Conservative Democrat

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This article is about conservative members of the Democratic Party in the United States. For the Swiss and Greek political parties, see Conservative Democratic Party. For the Slovakian political party, see Conservative Democrats of Slovakia. For the Romanian political party, see Conservative-Democratic Party.

In American politics, a conservative Democrat is a member of the Democratic Party with conservative political views, or with views relatively conservative with respect to those of the national party. While such members of the Democratic Party can be found throughout the nation, actual elected officials are disproportionately found within the Southern states, and to a lesser extent within rural regions of the United States generally, more commonly in the West.

21st century conservative Democrats are similar to liberal Republican counterparts, in that both became political minorities after their respective political parties underwent a major political realignment which began to gain speed in 1964. Prior to 1964, both parties had their liberal, moderate, and conservative wings, each of them influential in both parties; President Franklin D. Roosevelt had proposed a realignment of the parties in the 1940s, though the trends which brought it about did not accelerate until two decades later. During this period, conservative Democrats formed the Democratic half of the conservative coalition. After 1964, the conservative wing assumed a greater presence in the Republican Party, although it did not become the mainstay of the party until the nomination of Ronald Reagan in 1980. The Democratic Party retained its conservative wing through the 1970s with the help of urban machine politics.[citation needed] This political realignment was mostly complete by 1980. After 1980, the Republicans became a mostly right-wing party, with conservative leaders such as Newt Gingrich, Trent Lott, and Tom DeLay, while the Democrats, while keeping their left wing intact with such Senators as Ted Kennedy, Christopher Dodd, and Paul Sarbanes, grew a substantial moderate wing in the 1990s in place of their old conservative wing, with leaders such as Bill Clinton, Al Gore, and Evan Bayh. In 2008, the Democrats nominated Barack Obama for President; he was the first nominee since 1988 that was not a member of the moderate Democratic Leadership Council. The transformation of the Deep South into a Republican stronghold was effectively completed after the Republican Revolution of 1994, which saw Republicans pick up Congressional seats all over the country. In 2005, Georgia Senator Zell Miller, arguably the last traditional conservative Southern Democrat, retired.

Since 1994, conservative and moderate Democrats have been organized in the House of Representatives as the Blue Dog Democrats and New Democrats, respectively.



1800–1865: From Jackson to the Civil War[edit]

The 1828 presidential election marked the beginning of the Democratic Party as a modern, mass-based political party. The opposition to Andrew Jackson was the short-lived National Republican Party, which later combined with other opponents of Jackson as the Whig Party. Jackson's supporters dropped the "Republican" part of the name and became known as the Democratic Party. Andrew Jackson is notable as the first U.S. President to be elected from the frontier rather than from the East Coast.

The Democratic Party split along regional lines for the first time in 1860 over slavery. This split between southern and northern factions led to a brand new party in 1854, the Republican Party and its candidate Abraham Lincoln being elected in 1860. The Civil War followed shortly thereafter.

In 1865, the 13th Amendment—abolishing slavery—became part of the Constitution when it was ratified by three-quarters of the states. Despite protests from the Democrats, the Republican Party made banning slavery part of its national platform in 1864. Senator Lyman Trumbull (R-IL) wrote the final version of the text, combining the proposed wordings of several other Republican congressmen.

1876–1964: The 'Solid South'[edit]

Main article: Solid South

The Solid South describes the reliable electoral support of the U.S. Southern states for Democratic Party candidates for almost a century after the Reconstruction era. Except for 1928, when Catholic candidate Al Smith ran on the Democratic ticket, Democrats won heavily in the South in every Presidential election from 1876 until 1964 (and even in 1928, the divided South provided most of Smith's electoral votes). The Democratic dominance originated in many Southerners' animosity towards the Republican Party's role in the Civil War and Reconstruction.

1874–1896: The rise of agrarian populism[edit]

The United States Populist Party, United States Greenback Party, and the Agrarianism movement are often cited as the first truly left-wing political movements within the United States. Nonetheless, while they emphasized economic issues that were radical by the political standards of the time, they are relatively conservative by today's standards. Historian Richard Hofstadter has taken the view that the Populist and Agrarian movements were essentially right-wing and reactionary movements, left-wing economic issues notwithstanding.

