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December 19, 2014

The Democratic Leadership Council’s Advice for Republicans

If you, like George Santayana, believe that those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it, you may want to take a look at Democratic Leadership Council founder Al From’s new book, “The New Democrats and the Return to Power,” just published by Palgrave Macmillan.

From starts with his years at staff director of the House Democratic Caucus (under Louisiana Rep. Gillis Long) but focuses on the creation and success of the DLC through the Bill Clinton years. He gives you a behind-the-scenes look at the DLC’s creation and the fight within the Democratic Party to determine its direction.

That struggle, which was at its fiercest from the mid-1980s until Clinton’s nomination in 1992, undoubtedly offers some lessons for Republicans who are willing to consider them. In his final chapter, From discusses what a New Democrat agenda would look like today, and he even offers “three pieces of advice” for Republicans.

The country, the media and our politics have changed dramatically since From, Will Marshall and others fought to pull the Democratic Party to the political center almost 30 years ago. Since then, the GOP has moved dramatically to the right, and there are plenty of signs today that many Democrats want their party to move left, not stay in the middle.

But “The New Democrats and the Return to Power” reminds us of important lessons that both parties should remember.

After all, there is nothing new under the sun.

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