How did liberals get to be the way they are today?
That’s the question many Americans have been asking—particularly after the ascent of Barack Obama, the most left-wing president in American history. At last, historians Donald T. Critchlow and W. J. Rorabaugh supply the answer.
The authors show that it is a mistake to see the Obama administration’s sweeping agenda as a single man’s vision. Equally flawed, they reveal, is the now-common argument that today’s liberalism is simply a continuation of the progressivism that Woodrow Wilson embodied a century ago. Today’s Left has embraced a more radical vision for transformative change: to remake nearly every aspect of American life.
Takeover completely reshapes our understanding of America’s current political situation. This bold revisionist history delineates the sharp break in the history of modern liberalism that began in the 1960s, when new-style progressive activists left behind their protest rallies to infiltrate the establishment.
Critchlow and Rorabaugh reveal:
- How Obama almost certainly could not have become president if 1970s progressive activists had not rewritten the Democratic Party’s presidential nominating rules
- How radical leaders pioneered the use of the courts to impose their agenda
- From Roe v. Wade to Dr. Kevorkian: how partial-birth abortion became “the right to choose” and euthanasia became “the right to die with dignity”
- The inside story of liberals’ decades-long struggle to nationalize health care
- How today’s environmentalism reflects the Left’s anticorporate, anticonsumption ethos
- The progressive paradox: how elites gain more control even as they employ the rhetoric of “choice” and “power to the people”
Critchlow and Rorabaugh masterfully connect the dots in America’s recent history, showing the close links among such seemingly unrelated causes as radical environmentalism, nationalized health care, class warfare, abortion rights, feminism, caps on energy use, assisted suicide, and sex education. Takeover will forever change how you view liberalism and the political debate in America.
What They're Saying...
“Critchlow and Rorabaugh connect a radical shift in liberalism four decades ago to today’s liberal priorities of class warfare, nationalized health care, abortion rights, and energy restrictions. This study is necessary reading for anyone interested in the modern liberal movement and where it is heading in the age of Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and other self-described ‘progressives.’ ”
— Karl Rove
“What happened to liberals? In this remarkable book, Critchlow and Rorabaugh take on a task the academy has heretofore either avoided or failed to complete. In concise, well-documented, narrative prose, they show how the old Democrat New Deal coalition was routed and replaced by ’60s-inspired, left-leaning party activists. Readers will clearly see the origins and development of the constituencies and policies of todayʼs Democratic Party.”
— Michael Allen, coauthor of A Patriot’s History of the United States, professor of history at the University of Washington, Tacoma
“One of the few beliefs liberals and conservatives share is the conviction that the former are the ideological heirs of Wilsonian Progressives and FDR’s New Dealers. But in this provocative and thoughtful book, Critchlow and Rorabaugh argue that the species of progressivism embraced by Barack Obama and his supporters marks a radical break with the outlook of the old Progressives and their New Deal admirers. This book is going to cause an uproar on both the Left and the Right.”
— Paul Rahe, professor of history at Hillsdale College
“Critchlow and Rorabaugh make clear that today’s Left is not your great-grandfather’s Progressivism. It’s much, much worse. Takeover superbly explains how the modern Left really is something new, and how its vision of ‘social justice’ is now firmly settled in too many corners of the American establishment.”
— Steven F. Hayward, author of The Age of Reagan
“In this lively and insightful account, Critchlow and Rorabaugh range widely, retelling the crucial events of the past sixty years in a fresh manner, while embracing topics ranging from the origins of community organizing to the rise of euthanasia. The authors paint a troubling picture of a political movement that has betrayed the highest hopes of liberalism, rather than fulfilling them.”
— Wilfred M. McClay, SunTrust Chair of Excellence in Humanities at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
“Any social or political issues shelf needs this survey!”
— Midwest Book Review