Here is one view:
It's hard find anyone on the left who hasn't heard of Tom Frank's latest book, "What's the Matter with Kansas?"
The outcome of the 2004 elections offered most visible and spectacular confirmation of Frank's analysis of backlash politics. In red states across the nation, working class Americans put their social values ahead of their economic well-being and voted for George Bush. It wasn't the economy, stupid! It was god, guns, and, of course, gays.
So what now? The intractable reality of the culture wars seems all the more daunting thanks to the Democratic Party leadership, which shows no sign of breaking the decades-long habit of responding to defeat with abject submission. Having already moved to the right on economic issues, the party seems ready to don the mask of social conservatism – as in the appointment of an anti-abortion Harry Reid as the Senate Minority leader – to hold on to a sliver of power.
That's exactly the wrong strategy to beat the Republicans, says Tom Frank. The solution is not Bible-thumping but economic populism. Liberals need to respond to the faux populism of the GOP – which pits "real" working class Americans against over-educated, snotty liberals – with the real deal. Frank argues it's time for the Democratic Party to return to its roots, to rediscover its lost soul. To become once again the champion of the working class.