pruned of conservatism's hairier iterations. The real holes in the text are the lack of cogent discussions on immigration and the war against radical Islam—the very issues currently shaping working-class politics in America. Nevertheless, this book is stuffed with fresh and brilliant ideas and presents a solid domestic conservative agenda to win over blue-collar workers. (July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


“If I could put one book on the desk of every Republican officeholder, Grand New Party would be it. . . . The best single roadmap of where the party should and is likely to head.”—David Brooks, The New York Times “Any Republican politician worried about his party's eroding base and grim prospects should make a careful study of this book.”—The New Yorker“Smart and intriguing. . . . Grand New Party is brimming with ideas.”—Los Angeles Times“Thoughtful and important. . . . Mr. Douthat and Mr. Salam are pioneering tomorrow's conservatism today.”—U.S. News & World Report“A valuable guide to the problems and prospects of both the GOP and the working class.”—New York Post“An entirely original critique of how both liberals and conservatives have misdiagnosed the problems of a key American constituency.”—Commentary Magazine“Thoughtful and important-a guidebook for Republicans in distress.”—David Frum, author of Comeback: Conservatism That Can Win Again and The Right Man“If you want to read a serious, sane, secular, constructive argument about where conservatism needs to go, this is a great place to start. Few conservatives are as honest about the practical policy challenges the right faces in an increasingly pluralist and unequal society. And very few actually have something positive to offer in the face of it. I disagreed with much of this book, but I never failed to be enlightened and provoked on almost every page.”—Andrew Sullivan, author of The Conservative Soul“We hope no Republicans read Ross Douthat and Reihan Salam's new book, because if they do, they might get an idea of how to undermine the emerging Democratic majority.”—John B. Judis and Ruy Teixeira, authors of The Emerging Democratic Majority“Ross Douthat and Reihan Salam are two dazzlingly smart and blazingly original young conservatives. In Grand New Party, they give Republicans-and all Americans interested in mending broken families and giving everyone a fair chance-some excellent advice, not just about political strategy but also on public policy.”—Michael Barone, senior writer, U.S. News & World Report, resident fellow, American Enterprise Institute, and coauthor of The Almanac of American PoliticsGrand New Party fills a cavernous void of new thinking on the center-right, and it does so with intelligence, depth, and even some compassion. Ross Douthat and Reihan Salam are brilliant, ceaselessly interesting thinkers. I often disagree with them, but their case is sharp and well-stated, and in its general outlines offers the only path to remake the Republican Party into something decent. They have performed a truly valuable service for Republicans and non-Republicans alike.”—Jonathan Chait, senior editor, The New Republic, and author of The Big Con“Ross Douthat and Reihan Salam offer a wholly original look at American politics. Republicans have failed to become the country's majority party because they have forgotten the working class, and Grand New Party outlines an innovative agenda that could revitalize the GOP—and the country.”—Ramesh Ponnuru, senior editor, National Review --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday; 1 edition (June 24, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385519435
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385519434
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #643,922 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
58 of 65 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lots of ideas, some are excellent July 2, 2008
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This small book does an excellent job of summarizing the political history of the Republican Party the past 60 years or so. It offers a critique of where it went, if not wrong, at least out of focus the past eight years. It is a companion to David Frum's book, "Comeback," and the authors refer to Frum's ideas frequently although he is not credited at the end. Some of their ideas I agree with, some I don't know enough about to criticize and I disagree with their health care chapter although I agree on its importance. The emphasis is on the appeal of the Republican Party to the "Sam's Club voter," a term they claim to have originated and which has been used by Governor Pawlenty of Minnesota. It is a very useful concept and the heart of this book. Their argument is that the family is a crucial institution for the lower income and less educated American. They discuss how the family, as an institution, has been badly damaged in the past 40 years and they offer suggestions on how to undo some of the damage.

The first three chapters are probably the best and summarize the history of attempted Republican reforms that would attract the working class voter to form a new coalition after the Roosevelt New Deal coalition broke up in the 1960s. They point out that, after 30 years of steady progress, wages for working class people stagnated beginning about 1973. They say little about the high inflation of the Carter years but I remember it well and think it deserves more emphasis because of its terrible effect on affordability of home ownership.

They point out, as does David Frum, that the high crime, high inflation and stagnant economy of the 70s were all mostly solved during the Reagan era and, following that, the working class had less affinity for the Republican party of George Bush.
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27 of 32 people found the following review helpful
By S. Ross
I'm center-left politically, reasonably well informed but not involved in politics. The bulk of this book is a concise but incredibly insightful political history from the New Deal forward that I couldn't put down. I read plenty of political magazines and blogs, yet on every page I would think, Yes-that makes sense! Why hadn't I thought of it that way before? I loved it so much that I bought copies of the book for four members of my family (who are mostly center-right to Rush Limbaugh right).

