Twenty-four years ago, the Democrats were a party in trouble. They had just lost their third consecutive presidential election, and the prospects for the future looked bleak. In response, William Galston and Elaine Kamarck wrote one of the most important political white papers of our time: “The Politics of Evasion,” an essay that diagnosed the party’s ills and urged the Democrats to change course. Their advice was controversial, but it was heeded by some important people—including one Bill Clinton. In our current issue, Galston and Kamarck revisit that landmark paper and find that it still holds valuable lessons for a party lost in the wilderness—this time, the Republicans.
Also in the issue: Andrew Weiss of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace takes a look at our deteriorating relationship with Russia. Richard V. Reeves, Isabel Sawhill, and Kimberly Howard of the Brookings Institution call on progressives to begin paying attention to the “parenting gap.” Henry Farrell of George Washington University explores the world of technology intellectuals. And Bruce Raynor and Andy Stern rebut Rich Yeselson’s “Fortress Unionism” essay from the previous issue.
In the books section, we have Joan Walsh on George Packer’s take on American decline; Seyla Benhabib on the late Albert O. Hirschman; J.J. Goldberg on Daniel Jonah Goldhagen’s new book on anti-Semitism; Meg Jacobs on the history and politics of austerity; and Diana Wueger on the continuing debate over guns.
For three decades, progressives have reviled supply-side economics without ever offering a powerful alternate theory. In this issue of Democracy, we do just that. We argue that the time is ripe for progressives to take up “middle-out economics” as the definitive retort to trickle-down economics. Middle-out economics contends that prosperity doesn’t trickle down from the top, but flows in a virtuous cycle from the middle out.
In our centerpiece symposium, we invited Eric Liu and Nick Hanauer, Neera Tanden, Eric Beinhocker, Bruce Bartlett, Mona Sutphen, and Heather Boushey, among others, to lay out the middle-out agenda.
Also in the issue: Rich Yeselson, a veteran of the labor movement, calls for a new approach for unions. Jason Bordoff, fresh off a stint as an adviser to President Obama, presents a comprehensive plan to revamp and modernize our energy infrastructure. Author and journalist Timothy Noah takes on Jonathan Haidt’s contention from our previous issue that economic issues are now just another theater in the culture war.
Elsewhere: Marc Lynch on the Muslim Brotherhood. Chrystia Freeland on how our corporate elites have changed. James Mann on Hillary Clinton’s stint as secretary of state. Kareem U. Crayton on the New South. And Jordan Michael Smith on Vital Center liberalism.
We dedicate this issue of Democracy to the issue of voting rights. How can progressives fight back against the new voter-suppression movement? And what positive agenda can we put forward to expand and strengthen the franchise? We invited Jonathan Soros, Mark Schmitt, Michael Waldman, Heather Gerken, Tova Wang, and Jeff Hauser to offer some new ideas.
Also in the issue: the esteemed social psychologist Jonathan Haidt takes a look at how and why Democrats and Republicans define fairness differently. Mark Kleiman of UCLA offers a definitive essay on what a smart, progressive crime policy should look like. And Michael Wahid Hanna scans the Middle Eastern landscape and assesses where the region is and where it’s going.
Elsewhere: Bill Burton on campaign-finance reality. Jane Mayer on our post-9/11 terror courts. Brad DeLong on the conservative hatred of the 47 percent. Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson on what primitive societies have to teach us. David Blight on the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. And Thomas Sugrue on the false dawn in Detroit.
We dedicate this issue of Democracy to the hope that Big Money can be stopped and that our politics can be changed—and we offer some original and specific ways to do it. Some of the best thinkers in the reform movement—Russ Feingold, Bill Moyers, Jacob Hacker, and Trevor Potter, among others—offer their best ideas on how to loosen Big Money’s grip on our politics.
Also in the issue: Barney Frank, who leaves Congress after more than three decades of distinguished service, writes about a historic shift: For the first time in memory, a Democrat ran for president calling for lower defense spending—and won. George S. Hawkins, head of D.C.’s water commission, has an important essay on the need to revamp the Clean Water Act. And Henry J. Aaron of the Brookings Institution offers his ideas on entitlement reforms progressives should be open to.
Elsewhere: Akhil Reed Amar on the absurd reasoning of Justice Scalia. Mary Dudziak on how international law has been twisted to serve American ends. Scott McLemee on what higher education should teach. Len Gutkin on the postwar novel and the Democratic Party.