A Tea Party of the Left (U.S. News & World Report)


In a U.S. News & World Report opinion piece, Dartmouth’s Charles Wheelan ’88 discusses how the “progressive” movement within the Democratic Party could realign American politics. “This is a battle between the heart and brain of the Democratic Party,” writes Wheelan, a senior lecturer and policy fellow at the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences and a senior lecturer in the Department of Economics.

“The ‘heart’ are the progressives, the left-leaning populists who feel the country ought to strengthen its shabby safety net, rein in corporate America and raise taxes on the wealthy to promote a fairer society. The ‘brain’ are the moderate Democrats who believe that sharing the pie requires growing it first; that wealth creation in America is an answer for poverty, not the cause of it; and that the progressive agenda is a near perfect recipe for electing more Republicans,” Wheelan writes.

“This phenomenon—with Republicans pulled right by the tea party and Democrats pulled left by the progressives—could lead in two radically different directions. The first is really bad. With each party beholden to its flanks, the possibilities for constructive compromise will shrink further. … Here is the more heartening scenario (if less likely). The political tails could end up emboldening the center. Moderate Republicans may end up having more in common with moderate Democrats than they do with the tea party (and ditto for moderate Democrats and the progressives). A logical equilibrium would be three parties rather than two: one left, one center, one right.”

Read the full opinion piece, published 12/10/13 by U.S. News & World Report.

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