Merge Left

Fusing Race and Class, Winning Elections, and Saving America

From the acclaimed author of Dog Whistle Politics, an essential road map to neutralizing the role of racism as a divide-and-conquer political weapon and to building a broad multiracial progressive future

“Ian Haney López has broken the code on the racial politics of the last fifty years.” —Bill Moyers

In 2014, Ian Haney López in Dog Whistle Politics named and explained the coded racial appeals exploited by right-wing politicians over the last half century—and thereby anticipated the 2016 presidential election. Now the country is heading into what will surely be one of the most consequential elections ever, with the Right gearing up to exploit racial fear-mongering to divide and distract, and the Left splintered over the next step forward. Some want to focus on racial justice head-on; others insist that a race-silent focus on class avoids alienating white voters.

Can either approach—race-forward or colorblind—build the progressive supermajorities necessary to break political gridlock and fundamentally change the country’s direction?

For the past two years, Haney López has been collaborating with a research team of union activists, racial justice leaders, communications specialists, and pollsters. Based on conversations, interviews, and surveys with thousands of people all over the country, the team found a way forward.

By merging the fights for racial justice and for shared economic prosperity, they were able to build greater enthusiasm for both goals—and for the cross-racial solidarity needed to win elections.
What does this mean? It means that neutralizing the Right’s political strategy of racial division is possible, today. And that’s the key to everything progressives want to achieve.

A work of deep research, nuanced argument, and urgent insight, Merge Left: Fusing Race and Class, Winning Elections, and Saving America is an indispensable tool for the upcoming political season and in the larger fight to build racial justice and shared economic prosperity for all of us.


“With great clarity and thoughtfulness, Ian F. Haney López shows why the path to a truly just society lies in a multi-racial coalition of poor, working and middle-class Americans. . . . Powerful, urgent, and timely.”
—Robert B. Reich, former labor secretary and Chancellor’s Professor, University of California at Berkeley
“Cross-racial solidarity is the Holy Grail of progressive politics. Merge Left makes the best case yet for how to finally achieve it as the route to racial and economic justice.”
—Heather McGhee, distinguished senior fellow, Demos and Demos Action
Merge Left explains the tools we need to highlight how racism is used to drive working families apart. Now, we have a frame to take race head-on in politics and in our journey to build power for working people.”
—Mary Kay Henry, international president, SEIU
“In Dog Whistle Politics, Haney López explained how coded racism in politics tears us apart. He shows us how we can come together again in his new book, Merge Left. ”
—Van Jones, host of The Van Jones Show and Redemption Project on CNN
“Understanding how to counteract the conservative playbook on race . . . is the great challenge of political strategy today. It has also been the determined, prescient and indispensably productive pursuit of Ian Haney López for decades.”
—Rashad Robinson, president, Color Of Change
“Read Merge Left. The unity that makes the labor movement unbeatable requires genuine cross-racial solidarity.”
—Richard Trumka, president, AFL-CIO
Merge Left should be read by every person who strives for a sane and humane immigration policy—and a flourishing democracy for all of us.”
—María Teresa Kumar, president, Voto Latino