| Guide to:|
|Hail to the Chief?|
|Persons of interest|
“”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|
“”Remember back when Democrats used to vote with us?
|—Leo McGarry, The West Wing|
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.
A short history
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 (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 buffered 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 else.. 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 80's, 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 the presence of 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 in relation to the culture of their city-regions 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 despite the fact that 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.
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 huge and diverse group. Now that diversity hurts their messaging in presidential elections, and as America's power twilights and those folks see their lifestyle changing dramatically, social conservatism will only get stronger while incrementalism becomes indistinguishable from simply waffling and preserving the status quo in spite of its obvious 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.
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, but back in the '04 primaries he was a completely different candidate who funneled a righteous anger towards the Bush administration. And then one day at the end of a rally speech, he blurted "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' mind 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, and the Pedes would be empowered further.
The sectarian violence appears below.
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:
- Bernie Sanders, the junior Senator from Vermont and the man many credit 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 or related to his campaign have branched out and created organizations meant to continue the "political revolution," as he calls it. Many of his pet policies, like a 15 dollar minimum wage and Medicare-For-All, became mainstream, as pressure from public activists has increasingly forced the party brass to respond in kind.
- 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 main policies, anti-trust laws, was formally adopted by Chuck Schumer's "Better Deal" proposals in 2017.
- Keith Ellison, the Minnesota Attorney General/a former representative, one of Bernie's earliest supporters, and the deputy chair of the DNC. Also notable for being the first practicing Muslim elected to Congress.
- Tammy Baldwin, the junior Wisconsin Senator and first openly gay person to serve in the Senate.
- 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.
- Cecil Bothwell, former City Council member from Asheville, North Carolina.
- Michael Capuano, representative from Massachusetts, who was recently primaried from the left by a Justice Democrat (see below).
- 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, and had his career cut short.
- Steve Cohen, a Tennessee representative.
- Judy Chu, California Representative.
- Bill DeBlasio, the current mayor of New York City whose progressive policies often put him at odds with centrist Governor Andrew Cuomo and much of the state government.
- Donna Edwards, a former Maryland representative.
- Justin Fairfax, Lieutenant Governor of Virginia.
- 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 elected office, having recently founded LegitAction, a PAC whose goals include the protection of voting rights, curbing Dark Money's influence, and abolishing the Electoral College.
- Barney Frank, a retired Massachusetts representative and one of the namesakes of the 2010 Dodd-Frank banking regulation bill.
- Alan Grayson, former Florida representative.
- Mazie Hirono, the junior Hawaii Senator.
- Dennis Kucinich, former Ohio representative.
- Barbara Lee, California representative and the only representative to vote against the War on Terror.
- 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.
- Jim McDermott, a former Washington representative
- 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 an $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, though 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. 
- 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 loudest voices in the Senate for combating Climate Change, and a consistent advocate for both Universal Healthcare and campaign finance reform.
- Brad Miller, retired North Carolina Representative
- Chellie Pingree, a Maine representative.
- Earl Blumenauer, an Oregon representative
- Mark Pocan, a representative from Wisconsin who currently chairs the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC)
- Jamie Raskin, a Maryland representative who is the co-chair of the Congressional Freethought Caucus, a group aimed to protect the secular nature of government.
- Robert Reich, Bill Clinton's Secretary of Labor, who endorsed Bernie in 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.
- Jan Schakowsky, an Illinois representative
- Pete Stark, a former California representative and the first openly atheist member of Congress
- Maxine Waters, California representative who has become famous for her blistering opposition to the Trump administration.
- Paul Wellstone, late Senator from Minnesota who 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 anomalous figure in the increasingly right-wing direction the party was moving during the 1990s and early 2000s.
- Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the Majority Leader of the New York State Senate. Stewart-Cousins has coordinated passage of a number of progressive laws, including measures expanding voting rights, combatting climate change, strengthening tenants' rights, and banning anti-LGBTQ "conversion therapy". She is the first woman to lead a conference of either house of the New York State legislature.
