Democrats As Cannibals

Two merciless new books explore why the party of the working class does not seem to work anymore

Among Democrats' tribal practices during the past two decades, supping on their losing presidential candidate has become hard custom. The party not only deprives its recent champion the ancient role of shadow leader; it also devours him as the solitary symbol of defeat. From George McGovern to Michael Dukakis, the nominees ran flawed campaigns. But by always heaping all the blame on their latest loser, the Democrats conduct an exercise in denial. That allows the party to ignore the collective blunders that explain why it has lost five of the past six presidential elections.

Now, as the Democrats listlessly begin the...

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