The Disenfranchisement Of Human Behavior

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The Disenfranchisement Of Human Behavior

How Technology is Increasing the Disenfranchisement of Human Interaction

In recent years, as technology has advanced, it has profoundly impacted the way humans interact with one another. While technology has provided many benefits, it has also contributed to an increased disenfranchisement of human interaction.

This is particularly concerning in terms of how younger generations are learning to communicate, as it may have a long-term effect on their social skills. One way technology is increasing the disenfranchisement of human interaction is through the rise of digital communication. Text messages, emails, and social media posts have become the primary means of communication for many people, and this lack of face-to-face interaction can make it harder to establish meaningful connections.

As well, digital communication can often be interpreted in unintended ways due to the lack of facial expressions, body language, and vocal tonality that occurs during an in person conversation. This can lead to misunderstandings and create feelings of disconnection between people.

Technology has also changed the way younger generations interact with one another. With the rise of gaming and social media, today’s youth often spend more time communicating with strangers online than they do with their friends in person. This has led to the decrease in social skills, as young people are not developing the same level of comfort and connection with others that comes from having face-to-face conversations.

In the end, technology has made it easier for people to disconnect from one another. With the ability to go online at any time vs having to set and meeting time and place, many people are choosing to retreat into their confined digital worlds, allowing them to avoid meaningful interactions with those around them.

This has led to feelings of alienation, as people struggle to form connections in the physical world. As technology has advanced, it has had a negative effect on the way humans interact with one another. It has increased the reliance on digital communication and given people an easy way to avoid meaningful interactions.

The Impact of Social Media on the Disenfranchisement of Human Empathy

In recent years, the proliferation of social media has had a profound effect on human interaction and has caused a decrease in the capacity for empathy. This is a result of the lack of direct human interaction, the prevalence of echo chambers, and the disconnect between online and offline behavior.

The first way in which social media has caused a decrease in the capacity for empathy is the lack of direct human interaction where the mind trains itself by observing body and facial language. Social media has made it easier for people to engage with each other without an actual physical presence. This means that people can engage in conversation without having to look into each other’s eyes, hear each other’s voices, or otherwise feel the presence of another person. As a result, people can become less connected to their emotions and have fewer opportunities to practice – self brain train – empathy.

The second way in which social media has caused a decrease in the capacity for empathy is the prevalence of echo chambers. Social media echo chambers are created when users are shown content that aligns with their existing beliefs, making it more difficult for them to be exposed to differing opinions – division of thoughts – or perspectives. This further reduces the potential for meaningful conversations and dialogue, which can be essential for developing empathy.

The third way in which social media has caused a decrease in the capacity for empathy is the disconnect between online and offline – this has been found to be true with daytime soap opera actors – behavior. People often behave differently online than they do in person, which can lead to a lack of understanding and a lack of empathy.

For example, people have be more likely to express negative opinions and judgments online than they would in person, which can lead to a decrease in empathy as people become desensitized to their own words. It is clear that the proliferation of social media has had a significant impact on the capacity for empathy.

By reducing human interaction, creating echo chambers, and creating a disconnect between online and offline behavior, social media has made it more difficult for people to understand and appreciate the experiences of others. As a result, it is important to take active steps to counteract these trends by seeking out meaningful conversations and connections, engaging with a variety of perspectives, and practicing empathy both online and offline.

The Effects of Social Isolation on Disenfranchisement of Human Behavior

Social isolation is a condition where individuals are either voluntarily or involuntarily prevented from engaging in typical – high school sports or community charity events – social activities with other people. This has been shown to be due to a variety of factors such as social anxiety, physical distance, homelessness, or even certain health conditions.

Research has shown that prolonged periods of social isolation can have profound effects on the mental and physical health of individuals, leading to further issues such as depression and substance abuse. In addition to the physical toll that social isolation can take, it can also lead to a sense of disenfranchisement of human behavior.

This feeling of being disconnected from one’s peers and society can contribute to feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and even apathy. This kind of dis-empowerment can have a significant effect on the ability of an individual to be productive and lead a successful life. The consequences of social isolation are far-reaching and can impact many different aspects of an individual’s life.

For example, social isolation can lead to a lack of trust in society and institutions as a whole, an inability to access resources, an increase in risk-taking behaviors, and an overall sense of pessimism. Furthermore, it can prevent people from being able to access support networks and resources, leading to further feelings of alienation and emotional distress.

In order to counteract the effects of social isolation, it is important to create an environment that fosters meaningful interactions between people and encourages inclusion in social activities. This can be done through providing resources to marginalized populations, creating safe places for people to interact, and increasing access to mental health services.

It is important for people to recognize their own feelings of isolation and seek out help and support when needed in order to avoid feelings of alienation and disenfranchisement.

Social isolation can have profound effects on an individual’s mental and physical wellbeing. If left unchecked, it can lead to further issues such as disenfranchisement of human behavior and feelings of alienation. It is important to recognize the signs of social isolation and take steps to counteract its effects in order to create a healthier and more inclusive society.

Exposing the Disenfranchisement of Human Emotional Intelligence

The power of human emotion is often overlooked and undervalued in modern society. It is a fundamental part of our lives and shapes to be who we are, but it is rarely given the respect it deserves. Emotional intelligence (EI) is the ability to identify, understand, manage, and express emotions. Unfortunately, EI is often neglected in favor of intellectual intelligence (IQ).

This disregard for EI can have serious repercussions, causing individuals to feel disenfranchised and unable to express their true selves. EI is a complex concept that is often misunderstood or ignored. It is not just the ability to recognize emotions, but the ability to use them to inform the individual’s behavior and reactions. EI is about understanding the impact of feelings on ourselves and others. The ability to empathize and connect with others is derived from EI, as well as our capacity to self-regulate and respond effectively to situations.

However, in many cases, EI is ignored in favor of IQ, which is seen as the ultimate measure of intelligence. This bias can be seen in education systems, the workplace, and even in our relationships. We often assume that IQ is the gold standard for success and that those with higher IQs are more likely to achieve success and recognition. This mentality ignores the importance of EI and its ability to enrich lives and contribute to success.

The exclusion of EI can lead to individuals feeling disconnected and misunderstood. Without the tools to understand and effectively express their emotions, individuals can struggle with personal relationships and job performance. Without being able to express and manage emotions, individuals can become isolated, anxious, and depressed. It is imperative that we recognize the importance of EI and the potential consequences of ignoring it.

We must recognize that EI is not only a valuable asset but also a necessary one for the growth and development of individuals. We must incorporate EI into our education systems, workplace environments, and social relationships to ensure that all individuals have the opportunity to express themselves fully and realize their potential.

Analyzing the Disenfranchisement of Human Relationships in the Digital Age

The digital age has revolutionized the way humans communicate, interact, and conduct business. However, it has also had a detrimental effect on human relationships. This is due to the fact that technology has caused a significant shift in interpersonal communication, thus leading to the disenfranchisement of relationships.

First, the prevalence of digital communication has led to a decrease in face-to-face interactions. As a result, people are becoming increasingly disconnected from each other and are spending less time engaging in meaningful conversations. Also, digital communication also lacks nonverbal cues; therefore, people are often unable to accurately decipher the tone of a message. This can lead to misunderstanding, frustration, and hurt feelings.

Second, the digital age has led to a decrease in meaningful human contact. Many people are now opting for the convenience of online interactions, thus reducing the opportunity for meaningful physical contact. As a result, people are losing the ability to share physical expressions of affection, such as hugs and handshakes. This lack of physical contact has led to feelings of loneliness and disconnection.

Finally, digital communication has caused people to become more desensitized to the emotions of others. As people rely more heavily on technology to communicate and interact, they are becoming increasingly disconnected from their own emotions, as well as the emotions of those around them. This has led to a decrease in empathy, which can further strain already-fragile relationships.

In conclusion, the digital age has had a significant impact on human relationships as a whole; it has caused people to become more disconnected from each other and less able to engage in meaningful conversations. In addition, it has led to a decrease in meaningful physical contact and a decrease in empathy. Thus, it is important that people make a conscious effort to prioritize face-to-face interactions and meaningful physical contact in order to maintain healthy relationships.

Detailed History Of The Republican Party

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History Of The Republican Party

The Republican Party, also referred to as the GOP “Grand Old Party,” is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States. The GOP was founded in 1854 by anti-slavery activists who opposed the Kansas–Nebraska Act, which allowed for the potential expansion of chattel slavery into the western territories. Since Ronald Reagan’s presidency in the 1980’s, conservatism has been the dominant ideology of the GOP.

It has been the main political rival of the Democratic Party since the mid-1850’s. The Republican Party’s historical predecessor is considered to be Northern members of the Whig Party, with Republican presidents Abraham Lincoln, Rutherford B. Hayes, Chester A. Arthur, and Benjamin Harrison all being Whigs before switching to the party, from which they were elected. The collapse of the Whigs, which had previously been one of the two major parties in the country, strengthened the party’s electoral success.

Upon its founding, it supported classical liberalism and economic reform while opposing the expansion of slavery. The Republican Party initially consisted of Northern Protestants, factory workers, professionals, businessmen, prosperous farmers, and from 1866, former black slaves.

It had almost no presence in the Southern United States at its inception, but was very successful in the Northern United States where, by 1858, it had enlisted former Whigs and former Free Soil Democrats to form majorities in nearly every state in New England. While both parties adopted pro-business policies in the 19th century, the early GOP was distinguished by its support for the national banking system, the gold standard, railroads, and high tariffs.

It did not openly oppose slavery in the Southern states before the start of the American Civil War, stating that it only opposed the spread of slavery into the territories or into the Northern states, but was widely seen as sympathetic to the abolitionist cause.

Seeing a future threat to the practice with the election of Abraham Lincoln, the first Republican president, many states in the South declared secession and joined the Confederacy. Under the leadership of Lincoln and a Republican Congress, it led the fight to destroy the Confederacy during the American Civil War, preserving the Union and abolishing slavery. The aftermath saw the party largely dominate the national political scene until 1932.

In 1912, former Republican president Theodore Roosevelt formed the Progressive “Bull Moose” Party after being rejected by the GOP and ran unsuccessfully as a third-party presidential candidate, feeling that William Howard Taft had betrayed the values of the Republican Party and calling for social reforms similar to those he had enacted during his presidency.

After 1912, many Roosevelt supporters left the Republican Party, and the Party underwent an ideological shift to the right, beginning its 20th-century trend towards conservatism. The GOP lost its congressional majorities during the Great Depression (1929–1940) when the Democrats’ New Deal programs proved popular. Dwight D. Eisenhower presided over a period of economic prosperity after the war.

Following the Great Society era of progressive legislation under Lyndon B. Johnson, the Southern states became increasingly Republican and the Northeastern states became increasingly Democratic. After the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, the Republican Party opposed abortion in its party platform and grew its support among evangelicals.

Richard Nixon carried 49 states in 1972 with his silent majority, even as the Watergate scandal dogged his campaign leading to his resignation. After Gerald Ford pardoned Nixon, he lost reelection and the Republicans would not regain power and realign the political landscape once more until 1980 with the election of Ronald Reagan, who brought together advocates of free-market economics, social conservatives, and Soviet Union hawks in a “three leg stool.”

The party’s main ideology is American conservatism, a form of liberalism based on a belief in limited government, individualism, traditionalism, republicanism, and limited federal governmental power in relation to the states. It favors gun rights. On LGBT issues, it has increasingly grown accepting of same-sex marriage while opposing the transgender rights movement. It has taken variant positions on abortion, trade, immigration, and foreign policy in its history.

Voters who have lower incomes; live in rural areas; are married, men, white, or evangelical Christian are generally more likely to vote for the Republican Party. While it does not receive the vote of most racial and sexual minorities, it does among Cuban and Vietnamese voters. It has gained support among members of the white working class and lost support among affluent and college-educated white people since the 1980’s. Since 2012, it has gained support among working class minorities, particularly Hispanic and Latino Americans.

The Republican Party is a member of the International Democrat Union, an international alliance of center-right political parties. It has several prominent political wings, including a student wing, the College Republicans; a women’s wing, the National Federation of Republican Women, and a LGBT wing; the Republican Pride Coalition. As of 2023, the GOP holds a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, 26 state governorship’s, 28 state legislatures, and 22 state government trifectas. Six of the nine sitting U.S. Supreme Court justices were appointed by Republican presidents. Its most recent presidential nominee was Donald Trump, who was the 45th U.S. president from 2017 to 2021. There have been 19 Republican presidents, the most from any one political party.

The Republican Party was founded in the northern states in 1854 by forces opposed to the expansion of slavery, ex-Whigs and ex-Free Soilers. The Republican Party quickly became the principal opposition to the dominant Democratic Party and the briefly popular Know Nothing Party. The party grew out of opposition to the Kansas–Nebraska Act, which repealed the Missouri Compromise and opened Kansas Territory and Nebraska Territory to slavery and future admission as slave states. They denounced the expansion of slavery as a great evil, but did not call for ending it in the southern states. While opposition to the expansion of slavery was the most consequential founding principal of the party, like the Whig party it replaced, Republicans also called for economic and social modernization.

The first public meeting of the general anti-Nebraska movement, at which the name Republican was proposed, was held on March 20, 1854, at the Little White Schoolhouse in Ripon, Wisconsin. The name was partly chosen to pay homage to Thomas Jefferson’s Democratic-Republican Party. The first official party convention was held on July 6, 1854, in Jackson, Michigan.

The party emerged from the great political realignment of the mid-1850’s. Historian William Gienapp argues that the great realignment of the 1850’s began before the Whigs’ collapse, and was caused not by politicians but by voters at the local level. The central forces were ethnology-cultural, involving tensions between pietistic Protestants versus liturgical Catholics, Lutherans and Episcopalians regarding Catholicism, prohibition and nativism.

The Know Nothing Party embodied the social forces at work, but its weak leadership was unable to solidify its organization, and the Republicans picked it apart. Nativism was so powerful that the Republicans could not avoid it, but they did minimize it and turn voter wrath against the threat that slave owners would buy up the good farm lands wherever slavery was allowed. The realignment was powerful because it forced voters to switch parties, as typified by the rise and fall of the Know Nothings, the rise of the Republican Party and the splits in the Democratic Party.

At the 1856 Republican National Convention, the party adopted a national platform emphasizing opposition to the expansion of slavery into the territories. While Republican nominee John C. Frémont lost the 1856 United States presidential election to Democrat James Buchanan, Buchanan only managed to win four of the fourteen northern states, winning his home state of Pennsylvania narrowly. Republicans fared better in Congressional and local elections, but Know Nothing candidates took a significant number of seats, creating an awkward three party arrangement. Despite the loss of the presidency and the lack of a majority in Congress, Republicans were able to orchestrate a Republican Speaker of the House, which went to Nathaniel P. Banks. Historian James M. McPherson writes regarding Banks’ speakership that “if any one moment marked the birth of the Republican party, this was it.”

The Republicans were eager for the elections of 1860. Former Illinois Representative Abraham Lincoln spent several years building support within the party, campaigning heavily for Frémont in 1856 and making a bid for the Senate in 1858, losing to Democrat Stephen A. Douglas but gaining national attention for the Lincoln–Douglas debates it produced.

At the 1860 Republican National Convention, Lincoln consolidated support among opponents of New York Senator William H. Seward, a fierce abolitionist who some Republicans feared would be too radical for crucial states such as Pennsylvania and Indiana, as well as those who disapproved of his support for Irish immigrants.

Lincoln won on the third ballot and was ultimately elected president in the general election in a rematch against Douglas. Lincoln had not been on the ballot in a single southern state, and even if the vote for Democrats had not been split between Douglas, John C. Breckinridge and John Bell, the Republicans would’ve still won but without the popular vote. This election result helped kick-start the American Civil War which lasted from 1861 until 1865.

The election of 1864 united War Democrats with the GOP and saw Lincoln and Tennessee Democratic Senator Andrew Johnson get nominated on the National Union Party ticket; Lincoln was re-elected. By June of 1865, slavery was dead in the ex-Confederate states, but still existed in some border states. Under Republican congressional leadership, the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which banned slavery in the United States passed in 1865; it was ratified in December 1865.

Radical Republicans during Lincoln’s presidency felt he was too moderate in his eradication of slavery and opposed his ten percent plan. Radical Republicans passed the Wade–Davis Bill in 1864, which sought to enforce the taking of the Ironclad Oath for all former Confederates. Lincoln vetoed the bill, believing it would jeopardize the peaceful reintegration of the Confederate states into the United States.

Following the assassination of Lincoln, Johnson ascended to the presidency and was deplored by Radical Republicans. Johnson was vitriolic in his criticisms of the Radical Republicans during a national tour ahead of the 1866 midterm elections. In his view, Johnson saw Radical Republicanism as the same as secessionism, both being two extremist sides of the political spectrum. Anti-Johnson Republicans won a two-thirds majority in both chambers of Congress following the elections, which helped lead the way toward his impeachment and near ouster from office in 1868. That same year, former Union Army General Ulysses S. Grant was elected as the next Republican president.

Grant was a Radical Republican which created some division within the party, some such as Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner and Illinois Senator Lyman Trumbull opposed most of his Reconstructionist policies. Others found contempt with the large scale corruption present in Grant’s administration, with the emerging Stalwart faction defending Grant and the spoils system, whereas the Half-Breeds pushed for reform of the civil service.

Republicans who opposed Grant branched off to form the Liberal Republican Party, nominating Horace Greeley in 1872. The Democratic Party attempted to capitalize on this divide in the GOP by co-nominating Greeley under their party banner. Greeley’s positions proved inconsistent with the Liberal Republican Party that nominated him, with Greeley supporting high tariffs despite the party’s opposition. Grant was easily re-elected.

The 1876 general election saw a contentious conclusion as both parties claimed victory despite three southern states still not officially declaring a winner at the end of election day. Voter suppression had occurred in the south to depress the black and white Republican vote, which gave Republican controlled returning officers enough of a reason to declare that fraud, intimidation and violence had soiled the states’ results.

They proceeded to throw out enough Democratic votes for Republican Rutherford B. Hayes to be declared the winner. Still, Democrats refused to accept the results and an Electoral Commission made up of members of Congress was established to decide who would be awarded the states’ electors. After the Commission voted along party lines in Hayes’ favor, Democrats threatened to delay the counting of electoral votes indefinitely so no president would be inaugurated on March 4. This resulted in the Compromise of 1877 and Hayes finally became president.

