Blue Today, Bluer Tomorrow
The long-rising blue tide that has colored American politics and values may have crested, but it could still have enough momentum to make it through the election year. Even if Trump is somehow reelected, the wielders of power and influence — academia, media, Wall Street, Hollywood, the big-tech oligarchs, the dominant nonprofits, and the governmental apparat — will remain deep blue for the foreseeable future.
The prospect of untrammeled progressive power, particularly with a malleable Joe Biden in the White House, may seem depressing for conservatives or even old-style liberals, who are concerned by the Left’s increasingly censorious and authoritarian bent. But there is also a silver lining of sorts. Everywhere blue policies — generally now referred to as “progressive” — have prevailed, they have failed miserably, particularly for those parts of the population, such as the working class and minorities, that they purport to serve.
Over time, these failures will open up an opportunity perhaps not for a resurgence of traditional conservatism but for a reshuffling of political loyalties away from those whose policies don’t work. Many core constituencies associated with blue politics may become aware that their interests, prominent on the progressive menu, will never in reality be served. Ultimately, results, not memes, matter most. Progressives have demonstrated monumental incompetence in addressing everything from social equity to education, culture, and energy policy. Even in postmodern America, failure cannot forever be sold as success.
The cry for greater equality, particularly for minorities, dominated the rhetoric of the 2020 Democratic National Convention. Hollywood, the corporate world, professional sports, academia, and the mainstream media are all being lured by the siren song of “social justice,” but that song sounds nice and empathetic only until you look at the results.
In analyzing the nation’s 107 largest metropolitan regions (populations over 500,000), Wendell Cox, a demographer at the Urban Reform Institute, found that the worst places for minorities — judged by where ethnic populations are growing and how minorities do compared with whites in such areas as educational attainment and homeownership — are generally those metros that are bluest. The best, Cox found, are generally reddish or purple metros mainly in the South, Midwest, Great Plains, and desert Southwest.
African Americans, for example, generally do best, as compared with whites, in southern metro areas, led by Atlanta, McAllen (Texas), Raleigh, El Paso, Nashville, and Virginia Beach. The other best places are Sun Belt cities such as Phoenix and heartland areas such as Des Moines and Kansas City. Among the large metros, only the Washington, D.C., metro, which includes parts of Virginia, Maryland, and West Virginia, and the Baltimore metro, with their large numbers of federal employees, make the top 20 for black progress. At the bottom are mostly deep-blue metropolitan areas such as New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, Chicago, and San Diego.
Much the same pattern is seen with Latinos, for whom midwestern cities such as St. Louis, Columbus, Omaha, Kansas City, and Grand Rapids, and southern ones such as Atlanta, Virginia Beach, and Fayetteville (Ark.) all rate in the top 20. In contrast, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, San Jose, and Boston fall way to the bottom. Asians, although doing better generally, follow a very similar pattern, with Atlanta, Fayetteville (Ark.), Kansas City, St. Louis, and Cincinnati in the top five. New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco — long the Asian-American population centers — all cling to the bottom.
One critical difference can be seen in homeownership, arguably the most essential mechanism for entering the middle class. African-American homeownership as a percentage of households reaches nearly one-half in Atlanta and nearly 45 percent in Charlotte and Nashville. By comparison, it is less than 35 percent in Los Angeles, Boston, and New York. Latino homeownership as a percentage of households exceeds 50 percent in Houston and Dallas–Fort Worth but is below 30 percent in New York and Boston.
Perhaps most revealing of all is how minorities are voting with their feet. Over the past two decades, the growth in the number of African-American households has been the lowest in San Francisco, along with New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and New Orleans. Where are black populations growing? Since 2000, among the larger metropolitan areas (over 1 million population), Phoenix, Las Vegas, Minneapolis–St. Paul, Orlando, Dallas–Fort Worth, and Atlanta have seen an increase of 70 percent or more in black households — that is more than four times the national 15 percent increase in the black population over the same period. Consistent with trends beginning even before the coronavirus pandemic, smaller metropolitan areas — some with very small black-population bases — have had even greater increases in black households: for example, more than 200 percent in Boise (Idaho) and Fayetteville (Ark.), and at least 150 percent in Provo (Utah), Portland (Maine), and Scranton (Pa.).
