Democratic Party

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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 social liberal political party in the United States, widely perceived to be left-wing in the American political spectrum, largely because of their center-left rhetoric. The Democratic Party of the United States is more conservative than the center-left liberal and social democratic parties in Europe, but more progressive than the center-left liberal Democratic Parties in Northeast Asia.

As of 2019, the Democratic Party has control of the U.S. House of Representatives. The majority of voters in the United States who voted in the most recent election - approximately 53.4% - are aligned with the Democratic Party, according to the 2018 House of Representatives election results.[2]

A short history[edit]

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

The successor to the Democratic-Republican Party, 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 right-wing views, notably being anti-Second Bank (Andrew Jackson), anti-tariff (i.e. the Bourbons), and supporting and upholding slavery (later segregation).

The party began to move to the left in two significant shifts, starting with Woodrow Wilson in the 1910s and Franklin D. Roosevelt during the Great Depression. The latter was buffered by the "New Deal Coalition," a combination of urban constituents, immigrants, intellectuals, organized labor, 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 else.[3]. This coalition began to fraction in the late 1940s when members of the Liberal faction of the party such as Harry Truman and Hubert Humphrey began pushing the Party left on Civil Rights, angering the pro-segregation "Dixiecrats" of the South.

The schism widened in the 1960s, the hot-button issues being the Vietnam War and desegregation. On the latter in particular, LBJ signing the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was the last straw for the Southern Conservatives that had once been the Party's backbone; several of them, most notably Strom Thurmond, began to defect to the GOP, and 1964 Republican Presidential Nominee Barry Goldwater won several Deep South states that hadn't gone Republican since Reconstruction by explicitly campaigning against the Civil Rights Act (Goldwater at least claimed to support desegregation in principle, but he was also a staunch Federalist and viewed the act as written to be an overreach of the Federal Government).

Having taken notice of Goldwater's success in the South, Richard Nixon took advantage of this discontent in 1968 with his "Southern strategy," which ultimately flipped the American political sphere on its backside; as the South became increasingly Republican, dragging the GOP as a whole to the Right with it, the remaining liberal Republicans (or the "Ike Republicans," vital in passing the Civil Rights Act) fled to the Democrats. This series of defections, in turn, had the natural effect of dragging both parties, and the American political spectrum as a whole, to the right.

Unable to keep the fire alive into the '80s, the DNC embraced the snail's pace of incrementalism. The McGovern-Fraser pivot (1968) towards the primary system ushered in the age of Third Way politics. Couple it with superdelegates and the reliance of more primaries, and the result was less populism and more appeal to urban areas. While it was successful in the short-term by widening the upper/middle class, Democrats are so parochial with their city-regions' culture that they've lost the ability to network with other regions.

In the Bush years, you could not go 24 hours without seeing something which made you want to swallow knives. Half the Democrats just went along with OIF even though the premise of the war, as well as the hilariously short timetable, was bogus. The few journalists willing to challenge the White House gave brief sanctuary, but the fact all Bush had to do was sound credulous proved that Democrats are not equipped to deal with an administration that's openly breaking the law.[4][5]

Future[edit]

Ironically, by winning the culture war, the Democrats have ceded the electoral war: hard-up whites behaved like a minority bloc and came out for Trump in the same way that African-Americans did for Obama. The strength of the Dems used to be that they had broad ideological flexibility. They are the party of non-whites, which is a vast and diverse group. Now that diversity hurts their messaging in presidential elections. As America's power twilights and those folks see their lifestyle changing dramatically, social conservatism will only get more assertive. Simultaneously, incrementalism becomes indistinguishable from simply waffling and preserving the status quo despite its apparent flaws. It makes perfect sense for the GOP to cultivate that base rather than try and shove them into the cellar as they have been doing. That approach is what made Romney lose. Playing to the alt-right is what made Trump win. The dynamics are different in Canada, the UK, et al., but it's playing out in other countries, too.

On a more superficial level, with stuff like DNC hacks, the party is forced to remain squeaky clean. The RNC does not have this problem. Trump and his subordinates know this and will couple it with swiftboating/voter suppression tactics. Over 30 states have Republican majorities in both chambers (which equals more gerrymandering, since the governors approve the redistricting bills), and they are just one or two states away from a constitutional majority when they can change the constitution to enshrine their extremism into law.[6]

Internal factions[edit]

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.

But really, the first moment people realized the media had the power to singlehandedly derail a "problematic" candidate was Howard Dean. Sure, Dean, in recent years, has morphed into a pharmaceutical lobbyist and voracious anti-Bernie mouthpiece. Still, back in the '04 primaries, he was a completely different candidate who funneled a wave of righteous anger towards the Bush administration. And then one day, at the end of a rally speech, he exclaimed "BYAHHHH!" and the entire media decided his candidacy was dead in the water in favor of Xanax in human form. The 2004 primaries/election were always in the back of voters' minds when the media blacked out Bernard and pretended like HRC was the next coming of Jesus in '16. They tried using the Dean playbook to delegitimize Trump, but each time it failed, the Pedes would be empowered further.

The sectarian violence appears below.