Because of the political dominance of one party or the other in many states, the real political races during this period would often be within the party primary. Indeed, in many southern states, there was hardly any Republican Party at all, and the serious candidates of both the conservative and liberal kind were all Democrats. For example, in the southern states the race might be between a populist left-wing Democrat and a conservative Democrat in the primary, while in regions of the country such as the Midwest or New England in which the Republican Party was dominant, the race might be decided in the primary between a progressive Republican and a conservative Republican.

In 1896, William Jennings Bryan won the Democratic Party nomination by adopting many of the Populist Party's proposals as his own.

1932–1948: FDR and the New Deal coalition[edit]

See main articles: New Deal coalition, Conservative coalition.

The 1932 election brought about a major realignment in political party affiliation, and is widely considered to be a realigning election. Franklin D. Roosevelt was able to forge a coalition of labor unions, liberals, Catholics, African Americans, and southern whites. These disparate voting blocs together formed a broad majority and handed the Democrats seven victories out of nine presidential elections to come, as well as control of both houses of Congress during much of this time. In many ways, it was the American civil rights movement that ultimately heralded the demise of the coalition.

Roosevelt's program for alleviating the Great Depression, collectively known as the New Deal, emphasized only economic issues, and thus was compatible with the views of those who supported the New Deal programs but were otherwise conservative. This included the Southern Democrats, who were an important part of FDR's New Deal coalition.

There were a few conservative Democrats who came to oppose the New Deal, including Senator Harry F. Byrd, Senator Rush D. Holt, Sr., Senator Josiah Bailey, and Representative Samuel B. Pettengill.

Political anomalies during the Great Depression[edit]

See main articles: Share Our Wealth, Charles Coughlin, Francis Townsend, EPIC movement, and Critics of the New Deal.

During the Roosevelt administration, several radical populist proposals which went beyond what Roosevelt was willing to advocate gained in popularity. It is notable that all four of the main promoters of these proposals, Charles Coughlin, Huey Long, Francis Townsend, and Upton Sinclair, were originally strong New Deal supporters but turned against Roosevelt because they believed the New Deal programs didn't go far enough. Like the New Deal programs, these populist proposals were based entirely on single economic reforms, but did not take a position on any other issue and were therefore compatible with those holding otherwise conservative views. Some historians today believe that the primary base of support for the proposals of Coughlin, Long, Townsend, and Sinclair was conservative middle class whites who saw their economic status slipping away during the Depression.[1]

A different source of conservative Democratic dissent against the New Deal came from a group of journalists who considered themselves classical liberals and Democrats of the old school, and were opposed to big government programs on principle; these included Albert Jay Nock and John T. Flynn, whose views later became influential in the libertarian movement.

Conversely, it also held the party to increasing commitment to ending segregationism and Jim Crow, and disengaging itself from its segregationist wing, held to be too far right for the new centrist consensus. This led to a conservative backlash by southern Democrats during the same period.

1948–1968: Segregationist backlash[edit]

See main articles: Dixiecrat, T. Coleman Andrews, Harry F. Byrd, George Wallace, and American Independent Party.

The proclamation by President Harry S. Truman and Senator Hubert Humphrey of support for a Negro civil rights plank in the Democratic Party platform of 1948 led to a walkout of 35 delegates from Mississippi and Alabama. These southern delegations nominated their own "States Rights Democratic Party" (a/k/a "Dixiecrat Party") nominees with Senator Strom Thurmond leading the ticket (Thurmond would switch in 1964 to the Republicans). The Dixiecrats held their convention in Birmingham, Alabama, where they nominated Thurmond for president and Fielding L. Wright, governor of Mississippi, for vice president. Dixiecrat leaders worked to have Thurmond-Wright declared the "official" Democratic Party ticket in Southern states. They succeeded in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina; in other states, they were forced to run as a third-party ticket.

Similar breakaway Southern Democratic candidates running on states' rights and segregationist platforms would continue in 1956 (T. Coleman Andrews), and 1960 (Harry F. Byrd). None would be as successful as the American Independent Party campaign of George Wallace, the Democratic governor of Alabama, in 1968. Wallace had briefly run in the Democratic primaries of 1964 against Lyndon Johnson, but dropped out of the race early. In 1968, he formed the new American Independent Party and received 13.5% of the popular vote, and 46 electoral votes, carrying several Southern states.[2] The AIP would run Presidential candidates in several other elections, including conservative Southern Democrats (Lester Maddox in 1976 and John Rarick in 1980), but none of them did nearly as well as Wallace.

