Three progressive mayors managed Burlington for 29 of the 31 years after Bernie Sanders’ first win. Although Democrats continued to dominate the City Council during most of that time, and a Republican candidate for mayor could still win, a multi-party political system had changed the shape and style of city government, and, beyond that, fundamentally altered Vermont’s political landscape.
-- From the Introduction
Burlington's historic 2012 mayoral race lasted six months. But in the end it took only half an hour after the polls closed to find out who won. For the first time in three decades Democrats took control of City Hall. Written in the heat of that campaign, Progressive Eclipse explores the recent struggles of the most successful progressive movement in the last half century.
In 1989 Greg Guma's book, The People's Republic: Vermont and the Sanders Revolution, described the rise of Vermont's progressive movement. Much has changed since Sanders moved on to Congress, and economic and political pitfalls have created new challenges. Putting local politics in a larger context, this new e-book also explores the early impacts of the Occupy movement and the campaign to overcome the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision. But the main focus is the hotly contested mayoral race between housing developer Miro Weinberger, Republican Kurt Wright and Independent Wanda Hines.
Progressive Eclipse takes a sympathetic, yet critical look at why local progressives found themselves on the defensive despite an impressive record of success, examining developments like the controversial decision by Sanders and Mayor Bob Kiss to invite military contractor Lockheed Martin to Vermont, as well as financial problems that emerged after Burlington launched a municipally-owned cable TV and fiber optic system. It also examines the impressive record of three Progressive administrations, and chronicles the twists and turns of the race that resulted in Weinberger's decisive victory.
As Greg Guma explains, an eclipse doesn't mean the end of anything. But this one does raise thorny questions about progressive politics in Vermont and across the country.
The 189-page book is now available for $4.99. To download a free sample, click on the link below:
Prologue: Real Change
Part One: Primary Dilemmas
A Legacy at Risk * When Lockheed Came to Town
Burlington Gets Occupied * Moving to Amend
The Fusion Path * The Public Power Story
Miro’s Fresh Start * What Democracy Can Look Like
Doubts about Fusion * Trust, Votes and Skate Park Funding
Fusion Down, But One Choice to Go
Project Smart Grid (or, How Vermont Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Sandia)
Then & Now
Part Two: Progressive Paradoxes
Rhetoric & Reality * Identity Crisis
Beyond Bernie * Pragmatic Populism
Mixed Messages * Small Changes
Part Three: Regime Change
Prelude to Upheaval * Inconvenient Choices
The Man Who Would Be Mayor * Sparring on Development
Building the Ballot * Housing, Hines & the Fiscal Squeeze
Taxes, Cops & Kids * Strange Encounters on the Campaign Trail
Mr. Wright and the Women * Audit Games
Daring to be Different * The More-Than-40 Percent Question
Democrats Rising, Progressives in Eclipse