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The fate of democracy in America rests on the Democrats’ ability to defeat Republicans—decisively and repeatedly. But with millions of voters embracing Trumpism, that won’t happen unless Democrats shift gears and take concrete steps to reestablish their credentials as fierce patriots, tough fighters, and fearless leaders.


In Comeback: Routing Trumpism, Reclaiming the Nation, and Restoring Democracy’s Edge, Berkeley political scientist M. Steven Fish delivers a bold new take on democracy’s crisis. Prevailing theories hold that rising economic and cultural anxieties drove working-class voters to Trump. But Fish draws on a crush of data to show this thinking is deeply flawed.


It’s also led Democrats astray. This account strikes most working-class folks as condescending—and even offensive. But Democrats still assume they can bring these folks around by sticking to “kitchen table” issues and avoiding the culture wars. They can’t. Voters care more about guts and grit than prescription drug prices.


Politics is a dominance game and a contest to capture the flag. Politicians who seem to be the strongest leaders and most passionate patriots have the advantage. The Republicans get this. The Democrats don’t.


Republicans have a high-dominance political style. They love “owning the libs.” They take risks, use provocative language, and welcome conflict. Democrats have a low-dominance style. They’re risk-averse, allergic to hot-button issues—and a little boring. Rather than give as good as they get, they call Trump a bully then leave him in charge of the playground. Republicans hammer away at their patriotism, even when they shred American values. Democrats are skeptical of patriotism and have no national story—just policy pledges.


Comeback furnishes a roadmap for Democrats to beat Trumpism now—and it’s not about the economy or better policies. Liberals need a fresh approach to political messaging and style. Fish lays out:


  • What Trump’s voters love about him—he’s a strong leader who relishes the fight, he always says what he thinks and does as he pleases, and no one “owns” the liberals who look down on them like he does
  • Why laundry lists of policies bore voters—but a bold narrative of national greatness exhilarates them
  • What Democrats can learn from deeply principled, high-dominance, patriotic liberals like Frederick Douglass, Mary McLeod Bethune, FDR, JFK, LBJ, MLK, Jasmine Crockett, and more
  • 11 liberal, high-dominance practices that Joe Biden can ride to victory in 2024—if he adopts them now


Comeback has the potential to reshape the political arena and reinvigorate democracy in America over the long haul.

COMEBACK by M. Steven Fish with Laila M. Aghaie

Excluding Sales Tax
  • This is a downloadable digital version of the book in EPUB format, readable by most smart phones, tablets, and laptop computers. For a Kindle version, visit the Amazon page for the book. For a print version, click here.

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