Source:The New Democrat
“A provocative, intimate look at the evolution of America’s political soul through the lives of six political figures from Whittaker Chambers to Christopher Hitchens who abandoned the left and joined the right. In Exit Right Daniel Oppenheimer tells the stories of six major political figures whose journeys away from the left reshaped the contours of American politics in the twentieth century. By going deep into the minds of six apostates, Whittaker Chambers, James Burnham, Ronald Reagan, Norman Podhoretz, David Horowitz, and Christopher Hitchens, Oppenheimer offers an unusually intimate history of the American left, and the right’s reaction.
Daniel Oppenheimer is a writer and filmmaker whose articles and videos have been featured in the New York Times, the Atlantic, Tablet Magazine, and salon.com. He has an MFA in nonfiction writing from Columbia University and is a director of strategic communications at the University of Texas at Austin.”
From Odyssey Books
Author Daniel Oppenheimer, at Politics and Prose Bookstore in Washington in 2016, talking about book ‘Exit Right: “The People Who Left the Left and Reshaped the American Century.
From The Film Archives
What these political figures that Daniel Oppenheimer talks about in his book Exit Right, including people like Ronald Reagan, would argue is that they didn’t leave the Left or the Democratic Party, but the Democratic Party left them.
Pre-late 1960s or so even the Progressive wing of the Democratic Party including people like Lyndon Johnson, John F. Kennedy, ( if you want to call JFK a Progressive, instead of a Liberal ) were anti-Communists and even anti-Socialists. Wanted nothing to do with socialism and communism as ideologies and movements. But believed in things like the right to organize, right to assemble, right to privacy, free speech, a public safety net for people who really needed it, President Lyndon Johnson with the civil rights laws that President John F. Kennedy fully backed before he was assassinated in November of 1963.
Back up until the late 1960s or so being everyone was against Communists and Socialists . Both the Democratic Party and the Republican Party were completely against communism and at least most aspects of socialism. Including the Progressives and Progressive Democrats who did believe in those key progressive social and economic values that I mentioned before, but didn’t want government in charge of everything and didn’t want property rights to disappear and put government completely in charge. Including Ronald Reagan who in the 1940s was still an actor and ran the Actors Guild in Hollywood. Including Progressives and even Progressive Democrats.
If you want to know why Progressives and Liberals get stereotyped as Socialists and even Communists, Hippies who seem to hate America and what America is supposed to stand for, and even hate American capitalism, and look at everyone who is supposed to be part of the establishment as a pig and bigot, look at the late 1960s with the rise of the Baby Boomers in America and the New-Left ( of Socialists and Communists ) that they got behind. That’s also where you’ll see a lot of Progressive Democrats back then leave the Democratic Party and either become Right-Progressive Republicans and be part of the Nelson Rockefeller wing of the Republican Party, or become Conservative Republicans like Ronald Reagan.
The 1960s, especially with the Vietnam War and the rise of the New-Left in the Democratic Party with all of these hippie-radicals becoming so politically active in American politics, is where tyou see the Dixiecrats ( Neo-Confederate Democrats ) becoming Republicans. As well as Center-Right Progressive Democrats like Ronald Reagan and others also leaving the Democratic Party and becoming Republicans. In Reagan’s case, a Center-Right Conservative Republican. Which is how America goes from being an almost one-party democratic country with the Democrats almost completely in charge, to a strong two-party system where the Republican Party becomes very competitive nationally again.