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Why the Democrats are Blue: Secular Liberalism and the Decline of the People's Party Hardcover – October 25, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Sadly, it's all true. Mark Stricherz has written a fascinating history of how the Democrats got themselves into this mess, and how they could still get out of it.

-Melinda Henneberger, author of If They Only Listened To Us: What Women Voters Want Politicians to Hear

The Democratic Party is the oldest political party in the world, but it has changed its character and approach sharply three times--in 1896, in the 1930s and in the late 1960s. Mark Stricherz in Why the Democrats Are Blue tells the story of how this third change came about--and how a small group of secular activists and insiders shaped the character of one of our great political parties in ways that persist to this day."

-Michael Barone Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute Senior Writer, U.S. News & World Report Co-author, The Almanac of American Politics

In my travels across the country since the days of Jack Kennedy, I have seen the political transformation of Reagan Democrat areas such as Macomb County, Scranton, and South Boston. I knew that these Catholics and blue-collar workers did not leave the Democratic Party; the Democratic Party abandoned them. In fact, as Mark Stricherz shows, wealthy, liberal activists hijacked the national party, leaving millions of Catholics and working-class voters with no home in either party. An important and original book, Why the Democrats are Blue tells the story of a political revolution that the media never told us about.

-Ray Flynn, former President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors and Ambassador to the Vatican

From the Back Cover

Has the 2006 election ushered in a new era of Democratic dominance? According to Mark Stricherz, the party's own history should give us pause. The Democratic Party has lost seven of the last ten presidential elections. In the last thirty years, no Democratic presidential nominee has received even half of the popular vote. And the party's base of support is limited to the "blue states" on the coasts and in the Great Lakes region. In this exceptional book, Stricherz shows why--even today--the Democrats are blue. He reveals how a group of secular professionals seized control of the Democratic Party, driving away Catholics and blue-collar workers. He exposes the tactics these elites used as they hijacked a commission formed at the 1968 Democratic National Convention, toppled the party bosses, created a nomination system geared toward activists, and built an affluent, secular base of support. How did the party of the people lose the allegiance of the working-class and Catholic voters it once championed? Stricherz tells the stories of the postwar Catholic leaders who helped the party win presidential elections regularly and delivered for their cross-racial, blue-collar constituencies. He then details how New Politics activists hijacked the McGovern Commission, changed the party platform to reflect their secular and elite values, and systematically excluded socially conservative Democratic leaders. Through the voices of working-class, religious people, Stricherz explains how the Democratic Party has alienated its most reliable voters, reducing the base of a once-great national party to the coastal enclaves that support its secular values. Filled with new revelations and fresh insight, Why the Democrats Are Blue is likely to become a classic of contemporary political history.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 315 pages
  • Publisher: Encounter Books; First Edition edition (October 25, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159403205X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594032059
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,493,103 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • Due to this item's unusual size or weight, it requires special handling and will ship separately from other items in your order. Read More

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By David Thomson on November 20, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Mark Stricherz convincingly argues that the leftist "elites" took over the Democratic Party during George McGovern's disastrous 1972 campaign for the presidency. These wealthy anti-traditional values individuals were contemptuous of the lesser-credentialed blue collar Democrats. They also increased the presence of self-hating Americanism and dishonest pacifism into the national body politic. At the most, they were willing to throw a few bones to the hoi polloi. When push came to shove, however, issues like abortion were to dominate the agenda. The situation has only worsened considerably since that time. More recent Democrat politicians like Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton essentially learned how to best con the rubes. They pretended to be more conservative than they actually are. The author cites the difficulty of pro-life Pennsylvania Governor Bob Casey of being treated respectfully by the Democratic Party establishment. Sadly, his son was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2006---and has proven to be loyal to the pro-abortionists. In other words, it seems virtually impossible to remain a present day Democrat and still remain loyal to one's Judeo-Christian cultural values. Reading Stricherz's riveting book will compel you to concede that the less than perfect Republicans are the only game in town. Minimally everyone of its presidential candidates promise to select only strict constructionist judges to the U.S. Supreme Court.

