When a new Democratic group launched earlier this month with the announced goal of expanding the party’s electoral base into more conservative territory, the ranks of those who are ever-ready for a “struggle for the soul of the Democratic Party” rejoiced. That included conservativeseager to suggest the group would be a redoubt for pro-life candidates progressives wanted to exclude; progressives quick to label it as advocating the “rich-friendly neoliberalism inflected with white identity politics” that Democrats have begun to repudiate; and mainstream-media folk looking for a new entrant in the “fight over the party’s direction.” There were also some clueless observers who apparently thought the group’s name, New Democracy, harkened back to a Maoist slogan rather than to the “New Democrats” that were Bill Clinton’s (and to some extent Barack Obama’s) ideological comrades.
Those who were familiar with the New Democrats (and the organization that launched them, the now-defunct Democratic Leadership Council) can be forgiven for assuming the new group would again be taking up the cudgels against “fundamentalist liberalism” and an interest-group-dominated Democratic Party — particularly given the new prominence of democratic socialist Bernie Sanders and his followers. After all, New Democracy’s founder, Will Marshall, was a co-founder of the DLC more than three decades ago, and he still espouses some of the same policy views (bemoaning economic anti-globalization and pessimism) and political perspectives (embracing a “big tent” party committed to persuasion as well as mobilization of voters) familiar to participants and spectators of intra-party fights in the past.
Continue reading at New York Magazine.