Book Talk: “Soul of a Democrat: The Seven Core Ideals That Made Our Party – and Our Country – Great”

October 02, 2018 12:10 pm Add to calendar

In 2016 the Democratic Party lost control of every branch of government. Countless explanations and excuses have been offered, but in this heartfelt, evocative book longtime Democratic activist Thomas B. Reston illuminates the true cause: the Party has lost its soul. In Reston’s view the Party has abandoned any unifying idealistic message. Instead of crafting policies and platforms that appeal to the nation as a whole, Democrats target specific blocs of voters –and change their talking points accordingly. This divisive approach will not end well for Democrats, or the country as a whole. If they want to remain competitive on the national stage, Reston argues, Democrats need a coherent, blunt set of American ideals. The good news is, they already have one. In Soul of a Democrat, Reston takes us on a journey through the history of the Party with thumbnail portraits of its most important figures, illuminating the core ideals and principles they fought for. Thomas Jefferson founded the Democratic Party to lift up the people as a whole by empowering each individual citizen. Andrew Jackson committed the party to always fight for outsiders. Woodrow Wilson insisted on a progressive respect for ideas. William Jennings Bryan introduced the altruistic Social Gospel. Franklin D. Roosevelt promised economic security for all. Lyndon B. Johnson championed the ongoing struggle for civil rights. These Democratic statesmen knew that a successful party needs strong idealistic roots, an understandable message, and an emphatic focus on the purpose of what it is doing, instead of on the mechanics. Reston’s concise and elegant book shows modern Democrats how to learn from their own past, and once again become The Party of The People.

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Anne Nelson

Research Scholar, Arnold A. Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies Strategic Consultant and Author

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