Draws out strategic and leadership lessons that engaged citizens
and advocates for popular causes stonewalled by powerful lobbies
can put to immediate and practical use. Includes a unique strategic
template that includes momentum-building stages over a multiyear
campaign; using the media to engage public support; building
coalitions of faith, community, labour, public health, and business
groups; and persuading candidates to support legislation before
elections, rather than after they have been elected to
office.|Vinny DeMarco might be a latter-day Don Quixote except that
he tilts his lance at real obstacles to social justice:
lobby-locked state legislatures and Congress, stonewalling the
public will. And he makes impossible dreams come true. In twenty
years of organizing campaigns in Maryland, he has led successful
efforts to pass gun control laws (against National Rifle
Association opposition), to hike cigarette taxes to prevent youth
smoking, and to extend health care to hundreds of thousands of
low-income workers. He has also built a unique alliance of
mainstream and conservative faith groups, which helped secure rare
bipartisan votes in Congress for the enactment in July 2009 of
landmark FDA regulation of tobacco manufacture and marketing.
DeMarco's unique strategic template, developed over two decades of
serial campaigning, includes momentum-building stages over a
multiyear campaign; unrelenting, skillful access to the media for
engaging public support; coalitions of hundreds, even thousands, of
faith, community, labor, public health, and business groups; and a
hard press on candidates to support legislation before elections,
rather than after they are comfortably in office. As an
organizer/leader, Demarco also succeeds in his campaigns through
force of personality: his unquenchable exuberance and
idiosyncrasies delight and madden his opponents--sometimes his
allies, too. Michael Pertschuk, himself a veteran advocate, here
chronicles three of DeMarco's campaigns, each facing a different
obstacle course. His deep analysis draws out strategic and
leadership lessons that engaged citizens and advocates for popular
causes stonewalled by powerful lobbies can put to immediate and
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