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Why the Democrats are Blue: Secular Liberalism and the Decline of the People's Party [Hardcover]

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Item Number 393492  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   315
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.1" Width: 6.2" Height: 1.3"
Weight:   1.35 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Oct 25, 2007
Publisher   Encounter Books
ISBN  159403205X  
EAN  9781594032059  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
This book argues that secular, educated elites, using a commission created at the 1968 convention in Chicago and later chaired by Senator George McGovern, took the Democratic Party away from working class and religious Democrats and changed the party forever.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
de Tocqueville Confirmed?--No He Missed This One  Aug 28, 2008
In Democracy in America, at one point in his observations of 1830's, almost-exclusively rural America, de Tocqueville turns to nascent industrialization and remarks that if America becomes industrialized, then its democracy will degenerate into political affiliations based on purely economic interests. American Democracy will fail since America's political discourse will be devoid of any principled discussion of the common good and how to lead her citizens to virtue and human flourishing. One of the most vexing political questions of recent decades has been why do the political parties no longer seem to align themselves with economic interests or even moral views?

Mr. Strickerz goes far in providing a great piece of this puzzle, a piece of the puzzle that all men of good will must heed. The devil is in the details and Strickerz provides us with a long overdue look at the details of the party's presidential nominating system. It is a system without any pretense of representing a constituency or of engaging in discourse on how best to pursue the common good or even of discourse on what is a proper understanding of the common good. Rather the 1968 McGovern Commission, to the great consternation of its more principled members, implemented a system with one goal--to nominate secular elites and to keep them in power. Although the immediate goal was to nominate an anti-Vietnam War candidate, the change in rules established a syste designed to ignore the views of the party's traditional constituency and to advance an ideology, an ideology foreign to most Americans.

Stricherz account of how this was done--soft quotas, primary nominating system, etc.--should be essential knowledge for anyone concerned with our political process, anyone concerned with fosterning our democracy. With such knowledge, such men of good will will be in a better position to toppel the alien elites--Clintons, Obama, Dean and company--at the controls of the party.

Although de Tocqueville's observations seemed largely true in the 1930's and 40's, they are not true now (nor could such a development have been predicted). However, his larger pessimism about maintaining a principled political discourse has proven well-founded.
Why the Democrats are Blue: Secular Liberalism and the Decline of the People's Party  Jul 1, 2008
I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in political history and who wants to know how the Democratic Party became secular and liberal when at one time it was the party of the working class, and Catholics. Mark Stricherz did an excellent job researching the information and writing it. His book answered my questions.

According to Mark Stricherz, the Democratic Party, who championed for the working class and Catholics began to change in 1968, during the time of the Vietnam War and the anti-war protesters. Fred Dutton, a member of the Democratic Party who was responsible for reforming the party structure, wanted to add new members and change the issues that the party represented. The new members consisted of college educated people, young people, women, and African-Americans. The college educated and the young voters were secular opposed to the Catholic voters and other Christian denominations who voted Democratic. The new issues of concern to these new members were social, economic, cultural, and foreign policy (anti-war).

The Democratic Party also changed the way that their presidential candidate was elected for the purpose of electing an anti-war candidate. Gone was the old boss system, which was a group of a small few men that met privately to handpick the presidential candidate of their choice. Instead a newer Democratic system, where voters elected their candidate, was put in place. In order to have fair representation among women and minorities, the party established a soft quota system for them. The Democratic Party got their wish and elected an anti-war candidate, George McGovern, but he did not win the Presidential election in 1972. Sounds like the Democratic Party created an activist system to elect a particular candidate of their choice who could not win in the end.

Then the Feminists started to make demands on the Democratic Party in the early 1970's. Their first demand was that each of the state's delegates has a quota of 50% women. Surprisingly, the Democratic Party gave in to their demands, which allowed the feminists easy access to the party. The second item was to create a platform recognizing abortion as a woman's fundamental right. At first the feminists did not succeed, but they kept persevering and at the 1980 Democratic National Convention they adopted an abortion plank. From that point on it became evident that the Democratic Party became the party of abortion rights, and the pro-lifers could no longer influence abortion policies. Any politician who is a member of the Democratic Party and aspires to a higher position in the party such as the Presidency or Chairman of the Democratic National Committee will be not elected to either position if they are not pro-choice.

As a result of these changes that occurred from 1968-1972, and 1980, the Democratic Party is no longer the party of the working class, Catholics, and Pro-Lifers. The liberal elites who took control of the party, whether it be college educated people, the young people, or the feminists do not care for religious people and/or do not share their values. That is why the Catholics and the working class feel excluded and vote Republican not because they are the better party, but they are more inclusive to their values. The secular liberals, who are Democrats, will argue that the Republican Party panders to the Religious Right, which is true, but they will not admit that the Democratic Party is intolerant of religious people and their beliefs, especially those who oppose abortion.

Finally, the Democratic Party will very likely end up winning the Presidential Election this year, but not because the religious people and the pro-lifers are welcomed back, but because of the bad job that the Bush Administration has done with the war in Iraq, the bad economy, and high gas prices. In the future, it remains to be seen how the religious people and the pro-lifers will vote?

How'd we get here?   Jun 20, 2008
How did the Democratic Party turn from being the natural home of socially conservative working class Catholic ethnics to a party largely dominated by the cultural revolution of the 1960's? Mark Stricherz's book is, in addition to being a great read, an important contribution to today's political debates, and a great history lesson on the evolving nature of our political parties. The book does a great job of explaining the importance of the McGovern Commisson's changes in party rules, and how that resulted in a sea change in the national Democratic Party's outlook and electoral fortunes from the '70s through the present day. Stricherz also highlights important, yet forgotten figures like Fred Dutton and David Bruce and gives them the attention they deserve. All in all a terrific book for serious political junkies (like me) and casual students of politics and history as well. Fairminded and well-written.
Interesting thesis, not sure it's correct however  May 11, 2008
This is an interesting thesis: that the Democrats are now the party of the secularists, having identified themselves with issues that run directly against traditional religious beliefs. The secularists--a motley group of wealthy limousine liberals who advocate partial birth abortion and gay marriage and stamping out Christmas--are now firmly in charge of the Democratic party.

It is amazing to realize, as Stricherz details, that the ethnic Catholics and Southern evangelists were once the main props of the Democratic party.

And it is true that time and again, polls show that those who attend church once a week will not vote Democratic. They appear firmly in the Republican camp.

This year, the issues may well center around the housing market, oil prices, and war. But what about the trends through the next decades? Is Stricherz right that the Democratic party, having chosen to identify itself with abortion and gay rights, turned away too many voters?

I don't know. I do believe Stricherz does not consider the vast number of voters who now truly need the party of secularists: single women, especially single mothers. With an illegitimacy rate of about 40% single mothers rely on the government for handouts, and to heck with moral issues. Those women may prove to be a larger group than those who hold religious beliefs.
Forget the book. Just watch Bill-O instead.  Jan 23, 2008
Yeah, yeah, yeah. We're all too familiar with the cartoon character known as "Limousine Liberal", the latte-sipping elite whose ultimate goal is to subvert the Judeo-Christian value system and make everyone get an abortion. Rightwingers are free to comfort themselves with such a strawman if it makes losing elections more bearable, but it doesn't change fact that most Americans identify themselves as Democrats, not Republicans, and a solid majority want abortion to remain fundamentally legal.

BTW, Fox News has distributed a memo stating the preferred nomenclature is now "secular progressive", not "secular liberal".

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