Chaotic Neutral: How the Democrats Lost Their Soul in the Center
Bold Type Books9781645030027
A recent history of the Democratic Party that identifies its chronic errors—the “pathologies” of the New Democratic mindset—and argues urgently against a return to the status quo
Why did the Democrats initially abandon their principles, and why haven’t they been able to grasp that they need a new strategy in the face of decades of diminishing returns? In Chaotic Neutral, political scientist Ed Burmila breaks it to us, tracing the party’s metamorphosis from bold defender of labor rights, civil rights, and a robust social safety net to a timorous, ideology-free, regulation-averse lifestyle brand.
Chaotic Neutral tracks the evolution (or devolution) of the Democratic Party from the New Deal era to Biden’s status-quo candidacy and the pandemic, when, even in the midst of a national crisis, the Democrats could not manage to pass sweeping progressive legislation. It is a timely analysis and, simultaneously, a timeless one that pinpoints why Dem politicians act like also-rans even when they’re in power.
Burmila doesn’t pull any punches as he describes the Democrats’ brand of futility politics, but he also doesn’t claim that all is futile, instead laying out a potent strategy for how the party might abandon its lesser-of-two-evils strategy and shift back into drive.