Rendezvous with Oblivion is Mr. Frank’s most recent book. It is a series of essays he has written over the past several years about where the country is headed. The first section (Many Vibrant Mansions) deals with the problems with growing inequality of wealth and income (which leads to lower quality of life for everyone who is not super rich). The second part (Too Smart to Fail) addresses the problems in colleges and universities, and the fact that our young people are graduating from college with crushing debt. Part 3 (The Poverty of Centrism) discusses the failures of Clintonism and centrism, and harkens back to the theme of Listen, Liberal.
Honestly, these parts of the book are pretty depressing, even though Mr. Frank writes well.
I am glad I kept going, though, because the fourth part of the book is definitely worth reading. Called The Explosion, it includes essays called Why Millions of Ordinary Americans Support Donald Trump; Rendezvous with Oblivion; How the Democrats Could Win Again, if They Wanted; Main Street USA; and American Made Great Again. For example, Mr. Frank argues that people in middle America voted for the current president not because they are racists, but because they and their communities have been victims of “free trade”, which has caused so many companies and jobs to flee overseas. (He is not the first person to make that argument, but he is convincing.)
He argues persuasively that the Democratic party has become dominated by the educated elite and has lost touch with ordinary working Americans.
And he talks about what the Democrats need to do to win again: prosecute financial fraud; enforce antitrust laws; strengthen unions; get back to the Democratic Party FDR described in 1941: “the liberal party . . . believed in the wisdom and efficacy of the will of the great majority of the people, as distinguished from the judgment of a small minority of either education or wealth.”
Personally, I think Listen, Liberal is a better book, but this book is not bad, especially the last part.