Democratic Party (United States)

Democratic Party
ChairpersonJaime Harrison
Governing bodyDemocratic National Committee[1][2]
U.S. PresidentJoe Biden
U.S. Vice PresidentKamala Harris
Senate Majority LeaderChuck Schumer
House Minority LeaderHakeem Jeffries
FoundedJanuary 8, 1828 (1828-01-08)[3]
Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
Preceded byDemocratic-Republican Party
Headquarters430 South Capitol St. SE,
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Student wing
Youth wingYoung Democrats of America
Women's wingNational Federation of Democratic Women
LGBT wingStonewall Democrats[4]
Overseas wingDemocrats Abroad
Membership (2022)Decrease 47,130,651[5]
IdeologyMajority: Factions:
Colors  Blue
Seats in the Senate
48 / 100[a]
Seats in the House of Representatives
213 / 435
State governorships
24 / 50[b]
Seats in state upper chambers
857 / 1,973
Seats in state lower chambers
2,425 / 5,413
Territorial governorships
4 / 5
Seats in territorial upper chambers
31 / 97
Seats in territorial lower chambers
9 / 91
Election symbol
Democratic Disc.svg
Website Edit this at Wikidata

The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States. Founded in 1828, it was predominantly built by Martin Van Buren, who assembled politicians in every state behind war hero Andrew Jackson, making it the world's oldest active political party.[12][13][14] The party is a big tent of competing and often opposing viewpoints,[15][16] but modern American liberalism, a variant of social liberalism, is the party's majority ideology.[6][17] The party also has notable centrist[18] and social democratic[11] factions. Its main political rival has been the Republican Party since the 1850s.

The historical predecessor of the Democratic Party is considered to be the Democratic-Republican Party.[19][20] Before 1860, the Democratic Party supported expansive presidential power,[21] the interests of slave states,[22] agrarianism,[23] and expansionism,[23] while opposing a national bank and high tariffs.[23] It split in 1860 over slavery and won the presidency only twice[c] between 1860 and 1910, although it won the popular vote a total of four times in that period. In the late 19th century, it continued to oppose high tariffs and had fierce internal debates on the gold standard. In the early 20th century, it supported progressive reforms and opposed imperialism, with Woodrow Wilson winning the White House in 1912 and 1916. Since Franklin D. Roosevelt and his New Deal coalition after 1932, the Democratic Party has promoted a social liberal platform, including Social Security and unemployment insurance.[6][24][25] The New Deal attracted strong support for the party from recent European immigrants but diminished the party's pro-business wing.[26][27][28] Following the Great Society era of progressive legislation under Lyndon B. Johnson, the core bases of the parties shifted, with the Southern states becoming more reliably Republican and the Northeastern states becoming more reliably Democratic.[29][30] The party's labor union element has become smaller since the 1970s,[31][32] and as the American electorate shifted in a more conservative direction following Ronald Reagan's presidency, the election of Bill Clinton marked a move for the party toward the Third Way, moving the party's economic stance towards market-based economic policy.[33][34][35] Barack Obama oversaw the party's passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010.

The party's philosophy of modern American liberalism blends civil liberty and social equality with support for a mixed capitalist economy.[36] On social issues, it advocates for abortion rights,[37] the legalization of marijuana,[38] stricter gun laws,[39] LGBT rights,[40] as well as criminal justice[41] and immigration reform.[42] Expansion of social programs, including enacting universal healthcare coverage,[43] equal opportunity, and consumer protection form the core of its economic agenda.[44][45][46] On trade, immigration, and foreign policy, the party has taken widely varying positions throughout its history.[47][48][49]

As of 2023, the party holds the presidency and a majority in the U.S. Senate, as well as 24 state governorships, 19 state legislatures, and 17 state government trifectas. By registered members, the Democratic Party is the largest party in the United States and the third largest in the world. Including the incumbent, Joe Biden, 16 Democrats have served as president of the United States.[6]