Similar patterns exist for Asians, whose median household income is 28 percent above the national average, and Latinos. Like African Americans, no matter their politics these two groups are generally headed away from progressive America and toward red regions and states, where taxes are more reasonable, regulation is less oppressive, and housing prices are lower.
Given the now popular concept that traces all statistical inequalities to “systemic” racism, one has to wonder when progressives will confront the real impact of their own policies.
The political base of blue America comprises dense, big core cities. In New York, San Francisco, and other major urban centers, Democrats often win upward of 80 percent of the vote. The Democratic convention paraded a bevy of former and current mayors, from Michael Bloomberg (who governed New York as a Republican and an independent) to San Antonio’s Julián Castro to Senator Cory Booker (formerly Newark, N.J., mayor) to Atlanta’s Keisha Lance Bottoms, as exemplars of the kind of leadership the country needs.
Yet embracing the core cities as role models for America’s future is increasingly problematic. Even before the pandemic, big cities such as New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago were losing population, with migration shifting to suburbs and lower-cost metros. The blue strategies — affirmative action, higher taxes, expanded social programs, more regulation — certainly have not slowed poverty’s spread; in the years between 1980 and 2018, the number of high-poverty metropolitan census tracks doubled in population while the wealth gap between these areas and affluent areas grew. Incomes in these poor areas grew in the 1980s and 1990s but have not grown since 2000.
The coronavirus has been particularly brutal for the urban poor. Some of this reflects the impact of density: Counties with 25,000 people per square mile suffered a fatality rate roughly five times that of areas with typical suburban densities. Overall, counties with densities over 10,000 per square mile constitute less than 4 percent of the nation’s population but have suffered nearly 15 percent of the deaths associated with the pandemic. By comparison, in the most typical suburban areas (urban densities of 1,000 to 2,500 per square mile), where 53 percent of the population lives, the COVID fatality rate is approximately one-fifth of that. In largely rural counties (urban densities of under 1,000), it’s one-sixth.
Dense urban areas generally have suffered more in the pandemic because of what the demographer Cox labels “exposure density” brought on by insufficiently ventilated places such as crowded housing, transit, elevators, and office environments. The most vulnerable to infection and fatalities have been those living in minority urban communities with higher rates of poverty and household crowding, such as in New York’s outer boroughs, East and South Los Angeles, New Orleans, and Chicago’s huge South Side and West Side ghettos. In comparison, dense but affluent areas — upscale neighborhoods of Manhattan, West Los Angeles, and Chicago’s Gold Coast — have suffered fewer fatalities and less economic dislocation.
The poor have also suffered more from the pandemic’s economic effects. In some New York City neighborhoods, unemployment now reaches 30 percent. Roughly half of all job losses in April were in such low-paying sectors as restaurants, hotels, and amusement parks. Almost 40 percent of those Americans making under $40,000 a year have lost their jobs, as the wage gains made during the first two years of the Trump administration have largely evaporated.
Even before the pandemic, cities had failed as places to lift up the working or middle class, as a recent MIT report demonstrates. Today our core cities suffer a level of inequality far worse than in the countryside or suburbs and more closely resemble social conditions in Mexico. As Michael Lind has suggested, the “post-industrial” city has abandoned production jobs that are traditional sources of upward mobility while favoring the interests of real-estate speculators and global-service firms. For all their progressive pretensions, he notes, these cities instead have fostered “the very trickle-down economics that Democrats like to denounce.”
Rather than supporting a robust middle class, core cities suffer an ever-wider gap between the two critical blue constituencies — the highly educated professional class and the urban poor. But after COVID, much of the professional class appears to be decamping. Firms such as Google, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Salesforce are now reducing their urban footprint, with some scaling back or even canceling leases in San Francisco. A recent NFX survey of venture capitalists indicated that dispersed work is now the norm for the vast majority of start-ups.
Some suggest this is a temporary trend and that offices will no doubt fill up more than now, but most serious research indicates that many high-end jobs will continue to depart urban cores. Corporate executives have expressed satisfaction with the shift to online work as they reap surprising productivity gains. Stanford economist Nicholas Bloom projects that, ultimately, we will see telecommuting increase from 5 percent of the workforce before the pandemic to something closer to 20 percent. More important still, most people now working from home express a preference — some 60 percent, according to Gallup — to keep doing so for the foreseeable future. Even when offices opened early this summer in New York, real-estate brokers report, most workers refused to return.
