Four weeks after the 1994 elections former liberal, former senator, and former presidential hopeful Paul Tsongas proclaimed the need for a third party and invited Colin Powell to be its standard bearer. The Boston Globe then ran a cartoon with the tag line, “That’s all we need,
a third Republican Party.” For a progressive reader that cartoon was likely to elicit a nod of agreement and a short chuckle, but it also
carried a dismal reminder that the American left has no meaningful voice or power in national politics.
It is tempting to hope that a rejuvenated American left will rise from the ashes of the final collapse of the centrist Democratic congressional coalition. But the mythical Phoenix will not be the vehicle for the left’s
recovery; it will have to be much more of a bootstrap affair, likely to take decades.
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