Hayes doubled down on the gold standard, which had been signed into law by Grant with the Coinage Act of 1873, as a solution to the depressed American economy in the aftermath of the Panic of 1873. He also believed greenbacks posed a threat; greenbacks being money printed during the Civil War that was not backed by specie, which Hayes objected to as a proponent of hard money. Hayes sought to restock the country’s gold supply, which by January 1879 succeeded as gold was more frequently exchanged for greenbacks compared to greenbacks being exchanged for gold.

Ahead of the 1880 general election, Republican James G. Blaine ran for the party nomination supporting Hayes’ gold standard push and supporting his civil reforms. Both falling short of the nomination, Blaine and opponent John Sherman backed Republican James A. Garfield, who agreed with Hayes’ move in favor of the gold standard, but opposed his civil reform efforts.

Garfield was elected but assassinated early into his term, however his death helped create support for the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act, which was passed in 1883; the bill was signed into law by Republican President Chester A. Arthur, who succeeded Garfield.

Blaine once again ran for the presidency, winning the nomination but losing to Democrat Grover Cleveland in 1884, the first Democrat to be elected president since Buchanan. Dissident Republicans, known as Mugwumps, had defected Blaine due to corruption which had plagued his political career. Cleveland stuck to the gold standard policy, which eased most Republicans, but he came into conflict with the party regarding budding American imperialism. Republican Benjamin Harrison was able to reclaim the presidency from Cleveland in 1888. During his presidency, Harrison signed the Dependent and Disability Pension Act, which established pensions for all veterans of the Union who had served for more than 90 days and were unable to perform manual labor.

A majority of Republicans supported the annexation of Hawaii, under the new governance of Republican Sanford B. Dole, and Harrison, following his loss in 1892 to Cleveland, attempted to pass a treaty annexing Hawaii before Cleveland was to be inaugurated again. Cleveland opposed annexation, though Democrats were split geographically on the issue, with most northeastern Democrats proving to be the strongest voices of opposition.

In 1896, Republican William McKinley’s platform supported the gold standard and high tariffs, having been the creator and namesake for the McKinley Tariff of 1890. Though having been divided on the issue prior to the 1896 Republican National Convention, McKinley decided to heavily favor the gold standard over free silver in his campaign messaging, but promised to continue bimetallism to ward off continued skepticism over the gold standard, which had lingered since the Panic of 1893.

Democrat William Jennings Bryan proved to be a devoted adherent to the free silver movement, which cost Bryan the support of Democrat institutions such as Tammany Hall, the New York World and a large majority of the Democratic Party’s upper and middle-class support. McKinley defeated Bryan and returned the White House to Republican control until 1912.

The 1896 realignment cemented the Republicans as the party of big businesses while Theodore Roosevelt added more small business support by his embrace of trust busting. He handpicked his successor William Howard Taft in 1908, but they became enemies as the party split down the middle.

Taft defeated Roosevelt for the 1912 nomination so Roosevelt stormed out of the convention and started a new party. Roosevelt ran on the ticket of his new Progressive “Bull Moose” Party. He called for social reforms, many of which were later championed by New Deal Democrats in the 1930’s. He lost and when most of his supporters returned to the GOP they found they did not agree with the new conservative economic thinking, leading to an ideological shift to the right in the Republican Party.

The Republicans returned to the White House throughout the 1920’s, running on platforms of normalcy, business-oriented efficiency and high tariffs. The national party platform avoided mention of prohibition, instead issuing a vague commitment to law and order.

Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover were resoundingly elected in 1920, 1924 and 1928, respectively. The Teapot Dome scandal threatened to hurt the party, but Harding died and the opposition splintered in 1924. The pro-business policies of the decade seemed to produce an unprecedented prosperity until the Wall Street Crash of 1929 heralded the Great Depression.

The New Deal coalition forged by Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt controlled American politics for most of the next three decades, excluding the two-term presidency of Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower. After Roosevelt took office in 1933, New Deal legislation sailed through Congress and the economy moved sharply upward from its nadir in early 1933. However, long-term unemployment remained a drag until 1940. In the 1934 midterm elections, 10 Republican senators went down to defeat, leaving the GOP with only 25 senators against 71 Democrats. The House of Representatives likewise had overwhelming Democratic majorities.

The Republican Party factionalized into a majority “Old Right,” based in the Midwest and a liberal wing based in the northeast that supported much of the New Deal. The Old Right sharply attacked the “Second New Deal” and said it represented class warfare and socialism. Roosevelt was re-elected in a landslide in 1936; however, as his second term began, the economy declined, strikes soared, and he failed to take control of the Supreme Court and purge the southern conservatives from the Democratic Party.

Republicans made a major comeback in the 1938 elections and had new rising stars such as Robert A. Taft of Ohio on the right and Thomas E. Dewey of New York on the left. Southern conservatives joined with most Republicans to form the conservative coalition, which dominated domestic issues in Congress until 1964. Both parties split on foreign policy issues, with the anti-war isolationists dominant in the Republican Party and the interventionists who wanted to stop Adolf Hitler dominant in the Democratic Party. Roosevelt won a third and fourth term in 1940 and 1944, respectively. Conservatives abolished most of the New Deal during the war, but they did not attempt to do away with Social Security or the agencies that regulated business.

Unlike the “moderate,” internationalist, largely eastern bloc of Republicans who accepted some of the “Roosevelt Revolution” and the essential premises of President Harry S. Truman’s foreign policy, the Republican Right at heart was counterrevolutionary. Anti-collectivist, anti-Communist, anti-New Deal, passionately committed to limited government, free market economics, and congressional – as opposed to executive – prerogatives, the G.O.P. conservatives were obliged from the start to wage a constant two-front war against liberal Democrats from without and “me-too” Republicans from within.

After 1945, the internationalist wing of the GOP cooperated with Truman’s Cold War foreign policy, funded the Marshall Plan and supported NATO, despite the continued isolationism of the Old Right.

The second half of the 20th century saw the election or succession of Republican presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush. Eisenhower had defeated conservative leader Senator Robert A. Taft for the 1952 nomination, but conservatives dominated the domestic policies of the Eisenhower administration.

Voters liked Eisenhower much more than they liked the GOP and he proved unable to shift the party to a more moderate position. Since 1976, liberalism has virtually faded out of the Republican Party, apart from a few northeastern holdouts. Historians cite the 1964 United States presidential election and its respective 1964 Republican National Convention as a significant shift, which saw the conservative wing, helmed by Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona, battle the liberal New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller and his eponymous Rockefeller Republican faction for the party presidential nomination.

With Goldwater poised to win, Rockefeller, urged to mobilize his liberal faction, relented, “You’re looking at it, buddy. I’m all that’s left.” Though Goldwater lost in a landslide, Reagan would make himself known as a prominent supporter of his throughout the campaign, delivering the “A Time for Choosing” speech for him. He’d go on to become governor of California two years later, and in 1980, win the presidency.

The presidency of Reagan, lasting from 1981 to 1989, constituted what is known as the “Reagan Revolution.” It was seen as a fundamental shift from the stagflation of the 1970’s preceding it, with the introduction of Reaganomics intended to cut taxes, prioritize government deregulation and shift funding from the domestic sphere into the military to check the Soviet Union by utilizing deterrence theory. During a visit to then-West Berlin in June of 1987, he addressed Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev during a speech at the Berlin Wall, demanding that he “tear down this wall.” The remark was ignored at the time but after the fall of the wall in 1989 retroactively recast as a soaring achievement over the years.

After he left office in 1989, Reagan became an iconic conservative Republican. Republican presidential candidates would frequently claim to share his views and aim to establish themselves and their policies as the more appropriate heir to his legacy.

Vice President Bush scored a landslide in the 1988 general election. However his term would see a divide form within the Republican Party. Bush’s vision of economic liberalization and international cooperation with foreign nations saw the negotiation and signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the conceptual beginnings of the World Trade Organization. Independent politician and businessman Ross Perot decried NAFTA and prophesied it would lead to outsourcing American jobs to Mexico, while Democrat Bill Clinton found agreement in Bush’s policies. Bush lost reelection in 1992 with 37 percent of the popular vote, with Clinton garnering a plurality of 43 percent and Perot in third with 19 percent. While debatable if Perot’s candidacy cost Bush reelection, Charlie Cook of The Cook Political Report attests Perot’s messaging held more weight with Republican and conservative voters at large. Perot formed the Reform Party and those who had been or would become prominent Republicans saw brief membership, such as former White House Communications Director Pat Buchanan and later President Donald Trump.

In the Republican Revolution of 1994, the party—led by House Minority Whip Newt Gingrich, who campaigned on the “Contract with America” won majorities in both chambers of Congress, gained 12 governorship’s and regained control of 20 state legislatures. However, most voters had not heard of the Contract and the Republican victory was attributed to redistricting, traditional mid-term anti-incumbent voting, and Republicans becoming the majority party in Dixie for the first time since Reconstruction.

It was the first time the Republican Party had achieved a majority in the House since 1952. Gingrich was made Speaker of the House, and within the first 100 days of the Republican majority every proposition featured in the Contract with America was passed, with the exception of term limits for members of Congress. Unfortunately they did not pass in the Senate. One key to Gingrich’s success in 1994 was nationalizing the election, in turn, Gingrich became a national figure during the 1996 House elections, with many Democratic leaders proclaiming Gingrich was a zealous radical.

The Republicans maintained their majority for the first time since 1928 despite the presidential ticket of Bob Dole-Jack Kemp losing handily to President Clinton in the general election. However, Gingrich’s national profile proved a detriment to the Republican Congress, which enjoyed majority approval among voters in spite of Gingrich’s relative unpopularity.

After Gingrich and the Republicans struck a deal with Clinton on the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 with added tax cuts included, the Republican House majority had difficulty convening on a new agenda ahead of the 1998 midterm elections. During the ongoing impeachment of Bill Clinton in 1998, Gingrich decided to make Clinton’s misconduct the party message heading into the midterms, believing it would add to their majority.

The strategy proved mistaken and the Republicans lost five seats, though whether it was due to poor messaging or Clinton’s popularity providing a coattail effect is debated. Gingrich was ousted from party power due to the performance, ultimately deciding to resign from Congress altogether. For a short time afterward it appeared Louisiana Representative Bob Livingston would become his successor. Livingston, however, stepped down from consideration and resigned from Congress after damaging reports of affairs threatened the Republican House’s legislative agenda if he were to serve as Speaker. Illinois Representative Dennis Hastert was promoted to Speaker in Livingston’s place, and served in that position until 2007.

A Republican ticket of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney won the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections. Bush campaigned as a “compassionate conservative” in 2000, wanting to better appeal to immigrants and minority voters. The goal was to prioritize drug rehabilitation programs and aide for prisoner reentry into society, a move intended to capitalize on President Bill Clinton’s tougher crime initiatives such as the 1994 crime bill passed under his administration. The platform failed to gain much traction among members of the party during his presidency.

With the inauguration of Bush as president, the Republican Party remained fairly cohesive for much of the 2000’s as both strong economic libertarians and social conservatives opposed the Democrats, whom they saw as the party of bloated, secular, and liberal government. This period saw the rise of “pro-government conservatives” – a core part of the Bush’s base – a considerable group of the Republicans who advocated for increased government spending and greater regulations covering both the economy and people’s personal lives as well as for an activist, interventionist foreign policy.

Survey groups such as the Pew Research Center found that social conservatives and free market advocates remained the other two main groups within the party’s coalition of support, with all three being roughly equal in number. However, libertarians and libertarian-leaning conservatives increasingly found fault with what they saw as Republicans’ restricting of vital civil liberties while corporate welfare and the national debt hiked considerably under Bush’s tenure. In contrast, some social conservatives expressed dissatisfaction with the party’s support for economic policies that conflicted with their moral values.

The Republican Party lost its Senate majority in 2001 when the Senate became split evenly; nevertheless, the Republicans maintained control of the Senate due to the tie-breaking vote of Vice President Cheney. Democrats gained control of the Senate on June 6, 2001, when Republican Senator Jim Jeffords of Vermont switched his party affiliation to Democrat. The Republicans regained the Senate majority in the 2002 elections. Republican majorities in the House and Senate were held until the Democrats regained control of both chambers in the mid-term elections of 2006.

In 2008, Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona and Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska were defeated by Democratic Senators Barack Obama and Joe Biden of Illinois and Delaware, respectively.

The Republicans experienced electoral success in the wave election of 2010, which coincided with the ascendancy of the Tea Party movement, an anti-Obama protest movement of fiscal conservatives. Members of the movement called for lower taxes, and for a reduction of the national debt of the United States and federal budget deficit through decreased government spending. It was also described as a popular constitutional movement composed of a mixture of libertarian, right-wing populist, and conservative activism.

That success began with the upset win of Scott Brown in the Massachusetts special Senate election for a seat that had been held for decades by the Democratic Kennedy brothers. In the November elections, Republicans recaptured control of the House, increased their number of seats in the Senate and gained a majority of governorship’s. The Tea Party would go on to strongly influence the Republican Party, in part due to the replacement of establishment Republicans with Tea Party-style Republicans.

When Obama and Biden won re-election in 2012, defeating a Mitt Romney-Paul Ryan ticket, the Republicans lost seven seats in the House in the November congressional elections, but still retained control of that chamber. However, Republicans were not able to gain control of the Senate, continuing their minority status with a net loss of two seats. In the aftermath of the loss, some prominent Republicans spoke out against their own party.

A 2012 election postmortem by the Republican Party concluded that the party needed to do more on the national level to attract votes from minorities and young voters. In March of 2013, National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus gave a stinging report on the party’s electoral failures in 2012, calling on Republicans to reinvent themselves and officially endorse immigration reform. He said “There’s no one reason we lost. Our message was weak; our ground game was insufficient; we weren’t inclusive; we were behind in both data and digital, and our primary and debate process needed improvement.” He proposed 219 reforms that included a $10 million marketing campaign to reach women, minorities and gays as well as setting a shorter, more controlled primary season and creating better data collection facilities.

Following the 2014 midterm elections, the Republican Party took control of the Senate by gaining nine seats. With a final total of 247 seats (57%) in the House and 54 seats in the Senate, the Republicans ultimately achieved their largest majority in the Congress since the 71st Congress in 1929.

The election of Republican Donald Trump to the presidency in 2016 marked a populist shift in the Republican Party. Trump’s defeat of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton was unexpected, as polls had shown Clinton leading the race. Trump’s victory was fueled by narrow victories in three states – Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin – that had traditionally been part of the Democratic blue wall for decades. According to NBC News, “Trump’s power famously came from his silent majority, working-class white voters who felt mocked and ignored by an establishment, loosely defined by special interests in Washington, news outlets in New York and taskmasters in Hollywood. He built trust within that base by abandoning Republican establishment orthodoxy on issues like trade and government spending in favor of a broader nationalist message.”

After the 2016 elections, Republicans maintained a majority in the Senate, House, and state governorship’s, and wielded newly acquired executive power with Trump’s election as president. The Republican Party controlled 69 of 99 state legislative chambers in 2017, the most it had held in history; and at least 33 governorship’s, the most it had held since 1922. The party had total control of government – legislative chambers and governorship – in 25 states, the most since 1952; the opposing Democratic Party had full control in only five states. Following the results of the 2018 midterm elections, the Republicans lost control of the House but strengthened their hold of the Senate.

Over the course of his term, Trump appointed three justices to the Supreme Court: Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett. The most appointments of any president in a single term since fellow Republican Richard Nixon. He appointed 260 judges in total, creating overall Republican-appointed majorities on every branch of the federal judiciary except for the Court of International Trade by the time he left office, shifting the judiciary to the right. Other notable achievements during his presidency included the passing of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in 2017, the creation of the United States Space Force – the first new independent military service since 1947 – and the brokering of the Abraham Accords, a series of normalization agreements between Israel and various Arab states.

The Republican Party did not produce an official party platform ahead of the 2020 elections, instead simply endorsing “the President’s America-first agenda,” which prompted comparisons to contemporary leader-focused party platforms in Russia and China. Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives on December 18, 2019, on the charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. He was acquitted by the Senate on February 5, 2020. Trump lost reelection to Joe Biden in 2020 but refused to concede, claiming widespread electoral fraud and attempting to overturn the results, to which many attribute the US Capitol being attacked by his supporters on January 6, 2021.

Following the attack, the House impeached Trump for a second time on the charge of incitement of insurrection, making him the only federal officeholder in the history of the United States to be impeached twice. He left office on January 20, 2021, but the impeachment trial continued into the early weeks of the Biden administration, with Trump ultimately being acquitted a second time by the Senate on February 13, 2021.

In 2022, Supreme Court justices appointed by Trump proved decisive in landmark decisions on gun rights and abortion. Republicans went into that year’s midterm elections confident and with most election analysts predicting a red wave, but the party under-performed heavily, with voters in swing states and competitive districts joining Democrats in rejecting candidates endorsed by Trump or that denied the results of the 2020 election. The party won the House but with a narrow majority when a large one had been expected for most of the cycle, and lost the Senate, leading to many Republicans and conservative thought leaders questioning whether Trump should continue as the party’s main figurehead and leader. Florida governor Ron DeSantis, who won reelection in a historic landslide and was considered by many analysts as the midterms’ biggest winner, was the most frequently discussed name as the future party leader.

The party’s founding members chose the name Republican Party in the mid-1850’s as homage to the values of republicanism promoted by Thomas Jefferson’s Democratic-Republican Party. The idea for the name came from an editorial by the party’s leading publicist, Horace Greeley, who called for “some simple name like ‘Republican’ that would more fitly designate those who had united to restore the Union to its true mission of champion and promulgator of Liberty rather than propagandist of slavery.” The name reflects the 1776 republican values of civic virtue and opposition to aristocracy and corruption. It is important to note that “republican” has a variety of meanings around the world, and the Republican Party has evolved such that the meanings no longer always align.

The term “Grand Old Party” is a traditional nickname for the Republican Party, and the abbreviation “GOP” is a commonly used designation. The term originated in 1875 in the Congressional Record, referring to the party associated with the successful military defense of the Union as “this gallant old party.” The following year in an article in the Cincinnati Commercial, the term was modified to “grand old party.” The first use of the abbreviation is dated 1884.

The traditional mascot of the party is the elephant. A political cartoon by Thomas Nast, published in Harper’s Weekly on November 7, 1874, is considered the first important use of the symbol. An alternate symbol of the Republican Party in states such as Indiana, New York and Ohio is the bald eagle as opposed to the Democratic rooster or the Democratic five-pointed star. In Kentucky, the log cabin is a symbol of the Republican Party.

