Lily Geismer

Don’t Blame Us

Suburban Liberalism and the Transformation of the Democratic Party

Princeton University Press 2014

New Books in American StudiesNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Political ScienceNew Books in PoliticsNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books Network June 19, 2018 Dexter Fergie

Stories about the suburbs often focus on conservatism. But, as Lily Geismer shows in her fascinating book, called Don’t Blame Us: Suburban Liberalism and...

Stories about the suburbs often focus on conservatism. But, as Lily Geismer shows in her fascinating book, called Don’t Blame Us: Suburban Liberalism and the Transformation of the Democratic Party (Princeton University Press, 2014) suburbs can also be liberal spaces. The high-tech corridor of the Route 128 highway that circles Boston is one such example.

The book tracks how new economic conditions—namely the rise of a knowledge-based economy and white-collar work—changed the ideological content and organizing strategies of liberalism. And, as suburbanites replaced urban working-class voters as the most significant constituency for the Democratic Party, suburbanites transformed the Democratic Party itself. Their support for environmental causes, reproductive rights, the high-tech economy, and market-based solutions became central to the Democratic Party in the 1980s and 1990s, embodied most clearly in men like Michael Dukakis, Al Gore, and Bill Clinton. Geismer’s book will be of interest to political historians, urban and suburban historians, and historians of science and technology.


Dexter Fergie is a first-year PhD student of US and global history at Northwestern University. He is currently researching the 20th century geopolitical history of information and communications networks. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @DexterFergie.

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