Where Have All the Democrats Gone?: The Soul of the Party in the Age of Extremes (Hardcover)
A Wall Street Journal Best Political Book of 2023
A much-needed wake-up call for the Democrats, which reveals how the party has lost sight of its core principles and endangered its political future—from the authors of “one of the most influential political books of the 21st century” (The New York Times)
For decades, American politics has been plagued by a breakdown between the Democratic and Republican parties, in which victory has inevitably led to defeat and vice versa. Both parties have lost sight of the people at the center of the American electorate, leading to polarization and paralysis. In Where Have All the Democrats Gone?, John B. Judis and Ruy Teixeira reveal the tectonic changes shaping the country’s current political landscape that both pundits and political scientists have missed.
The Democratic Party, once the preserve of small towns as well as big cities and of the industrial working class and the newly immigrated, has abandoned and even actively alienated many of these voters. In this clarion call and essential argument for common sense and common ground, Judis and Teixeira reveal the transformation of American politics and provide a razor-sharp critique of where the Democrats have gone awry and how they can avoid political disaster in the days ahead.
John B. Judis serves as editor at large at Talking Points Memo. Previously, Judis worked as a senior writer at the National Journal and a senior editor at The New Republic. His books include The Emerging Democratic Majority, which he cowrote with Ruy Teixeira, as well as The Populist Explosion, The Folly of Empire, and more. Judis received his BA and MA degrees in philosophy from the University of California, Berkeley.
A Wall Street Journal best political book of 2023
“John Judis and Ruy Teixeira are the two preeminent scholars of liberalism and the Democratic Party. Over the past several decades, they have chronicled the vicissitudes of the American left with unmatched skill and insight. Where Have All the Democrats Gone? captures the fragile state of the party at a critical moment and joins the ranks of Theodore White’s The Making of the American President 1960 and Richard Ben Cramer’s What It Takes. A deeply informed and beautifully written work of reportage and scholarship, this volume is brilliant, indispensable and simply the best analysis in decades of America’s urgent, fraught politics.”
—Thomas Edsall, columnist, The New York Times
"Where Have All the Democrats Gone? gives a pretty persuasive explanation—one that should be read as a warning."
—Pamela Paul, The New York Times
“If, like me, you are terrified by the prospect of a second Trump presidency, you need to ask yourself just how, despite seemingly favorable demographics, the Democratic Party became so vulnerable to populist attacks. In Where Have All the Democrats Gone?, John Judis and Ruy Teixeira’s brilliant and levelheaded intervention into the fraught debate around identity politics and polarization, two of our best political minds make a clear and persuasive case for how and why Democrats must win back the trust and partnership of the working class. It’s a What’s the Matter with Kansas? for the contemporary left and just in the nick of time.”
—Thomas Chatterton Williams, contributing writer, The Atlantic
“Over the last half century, Democrats went from being the unified party of working people to a fractured collection of interest groups. With an unparalleled understanding of political history and practice, John Judis and Ruy Teixeira tell us how and why identity politics trumped class, and what the Democratic Party must do to regain its strength—and its soul.”
—Rana Foroohar, columnist, Financial Times
“Twenty years ago, John Judis and Ruy Teixeira brought optimism to a gloomy Democratic Party by writing The Emerging Democratic Majority. Now they are back with a stern warning to the party they love: If you don’t want to return to minority status, stop ignoring the working-class voters who have always been the heart of the party.”
—Nicholas Lemann, staff writer, The New Yorker
"If there is one book all the senior members of President Joe Biden's reelection campaign should read it is John B. Judis' and Ruy Teixeira's brutal and brilliant Where Have All the Democrats Gone?... an excellent analysis of the changing shape of electoral politics."
—Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter
"Judis and Teixeira deserve credit for taking a brave stance.... Democrats would be wise to consider this book carefully."
—Reihan Salam, National Review
"An important new book counsels a return to the New Deal philosophy of fighting for the common man, upholding equal opportunity instead of identity politics, and not sucking up to Wall Street and Silicon Valley."
—Kenneth S. Baer, Washington Monthly
“Teixeira and Judis are here to give some tough love to Democrats on what it takes to win in today’s tribalized landscape. The Trumpified Republican party poses an active threat to democracy, so Democrats—for now—are the last best hope for fixing our broken politics. But to do that, the authors argue, they’ll need to abandon their addiction to identity politics, and instead lean into pragmatic problem-solving. Prescient and timely, this is a must-read for anyone who is serious about building a durable pro-democracy majority.”
—Sarah Longwell, publisher, The Bulwark
“John Judis and Ruy Teixeira’s 2002 book, The Emerging Democratic Majority, induced a misplaced confidence in those influenced by a one-sentence summary of its contents. The detailed account provided in their new book, Where Have All the Democrats Gone?, shows how complacency about the inevitable victory that demographic change would deliver to a party at once committed to the preferred economic policy of Wall Street and Silicon Valley and to increasingly esoteric cultural fantasia (concerning race and gender) undid the ruling coalition that was theirs to lose in the early 21st century. This is a must-read for those seeking to understand the last two decades and what those decades portend for the future.”
—Wesley Yang, author of The Souls of Yellow Folk
"Revealing. . . . John B. Judis and Ruy Teixeira make an argument both sober and bracing that anyone who cares about the future course of American politics should take seriously."
—Michael Kazin, The Liberal Patriot
"Immensely valuable for any observer of American politics... As the United States veers towards what could be the most contentious election in the country’s history, these brilliant minds explain better than anyone else exactly why it is surely going to be incredibly close."