1977–1981: Jimmy Carter[edit]

Main article: Jimmy Carter

When Jimmy Carter entered the Democratic Party Presidential primaries in 1976, he at first was considered to have little chance against nationally better-known politicians. However, the Watergate scandal was still fresh in the voters' minds, and so his position as an outsider distant from Washington, D.C. became an asset. He ran an effective campaign, did well in debates, and won his party's nomination and then the election, receiving 50.1% of the popular vote. The centerpiece of his campaign platform was government reorganization. Carter was the first candidate from the Deep South to be elected president since Antebellum.

He is a born-again Christian and was (until 2000) a member of the Southern Baptist Convention. While the Republican Party began to pursue a strategy of wooing born-again Christians as a voting bloc after 1980, led by activists Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, in 1976, 56% of the evangelical Christian vote went to Carter. He combined conservative fiscal and social policies with more moderate views on peace and ecology, making for a rare combination in the history of American Presidents.[citation needed]

Carter's 1976 electoral sweep of all the states of the former Confederacy except Virginia (which he narrowly lost to Gerald Ford) was the first time a Democrat (excluding the third-party campaigns of George Wallace and Harry Byrd) had swept the South since 1956, and would not be repeated again. In 1992 and 1996, Bill Clinton would win some southern states, and Barack Obama was successful in some coastal Southern states such as Florida and Virginia, but otherwise the South turned solidly Republican after 1976.

1981–1989: The boll weevils of the Reagan era[edit]

After 1968, with desegregation a settled issue, the Republicans began a strategy of trying to win conservative Southerners away from the Democrats and into the Republican Party. Nonetheless, a bloc of conservative Democrats, mostly Southerners, remained in the United States Congress throughout the 1970s and 1980s. These included Democratic House members as conservative as Larry McDonald, who was also a leader in the John Birch Society. During the administration of Ronald Reagan, the term "boll weevils" was applied to this bloc of conservative Democrats, who consistently voted in favor of tax cuts, increases in military spending, and deregulation favored by the Reagan administration.

Boll weevils was sometimes used as a political epithet by Democratic Party leaders, implying that the boll weevils were unreliable on key votes or not team players. Most of the boll weevils eventually retired from office, or in the case of some such as Senators Phil Gramm and Richard Shelby, switched parties and joined the Republicans. Since 1988 the term boll weevils has fallen out of favor.

Political anomalies during the 1980s and 1990s[edit]

In 1980, a political unknown named Lyndon LaRouche entered the New Hampshire Democratic Primary and polled 2% of the vote, coming in fourth place. He and his National Democratic Policy Committee were largely ignored until 1984, when he became something of a curiosity by paying for half-hour political ads proclaiming Walter Mondale a Soviet agent of influence, and 1986, when two followers of his won upset victories in Democratic primaries for statewide races in Illinois. After the media began to pay attention, LaRouche was promptly labeled an ultraconservative Democrat by some, and a nut by others, primarily due to the overlap of some of his views with those of the Reagan administration.[3] Others disputed the label and noted LaRouche's background as a Marxist/Trotskyist from the 1940s until the early 1970s.[4] Among those to criticize LaRouche as a "leftist" was conservative Democratic Congressman and John Birch Society leader Larry McDonald, who was killed when the passenger aircraft he was travelling in was shot down by Soviet interceptors.[5]

Aside from LaRouche, some Democratic leaders during the 1980s did turn toward conservative views, albeit very different from the previous incarnations of southern Democrats. In 1988, Joe Lieberman defeated Republican U.S. Senate incumbent Lowell Weicker of Connecticut by running to the right of Weicker and receiving the endorsements of the Moral Majority and the National Rifle Association. Colorado governor Richard Lamm, and former Minnesota Senator and Presidential candidate Eugene McCarthy both took up immigration reduction as an issue.[6] Lamm wrote a novel, 1988, about a third party Presidential candidate and former Democrat running as a progressive conservative, and Lamm himself would go on to unsuccessfully seek the nomination of the Reform Party in 1996. McCarthy began to give speeches in the late 1980s naming the Internal Revenue Service, the Federal Communications Commission, and the Federal Election Commission as the three biggest threats to liberty in the United States.

Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., known during the 1950s and 1960s as a champion of "Vital Center" ideology and the policies of Harry S. Truman and John F. Kennedy, wrote a 1992 book, The Disuniting of America critical of multiculturalism.[7] Jerry Brown, meanwhile, would adopt the flat tax as a core issue during the 1992 Democratic primaries. Bill Clinton, the winner of the 1992 Democratic nomination, ran as a New Democrat and a member of the centrist Democratic Leadership Council, distancing himself from the party's liberal wing.

Current trend[edit]

The Conservative Democratic movement received a recent, but short, rebirth in party structure. During the 2006 midterm elections, the Democratic Party ran moderates and even a few conservative Democrats for at-risk Republican seats.[8] The Blue Dog Democrats gained nine seats during the election.[9] The New Democrats had support from 27 of the 40 Democratic candidates running for at-risk Republican seats.[8] In 2010, the Blue Dog Coalition lost more than half its members. As of 2015, the Blue Dog Coalition has 14 members.

According to Noam Chomsky, the Democratic Party as a whole has gradually moved further to the right and are now "moderate Republicans."[10]

2009–present: Presidency of Barack Obama[edit]

President Barack Obama has been regarded by many on both the left and the right as being a continuation of the policies of President George W. Bush

2008 United States presidential election[edit]

During the Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign, he received the endorsement prominent Obamacons, conservatives and Republicans who supported Obama.[11]

2008 Democratic Party presidential primaries[edit]

During the 2008 Democratic Party presidential primaries, Hillary Clinton ran to the left of Barack Obama on economic issues. On the issue of health care, Clinton was willing to include an individual mandate to buy health insurance as part of a program for universal coverage. Obama was not willing to go so far, and came in for substantial criticism from liberals for it. Clinton proposed a Cabinet-level poverty czar position. Clinton secured more labor union backing than Obama, and Obama did better than Clinton at gaining primary votes from self-identified independents. However, on foreign policy issues, Hillary Clinton was more hawkish than Barack Obama.[12]

Domestic policy[edit]

Civil liberties[edit]
NSA spying[edit]

On July 9, 2008, Senator Obama voted in favor of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 Amendments Act of 2008.[13] The Obama administration has continued and expanded the Bush administration's National Security Agency’s warrantless surveillance of Americans citizens.[14]

Patriot Act[edit]

On March 2, 2006, Senator Obama voted in favor of the USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005. On February 25, 2011, President Obama signed the FISA Sunsets Extension Act of 2011 into law. On May 26, 2011, President Obama signed the PATRIOT Sunsets Extension Act of 2011 into law.[15]


On June 2, 2015, President Obama signed into law the USA FREEDOM Act of 2015.[16]

Economic policy[edit]
Corporate profits[edit]

According to Theda Skocpol and Lawrence Jacobs, "In practice, [Obama] helped Wall Street avert financial catastrophe and furthered measures to support businesses and cater to mainstream public opinion. … He has always done so through specific policies that protect and further opportunities for businesses to make profits."[11]

Deficit reduction[edit]

According to the Congressional Budget Office, in 2009 around 9.8 percent of the GDP share was deficit. In 2014, that had been reduced to around 2.9 percent.[11]


In the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, tax cuts made up 35 percent of the budgetary cost of the stimulus bill, $291 billion.[11]

Obama extended the Bush tax cuts for two years in 2010.[11]


The origins of the concept of an individual mandate coupled with subsidies for private insurance as a means for universal healthcare that is found in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act goes back to at least 1989, when the conservative Heritage Foundation proposed an individual mandate as an alternative to single-payer health care.[17] Senior Obama adviser David Axelrod said that Romney’s Massachusetts plan was the "template" for Obama’s plan.[11] According to Professor Cornel West, Richard Nixon's purposed healthcare plan was to the left of Obama's healthcare plan.[18]

Social policy[edit]

Obama has expressed support for states being able to ban late-term abortions, so long as there is an exception for the life of the mother. He believes that "mental distress" should not qualify as a threat to "the health of the mother".[19] On March 24, 2010, President Obama issued Executive Order 13535, which ensuring that existing limits on the federal funding of abortion remain in place under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.[20]


Prior to June 10, 2013, Obama supported his health secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, in her decision to block over-the-counter sales of an after-sex contraceptive pill to girls under age 17.[21][22]

Death penalty[edit]