Traditionally the party had no consistent color identity. After the 2000 election, the color red became associated with Republicans. During and after the election, the major broadcast networks used the same color scheme for the electoral map. States won by Republican nominee George W. Bush were colored red and states won by Democratic nominee Al Gore were colored blue. Due to the weeks-long dispute over the election results, these color associations became firmly ingrained, persisting in subsequent years. Although the assignment of colors to political parties is unofficial and informal, the media has come to represent the respective political parties using these colors. The party and its candidates have also come to embrace the color red.

Republicans believe that free markets and individual achievement are the primary factors behind economic prosperity. Republicans frequently advocate in favor of fiscal conservatism during Democratic administrations; however, they have shown themselves willing to increase federal debt when they are in charge of the government; the implementation of the Bush tax cuts, Medicare Part D and the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 are examples of this willingness. Despite pledges to roll back government spending, Republican administrations have, since the late 1960’s, sustained or increased previous levels of government spending.

The modern Republican Party’s economic policy positions, as measured by votes in Congress, tend to align with business interests and the affluent. Modern Republicans advocate the theory of supply-side economics, which holds that lower tax rates increase economic growth. Many Republicans oppose higher tax rates for higher earners, which they believe are unfairly targeted at those who create jobs and wealth. They believe private spending is more efficient than government spending. Republican lawmakers have also sought to limit funding for tax enforcement and tax collection. At the national level and state level, Republicans tend to pursue policies of tax cuts and deregulation.

Republicans believe individuals should take responsibility for their own circumstances. They also believe the private sector is more effective in helping the poor through charity than the government is through welfare programs and that social assistance programs often cause government dependency.

Republicans believe corporations should be able to establish their own employment practices, including benefits and wages, with the free market deciding the price of work. Since the 1920’s, Republicans have generally been opposed by labor union organizations and members. At the national level, Republicans supported the Taft–Hartley Act of 1947, which gives workers the right not to participate in unions. Modern Republicans at the state level generally support various right-to-work laws, which prohibit union security agreements requiring all workers in a unionized workplace to pay dues or a fair-share fee, regardless of whether they are members of the union or not.

Most Republicans oppose increases in the minimum wage, believing that such increases hurt businesses by forcing them to cut and outsource jobs while passing on costs to consumers.

In the United States, Democrats (blue) and Republicans (red) have long differed in views of the importance of addressing climate change, with the gap widening in the late 2010’s mainly through Democrats’ share increasing by more than 30 points. The sharp divide over the existence of and responsibility for global warming and climate change falls largely along political lines. Overall, 60% of Americans surveyed said oil and gas companies were “completely or mostly responsible” for climate change.

Opinion about human causation of climate change increased substantially with education among Democrats, but not among Republicans. Conversely, opinions favoring becoming carbon neutral declined substantially with age among Republicans, but not among Democrats. A broad range of policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions has been proposed, but Republican support for such policies is consistently lower. Right-wing political views in the U.S. correlate with the highest degree of disbelief among any surveyed nation about the seriousness of climate change, underpinning the single widest degree of division (left % minus right %) among those nations.

Historically, progressive leaders in the Republican Party supported environmental protection. Republican President Theodore Roosevelt was a prominent conservationist whose policies eventually led to the creation of the National Park Service. While Republican President Richard Nixon was not an environmentalist, he signed legislation to create the Environmental Protection Agency in 1970 and had a comprehensive environmental program. However, this position has changed since the 1980’s and the administration of President Ronald Reagan, who labeled environmental regulations a burden on the economy. Since then, Republicans have increasingly taken positions against environmental regulation, with many Republicans rejecting the scientific consensus on climate change.

In 2006, then-California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger broke from Republican orthodoxy to sign several bills imposing caps on carbon emissions in California. Then-President George W. Bush opposed mandatory caps at a national level. Bush’s decision not to regulate carbon dioxide as a pollutant was challenged in the Supreme Court by 12 states, with the court ruling against the Bush administration in 2007. Bush also publicly opposed ratification of the Kyoto Protocols which sought to limit greenhouse gas emissions and thereby combat climate change; his position was heavily criticized by climate scientists.

The Republican Party rejects cap-and-trade policy to limit carbon emissions. In the 2000’s, Senator John McCain proposed bills (such as the McCain-Lieberman Climate Stewardship Act) that would have regulated carbon emissions, but his position on climate change was unusual among high-ranking party members. Some Republican candidates have supported the development of alternative fuels in order to achieve energy independence for the United States. Some Republicans support increased oil drilling in protected areas such as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, a position that has drawn criticism from activists.

Many Republicans during the presidency of Barack Obama opposed his administration’s new environmental regulations, such as those on carbon emissions from coal. In particular, many Republicans supported building the Keystone Pipeline; this position was supported by businesses, but opposed by indigenous peoples’ groups and environmental activists.

According to the Center for American Progress, a non-profit liberal advocacy group, more than 55% of congressional Republicans were climate change deniers in 2014. PolitiFact in May 2014 found “relatively few Republican members of Congress, accept the prevailing scientific conclusion that global warming is both real and man-made.” The group found eight members who acknowledged it, although the group acknowledged there could be more and that not all members of Congress have taken a stance on the issue.

From 2008 to 2017, the Republican Party went from “debating how to combat human-caused climate change to arguing that it does not exist,” according to The New York Times. In January 2015, the Republican-led US Senate voted 98–1 to pass a resolution acknowledging that “climate change is real and is not a hoax;” however, an amendment stating that “human activity significantly contributes to climate change” was supported by only five Republican senators.

The party opposes a single-payer health care system, describing it as socialized medicine. The Republican Party has a mixed record of supporting the historically popular Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid programs, and opposing the Affordable Care Act and expansions of Medicaid.

Historically, there have been diverse and overlapping views within both the Republican Party and the Democratic Party on the role of government in health care, but the two parties became highly polarized on the topic during 2008–2009 and onwards. Both Republicans and Democrats made various proposals to establish federally funded aged health insurance prior to the bipartisan effort to establish Medicare and Medicaid in 1965. The Republican Party opposes the Affordable Care Act, with no Republican member of Congress voting for it in 2009 and frequent subsequent attempts by Republicans to repeal the legislation. At the state level, the party has tended to adopt a position against Medicaid expansion.

The Republican Party has a persistent history of skepticism and opposition to multilateralism in American foreign policy. Neo-conservatism, which supports unilateralism and emphasizes the use of force and hawkishness in American foreign policy, has been a prominent strand of foreign policy thinking in all Republican presidential administration since Ronald Reagan’s presidency. Some, including paleo-conservatives, call for non-interventionism and an America First foreign policy. This faction gained strength starting in 2016 with the rise of Donald Trump.

Since the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, many in the party have supported neo-conservative policies with regard to the War on Terror, including the War in Afghanistan and the Iraq War. The George W. Bush administration took the position that the Geneva Conventions do not apply to unlawful combatants, while other prominent Republicans, such as Ted Cruz, strongly oppose the use of enhanced interrogation techniques, which they view as torture.

Republicans have frequently advocated for restricting foreign aid as a means of asserting the national security and immigration interests of the United States.

The Republican Party generally supports a strong alliance with Israel and efforts to secure peace in the Middle East between Israel and its Arab neighbors. In recent years, Republicans have begun to move away from the two-state solution approach to resolving the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. In a 2014 poll, 59% of Republicans favored doing less abroad and focusing on the country’s own problems instead.

According to the 2016 platform, the party’s stance on the status of Taiwan is “We oppose any unilateral steps by either side to alter the status quo in the Taiwan Straits on the principle that all issues regarding the island’s future must be resolved peacefully, through dialogue, and be agreeable to the people of Taiwan.” In addition, if “China were to violate those principles, the United States, in accord with the Taiwan Relations Act, will help Taiwan defend itself.”

The Republican Party is generally associated with social conservative policies, although it does have dissenting centrist and libertarian factions. The social conservatives support laws that uphold their traditional values, such as opposition to same-sex marriage, abortion, and marijuana. The Republican Party’s positions on social and cultural issues are in part a reflection of the influential role that the Christian right has had in the party since the 1970’s. Most conservative Republicans also oppose gun control, affirmative action, and illegal immigration. Abortion and embryonic stem cell research

The Republican position on abortion has changed significantly over time. During the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, Republicans generally favored legalized abortion more than Democrats, although significant heterogeneity could be found within both parties. Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, George H.W. Bush, and Ronald Reagan took pro-choice positions during their political careers. However, both George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan described themselves as pro-life during their presidencies. In the 21st century, both George W. Bush and Donald Trump described themselves as “pro-life” during their terms; Trump stated that he supported legalized abortion before his candidacy in 2015.

Today, opinion polls show that Republican voters are divided on the issue of abortion. However, the vast majority of the party’s national and state candidates are anti-abortion and oppose elective abortion on religious or moral grounds. While many advocate exceptions in the case of incest, rape or the mother’s life being at risk, in 2012 the party approved a platform advocating banning abortions without exception. There were not highly polarized differences between the Democratic Party and the Republican Party prior to the Roe v. Wade 1973 Supreme Court ruling, but after the Supreme Court ruling, opposition to abortion became an increasingly key national platform for the Republican Party. As a result, Evangelicals gravitated towards the Republican Party.

Most Republicans oppose government funding for abortion providers, notably Planned Parenthood. This includes support for the Hyde Amendment.

Until its dissolution in 2018, Republican Majority for Choice, an abortion rights PAC, advocated for amending the GOP platform to include pro-abortion rights members.

The Republican Party has pursued policies at the national and state-level to restrict embryonic stem cell research beyond the original lines because it involves the destruction of human embryos.

Republicans are generally against affirmative action for women and some minorities, often describing it as a “quota system” and believing that it is not meritocratic and is counter-productive socially by only further promoting discrimination. The GOP’s official stance supports race-neutral admissions policies in universities, but supports taking into account the socioeconomic status of the student. The 2012 Republican National Committee platform stated, “We support efforts to help low-income individuals get a fair chance based on their potential and individual merit; but we reject preferences, quotas, and set-asides, as the best or sole methods through which fairness can be achieved, whether in government, education or corporate boardrooms. Merit, ability, aptitude, and results should be the factors that determine advancement in our society.”

Republicans generally support gun ownership rights and oppose laws regulating guns. Party members and Republican-leaning independents are twice as likely to own a gun as Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents.

The National Rifle Association, a special interest group in support of gun ownership, has consistently aligned itself with the Republican Party. Following gun control measures under the Clinton administration, such as the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, the Republicans allied with the NRA during the Republican Revolution in 1994. Since then, the NRA has consistently backed Republican candidates and contributed financial support, such as in the 2013 Colorado recall election which resulted in the ousting of two pro-gun control Democrats for two anti-gun control Republicans.

In contrast, George H. W. Bush, formerly a lifelong NRA member, was highly critical of the organization following their response to the Oklahoma City bombing authored by CEO Wayne LaPierre, and publicly resigned in protest.

Republican elected officials have historically supported the War on Drugs. They oppose legalization or decriminalization of drugs such as marijuana. Opposition to the legalization of marijuana has softened significantly over time among Republican voters. A 2021 Quinnipiac poll found that 62% of Republicans supported the legalization of recreational marijuana use and that net support for the position was +30 points.

In the period 1850–1870, the Republican Party was more opposed to immigration than Democrats, in part because the Republican Party relied on the support of anti-Catholic and anti-immigrant parties, such as the Know-Nothings, at the time. In the decades following the Civil War, the Republican Party grew more supportive of immigration, as it represented manufacturers in the northeast whereas the Democratic Party came to be seen as the party of labor. Starting in the 1970’s, the parties switched places again, as the Democrats grew more supportive of immigration than Republicans.

Republicans are divided on how to confront illegal immigration between a platform that allows for migrant workers and a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, versus a position focused on securing the border and deporting illegal immigrants. In 2006, the White House supported and Republican-led Senate passed comprehensive immigration reform that would eventually allow millions of illegal immigrants to become citizens, but the House did not advance the bill. After the defeat in the 2012 presidential election, particularly among Latinos, several Republicans advocated a friendlier approach to immigrants. However, in 2016 the field of candidates took a sharp position against illegal immigration, with leading candidate Donald Trump proposing building a wall along the southern border. Proposals calling for immigration reform with a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants have attracted broad Republican support in some polls. In a 2013 poll, 60% of Republicans supported the pathway concept.

Similar to the Democratic Party, the Republican position on LGBT rights has changed significantly over time, and there has been continuously increasing support among both parties on the issue. A strong majority of Republican voters now support same-sex marriage, and public opinion has changed in a significantly favorable direction. However, according to FiveThirtyEight, this growth in support has occurred faster among Republican voters than among party elites and elected politicians.

Both Republican and Democratic politicians predominately took hostile positions on LGBT rights before the 2000’s. From the early-2000’s to the mid-2010’s, Republicans opposed same-sex marriage, while being divided on the issue of civil unions and domestic partnerships for same-sex couples. During the 2004 election, George W. Bush campaigned prominently on a constitutional amendment to prohibit same-sex marriage; many believe it helped Bush win re-election. In both 2004 and 2006, President Bush, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, and House Majority Leader John Boehner promoted the Federal Marriage Amendment, a proposed constitutional amendment which would legally restrict the definition of marriage to heterosexual couples. In both attempts, the amendment failed to secure enough votes to invoke cloture and thus ultimately was never passed.

As more states legalized same-sex marriage in the 2010’s, Republicans increasingly supported allowing each state to decide its own marriage policy. As of 2014, most state GOP platforms expressed opposition to same-sex marriage. The 2016 GOP Platform defined marriage as “natural marriage, the union of one man and one woman,” and condemned the Supreme Court’s ruling legalizing same-sex marriages. The 2020 platform retained the 2016 language against same-sex marriage.

Following his election as president in 2016, Donald Trump stated that he had no objection to same-sex marriage or to the Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, but had previously promised to consider appointing a Supreme Court justice to roll back the constitutional right. In office, Trump was the first sitting Republican president to recognize LGBT Pride Month. Conversely, the Trump administration banned transgender individuals from service in the United States military and rolled back other protections for transgender people which had been enacted during the previous Democratic presidency.

The Republican Party platform previously opposed the inclusion of gay people in the military and opposed adding sexual orientation to the list of protected classes since 1992. The Republican Party opposed the inclusion of sexual preference in anti-discrimination statutes from 1992 to 2004. The 2008 and 2012 Republican Party platform supported anti-discrimination statutes based on sex, race, age, religion, creed, disability, or national origin, but both platforms were silent on sexual orientation and gender identity. The 2016 platform was opposed to sex discrimination statutes that included the phrase “sexual orientation.”

On November 6, 2021, RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel announced the creation of the “RNC Pride Coalition,” in partnership with the Log Cabin Republicans, to promote outreach to LGBTQ voters. However, after the announcement, McDaniel apologized for not having communicated the announcement in advance and emphasized that the new outreach program does not alter the GOP Platform, last adopted in 2016. The Log Cabin Republicans is a group within the Republican Party that represents LGBT conservatives and allies and advocates for LGBT rights and equality.

Virtually all restrictions on voting have in recent years been implemented by Republicans. Republicans, mainly at the state level, argue that the restrictions (such as the purging of voter rolls, limiting voting locations, and limiting early and mail-in voting) are vital to prevent voter fraud, saying that voter fraud is an underestimated issue in elections. Polling has found majority support for early voting, automatic voter registration and voter ID laws among the general population.

In defending their restrictions to voting rights, Republicans have made false and exaggerated claims about the extent of voter fraud in the United States; all existing research indicates that it is extremely rare, and civil and voting rights organizations often accuse Republicans of enacting restrictions to influence elections in the party’s favor. Many laws or regulations restricting voting enacted by Republicans have been successfully challenged in court, with court rulings striking down such regulations and accusing Republicans of establishing them with partisan purpose.

After the Supreme Court decision in Shelby County v. Holder rolled back aspects of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, Republicans introduced cuts to early voting, purges of voter rolls and imposition of strict voter ID laws. The 2016 Republican platform advocated proof of citizenship as a prerequisite for registering to vote and photo ID as a prerequisite when voting.

After Donald Trump and his Republican allies made claims of fraud during the 2020 presidential election, Republicans launched a nationwide effort to impose tighter election laws at the state level. Such bills are centered around limiting mail-in voting, strengthening voter ID laws, shortening early voting, eliminating automatic and same-day voter registration, curbing the use of ballot drop boxes, and allowing for increased purging of voter rolls. Republicans in at least eight states have also introduced bills that would give lawmakers greater power over election administration, after they were unsuccessful in their attempts to overturn election results in swing states won by Biden.

Supporters of the bills argue they would improve election security and reverse temporary changes enacted during the COVID-19 pandemic; they point to claims of significant election fraud, as well as the substantial public distrust of the integrity of the 2020 election those claims have fostered, as justification. Political analysts say that the efforts amount to voter suppression, are intended to advantage Republicans by reducing the number of people who vote, and would disproportionately affect minority voters.

In the Party’s early decades, its base consisted of northern white Protestants and African Americans nationwide. Its first presidential candidate, John C. Frémont, received almost no votes in the South. This trend continued into the 20th century. Following the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965, the southern states became more reliably Republican in presidential politics, while northeastern states became more reliably Democratic. Studies show that southern whites shifted to the Republican Party due to racial conservatism.

While scholars agree that a racial backlash played a central role in the racial realignment of the two parties, certain experts dispute the extent in which the racial realignment was a top-driven elite process or a bottom-up process. The “Southern Strategy” refers primarily to “top-down” narratives of the political realignment of the South which suggest that Republican leaders consciously appealed to many white southerners’ racial grievances in order to gain their support. This top-down narrative of the Southern Strategy is generally believed to be the primary force that transformed Southern politics following the civil rights era. Scholar Matthew Lassiter argues that “demographic change played a more important role than racial demagoguery in the emergence of a two-party system in the American South.” Historians such as Matthew Lassiter, Kevin M. Kruse and Joseph Crespino, have presented an alternative, “bottom-up” narrative, which Lassiter has called the “suburban strategy.” This narrative recognizes the centrality of racial backlash to the political realignment of the South, but suggests that this backlash took the form of a defense of de facto segregation in the suburbs rather than overt resistance to racial integration and that the story of this backlash is a national rather than a strictly southern one.

