The Republican losing streak in presidential elections is sparking a "civil war" between ultraconservatives and pragmatists. Some GOP realists are invoking the Democratic Leadership Council as a model for moderating their party. Since Al From and I created the DLC, this set me to thinking.
In today's Daily Beast, I explore some striking parallels between the GOP's plight and Democrats' struggle to find a way out of the political wilderness in the late 1980s. The essay describes how Bill Clinton and the New Democrats wrested control of their party's governing agenda from interest groups and "liberal fundamentalists", and built a broader progressive coalition around creative ideas and unifying political values.
Republicans, I conclude, face a more daunting challenge than New Democrats, because the ideological calcification of their party is more advanced, and because extremism arises from the party's grass roots. Does the GOP need a DLC? Maybe so, but party leaders don't seem ready to exorcise their ideological demons.
I hope you enjoy the piece.
President, Progressive Policy Institute