Should Republicans and Democrats Emphasize Party Purity?

Will emphasizing core values lead to wins, or is new thinking needed?


In the run-up to the November elections, Republicans and Democrats alike are dealing with internal fights about the path to victory. At issue is ideological purity. Some strategists argue that emphasizing core values will lead to wins, while others say that the parties need new thinking to keep them relevant. Should parties emphasize base values?
Edited by Robert Schlesinger


Chris Chocola
President of the Club for Growth and former Indiana representative

The political choice between ideological purity and "big tent" coalition building is inherently false. Success requires both. Just as businesses need a long-term vision and attention to minute detail and football teams need hulking linemen and fleet-footed receivers, political majorities need moderates and ideologues. But any businessman or football coach can tell you that success comes from the inside out. The detail men can't make decisions...


Edward Gresser
President of the Democratic Leadership Council, which promotes centrist, pragmatic policy solutions

Back in 1982, Democrats were unhappy with an energetic president but gaining polling ground in a period of high unemployment. Lots of Democrats believed then, as many Republicans seem to now, that if we preached the true faith more often, repeated it more loudly, and denounced the president more angrily, we'd restore our fortunes. But the Democratic problem wasn't lack of ideological purity. It was too much ideology...


What do you think?

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