All over the world, political parties are being born and political pluralism is being fostered. Ironically, here in the United States, the parties are blurring together ideologically, and the political process is suffering. One of the messages of this book is that a vital two-party system is essential to America’s political health. The last thing this country needs, the authors argue, is two Republican parties. At this critical moment in history, the Democratic party has the opportunity to offer the nation a real political choice, a sense of direction, and a program to address the needs of Americans in a changing world. It is time, they say, for a change—a change that only the Democrats can provide. As recounted here, a generation of Republican administrations have had their chance. The results have not been happy: deepening social divisions, heightened inequalities in income distribution, a decaying educational system, environmental exploitation, an insensitivity to the concerns of the less powerful, the largest public debt in history, and a foreign policy based on force. Recurring constitutional crises have also erupted, as epitomized by the Iran-Contra affair. The record is a sorry one. Alternatives exist, and the best ones rest with the Democratic party. The Democrats must lead. It is their responsibility to offer a new vision of the future and the means for achieving it—to provide a program that is compassionate, just, and inclusive of all. The politics of greed, exploitation, self-promotion, and militarism must be put behind us. Such are the themes of this extraordinary book. Leading academicians, each an expert in his or her area, emphasize the need for new leadership, propose contributions that a progressive Democratic party could make, and suggest what this party should stand for as well as how it can win in 1992. They urge the Democrats to be both brave and principled-brave in defying the conventional wisdom that Democrats must be moderate to win, and principled in sticking to progressive ideals. The book provides analysis of such areas as the political impact of an issue-oriented, liberal party; the campaign and media choices required to get a progressive message across; the role and concerns of women, blacks, Hispanics, and other 262underrepresented groups; electoral and legislative strategies for success; and the substance of what a progressive policy agenda should contain. Challenging and thought-provoking, these essays will help reshape political thinking during this critical period in the nation’s history. Their objective is creation of a society that represents and responds to human needs, and the authors indicate the way to achieve these goals through an invigorated, forward-looking Democratic party.
Table of Contents
Preface -- A Party That Can Lead/A Party That Should Lead -- The Democrats Must Lead—But How? -- Why We Still Need Real Political Parties -- The National Democratic Party Can Lead -- Who Needs Two Republican Parties? -- A Congressional Party Must Stand for Something -- Getting the Message Across: How? To Whom? -- Dump Dixie—West Is Best: The Geography of a Progressive Democracy -- What to Say and How to Say It? -- Television, the 1992 Democratic Presidential Hopeful, and Electoral Success -- Minority Politics and “Political Realities” in American Politics -- Progressive Democrats and Support for Women’s Issues -- Latinos and the Democratic Party -- A Politics of Substance -- A Democratic Economic Policy -- A New World Order That Means Something -- Winning a Government: Reinvigorating the Political System