President Obama favors the death penalty for cases in which "the community is justified in expressing the full measure of its outrage."[23] On June 25, 2008, Obama condemned United States Supreme Court decision Kennedy v. Louisiana, which outlawed the death penalty for a child rapist when the victim was not killed. He said that states have the right to consider capital punishment.[24]

Gun control[edit]

On July 13, 2006, Senator Obama voted in favor of the Firearm Confiscation Prohibition Amendment, which is an amendment that would prohibit the use of any funds appropriated in the FY2007 Department of Homeland Security Act from being used to confiscate legal firearms during states of emergency or major disasters.[25] In 2010, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, a nonprofit organizations that advocate for gun control, gave President Obama an F score in every category when it came gun control for 2009.[26]

Same-sex marriage[edit]

From October 26, 2004 to May 9, 2012, Barack Obama officially opposed same-sex marriage as his official public policy, while privately supporting it.[27] He believed the issue of same-sex marriage should be left up to the states to decide.[28] Until February 23, 2011, the Obama administration continued to defend the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act.[29] On May 9, 2012, Obama officially came out in support of same-sex marriage, but still maintained that the issue should be left to the states.[30] He maintained a state's rights position on the issue of same-sex marriage until October 27, 2014.[31]

War on Drugs[edit]

President Obama has continued the harsh anti-drug policies of previous administrations, and his Department of Justice continues to treat marijuana as a dangerous drug.[11] According to Michael Scherer, "The Obama Administration is cracking down on medical marijuana dispensaries and growers just as harshly as the Administration of George W. Bush did."[32]

Foreign policy[edit]

According to Michael Tennant of the The New American, "When it comes to foreign policy, Barack Obama’s first term is really George W. Bush’s third."[33]

2011 military intervention in Libya[edit]

On March 19, 2011, President Obama began launching US airstrikes in Libya,[34]


In January 2015, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism found at least 2,464 people have now been killed by US drone strikes outside the country’s declared war zones since President Barack Obama’s inauguration. The research by the Bureau also reveals there have now been nearly nine times more strikes under Obama in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia than there were under his predecessor, George W Bush.[35]


According to Thomas Friedman, "The only question I have when it comes to President Obama and Israel is whether he is the most pro-Israel president in history or just one of the most."[36] As Senator, during the 2006 Lebanon War, Obama original cosponsor of a Senate resolution demanding that the United States do nothing to impede Israel’s military actions until they had achieved their objectives and censuring Iran and Syria because they were supporting resistance to Israel.[37] Noam Chomsky described Obama's position Gaza War as "approximately the Bush position".[38] On December 18, 2009, President Obama signed the Foreign Aid Budget Law of 2010, which includes granting $2.775 billion in security aid to the state of Israel.[39]

On February 18, 2011, the United States vetoed a UN resolution declaring Israeli settlements illegal.[40] On December 30, 2011, President Obama signed a bill providing $236 million in fiscal 2012 for the Israeli development of three missile defense programs: "Arrow-2″, "David’s Sling", and "Arrow-3″ medium-range interceptor.[41] On September 20, 2011, President Obama declared that the U.S. would veto a Palestinian application for statehood at the United Nations, asserting that "there can be no shortcut to peace".[42] On September 23, 2011, President Obama became the first United States president to supply Israel with modern bunker buster bombs.[43] On March 22, 2012, the United States voted against 5 UN resolutions condemning Israel.[44] Under President Obama, United States Foreign Military Financing for Israel has increased to $3 billion for the first time in history.[45] On July 27, 2012, President Obama signed the United States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act of 2012, which enhances strategic cooperation between the United States and Israel, and for other purposes.[46] After the conclusion of Operation Pillar of Defense, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked US President Obama for his "unwavering support for Israel's right to defend itself."[47]

On November 29, 2012, the United States voted against a UN resolution to grant Palestine non-Member observer state status in the United Nations.[48] During the 2014 Israel–Gaza conflict, President Obama stated his support for Israel's right to defend itself against Palestinian militants.[49] On July 23, 2014, the US voted against establishing an investigation by the United Nations into war crimes committed in Gaza.[50] On August 4, 2014, President Obama signed a bill that will give Israel $225 million to restock its Iron Dome missile defense system.[51] On December 19, 2014, President Obama signed the United States-Israel Strategic Partnership Act of 2014, which enhances the strategic partnership between the United States and Israel.[52] On December 30, 2014, the United States voted no on a UN draft resolution that insisted on a negotiated peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.[53] On June 29, 2015, President Obama signed Trans-Pacific Partnership fast track bill into law. In the bill, contained a provisions making rejection of Israel boycott a key objective in trade talks with European Union.[54]