Progressives[edit]

An alliance between social democrats, democratic socialists, and greens (there is a difference, however minor). If liberals prefer systemic reform, progressives push for systemic overhaul, with many advocating for policies that are less from the New Deal and more like the War on Poverty and beyond, which includes support for single-payer, a top marginal income tax rate of 50%, union membership, a $15 minimum wage, bilingual education in English and Spanish, busting monopolies, collective bargaining, public broadband for internet service, and nationalization, all hallmarks of the left-wing. Some even explicitly support employee ownership and endorse workplace democracy, even sponsoring bills to that effect. Once disenchanted by the right-wing, they grew increasingly popular throughout the 2010s, fueled chiefly by the diverse and increasingly leftist millennial generation, who felt disillusioned by Obama's fiscally conservative economic policy and latched onto Sanders' brand of social democracy. The Justice Democrats are a faction of progressives who explicitly don't take Super PAC money and prefer small donors, and has worked to primary so-called "corporate Democrats." They currently have seven sitting members: Raul Grijalva, Ro Khanna, Pramila Jayapal, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib. Many progressives are organized in the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), the largest of its kind in the House of Representatives, and more recently, the slightly smaller Medicare For All Caucus, which contains many of the same members. Some are descendants of the New Left:

  • Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (or AOC). Leader of the Squad, an attempt to revive the more populist Left-Wing base of the Democratic Party by promoting Bernie Sanders Social Democratic politics. Supports the policies of Justice Democrats and Bernie Sanders.
  • Jesse Jackson. Civil rights activist turned presidential candidate in 1he 1984 and 1988 Democratic Party presidential primaries. Was one of the first successful African American candidates since Shirley Chisholm to win more than one primary state. Received the endorsement of Bernie Sanders back in the 1980s, and advocated for the creation of a "Rainbow Coalition" of various minorities. Largely supported the political philosophies of Social Democracy/New Deal, but with a more civil-rights oriented bent.
  • Sherrod Brown, the senior Ohio Senator. A self-described progressive populist, Brown is one of the strongest allies of organized labor in the Senate, maintaining strong relationships with trade unions in his home state and consistently opposing Free Trade deals. Like Warren, Brown is also a vocal critic of the finance sector and a proponent of reinstating the Glass-Steagall Act to separate commercial and investment banking.
  • Stacey Abrams, the party's nominee for Governor of Georgia in the 2018 midterms; despite Georgia's status as a solidly red state, she narrowly lost in a race many saw as unfair.
  • John Conyers, former Congressman from Michigan. Throughout his 53-year career, he was one of the loudest voices in the House for single-payer healthcare and civil rights. Unfortunately, he turned out to be a bit of a scumbag[7] and had his career cut short.
  • Russ Feingold, former Senator from Wisconsin. During his time in the Senate, Feingold was a strong advocate for campaign finance reform and a committed civil libertarian, being the only Senator to vote against the original manifestation of the PATRIOT Act and coming out in favor of gay marriage as early as 2006. Since losing re-election in 2010 and failing to regain his seat in 2016, he has continued to work for these causes outside of the elected office, having recently founded LegitAction, a PAC. Their goals include protecting voting rights, curbing Dark Money's influence, and abolishing the Electoral College.
  • John Lewis, Georgia representative who was one of the "Big Six" of the Civil Rights movement in his youth.
  • Ed Markey, the junior Massachusetts Senator and one of the fiercest supporters of net neutrality and single-payer health care in Congress.
  • George McGovern, 3-term Senator from South Dakota and the party's 1972 Presidential nominee. McGovern openly championed progressive social movements of the time, was staunchly anti-war, and emphasized reversing income inequality (he proposed a "Demogrant" program that would give working Americans a $1000 grant every year). His blowout defeat by Richard Nixon (he lost every state except Massachusetts and the District of Columbia) is often viewed as the beginning of the party's rightward shift. However, it has been argued that this staggering loss was more due to situational factors (he was facing a popular incumbent during a period of economic growth) and his frankly incompetent campaign, rather than his progressive views. [8]
  • Jeff Merkley, the junior Oregon Senator. Merkley was notably the only other sitting US Senator to endorse Bernie Sanders in the 2016 Presidential Primary; he has also been one of the Senate's loudest voices for combating Climate Change and a consistent advocate for both Universal Healthcare and campaign finance reform.
  • Ilhan Omar, a Minnesota representative and one of the first two Muslim Congresswomen ever (alongside Rashida Tlaib). Omar has some of the strongest non-interventionist stances of anybody currently in national office, and has been a consistent critic of Western imperialism as well as the anti-Palestinian pro-apartheid government of Israel under Benjamin Netanyahu, who banned her and Tlaib from entering his country.
  • Mark Pocan, a representative from Wisconsin who currently chairs the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC). Founder of the Congressional Labor Caucus, which seeks a more pro-labor vision within the Democratic Party.
  • Ayanna Pressley, a Massachusetts representative who, unlike her fellow Squad members, endorsed Elizabeth Warren instead of Bernie Sanders. But otherwise, Pressley has had very similar policies and stances as the rest of the Squad, namely supporting defunding the police, opposing wars overseas, cracking down on Wall Street, and fundamentally restructuring American society, including - most radically - her support for reparations to black Americans for slavery.
  • Robert Reich, Bill Clinton's Secretary of Labor, who endorsed Bernie in the 2016 primary and is a crusader against income inequality.
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt, the founder of the New Deal Coalition along with the intellectual ancestor of today's Progressives. While Roosevelt originally started off as a Centrist Democrat of his day by working with the Wilson Administration, Roosevelt along with his wife Eleanor became leading figures of the Progressive Movement by becoming President during the 1930s and instituting the New Deal-era programs that Democrats today fight to conserve, protect, and expand.
  • Bernie Sanders, the junior Senator from Vermont and the man many credits with giving voice to the left-wing as he ran for president in 2016 and 2020. A self-described and indeed admitted "Democratic" socialist, for many years he wasn't even an actual Democrat, but caucused with them. Several people involved in his campaign have branched out, and created organizations meant to continue the "political revolution," as he calls it. Like a 15 dollar minimum wage and Medicare-For-All, many of his pet policies became mainstream, as pressure from public activists has increasingly forced the party brass to respond in kind.
  • Rashida Tlaib: A Michigan representative famous for saying "We're gonna impeach the motherfucker!" after winning election, Tlaib is one of the first two Muslim Congresswomen ever elected, alongside Ilhan Omar. Tlaib's fierce criticisms of Israel and its right wing government, particularly explicitly pro-apartheid Benjamin Netanyahu, caused the latter to bar her from visiting family in Israel and Palestine. Tlaib is herself Palestinian and has a consistent anti-imperialist bent on foreign policy.
  • Henry Wallace, one of Franklin D. Roosevelt's many Vice Presidents and Roosevelt's Agriculture Secretary. Left the party in 1948 to form a new Progressive Party, and fought for things that were similar to Bernie Sanders. A champion of a more diplomacy-first foreign policy, was in favor of Single-Payer Healthcare, was in favor of civil rights before it was cool, and was in favor of the various domestic policies of Harry S. Truman/JFK/LBJ/George McGovern.
  • Elizabeth Warren, the brains behind the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau before becoming a Massachusetts Senator. With Sanders as an independent, she was the furthest-left Democrat in the party for the longest time, adopting rhetoric from Occupy Wall Street when she railed against the big banks and income inequality. One of her central policies, anti-trust laws, was formally adopted by Chuck Schumer's "Better Deal" proposals in 2017.
  • Paul Wellstone, late Senator from Minnesota, was considered a leading figure of the Progressive Wing until his tragic death in a plane crash in 2002. His New Deal-era policies made him an eccentric figure in the increasingly right-wing direction the party was moving during the 1990s and early 2000s.
  • Jamaal Bowman: A former middle school principal and current New York representative. He defeated longtime Congressman Eliot Engel in the 2020 primary, and went on to win in the general election. His main focus is on housing, health care, racial justice, and the environment. He introduced the COUP Act to create a commission to investigate the conduct of the Capitol Police during the insurrection. [9]
  • Cori Bush: Activist, Pastor, and current Missouri representative. She supports a $15 minimum wage, Medicare For All and a Green New Deal. In the aftermath of the storming of the US Capitol, she introduced a resolution to expel all GOP representatives in favor of overturning the election results from the House. [10]
  • Mondaire Jones: Attorney and current New York representative. He grew up working-class in the lower Hudson Valley, and this is reflected in his agenda, which includes police reform, Green New Deal, and Medicare for all. He and Ritchie Torres are the first openly gay black members of congress. [11]