The Party’s 21st-century base consists of groups such as white voters; particularly male, but a majority of white women as well, heterosexual married couples; rural residents; and non-union workers without college degrees, with urban residents, ethnic minorities, the unmarried and union workers having shifted to the Democratic Party. The suburbs have become a major battleground. According to a 2015 Gallup poll, 25% of Americans identify as Republican and 16% identify as leaning Republican. In comparison, 30% identify as Democratic and 16% identify as leaning Democratic.

The Democratic Party has typically held an overall edge in party identification since Gallup began polling on the issue in 1991. In 2016, The New York Times noted that the Republican Party was strong in the South, the Great Plains, and the Mountain States. The 21st century Republican Party also draws strength from rural areas of the United States. Towards the end of the 1990’s and in the early 21st century, the Republican Party increasingly resorted to “constitutional hardball” practices.

A number of scholars have asserted that the House speakership of Republican Newt Gingrich played a key role in undermining democratic norms in the United States, hastening political polarization, and increasing partisan prejudice. According to Harvard University political scientists Daniel Ziblatt and Steven Levitsky, Gingrich’s speakership had a profound and lasting impact on American politics and the health of American democracy. They argue that Gingrich instilled a “combative” approach in the Republican Party, where hateful language and hyper-partisanship became commonplace, and where democratic norms were abandoned. Gingrich frequently questioned the patriotism of Democrats, called them corrupt, compared them to fascists, and accused them of wanting to destroy the United States. Gingrich was also involved in several major government shutdowns.

Scholars have also characterized Mitch McConnell’s tenure as Senate Minority Leader and Senate Majority Leader during the Obama presidency as one where obstructionism reached all-time highs. Political scientists have referred to McConnell’s use of the filibuster as “constitutional hardball,” referring to the misuse of procedural tools in a way that undermines democracy. McConnell delayed and obstructed health care reform and banking reform, which were two landmark pieces of legislation that Democrats sought to pass, and in fact did pass, early in Obama’s tenure. By delaying Democratic priority legislation, McConnell stymied the output of Congress. Political scientists Eric Schickler and Gregory J. Wawro write, “by slowing action even on measures supported by many Republicans, McConnell capitalized on the scarcity of floor time, forcing Democratic leaders into difficult trade-offs concerning which measures were worth pursuing. That is, given that Democrats had just two years with sizeable majorities to enact as much of their agenda as possible, slowing the Senate’s ability to process even routine measures limited the sheer volume of liberal bills that could be adopted.”

McConnell’s refusal to hold hearings on Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland during the final year of Obama’s presidency was described by political scientists and legal scholars as “unprecedented,” a “culmination of this confrontational style,” a “blatant abuse of constitutional norms,” and a “classic example of constitutional hardball.”

After the 2020 United States presidential election was declared for Biden, President Donald Trump’s refusal to concede and demands of Republican state legislatures and officials to ignore the popular vote of the states was described as “unparalleled” in American history and “profoundly antidemocratic.” Some journalists and foreign officials have also referred to Trump as a fascist in the aftermath of the January 6 United States Capitol attack. Following the attack, a survey conducted by the American Enterprise Institute found that 56% of Republicans agreed with the statement, “The traditional American way of life is disappearing so fast that we may have to use force to save it,” compared to 36% of respondents overall. Sixty percent of white evangelical Republicans agreed with the statement.

In recent years, the party has made significant gains among the white working class, Hispanics, and Orthodox Jews while losing support among most upper-class and college-educated whites. Political scientists characterize the Republican Party as more ideologically cohesive than the Democratic Party, which is composed of a broader diversity of coalitions.

In 2018, Gallup polling found that 69% of Republicans described themselves as “conservative,” while 25% opted for the term “moderate,” and another 5% self-identified as “liberal.” When ideology is separated into social and economic issues, a 2020 Gallup poll found that 61% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents called themselves “socially conservative,” 28% chose the label “socially moderate,” and 10% called themselves “socially liberal.” On economic issues, the same 2020 poll revealed that 65% of Republicans chose the label “economic conservative” to describe their views on fiscal policy, while 26% selected the label “economic moderate,” and 7% opted for the “economic liberal” label.

In addition to splits over ideology, the 21st-century Republican Party can be broadly divided into establishment and anti-establishment wings. Nationwide polls of Republican voters in 2014 by the Pew Center identified a growing split in the Republican coalition, between “business conservatives” or “establishment conservatives” on one side and “steadfast conservatives” or “populist conservatives” on the other.

In the 21st century, conservatives on talk radio and Fox News, as well as online media outlets such as the Daily Caller and Breitbart News, became a powerful influence on shaping the information received and judgments made by rank-and-file Republicans. They include Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Larry Elder, Glenn Beck, Mark Levin, Dana Loesch, Hugh Hewitt, Mike Gallagher, Neal Boortz, Laura Ingraham, Dennis Prager, Michael Reagan, Howie Carr and Michael Savage, as well as many local commentators who support Republican causes while vocally opposing the left. Vice President Mike Pence also had an early career in conservative talk radio, hosting The Mike Pence Show in the late 1990’s before successfully running for Congress in 2000.

In recent years, pundits through podcasting and radio shows like Ben Shapiro and Steven Crowder have also gained fame with a consistently younger audience through outlets such as The Daily Wire and Blaze Media.

The Republican Party has traditionally been a pro-business party. It garners major support from a wide variety of industries from the financial sector to small businesses. Republicans are about 50 percent more likely to be self-employed and are more likely to work in management.

A survey cited by The Washington Post in 2012 stated that 61 percent of small business owners planned to vote for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Small business became a major theme of the 2012 Republican National Convention.

In 2006, Republicans won 38% of the voters aged 18–29. In a 2018 study, members of the Silent and Baby Boomer generations were more likely to express approval of Trump’s presidency than those of Generation X and Millennials.

Low-income voters are more likely to identify as Democrats while high-income voters are more likely to identify as Republicans. In 2012, Obama won 60% of voters with income under $50,000 and 45% of those with incomes higher than that. Bush won 41% of the poorest 20% of voters in 2004, 55% of the richest twenty percent and 53% of those in between. In the 2006 House races, the voters with incomes over $50,000 were 49% Republican while those with incomes under that amount were 38% Republican.

Since 1980, a “gender gap” has seen stronger support for the Republican Party among men than among women. Unmarried and divorced women were far more likely to vote for Democrat John Kerry than for Republican George W. Bush in the 2004 presidential election. In 2006 House races, 43% of women voted Republican while 47% of men did so. In the 2010 midterms, the “gender gap” was reduced, with women supporting Republican and Democratic candidates equally (49%–49%). Exit polls from the 2012 elections revealed a continued weakness among unmarried women for the GOP, a large and growing portion of the electorate. Although women supported Obama over Mitt Romney by a margin of 55–44% in 2012, Romney prevailed amongst married women, 53–46%. Obama won unmarried women 67–31%. According to a December 2019 study, “white women are the only group of female voters who support Republican Party candidates for president. They have done so by a majority in all but two of the last 18 elections.”

In 2012, the Pew Research Center conducted a study of registered voters with a 35–28 Democrat-to-Republican gap. They found that self-described Democrats had an eight-point advantage over Republicans among college graduates and a fourteen-point advantage among all post-graduates polled.

Republicans had an eleven-point advantage among white men with college degrees; Democrats had a ten-point advantage among women with degrees. Democrats accounted for 36% of all respondents with an education of high school or less; Republicans accounted for 28%. When isolating just white registered voters polled, Republicans had a six-point advantage overall and a nine-point advantage among those with a high school education or less.

Following the 2016 presidential election, exit polls indicated that “Donald Trump attracted a large share of the vote from whites without a college degree, receiving 72 percent of the white non-college male vote and 62 percent of the white non-college female vote.” Overall, 52% of voters with college degrees voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016, while 52% of voters without college degrees voted for Trump.

Republicans have been winning under 15% of the black vote in recent national elections (1980 to 2016). The party abolished chattel slavery under Abraham Lincoln, defeated the Slave Power, and gave black people the legal right to vote during Reconstruction in the late 1860’s. Until the New Deal of the 1930’s, black people supported the Republican Party by large margins. Black delegates were a sizable share of southern delegates to the national Republican convention from Reconstruction until the start of the 20th century when their share began to decline.

Black voters began shifting away from the Republican Party after the close of Reconstruction through the early 20th century, with the rise of the southern-Republican lily-white movement. Black people shifted in large margins to the Democratic Party in the 1930’s, when major Democratic figures such as Eleanor Roosevelt began to support civil rights and the New Deal offered them employment opportunities. They became one of the core components of the New Deal coalition. In the South, after the Voting Rights Act to prohibit racial discrimination in elections was passed by a bipartisan coalition in 1965, black people were able to vote again and ever since have formed a significant portion (20–50%) of the Democratic vote in that region.

In recent decades, Republicans have been moderately successful in gaining support from Hispanic and Asian American voters. George W. Bush, who campaigned energetically for Hispanic votes, received 35% of their vote in 2000 and 44% in 2004. The party’s strong anti-communist stance has made it popular among some minority groups from current and former Communist states, in particular Cuban Americans, Korean Americans, Chinese Americans and Vietnamese Americans. The 2007 election of Bobby Jindal as Governor of Louisiana was hailed as path-breaking.

Jindal became the first elected minority governor in Louisiana and the first state governor of Indian descent. According to John Avlon, in 2013, the Republican party was more ethnically diverse at the statewide elected official level than the Democratic Party was; GOP statewide elected officials included Latino Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval and African-American US senator Tim Scott of South Carolina.

In 2012, 88% of Romney voters were white while 56% of Obama voters were white. In the 2008 presidential election, John McCain won 55% of white votes, 35% of Asian votes, 31% of Hispanic votes and 4% of African American votes. In the 2010 House election, Republicans won 60% of the white votes, 38% of Hispanic votes and 9% of the African American vote.

As of 2020, Republican candidates had lost the popular vote in seven out of the last eight presidential elections. Since 1992, the only time they won the popular vote in a presidential election is the 2004 United States presidential election. Demographers have pointed to the steady decline of its core base of older, rural white men. However, Donald Trump managed to increase nonwhite support to 26% of his total votes in the 2020 election. The highest percentage for a GOP presidential candidate since 1960. Republicans have gained support among racial and ethnic minorities, particularly among those who are working class and Hispanic/Latino, since the 2010’s.

Religion has always played a major role for both parties, but in the course of a century, the parties’ religious compositions have changed. Religion was a major dividing line between the parties before 1960, with Catholics, Jews, and southern Protestants heavily Democratic and northeastern Protestants heavily Republican.

Most of the old differences faded away after the realignment of the 1970’s and 1980’s that undercut the New Deal coalition. Voters who attended church weekly gave 61% of their votes to Bush in 2004; those who attended occasionally gave him only 47%; and those who never attended gave him 36%. Fifty-nine percent of Protestants voted for Bush, along with 52% of Catholics. Since 1980, a large majority of evangelicals has voted Republican; 70–80% voted for Bush in 2000 and 2004 and 70% for Republican House candidates in 2006. Jews continue to vote 70–80% Democratic. Democrats have close links with the African American churches, especially the National Baptists, while their historic dominance among Catholic voters has eroded to 54–46 in the 2010 midterms. The mainline traditional Protestants (Methodists, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Episcopalians and Disciples) have dropped to about 55% Republican (in contrast to 75% before 1968).

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Utah and neighboring states voted 75% or more for George W. Bush in 2000. Members of the Mormon faith had a mixed relationship with Donald Trump during his tenure, despite 67% of them voting for him in 2016 and 56% of them supporting his presidency in 2018, disapproving of his personal behavior such as that shown during the Access Hollywood controversy. Their opinion on Trump hadn’t affected their party affiliation, however, as 76% of Mormons in 2018 expressed preference for generic Republican congressional candidates.

While Catholic Republican leaders try to stay in line with the teachings of the Catholic Church on subjects such as abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research and same-sex marriage, they differ on the death penalty and contraception.

Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical Laudato si’ sparked a discussion on the positions of Catholic Republicans in relation to the positions of the Church. The Pope’s encyclical on behalf of the Catholic Church officially acknowledges a man-made climate change caused by burning fossil fuels. The Pope says the warming of the planet is rooted in a throwaway culture and the developed world’s indifference to the destruction of the planet in pursuit of short-term economic gains.

According to The New York Times, Laudato si’ put pressure on the Catholic candidates in the 2016 election: Jeb Bush, Bobby Jindal, Marco Rubio and Rick Santorum. With leading Democrats praising the encyclical, James Bretzke, a professor of moral theology at Boston College, has said that both sides were being disingenuous “I think it shows that both the Republicans and the Democrats like to use religious authority and, in this case, the Pope to support positions they have arrived at independently. There is a certain insincerity, hypocrisy I think, on both sides.” While a Pew Research poll indicates Catholics are more likely to believe the Earth is warming than non-Catholics, 51% of Catholic Republicans believe in global warming and only 24% of Catholic Republicans believe global warming is caused by human activity.

In 2016, a slim majority of Orthodox Jews voted for the Republican Party, following years of growing Orthodox Jewish support for the party due to its social conservatism and increasingly pro-Israel foreign policy stance. Over 70% of Orthodox Jews identify as Republican or Republican leaning as of 2021. An exit poll conducted by the Associated Press for 2020 found 35% of Muslims voted for Donald Trump.

Detailed History Of The Democratic Party

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History Of The Democrat Party

The Democratic Party is one of the two major political parties of the United States political system and the oldest existing political party in that country founded in the 1830’s and 1840’s. It is also the oldest voter-based political party in the world. The party has changed significantly during its nearly two centuries of existence.

Known as the party of the “common man,” the early Democratic Party stood for individual rights and state sovereignty, and opposed banks and high tariffs. In the first decades of its existence, from 1832 to the mid-1850’s (known as the Second Party System), under Presidents Andrew Jackson, Martin Van Buren and James K. Polk, the Democrats usually bested the opposition Whig Party by narrow margins.

Before the American Civil War the party supported or tolerated slavery and after the war until the Great Depression the party opposed civil rights reforms in order to retain the support of Southern voters.

During this second period (1865-1932), the opposing Republican Party, organized in the mid-1850’s from the ruins of the Whig Party and some other smaller splinter groups, was dominant in presidential politics. The Democrats elected only two Presidents during this period: Grover Cleveland (in 1884 and 1892) and Woodrow Wilson (in 1912 and 1916).

Over the same period, the Democrats proved more competitive with the Republicans in Congressional politics, enjoying House of Representatives majorities (in the 65th Congress) in 15 of the 36 Congresses elected, although only in five of these did they form the majority in the Senate.

Furthermore, the Democratic Party was split between the Bourbon Democrats, representing Eastern business interests and the agrarian elements comprising poor farmers in the South and West.

The agrarian element, marching behind the slogan of free silver (in favor of inflation), captured the party in 1896 and nominated William Jennings Bryan in the 1896, 1900 and 1908 presidential elections, although he lost every time. Both Bryan and Wilson were leaders of the progressive movement in the United States (1890’s–1920’s) and opposed imperialistic expansion abroad while sponsoring liberal reforms at home.

Starting with 32nd President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the party dominated during the Fifth Party System, which lasted from 1932 until about the 1970’s.

In response to the Wall Street Crash of 1929 and the ensuing Great Depression, the party employed liberal policies and programs with the “New Deal” coalition to combat financial crises and emergency bank closings, with policies continuing into World War II.

The Party kept the White House after Roosevelt’s death in April 1945, reelecting former Vice President Harry S. Truman in 1948. During this period, the Republican Party only elected one president (Eisenhower in 1952 and 1956) and was the minority in Congress all but twice (the exceptions being 1946 and 1952).

Powerful committee chairmanships were awarded automatically on the basis of seniority, which gave power especially to long-serving Southerners. Important Democratic leaders during this time included Presidents Harry S. Truman (1945–1953), John F. Kennedy (1961–1963) and Lyndon B. Johnson (1963–1969).

Republican Richard Nixon won the White House in 1968 and 1972, leading to the end of the New Deal era.

Democrats have won six out of the last twelve presidential elections, winning in the presidential elections of 1976 (with 39th President Jimmy Carter, 1977–1981), 1992 and 1996 (with 42nd President Bill Clinton, 1993–2001), 2008 and 2012 (with 44th President Barack Obama, 2009–2017), and 2020 (with 46th President Joe Biden, 2021–present).

Democrats have also won the popular vote in 2000 and 2016, but lost the Electoral College in both elections (with candidates Al Gore and Hillary Clinton, respectively). These were two of the four presidential elections in which Democrats won the popular vote but lost the Electoral College, the others being the presidential elections in 1876 and 1888.

The modern Democratic Party emerged in the late 1820’s from former factions of the Democratic-Republican Party, which had largely collapsed by 1824. It was built by Martin Van Buren, who assembled a cadre of politicians in every state behind war hero Andrew Jackson of Tennessee. The pattern and speed of formation differed from state to state. By the mid-1830’s almost all the state Democratic parties were uniform.

The spirit of Jacksonian democracy animated the party from the early 1830’s to the 1850’s, shaping the Second Party System, with the Whig Party as the main opposition.

After the disappearance of the Federalists after 1815 and the Era of Good Feelings (1816–1824), there was a hiatus of weakly organized personal factions until about 1828–1832, when the modern Democratic Party emerged along with its rival, the Whigs.

The new Democratic Party became a coalition of farmers, city-dwelling laborers and Irish Catholics. Both parties worked hard to build grassroots organizations and maximize the turnout of voters, which often reached 80 to 90 percent of eligible voters. Both parties used patronage extensively to finance their operations, which included emerging big city political machines as well as national networks of newspapers.

The Democrats represented a wide range of views but shared a fundamental commitment to the Jeffersonian concept of an agrarian society.

They viewed the central government as the enemy of individual liberty. The 1824 “corrupt bargain” had strengthened their suspicion of Washington politics. Jacksonians feared the concentration of economic and political power.

They believed that government intervention in the economy benefited special-interest groups and created corporate monopolies that favored the rich. They sought to restore the independence of the individual – the artisan and the ordinary farmer – by ending federal support of banks and corporations and restricting the use of paper currency, which they distrusted.

Their definition of the proper role of government tended to be negative, and Jackson’s political power was largely expressed in negative acts. He exercised the veto more than all previous presidents combined.

Jackson and his supporters also opposed reform as a movement. Reformers eager to turn their programs into legislation called for a more active government. But Democrats tended to oppose programs like educational reform and the establishment of a public school system, nor did Jackson share reformers’ humanitarian concerns. He had no sympathy for American Indians, initiating the removal of the Cherokees along the Trail of Tears.