There is another work that mandates your attention. It is James Piereson's Camelot and the Cultural Revolution: How the Assassination of John F. Kennedy Shattered American Liberalism. This event also had much to do with pushing the Democratic Party leftwards.
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Format: Hardcover
' Will the Democrats roar through a triumphant election this year and take back the White House? Or will they blow it once again because they can't regain enough of the Catholic and blue-collar voters they have lost in recent decades?
It's too early to tell, but those who wonder why the Dems have such problems with major parts of their old coalition should read Why Democrats Are Blue. And Democrats who want their party to moderate or abandon its support of abortion should read the book to find why the party decided to support abortion in the first place.
Mark Stricherz, like many analysts, traces the take-over of the party by "secular liberals" to the McGovern Commission that changed party rules in 1969-70. But where others have said this, Stricherz has done serious research in manuscript collections and elsewhere to prove it. He makes a compelling case.
The late Sen. Eugene McCarthy's antiwar presidential campaign against President Lyndon Johnson in 1968 made major gains against the Democratic Party establishment. But McCarthy and his volunteers were stymied by the automatic awarding of convention seats to pro-Johnson party leaders, winner-take-all rules in key primary states, and other practices that stacked the deck against them. (I worked in the '68 McCarthy campaign and gave Mark Stricherz, a fellow journalist, some information for his book from the McCarthy perspective. I don't agree, though, with all of his analysis.)
After President Johnson withdrew from the `68 campaign, Vice President Hubert Humphrey stepped in and picked up the Johnson delegates and many others. He won the Democratic presidential nomination even though he hadn't won any primaries.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
When I first heard about "Why the Democrats are Blue", I wondered if the topic would have an expiration date of November 2008. Boy, was I wrong. This is a thorough and insightful examination of how the Democratic Party changed from a party run by the boss system (centered around blue collar, urban, and Catholic voters) to a party dominated by special interest groups.

The transition from the Old Dems to the New Dems is itself not a new concept. Many historians have pegged the year of the transition at 1972. Stricherz tells us how the party got to '72, who the players were behind the scenes, and what effects the changes made on the delegate selection process, future policy, electibility of Democratic candidates, and the redistribution of the party's power geographically, racially, and gender-wise.

The fact that Barack Obama won the general election in 2008 pokes a small hole in the secondary meaning of the word "Blue" in the book's title, but it did not diminish Stricherz' thesis. In many ways, it strengthens it.

I see this book having value to political enthusiasts, Democrats who want to know why their party is the way it is, and historians. This is not a polemic (the author is a Dem), so have an open mind and give it a try.
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Bravo to Stricherz! A book examining how the party became captive to fanatical Abortion Uber Alles stormtroopers has long been needed! Readers should put this on the shelf right by Ramesh Ponnuru's superb "Party of Death".
I was drawn to this book after I read that Maria Schwarzenegger's Alzheimer's afflicted father was the last ProLife Democrat to be on a national ticket. It is an interesting read showing how the defeated McGovernite/proAbortion clique was able to remold the Democratic party. Folks have often claimed that just as Goldwater lost the election but "won" his party, McGovern did the same for his: the Democratic party was recast in the image of McGovern and the single issue proAbort crowd. (Odd how Kate Michelman or Gloria Steinem are NEVER identified as "single issue" voters)
So the elites' rigid celebration and support of abortion essentially put up a "You're Not Welcome" sign for otherwise reliably Democratic voters. Working class Catholics --and I suspect a fair amt of their Protestant brethren in the south-- were once loyal supporters of a Democratic party which espoused solid paycheck populism.
What I found interesting is how abortion could have become a Republican issue but instead became more closely identified with Democrats. The late 60s also marked the triumph of a not-so-subtle antiAmerican pacifism within the D party. The old Adlai Stephenson-styled Democrat wanted to see the rest of the world become more like the USA. The New Democrats viewed the USA as a corrupting presence.
The perceived unwillingness of Democrats to modify abortion policy in the USA has been a great help in getting more Republicans elected up and down the ballot.
Abortucrats control the party in much the same way that slave owners did in the 1850s.
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