Why the Center-Left Became Immoderate

Democracy dies when one side loses respect for electoral outcomes and comes to consider the other illegitimate. Recent U.S. presidents, at least since Bill Clinton, have faced a degree of implacable opposition from the further reaches of the opposing party. But of late the problem seems to have intensified—and disrespect for democratic outcomes has become particularly acute on the center-left.

That may sound odd. We generally assume the political “middle” to be more reasonable and rational—and less partisan. Ideologues are…

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