Syrian Civil War[edit]

On August 1, 2012, it was revealed that President Obama signed a covert directive authorizing U.S. support for Syrian rebels battling President Bashar al-Assad's forces in the Syrian Civil War. It allows for clandestine support by the CIA and other agencies to the Syrian rebels.[55] On June 14, 2013, President Obama's authorized military aid to the Syrian rebels. U.S. officials said the new aid would include weapons and ammunition.[56] On August 31, 2013, President Obama announced that he is asking Congress to approve a military strike on Syria following the Ghouta chemical attack.[57] In August, 2013, the CIA begun delivering weapons to rebels in Syria.[58] On December 19, 2014, President Obama signed a spending bill that authorizes the training and equipping of moderate Syrian rebels battling the extremists for two years.[59]

War on Terror[edit]
Iraq War[edit]

During his time in the Senate, Obama voted ten times favor of war-funding bills that included funding for the Iraq War.[60] On May 22, 2008, Obama voted against an amendment on troop withdrawal from Iraq.[61] As president, Obama continued the Iraq War until December 18, 2011. Although the last US troops withdrew from Iraq on December 18, 2011, the US embassy and consulates continue to maintain a staff of more than 20,000 including US Marine Embassy Guards and between 4,000 and 5,000 private military contractors.[62][63]

Military intervention against Islamic State[edit]

On June 15, 2014, President Obama ordered dozens of United States troops to Iraq in order to combat Islamic State.[64] On June 29, 2014, the U.S. increased the number of its troops in Iraq from 180 to 480, to prevent the Islamic State from taking control of Baghdad International Airport.[65] On August 7, 2014, President Obama began airstrikes against the Islamic State in Iraq.[66] On September 22, 2014, President Obama began airstrikes against the Islamic State in Syria.[67]

War in Afghanistan[edit]

During his time in the Senate, Obama voted ten times favor of war-funding bills that included funding for the War in Afghanistan.[60] President Obama has continued the War in Afghanistan, much like his predecessor George W. Bush. On December 2, 2009, President Obama ordered 30,000 US troops to Afghanistan.[68] Currently, as of July 2015, 9,800 US troops are maintained in Afghanistan.[69]

Conservative Democrats today[edit]

Congressional caucuses[edit]

Blue Dog Coalition[edit]

Main article: Blue Dog Coalition

In 1994, moderate and conservative Democrats within the U.S. House of Representatives organized themselves into the Blue Dog Democrats, in response to the Republican victories at the polls that November. The explanation was that the Blue Dogs felt the party had moved so far left that it had "choked them blue." The name is a reference to an earlier term, Yellow dog Democrat (typically, a southerner who would vote for a Democrat even if a "yellow dog" were the Democratic candidate) and also to the "blue dog" paintings of a Louisiana artist. The Blue Dog Coalition is not considered as conservative as the earlier Dixiecrat and Boll Weevil incarnations of conservative Democrats.

Democrats for Life of America[edit]

Democratic Freedom Caucus[edit]

New Democrats[edit]

Main article: New Democrats

Conservative endorsements of Democratic candidates[edit]

During the 2004 election, several high-profile conservative writers endorsed the Presidential campaign of John Kerry, arguing that the Bush Administration was pursuing policies which were anything but conservative. Among the most notable of these endorsements came from Andrew Sullivan and Paul Craig Roberts, while a series of editorials in Pat Buchanan's The American Conservative magazine made a conservative case for several candidates, with Scott McConnell formally endorsing Kerry,[70] and Justin Raimondo giving the nod to independent Ralph Nader.[71]

In 2006, Democratic Nebraska senator Ben Nelson received the endorsements of groups such as the National Right to Life Committee and the National Rifle Association, respectively a pro-life group and pro-gun group, that both typically endorse Republicans.