"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, who were 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 excesses of the system 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; while 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, but became one of the most outspoken Social Progressives in the 2020 Democratic Primaries and endorsed the Progressive 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 invasion of Iraq, and he has consistently been an advocate for both progressive immigration reform and reducing the debt/living expenses of college students.
- 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”, 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 largely 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.
- The Kennedys (though there is some internal division; Ted Kennedy came to be considered an icon of the progressive wing over the course of 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, which at the time was 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
- Tom Udall, the senior New Mexico Senator
- Chris Van Hollen, the junior Maryland Senator
- 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 originally) and other mass surveillance programs.
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 tend to describe themselves as pro-fiscal responsibility, pro-growth, socially liberal, and liberal internationalists on foreign affairs. The first wave of the New Democrats have 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):
- 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 absolutelymany 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 2020, 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 who 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.
- 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 who was the party's 2004 Presidential Nominee.
- Tim Kaine, junior Senator from Virginia who was the party's 2016 Vice-President Nominee.
- Amy Klobuchar, the senior Minnesota Senator.
- Ted Lieu, a California representative
- Terry McAuliffe, former DNC Chairman/Governor of Virginia who 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. 
- 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, in spite of 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 rather 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.
- Kathleen Rice Represents New York's Fourth Congressional District. Member of the Centrist New Democrat Coalition, and endorse Pete Buttigieg for president before endorsing 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 incorporating 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 being 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 fairly modest, which is perhaps understandable so given that she governs a state where Republicans have supermajorities in the legislature. Nonetheless, Kelly has made some important changes, notably by restoring protections for queer workers. She has also helped insulate state courts against conservative attempts to pack them; this is proving significant, given that the Kansas Supreme Court has served as a bulwark for reproductive rights in recent years.
The Blue Dog Coalition are often accused of being DINOs, most commonly on social issues and deficit hawkery. 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.
- Joe Biden, former Vice President under Barack Obama and the party's nominee for president in 2020. During his senate years, Biden was remarkably right wing even for the time. He was pro-deficit reduction, supported segregation due to his opposition to busing, cooperated with segregationists like Strom Thurmond, pushed Reagan to be even harsher on the War on Drugs, and supported most foreign interventions that the United States has waged since the end of the Cold War. Even as Vice President, he was behind many right wing policies under the Obama administration, such as the killing of the public option or keeping most of the Bush tax cuts permanent. Although he has shifted left significantly since he became the de-facto winner of the 2020 Democratic Primary, he is still far more conservative than most in the party, as seen when he advocated for the police to "shoot them in the leg rather than the heart" in response to President Trump threatening military response to anti-police brutality and anti-fascism protesters in 2020.
- Phil Bredesen, former Governor of Tennessee.
- Tom Carper, senior Senator from Delaware.
- Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton, who ushered in a right-wing wave that became the new power base for the Democratic Party in the 1990s. Bill was the leader of the New Democrat Coalition which advocated for triangulation and adopted Reagan's anti-big government rhetoric, including bragging about "ending welfare as we know it." He supported Don't Ask Don't Tell, a compromise that nevertheless precipitated gay witch hunts in the military, signed the Defense of (Straight Only) Marriage Act into law, pushed for NAFTA, and supported the 1996 Crime Bill which led to mass incarceration as a trademark policy for the United States. Hillary, on the other hand, was more progressive with regards to healthcare, but shifted to the right not too long after its failure, and she represents a far more hawkish foreign policy than even her husband. Bill represents old school Southern establishment whites who are socially liberal, but conservative on everything else, and even in social issues, remain remarkably tone deaf, conciliatory to the right wing, and ultimately conservative than is comfortable for modern times. Hillary, on the other hand, shifted more to the left and became comparable to Obama by 2016, as she adopted actually socially liberal policies, moderated some of her fiscally conservative stances, and listened to both Bernie Sanders supporters and Elizabeth Warren alumni when she built what would have been her transition team for the campaign. But they, along with Biden and Obama, represent the right wing of the party that's still in power to this day.