The party was weakest in New England, but strong everywhere else and won most national elections thanks to strength in New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia (by far the most populous states at the time) and the American frontier. Democrats opposed elites and aristocrats, the Bank of the United States and the whiggish modernizing programs that would build up industry at the expense of the yeoman or independent small farmer.

Democrats stood for the sovereignty of the people as expressed in popular demonstrations, constitutional conventions, and majority rule as a general principle of governing, whereas Whigs advocated the rule of law, written and unchanging constitutions, and protections for minority interests against majority tyranny.

At its inception, the Democratic Party was the party of the “common man.” It opposed the abolition of slavery.

From 1828 to 1848, banking and tariffs were the central domestic policy issues. Democrats strongly favored – and Whigs opposed – expansion to new farm lands, as typified by their expulsion of eastern American Indians and acquisition of vast amounts of new land in the West after 1846.

The party favored the war with Mexico and opposed anti-immigrant nativism. In the 1830’s, the Locofocos in New York City were radically democratic, anti-monopoly and were proponents of hard money and free trade. Their chief spokesman was William Leggett. At this time, labor unions were few and some were loosely affiliated with the party.

The Presidency of Martin Van Buren was hobbled by a long economic depression called the Panic of 1837. The presidency promoted hard money based on gold and silver, an independent federal treasury, a reduced role for the government in the economy, and a liberal policy for the sale of public lands to encourage settlement; they opposed high tariffs to encourage industry.

The Jackson policies were kept, such as Indian removal and the Trail of Tears. Van Buren personally disliked slavery but he kept the slaveholder’s rights intact. Nevertheless, he was distrusted across the South.

The 1840 Democratic convention was the first at which the party adopted a platform. Delegates reaffirmed their belief that the Constitution was the primary guide for each state’s political affairs.

To them, this meant that all roles of the federal government not specifically defined fell to each respective state government, including such responsibilities as debt created by local projects. Decentralized power and states’ rights pervaded each and every resolution adopted at the convention, including those on slavery, taxes, and the possibility of a central bank.

Regarding slavery, the Convention adopted the following resolution: “Resolved, That congress has no power under the Constitution, to interfere with or control the domestic institutions of the several states, and that such states are the sole and proper judges of everything appertaining to their own affairs, not prohibited by the Constitution: that all efforts of the abolitionists or others, made to induce congress to interfere with questions of slavery, or to take incipient steps in relation thereto, are calculated to lead to the most alarming and dangerous consequences, and that all such efforts have an inevitable tendency to diminish the happiness of the people, and endanger the stability and permanency of the Union, and ought not to be countenanced by any friend to our political institutions.”

The Panic of 1837 led to Van Buren and the Democrats’ drop in popularity. The Whigs nominated William Henry Harrison as their candidate for the 1840 presidential race.

Harrison won as the first president of the Whigs. However, he died in office a month later and was succeeded by his Vice President John Tyler.

Tyler had recently left the Democrats for the Whigs and thus his beliefs did not align much with the Whig Party. During his presidency, he vetoed most of the key Whig bills. The Whigs disowned him. This allowed for the Democrats to retake power in 1845.

Foreign policy was a major issue in the 1840’s as war threatened with Mexico over Texas and with Britain over Oregon. Democrats strongly supported Manifest Destiny and most Whigs strongly opposed it. The 1844 election was a showdown, with the Democrat James K. Polk narrowly defeating Whig Henry Clay on the Texas issue.

Most Democrats were wholehearted supporters of expansion, whereas many Whigs – especially in the North – were opposed. Whigs welcomed most of the changes wrought by industrialization but advocated strong government policies that would guide growth and development within the country’s existing boundaries; they feared (and rightfully so) that expansion raised a contentious issue of the extension of slavery to the territories.

On the other hand, many Democrats feared industrialization the Whigs welcomed. For many Democrats, the answer to the nation’s social ills was to continue to follow Thomas Jefferson’s vision of establishing agriculture in the new territories in order to counterbalance industrialization.

In 1848 a major innovation was the creation of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to coordinate state activities in the presidential contest.

Senator Lewis Cass, who held many offices over the years, lost to General Zachary Taylor of the Whigs. A major cause of the defeat was that the new “Free Soil Party,” which opposed slavery expansion, split the Democratic vote, particularly in New York, where the electoral votes went to Taylor.

The Free Soil Party attracted Democrats and some Whigs which had considerable support in the Northeast. The primary doctrine was a warning that rich slave owners would move into new territories such as Nebraska and buy up the best lands and work them with slaves.

To protect the white farmer it was essential therefore to keep the soil “free” – that is without slavery. In 1852, the free soil movement was much smaller, and consisted primarily of former members of the Liberty Party and some abolitionists, it hedged on the question of full equality. The majority wanted some form of racial separation to allow space for black activism, without alienating the overwhelming northern opposition to equal rights for black men.

Following the death of President Taylor, Democrats in Congress led by Stephen Douglas passed the Compromise of 1850 designed to avoid civil war by putting the slavery issue to rest while resolving issues involving territories gained following the War with Mexico.

However, in state after state the Democrats gained small but permanent advantages over the Whig Party, which finally collapsed in 1852, fatally weakened by division on slavery and nativism. The fragmented opposition could not stop the election of Democrats Franklin Pierce in 1852 and James Buchanan in 1856.

The eight years during which Franklin Pierce and James Buchanan held the presidency were disasters; historians agree that they rank as among the worst presidents.

The Party increasingly split along regional lines on the issue of slavery in the territories. When the new Republican Party formed in 1854, many anti-slavery “Free Soil” Democrats in the North switched over and joined it.

In 1860 two Democrats ran for president and the United States was moving rapidly toward civil war.

The 1840s and 1850s were the heyday of a new faction of young Democrats called “Young America.” Led by Stephen A. Douglas, James K. Polk, Franklin Pierce and New York financier August Belmont, this faction explains, broke with the agrarian and strict constructionist orthodoxies of the past and embraced commerce, technology, regulation, reform and internationalism.

The movement attracted a circle of outstanding writers, including William Cullen Bryant, George Bancroft, Herman Melville and Nathaniel Hawthorne. They sought independence from European standards of high culture and wanted to demonstrate the excellence and exceptionalism of America’s own literary tradition.

In economic policy, Young America saw the necessity of a modern infrastructure with railroads, canals, telegraphs, turnpikes and harbors.

They endorsed the “market revolution” and promoted capitalism. They called for Congressional land grants to the states, which allowed Democrats to claim that internal improvements were locally rather than federally sponsored.

Young America claimed that modernization would perpetuate the agrarian vision of Jeffersonian democracy by allowing yeomen farmers to sell their products and therefore to prosper. They tied internal improvements to free trade, while accepted moderate tariffs as a necessary source of government revenue.

They supported the Independent Treasury – the Jacksonian alternative to the Second Bank of the United States – not as a scheme to quash the special privilege of the Whiggish monied elite, but as a device to spread prosperity to all Americans.

Sectional confrontations escalated during the 1850’s, the Democratic Party split between North and South grew deeper. The conflict was papered over at the 1852 and 1856 conventions by selecting men who had little involvement in sectionalism, but they made matters worse.

As a national political leader Pierce was an accident. He was honest and tenacious of his views but, as he made up his mind with difficulty and often reversed himself before making a final decision, he gave a general impression of instability.

Kind, courteous, generous, he attracted many individuals, but his attempts to satisfy all factions failed and made him many enemies. In carrying out his principles of strict construction he was most in accord with Southerners, who generally had the letter of the law on their side.

He failed utterly to realize the depth and the sincerity of Northern feeling against the South and was bewildered at the general flouting of the law and the Constitution, as he described it, by the people of his own New England.

At no time did he catch the popular imagination. His inability to cope with the difficult problems that arose early in his administration caused him to lose the respect in great numbers, especially in the North, and his few successes failed to restore public confidence. He was an inexperienced man, suddenly called to assume a tremendous responsibility, who honestly tried to do his best without adequate training or temperamental fitness.

In 1854, Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois, a key Democratic leader in the Senate pushed the Kansas–Nebraska Act through Congress. President Franklin Pierce signed the bill into law in 1854.

The Act opened Kansas Territory and Nebraska Territory to a decision by the residents on whether slavery would be legal or not. Previously it had been illegal there. Thus the new law implicitly repealed the prohibition on slavery in territory north of 36° 30′ latitude that had been part of the Missouri Compromise of 1820. Supporters and enemies of slavery poured into Kansas to vote slavery up or down.

The armed conflict was Bleeding Kansas and it shook the nation. A major re-alignment took place among voters and politicians. The Whig Party fell apart and the new Republican Party was founded in opposition to the expansion of slavery and to the Kansas–Nebraska Act. The new party had little support in the South, but it soon became a majority in the North by pulling together former Whigs and former Free Soil Democrats.

The crisis for the Democratic Party came in the late 1850’s as Democrats increasingly rejected national policies demanded by the Southern Democrats.

The demands were to support slavery outside the South. Southerners insisted that full equality for their region required the government to acknowledge the legitimacy of slavery outside the South. The Southern demands included a fugitive slave law to recapture runaway slaves; opening Kansas to slavery; forcing a pro-slavery constitution on Kansas; acquire Cuba – where slavery already existed; accepting the Dred Scott decision of the Supreme Court, and adopting a federal slave code to protect slavery in the territories.

President Buchanan went along with these demands, but Douglas refused and proved a much better politician than Buchanan, though the bitter battle lasted for years and permanently alienated the Northern and Southern wings.

When the new Republican Party formed in 1854 on the basis of refusing to tolerate the expansion of slavery into the territories, many northern Democrats – especially Free Soilers from 1848 – joined it. The formation of the new short-lived Know-Nothing Party allowed the Democrats to win the presidential election of 1856.

Buchanan, a Northern “Doughface” (his base of support was in the pro-slavery South), split the party on the issue of slavery in Kansas when he attempted to pass a federal slave code as demanded by the South. Most Democrats in the North rallied to Senator Douglas, who preached “Popular Sovereignty” and believed that a Federal slave code would be undemocratic.

In 1860, the Democrats split over the choice of a successor to President Buchanan along Northern and Southern lines. Some Southern Democratic delegates followed the lead of the Fire-Eaters by walking out of the Democratic National Convention at Charleston’s Institute Hall in April 1860.

They were later joined by those who, once again led by the Fire-Eaters, left the Baltimore Convention the following June when the convention rejected a resolution supporting extending slavery into territories whose voters did not want it.

The Southern Democrats, also referred to as Seceders, nominated John C. Breckinridge of Kentucky, the pro-slavery incumbent vice president, for president and General Joseph Lane, former governor of Oregon, for vice president.

The Northern Democrats proceeded to nominate Douglas of Illinois for president and former governor of Georgia Herschel Vespasian Johnson for vice president, while some southern Democrats joined the Constitutional Union Party, backing former Senator John Bell of Tennessee for president and politician Edward Everett of Massachusetts for vice president. This fracturing of the Democratic Party left it powerless.

Republican Abraham Lincoln was elected the 16th president of the United States. Douglas campaigned across the country calling for unity and came in second in the popular vote, but carried only Missouri and New Jersey. Breckinridge carried 11 slave states, coming in second in the Electoral vote, but third in the popular vote.

During the Civil War, Northern Democrats divided into two factions: the War Democrats, who supported the military policies of President Lincoln; and the Copperheads, who strongly opposed them in the South party politics ended in the Confederacy. The political leadership, mindful of the fierce divisions in antebellum American politics and with a pressing need for unity, rejected organized political parties as inimical to good governance and as being especially unwise in wartime. Consequently, the Democratic Party halted all operations during the life of the Confederacy (1861–1865).

Partisanship flourished in the North and strengthened the Lincoln Administration as Republicans automatically rallied behind it.

After the attack on Fort Sumter, Douglas rallied Northern Democrats behind the Union, but when Douglas died the party lacked an outstanding figure in the North and by 1862 an anti-war peace element was gaining strength. The most intense anti-war elements were the Copperheads. The Democratic Party did well in the 1862 congressional elections, but in 1864 it nominated General George McClellan – a War Democrat – on a peace platform and lost badly because many War Democrats bolted to National Union candidate Abraham Lincoln. Many former Douglas Democrats became Republicans, especially soldiers such as generals Ulysses S. Grant and John A. Logan.

In the 1866 elections, the Radical Republicans won two-thirds majorities in Congress and took control of national affairs. The large Republican majorities made Congressional Democrats helpless, though they unanimously opposed the Radicals’ Reconstruction policies.

The Senate passed the 14th Amendment  (The 14th Amendment: No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.)  by a vote of 33 to 11 with every Democratic senator opposed. Realizing that the old issues were holding it back, the Democrats tried a “New Departure” that downplayed the War and stressed such issues as stopping corruption and white supremacy, which it wholeheartedly supported.

President Johnson, elected on the fusion Union Party ticket, did not rejoin the Democratic party, but Democrats in Congress supported him and voted against his impeachment in 1868. After his term ended in 1869 he rejoined the Democrats.

When a major economic depression hit the United States with the Panic of 1873, the Democratic party made major gains across the country, took full control of the South, and took control of Congress.

The Democrats lost consecutive presidential elections from 1860 through 1880, nevertheless, Democrats have won the popular vote in 1876. Although the races after 1872 were very close they did not win the presidency until 1884. The party was weakened by its record of opposition to the war, but nevertheless benefited from White Southerners’ resentment of reconstruction and consequent hostility to the Republican Party.

The nationwide depression of 1873 allowed the Democrats to retake control of the House in the 1874 Democratic landslide.

The Redeemers gave the Democrats control of every Southern state – by the Compromise of 1877 – but the disenfranchisement of blacks took place (1880–1900). From 1880 to 1960, the “Solid South” voted Democratic in presidential elections (except 1928). After 1900, a victory in a Democratic primary was “tantamount to election” because the Republican Party was so weak in the South.

The timing of the cattle industry’s growth meant that cowboy imagery grew to have extraordinary power. Entangled in the vicious politics of the postwar years, Democrats, especially those in the old Confederacy, imagined the West as a land untouched by Republican politicians they hated.

They developed an image of the cowboys as men who worked hard, played hard, lived by a code of honor, protected themselves, and asked nothing of the government. In the hands of Democratic newspaper editors, the realities of cowboy life – the poverty, the danger, the debilitating hours – became romantic. Cowboys embodied virtues Democrats believed Republicans were destroying by creating a behemoth government catering to lazy ex-slaves.

By the 1860’s, cattle drives were a feature of the plains landscape, and Democrats had made cowboys a symbol of rugged individual independence, something they insisted Republicans were destroying.

After being out of office since 1861, the Democrats won the popular vote in three consecutive elections, and the electoral vote – and thus the White House – in 1884 and 1892.

Although Republicans continued to control the White House until 1884, the Democrats remained competitive (especially in the mid-Atlantic and lower Midwest) and controlled the House of Representatives for most of that period.

In the election of 1884, Grover Cleveland, the reforming Democratic Governor of New York, won the Presidency, a feat he repeated in 1892, having lost in the election of 1888.

Cleveland was the leader of the Bourbon Democrats. They represented business interests, supported banking and railroad goals, promoted laissez-faire capitalism, opposed imperialism and US overseas expansion, opposed the annexation of Hawaii, fought for the gold standard and opposed Bimetallism. They strongly supported reform movements such as Civil Service Reform and opposed corruption of city bosses, leading the fight against the Tweed Ring.

Republican Benjamin Harrison won a narrow victory in 1888. The party pushed through a large agenda, and raised the McKinley Tariff and federal spending so high it was used against them as Democrats scored a landslide in the 1890 elections. Harrison was easily defeated for reelection in 1892 by Cleveland. The second presidency of Grover Cleveland (1893–1897).

The Bourbons were in power when the Panic of 1893 hit and they took the blame. The party polarized between the pro-gold pro-business Cleveland faction and the anti-business silverites in the West and South. A fierce struggle inside the party ensued, with catastrophic losses for both the Bourbon and agrarian factions in 1894, leading to the showdown in 1896.

Just before the 1894 election, President Cleveland was warned by an advisor: “We are on the eve of very dark night, unless a return of commercial prosperity relieves popular discontent with what they believe Democratic incompetence to make laws, and consequently with Democratic Administrations anywhere and everywhere.”

Aided by the deep nationwide economic depression that lasted from 1893 to 1897, the Republicans won their biggest landslide ever, taking full control of the House.

The Democrats lost nearly all their seats in the Northeast. The third party Populists also were ruined. However, Cleveland’s silverite enemies gained control of the Democratic Party in state after state, including full control in Illinois and Michigan and made major gains in Ohio, Indiana, Iowa and other states. Wisconsin and Massachusetts were two of the few states that remained under the control of Cleveland’s allies.

The opposition Democrats were close to controlling two-thirds of the vote at the 1896 national convention, which they needed to nominate their own candidate. However, they were not united and had no national leader, as Illinois governor John Peter Altgeld had been born in Germany and was ineligible to be nominated for president.

However, a young (35 years old) upstart, Congressman William Jennings Bryan made the magnificent “cross of gold” speech, which brought the crowd at the convention to its feet and got him the nomination. He would lose the election, but remained the Democratic hero and was renominated and lost again in 1900 and a third time in 1908.

Grover Cleveland led the party faction of conservative, pro-business Bourbon Democrats, but as the depression of 1893 deepened his enemies multiplied. At the 1896 convention, the silverite-agrarian faction repudiated the President and nominated the crusading orator William Jennings Bryan on a platform of free coinage of silver.

The idea was that minting silver coins would flood the economy with cash and end the depression. Cleveland supporters formed the National Democratic Party (Gold Democrats), which attracted politicians and intellectuals – including Woodrow Wilson and Frederick Jackson Turner – who refused to vote Republican.

Bryan, an overnight sensation because of his “Cross of Gold” speech, waged a new-style crusade against the supporters of the gold standard. Cris-crossing the Midwest and East by special train – he was the first candidate since 1860 to go on the road – he gave over 500 speeches to audiences in the millions. In St. Louis he gave 36 speeches to working men’s audiences across the city, all in one day. Most Democratic newspapers were hostile toward Bryan, but he seized control of the media by making the news every day as he hurled thunderbolts against Eastern monied interests.

