Bernie Sanders writes and publishes unabashedly campaign-related books. Where We Go From Here is definitely that, although it was published before he officially entered the 2020 Presidential race. Essentially, it discusses his activities from the time of the 2016 election campaign until the 2018 midterm elections. There’s no content about the electoral wins in 2018, although he talks about candidates he endorsed. I loved hearing him mention the local Congressional candidate I canvassed for in 2018.
While preparing for the 2020 Democratic primaries (#readthecandidates project), reading Sanders was essential. I listened to the audiobook, because I’ve appreciated hearing other candidates own voices. Sanders has such a unique sound and accent. If I’d read the book, I would’ve heard him in my head anyway. So audio it was!
Where We Go encapsulates Sanders’ positions on all the relevant issues. Here’s a partial list, and you can read the campaign’s Issues page for the entire list.
- Wealth / income inequality
- Big money influencing elections
- Criminal justice reform
- Medicare for all
- Tax changes shouldn’t benefit only the super rich and corporation
- Minimum wage that is a living wage
- US overseas interventions / going to war or not
- College loan forgiveness / free college tuition
- Climate change
The book is a compilation of essays written in blog post style. I didn’t follow his web site after 2016, but these could have originally lived there. Also included are the text of various speeches. As you can imagine, the issues remain the same even as audiences change, so the content is somewhat repetitive. Nevertheless, his solid explanations of progressive positions are helpful.
I expected to feel more inspired, but Sanders’ narration wasn’t very emotional. Obviously narration isn’t his day job, but he gives a lot of speeches so I suppose I expected more.
The book covers many issues, but without significant depth in any of them. As it was appropriate, Sanders also reaches backwards in history to illustrate some issues. The bigger context was beneficial, if not fully comprehensive.
This is one giant stump speech, and perhaps the detail is online or in another book. Likewise, Sanders includes very little memoir regarding his early life and political career. I’m sure that’s also covered in another book in more detail.
Ultimately, this book served my purpose. I am clear on where Sanders stands on the issues, and have a decent sense of who he is. If he were a newer candidate, it would be inadequate. But considering how much he’s been in the news over the last four years, it was enough for me.
If you’re reading up on 2020 candidates, this is a valuable resource.