- Kent Conrad, retired Senator from North Dakota who, barring his vote against the Iraq War, was consistently one of the most conservative Democrats during his time in the Senate.
- 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 Republican 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, but 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.
- Conor Lamb, Representative from Pennsylvania.
- 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.
- Heath Shuler, former Representative from North Carolina
- 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, lowering the corporate tax rate, and is an advocate for "reforming" (read: gutting) Social Security.
- 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.
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, or a centrist Democrat will go haywire and swing far to the right.
- Virgil Goode (left the Democrats in 2000, was the Constitution Party presidential nominee in 2012)
- Zell Miller (deceased as of 3/24/18)
- 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
- 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 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, who is mostly a standard Liberal aside from his ardently pro-life views.
- 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.
- Henry Scoop Jackson Representative from the state of Washington. Jackson was a a Cold War Anti-Communist Liberal Democrat that supported higher military spending and a hard line against the Soviet Union, while also supporting social welfare programs, civil rights, and labor unions. Jackson was one of the intellectual founders of Neoconservatism in the United States.
- Daniel Patrick Moynihan A former New York Senator who 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 was opposed to 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. Moynihan did however endorse Bill Bradley in 2000, due to the fact that he was disappointed with Al Gore moving towards the political Center.
- Richard Ojeda, a populist from West Virginia who endorsed Donald Trump in 2016, but endorsed 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.
- Jeanne Shaheen, Senior New Hampshire Senator, who supports single-payer healthcare but is also one of the most hawkish Democrats in the Senate.
- 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.
- 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.
- Lincoln Chafee, former Rhode Island Senator/Governor. He has since changed his party affiliation to libertarian
- 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. His major planks are Human Centered Capitalism, Medicare-For-All (Public Option), and a version of Universal Basic Income called the Freedom Dividend. But he is against raising the minimum wage, and has blamed automation for the cause of economic inequality in the United States rather than bad trade policy.
So who's ticking them on their ballot?
“”All over the country Democrats are running on their singular strength – the fact that they are not as batshit crazy as their Republican opponents.
Today, the Democratic Party attracts academia, white-collar professionals, scientists, medical students, the youth vote, increasingly less so the (white) working class, increasingly moreso the middle class, consumer advocates, copyright reformers, women, LGBT, and ethnic minorities. However, many progressives feel left out of the Party, especially those whose focus in on income inequality. These are alarmed by positions taken by, e.g., Jon Cowan, president of the centrist think tank Third Way, claims populism is dead in the Party, who argues:
“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 key, 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." 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.
- I'm not a member of any organized political party, I'm a Democrat! - Will Rogers
- Democrats think every day is April 15 - Ronald Reagan
- Democrats! Democrats! Get them off me! - Rush Limbaugh
- Hey, we didn't say it.
- Franklin Delano Roosevelt: The American Franchise, University of Virginia
- 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.
- Robert Parry, Sam Parry, and Nat Parry, "Journalists 'humbled' but unrepentant", FAIR November 2007.
- "What Democrats Still Don’t Get About George McGovern"
- "Representative Pete Stark Named 2008 Humanist of the Year"
- Legalized Marijuana. A ‘Green New Deal.’ Cuomo’s 2019 Vision Tacks Left. The New York Times. January 15th, 2019.
- 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 in spite of himself.
- A Brief History of Blue Dog Democrats, Time
- 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.
- aka. The Duel Guy. Watch Zell Miller vs. Chris Matthews
- What Kansas says about our political future, Houston Chronicle (The GOP did keep the state in 2014, but holy hell, Sam Brownback.)
- The Emerging Democratic Majority Turns 10, The Atlantic
- 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.
- Millennials in Adulthood, Pew Research
- The Effects of Union Membership on Democratic Voting, The New York Times
- Is a Democratic realignment afoot in the middle class?, Washington Post
- Gender Gap in 2012 Vote Is Largest in Gallup's History, Gallup
- No pun intended.