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Herding Donkeys

Crain lecturer tells inside story of Howard Dean, rebuilding the Democratic Party

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October 20, 2010 | by Wendy Leopold
EVANSTON, Ill. --- Political journalist Ari Berman will give a Crain lecture on the grassroots resurgence that transformed the Democratic party from a lonely minority to a sizeable majority after the Republican victories of the 2004 election.

The author of the newly published “Herding Donkeys: The Fight to Rebuild the Democratic Party and Reshape American Politics,” Berman will deliver a speech of the same name at 5 p.m. Monday, Oct. 25, in the McCormick Tribune Center Forum, 1870 Campus Drive, on the Evanston campus. A book signing and reception will follow the free, public event.

“Herding Donkeys” (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) tells the inside story of Howard Dean's visionary yet controversial “50-state strategy” and traces how the little known Vermont governor went from an insurgent presidential candidate in 2004 to the chairman and conscience of the Democratic Party.

The book also describes how President Obama's 2008 campaign -- particularly its groundbreaking embrace of grassroots organizing and activism -- built on Dean’s blueprint and made the 50-state strategy the backbone of his campaign.

Longtime Newsweek journalist Jonathan Alter has called Berman’s new book “essential to understanding how the Democratic Party came back from the dead in 2006 and 2008.”

Berman is a contributing writer for The Nation magazine and an investigative journalism fellow at The Nation Institute, a nonprofit media center. A 2004 Medill School of Journalism graduate, he frequently comments for MSNBC, C-Span and National Public Radio.

Berman’s free lecture is part of Medill’s popular Crain Lecture Series, which brings news analysts and people in the news to the Evanston campus. The lecture also is presented by the department of political science and Northwestern Political Union, a student group united by their interest in political and global affairs.

For more information, call (847) 491-5401 or visit the Medill website at http://www.medill.northwestern.edu/.