A Chronicle About How the Democrats Lost Their Soul and Are Trying to Get It Back Again

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A Chronicle About How the Democrats Lost Their Soul and Are Trying to Get It Back Again
A Chronicle About How the Democrats Lost Their Soul and Are Trying to Get It Back Again

The book Where Have All the Democrats Gone? The Soul of the Party in the Age of Extremes reads like a sixties memoir. The two authors, John Judis and Ruy Teixeira, both boomers, describe the massive decline of the left, especially since the sixties.

The two authors, who wrote an earlier optimistic book about a “coming Democratic majority,” now warn the party has lost its way and needs to change course soon.

They are forced to admit that the party radicals have gone too far and alienated vast sectors of the American public that would normally align with the Democratic Party.

The resulting narrative is like a sixties drug trip gone awry. A program radicals thought would produce a heady path to victory has instead delivered a psychedelic nightmare of panic and defeat.

This 2023 book is both a chronicle and an apology for the shortcomings of a movement that the authors had projected to win. They now ask: Where have all the Democrats gone? They’ve gone woke—causing many Americans to become upset.

The Dominant Liberal Narrative Fails

As much as the authors might protest, they follow the dominant liberal narrative based on the Marxist obsession with interpreting history from the economic perspective. Everything is explained by money and power.

The writers also believe in historical determinism, in which society advances to ever-greater forms of freedom and progress through a process of class struggle. Thus, America must be seen from a simplistic rich versus poor dialectic; not much can go wrong.

Eternal and Natural Law: The Foundation of Morals and Law

However, everything with the assessment went wrong. The Democrats’ mishaps have scrambled the leftist narrative. They are supposed to be representing the poor and the workers. And yet the party now attracts high-tech elites, academia, suburbanites and the woke corporate world. The party is continually alienating those “deplorables” who once rallied to its cause—including minorities, women and the less educated. The G.O.P., the “oppressor party” that once attracted the business world, now attracts the workers, youth and the religiously inclined.

Patronizing Those Who React

Inside this warped class war perspective, the explanations are forced and patronizing. The writers insinuate that the poor, oppressed American workers do not understand their plight.

The reaction to the extreme left is reduced to a fast-talking Donald Trump who knew how to exploit the frustrations of the common man abandoned by the left. The radicals have good intentions, but they overreached by going too far, too fast, too soon.

Adding to the confusion, the book’s authors are reluctant revolutionaries. They are establishment figures working for liberal icons like the Washington Post, trendy leftist journals and think tanks. As militants left behind by the postmodern vanguard, their uninspiring message is to slow down and tone down.

A Shallowness and Refusal to Transcend

This mediocre appeal gives a shallowness to the book that insinuates that there are no permanent principles to be defended. Everything exists in function of this liberal leftist revolution that must go ahead—slowly.

The authors make no effort to transcend into moral, religious or esthetic topics that give meaning and purpose to life. Their perspective is purely secular, with no place for God.

A sterile analysis overshadows everything. Thus, there is a sloppiness in detail and a refusal to deal with nuance. The authors tend to accept long-refuted claims (President Trump caged immigrant children) and take the CNN spin of the news stories.

The Moral Issues Are the Most Important Ones

However, this book does have some very valuable insights. It speaks best through what it does not say.

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The book inadvertently reveals that the center of gravity in this present fight consists of moral issues, not economic ones. Thus, conservatives are dead on target when insisting upon fighting the culture war.

The authors blame these issues for messing up the leftist historical processes. They say if these troublesome moral concerns are removed, society will gradually return to its leftward course to greater freedom (and sin).

To convince readers to abandon these distracting moral issues, the “solution” at book end advises Democrats to “put aside the culture wars” and debate the general economic problems on which most people can come to an agreement.

However, this conclusion merely proves that economic issues are the least, not the most, important ones. Topics that cause the most passion are those that matter the most—God, family, honor, virtue, among others. Take them away, and all is reduced to the hallmark frustrations of these times.

The Radical Left Will Not Retreat

Thus, the proposed solution is anti-progressive. It advocates that history go backward. Resurrect the left’s gradual narrative before radicals took over the wheel and led everything off course. Go back to the New Deal and progressive politics of the past.

This strategy will only slow down, not stop, the march of the culture downward. The right should see it for what it is and reject it: an unacceptable policy that amounts to a slow surrender of society.

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Of course, this appeal will not convince leftists, firm believers as they are, that you cannot put the toothpaste back into the tube. Thus, leftist radicals will continue to push their woke agendas and Drag Queen Story Hours, demand more surrenders from society and take this drug trip nightmare yet further off course with or without a nod from the Democratic Party establishment.

The Book’s Lessons

Ironically, the book shows the way forward for conservatives who grieve for America. History is not predetermined, as the left believes. The book proves how the efforts of determined activists can reverse course and wreak havoc upon the left.

It also shows that the materialistic and secular narrative does not attract the masses. A return to order and God’s law is possible for those who have Faith.

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