In South Carolina in 2008, the Democratic candidate for United States Senator was Bob Conley, a traditional Catholic, and a former activist for the Presidential candidacy of Ron Paul. Conley failed in his bid to defeat Republican Lindsey Graham, receiving 42.4 percent of the vote.[72] Conley was the only Paul supporter to be a Senate candidate for either main party in 2008. Conley was widely expected to, but did not, challenge Joe Wilson for his seat in the House of Representatives in 2010.[citation needed]

In his 2010 campaign for reelection, Walter Minnick, the U.S. Representative for Idaho's 1st congressional district, was endorsed by Tea Party Express, an extremely rare occurrence for a Democrat.[73][74] Minnick was the only Democrat to receive a 100% rating from the Club for Growth, an organization the typically supports conservative Republicans.[75] Minnick ultimately lost to Raúl Labrador, a conservative Republican, in the general election.

Also in 2010, Travis Childers, the U.S. Representative for Mississippi's 1st congressional district, was endorsed by the National Right to Life Committee[76] and the National Rifle Association[77] in his reelection campaign. Childers lost to conservative Republican Alan Nunnelee.

Conservative Democrats as described by others[edit]

Public officials[edit]

U.S. Presidents[edit]
Vice Presidents[edit]
U.S. Senators[edit]
House of Representatives[edit]

Self described conservative Democrats[edit]

Public officials[edit]

U.S. Senators[edit]

Political philosophy[edit]

The modern view of a conservative Democrat is a Democrat who is fiscally conservative, with a moderate or conservative foreign policy, but socially liberal, moderate, or conservative. Some members of the left wing of the Democratic Party apply the term "Democrat in name only" to conservative Democrats.


According to a 2015 poll from the Pew Research Center, it found that in 54% of conservative and moderate Democrats support same-sex marriage in 2015, an increase of 22% from a decade ago.[104]