The pandemic has greatly undermined the constituency for urban living. According to a 2020 American Enterprise Institute survey that used a 2018 Gallup survey as a baseline, the percentage of Americans saying they want to live in cities dropped 55 percent in just two years, down to barely 13 percent. Rather than the much ballyhooed “back to the city” movement, we are entering what Zillow describes as “a great reshuffling” to suburbs, smaller cities, and less expensive states. Another recent AEI survey showed that people are increasingly heading to sprawling metros such as Sacramento, Phoenix, and Las Vegas. For the first time in over a decade, according the USDA’s Economic Research Service, even non-metro areas are beginning to gain population.
The recent wave of riots, the most widespread in 50 years, is not likely to make cities any more attractive. Nor is the increase in urban crime. Yet even in the face of these two threats to public order, many blue-city politicians embrace the notion of “defunding” the police and have taken a remarkably hands-off approach to looting and other acts of violence. Some, such as in Minneapolis, have been notably slow to denounce looting and acts of physical violence — if the cause fits their narrative. District attorneys in such indigo locales as San Francisco, Chicago, Philadelphia, and St. Louis recoil from incarcerating even violent looters. The DA in California’s Contra Costa County went so far as to suggest that if cops decide that the looter needed the goods, he should not be charged.
This indifference comes with a cost. Rising crime and lack of law enforcement tend to expel businesses as well as affluent residents, who pay a large proportion of taxes; the top 1 percent pay 43 percent of New York City income taxes. If this exodus continues, the poor may soon find themselves increasingly on their own.
In the pages of the Guardian, In These Times, and The Atlantic, writers on the left have suggested that the departure of wealthy residents is a positive trend that will allow a more just and accessible city to be “reborn.” This seems like wishful thinking. Over time, riots typically hurt black-owned and immigrant-owned businesses and small-property owners. In past cases, after initial pledges by big businesses and nonprofits to aid the inner city, the longer-term trend has been to reduce investment in poor inner-city areas. The “no justice, no peace” rhetoric common around the L.A. civil unrest 30 years ago hardly improved conditions over time; instead, as shown by a UCLA Luskin Center study, South-Central Los Angeles, the site of two of the worst riots in American history, has suffered a growing gap with the surrounding area in terms of homeownership, income, and educational attainment.
Urban policy is just one example of blue policies that are hurting the poor and working classes. Energy and environmental policies, such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal, much of which has been adopted by Biden, also could have a regressive impact that extends beyond the cities.
Of course, the nation is not yet subject to the GND, but we can see the impact in California, where a junior version is already being imposed. An analysis by the Chapman Center for Demographics and Policy details how the state’s draconian anti-climate-change regime has driven California’s cost-adjusted poverty level to being the highest of any state. Even before the pandemic, nearly one in five Californians, many of them working, were living in poverty, and the Public Policy Institute of California estimates that another 20 percent live in near-poverty — roughly 15 million people in total.
Once a major energy producer, California is now coping with gas and electricity prices that are among the highest in the nation. Since 2011, electricity prices have increased five times as fast as the national average; in 2017 alone, they increased at three times the national rate. This is not a fluke. Most countries that have adopted draconian green mandates — Germany, Demark, and even resource-rich Australia — have experienced huge spikes in energy prices. In Europe, according to a recent Council of Europe Development Bank study, reliance on renewables has left an estimated 30 million in “energy poverty.”
Similarly, in California, according to a 2015 Manhattan Institute report, “energy poverty” has risen most among the minorities and the poor, particularly the heavily Latino working class. These trends seem doomed to worsen, notes energy analyst Robert Bryce, as the state seeks to ban natural gas. Overall, continuing the state’s intensifying war on all carbon fuels and its insistence on renewable energy will inevitably cause, as a 2020 report by the California Energy Commission states, “rapidly increasing gas customer bills and rates,” with the “impact of these cost increases” particularly affecting “low- and moderate-income Californians or renters, who may be unable to electrify due to upfront costs or lack of home ownership.”
These populations tend to inhabit the less temperate interior and often work in energy-dependent industries such as agriculture, trucking, and manufacturing. Firms in these industries have problems with intermittent energy supply, and as a 2018 MIT report suggests, this leaves residents and businesses as vulnerable to nature’s whims as medieval peasants.
