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Democratic Party (United States)
The United States Democratic Party is one of the two biggest political parties in the United States of America. The other is the Republican Party. The U.S. also has several smaller political parties known as third parties. Supporters of this party are known as Democrats.
Every four years the party holds a National Convention where they agree on their candidate for President. The Democratic National Committee coordinates most of the activities of the Democratic Party in all 50 United States. Since Thomas Jefferson’s inauguration in 1801, there have been 21 Democratic presidents, the most recent (and current) being former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-DE) who took office as President of the United States in 2021.
The Democratic Party represents a broad spectrum of liberal and left-wing ideologies, including—but not limited to—classical liberalism, social democracy, progressivism, and social (modern) liberalism.
Philosophy and role in government
Democrats, also sometimes called 'the left', 'liberals' or 'progressives' make up one of the two main political parties in the United States. A mostly Democratic state is sometimes called a 'blue state'. This comes from the party’s main color, which is blue, referring to a state supporting ‘blue’ candidates.
Democrats believe in a strong government with social assistance programs to help members of society. They prefer diplomatic solutions to conflicts, and take generally multilateralist views on trade, believing that trade must be free, but fair to protect American workers, consumers, local communities, and the environment. Some Democrats are economic centrists.
Current Democratic beliefs
Not all Democrats believe in the same thing, but generally these are the things many Democrats support:
- Progressive income tax.
- Higher corporate taxes and recapturing income from overseas profits.
- Spending on business, education, infrastructure, clean-energy.
- Expanding spending on government programs.
- Ending the death penalty.
- Expanding rights to Abortion.
- Restrictions of weapons use and potentially dangerous users through government oversight.
- Support Same-sex marriage, which allows two men and/or two women in love to marry each other.
- Universal healthcare.
- Helping students go to college or university for free without having to pay back the government.
- Allow immigrants who are not legally-present in the U.S. be given Green Cards, and oppose mass deportation.
Most support for Democrats comes from states in the Northeast, Upper Midwest, and the Pacific Coast, as well as from the state of Hawaii.
Historically, Thomas Jefferson, whom the party claims as its founder, has been often seen as symbols of the Democratic Party, particularly emphasized in the annual celebrations of Jefferson Day Dinners held since the days of Andrew Jackson. As such, the Democratic Party is also often referred to as the “Party of Jefferson.”
Democratic U.S. Presidents
- Presidents during the 19th century
- Thomas Jefferson (1801-1809)
- James Madison (1809-1817)
- James Monroe (1817-1825)
- John Quincy Adams (1825-1829) (Adams was elected as a Democratic candidate for President in the 1824 presidential election, but he and his allies separated to form the National Republican Party, which later became the Whig Party, in the run-up to the 1828 presidential election.)
- Andrew Jackson (1829 – 1837)
- Martin Van Buren (1837 – 1841)
- John Tyler (1841 – 1845) (A Democrat for most of his life, Tyler was elected as the Whig candidate for Vice President, but allied with Democrats after assuming the presidency after William Henry Harrison’s death.)
- James K. Polk (1845 – 1849)
- Franklin Pierce (1853 – 1857)
- James Buchanan (1857 – 1861)
- Andrew Johnson (1865 – 1869) (A Democrat for most of his life, Johnson was elected as the National Union candidate for Vice President, but allied with Democrats after assuming the presidency after Abraham Lincoln’s assassination.)
- Grover Cleveland (1885–1889 and 1893–1897)
- Presidents during the 20th century
- Woodrow Wilson (1913 – 1921)
- Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933 – 1945)
- Harry S. Truman (1945 – 1953)
- John F. Kennedy (1961 – 1963)
- Lyndon B. Johnson (1963 – 1969)
- Jimmy Carter (1977 – 1981)
- Bill Clinton (1993 – 2001)
- Presidents during the 21st century
Other famous Democratic Politicians
- Kamala Harris (California), Vice President and Senator from California
- John Kerry (Massachusetts), former Secretary of State, former Senator, former Presidential nominee
- Patrick Leahy (Vermont), former President Pro Tempore, Senator, and Dean of the Senate
- Hillary Clinton (New York), former Secretary of State, former Senator, former First Lady, former Presidential nominee
- Jim Clyburn (South Carolina), Representative and Assistant Democratic Leader
- Howard Dean (Vermont), former Governor and former head of the Democratic National Committee
- Christopher Dodd (Connecticut), former Senator
- Mario Cuomo (New York), former Governor
- Dick Durbin (Illinois), Senate Whip
- George Moscone (California), former Mayor of San Francisco
- Chuck Schumer (New York), Senator and Senate Minority Leader.