Liberals[edit]

"A little left of center," in FDR's words, with an emphasis on social democracy and its various flavors. Old-school, New Deal-era moderates who wish to "save capitalism from itself," also in FDR's words. Their power base was traditionally the labor movement, which was far stronger through the New Deal era until the 1970s. Characterized by their willingness to listen to public pressure and bend to activist movement, they're the type to rein in the system's excesses without fundamentally changing it. Many listed below started out as New Democrats:

  • Richard Blumenthal, the senior Connecticut Senator.
  • Barbara Boxer, retired California Senator.
  • Bill Bradley retired New Jersey Senator. While he was a Fiscal Conservative during his time as a Senator, he moved to the Left of Al Gore during the 2000 Democratic Primaries. Bradley's campaign in 2000 focused on fiscal conservatism, fighting for civil rights amongst minorities, improving public education services, and universal healthcare. Despite one of the founders of the New Democrat ideology known as the Third Way, he endorsed Howard Dean in 2004 and Barack Obama in 2008 due to their outsider status along with desiring more Progressive change in the United States.
  • Maria Cantwell, the junior Washington Senator.
  • Jimmy Carter, the 39th President Of The United States. Considered a centrist in his day, Carter seems to have moved left since leaving office;. At the same time, he still holds some Conservative views (most notably being Pro-Life). He has been an advocate of the need for campaign finance reform, a proponent of a two-state solution between Israel and Palestine, and admitted to voting for Bernie Sanders in the 2016 Primary.
  • Julian Castro, Started off as a Centrist New Democrat during his time in the Obama administration, became one of the most outspoken Social Progressives in the 2020 Democratic Primaries, and endorsed Progressive Elizabeth Warren.
  • Stephen Colbert. While a supporter of Hilary Clinton, Colbert was willing to criticize Clinton from the Left on a host of issues. Wanted Elizabeth Warren to run for president in 2016. Colbert supports Balancing the Budget, Expanding Social Security Benefits, the Green New Deal, Medicare-for-All Single-Payer Healthcare, Pro-Civil Liberties, Pro-Civil Rights, Pro-Reinstaing Glass-Stegall, Pro-Progressive Taxation, Pro-Universal Basic Income, and supports repealing the Crime Bill. While many in the American public view him as a very generic Democrat, Colbert has moved to the Left as the Democratic Party has embraced more Progressive ideas from Progressives such as Bill De Blasio, AOC, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren.
  • Mark Dayton, Governor of Minnesota.
  • Howard Dean, former Governor of Vermont and chairman of the DNC from 2005-2009.
  • Byron Dorgan, retired North Dakota Senator, who has a reputation as an economic populist, being an early opponent of the party's embrace of Neoliberal economics (such as free trade and financial deregulation) during the 1990s; he was one of only 8 Senators to vote against repealing Glass-Steagall in 1999.
  • Dick Durbin, Senior Senator from Illinois and current Senate Democratic Whip. Unlike both of his leaders, Reid and Schumer, Durbin voted against the Iraq invasion. He has consistently been an advocate for both progressive immigration reform and reducing college students' debt/living expenses.
  • John Edwards, former North Carolina Senator and the party's 2004 Vice-Presidential nominee.
  • Tony Evers, Governor of Wisconsin.
  • Eileen Filler-Corn, the Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates. Filler-Corn is the first woman and the first Jew to hold the Commonwealth's highest legislative office. Elected Speaker in January of 2020, Filler-Corn immediately pushed through an avalanche of progressive legislation, including bills that protect LGBTQ rights, combat climate change, decriminalize marijuana, strengthen collective bargaining rights, protect voting rights;, regulate gun ownership, and ratify the Equal Rights Amendment.
  • Al Franken, former Minnesota Senator.
  • Kirsten Gillibrand, the junior New York Senator. A Blue Dog during her time in the House, where she bragged that her voting record was “one of the most conservative in the state”[12], she's been making a gradual move to the left since becoming a Senator; during her first term in the Senate, she was one of the few Senators to vote against defunding ACORN and extending the Bush Tax Cuts. Following the 2016 election, she's openly called for the party to follow Bernie and Warren's lead, and she has mostly followed through herself, even cosponsoring employee ownership and Medicare for All legislation with Bernie, as well as introducing a bill to ban anti-union "right to work" laws with Warren and Brown. She's continued that leftward trend by disavowing corporate PAC money for her reelection campaign in 2018, taking a page from Bernie and his small-donor campaign in 2016.