Not surprisingly, growth in manufacturing, energy, and home-building, all key employers for working- and middle-class Californians, has stagnated even as the state’s economy, in aggregate, has seemed to be booming. Over the past decade, as my colleague Marshall Toplansky and I reported in a Chapman Center for Demographics and Policy study, amid the wealth generated by the tech sector, 85 percent of all California jobs have been in the low-paid service sector. California’s ability to create middle-income jobs ranks among the lowest in the country.
The state’s green-driven assault on attainable suburban development in favor of dense, and expensive, urban areas, as Ali Modarres of the University of Washington, Wendell Cox, and I have shown, has helped make California’s housing the most expensive outside Hawaii. Outer suburbs have lower costs, while central urban areas, particularly near the beach, command extraordinarily high prices. This is one key reason that California’s homeownership rate among minorities is so low.
Most tragically, for all this suffering, California’s junior Green New Deal has provided little benefit for the environment. According to a recent Center for Demographics and Policy study, since 2007, when the Golden State’s “landmark” global-warming legislation was passed, California has accounted for barely 5 percent of the nation’s greenhouse-gas reductions. The state, not including the ruinous effect of fires, ranks a mediocre 40th in per capita greenhouse-gas reduction over the past decade, and state policies may be increasing total emissions by pushing people and industries to states with less clement climates.
If Joe Biden and Kamala Harris win in November, we can expect these “green” policies to be adopted nationwide. Already, in anticipation of their victory, natural-gas projects are being put on hold and could be canceled. The impact of the GND, which has already hurt Californians, is likely to be even worse in other states more dependent on energy production, such as Texas, Oklahoma, North Dakota, Ohio, and Pennsylvania — where many of the nation’s 9 million energy jobs are concentrated. These states cannot fantasize, as some do in California, that the bills will be paid by the oligarchs; lacking sufficient numbers of the rich and famous, they will find that the alternative is permanent penury.
Nowhere are progressive memes more passionately embraced than in the education bureaucracy. Schoolteachers, college professors, and administrators are all major contributors to progressive causes. A 2018 study of 51 top-rated colleges by the National Association of Scholars, for example, found that the ratio of leftists to conservatives among faculty was generally at least 8 to 1, and often as high as 70 to 1. At elite liberal-arts schools such as Wellesley, Swarthmore, and Williams, the ratio reaches 120 to 1.
Students, administrators, and faculty may be impassioned about fighting systemic racism and inequality, but overall, the education industry has done little to improve long-term prospects for working-class or minority Americans. Collecting degrees, particularly from elite schools, has become an indispensable ticket to the most lucrative positions, but access to such schools has been diminished by the soaring cost of a university education, which more than tripled as a proportion of the national median salary between 1963 and 2013.
The universities may be adept at radical politics, now even affecting once-secure fields like science and math, and they may believe they are advancing the cause of social justice. In reality, though, their actual impact on working-class people is hardly beneficial. Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, and Yale collectively enroll more students from households in the top 1 percent of the income distribution than from households in the bottom 60 percent. Robert Reich, a lion of the Left and a former Harvard and current Berkeley professor, characterizes the modern elite universities as being designed mainly “to educate children of the wealthy and upper-middle class.” They have emerged as shapers of what David Rothkopf, in a 2008 book, calls “the global superclass.”
For affluent parents who want to ensure the future success of their offspring, elite degrees would be worth the cost even without the kids’ actually attending school. But, increasingly, many students at less prestigious schools are finding education ineffective and absurdly overpriced, particularly with the shift to online learning. A 2011 study of American college students found that more than one-third of students “did not demonstrate any significant improvement in learning” in four years of college. The performance of 17-year-olds has actually stagnated over the past 50 years, and even with more kids going to college, notes a 2016 Brookings report, America’s numeracy and literacy levels have dropped. Employers report that recent graduates are short on critical-thinking skills. “Over the last 30 to 40 years, the United States has invested heavily in education,” the report concludes, “with little to show for it.” Often, the products of today’s universities simply maintain rigid positions on various issues, confident of their own superior intelligence and perspicacity. And according to a 2019 Gallup survey, among “graduates who strongly felt that a purpose was important, only 40 percent said they had found a meaningful career” after college.