- Harvey Milk (California), Member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors
- William M. Daley (Illinois), candidate for Governor of Illinois, former White House Chief of Staff
- Frank Lautenberg (New Jersey), former Senator
- Pat Quinn, Governor of Illinois
- Paul Simon (Illinois), former Senator
- Arlen Specter (Pennsylvania), former Senator
- Bob Menendez (New Jersey), Senator
- Richard M. Daley (Illinois), former Mayor of Chicago
- John Edwards (North Carolina), former Senator and Vice-Presidential candidate
- Richard J. Daley (Illinois), former Mayor of Chicago
- Al Gore (Tennessee), former Presidential candidate and Vice-President
- Robert F. Kennedy, former Senator, former Presidential candidate, and brother of John F. Kennedy
- Daniel Inouye (Hawaii), former President Pro Tempore, former Senator, and former Dean of the Senate
- Steny Hoyer (Maryland), House Minority Whip
- Robert Byrd (West Virginia), former President Pro Tempore, former Senator, and former Dean of the Senate
- Tim Kaine (Virginia), Governor, 2016 vice presidential nominee and former head of the Democratic National Committee
- Dennis Kucinich (Ohio), Representative
- Janet Napolitano (Arizona), Secretary of Homeland Security
- Nancy Pelosi (California), Speaker of the House
- Brian Schweitzer (Montana), former Governor
- Harry Reid (Nevada), former Senate Minority Leader
- Rahm Emanuel (Illinois), Mayor of Chicago, former White House Chief of Staff
- Harry F. Byrd, Jr. (Virginia), former Senator
- Bill Richardson (New Mexico), Governor
- Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Florida), Representative and former head of the Democratic National Committee
- Eliot Spitzer (New York), former Governor
- Mark Warner (Virginia), Senator and former Governor
- George Wallace (Alabama), 45th Governor of Alabama
- Elizabeth Warren, Senator from Massachusetts
Independents who caucus with Democrats
- Ronald Reagan (California), 40th President of the United States (1981–1989). Registered Democrat until 1962.
- Condoleezza Rice (Alabama), 66th United States Secretary of State (2005–2009). Registered Democrat until 1982.
- Rudy Giuliani (New York), 107th Mayor of New York City (1994–2001). Registered Democrat until 1975.
- Rick Perry (Texas), 14th United States Secretary of Energy (2017-2019), 47th Governor of Texas (2000–2015). Registered Democrat until 1989.
- Jesse Helms (North Carolina), United States Senator (1973–2003). Registered Democrat (1942–1970).
- Donald Trump (New York), 45th President of the United States (2017-2021), Registered Democrat until 2009.
- Gould, Joe (2021-05-13). "Bernie Sanders wants to cut defense spending. Not all Democrats agree." (in en-US). https://www.defensenews.com/congress/budget/2021/05/12/bernie-sanders-wants-to-cut-defense-spending-not-all-democrats-agree/.
- "Biden’s sweeping — and fluid — tax plans are making some congressional Democrats nervous" (in en-US). Washington Post. . https://www.washingtonpost.com/us-policy/2021/05/11/biden-taxes-democrats/. Retrieved 2021-05-14.
- Paul Starr. "Center-Left Liberalism". Princeton University. https://www.princeton.edu/~starr/articles/articles12/Starr_Center-left-liberalism.html.
- Frumin, Aliyah (November 25, 2013). Obama: 'Long past time' for immigration reform. MSNBC.com. https://msnbc.com/hardball/obama-long-past-time-reform. Retrieved January 26, 2014.
- Changing Views on Social Issues. April 30, 2009. https://abcnews.go.com/images/PollingUnit/1089a6HotButtonIssues.pdf. Retrieved May 14, 2009.
- "Pew Research Center. (May 10, 2005). Beyond Red vs. Blue, p. 1 of 8". 2005-05-10. Archived from the original on July 8, 2012. https://www.webcitation.org/690fOpBzv?url=http://www.people-press.org/2005/05/10/beyond-red-vs-blue/. Retrieved July 12, 2007.
- see "History of the Democratic Donkey"
- Farhi, Paul (November 2, 2004). Elephants Are Red, Donkeys Are Blue. p. C01. https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A17079-2004Nov1.html. Retrieved October 11, 2016.
- Trotter, Bill (February 11, 2008). Obama sets sights on November battle. Archived from the original on February 28, 2008. https://web.archive.org/web/20080228050855/http://www.bangornews.com/news/t/city.aspx?articleid=160039&zoneid=176. Retrieved February 12, 2008.
- Tom Murse (July 20, 2019). "Was Donald Trump a Democrat?". ThoughtCo.. https://www.thoughtco.com/was-donald-trump-a-democrat-3367571.