  • Kamala Harris, the junior California Senator. A former conservative, she was known for her tough on crime policies, including pushing for the death penalty and preventing two trans inmates from getting reassignment surgery. But as Senator, just like Gillibrand above, Harris has consistently moved to the left, cosponsored several of Bernie's bills (including Medicare For All), sponsored a bill to reform bail, pushed for overturning the repeal of net neutrality, supported a 15 dollar minimum wage, and voted to shut down the government if DACA wasn't restored.
  • Tom Harkin, retired Iowa Senator, who supported universal healthcare, free college, and an increased minimum wage, but also voted for the Iraq War.
  • Martin Heinrich, the junior New Mexico Senator.
  • Hubert Humphrey, Lyndon B. Johnson's Vice President. Founded Americans for Democratic Action. Humphrey was pro-civil rights, pro-combating economic inequality, pro-labor unions, pro-Liberal Internationalism. While he was forced to be for the Vietnam War in public due to him being a part of the Johnson Administration, Humphrey was personally opposed to the Vietnam War and wanted it to end.
  • The Kennedys (though there is some internal division; Ted Kennedy came to be considered an icon of the progressive wing throughout his Senate career and was for many years the loudest advocate for the implementation of a Single-Payer healthcare system in the US, while Joe Kennedy III leans more to the center, likely due to representing a more conservative district.)
  • Ned Lamont, Governor of Connecticut.
  • Patrick Leahy, the senior Vermont Senator who often votes in line with Bernie's policies. Leahy is the current most senior Senator overall.
  • Walter Mondale, Jimmy Carter's Vice President, and the Democratic Party nominee for 1984.
  • Chris Murphy, the junior Connecticut Senator
  • Phil Murphy, Governor of New Jersey.
  • Patty Murray, the senior Washington Senator.
  • Gavin Newsom, Governor of California.
  • Ralph Northam, Governor of Virginia.
  • Beto O'Rourke, former Texas representative.
  • Jared Polis, governor of Colorado and the first openly-gay (by choice) governor in US history.
  • Jay Rockefeller, retired West Virginia Senator. A member of the traditionally Republican Rockefeller family, he became a Democrat to run for office in West Virginia, a Democratic stronghold. Funnily enough, his retirement in 2014 was spurred partially by West Virginia shifting to a mostly Republican state. While he was hawkish by Democratic standards during his time in the Senate, he co-authored CHIP (Children's Health Insurance Program) and was one of the staunchest proponents of a healthcare Public Option.
  • Brian Schatz, the senior Hawaii Senator
  • Paul Simon, former Senator from Illinois. Voted against the Reagan Tax Cuts, the Defense of Marriage Act, Bill Clinton's Welfare Reform Law, opposed the death penalty, and supported ending the embargo on Cuba. Simon endorsed Al Gore in the 2000 Democratic Party presidential primaries, Barack Obama during his 2003 Senate campaign, and Howard Dean in the 2004 Democratic Party presidential primaries.
  • Tom Udall, the senior New Mexico Senator
  • Chris Van Hollen, the junior Maryland Senator
  • Harry S. Truman, President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Vice President. Truman fought for the Fair Deal, initiated moderate civil rights programs, and created the foreign policy of Containment alongside the Marshall Plan.
  • Anthony Weiner, former New York representative
  • Sheldon Whitehouse, the junior Rhode Island Senator
  • Ron Wyden, the senior Oregon Senator, who, despite some fiscally centrist views (including support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership and a repeal of the estate tax) is a strong advocate for civil liberties in the Senate, being the first US Senator to publicly support LGBTQ marriage equality and a vocal critic of the PATRIOT Act (despite voting for it initially) and other mass surveillance programs.

Centrists[edit]

The third way moderates. Birthed from the Democratic Leadership Council in the 80s, they turned the party increasingly neoliberal following Clinton's ascendance to the presidency, much like New Labour under Tony Blair. They dominated the party throughout the 90s, leading to a proliferation of Blue Dogs (see below) who gave cover to the right-wing. Since the 2010s, they've lost much of their former clout to the left-wing, as the Blue Dogs were eradicated and the progressives filled that void. Several of their most ardently centrist members have since been forced to shift left because of an increasingly restless public demanding change. They describe themselves as pro-fiscal responsibility, pro-growth, socially liberal, and liberal internationalists on foreign affairs. The first wave of the New Democrats has since become more like Blue Dog Democrats as represented by Joe Biden-Bill Clinton-Hilary Clinton, with the political Center of the Democratic Party being more represented by Barack Obama-Cory Booker-Pete Buttigieg. The Third Way is represented by the New Democrat Coalition (an affiliate of the now-defunct Democratic Leadership Council):

