Democrats won't regain the White House until they abandon "the politics of evasion" and face up to the changes in society that have eroded their support among middle-class voters, two veterans of recent Democratic presidential campaigns say in a sharply worded critique of their party. The authors argue that "too many Americans have come to see the party as inattentive to their economic interests, indifferent if not hostile to their moral sentiments and ineffective in defense of their national security." The monograph, released yesterday by the Progressive Policy Institute, was written by University of Maryland professor of public policy William Galston, who was issues adviser in former vice president Walter F. Mondale's 1984 presidential campaign, and Elaine Kamarck, a senior fellow at the institute who worked for Mondale in 1984 and the campaign of former Arizona governor Bruce Babbitt in 1988. Galston and Kamarck set out to demolish what they called three "myths" about why the party has lost five of the last six presidential elections. The first holds that Democrats lost because their candidates strayed from "liberal orthodoxy." Noting that losing candidates Mondale in 1984 and Michael S. Dukakis in 1988 captured a greater share of the traditional Democratic base (liberals and blacks) than did winning candidate Jimmy Carter in 1976, the authors said the real problem is that Democratic nominees have been seen as "unacceptably liberal" at a time when liberalism has lost its luster for many voters. Rather than adapting to the changed political climate, the authors said, the party's liberal fundamentalism "enshrines the politics of the past two decades as sacrosanct and greets proposals for change with moral outrage." As a result, they said, "the politics of innovation has been replaced by programmatic rigidity." Galston and Kamarck also said Democrats are misguided if they think that either a general or targeted mobilization of voters would reverse their misfortunes. An overall mobilization of voters is a losing strategy, they said, because Democrats no longer hold a comfortable lead over Republicans in party identification and because "peripheral voters" are increasingly likely to vote Republican. Galston and Kamarck also said efforts to increase turnout among specific groups or in specific regions can't provide enough votes to make the difference. Citing the work of Ruy Teixeira, they said that if black and Hispanic turnout in 1988 had exceeded white turnout by 10 percentage points, "Dukakis would still have lost the election by 2.5 million votes." The authors also said the party should not believe that its dominance in the House proves Democratic strength at the grass roots. They say the nation is going through a "slow-motion, trickle-down realignment" in which GOP strength at the presidential level will erode Democratic strength in the House and in state and local races.