Where Have All the Democrats Gone? A Roundup
Editor’s note: Just over a month ago, TLP’s Ruy Teixeira and John B. Judis released their excellent new book, Where Have All the Democrats Gone? The Soul of the Party in the Age of Extremes. The book touches on many themes analyzed in this newsletter since its start in late 2020—economic nationalism, cultural moderation, patriotism, and effective majoritarian politics. The book has earned well deserved attention and numerous accolades, including a spot on The Wall Street Journal’s Best Books of 2023 list.
Congratulations to Ruy and John. Here are recent book excerpts, notable reviews, and interesting author interviews gathered all in one place for TLP readers.
“Where Have All the Democrats Gone? To win back the allegiance of working-class Americans, Democrats should stake out a middle ground in the culture war and prioritize a New Deal-style economic agenda,” in The Liberal Patriot and Persuasion.
“How the Democrats Lost the Working Class on Immigration: By championing legal and illegal immigrants and largely ignoring border security, the Democratic Party has alienated key voting groups—including Hispanics,” in The Wall Street Journal.
“The Receding Democratic Majority,” at American Compass.
“Best Books of 2023: Politics,” by Barton Swaim in The Wall Street Journal. “Every Democrat owes it to himself to read John Judis and Ruy Teixeira’s ‘Where Have All the Democrats Gone?’ To oversimplify their argument: The decline of trade unions left a vacuum in the Democratic Party, and that vacuum has been filled by overeducated radicals who think borders are inhumane, gender and sexual identities are myriad, the climate is going to kill us all, and race is everything. I may have sounded a touch censorious in my November review of the book, but left-of-center readers will profit immensely from Messrs. Judis and Teixeira’s tonic. An additional note: If you are piqued by my use of the masculine pronoun in the first sentence of this paragraph, the book is probably about you.”
“Where Have All the Democrats Gone? A Review from the Left,” by Michael Kazin in TLP. “In their new book, John B. Judis and Ruy Teixeira make an argument both sober and bracing that anyone who cares about the future course of American politics should take seriously. Supported by a daunting array of polls, electoral history, and local reporting, they warn their fellow Democrats that they are driving away working-class voters of all races by promoting an agenda marked by ‘cultural insularity and arrogance.’”
“Where Have All the Democrats Gone?” by Jessica Matthews in Foreign Affairs. “Over 20 years ago, Judis and Teixeira’s The Emerging Democratic Majority caused a stir by predicting that several growing groups—minorities, young people, single women, and the college educated—would together ensure victories for the Democratic Party for years to come. They were correct in that, but they did not anticipate that the party would simultaneously hemorrhage the support of white working-class and lower-middle-class voters.”
“The Majority That Didn’t Emerge,” by Fred Bauer in City Journal. “Judis and Teixeira offer a clear-eyed assessment of the challenges that the Democratic Party faces and offer a plausible route for the party to win broader majorities: focus on delivering for working-class Americans while offering a more inclusive message on culture. They note, for instance, the popularity of increases to the minimum wage and expansions of Medicaid subsidies even among Republican electorates.”
“The Democrats Are Their Own Worst Enemies,” by Pamela Paul in The New York Times. “Judis’s and Teixeira’s answer looks doubly troubling to Democrats: Not only is the Democratic Party increasingly failing in matters of culture (despite its strength on abortion rights), it’s also seen as failing in matters of class. In a country that has become more overtly populist in its values and needs, Democrats are the ones who look like the party of out-of-touch elitists.”
“Why non-white voters are abandoning the Democratic Party,” in The Economist. “Mr Judis and Mr Teixeira are old-school organised-labour Democrats, with little patience for the newfangled progressives who speak in the language of the faculty lounge. With the exception of abortion, the Democrats are simply out of touch with most Americans on cultural matters.”
“Do Democrats Need to Get Less ‘Globalist’?” by Eric Levitz in New York. “Judis and Texeira therefore argue that ‘America needs a Democratic Party that is liberal on economics and moderate and conciliatory on cultural issues.’ They stress that being ‘moderate’ does not mean splitting the difference between the stances of the left and right. Rather, they largely advise the party to retreat to its Obama-era positioning on social issues.”
“The Democrats Begging Their Party to Ditch the Activist Left,” interview by Philip Elliott for Time.
“Where Have All the Democrats Gone?” interview by Michael Moynihan for The Free Press.
The Bulwark Podcast with Charlie Sykes interviewing Ruy Teixeira.
“The Fight for Working-Class Voters,” interview by Galen Druke for the 538 Politics podcast.
“Where the Hell Have All the Democrats Gone?” interview by Danielle Pletka and Marc Thiessen for the WTH podcast.
“Why the era of the ‘Emerging Democratic Majority’ is collapsing,” interview by Ryan Lizza for the Politico Playbook Deep Dive podcast.