The rural folk in the South and Midwest were ecstatic, showing an enthusiasm never before seen, but ethnic Democrats – especially Germans and Irish – were alarmed and frightened by Bryan. The middle classes, businessmen, newspaper editors, factory workers, railroad workers and prosperous farmers generally rejected Bryan’s crusade. Republican William McKinley promised a return to prosperity based on the gold standard, support for industry, railroads and banks and pluralism that would enable every group to move ahead.

Although Bryan lost the election in a landslide, he did win the hearts and minds of a majority of Democrats, as shown by his renomination in 1900 and 1908. As late as 1924, the Democrats put his brother Charles W. Bryan on their national ticket. The victory of the Republican Party in the election of 1896 marked the start of the “Progressive Era,” which lasted from 1896 to 1932, in which the Republican Party usually was dominant.

The 1896 election marked a political realignment in which the Republican Party controlled the presidency for 28 of 36 years. The Republicans dominated most of the Northeast and Midwest and half the West. Bryan, with a base in the South and Plains states, was strong enough to get the nomination in 1900 – losing to William McKinley – and 1908 – losing to William Howard Taft. Theodore Roosevelt dominated the first decade of the century and to the annoyance of Democrats “stole” the trust issue by crusading against trusts.

With Bryan taking a hiatus and Teddy Roosevelt the most popular president since Lincoln, the conservatives who controlled the convention in 1904, nominated the little-known Alton B. Parker before succumbing to Roosevelt’s landslide.

Religious divisions were sharply drawn. Methodists, Congregationalists, Presbyterians, Scandinavian Lutherans and other pietists in the North were closely linked to the Republican Party. In sharp contrast, liturgical groups, especially the Catholics, Episcopalians and German Lutherans, looked to the Democratic Party for protection from pietistic moralism, especially prohibition. Both parties cut across the class structure, with the Democrats gaining more support from the lower classes and Republicans more support from the upper classes.

Cultural issues, especially prohibition and foreign language schools, became matters of contention because of the sharp religious divisions in the electorate. In the North, about 50 percent of voters were pietistic Protestants (Methodists, Scandinavian Lutherans, Presbyterians, Congregationalists and Disciples of Christ) who believed the government should be used to reduce social sins, such as drinking.

Liturgical churches (Roman Catholics, Episcopalians and German Lutherans) comprised over a quarter of the vote and wanted the government to stay out of the morality business. Prohibition debates and referendums heated up politics in most states over a period of a decade, as national prohibition was finally passed in 1918 (repealed in 1932), serving as a major issue between the wet Democrats and the dry Republicans.

With the wildly popular President Roosevelt sticking to his promise to step down after seven and a half years, and his chosen successor, War Secretary William Howard Taft somewhat popular as well, the Democratic Party gave Bryan the nomination for a third time.

He was again defeated. The Democrats held together while the Republican Party bitterly split between the Roosevelt-oriented progressives and the Taft-oriented conservatives. Taft defeated Roosevelt for the 1912 nomination, but Roosevelt ran as a third-party candidate. That split the GOP vote so that the Democrats were inevitably the winners, electing their first Democratic president and fully Democratic Congress in 20 years.

Meanwhile, Democrats in Congress, with their base among poor farmers and the working class, generally supported Progressive Era reforms, such as antitrust, regulation of railroads, direct election of Senators, the income tax, the restriction of child labor, and the Federal Reserve system.

Taking advantage of a deep split in the Republican Party, the Democrats took control of the House in 1910 and elected the intellectual reformer Woodrow Wilson in 1912 and 1916. Wilson successfully led Congress to a series of progressive laws, including a reduced tariff, stronger antitrust laws, new programs for farmers, hours-and-pay benefits for railroad workers and the outlawing of child labor (which was reversed by the Supreme Court).

Wilson tolerated the segregation of the federal Civil Service by Southern cabinet members. Furthermore, bipartisan constitutional amendments for prohibition and women’s suffrage were passed in his second term. In effect, Wilson laid to rest the issues of tariffs, money and antitrust that had dominated politics for 40 years.

Wilson oversaw the US role in World War I and helped write the Versailles Treaty, which included the League of Nations. However, in 1919 Wilson’s political skills faltered and suddenly everything turned sour. The Senate rejected Versailles and the League, a nationwide wave of violent, unsuccessful strikes and race riots caused unrest and Wilson’s health collapsed.

The Democrats lost by a landslide in 1920, doing especially poorly in the cities, where the German-Americans deserted the ticket and the Irish Catholics, who dominated the party apparatus, were unable to garner traction for the party in this election cycle.

The entire decade saw the Democrats as an ineffective minority in Congress and as a weak force in most Northern states.

After the massive defeat in 1920, the Democrats recovered most of their lost territory in the Congressional elections of 1922. They especially recovered in the border states, as well as the industrial cities, where the Irish and German element returned to that party. In addition, there was growing support among the more recent immigrants, who had become more Americanized.

Many ethnic families now had a veteran in their midst, and paid closer attention to national issues, such as the question of a bonus for veterans. There was also an expression of annoyance with the federal prohibition of beer and wine, and the closing of most saloons.

At the 1924 Democratic National Convention, a resolution denouncing the Ku Klux Klan was introduced by Catholic and liberal forces allied with Al Smith and Oscar W. Underwood in order to embarrass the front-runner, William Gibbs McAdoo. After much debate, the resolution failed by a single vote.

The KKK faded away soon after, but the deep split in the party over cultural issues, especially prohibition, facilitated Republican landslides in 1924 and 1928. However, Al Smith did build a strong Catholic base in the big cities in 1928 and Franklin D. Roosevelt’s election as Governor of New York that year brought a new leader to center stage.

The internal battles and repeated defeats left the party discouraged and demoralized. To a considerable extent, the challenge of restoring morale was the province of historian Claude Bowers. His histories of the Democratic Party in its formative years from the 1790’s to the 1830’s helped shape the party’s self-image as a powerful force against monopoly and privilege.

In his enormously popular books Party Battles of the Jackson Period (1922) and Jefferson and Hamilton: “The Struggle for Democracy in America (1925) he argued for the political and moral superiority of the Democratic Party since the days of Jefferson versus the almost un-American faults of the Federalist Party, the Whig Party, and the Republican Party, as bastions of aristocracy.”

Jefferson and Hamilton especially impressed his friend Franklin D Roosevelt. It inspired Roosevelt when he became president to build a great monument to the party’s founder in the national capital, the Jefferson Memorial. According to Historian Merrill D. Peterson, the book conveyed: “the myth of the Democratic Party masterfully re-created, a fresh awareness of the elemental differences between the parties, and ideology with which they might make sense of the two often senseless conflicts of the present, and a feeling for the importance of dynamic leadership.”

The stock market crash of 1929 and the ensuing Great Depression set the stage for a more progressive government and Franklin D. Roosevelt won a landslide victory in the election of 1932, campaigning on a platform of “Relief, Recovery, and Reform,” that is relief of unemployment and rural distress, recovery of the economy back to normal and long-term structural reforms to prevent a repetition of the Depression. This came to be termed “The New Deal” after a phrase in Roosevelt’s acceptance speech.

The Democrats also swept to large majorities in both houses of Congress and among state governors. Roosevelt altered the nature of the party, away from laissez-faire capitalism and towards an ideology of economic regulation and insurance against hardship. Two old words took on new meanings: “liberal” now meant a supporter of the New Deal while “conservative” meant an opponent.

Conservative Democrats were outraged and led by Al Smith they formed the American Liberty League in 1934 and counterattacked. They failed and either retired from politics or joined the Republican Party. A few of them, such as Dean Acheson, found their way back to the Democratic Party.

The 1933 programs, called “the First New Deal” by historians, represented a broad consensus. Roosevelt tried to reach out to business and labor, farmers and consumers, cities and countryside. However, by 1934 he was moving toward a more confrontational policy.

After making gains in state governorship’s and in Congress, in 1934 Roosevelt embarked on an ambitious legislative program that came to be called “The Second New Deal.” It was characterized by building up labor unions, nationalizing welfare by the WPA, setting up Social Security, imposing more regulations on business – especially transportation and communications – and raising taxes on business profits.

Roosevelt’s New Deal programs focused on job creation through public works projects as well as on social welfare programs such as Social Security. It also included sweeping reforms to the banking system, work regulation, transportation, communications and stock markets, as well as attempts to regulate prices.

His policies soon paid off by uniting a diverse coalition of Democratic voters called the New Deal coalition, which included labor unions, liberals, minorities – most significantly, Catholics and Jews – and liberal white Southerners. This united voter base allowed Democrats to be elected to Congress and the presidency for much of the next 30 years.

After a triumphant re-election in 1936, he announced plans to enlarge the Supreme Court, which tended to oppose his New Deal, by five new members.

A firestorm of opposition erupted, led by his own Vice President John Nance Garner. Roosevelt was defeated by an alliance of Republicans and conservative Democrats, who formed a conservative coalition that managed to block nearly all liberal legislation (only a minimum wage law got through). Annoyed by the conservative wing of his own party, Roosevelt made an attempt to rid himself of it and in 1938 he actively campaigned against five incumbent conservative Democratic senators, though all five senators won re-election.

Under Roosevelt, the Democratic Party became identified more closely with modern liberalism, which included the promotion of social welfare, labor unions, civil rights and the regulation of business, as well as support for farmers and promotion of ethnic leaders. The opponents, who stressed long-term growth and support for entrepreneurship and low taxes, now started calling themselves “conservatives.”

With a near disaster in 1937 with the so-called “recession” and the near defeat in Congress in 1938, things looked bleak for the Democrats, but FDR decided that with the upcoming crisis that would become World War II, he was irreplaceable, and he broke tradition and ran for a third, and later 4th term, taking a Democratic congress with him.

Harry S. Truman took over after Roosevelt’s death in 1945 and the rifts inside the party that Roosevelt had papered over began to emerge. Major components included the big city machines, the Southern state and local parties, the far-left and the “Liberal coalition” or “Liberal-Labor coalition” comprising the AFL, CIO and ideological groups such as the NAACP (representing Blacks), the American Jewish Congress (AJC) and the Americans for Democratic Action (ADA) (representing liberal intellectuals). By 1948, the unions had expelled nearly all the far-left and communist elements.

On the right, the Republicans blasted Truman’s domestic policies. “Had Enough?” was the winning slogan as Republicans recaptured Congress in 1946 for the first time since 1928.

Many party leaders were ready to dump Truman in 1948, but after General Dwight D. Eisenhower rejected their invitation they lacked an alternative. Truman counterattacked, pushing J. Strom Thurmond and his Dixiecrats out, as well as taking advantage of the splits inside the Republican Party and was thus reelected in a stunning surprise. However, all of Truman’s Fair Deal proposals, such as universal health care, were defeated by the Southern Democrats in Congress. His seizure of the steel industry was reversed by the Supreme Court.

On the far-left, former Vice President Henry A. Wallace denounced Truman as a war-monger for his anti-Soviet programs, the Truman Doctrine, Marshall Plan and NATO. Wallace quit the party and ran for president as an independent in 1948. He called for détente with the Soviet Union, but much of his campaign was controlled by communists who had been expelled from the main unions. Wallace fared poorly and helped turn the anti-communist vote toward Truman.

By cooperating with internationalist Republicans, Truman succeeded in defeating isolationists on the right and supporters of softer lines on the Soviet Union on the left to establish a Cold War program that lasted until the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Wallace supporters and other Democrats who were farther left were pushed out of the party and the CIO in 1946–1948 by young anti-communists like Hubert Humphrey, Walter Reuther and Arthur Schlesinger Jr. Hollywood emerged in the 1940’s as an important new base in the party and was led by movie-star politicians such as Ronald Reagan, who strongly supported Roosevelt and Truman at this time.

In foreign policy, Europe was safe, but troubles mounted in Asia as China fell to the communists in 1949. Truman entered the Korean War without formal Congressional approval. When the war turned to a stalemate and he fired General Douglas MacArthur in 1951, Republicans blasted his policies in Asia.

A series of petty scandals among friends and buddies of Truman further tarnished his image, allowing the Republicans in 1952 to crusade against “Korea, Communism and Corruption.” Truman dropped out of the Presidential race early in 1952, leaving no obvious successor. The convention nominated Adlai Stevenson in 1952 and 1956, only to see him overwhelmed by two Eisenhower landslides.

The landslide of General Dwight D. Eisenhower over Adlai Stevenson brought to the White House one of the most liked and most experienced leaders of the era. It also brought brief Republican control to both houses of Congress for one term.

In Congress, the powerful team of Texans House Speaker Sam Rayburn and Senate Majority leader Lyndon B. Johnson held the party together, often by compromising with Eisenhower. In 1958, the party made dramatic gains in the midterms and seemed to have a permanent lock on Congress, thanks largely to organized labor. Indeed, Democrats had majorities in the House every election from 1930 to 1992 (except 1946 and 1952).

Most Southern Congressmen were conservative Democrats and they usually worked with conservative Republicans. The result was a conservative coalition that blocked practically all liberal domestic legislation from 1937 to the 1970’s, except for a brief spell in 1964–1965, when Johnson neutralized its power.

The counterbalance to the conservative coalition was the Democratic Study Group, which led the charge to liberalize the institutions of Congress and eventually pass a great deal of the Kennedy–Johnson program.

Although the Republicans gained brief control of Congress in 1952, the Democrats were back in control in 1954. House Speaker Sam Rayburn and Senate Majority Leader Lyndon B. Johnson worked closely with President Eisenhower, so the partisanship was at the lowest intensity in the 20th century.

The election of John F. Kennedy in 1960 over then-Vice President Richard Nixon re-energized the party. His youth, vigor and intelligence caught the popular imagination. New programs like the Peace Corps harnessed idealism. In terms of legislation, Kennedy was stalemated by the conservative coalition.

Though Kennedy’s term in office lasted only about a thousand days, he tried to hold back communist gains after the failed Bay of Pigs invasion in Cuba and the construction of the Berlin Wall and sent 16,000 soldiers to Vietnam to advise the hard-pressed South Vietnamese army. He challenged America in the Space Race to land an American man on the Moon by 1969. After the Cuban Missile Crisis he moved to de-escalate tensions with the Soviet Union.

Kennedy also pushed for civil rights and racial integration, one example being Kennedy assigning federal marshals to protect the Freedom Riders in the South. His election did mark the coming of age of the Catholic component of the New Deal Coalition.

After 1964, middle class Catholics started voting Republican in the same proportion as their Protestant neighbors. Except for the Chicago of Richard J. Daley, the last of the Democratic machines faded away. President Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas.

Then-vice president Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn in as the new president. Johnson, heir to the New Deal ideals, broke the conservative coalition in Congress and passed a remarkable number of laws, known as the Great Society. Johnson succeeded in passing major civil rights laws that restarted racial integration in the South. At the same time, Johnson escalated the Vietnam War, leading to an inner conflict inside the Democratic Party that shattered the party in the elections of 1968.

The Democratic Party platform of the 1960’s was largely formed by the ideals of President Johnson’s “Great Society” The New Deal coalition began to fracture as more Democratic leaders voiced support for civil rights, upsetting the party’s traditional base of Southern Democrats and Catholics in Northern cities. Segregationist George Wallace capitalized on Catholic unrest in Democratic primaries in 1964 and 1972.

After Harry Truman’s platform gave strong support to civil rights and anti-segregation laws during the 1948 Democratic National Convention, many Southern Democratic delegates decided to split from the party and formed the “Dixiecrats,” led by South Carolina governor Strom Thurmond (who as Senator would later join the Republican Party). Thurmond carried the Deep South in the election, but Truman carried the rest of the South. Meanwhile, in the North far left elements were leaving the Democrats to join Henry A. Wallace in his new Progressive Party. They possibly cost Truman New York, but he won reelection anyway.

On the other hand, African Americans, who had traditionally given strong support to the Republican Party since its inception as the “anti-slavery party,” after switching the vast majority of their votes in the thirties due to the New Deal benefits, continued to shift to the Democratic Party, largely due to the advocacy of and support for civil rights by such prominent Democrats as Hubert Humphrey and Eleanor Roosevelt, and the switch of local machines to the Democrats as in Chicago.

Although Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower carried half the South in 1952 and 1956 and Senator Barry Goldwater also carried five Southern states in 1964, Democrat Jimmy Carter carried all of the South except Virginia and there was no long-term realignment until Ronald Reagan’s sweeping victories in the South in 1980 and 1984.

The party’s dramatic reversal on civil rights issues culminated when Democratic President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The act was passed in both the House and Senate by Republican and Democratic majorities. Most Democrats and all Republicans from the South opposed the act.

The year 1968 marked a major crisis for the party. In January, even though it was a military defeat for the Viet Cong, the Tet Offensive began to turn American public opinion against the Vietnam War.

Senator Eugene McCarthy rallied intellectuals and anti-war students on college campuses and came within a few percentage points of defeating Johnson in the New Hampshire primary Johnson was permanently weakened. Four days later, Senator Robert F. Kennedy, brother of the late President, entered the race.

Johnson stunned the nation on March 31 when he withdrew from the race and four weeks later his Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey, entered the race, though he did not run in any primary. Kennedy and McCarthy traded primary victories while Humphrey gathered the support of labor unions and the big-city bosses. Kennedy won the critical California primary on June 4, but he was assassinated that night. Even as Kennedy won California, Humphrey had already amassed 1,000 of the 1,312 delegate votes needed for the nomination, while Kennedy had about 700.

During the 1968 Democratic National Convention, while the Chicago Police Department and the Illinois Army National Guard violently confronted anti-war protesters on the streets and parks of Chicago, the Democrats nominated Humphrey.

Meanwhile, Alabama’s Democratic governor George C. Wallace launched a third-party campaign and at one point was running second to the Republican candidate Richard Nixon. Nixon barely won, with the Democrats retaining control of Congress. The party was now so deeply split that it would not again win a majority of the popular vote for president until 1976, when Jimmy Carter won the popular vote in 1976 with 50.1%.

The degree to which the Southern Democrats had abandoned the party became evident in the 1968 presidential election when the electoral votes of every former Confederate state except Texas went to either Republican Richard Nixon or independent Wallace.

Humphrey’s electoral votes came mainly from the Northern states, marking a dramatic reversal from the 1948 election 20 years earlier, when the losing Republican electoral votes were concentrated in the same states.

Following the party’s defeat in 1968, the McGovern-Fraser Commission proposed and the party adopted far-reaching changes in how national convention delegates were selected. More power over the presidential nominee selection accrued to the rank and file and presidential primaries became significantly more important.

