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Obama’s moral majority

President Obama has a unique opportunity to unite Americans behind him and redefine liberalism. But if he is to succeed, he must find a new political language—and broaden the moral register of the political left

By Jonathan Haidt   February 2009

At President Obama’s inauguration, did we finally witness the beginning of the end of America’s long and bitter culture wars? The two conservative ideologies that joined forces in the 1980s—free-market fundamentalism and the religious right—are severely weakened, while liberal ideas about the role of government, the limitations of markets and the value of international cooperation are newly ascendant. Yet, as the new leader of the victorious left, Obama has been a gracious winner. From his electrifying speech at the 2004 Democratic convention to his 2009 inaugural address, he has promised to transcend the old partisan divisions and reach out to…

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