  • Joe Biden, Barack Obama's former Vice President and President-elect (2020). Biden can be historically regarded as the center of the Democratic Party, no matter how conservative or progressive it might lean at any given point. In the 1970s he was repeatedly on the wrong side of many issues: on topics such as abortion and civil rights, as well as supporting foreign US intervention since the end of the cold war. In the 1990s Biden wrote the senate version of the infamous Crime Bill in cooperation with National Association of Police Officers president Tom Scotto. He voted for NAFTA, the Defense of Marriage Act, the 1996 mass welfare cuts, the Glass-Steagall repeal, the Patriot Act, the Iraq War, the REAL ID Act, the Secure Fence Act, and the Wall Street bailout. In his early Senate career, he teamed up with several white supremacist Senators to end school integration via busing. He also opposes single-payer healthcare, has endorsed the Trans-Pacific Partnership, has been iffy on net neutrality, and supported the Hyde Amendment up until 2019. Biden's 2020 campaign is notably marked in attempting to strike a balance between the centrist, liberal and progressive wings of the party. This means that Biden supports a public option for universal healthcare, a raise of the minimum wage, as well as support for the Green New Deal resolution but that he doesn't support legalizing drug use (only decriminalizing it).
  • Cory Booker, the junior New Jersey Senator who receives the most Wall Street donations of any Democrat in the Senate. He has nonetheless been making some appeals to the progressive and liberal wings recently (including co-sponsoring Medicare For All, authoring a nationwide Marijuana legalization bill, and following Bernie Sanders' lead by disavowing corporate PAC money) in what is absolutely many believe to be him laying the groundwork for a 2020 presidential run.
  • Pete Buttigieg, one of the primary leaders of the Centrist wing of the Democratic Party due to his remarkable youth and meteoric rise in 2020. Wrote a profile in courage essay on praising Bernie Sanders and reportedly endorsed him in 2016, Buttigieg originally had some ideas that were square in the Progressive-Liberal camp of the Democratic Party like Medicare-for-All. But he moved more towards the political Center as he started to be seen as more of a rising star within the Democratic Party.
  • Cheri Bustos, an Illinois Representative and head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
  • Joe Crowley, former New York representative who was primaried by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in 2018.
  • Andrew Cuomo, Governor of New York, supported the Republican-allied Independent Democratic Caucus in the state senate. He later adopted a more progressive agenda after the IDC was wiped out in the midterms.[13]
  • Tom Daschle, former Senator from South Dakota and caucus leader of the Senate Democrats from 1995-2004
  • Chris Dodd, retired Connecticut Senator.
  • Tammy Duckworth, the junior Illinois Senator
  • Al Gore, Bill Clinton's Vice President.
  • John Hickenlooper, former Governor of Colorado.
  • Jim Himes, a Connecticut representative and the current chair of the New Democrats Coalition in the House of Representatives
  • John Kerry, former State Secretary and Massachusetts Senator, was the party's 2004 Presidential Nominee.
  • Tim Kaine, junior Senator from Virginia, was the party's 2016 Vice-President Nominee.
  • Amy Klobuchar, the senior Minnesota Senator.
  • Conor Lamb, Representative from Pennsylvania. Conservatives went from portraying him as a DINO to explain why he won in a deep red district[14] to portraying him as so far left that he's basically the fifth member of "the Squad".[15]. In reality, his voting record suggests that he is more of a centrist by Democratic Party standards.
  • Ted Lieu, a California representative
  • Rachel Maddow - Self-identifies as an "Eisenhower Republican," meaning she's socially liberal, fiscally moderately conservative, and a bit of a hawk on foreign policy, albeit with strong criticisms of the military-industrial complex. Basically, a New Democrat centrist, though unlike most centrists she doesn't care much for Barack Obama. Has confessed on the air that she does, in fact feel the Bern. Whether this was meant seriously remains to be seen, but she does have tendency to criticize the "beltway press" for failing to report on Sanders and the huge crowds he draws. Currently the top rated show on MSNBC and crushing the 9PM (ET) timeslot.
  • Terry McAuliffe, the former DNC Chairman/Governor of Virginia, has long been a fervent ally of the Clintons.
  • Martin O'Malley, former Governor of Maryland.
  • Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States, who nonetheless (accidentally) facilitated a revival of the left-wing. Many were dissatisfied with his conservative leanings, and public activism forced him to evolve into a more traditional liberal by the end of his presidency. [16]
  • Deval Patrick, former Governor of Massachusetts.
  • Nancy Pelosi, a California representative and current caucus leader of the House Democrats. She generally refuses to give the left-wing any time, despite her Senate counterparts Reid and Schumer being more conciliatory to the left.
  • Harry Reid, retired Senator from Nevada who was caucus leader of the Senate Democrats from 2005-2017. Perhaps owing to his Mormon faith, Reid is relatively Socially Conservative by Democratic standards; he believes Roe v. Wade should be overturned, opposed Same-Sex Marriage until 2012, and advocated outlawing prostitution in his home state. Once the favorite target of comedian Rush Limbaugh and former Senate Democrat leader. Reid was fairly moderate to liberal-leaning, depending on the period of his career. Throughout his career Reid strongly supported the death penalty along with being a serial flip-flopper on issues such as abortion, the PATRIOT Act, gun control, and gay marriage to the very end.
  • Kathleen Rice Represents New York's Fourth Congressional District. Member of the Centrist New Democrat Coalition, and endorsed Pete Buttigieg for president before supporting Joe Biden.
  • Tim Ryan, an Ohio Representative who made a failed bid to challenge Pelosi for caucus leadership after the 2016 election.
  • Adam Schiff, a California Representative and one of the most hawkish/pro-surveillance state Democrats in the House.
  • Chuck Schumer, the senior New York Senator and the current Senate Democrat leader who has found himself forced to make a few conciliatory gestures to the party's progressive wing (most notably his "Better Deal" proposal that incorporated a $15 minimum wage, a ban on "right-to-work", and Warren's antitrust proposals) following the embarrassing defeat of Hillary Clinton by Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election that put Republicans in control of all three branches of the federal government.
  • Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, the incompetent former head of the DNC who often votes with Republicans.
  • Andy Beshear, the current governor of Kentucky. Beshear arguably qualifies as a conservative, but pro-choice, pro-voting rights, pro-Medicaid, and willing to accept the scientific consensus on climate change puts him well to the left of Kentucky politics.
  • Laura Kelly, the current governor of Kansas. Kelly's policies have been relatively modest, which is perhaps understandable given that she governs a state where Republicans have supermajorities in the legislature. Nonetheless, Kelly has made some significant changes, notably by restoring protections for queer workers. She has also helped insulate state courts against conservative attempts to pack them; this is proving influential, given that the Kansas Supreme Court has served as a bulwark for reproductive rights in recent years.

