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First Look: 'Herding Donkeys' Book Trailer | The Nation

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First Look: 'Herding Donkeys' Book Trailer

The publishing industry is rapidly changing and responding to the evolving Internet and new media landscape. Hence the sudden proliferation of book trailers, which authors are now using to preview and promote their books. There’s even an award for best trailer!

In that spirit, I’m premiering the trailer for my debut book, Herding Donkeys: The Fight to Rebuild the Democratic Party and Reshape American Politics, on TheNation.com today. The trailer chronicles the rise and (possible) fall of Obama’s grassroots political movement, which is a major focus of the book, and a hot topic with the midterms around the corner. The video was produced by Sam Graham-Felsen, ex-Nation writer and former new media impresario on the Obama campaign. The stirring score is by Matt Abeysekera.

Here’s the script:

Barack Obama, Election Night, Chicago: “It’s been a long time coming. But tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America.”

Ari Berman: “The people still by and large I think still support the president, but he has not been the transformative figure yet that a lot of his supporters expected.

“My name is Ari Berman. I’m the author of Herding Donkeys: The Fight to Rebuild the Democratic Party and Reshape American Politics.

“All the other Obama books were very much focused on insider politics. They took a narrow view of Obama and his inner circle, and I wanted to tell a much broader story of the grassroots movement that propelled him into the White House.

“I think there’s very much the insider vision of the party and of politics, which is pretty much personified by the Clintons. It’s a small group of people in their inner circle, it’s very reliant on big corporate money, there’s not a lot of room for grassroots participation.

“The other vision was Howard Dean’s vision, which was a bottom-up, people-powered vision of how you could get ordinary people back involved in the political process. Obama tried to build on that model to create a broader-based participation that would propel him eventually to the presidency.”

Obama: “You proved them wrong, when we built a grassroots movement that could forever change the face of American politics.”

Berman: “But if you look at Obama’s White House, it’s very much now a top-down, insider White House, following a very conventional Washington playbook. And the whole spirit of grassroots organizing and energy that really defined the Obama campaign has been largely absent. So on the left now there’s a lot of dissonance.”

Healthcare protest: “What do we want? Public option. When do we want it? Now!”

Obama organizer: “We have a generation of the best political activists ever assembled. Don’t demobilize the troops before the big fight with the health insurance industry.”

Berman: “I think they want him to fight. I think they want him to fight for what he believes in and I think they want him to do it in a way that’s consistent with the values of his own campaign.

“Every day we’re witnessing the fight for the soul of the Democratic Party and American politics, and that’s the story I tell in this book.”

Check back for more news about the book very soon.

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