  1. ^ "About the Democratic Party". Democratic Party. Retrieved April 15, 2022. For 171 years, [the Democratic National Committee] has been responsible for governing the Democratic Party
  2. ^ Democratic Party (March 12, 2022). "The Charter & The Bylaws of the Democratic Party of the United States" (PDF). p. 3. Retrieved April 15, 2022. The Democratic National Committee shall have general responsibility for the affairs of the Democratic Party between National Conventions
  3. ^ Cole, Donald B. (1970). Jacksonian Democracy in New Hampshire, 1800–1851. Harvard University Press. p. 69. ISBN 978-0-67-428368-8.
  4. ^ "Stonewall Democratic Club". Stonewall Democratic Club. Retrieved February 27, 2023.
  5. ^ Winger, Richard. "December 2022 Ballot Access News Print Edition". Ballot Access News. Retrieved December 31, 2022.
  6. ^ a b c d Arnold, N. Scott (2009). Imposing values: an essay on liberalism and regulation. Oxford University Press. p. 3. ISBN 9780495501121. Archived from the original on October 2, 2020. Retrieved April 28, 2020. Modern liberalism occupies the left-of-center in the traditional political spectrum and is represented by the Democratic Party in the United States.
  7. ^ "President Obama, the Democratic Party, and Socialism: A Political Science Perspective". The Huffington Post. June 29, 2012. Archived from the original on March 24, 2019. Retrieved January 9, 2015.
  8. ^ Hale, John (1995). The Making of the New Democrats. New York: Political Science Quarterly. p. 229.
  9. ^ Dewan, Shaila; Kornblut, Anne E. (October 30, 2006). "In Key House Races, Democrats Run to the Right". The New York Times. Archived from the original on July 27, 2019. Retrieved January 28, 2017.
  10. ^ Stein, Letita; Cornwell, Susan; Tanfani, Joseph (August 23, 2018). "Inside the progressive movement roiling the Democratic Party". Reuters. Archived from the original on June 13, 2022. Retrieved June 13, 2022.
  11. ^ a b
  12. ^ M. Philip Lucas, "Martin Van Buren as Party Leader and at Andrew Jackson's Right Hand." in A Companion to the Antebellum Presidents 1837–1861 (2014): 107–129.
  13. ^ "The Democratic Party, founded in 1828, is the world's oldest political party" states Janda, Kenneth; Berry, Jeffrey M.; Goldman, Jerry (2010). The Challenge of Democracy: American Government in Global Politics. Cengage Learning. p. 276. ISBN 9780495906186.
  14. ^ Cite error: The named reference Kazin-2022 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  15. ^ Adams, Ian (2001). Political Ideology Today (reprinted, revised ed.). Manchester: Manchester University Press. pp. 32–33. ISBN 9780719060205. Ideologically, all US parties are liberal and always have been. Essentially they espouse classical liberalism, that is a form of democratised Whig constitutionalism plus the free market. The point of difference comes with the influence of social liberalism" and the proper role of government... ...the American right has nothing to do with maintaining the traditional social order, as in Europe. What it believes in is... individualism... The American right has tended towards... classical liberalism...
  16. ^ Herndon, Astead W. (February 21, 2021). "Democrats' Big Tent Helped Them Win. Now It Threatens Biden's Agenda". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved August 23, 2022.
  17. ^ Knoll, Benjamin (June 29, 2012). "President Obama, the Democratic Party, and Socialism: A Political Science Perspective". The Huffington Post. Archived from the original on March 24, 2019. Retrieved January 9, 2015.
  18. ^ Linskey, Annie; McGoogan, Cara; Itkowitz, Colby (November 6, 2022). "Democrats look to centrists in final hours while GOP amps up its base". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved February 27, 2023.
  19. ^ "Major American Political Parties of the 19th Century". Norwich University Online. October 2, 2017. Retrieved July 4, 2022. ...The Democratic-Republican and Whig parties are considered the predecessors of today's Democratic and Republican parties, respectively.
  20. ^ Cite error: The named reference US Congress-1991 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  21. ^ Holt, Michael F. (1992). Political Parties and American Political Development: From the Age of Jackson to the Age of Lincoln. Louisiana State University Press. pp. 27–28. ISBN 978-0807126097.
  22. ^ Bates, Christopher (2015). The Early Republic and Antebellum America: An Encyclopedia of Social, Political, Cultural, and Economic History. Taylor & Francis. p. 293. ISBN 9781317457404. The expansion engineered by Polk rendered the Democratic Party increasingly beholden to Southern slave interests, which dominated the party from 1848 to the Civil War.
  23. ^ a b c Staff. "Jacksonian Democracy: The Democratization of Politics". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved October 6, 2022. By the 1840s, Whig and Democratic congressmen voted as rival blocs. Whigs supported and Democrats opposed a weak executive, a new Bank of the United States, a high tariff, distribution of land revenues to the states, relief legislation to mitigate the effects of the depression, and federal reapportionment of House seats. Whigs voted against and Democrats approved an independent treasury, an aggressive foreign policy, and expansionism. These were important issues, capable of dividing the electorate just as they divided the major parties in Congress.