Conservatives[edit]

The Blue Dog Coalition are often accused of being DINOs, most commonly on social issues and deficit hawkery.[17] 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 center-right. They were largely wiped out in 2010 and 2014, but an ever smaller amount of their holdouts remain:

  • Max Baucus, retired Senator from Montana.
  • Evan Bayh, former Senator from Indiana.
  • Michael Bennet, senior Senator from Colorado.
  • Phil Bredesen, former Governor of Tennessee.
  • Tom Carper, senior Senator from Delaware.
  • Chris Coons, junior Senator from Delaware.
  • Charlie Crist, Representative from Florida and former Republican Governor.
  • Claire McCaskill, former Senator from Missouri.
  • Joe Donnelly, former Senator from Indiana who only won because the Republicans argued childbirth from rape is something God intended to happen. He voted in favor of Neil Gorsuch and most of Trump's other cabinet nominees and is ardently pro-life.
  • Rahm Emanuel, former White House Chief of Staff and current Mayor of Chicago.
  • Dianne Feinstein, the Senior California Senator, voted for the Bush tax cuts, the Iraq War, and the Patriot Act. However, he also is an advocate for gun control and an opponent of Israeli settlements on Palestinian land. Climate Change denier and very much corporate-bought.
  • Gabrielle Giffords, former Representative from Arizona.
  • Heidi Heitkamp, former Senator from North Dakota.
  • Doug Jones, Senator from Alabama. Jones is the first Democrat elected to the Senate from the state since 1992, no doubt due to his opponent being revealed as a pedophile mid-way through the election cycle.
  • Angus King, the current Junior Senator from Maine who, like Sanders, is technically an Independent but caucuses with the Democrats.
  • Mary Landrieu, former Louisiana Senator.
  • Joe Lieberman (independent since 2006), retired Connecticut Senator.
  • Blanche Lincoln, former Arkansas Senator.
  • Dan Lipinski, Illinois representative who opposes LGBTQ rights, is pro-life, and voted against the Affordable Care Act.
  • Joe Manchin, Senator from West Virginia who is often ranked as the most conservative Democrat in the Senate; he identifies as Pro-Life, is the only Democratic Senator opposed to same-sex marriage, is a member of the NRA, and voted "yes" on Jeff Sessions, Rex Tillerson, Steven Mnuchin, Scott Pruitt, Gina Haspel, Neil Gorsuch, and William Barr. He also believes the party is too hostile to moderate-conservatives such as himself and had to be persuaded to run for re-election in 2018 by his Senate colleagues. Manchin is liberal by West Virginia standards, but that still puts him far to the right of the nationwide Democratic Party.
  • Ben Nelson, retired Nebraska Senator
  • Collin Peterson, Representative from Minnesota.
  • Kyrsten Sinema, the Senior Arizona Senator. Despite being a bisexual atheist[18], the only Democratic Senator who votes with Trump more often is Joe Manchin. [19]
  • Heath Shuler, former Representative from North Carolina
  • Al Smith. Former governor of New York, and ran against FDR's New Deal economic agenda while being in favor of various civil rights initiatives.
  • James Traficant, former Representative from Ohio, and a guy who, ignoring that sleazy old prick's impeachment, seldom voted in line with his party. He was consistently one of the most anti-abortion and xenophobic people in the house and was buddy-buddy with Newt Gingrich, a cardinal sin for a Democrat. After defending Nazis and voting for Dennis Hastert for House Speaker, the Dems were fed up and removed him from committee assignments. The nail in the coffin was in 2002, where an FBI investigation found that Traficant took bribes, filed false tax returns, racketeered, and even forced his congressional staff to do chores for him without pay. This resulted in him getting expelled, and after leaving prison, he would become a staunch Tea Party activist before his untimely death in 2014.
  • Mark Warner, Senator from Virginia who voted Rex Tillerson, Mike Pompeo, Rick Perry, and Ben Carson into Trump's cabinet. He also feverishly supports illegal NSA mass surveillance of American citizens, a lowered the corporate tax rate, and advocates for "reforming" (read: gutting) Social Security.

Dixiecrat leftovers and boll weevils[edit]

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,Wikipedia or a centrist Democrat will go haywire and swing far to the right.[20]

  • Virgil Goode (left the Democrats in 2000, was the Constitution Party presidential nominee in 2012)
  • Zell Miller (deceased as of 3/24/18)[21]
  • Charlie Stenholm, former Representative from Texas who helped draft 3 of the 4 articles of impeachment against Bill Clinton.
  • Ralph Hall, former Representative from Texas who supported a constitutional amendment requiring a super-majority of Congress to raise taxes.
  • Lawrence McDonald, former Representative from Georgia who was the president of the John Birch Society, and ranked the second most conservative congressman from 1937-2002[22]
  • David Clarke, former Milwaukee Sheriff and a favorite of Fox News, who ran as a Democrat because Milwaukee treats the letter "R" like a Satanic symbol.
  • Ruben Diaz Sr., New York city councilman and Congressional candidate who is more outspokenly homophobic than most Republicans.

