Mark Lilla is a committed Democrat who admonishes his party for the its descent into Identity Politics in The Once and Future Liberal- After Identity Politics
But every catechism tends over time to become rigid and formulaic, until it eventually becomes detached from social reality. Which is exactly what happened to American liberalism in the 1970s. To the principle that collective action to serve the public good was legitimate, it added the profession of faith that taxes, spending, regulations, and court decisions were always the best way to accomplish this. By the 1980s there were countless reasons to question the assumption that government knew what it was doing and could be trusted to do it—Vietnam, Watergate, impotence in the face of stagflation, and more. Too many programs were introduced in the Great Society, too quickly and with rhetoric so elevated that it created exaggerated expectations, which resulted in inevitable disappointment. Frustratingly, none of these programs seemed capable of reversing the decline of big cities and the expansion of the welfare rolls. And some programs clearly made matters worse. Compounding the problem was that liberals refused to speak about the new culture of dependency, or about the tremendous rise in violent crime in the 1960s, most of it having nothing to do with drug offenses.
Lilla refers to a moderation that is missing from the Democratic platform. while we can realize the limits of free markets we mist also realize the limits of government power