The authors do a great job of describing the enduring appeal of the New Deal in the mid 20th century, emphasizing that it was not only egalitarian but moralistic, then describing the trends that fractured the coalition in the the mid 60s and early 70s. I found their political history to be rich, sharp, subtle, and without precedent. I'm amazed that they could be so sensitive to the motivations and excesses of both the left and the right, yet write with such verve. It's critical but evenhanded, intellectual in the best sense, never dry or academic.

In a world that seems to be a left-right Punch and Judy, an echo chamber of ideologues and bashers, this book provides a space for real dialogue. I'm no fan of GWB, but this book helped me better appreciate his intial intentions (if not his god-awful execution). It also paints a much more convincing picture of the roots of social conservatism in the working class than Thomas Franks' "What's the Matter with Kansas," which makes them look like rubes.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Due to some time constraints this past summer, I only recently got to read Grand New Party. I was extremely impressed with both the quality of the writing and the quality of the ideas. We've heard populist language from conservatives before, but in this book the authors take the time to largely strip away the rhetoric and come up with many ideas for how one party might realign itself to actually stand up for the people upon which its success has always depended. Some of the ideas I thought were great, some I thought were awful, but I found virtually all of the ideas challenging and worthy of dicussion.

The historical portions of the book are written with grace and with an eye towards, if not neutrality, certainly an intellectual honesty sorely missing in most political writing. I have never been a consumer of political books and I doubt I will start being so now, but Grand New Party is full of innovative thinking and quality writing. Most political books are full of arguments (and poorly made ones), this one is full of ideas. I typically only read science and the occasional novel, but this is one of my top books of the year and I recommend without reservation.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unveils the Curse of Ideology August 1, 2009
The book that remains to be written is a discourse on why intellectuals cannot see past their (to them) invisible ideological prisms. Because the primary complaint of both right & left-wingers about this erudite work is that it dares to cross the lines--the very many lines--that separate political purity from operational effectiveness.

The authors point out that liberals got so angry with W that they were often reduced to blubbering in hysterical fits of anger. This made any policy discussions useless. As Ann Coulter wrote, we argue, they insult.

But right-wingers are cursed by ideology, too. The conservative contradiction between small business self-reliance and big business greed has never been satisfactorily resolved. The result is that both political stripes posture to their audience, while acting in the most selfish manner to feed off their individual government troughs.

Thus the many equivocal reviews which, if you read between the lines, have both sides complaining that the solutions that Douthat & Salam provide are neither fish nor fowl. What they really mean is that they are not used to prescriptions that deviate so far from party lines. They resent being made to wallow in the filth of the real world.

Yet powerful ideas take on a life of their own, long after catchy insults wither and die. What is so impressive about this work is its great erudition, and the wealth of clear-eyed thinking that lays out the great circle routes of the shortest distance between two points: where we are in our many divisive policies and how to get where we need to be.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Can the Republican Party recapture the Center, or will it just keep...
The two most important books to read if you are interested in America's modern political trends are this book and the Emerging Democratic Majority. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Jmitch
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic
This is where the party needs to go, and Douthat and Salam are the best young thinkers in the conservative movement.
Published 17 months ago by Jordan Cunningham
3.0 out of 5 stars Original ideas, but ignores the central problem with the GOP
Douthat and Salam have put together the most serious attempt to date of diagnosing the party's woes and prescribing a plan for its restoration. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Sagar Jethani
1.0 out of 5 stars A RHINO's Dream
This book is like reading the Democratic party's to do list. It's chock full of left wing views, policies and solutions. Read more
Published on April 25, 2011 by Backeast
4.0 out of 5 stars An Engaging Read
Grand New Party was a very engaging read and one that I definitely recommend. The book can be split in two with the first part being a political history of the working class from... Read more
Published on September 26, 2010 by Ronald C. Payne
5.0 out of 5 stars Too Bad Wonks Don't Run The Republican Party
"Grand New Party" provides some great background and good policy ideas. The key idea is to put families, and particularly working families at the center of policy decisions. Read more
Published on August 17, 2010 by Conservative Postmodern Polyglot Abroad
4.0 out of 5 stars Dispatches from a party in triage
The United States has a lot of problems. On occasion, someone might have a bright idea on how to solve those problems. Read more
Published on August 8, 2010 by Karl Wolff
4.0 out of 5 stars A Smart Blueprint
Great book for anyone on the left or right that wants to understand how to govern today. While this book is certainly a treatise on what the Republican Party can do to become... Read more
Published on October 23, 2009 by Joe Camicia
4.0 out of 5 stars Douthat and Salam Pitch Mostly Good Ideas to the GOP
One of the easiest things to do in politics is criticize. Many political books do just that - and little else. Read more
Published on September 29, 2009 by Matthew P. Cochrane
2.0 out of 5 stars Democrat Lite
This book promises a lot and fails to deliver. The authors' central insight is a good one: the GOP can renew itself and its electoral appeal by focusing its policy prescriptions on... Read more
Published on January 2, 2009 by Howard Olsen
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