There are two kinds of defeats in electoral politics. Some are expected, even felt to be inevitable (for example, Walter Mondale in 1984). Such losses are sad for the losers, but they do not lead the losing party to reflect on fundamentals. Other defeats are stinging because they are unexpected (for example, Michael Dukakis in 1988). In such circumstances, the defeated party believes that its candidate, agenda, and electoral strategy are...
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William Galston is Ezra Zilkha Chair and Senior Fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution. He is the author of Liberal Purposes and Liberal Pluralism, both published by Cambridge University Press. Galston served as deputy assistant for domestic policy under President Bill Clinton, 1993–95.