In 1972 The Democrats moved left and nominated Senator George McGovern as the presidential candidate on a platform which advocated, among other things, immediate US withdrawal from Vietnam with his anti-war slogan “Come Home, America!” and a guaranteed minimum income for all Americans.

McGovern’s forces at the national convention ousted Mayor Richard J. Daley and the entire Chicago delegation, replacing them with insurgents led by Jesse Jackson. After it became known that McGovern’s running mate Thomas Eagleton had received electric shock therapy, McGovern said he supported Eagleton “1000%,” but he was soon forced to drop him and find a new running mate.

Numerous top names turned him down, but McGovern finally selected Sargent Shriver, a Kennedy in-law who was close to Mayor Daley. On July 14, 1972, McGovern appointed his campaign manager, Jean Westwood, as the first woman chair of the Democratic National Committee. McGovern was defeated in a landslide by incumbent Richard Nixon, winning only Massachusetts and Washington, D.C.

The effects that George McGovern’s defeat in the 1972 election had on the Democratic Party would be long lasting, but was interrupted by the Nixon scandal which temporarily halted the party’s decline in ways that were entirely unexpected.

The Watergate scandal soon destroyed the Nixon Presidency. With Gerald Ford’s pardon of Nixon soon after his resignation in 1974, the Democrats used the “corruption” issue to make major gains in the off-year elections.

In 1976, mistrust of the administration, complicated by a combination of economic recession and inflation, sometimes called “stagflation,” led to Ford’s defeat by Jimmy Carter, a former Governor of Georgia. Carter won as a little-known outsider by promising honesty in Washington, a message that played well to voters as he swept the South and won narrowly.

Carter was a peanut farmer, a state senator and a one-term governor with minimal national experience. President Carter’s major accomplishments consisted of the creation of a national energy policy and two new cabinet departments, the United States Department of Energy and the United States Department of Education.

Carter also successfully deregulated the trucking, airline, rail, finance, communications and oil industries, thus reversing the New Deal approach to regulation of the economy, bolstered the social security system and appointed record numbers of women and minorities to significant posts. He also enacted strong legislation on environmental protection through the expansion of the National Park Service in Alaska, creating 103 million acres (417,000 km2) of park land.

In foreign affairs, Carter’s accomplishments consisted of the Camp David Accords, the Panama Canal Treaties, the establishment of full diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China and the negotiation of the SALT II Treaty. In addition, he championed human rights throughout the world and used human rights as the center of his administration’s foreign policy.

Carter’s successes were overshadowed by failures. He was unable to implement a national health plan or to reform the tax system as he had promised. His popularity fell as inflation soared and unemployment remained stubbornly high, abroad, the Iranians held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days, an embarrassment rehearsed practically every day on television.

Worse, his military rescue of the hostages was a fiasco. The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan later that year further disenchanted some Americans with Carter, and athletes were disappointed when he cancelled American participation in the 1980 Moscow Olympics.

Liberal Senator Ted Kennedy attacked Carter as too conservative but failed to block Carter’s renomination in 1980. In the November 1980 election, Carter lost to Ronald Reagan.

The Democrats lost 12 Senate seats and for the first time since 1954 the Republicans controlled the Senate, though the House remained in Democratic hands. Voting patterns and poll result indicate that the substantial Republican victory was the consequence of poor economic performance under Carter and the Democrats and did not represent an ideological shift to the right by the electorate.

Iran released all the American hostages minutes after Reagan was inaugurated, ending a 444-day crisis.

Democrats who supported many conservative policies were instrumental in the election of Republican President Ronald Reagan in 1980. The “Reagan Democrats” were Democrats before the Reagan years and afterward, but they voted for Ronald Reagan in 1980 and 1984 and for George H. W. Bush in 1988, producing their landslide victories.

Reagan Democrats were mostly white ethnics in the Northeast and Midwest who were attracted to Reagan’s social conservatism on issues such as abortion and to his strong foreign policy. They did not continue to vote Republican in 1992 or 1996, so the term fell into disuse except as a reference to the 1980’s. The term is not used to describe White Southerners who became permanent Republicans in presidential elections.

Stan Greenberg, a Democratic pollster, analyzed white ethnic voters – largely unionized auto workers – in suburban Macomb County, Michigan, just north of Detroit. The county voted 63 percent for Kennedy in 1960 and 66 percent for Reagan in 1984. He concluded that Reagan Democrats no longer saw Democrats as champions of their middle class aspirations, but instead saw it as a party working primarily for the benefit of others, especially African Americans, advocacy groups of the political left and the very poor.

The failure to hold the Reagan Democrats and the white South led to the final collapse of the New Deal coalition. In 1984, Reagan carried 49 states against former vice president and Minnesota senator Walter Mondale, a New Deal stalwart.

In response to these landslide defeats, the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) was created in 1985. It worked to move the party rightwards to the ideological center in order to recover some of the fundraising that had been lost to the Republicans due to corporate donors supporting Reagan.

The goal was to retain left-of-center voters as well as moderates and conservatives on social issues to become a catch all party with widespread appeal to most opponents of the Republicans. Despite this, Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis, running not as a New Dealer but as an efficiency expert in public administration, lost by a landslide in 1988 to Vice President George H. W. Bush.

For nearly a century after Reconstruction, the white South identified with the Democratic Party. The Democrats’ lock on power was so strong the region was called the Solid South, although the Republicans controlled parts of the Appalachian mountains and they competed for statewide office in the border states.

Before 1948, Southern Democrats believed that their party, with its respect for states’ rights and appreciation of traditional southern values, was the defender of the Southern way of life. Southern Democrats warned against aggressive designs on the part of Northern liberals and Republicans and civil rights activists whom they denounced as “outside agitators.”

The adoption of the strong civil rights plank by the 1948 convention and the integration of the armed forces by President Harry S. Truman’s Executive Order 9981, which provided for equal treatment and opportunity for African-American servicemen, drove a wedge between the Northern and Southern branches of the party. The party was sharply divided in the following election, as Southern Democrats Strom Thurmond ran as “States’ Rights Democratic Party.”

With the presidency of John F. Kennedy the Democratic Party began to embrace the Civil Rights Movement and its lock on the South was irretrievably broken. Kennedy’s narrow election victory and small working margin in Congress contributed to his cautious navigation of civil rights issues. He was reluctant to lose southern support for legislation on many fronts by pushing too hard on civil rights legislation. Upon signing the Civil Rights Act of 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson prophesied: “We have lost the South for a generation.”

Modernization had brought factories, national businesses and larger, more cosmopolitan cities such as Atlanta, Dallas, Charlotte and Houston to the South, as well as millions of migrants from the North and more opportunities for higher education. Meanwhile, the cotton and tobacco economy of the traditional rural South faded away, as former farmers commuted to factory jobs.

As the South became more like the rest of the nation, it could not stand apart in terms of racial segregation. Integration and the Civil Rights Movement caused enormous controversy in the white South, with many attacking it as a violation of states’ rights. When segregation was outlawed by court order and by the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1965, a die-hard element resisted integration, led by Democratic governors Orval Faubus of Arkansas, Lester Maddox of Georgia and especially George Wallace of Alabama.

These populist governors appealed to a less-educated, blue-collar electorate that on economic grounds favored the Democratic Party and opposed desegregation. After 1965, most Southerners accepted integration; with the exception of public schools.

Believing themselves betrayed by the Democratic Party, traditional White Southerners joined the new middle-class and the Northern transplants in moving toward the Republican Party. Meanwhile, newly enfranchised black voters began supporting Democratic candidates at the 80–90 percent levels, producing Democratic leaders such as Julian Bond and John Lewis of Georgia and Barbara Jordan of Texas. Just as Martin Luther King Jr. had promised, integration had brought about a new day in Southern politics.

In addition to its white middle-class base, Republicans attracted strong majorities among evangelical Christians, who prior to the 1980’s were largely apolitical. Exit polls in the 2004 presidential election showed that George W. Bush led John Kerry by 70–30% among White Southerners, who were 71% of the voters. Kerry had a 90–9 lead among the 18% of Southern voters who were black. One-third of the Southern voters said they were white Evangelicals and they voted for Bush by 80–20.

The Democrats included a strong element that came of age in opposition to the Vietnam War and remained hostile toward American military interventions. On August 1, 1990, Iraq, led by Saddam Hussein, invaded Kuwait.

President Bush formed an international coalition and secured United Nations approval to expel Iraq. Congress on January 12, 1991, authorized by a narrow margin the use of military force against Iraq, with Republicans in favor and Democrats opposed. The vote in the House was 250–183 and in the Senate 52–47. In the Senate, 42 Republicans and 10 Democrats voted yes to war, while 45 Democrats and two Republicans voted no. In the House, 164 Republicans and 86 Democrats voted yes and 179 Democrats, three Republicans and one Independent voted no.

In the 1990’s, the Democratic Party revived itself, in part by moving to the right on economic policy. In 1992, for the first time in 12 years the United States had a Democrat in the White House. During President Bill Clinton’s term, the Congress balanced the federal budget for the first time since the Kennedy Presidency and presided over a robust American economy that saw incomes grow across the board. The Democratic Leadership Council advocated a realignment and triangulation, moving to the center on economic issues, under the re-branded “New Democrat” label to adapt to the post-Reagan era.

In 1994, the economy had the lowest combination of unemployment and inflation in 25 years. President Clinton also signed into law several gun control bills, including the Brady Bill, which imposed a five-day waiting period on handgun purchases and he also signed into legislation a ban on many types of semi-automatic firearms, expiring in 2004.

His Family and Medical Leave Act, covering some 40 million Americans, offered workers up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-guaranteed leave for childbirth or a personal or family illness. He deployed the US military to Haiti to reinstate deposed president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, took a strong hand in Palestinian–Israeli peace negotiations, brokered a historic cease-fire in Northern Ireland and negotiated the Dayton accords. In 1996, Clinton became the first Democratic president to be re-elected since Franklin D. Roosevelt.

However, the Democrats lost their majority in both Houses of Congress in 1994. Clinton vetoed two Republican-backed welfare reform bills before signing the third, the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act of 1996. The tort reform Private Securities Litigation Reform Act passed over his veto.

Labor unions, which had been steadily losing membership since the 1960’s, found they had also lost political clout inside the Democratic Party and Clinton enacted the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico over unions’ strong objections.

In 1998, the Republican-led House of Representatives impeached Clinton on two charges, though he was subsequently acquitted by the United States Senate in 1999. Under Clinton’s leadership, the United States participated in NATO’s Operation Allied Force against Yugoslavia that year.

In the 1990’s the Clinton Administration continued the free market, or neoliberal, reforms which began under the Reagan Administration.

Historian Gary Gerstle states that Reagan was the ideological architect of the neoliberal order which was formulated in the 1970’s and 1980’s, but it was Clinton who was its key facilitator, and as such this order achieved dominance following the end of the Cold War. However, economist Sebastian Mallaby argues that the party increasingly adopted pro-business, pro free market principles after 1976.

Free-market ideas were embraced by Democrats almost as much as by Republicans. Jimmy Carter initiated the big push toward deregulation, generally with the support of his party in Congress. Bill Clinton presided over the growth of the loosely supervised shadow financial system and the repeal of Depression-era restrictions on commercial banks.

In the United States, both of the dominant parties have shifted toward free-market capitalism. Even though analysis of roll call votes show that since the 1970’s, Republicans have drifted farther to the right than Democrats have moved to the left, the latter were instrumental in implementing financial deregulation in the 1990’s and focused increasingly on cultural issues such as gender, race, and sexual identity rather than traditional social welfare policies.

Both Carter and Clinton quietly abandoned the New Deal style of aggressive support for welfare for the poor and support for the working-class and labor unions. They downplayed traditional Democratic hostility toward business, and aggressive regulation of the economy. Carter and Clinton agreed on a greater reliance on the market economy as conservatives have long demanded.

They gave control of inflation priority over reduction in unemployment. They both sought balanced budgets and Clinton actually succeeded in generating a federal budget surplus. They both used monetary policy more than fiscal/spending policy to micromanage the economy, and they accepted the conservative emphasis on supply-side programs to encourage private investment, and the expectation it would produce long-term economic growth.

During the 2000 presidential election, the Democrats chose Vice President Al Gore to be the party’s candidate for the presidency. Gore ran against George W. Bush, the Republican candidate and son of former President George H. W. Bush.

The issues Gore championed include debt reduction, tax cuts, foreign policy, public education, global warming, judicial appointments and affirmative action. Nevertheless, Gore’s affiliation with Clinton and the DLC caused critics to assert that Bush and Gore were too similar, especially on free trade, reductions in social welfare and the death penalty. Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader in particular was very vocal in his criticisms.

Gore won a popular plurality of over 540,000 votes over Bush, but lost in the Electoral College by four votes. Many Democrats blamed Nader’s third-party spoiler role for Gore’s defeat. They pointed to the states of New Hampshire (4 electoral votes) and Florida (25 electoral votes), where Nader’s total votes exceeded Bush’s margin of victory. In Florida, Nader received 97,000 votes and Bush defeated Gore by a mere 537. Controversy plagued the election and Gore largely dropped from elective politics.

Despite Gore’s close defeat, the Democrats gained five seats in the Senate, including the election of Hillary Clinton in New York to turn a 55–45 Republican edge into a 50–50 split with a Republican vice president breaking a tie.

However, when Republican Senator Jim Jeffords of Vermont decided in 2001 to become an independent and vote with the Democratic caucus, the majority status shifted along with the seat, including control of the floor by the Majority Leader and control of all committee chairmanships. However, the Republicans regained their Senate majority with gains in 2002 and 2004, leaving the Democrats with only 44 seats, the fewest since the 1920’s.

In the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks, the nation’s focus was changed to issues of national security. All but one Democrat (Representative Barbara Lee) voted with their Republican counterparts to authorize President Bush’s 2001 invasion of Afghanistan.

House leader Richard Gephardt and Senate leader Thomas Daschle pushed Democrats to vote for the USA PATRIOT Act and the invasion of Iraq. The Democrats were split over invading Iraq in 2003 and increasingly expressed concerns about both the justification and progress of the War on Terrorism as well as the domestic effects from the Patriot Act.

In the wake of the financial fraud scandal of the Enron Corporation and other corporations, Congressional Democrats pushed for a legal overhaul of business accounting with the intention of preventing further accounting fraud. This led to the bipartisan Sarbanes-Oxley Act in 2002.

With job losses and bankruptcies across regions and industries increasing in 2001 and 2002, the Democrats generally campaigned on the issue of economic recovery. That did not work for them in 2002, as the Democrats lost a few seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.

They lost three seats in the Senate (Georgia as Max Cleland was unseated, Minnesota as Paul Wellstone died and his succeeding Democratic candidate lost the election and Missouri as Jean Carnahan was unseated). While Democrats gained governorships in New Mexico (where Bill Richardson was elected), Arizona (Janet Napolitano), Michigan (Jennifer Granholm) and Wyoming (Dave Freudenthal).

Other Democrats lost governorships in South Carolina (Jim Hodges), Alabama (Don Siegelman) and for the first time in more than a century, Georgia (Roy Barnes). The election led to another round of soul searching about the party’s narrowing base. Democrats had further losses in 2003, when a voter recall unseated the unpopular Democratic governor of California Gray Davis and replaced him with Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger. By the end of 2003, the four most populous states had Republican governors: California, Texas, New York and Florida.

The 2004 campaign started as early as December 2002, when Al Gore announced he would not run again in the 2004 election. Howard Dean, a former Governor of Vermont and opponent of the Iraq War, was the front-runner at first. An unusual gaffe known as the “Dean Scream” and subsequent negative media coverage doomed his candidacy.

The nomination went to Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, a centrist with heavy support from the Democratic Leadership Council. Democrats pulled together in attacking Bush’s war in Iraq. Kerry lost by a 3 million vote margin out of 120 million votes and lost four Senate seats. The Democrats had only 44 Senators, their fewest since the 1920’s. A bright spot came with the win by Barack Obama in Illinois.

After the 2004 election, prominent Democrats began to rethink the party’s direction. Some Democrats proposed moving towards the right to regain seats in the House and Senate and possibly win the Presidency in 2008, while others demanded that the party move more to the left and become a stronger opposition party. One topic of deep debate was the party’s policies surrounding reproductive rights. In What’s the Matter with Kansas?, commentator Thomas Frank wrote that the Democrats needed to return to campaigning on economic populism.

These debates were reflected in the 2005 campaign for Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, which Howard Dean won over the objections of many party insiders. Dean sought to move the Democratic strategy away from the establishment and bolster support for the party’s state organizations, even in red states (the fifty-state strategy).

When the 109th Congress convened, Harry Reid, the new Senate Minority Leader, tried to convince the Democratic Senators to vote more as a bloc on important issues and he forced the Republicans to abandon their push for privatization of Social Security.

With scandals involving lobbyist Jack Abramoff as well as Duke Cunningham, Tom DeLay, Mark Foley and Bob Taft, the Democrats used the slogan “Culture of corruption” against the Republicans during the 2006 campaign. Negative public opinion on the Iraq War, widespread dissatisfaction over the ballooning federal deficit and the inept handling of the Hurricane Katrina disaster dragged down President Bush’s job approval ratings.

As a result of gains in the 2006 midterm elections, the Democratic Party gained control of both houses of Congress. The Democrats also went from controlling a minority of governorship’s to a majority. There were also gains in various state legislatures, giving the Democrats control of a plurality of them nationwide. No Democratic incumbent was defeated and no Democratic-held open seat was lost in a major race. Both conservative and populist candidates did well. Exit polling suggested that corruption was a key issue for many voters. Nancy Pelosi was elected as the first female House speaker and immediately pushed for passage of the 100-Hour Plan of eight new liberal programs.

The 2008 Democratic presidential primaries left two candidates in close competition: Illinois Senator Barack Obama and New York Senator Hillary Clinton. Both had won more support within a major American political party than any previous African American or female candidate. Before official ratification at the 2008 Democratic National Convention, Obama emerged as the party’s presumptive nominee. With President George W. Bush of the Republican Party ineligible for a third term and the Vice President Dick Cheney not pursuing his party’s nomination, Senator John McCain of Arizona more quickly emerged as the GOP nominee.

Throughout most of the 2008 presidential election, polls showed a close race between Obama and John McCain. However, Obama maintained a small but widening lead over McCain in the wake of the liquidity crisis of September 2008.

On November 4, Obama defeated McCain by a significant margin in the Electoral College and the party also made further gains in the Senate and House, adding to its 2006 gains.

