Democratic Party

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Hail to the Chief?
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The previous logo (a bloody donkey)
The Democratic Party's logo as of September 2010
It is quite certain that a moderate Republican will be nominated to stand as his party's candidate for the presidency. His name is Barack Obama.
—Some damn Canucks[1]
Remember back when Democrats used to vote with us?
—Leo McGarry, The West Wing

The Democrat Party Democratic Party is a political party in the United States, widely perceived to be left-wing in the American political spectrum. In reality, think of it as a decentralized tent of centre-left to centre-right politicians who can't decide on virtually anything (and that may be the key to its survival[2]).

Contents

[edit] A short history

The electoral college from the 1860 presidential election, only months before the American Civil War. Compare to today.

The successor to the Democratic-Republican Party,[3] the Democrats historically acted as the more populist party, as opposed to the mercantilist Whigs and later the industrial Republicans. At the same time, however, it was rooted in many socially and economically conservative views, notably being anti-Second Bank (Andrew Jackson), anti-tariff (ie. the Bourbons) and supporting and upholding slavery (later segregation).

The party began to move to the left in two major shifts, starting with Woodrow Wilson in the 1910s and Franklin D. Roosevelt during the Great Depression; the latter was maintained by the "New Deal Coalition," a combination of urban constituents, immigrants, intellectuals, organized labour, farmers, whites from the Solid South — and for the first time, African Americans — all of whom agreed on more government intervention in the economy but not much about anything else.[4]

These differences reached their apex in the 1960s with increasing anti-war sentiment and the passage of the Civil Rights Act (among other issues during the countercultural revolution). Tricky Dick took advantage of this using the so-called "Southern strategy," which flipped the entire American political sphere on its backside - almost every single southern seat defected to the GOP, turning the blue Bible Belt red. The remaining liberal Republicans,[5] noticing the appeal to racist sentiment, fled to the Democrats, settling the party into its current centrist position and thus making the former refuge of Confederates the heir to Lincoln's North.[6] And all because of those uppity darkies.

Following the rise of Saint Ronnie, this right-wing realignment continued to strengthen, leaving progressive policies difficult to implement and leading to an increasing amount of disenfranchised voters. As of the early 21st century, the consequences of this are very clear.

The Democrats have made the mistake of refusing to frame its issues in terms of its constituents' prejudices, instead offering "solutions" to "problems" that can easily be "solved" by giving powerful people money to ignore them. However, its fortunes turned around in the 2006 and 2008 elections mainly because of a group called the Club for Growth, which has proven to be a wildly successful strategy for growing the Democratic Party beyond anyone's imagination.

[edit] Internal factions

While the Democrats have a substantial liberal wing among the public at large, the party's inability to coordinate itself properly results in a political platform that consists of rolling over to Republican schemes and failing to provide effective leadership. The sectarian violence appears below.

[edit] Progressive Democrats

European-styled social democrats. In the House they are organized in the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), the largest of its kind in the House of Representatives. Some are descendants of the New Left:

[edit] Traditional liberals

Constitute half of the voter base, and take pain to avoid infighting between the separate Democratic coalitions. "A little left of center," in FDR's words, and don't share many differences with the progressives anyway:

[edit] New Democrats

The Third Way moderates. They've increased their clout since the Dems' neoliberal exploits since the 90s, and are roughly equivalent to the British New Labour. Represented by the New Democrat Coalition (an affiliate of the now-defunct Democratic Leadership Council):

[edit] Blue Dogs

Here's where the shit starts to break out. Those in the Blue Dog Coalition are often accused of being DINOs, siding with conservative thought whenever they wish, most commonly on social issues and deficit hawkery.[9] Officially they are a coalition in the House but a few ideologically aligned Senators are listed as well. They're typically elected in Jesusland, and are considered flaming lefties there, despite being firmly centre-right:

  • Joe Donnelly
  • Mary Landrieu
  • Gabrielle Giffords
  • Joe Manchin
  • Ben Nelson
  • Collin Peterson
  • Heath Shuler

[edit] Dixiecrat leftovers and boll weevils

To the right of the Blue Dogs. Not a significant feature in the party anymore, although occasionally one will turn up here and there as a failed Senate candidate,[wp] or a centrist Democrat will go haywire and swing far to the right.[10]

  • Virgil Goode (left the Democrats in 2000, was the Constitution Party presidential nominee in 2012)
  • Zell Miller[11]

[edit] Random populists

These often vote with the progressive and traditional liberal wings of the party, but have their conservative quirky bits. Not easily categorized elsewhere:

[edit] The libertarians

Yes, they exist too, probably upset about Dubya's stance on civil liberties and the Republicans' constant juggling between pro-business interests and the Religious Right:

  • Mike Gravel
  • There is also an erstwhile "Democratic Freedom Caucus" influenced by Georgism whose actual influence in the party is negligible

[edit] So who's ticking them on their ballot?

Today, the Democratic Party attracts academia, white-collar professionals,[12] scientists,[13] medical students,[14] the youth vote,[15] the working class,[16] consumer advocates, copyright reformers, women,[17] LGBT, ethnic minorities, basically anyone who can't afford seven-figure bribes or isn't white, male, and psychotically religious. Considering the very nature of the Republican Party, this is not that surprising, and the Democrats don't really need to do much to court their vote.

[edit] Quotes

[edit] Footnotes

  1. Hey, we didn't say it.
  2. 7 reasons the Democratic coalition is more united than ever, Vox
  3. Seriously, there was a party like this.
  4. The American Franchise, University of Virginia
  5. Or the "Ike Republicans," vital in passing the CRA
  6. Yes, irony meters abound.
  7. "Representative Pete Stark Named 2008 Humanist of the Year"
  8. Obama's inclusion here is striking in that while his election effectively shut down the DLC, his outlook as POTUS has been largely Clintonian.
  9. A Brief History of Blue Dog Democrats, Time
  10. In states that are effectively one-party blue states, it's not uncommon to find wingnut Democrats who are only Democrats because they can't get elected otherwise. They're almost the same as Dixiecrats.
  11. aka. The Duel Guy. Watch Zell Miller vs. Chris Matthews
  12. The Emerging Democratic Majority Turns 10, The Atlantic
  13. Inconceivable!
  14. Political Self-characterization of U.S. Medical Students, Journal of General Internal Medicine
  15. Millennials in Adulthood, Pew Research
  16. The Effects of Union Membership on Democratic Voting, The New York Times
  17. Gender Gap in 2012 Vote Is Largest in Gallup's History, Gallup
United States 2008 Presidential election articles on RationalWiki
Topics: 2008 U.S. Presidential Election - Democratic Party - Debate:Religious beliefs and public office - Republican Party - Same-sex marriage - United States Electoral College
Candidates: Hillary Rodham Clinton - Rudolph Giuliani - Mike Huckabee - John McCain - Alan Keyes - Dennis Kucinich - Ron Paul - Mitt Romney
Running mates: Joe Biden - Sarah Palin
Winner: Barack Obama
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