The educracy’s worst work, though, particularly for the poor and working class, is evident in the grade schools. Blue-state, and particularly blue-city, school districts are notorious underachievers. Many core-city school districts, including Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Detroit, produce extraordinarily bad student test scores; almost all of them controlled by progressives, these schools keep failing compared with their suburban counterparts.
California, which once boasted a fine education system, again offers a cautionary tale. To be sure, there are some excellent districts, particularly in heavily Asian-American suburbs; but with its overall performance now ranked 49th in the nation, the state is egregiously failing poor and working-class students. San Francisco, the center of California’s woke culture, suffers the worst scores for African Americans of any county in the state. That approximately 40 percent of incoming freshmen in the California State University system need remedial courses reveals the low level of preparedness among the state’s high-school graduates.
But if the kids can’t read or calculate, California’s educracy seems determined to teach them “right thinking.” The state’s new ethnic-studies mandate for both the secondary and the college levels inculcates the fashionable notion that systemic racism has defined our history. This delegitimizing of the entire American experience is being promoted elsewhere with the widespread adoption by school districts around the country of the New York Times’ toxic 1619 Project curriculum.
No doubt these programs provide emotional satisfaction and even potential employment for extremist ideologues and activists. But the number of employers looking for largely unskilled people inculcated with radical Marxist rhetoric, not to mention simmering racial and gender resentments, is likely to be small. Here, too, people are not fooled. Polling suggests that a majority of Americans have little confidence in public schools, and universities, in particular, have been steadily losing public confidence. Many poorer households flock to charter and private schools, which produce generally better outcomes for their children.
A Democratic win in November may leave charter and private schools in dire circumstances, since they are adamantly opposed by teachers’ unions closely tied to Democratic politicians, including Joe Biden. But political cover from Washington may not be enough to rescue a public-school industry facing a drop in the number of high-school graduates and a declining market for four-year college graduates.
New approaches will be needed. Some mostly red states such as Tennessee, Kentucky, Texas, and Ohio are already shifting resources to skills education, which is more accessible and practical for many minorities and working-class whites. A certificate to qualify as a plumber, electrician, or machinist provides a better way up to the middle class than a degree in Latinx literature or gender or race studies. Given the current shortage of welders, for example, by 2024 there may be a need for as many as 400,000 of them.
However mighty the blue tide may seem to be, its alliance of the rich and the dispossessed may not prove sustainable. Corporations, seeking to earn their woke credentials, have placed themselves in the odd position of providing funds to stridently anti-capitalist, neo-Marxist-led groups such as Black Lives Matter. These include tech firms such as DoorDash, Amazon, 23andMe, Microsoft, Airbnb, and Dropbox, as well as manufacturers such as Nabisco, Gatorade, and Unilever.
Billionaires may think contributions to BLM, the climate movement, and the Democrats will buy them some form of indulgence from the Left, yet they are more likely to appear as what Lenin allegedly once described as “useful idiots.” The tension between ultra-capitalists and Marxists will intensify once their current joint project of removing Trump ends. And it will intensify further as the Democrats keep moving left, as evidenced by last spring’s Democratic primaries in which a bevy of socialist candidates supplanted old-line liberals in places as diverse as New York, Pennsylvania, and even Missouri and Kentucky.
Unlike Clinton-era liberals, socialists like AOC — who helped stop Amazon’s expansion into Queens, part of which lies in her congressional district — have no interest in accommodating even a putatively “enlightened” oligarchy. Both Bernie Sanders and his New York acolyte are quite open in declaring that they want to “abolish” billionaires in the future. The new progressives in cities such as San Francisco and Seattle have been calling for higher taxes on the tech community and real-estate interests. Progressives may embrace technology but not as a device for a few to gain fantastic riches; they prefer to see what one futurist-oriented faction of the Left calls “fully automated luxury communism.”
Perhaps someday, after the Trump ogre has left the scene, Jeff Bezos and other oligarchs will realize their folly. Already, demonstrators have designated the Amazon grandee and Washington Post owner as fit not for a social-justice award but for a guillotine — which they placed in front of his Washington manse. Perhaps they did not read his paper’s glowing review of Antifa fashion.