These weirdos[edit]

These tend to align with the progressive and liberal wings of the party on most issues, but have conservative quirks and so are not easily categorized elsewhere:

  • Steve Bullock, Governor of Montana
  • Jerry Brown, former governor of California. While he is an advocate of criminal justice reform, net neutrality, and some New Age beliefs, he also advocated a flat tax in his 1992 run and has flip-flopped on single-payer healthcare.
  • Bob Casey Jr., Senior Pennsylvania Senator, mostly a standard Liberal aside from his ardently pro-life views.
  • John Bel Edwards, the current governor of Louisiana. Edwards is actually liberal on most issues, at least by Louisiana standards, but he stands out as conservative on abortion. As governor, Edwards signed one of the nation's most restrictive abortion laws.
  • Tulsi Gabbard, a Hawaii representative. While perceived as a Progressive due to her domestic policy views and endorsement of Sanders in the 2016 Primary, she supports the current Indian government and the current Syrian government, and called out Obama for not saying "radical Islamic terrorism".
  • Mike Gravel, a former Alaskan representative who was a bit more Conservative than Joe Biden and Al Gore based on his rating from Voteview. Supported abolishing the income tax and balancing the budget, but supported a Bernie Sanders/Tulsi Gabbard presidential ticket in 2020.
  • Dennis Kucinich, former Ohio representative. While he has taken a very pro-Trump attitude in recent years, Kucinich overall has continued to advocate for his Progressive stances even on Fox News.
  • Seth Moulton. Congressional Representative from Massachusetts. Supported Black Lives Matter, LGBTQ+ Rights, Medicare-for-All Single-Payer Healthcare, and the Green New Deal. Wants all 33 million young Americans to serve in the military, promising healthcare and education benefits. After dropping out, Moulton predictably warned the Democratic Party against running a progressive candidate if the party wants to "defeat President Trump" because running a bland establishment Centrist worked so well last time.
  • Wayne Leman Morse. Originally a Republican who often split the difference between the Liberal and Conservative wings of his party when it came to his voting record, but then switched to the Democratic Party after Ike picked Nixon. Rated by voteview as one of the most Progressive senators of all time, even more so than George McGovern. But endorsed the anti-Vietnam War Republican Mark Hatfield in Oregon's 1966 general election, and was the only West Coast senator to vote against the Civil Rights Act of 1957. Was famous for being one of the only two Senators to vote against the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution that started the Vietnam War. Considered John F. Kennedy not Liberal enough, however.
  • Daniel Patrick Moynihan A former New York Senator whose views are very nuanced. While he supported John F. Kennedy's New Frontier economic policies and Lyndon B. Johnson's War on Poverty social programs, he opposed Bill Clinton's healthcare reform and Ronald Reagan's foreign policy. Moynihan also published The Negro Family: The Case For National Action, which called for a paternalistic view of the poor and called for ignoring civil rights during the Nixon administration. However, Moynihan did endorse Bill Bradley in 2000 because he was disappointed with Al Gore moving towards the political Center.
  • Tip O'Neill. Former Speaker of the House from Massachusetts. While O'Neill opposed Reagan's domestic policies with a fierce progressive critique, he moderately supported Reagan's foreign policy in the Middle East.
  • Richard Ojeda, a populist from West Virginia who endorsed Donald Trump in 2016, supported Bernie Sanders in 2020 due to his economic stances. On foreign policy and social issues, he tends to be more of a Blue Dog Democrat.
  • Claiborne Pell. Founder of the Pell Grant Center. Supported a balanced budget amendment to the constitution, national education standards, medical savings accounts, but voted against welfare block grants when it comes to domestic policy. On foreign policy he supported cutting the defense budget, increasing foreign aid, and was a Moderately Hawkish Liberal Internationalist on most issues of the 1990s.
  • Jeanne Shaheen, Senior New Hampshire Senator, supports single-payer healthcare and is also one of the most hawkish Democrats in the Senate.
  • "Snarlin" Benedict Arlen Specter "the Defector": Former Senator from Pennsylvania. Warned Dubya not to nominate judges who might overturn Roe v. Wade, reduced tax cuts and supported Democrats on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. In a desperate attempt to save his Senate career from primary challenger Pat Toomey in 2010, Specter switched parties but ironically ended up losing in the Democrat primary due to his tendency of being a DINO after the switch. Supported balancing the federal budget, strict crime laws, and establishing relations with North Korea. Strongly supported affirmative action, LGBTQ+ rights, a healthcare public option, and was open to a single-payer healthcare.
  • Jon Tester, the Senior Senator from Montana, who is socially liberal and has expressed openness to the idea of a Single-Payer Healthcare system, yet also has an A- rating from the NRA.
  • Marianne Williamson. While she has described herself as a "pretty straight-line progressive democrat", Williamson's anti-vaccination views alongside her evangelicalism make her too difficult to place in the various wings of the Democratic Party. She supports $100 billion in reparations for slavery, a "Medicare for All model" for healthcare, a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants without a "serious criminal background", establishing a "Department of Peace" to greatly expand the use of diplomacy and mediation, and support for the Green New Deal.
  • Jim Webb, former Virginia Senator, Who endorsed George W. Bush and George Allen in 2000 but ran against Allen from the Left on economic issues. He is an economic populist, social conservative, and anti-war.
  • Andrew Yang, While many of his ideas are squarely in the Progressive camp of the Democratic Party, many of his supporters are former Libertarians or Trump supporters.

Libertarians[edit]

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:

  • President Martin Van Buren. Supported Andrew Jackson's economic policies, but later supported Abraham Lincoln's views on civil rights and Reconstruction.
  • Lincoln Chafee, former Rhode Island Senator/Governor. He has since changed his party affiliation to Libertarian.
  • President Grover Cleveland. Opposed free silver, high inflation, high tariffs, imperialism, and subsidies to business, farmers, or veterans. Supported fiscal conservatism, and reforming the government. Established the labor department while in power.
  • Tim Penny. Former representative of Minnesota. Described as a fiscal conservative, Penny worked for the libertarian-leaning Cato Institute after leaving Congress.
  • Jared Polis. Governor of Colorado. A leading voice on civil liberties from gun rights to online privacy, from defending Bitcoin to advocating legal weed.
  • Joseph Stallcop. New Hampshire House of Representatives (2016–2018), left the Democratic Party for the Libertarian Party in 2017, describing his views as "Classically Liberal".

