Crashing the Party

Crashing the Party:From the Bernie Sanders Campaign to a Progressive Movement

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A Bernie Sanders advisor reflects on the meaning and promise of the senator's "political revolution"

Senator Bernie Sanders won 13 million votes and a majority of young voters in the 2016 Democratic primary, giving a consensus unbeatable party favorite, Hillary Clinton, a shockingly close challenge. He emerged from the presidential election as the most popular politician in the US, despite being a 75-year-old self-professed “democratic socialist.” What lessons can be drawn from this surprising but—in the end—losing campaign, and what to make of the direction the Sanders movement has gone since the election?

Vermont native Heather Gautney is a senior policy advisor to Bernie Sanders in his Washington, DC office and was a senior researcher on his presidential campaign. The author and editor of several books on social movements and American politics, she brings her scholarly expertise and left politics to bear on the scenes and conflicts she witnessed from inside the campaign and inside the Beltway. This is both an insider's sympathetic view of the Sanders phenomenon and a skeptical left scholar's view of its limitations. In reviewing what enabled Sanders to reach out to an unprecedented number of people with a socialist message, she draws lessons about the prospects and perils of building a leftist movement in the United States. Gautney’s reflections on the role that race and class played in this election cycle and analysis of the prospects and perils of the Democratic Party will advance the passionate debate over how to build a progressive opposition to Trump and a lasting left movement in America.


  • A vigorous book that revisits the 2016 election...every argument is worth engaging with.

    Tom CarsonBookforum
  • An outstanding piece of work that provides a deep-- and importantly the correct-- analysis of what Bernie's campaign was really about.

    Phil Fiermonte, Senior Advisor, Bernie 2016 and former Vermont State Director, Sen. Bernie Sanders Senate Office
  • Heather Gautney’s analysis of the 2016 campaign captures Bernie Sanders’ refreshing plainspokenness…it deserves attention on the Left.

    Wall Street Journal