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What is The Liberal Patriot?
A political newsletter dedicated to renewing liberal values and advancing American interests.
Welcome to The Liberal Patriot, a regular newsletter for political analysis and debate on elections, public opinion, policy, and ideology by co-editors John Halpin, Ruy Teixeira, Peter Juul, and Brian Katulis.
The Liberal Patriot seeks to establish an intellectual hub for renewing liberal values in America and reshaping the political conversation on the center-left around the ideas and values necessary for national economic development and international policies that advance American interests. Too much of modern political discourse revolves around unsolvable cultural divisions between people rather than common objectives that advance the well-being of all people. What sets liberal democracy apart from other ideologies and systems of government is a focus on the common good and dignity of all people, a commitment to pluralism, and a rejection of reductionist tribal thinking that drives Americans apart through endless culture wars. The Liberal Patriot will therefore provide an alternative to existing ideologies and programs on offer from both right and left: the dead-end gridlock produced by right-wing populism, democratic socialism, and multicultural identity politics, as well as the growing authoritarian waves sweeping the globe.
We aim to build a network of like-minded thinkers, policy wonks, political analysts, campaign managers, and rising political leaders that can serve as the intellectual and political nucleus for a new center-left politics in an America still searching for a way forward in the twenty-first century. The ideas that the liberal patriotism project generates will be translated into practice. It will support new ways of thinking about politics and policy, robust and empirically grounded analysis, and a communications effort that can impact the political conversation on the American center-left.
The results of the 2020 election—a resounding personal defeat for President Trump combined with a decline in support for Democrats in Congress and most state houses—show that the American people are looking for a fresh political alternative. This project aims to define a new vital center for American politics with a liberal patriotism that can succeed in 2022 and 2024—and lay the ideological foundation for an enduring center-left coalition in the years and decades beyond.
The Liberal Patriot project’s main focus will be in America, but it will seek to foster and cultivate networks of political voices in leading democracies facing similar challenges and opportunities around the world. By building a new vital center in America, the project will strengthen liberal political movements around the world, particularly democracies weakened from within by illiberal forces in places like Great Britain, Italy, Israel, and India.
Liberalism: A project that aims to renew liberal values ought to realize them itself. In practical terms, liberalism as a core value entails a commitment to genuine freedom based on open inquiry, a fair-minded exchange of ideas, and an allergy to dogma from any quarter. It insists on equal treatment and full political rights for all people.
Common Good: This project sees the pursuit of the common good for all Americans as a core tenet. That means national economic development, national security in the world, and a robust safety net for all at home. A focus on the common good allows Americans to rebuild a shared sense of national purpose both at home and abroad.
Pragmatism: Though this project will put forward a principled vision that contrasts with rivals on both the right and the left, it will remain intensely pragmatic in spirit and in practice. It will advocate for policies and politics that are both smart and popular and oppose those that are bad and unpopular. Equally important, it views politics as additive rather than subtractive—it will engage almost any constructive voice as it seeks to build the widest possible coalition to advance its politics and policies.
As the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states most eloquently: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirt of brotherhood.” This is the foundational principle of The Liberal Patriot as well.
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