A choice between oligarchic domination or a Maoist class revolution amounts to poison for the middle class. Both radicals and oligarchs reject the traditional American politics — right and left — dedicated to how best to improve life for the bulk of the citizenry. Democrats, in particular, may be making a miscalculation by shifting their focus from bread-and-butter to race-and-gender issues, as the Democratic theorist Ruy Teixeira recently noted in an essay for Persuasion.
As Teixeira argues, the woke agenda lacks a large electoral constituency. Conservative traditionalists are also a minority, representing barely 25 percent of Americans, according to the recent Hidden Tribes survey; woke progressives constitute only one-third that percentage, or just over 8 percent. The survey describes roughly two-thirds of Americans as “the exhausted majority.” The vast majority of Americans — including Millennials and minorities — also reject political correctness. “PC’s opponents,” suggests Wesley Yang, writing in Tablet, “are a portrait of rainbow-coalition America itself — people of all ages and all colors.”
Even in the inner city, the agenda of BLM and other radical groups may not be as popular as the media suggest. Woke writers and academics may embrace the widely celebrated book In Defense of Looting, whose author was recently given a respectful interview on NPR, but those living in the crime-ridden inner city may feel differently about tolerance for lawlessness. Gallup estimates that, rather than calling to shut down law enforcement, 80 percent of African Americans want the same number of or more police in their neighborhoods. In contrast to mostly white woke mayors, African-American politicians in Minneapolis, Houston, and Atlanta have all rejected this call.
As the big blue metros have experienced increased unemployment and population loss, the big winners have generally been smaller cities such as Louisville, Bismarck, Madison, Boise, and Salt Lake City, as well as suburban hotspots such as Plano, Texas, and Overland Park, Kan. With very few companies now looking to expand in large cities, Americans will likely be seeking, and finding, opportunity in these smaller locales. These trends will accelerate as more Millennials desert the deep-blue cities, swapping an ultraprogressive milieu for generally less progressive politics in the suburbs, smaller towns, and even rural areas.
As former urbanites move away from the deep-blue areas, they may tend to moderate their views. For almost 30 years, suburban voters have made up the majority of the electorate. Shifting their preferences in each election, they generally hew to the center. Following this trend, even nominally progressive Millennials, once they begin to raise children, buy houses, and start businesses, are likely to reject the more intrusive progressive policies pushed by New Left urbanists that threaten their living standards by eliminating single-family zoning and forcing communities to accept large numbers of dense, low-income, publicly owned apartments. The point of moving to the suburbs, after all, is to avoid density.
But Republicans also face challenges in winning over the “exhausted majority.” Some conservative market fundamentalists, like progressives, favor the eradication of single-family neighborhoods. Others recoil from trade policies that violate free-trade principles, even when hewing to those principles threatens the livelihoods of both middle-income households and, even more, the downwardly mobile working class.
The biggest obstacle politicians of both parties may face in coming years will be appealing to increasingly diverse suburban and small-town voters. Today, two-thirds of America’s immigrants live in the suburbs, as do a majority of African Americans. This population is not only increasingly nonwhite but has generally adopted very liberal attitudes toward interracial dating and marriage. Trump may use urban dysfunction as a political hammer, but his seeming casual acceptance of white-nationalist memes, such as his unfortunate use of “America First,” with its xenophobic roots, and harsh rhetoric on immigration has convinced many, and not just progressives, that he shares, at least in part, that perspective. Thus his approach does not seem the best way to appeal to this part of the population.
Forcing the two parties to go after these suburban and small-town voters is the country’s best long-term political hope. This would nurture a market for pragmatic policies, whether conservative or, like mine, more social-democratic. The shift to common sense may be further enhanced by the arrival of Generation Z. Formed by the experiences of recession and now the pandemic, the so-called Zs tend, as noted by the generational researchers Morley Winograd and Mike Hais, to be more grounded and less prone to radicalism than their Millennial predecessors.
Of course, this new generation likely won’t become Reaganites or Trumpians, but neither are they likely to join Antifa, the extreme greens, or the anti-cop racialists of BLM. Overall, their political future remains very much up for grabs. Here lies an opportunity, born of massive blue failures, to forge a new politics that is fundamentally pragmatic and reflects something of the middle-class aspirations that have long defined and blessed this country.
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Originally published by National Review.