Kevin Phillips

Kevin Phillips is the author, most recently, of Wealth and Democracy: A Political History of the American Rich.

Recent Articles

The People Vs. the Parties

Could either party nominate a full-menu libertarian or populist? Our national political logjam explains why artifice has become endemic.

M assachusetts pundits and periodicals like to pour great debates from parochial pitchers. The big question of 1992 was whether Democratic ex-Senator Paul Tsongas could merchandise his hairshirt economics west of New England (no, as it turned out). Looking ahead to 1996, the wonderment is whether a cultural moderate liberal and fiscal conservative like GOP Governor William Weld can sell his own Eastern elite ideology to a nominating convention dominated by Indianapolis and Oklahoma City. Probably not. These questions suggest a broader one: Can the current party system nominate anybody interesting or useful? Can either the Republicans or Democrats plausibly choose a nominee who will openly offer the elite viewpoint on a critical public policy smorgasbord: moderate liberalism on cultural issues, a budget-cutting approach to middle-class entitlements, sophisticated internationalism, and distrust of popular or plebiscitary politics and government? If not, isn't that limitation a...