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Democrats Should Embrace a Few Purity Tests

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21.01.2020

Depending on the year of your birth and your streaming media habits, you may have a different point of reference—Bill Murray or Natasha Lyonne—for the phenomenon of living the same day of your life, over and over again. Either way, it is becoming harder to avoid the feeling, as the Democratic nomination process drags on, that it’s going to be 2016 for the rest of our lives. The plot twist is that the characters in this real-life endless loop are not trying to escape the trap; they seem content to rehash their arguments now and forever, until the heat death of the universe.

If you want a searing example of how resentment takes precedence over learning from past electoral mistakes, consider the fact that it is only January and the chorus of liberal heavy hitters warning of the horrors of the Democratic Party being subject to “purity tests” is already warming up. The hot takes from noteworthy players and pundits abound: Barack Obama, Paul Krugman, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, The Hill, an endless supply of Twitter wags. Not that you needed reminders from the top to “vote blue no matter who!” In contrast to the dreaded talk of purity tests, it is all but impossible to talk about electoral politics anymore without this credo being repeated like a Gregorian chant.

Liberals and the Democratic party overall appear never to have considered that, given the ideological incoherence and powerful sense of policy agnosticism that reigns in the New Democrat era, a “purity test” or two might not hurt. In addition to it being a basic, logical component of party politics (seldom is it recognized that the Republican party and its stringent purity testing is doing pretty well), clarity on what exactly........

© New Republic