Paul Krugman's piece in the New York Times of June 3, 2012 on "the Republican Economy" raises some interesting questions. He does good anaylsis, and points out what is wrong, but does not offer some details that are part of the dysfunction. Namely, Gingrich's GOPAC word list to use against the Democrats; and Grover Norquist's Taxpayer Protection Plan. If the Left is to make any inroads towards sane consensus, and if this country is not to be sold (due to Obama occupying the White House), Democrats have to look countering these two facts. Yes, the parallel to Know Nothing party's reign of ignorance in US history is there, but this can be changed.
One - start by praising what the right seems to cherish, Capitalism. Then talk about the regulations needed to an unbridled capitalism. Detail how historic regulations have helped most people in the US.
Two - embrace the discussion about the multicultural nature of US society (which started the moment the Europeans landed in what became the US); don't shun it. Talk about the differences of race and religion. Link it to diversity and globalization. Don't follow the path of the Know Nothings and the McCarthy Era.
Three - fund education. A democracy requires basic education and critical thinking skills for its people/ citizens. We cannot take pride in a chorus of 'I know nothing.'
Four - get the press to do what it should - carry its weight in a democracy. Talk about the link to what Project Censored calls Junk News and Real News. Do we as a society need to know more about 'Branjolina', or our politicians and political system?
Unless these are made a part of the conversation, very little will improve.