E.J. Dionne

E.J. Dionne Jr. is the author, most recently, of Souled Out: Reclaiming Faith and Politics after the Religious Right. He is a Washington Post columnist, a senior fellow at The Brookings Institution, and a professor at Georgetown University.

Recent Articles

The Politics of the New Middle America

In 2010, disaffected voters didn't embrace the Republican vision. They looked in vain for the Democratic one.

(Flickr/The White House's photostream)

Among the poll findings that bombarded us after the 2010 elections, three are of overwhelming importance.

First, the age composition of the electorate changed radically. In 2008, 18 percent of voters were under 30 and 16 percent were over 65. In 2010, only 12 percent were under 30, while 21 percent were over 65. Not surprisingly, 2010's older electorate was also more conservative.

Second, Democrats lost enormous ground among white working-class voters. In 2010, Democrats lost white working-class voters by 30 points. In 2006 and 2008, they lost them by only 10 points.

Practical Liberalism Redux

Like Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Barack Obama is capable of being a pragmatic progressive.

Last October, after the economy's downward spiral became obvious, I closed an e-mail to a friend with the words: "I never thought my obsession with the 1930s would ever be relevant to my life." That obsession had many roots, not the least being that my hometown of Fall River, Massachusetts, was a '30s kind of place with a '30s kind of culture, a '30s kind of economy, and '30s-style New Deal politics. But if there is a single person who inspired my fascination with an era, it is the historian William E. Leuchtenburg.

The Right in the Rearview Mirror

It took liberals 30 years to take conservatism seriously. Now we're obsessed with it. E.J. Dionne considers four new books about the end of the conservative era.

Flying High: Remembering Barry Goldwater by William F. Buckley Jr., Basic Books, 208 pages, $25.95
Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America by Rick Perlstein, Scribner, 881 pages, $37.50
The Age of Reagan: A History, 1974–2008 by Sean Wilentz HarperCollins, 564 pages, $27.95
Rightward Bound: Making America Conservative in the 1970s edited by Bruce J. Schulman and Julian E. Zelizer, Harvard University Press, 384 pages, $49.95

After the Fall of the Right

The Plan: Big Ideas for America by Rahm Emanuel and Bruce Reed (Public Affairs, 224 pages, $19.95)

Whose Freedom?: The Battle Over America's Most Important Idea by George Lakoff (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 277 pages, $23.00)

Being Right Is Not Enough: What Progressives Must Learn from Conservative Success by Paul Waldman (John Wiley and Sons, 266 pages, $25.95)

Whistling Past Dixie: How Democrats Can Win Without the South by Thomas F. Schaller (Simon and Schuster, 352 pages, $26.00)

Democratic Détente

For two decades, the Democratic party has been riven by sharp ideological arguments. Those debates were in some respects necessary and important. But it's obvious that many of those conflicts are irrelevant to our moment, and say far more about the past than the future. The road to nowhere is paved with rote disputes between center and left. Here are 10 tired and useless arguments that progressives ought to stop having, and 10 new ones that they should start making.

The Wrong Stuff