Tuesday, October 27, 2020
As a key element of his re-election campaign, President Trump has made the claim that Democrats are trying to destroy the suburbs. Yet winning the suburbs have been a focal point of the Democratic Party’s electoral strategy since the 1960s. Drawing on her research on suburban liberal politics, Lily Geismer, associate professor of history at Claremont McKenna College, will discuss suburban strategies of both parties over the last fifty years and discuss the possibilities and drawbacks of appealing to suburban voters, especially for the Democrats.
Lily Geismer, associate professor of history at Claremont McKenna College, focuses her research and teaching on 20th century political and urban history in the United States, especially liberalism. Her book "Don’t Blame Us: Suburban Liberals and the Transformation of the Democratic Party" (Princeton University Press, 2015) traces the reorientation of modern liberalism and the Democratic Party away from their roots in labor union halls of northern cities to white-collar professionals in postindustrial high-tech suburbs by focusing on the Route 128 corridor around Boston.
Geismer is currently working on a book project entitled "Doing Good: The Democrats and Neoliberalism from the War on Poverty to the Clinton Foundation," which explores the Democratic Party’s promotion of market-based solutions to problems of social inequality. She is also co-editor of "Shaped by the State: Toward a New Political History of the Twentieth Century" (University of Chicago Press, 2019). In 2018, she was named an Andrew Carnegie Fellow by the Carnegie Foundation. Her work has also been supported by the American Council for Learned Societies and the Charles Warren Center at Harvard University.