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As Democrats gather for turkey or tofurkey in Brooklyn and Berkeley and, yes, even in Birmingham, they should offer thanks for Mitt Romney. Not just for being a clumsy candidate in a year when a more agile one might have knocked off Barack Obama—but for the broader benefit he served the Democratic Party as a powerful clarifying force.

In an era of resentment toward unaccountable financial elites, they put forward the ultimate financial elite, a man who sliced and diced companiessheltered his income offshore, and, above all, was eye-poppingly incapable of discussing his wealth and the economic anxieties of those less fortunate in ways that might put voters at ease. The muddle that had clouded the political debate since Obama’s inauguration parted. On Election Day, when exit pollsters asked voters whom they thought the candidates favored, a plurality, 44 percent, thought Obama favored the middle class, while 53 percent…

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