Red to Blue : Congressman Chris Van Hollen and Grassroots Politics book cover
1st Edition

Red to Blue
Congressman Chris Van Hollen and Grassroots Politics

ISBN 9781594514890
Published April 30, 2009 by Routledge
192 Pages

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Book Description

With a close eye on a rising star in the Democratic party, Congressman Chris Van Hollen, this book examines the movement toward a Democratic majority in American politics. Van Hollen, a state senator from suburban Maryland, was one of only two Democrats to defeat an incumbent Republican House member in the Republican sweep of 2002, the first congressional election after 9/11. He did it with the assistance of a grassroots army attracted by his outstanding leadership on progressive issues in the Maryland legislature and determined to "take back the House" from an increasingly right-wing Republican Party. The author had an inside view of Van Hollen's 2002 victory as campaign coordinator of his precinct. Gottlieb provides a detailed account of the nuts and bolts and spirit of the Van Hollen campaign and extends his analysis into 2008, the election year for which Nancy Pelosi appointed Van Hollen chief of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, responsible for recruiting, assisting, and mentoring candidates in an effort to expand the Democratic majority in the House. Grassroots politics is a key to the Democrats' progress, whether at the congressional or presidential level. Chris Van Hollen points the way to achieving new alignments that could help move the country from red to blue. Including hundreds of interviews with voters, activists, candidates, campaign staffers, members of Congress, pollsters, journalists, and scholars, Red to Blue provides a nuanced understanding of America's shifting politics.

Table of Contents

Foreword, by Mike McCurry Preface and Acknowledgments Chapter 1: Republican Ascent, Democratic Weakness Chapter 2: The Changing Suburban Battleground Chapter 3: Upsetting the Favorites Chapter 4: Van Hollen's Grassroots Army Chapter 5: A Freshman in Tom DeLay's House Chapter 6: Taking Back the House--and Senate Chapter 7: The Nightmare of Iraq Chapter 8: Prelude to the 2008 Election Chapter 9: Primaries, Caucuses, and the Path to the White House Chapter 10: A Big Change Election Chapter 11: A Sustainable Democratic Majority? Notes Index About the Author

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“In Red to Blue, Sanford Gottlieb has given us a wonderful and insightful prism into the dynamics of American politics over the past six years. Gottlieb uses the initial election and early career of a major rising star of the Democratic Party and the House of Representatives, Chris Van Hollen, to provide readers a deep understanding of the changes taking place at the grassroots in the American political system. The book is valuable enough as a tale of Van Hollen, but its insights into the larger issues of American politics make it a real keeper.”
—Norman Ornstein, American Enterprise Institute

“Sandy Gottlieb, a veteran liberal activist, describes the rise of Chris Van Hollen to a position of leadership in the House of Representatives and the emergence of a whole new generation of young Democrats who may provide the backbone for the Obama movement.”
—David S. Broder, The Washington Post

“This book is the powerful story of a visionary politician who prefigures President Obama by putting people, passion, and principle back at the center of our politics. Chris Van Hollen helped transform America in the first decade of the 21st century, and Sandy Gottlieb not only brilliantly chronicles that remarkable achievement but also explains in vivid detail how change was made.”
—Mark Mellman, The Mellman Group

“Sandy Gottlieb has written an important book about an important politician, and it’s a fascinating book, too. Gottlieb brings to his sprightly narrative a shrewdness born of years of political engagement and an idealism that was never spoiled by his time in the arena. To understand how Democrats went from the doldrums in 2002 to victory in 2006 and 2008, this is an essential narrative.”
—E. J. Dionne, syndicated columnist and author of Why Americans Hate Politics