On January 20, 2009, Obama was inaugurated as the 44th president of the United States in a ceremony attended by nearly 2 million people, the largest congregation of spectators ever to witness the inauguration of a new president. That same day in Washington, D.C., Republican House of Representative leaders met in an “invitation only” meeting for four hours to discuss the future of the Republican Party under the Obama administration.

One of the first acts by the Obama administration after assuming control was an order signed by Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel that suspended all pending federal regulations proposed by outgoing President George W. Bush so that they could be reviewed. This was comparable to prior moves by the Bush administration upon assuming control from Bill Clinton, who in his final 20 days in office issued 12 executive orders. In his first week, Obama also established a policy of producing a weekly Saturday morning video address available on and YouTube, much like those released during his transition period. The policy is likened to Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s fireside chats and George W. Bush’s weekly radio addresses.

President Obama signed into law the following significant legislation during his first 100 days in the White House: Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, Children’s Health Insurance Re-authorization Act of 2009 and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Also during his first 100 days, the Obama administration reversed the following significant George W. Bush administration policies: supporting the UN declaration on sexual orientation and gender identity, relaxing enforcement of cannabis laws and lifting the 7½-year ban on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.

Obama also issued Executive Order 13492, ordering the closure of the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, although it remained open throughout his presidency. He also lifted some travel and money restrictions to Cuba, ended the Mexico City Policy and signed an order requiring the Army Field Manual to be used as guide for terror interrogations, which banned tortures such as waterboarding.

Obama also announced stricter guidelines regarding lobbyists in an effort to raise the ethical standards of the White House. The new policy bans aides from attempting to influence the administration for at least two years if they leave his staff. It also bans aides on staff from working on matters they have previously lobbied on, or to approach agencies that they targeted while on staff.

Their ban also included a gift-giving ban. However, one day later he nominated William J. Lynn III, a lobbyist for defense contractor Raytheon, for the position of Deputy Secretary of Defense. Obama later nominated William Corr, an anti-tobacco lobbyist, for Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services.

During the beginning of Obama Presidency emerged the Tea Party movement, a conservative movement that began to heavily influence the Republican Party within the United States, shifting the GOP further right-wing and partisan in their ideology.

On February 18, 2009, Obama announced that the US military presence in Afghanistan would be bolstered by 17,000 new troops by summer. The announcement followed the recommendation of several experts including Defense Secretary Robert Gates that additional troops be deployed to the strife-torn South Asian country. On February 27, 2009, Obama addressed Marines at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina and outlined an exit strategy for the Iraq War. Obama promised to withdraw all combat troops from Iraq by August 31, 2010, and a “transitional force” of up to 50,000 counter terrorism, advisory, training and support personnel by the end of 2011.

Obama signed two presidential memorandum concerning energy independence, ordering the Department of Transportation to establish higher fuel efficiency standards before 2011 models are released and allowing states to raise their emissions standards above the national standard. Due to the economic crisis, the President enacted a pay freeze for senior White House staff making more than $100,000 per year. The action affected approximately 120 staffers and added up to about a $443,000 savings for the United States government. On March 10, 2009, in a meeting with the New Democrat Coalition, Obama told them that he was a “New Democrat,” “pro-growth Democrat,” “supports free and fair trade” and “very concerned about a return to protectionism.”

On May 26, 2009, President Obama nominated Sonia Sotomayor for Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Sotomayor was confirmed by the Senate becoming the highest ranking government official of Puerto Rican heritage ever. On July 1, 2009, President Obama signed into law the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010. On July 7, 2009, Al Franken was sworn into the Senate, thus Senate Democrats obtained the 60 vote threshold to overcome the Senate filibuster.

On October 28, 2009, Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010, which included in it the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which expanded federal hate crime laws to include sexual orientation, gender identity and disability. On January 21, 2010, the Supreme Court ruled in a 5–4 decision in the case of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission that the First Amendment prohibited the government from restricting independent political expenditures by a nonprofit corporation. On February 4, 2010, Republican Scott Brown of Massachusetts was sworn into the Senate, thus ending Senate Democrats 60 vote threshold to overcome a filibuster.

On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed into law his signature legislation of his presidency, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, together with the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, which represents the most significant regulatory overhaul of the US healthcare system since the passage of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965.

On May 10, 2010, President Obama nominated Elena Kagan for Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. On July 21, 2010, President Obama signed into law the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and Elena Kagan was confirmed by the Senate on August 5, 2010, by a 63–37 vote. Kagan was sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts on August 7, 2010.

On August 19, 2010, the 4th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division was the last American combat brigade to withdraw from Iraq. In a speech at the Oval Office on August 31, 2010, Obama declared: “The American combat mission in Iraq has ended. Operation Iraqi Freedom is over, and the Iraqi people now have lead responsibility for the security of their country.” About 50,000 American troops remained in the country in an advisory capacity as part of “Operation New Dawn,” which ran until the end of 2011. New Dawn was the final designated US campaign of the war. The US military continued to train and advise the Iraqi Forces, as well as participate in combat alongside them.

On November 2, 2010, during the 2010 midterm elections, the Democratic Party had a net loss of six seats in the Senate and 63 seats in the House. Control of the House of Representatives switched from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party. The Democrats lost a net of six state governorship’s and a net 680 seats in state legislatures. The Democrats lost control of seven state Senate legislatures and 13 state Houses. This was the worst performance of the Democratic Party in a national election since the 1946 elections.

The Blue Dog Coalition numbers in the House were reduced from 54 members in 2008 to 26 members in 2011 and were half of the Democratic defeats during the election. This was the first United States national election in which Super PACs were used by Democrats and Republicans. Many commentators contribute the electoral success of the Republican Party in 2010 to the conservative Super PACs’ campaign spending, Tea Party movement, backlash against President Obama, failure to mobilize the Obama coalition to get out and vote and the failure of President Obama to enact many of his progressive and liberal campaign promises.

On December 1, 2010, Obama announced at the US Military Academy in West Point that the US would send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan. Anti-war organizations in the US responded quickly and cities throughout the US saw protests on December 2nd. Many protesters compared the decision to deploy more troops in Afghanistan to the expansion of the Vietnam War under the Johnson administration.

During the lame-duck session of the 111th United States Congress, President Obama signed into law the following significant legislation: Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Re-authorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010, James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010, Shark Conservation Act of 2010 and the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act of 2010.

On December 18, 2010, the Arab Spring began. On December 22, 2010, the US Senate gave its advice and consent to ratification of New START by a vote of 71 to 26 on the resolution of ratification. The 111th United States Congress has been considered one of the most productive Congresses in history in terms of legislation passed since the 89th Congress, during Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society.

On February 23, 2011, United States Attorney General Eric Holder announced the United States federal government would no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act within federal courts. In response to the First Libyan Civil War, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton joined with UN Ambassador Susan Rice and Office of Multilateral and Human Rights Director Samantha Power led the hawkish diplomatic team within the Obama administration that helped convince President Obama in favor airstrikes against Libyan government. On March 19, 2011, the United States began military intervention in Libya.

United States domestic reaction to the 2011 military intervention in Libya were mixed in the Democratic Party. Opponents to the 2011 military intervention in Libya within the Democratic Party include Rep. Dennis Kucinich, Sen. Jim Webb, Rep. Raul Grijalva, Rep. Mike Honda, Rep. Lynn Woolsey and Rep. Barbara Lee.

The Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), an organization of progressive Democrats, said that the United States should conclude its campaign against Libyan air defenses as soon as possible. Support for the 2011 military intervention in Libya within the Democratic Party include President Bill Clinton, Sen. Carl Levin, Sen. Dick Durbin, Sen. Jack Reed, Sen. John Kerry, Minority Leader of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, Legal Adviser of the Department of State Harold Hongju Koh and Ed Schultz.

On April 5, 2011, Vice President Joe Biden announced that Debbie Wasserman Schultz was President Obama’s choice to succeed Tim Kaine as the 52nd Chair of the Democratic National Committee. On May 26, 2011, President Obama signed the PATRIOT Sunsets Extension Act of 2011, which was strongly criticized by some in the Democratic Party as violation of civil liberties and a continuation of the George W. Bush administration. House Democrats largely opposed the PATRIOT Sunsets Extension Act of 2011, while Senate Democrats were slightly in favor of it.

On October 21, 2011, President Obama signed into law three of the following United States free trade agreements: Free trade agreement between the United States of America and the Republic of Korea, Panama–United States Trade Promotion Agreement and the United States–Colombia Free Trade Agreement. In the House of Representatives, Democratic Representatives largely opposed these agreements, while Senate Democrats were split on the agreements. This was a continuation of President Bill Clinton’s policy of support for free trade agreements.

When asked by David Gregory about his views on same-sex marriage on Meet the Press on May 5, 2012, Biden stated he supported same-sex marriage. On May 9, 2012, a day after North Carolina voters approved Amendment 1, President Obama became the first sitting United States president to come out in favor of same-sex marriage.

The 2012 Democratic Party platform for Obama’s reelection ran over 26,000 words and included his position on numerous national issues. On security issues, it pledges “unshakable commitment to Israel’s security,” says the party will try to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. It calls for a strong military, but argues that in the current fiscal environment, tough budgetary decisions must include defense spending.

On controversial social issues it supports abortion rights, same-sex marriage and says the party is “strongly committed to enacting comprehensive immigration reform.” On the economic side the platform calls for extending the tax cuts for families earning under $250,000 and promises not to raise their taxes. It praises the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare,” but does not use that term). It “adamantly oppose any efforts to privatize Medicare.” On the rules of politics it attacks the recent Supreme Court decision Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission that allows much greater political spending. It demands “immediate action to curb the influence of lobbyists and special interests on our political institutions.”

Intense budget negotiations in the divided 112th Congress, wherein Democrats resolved to fight Republican demands for decreased spending and no tax hikes, threatened to shut down the government in April 2011 and later spurred fears that the United States would default on its debt.

Continuing tight budgets were felt at the state level, where public-sector unions, a key Democratic constituency, battled Republican efforts to limit their collective bargaining powers in order to save money and reduce union power. This led to sustained protests by public-sector employees and walkouts by sympathetic Democratic legislators in states like Wisconsin and Ohio. The 2011 “Occupy movement,” a campaign on the left for more accountable economic leadership, failed to have the impact on Democratic Party leadership and policy that the Tea Party movement had on the Republicans. Its leadership proved ineffective and the Occupy movement fizzled out. However, echoes could be found in the presidential nomination campaign of Senator Bernie Sanders in 2015–2016.

Conservatives criticized the president for “passive” responses to crises such as the 2009 Iranian protests and the 2011 Egyptian revolution. Additionally, liberal and Democratic activists objected to Obama’s decisions to send reinforcements to Afghanistan, resume military trials of terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay detention camp and to help enforce a no-fly zone over Libya during that country’s civil war. However, the demands of anti-war advocates were heeded when Obama followed through on a campaign promise to withdraw combat troops from Iraq.

The 2012 election was characterized by very high spending, especially on negative television ads in about ten critical states. Despite a weak economic recovery and high unemployment, the Obama campaign successfully mobilized its coalition of youth, blacks, Hispanics and women. The campaign carried all the same states as in 2008 except two, Indiana and North Carolina. The election continued the pattern whereby Democrats won more votes in all presidential elections after 1988, except for 2004. Obama and the Democrats lost control of the Senate in the 2014 midterm elections, losing nine seats in that body and 13 in the GOP House.

National polling from 2013 to the summer of 2015 showed Hillary Clinton with an overwhelming lead over all of her potential primary opponents. Her main challenger was independent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, whose rallies grew larger and larger as he attracted strong support among Democrats under age 40. The sharp divide between the two candidates was cast as a conflict between the political establishment and an outsider, with Clinton considered the establishment candidate and Sanders the outsider. Clinton received the endorsements from an overwhelming majority of office holders. Clinton’s core base voters during the primaries were women, African Americans, Latino Americans, sexual minorities, moderates and older voters, while Sanders’ core base included younger voters under the age of 40 and progressives.

The ideological differences between the two candidates represented the ideological divide within the Democratic Party as a whole. Clinton aligned herself with the New Democrat wing of the Democratic Party, which had been its dominant ideological faction during the presidencies of Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Bernie Sanders, who remained an independent in the Senate throughout the primaries (despite running for president as a Democrat), is a self-described democratic socialist, and represented the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, which includes politicians such as Ed Markey, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Elizabeth Warren.

During the primaries, Sanders attacked Clinton for her ties to Wall Street and her previous support of the Defense of Marriage Act, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the North American Free Trade Agreement, the Keystone Pipeline, the 2011 military intervention in Libya and the Iraq War, while Clinton attacked Sanders for voting against the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000, the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act and the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007. Clinton generally moved to the left as the campaign progressed and adopted variations of some of Sanders’ themes, such as opinions regarding trade and college tuition. Although she was generally favored to win in polls, and won the popular vote by two percent, she lost the general election to Donald Trump in the Electoral College votes by state.

On January 12, 2017, the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, a 527 organization that focuses on redistricting reform and is affiliated with the Democratic Party, was created. The chair, president and vice president of the umbrella organization is the 82nd Attorney General Eric Holder, Elizabeth Pearson and Alixandria “Ali” Lapp respectively. President Obama has said he would be involved with the committee.

On January 17, 2017, Third Way, a public policy think tank, launched New Blue, a $20 million campaign to study Democratic shortcomings in the 2016 elections and offer a new economic agenda to help Democrats reconnect with the voters who have abandoned the party. The money will be spent to conduct extensive research, reporting and polling in Rust Belt states that once formed a Blue Wall, but which voted for President Donald Trump in 2016. Many progressives have criticized this as a desperate measure for the so-called establishment wing of the party to retain leadership.

At the inauguration of Donald Trump, 67 Democratic members of the United States House of Representatives boycotted the inauguration. This was the largest boycott by members of the United States Congress since the second inauguration of Richard Nixon, where it was estimated that between 80 and 200 Democratic members of United States Congress boycotted.

The 2017 Women’s March was a large-scale nationwide protest in favor of women’s rights and against the policies of the Trump administration. The march found much support within the Democratic Party including participation from sitting Senators Booker, Duckworth, Harris, Sanders, and Warren.

The George Floyd Protests and other protests against police brutality received backlash from the Trump administration but found support from many Democratic congresspeople.

In 2019, the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives initiated impeachment inquiries into President Trump’s alleged coercion against Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy by withholding military funds in order to gain politically sensitive material against Joe Biden. The House of Representatives voted to impeach Trump, with most Democrats voting for both articles. Trump was acquitted by the Republican-controlled Senate, with all Democratic Senators voting guilty.

In 2021, the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives voted again to impeach Trump over his involvement in the January 6th attack on the United States Capitol, with all Democrats voting to impeach. Trump was again acquitted by the Republican-controlled Senate, with all Democratic Senators voting guilty.

As of September 13, 2017, 16 Senate Democrats cosponsored the Medicare for All Act of 2017. As of September 26, 2017, 120 House Democrats cosponsored the Expanded & Improved Medicare For All Act. This was all for naught, as the Republican majority made sure that the Democratic minority remained impotent.

In the 2018 midterm elections, Democrats gained a net 41 seats in the House of Representatives, retaking the majority in the chamber. A record 102 women were elected to the House of Representatives, of which 90 were members of the Democratic Party. Nancy Pelosi was reelected speaker of the House and Jim Clyburn was elected as the majority whip. The House Democrats promised to focus on healthcare, voting rights and oversight of investigations into the myriad of alleged scandals of the Trump administration. In addition, there is growing support for a Green New Deal: A set of laws, taxes, and projects that seek to drastically reduce carbon emissions and provide Americans with a plethora of jobs in the process.

The 2020 primaries saw an unprecedentedly competitive field of 29 major candidates vie for the party’s nomination, with the contest ultimately narrowing down to a binary race between Senator Sanders and former Vice President Biden after Super Tuesday, a similar dynamic to the entirety of the 2016 primary. However, the two-person period of this contest was never extended as long as in 2016, as the consolidation of the moderates in the party, a series of wins in key swing states by Biden, and the COVID-19 global pandemic, allowed Biden to finally defeat his last rival, Senator Sanders. Representing the more centrist side of the party, former Vice President Biden positioned himself as an elder statesman ready to lead in moments of crisis that demanded strong executive experience. Biden promised electability and the defeat of Trump.

In terms of voter support, Biden dominated with African Americans, suburban whites, voters over the age of 50, and newly minted conservative Democrats who had joined the party after leaving the GOP in response to Trump and the stigma attached to his policies. Senator Sanders led a similarly diverse coalition of Latinos, staunch progressives, and voters of all races under the age of 50. Other major candidates were Elizabeth Warren, Michael Bloomberg, Pete Buttigieg, and Amy Klobuchar. Throughout all of the general election campaign, Biden was shown to have a significant advantage in public opinion polling.

On November 3, 2020, Joe Biden defeated incumbent President Donald Trump by an Electoral College result of 306–232. His victory is the first time a challenger beat a president running for re-election since George H. W. Bush’s loss in 1992. Biden’s running mate, Kamala Harris, would be the first female and person of African and South Asian descent to become vice president in history. In Congress, Democrats retained their majority in the House and claimed the majority in the US Senate with a 50–50 split. This brought the House, Senate, and Presidency under simultaneous Democratic control for the first time since 2011.

On January 20, 2021, Biden was inaugurated as the 46th president of the United States. He came into office with a full government trifecta, holding the House and Senate, with Democrats winning both regular and special Senate elections in Georgia. The Electoral College confirmation of Biden’s election was disrupted by unrest including the January 6 United States Capitol attack and attempts to overturn the 2020 United States presidential election.

President Biden signed into law the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 during his first 100 days in the White House, an economic stimulus bill to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

Biden signed the $1.2 trillion bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which incorporated aspects of his American Jobs Plan. He was unable to secure an agreement to pass a sweeping social safety net expansion known as the Build Back Better Act, but negotiations led to the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 which contains expansive climate investments, tax enforcement reform, and prescription drug pricing reform. Key negotiators were Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, along with Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. He confirmed Kentanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court, and rejoined the Paris Agreement. In foreign policy, he completed the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, and supported the Ukrainians against Russia with arms and aid. He signed the CHIPS and Science Act to bolster US semiconductors against China, and the Honoring our PACT Act of 2022 expanding veterans’ healthcare benefits for toxic exposures.

Following the loss of a democratic majority in the House after the 2022 midterm elections, Nancy Pelosi left leadership after 20 years, with the party electing Hakeem Jeffries as leader.