Editor’s CommeritnFor 200 years, things were rather simple. Both philosophersnand historians seemed to agree that the impecuniousnsocial classes, their occasional moods notwithstanding, werenthe agents of change. Deprived of the good things in life,nthey wanted a change for the better. This drive used to bencalled, by sympathetic ideologists, the push for progress.nThe upper classes, in contrast, were conservative or reactionary.nAll they wanted was to preserve the status quo or tonreinstate lost privileges.nL ^t is not so simple anymore. In our America, the proprietarynclasses have become liberal and now loudly demandnprogress. They want to change the lot of the less fortunate.nHowever, it appears as if the not-so-well-offs have become,nin that same America, puzzlingly conservative: they wantnthings which may not be in our future, but which were verifiablynpresent in our past. Those lower classes now seemnto hanker after some order of civic allegiances, some betterdefinednpersonal opportunities, some revived relevance ofnwell-fixed values, some clear-cut notions and feelings aboutnthe moral duties of the individual as well as the community.nOr perhaps they are even longing for things like America’snglobal security and common sense in the interplay betweennman and state.nTill now, conventional wisdom maintained that each ofnthe two major parties reflected the respective interests ofnthe lower and upper class. But is that still so.” The currentnconfusion of class aims imbues our hearts with strong doubts.nOn the last day of the Democratic Party’s 1980 conventionnin New York City, it somehow seemed as if the DemocraticnParty had ceased to exist. It was obviously Mr. EdwardnKennedy’s convention, both in spirit and letter: the outpouringnof emotions was unmistakable, and the party’s electoralnplatform was, to the letter, a blatantly liberal, Kennedyinspirednset of slogans. Yet not Mi. Kennedy but his opponentnwas nominated as the Democratic Party’s candidatenfor the presidency.nThat development indicated that the convention, allegedlyna body which represented the sentiments of a vast politicalnorganism, warmly embraced a man (and his ideas) who hadnbeen roundly rejected by the organism at large. Hence, thenappellation “Democratic” became malapropos, at least innthe American sense of the word. The fact that Mr. Carternwas renominated only added insult to injury: the conventionnfloor visibly stood by the man who had to go, and gave a goaheadnto a man whose position was, at that moment, a productnof political manipulation rather than of the unequivocalnpreference of the body politic.nThe Democratic Party, during the last 100 years, has beenna classic American political institution rooted in the socialnmosaic and bound by the principles of compromise and consent.nIt has been in power for most of this century, and hasnChronicles of Culturennnestablished itself as perhaps the most powerful element ofnthe American sociopolitical reality. Therefore, if I were annewspaperman fishing for a verbal effect, I’d say: “ThenDemocratic Party is dead!” Which, of course, is not true.nIt is only the ideological foundation of the DemocraticnParty which is rotting. Neither social and ethnic mosaicsnnor the practice of compromise and consent work any longer.nHowever, there is a process of regeneration within the processnof decay. Since the time of Roosevelt, the Democratic Partynhas tried to establish a single ideological identity in spite ofnits mosaic composition. From the ideological turmoil of then60’s have emerged the political motifs for a new drama:nthe McGovern episode eight years ago was only a dress rehearsal.nIt seems that the grand opening occurred this yearnin Madison Square Garden. The Democratic Party has nowherento go but on a quest for a coherent and functionalnideology. It has already started.nWhich can hardly be said of the Republican Party, BarrynGoldwater and Ronald Reagan notwithstanding.nPerhaps such talk is rather unbecoming: after all, recentnevents would seem to prove that the two-party system in itsnpresent mixture has once again survived the test of viability.nHowever, most of us have a gnawing sense that both partiesnhave profound identity problems, and that such problemsninvolve the very sense of their being. A disorder of politicalnnotions is nothing new in America, yet we all feel that today’snmuddle is extraordinary and exceptional. The craving fornconstants, invariables, axioms, tangibles seems to be a universalnsentiment. How or where can we find them.”nXt seems that the most ingrained, perpetual conflictnwithin the American ethos and its political materializationnis a competition between two populisms. One is practicalnpopulism, and it believes that basing political and socialndecisions upon people’s factual, genuine, unfalsified wishesnis the most advantageous method of sustaining a viablenpolity and a satisfied society. This populism grows from socialnreality, and it expresses the hopes, propensities, choices andnpreferences of the people in every instance of life.nThe second populism is intentional and prescriptional,nand its rationale, its ultimate mission, is to prescribe reality.nCertainly this ideology is rooted in moral idealism, and itnclaims an all-encompassing rationality as its dialectical foundation.nYet, from the beginning, the attempts to run thisncountry according to that rationale—whether by benevolentngentry from Virginia or well-intentioned patriciate fromnMassachusetts—have fallen far short of brilliant. Sooner ornlater, practical populist feelings were bound to overwhelmneven the most propitious prescriptive endeavors. Finally,nsometime around the end of the 19th century, those endeavorsnceased to amount to anything significant.nAbout that time, the Democratic Party made its bid forn