The Democrats The Party's New Soul

Downplaying ideology and their past crusades, Democrats enter the postliberal age

Democratic conventions have never been for the fainthearted. Whatever Democrats believe, they tend to believe it with the brawling gusto of a radio talk-show host. Whether it was Chicago Mayor Richard Daley snarling read-my- lips obscenities in 1968 or Senator Edward Kennedy battling a sitting President to the last bitter moment in 1980, Democrats have settled their differences with the civility of the Hatfields and the McCoys. Even the 1932 convention that first nominated Party Icon Franklin Roosevelt was raucous and bitter. As H.L. Mencken wrote at the time, "The great combat is ending this afternoon in classical Democratic manner. That...

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