The Fighting Soul: On the Road with Bernie Sanders

Liveright. Apr. 2022. 336p. ISBN 9781631498794. $26.95. POL SCI
How did a septuagenarian socialist, who was registered as an Independent, manage to capture the imagination and devotion of the young people of the United States not once but twice as a candidate for the Democratic nomination for president? Rabin-Havt, the deputy campaign manager for Bernie Sanders’s 2020 presidential bid, believes the Vermont senator’s campaign inspired devotion because Sanders stayed true to himself and refused to be influenced by polls, political advisers, or other candidates’ attacks on his policies and positions. Here Rabin-Havt describes, sometimes in humorous detail, the determined, principled persona that Sanders consistently embodied. He provides examples of the campaign’s strategies while showing that Sanders never doubted his own instincts and refused to compromise or hedge positions when staff thought he should. The book also offers insightful details of campaign rallies and 2020 primary debates and documents the drama and excitement of the Sanders campaign’s increasing success. When it became clear Biden would win the Democratic nomination, Rabin-Havt shows that Sanders was ready to campaign for him.
VERDICT A thoughtful and comprehensive account of the Sanders 2020 campaign and an authoritative description of the candidate’s personality. Readers who want to know more about Sanders or are interested in political campaign narratives will enjoy this book.
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