  24. ^ Geer, John G. (1992). "New Deal Issues and the American Electorate, 1952-1988". Political Behavior. 14 (1): 45–65. doi:10.1007/BF00993508. ISSN 0190-9320. JSTOR 586295. S2CID 144817362.
  25. ^ Grigsby, Ellen (2008). Analyzing Politics: An Introduction to Political Science. Cengage Learning. pp. 106–107. ISBN 9780495501121. Archived from the original on October 2, 2020. Retrieved April 28, 2020. In the United States, the Democratic Party represents itself as the liberal alternative to the Republicans, but its liberalism is for the most part the later version of liberalism—modern liberalism.
  26. ^ Prendergast, William B. (1999). The Catholic Voter in American Politics: The Passing of the Democratic Monolith. Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University. ISBN 978-0-87840-724-8.
  27. ^ Marlin, George J. (2004). The American Catholic Voter: 200 Years of Political Impact. South Bend, Indiana: St. Augustine. ISBN 978-1-58731-029-4. Retrieved April 28, 2020.
  28. ^ Michael Corbett et al. Politics and Religion in the United States (2nd ed. 2013).
  29. ^ Zelizer, Julian E. (February 15, 2015). "How Medicare Was Made". The New Yorker. Retrieved August 23, 2022.
  30. ^ Cite error: The named reference gallup2010 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  31. ^ Kullgren, Ian (November 10, 2020). "Union Workers Weren't a Lock for Biden. Here's Why That Matters". Bloomberg Law. Retrieved November 3, 2022.
  32. ^ Frank, Thomas (2016). Listen, liberal, or, What ever happened to the party of the people? (First ed.). New York. ISBN 978-1-62779-539-5. OCLC 908628802.
  33. ^ Cite error: The named reference Hale-1995 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  34. ^ Cite error: The named reference Wills-1997 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  35. ^ Edsall, Thomas B. (June 28, 1998). "Clinton and Blair envision a 'Third Way' international movement". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved November 1, 2022.
  36. ^ Larry E. Sullivan. The SAGE glossary of the social and behavioral sciences (2009). p. 291: "This liberalism favors a generous welfare state and a greater measure of social and economic equality. Liberty thus exists when all citizens have access to basic necessities such as education, healthcare, and economic opportunities."
  37. ^ Traister, Rebecca (March 27, 2023). "Abortion Wins Elections". The Cut. Retrieved April 7, 2023.
  38. ^ Gurley, Gabrielle (November 23, 2020). "Biden at the Cannabis Crossroads". The American Prospect. Retrieved August 24, 2022.
  39. ^ "Preventing Gun Violence". Archived from the original on November 4, 2018. Retrieved May 22, 2019.
  40. ^ "Democratic Platform Endorses Gay Marriage". NPR. September 4, 2012. Retrieved May 10, 2023.
  41. ^ "Protecting Communities And Building Trust By Reforming Our Criminal Justice System". Democratic Party. Retrieved November 30, 2021.
  42. ^ Chammah, Maurice (July 18, 2016). "Two Parties, Two Platforms on Criminal Justice". The Marshall Project. Archived from the original on May 31, 2019. Retrieved May 22, 2019.
  43. ^ Miranda Ollstein, Alice (August 12, 2022). "A bittersweet health care win for Democrats". POLITICO. Retrieved April 7, 2023.
  44. ^ Goodnough, Abby; Kaplan, Thomas (June 28, 2019). "Democrat vs. Democrat: How Health Care Is Dividing the Party". The New York Times. Retrieved July 22, 2020.
  45. ^ Levy, Jonah (2006). The State after Statism: New State Activities in the Age of Liberalization. Harvard University Press. p. 198. ISBN 9780495501121. In the corporate governance area, the center-left repositioned itself to press for reform. The Democratic Party in the United States used the postbubble scandals and the collapse of share prices to attack the Republican Party ... Corporate governance reform fit surprisingly well within the contours of the center-left ideology. The Democratic Party and the SPD have both been committed to the development of the regulatory state as a counterweight to managerial authority, corporate power, and market failure.
  46. ^ U.S. Department of State. "A Mixed Economy: The Role of the Market". Archived from the original on January 18, 2017.
  47. ^ Peters, Margaret (2017). Trading Barriers. Princeton University Press. pp. 154–155. ISBN 978-0691174471. Archived from the original on March 3, 2018.
  48. ^ Williams, Daniel K. (June 2015). "The Partisan Trajectory of the American Pro-Life Movement: How a Liberal Catholic Campaign Became a Conservative Evangelical Cause". Religions. 6 (2): 451–475. doi:10.3390/rel6020451. ISSN 2077-1444.
  49. ^ Williams, Daniel K. (May 9, 2022). "This Really Is a Different Pro-Life Movement". The Atlantic. Retrieved February 2, 2023. This was not merely a geographic shift, trading one region for another, but a more fundamental transformation of the anti-abortion movement's political ideology. In 1973 many of the most vocal opponents of abortion were northern Democrats who believed in an expanded social-welfare state and who wanted to reduce abortion rates through prenatal insurance and federally funded day care. In 2022, most anti-abortion politicians are conservative Republicans who are skeptical of such measures. What happened was a seismic religious and political shift in opposition to abortion that has not occurred in any other Western country.

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