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

All over the country Democrats are running on their singular strength – the fact that they are not as batshit crazy as their Republican opponents.
Chris Ladd[23]

Today, the Democratic Party attracts academia, white-collar professionals,[24] scientists,[25] medical students,[26] the youth vote,[27] increasingly less so the (white) working class,[28] increasingly more so the middle class,[29] consumer advocates, copyright reformers, women,[30] LGBT, and ethnic minorities. However, many progressives feel left[31] out of the Party, especially those whose focus is on income inequality. These are alarmed by positions taken by, e.g., Jon Cowan, president of the centrist think tank Third Way, who claims populism is dead in the Party, arguing:

“There is a very large faction within the Democratic Party that wants to go back in time,” Cowan told me. “They want to take what we did in the 20th century and do more of it. They want to re-unionize the entire country, unwind the trade deals of the last couple of decades, and not just preserve but expand entitlements. Even if we could afford that, it wouldn’t solve most of the problems of the middle class.”

That is, many top dog Democrats don't want to deal with income inequality; they want to appeal to the middle-class voters who have been moving in the Democratic direction.

Self-identified Democratic centrist and two-term Delaware governor Jack Markell agrees that the middle class is critical and claims: '“If it’s about inequality, it’s a conversation that has the potential of dividing us.” ...Markell says that middle-class voters hear in the crusade against “inequality” a desire to equalize people rather than make everyone better off."[32] In all this, progressives hear no Party support for unionizing the working poor in the service sector, or for supporting any new programs to assist with the cost of child care or sky-rocketing college tuition.

But mainstream Democrats are beginning to see that to win, they are, indeed, going to have to "go back in time" and return to issues like income inequity. Senator Chuck Schumer published an op-ed in The New York Times denouncing "vulture capitalists" and declaring his party would offer a "Better Deal" for Americans:

Americans are clamoring for bold changes to our politics and our economy. They feel, rightfully, that both systems are rigged against them, and they made that clear in last year’s election. American families deserve a better deal so that this country works for everyone again, not just the elites and special interests. Today, Democrats will start presenting that better deal to the American people.....In the last two elections, Democrats, including in the Senate, failed to articulate a strong, bold economic program for the middle class and those working hard to get there. We also failed to communicate our values to show that we were on the side of working people, not the special interests. We will not repeat the same mistake. This is the start of a new vision for the party, one strongly supported by House and Senate Democrats.

Quotes[edit]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. Hey, we didn't say it.
  2. https://www.pewresearch.org/methods/2020/09/08/democrats-made-gains-from-multiple-sources-in-2018-midterm-victories/
  3. Franklin Delano Roosevelt: The American Franchise, University of Virginia
  4. Linton Weeks and Peter Barker, "Bush Spars With Critics Of the War Exchanges With Democrats Take Campaign-Style Tone", WaPo 12 November 2005; Page A01.
  5. Robert Parry, Sam Parry, and Nat Parry, "Journalists 'humbled' but unrepentant", FAIR November 2007.
  6. http://www.cbpp.org/research/states-likely-could-not-control-constitutional-convention-on-balanced-budget-amendment-or
  7. https://www.politico.com/story/2018/02/22/congress-frat-house-ethics-scandals-417465
  8. "What Democrats Still Don’t Get About George McGovern"
  9. "Bowman's first bill in Congress? The COUP Act"
  10. "Cori Bush introduces resolution to sanction + remove all house members who supported election challenges"
  11. "Can Mondaire Jones make history in NY-17?"
  12. https://www.jacobinmag.com/2017/05/kirsten-gillibrand-trump-clinton-cabinet
  13. Legalized Marijuana. A ‘Green New Deal.’ Cuomo’s 2019 Vision Tacks Left. The New York Times. January 15th, 2019.
  14. https://www.businessinsider.com/conservatives-on-conor-lamb-pennsylvania-18-congress-2018-3
  15. https://www.nbcnews.com/news/amp/ncna1214641
  16. His election effectively shut down the DLC, but his first term was largely Clintonian. However, things changed dramatically in his second term, as the country, mostly fueled by the left-wing millennial generation, increasingly became more left wing. With the death of the Blue Dogs, Obama himself was pressured to govern more like a liberal by dissatisfied progressives, and helped ensure social democracy was here to stay as the baseline for the party, largely despite himself.
  17. A Brief History of Blue Dog Democrats, Time
  18. https://www.thelily.com/kyrsten-sinema-is-bisexual-and-claims-no-religion-but-identity-was-a-nonissue-in-her-winning-senate-race/
  19. https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/congress-trump-score/?ex_cid=irpromo
  20. 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.
  21. aka. The Duel Guy. Watch Zell Miller vs. Chris Matthews
  22. https://legacy.voteview.com/Is_John_Kerry_A_Liberal.htm
  23. What Kansas says about our political future, Houston Chronicle (The GOP did keep the state in 2014, but holy hell, Sam Brownback.)
  24. The Emerging Democratic Majority Turns 10, The Atlantic
  25. Inconceivable!
  26. E. Frank, J. Carrera, and S. Dharamsi. Political Self-characterization of U.S. Medical Students, Journal of General Internal Medicine. Apr 2007; 22(4): 514–517.
  27. Millennials in Adulthood, Pew Research
  28. The Effects of Union Membership on Democratic Voting, The New York Times
  29. Is a Democratic realignment afoot in the middle class?, Washington Post
  30. Gender Gap in 2012 Vote Is Largest in Gallup's History, Gallup
  31. No pun intended.
  32. http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/12/the-battle-within-the-democratic-party/282235/