Social Policy & Politics Program | Memo

Why Liberals Need Heath Shuler

by Jonathan Cowan and Anne Kim

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Some liberals have begun to argue that losing the House majority may ultimately be “good” for Democrats by purging the party of Blue Dogs and other moderates. As one liberal commentator recently opined in The New York Times, “Democrats would be in better shape, and would accomplish more, with a smaller and more ideologically cohesive caucus.”

This small-tent strategy could not be more wrong.

Both politically and substantively, liberals need moderates. By rejecting the big-tent coalition that brought them power in the first place, the only things Democrats will accomplish are permanent minority status and the frustration of their legislative priorities. In this memo, we lay out three reasons liberals need moderates.