A 2015 Gallup poll found that found that 19% of Democrats identity themselves as conservative, a decline of 6% from 2000.[105]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Voices of Protest: Huey Long, Father Coughlin, and the Great Depression. Alan Brinkley. Knopf Press (1982).
  2. ^ The Politics of Rage: George Wallace, the Origins of the New Conservatism, and the Transformation of American Politics. Dan T. Carter. Simon & Schuster Press (1995).
  3. ^ "Perennial presidential candidate focusing on states" Associated Press. THE FREDERICK POST, FREDERICK, MD., FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 1986
  4. ^ Mintz, John (January 14, 1985). "Ideological Odyssey: From Old Left to Far Right". The Washington Post (The Washington Post Company). Retrieved September 1, 2013. 
  5. ^ Congressional Record - 97th Congress - Vol. 127 No. 123 p1
  6. ^ A Colony of the World: The United States Today. Eugene J. McCarthy. Hippocrene Books (1992).
  7. ^ The Disuniting of America. Arthur Schlesinger Jr. Norton Press (1992).
  8. ^ a b Hook, Janet (October 26, 2006). "A right kind of Democrat". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on October 14, 2009. Retrieved September 1, 2013.  See also: Dewan, Shaila; Kornblut, Anne E. (2006-10-30). "In Key House Races, Democrats Run to the Right". The New York Times. Retrieved 2006-11-10. 
  9. ^ Blue Dog Democrats
  10. ^ Noam Chomsky: Republicans & Democrats Have Shifted to the Right, and the GOP Is ‘Off the Spectrum’
  11. ^ a b c d e f g Obama Is a Republican
  12. ^ Hillary Clinton has always been to Obama's left on economics
  13. ^ Barack Obama II's Voting Records on Issue: Civil Liberties and Civil Rights
  14. ^ US surveillance has 'expanded' under Obama, says Bush's NSA director
  15. ^ Barack Obama II's Voting Records on Issue: National Security
  16. ^ Thorp V, Frank (2 June 2015). "Barack Obama Signs 'USA Freedom Act' to Reform NSA Surveillance". NBC News. NBC News. Retrieved 4 June 2015. 
  17. ^ Roy, Avik (February 7, 2012). "The Tortuous History of Conservatives and the Individual Mandate". Forbes Magazine. 
  18. ^ Cornel West: Obama A ‘Republican In Blackface,’ Black MSNBC Hosts Are ‘Selling Their Souls’
  19. ^ Where Is Obama's Truth on Late Term Abortion?
  20. ^ Obama signs executive order on abortion funding limits
  21. ^ Obama Endorses Decision to Limit Morning-After Pill
  22. ^ Obama administration to drop limits on morning-after pill
  23. ^ Religion and Politics 2008: Death Penalty Profile
  24. ^ Obama Disagrees with High Court on Child Rape Case, ABC News
  25. ^ Barack Obama II's Voting Records on Issue: Guns
  26. ^ Gun control group gives Obama an ‘F’
  27. ^ Obama privately backed gay marriage while publicly opposing it, book says
  28. ^ Obama In 2004: "I Don't Think Marriage Is A Civil Right"
  29. ^ Obama administration will no longer defend DOMA
  30. ^ Obama supports same-sex marriage, cites states’ rights
  31. ^ Toobin, Jeffrey (October 27, 2014). "The Obama Brief". The New Yorker. 
  32. ^ What Is President Obama’s Problem With Medical Marijuana?
  33. ^ The Bush-Obama-Neocon Doctrine
  34. ^ Obama on Libya: This is not what we wanted
  35. ^ Almost 2,500 now killed by covert US drone strikes since Obama inauguration six years ago: The Bureau’s report for January 2015
  36. ^ Israel’s Best Friend
  37. ^ Obama’s Voting Record on Israel
  38. ^ Noam Chomsky: Obama’s Stance on Gaza Crisis "Approximately the Bush Position"
  39. ^ Obama Approves $30 Billion in Military Aid to Israel Over Next Decade
  40. ^ U.S. vetoes U.N. resolution declaring Israeli settlements illegal
  41. ^ Obama signs bill that includes added U.S. military assistance to Israel
  42. ^ "Obama: No shortcut to peace in Middle East" Associated Press September 21, 2011
  43. ^ Shanker, Thom. "U.S. Quietly Supplies Israel With Bunker-Busting Bombs." New York Times, September 24, 2011.
  44. ^ Obama Administration Urged to Ditch ‘Anti-Israel’ U.N. Human Rights Council
  45. ^ "Fact Sheet: Advancing Israel's Security and Supporting Peace." The White House, July 27, 2012.
  46. ^ S. 2165 (112th): United States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act of 2012
  47. ^ "PM: Cease-fire will allow Israelis to get back to routine". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 22 November 2012. 
  48. ^ General Assembly Votes Overwhelmingly to Accord Palestine ‘Non-Member Observer State’ Status in United Nations
  49. ^ Gaza conflict: Obama warns Israel amid rising death toll
  50. ^ U.S. casts lonely vote against establishing war crimes inquiry in Gaza
  51. ^ Obama signs bill giving Israel $225 million for missile defense system
  52. ^ S. 2673 (113th): United States-Israel Strategic Partnership Act of 2014
  53. ^ U.N. Rejects Palestinian Resolution Demanding Israeli Withdrawal
  54. ^ Obama signs anti-BDS bill into law
  55. ^ Obama authorized covert support for Syrian rebels, sources say
  56. ^ Obama Steps Up Military Aid To Syrian Rebels
  57. ^ Obama Asks Congress To Approve Military Strike on Syria
  58. ^ CIA begins weapons delivery to Syrian rebels
  59. ^ Obama Signs Massive Defense Spending Bill
  60. ^ a b The Truth on Troop Support?
  61. ^ Barack Obama II's Voting Records on Issue: Defense
  62. ^ Denselow, James (25 October 2011). "The US departure from Iraq is an illusion". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 10 February 2014. 
  63. ^ Jaffe, Greg (18 December 2011). "Last U.S. troops cross Iraqi border into Kuwait". The Washington Post. Retrieved 19 December 2011. 
  64. ^ US Ops in Iraq Have Cost €550 Million Since June. DefenseNews, 29 August 2014. Retrieved 22 November 2014.
  65. ^ Youssef, Nancy A. (30 June 2014). "WASHINGTON: 480 U.S. troops now in Baghdad as officials move to secure access to airport | Iraq". McClatchy DC. Retrieved 13 August 2014. 
  66. ^ Obama Allows Limited Airstrikes on ISIS
  67. ^ Cooper, Helene; Schmitt, Eric (September 23, 2014). "U.S. Airstrikes by U.S. and Allies Hit ISIS Targets in Syria". The New York Times. Retrieved September 22, 2014. 
  68. ^ Obama orders Afghanistan surge
  69. ^ Recknagel, Charles (30 September 2014). "Explainer: Key Points In U.S.-Afghan Bilateral Security Agreement". Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty (Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty). Retrieved 26 October 2014. 
  70. ^ The American Conservative. "Kerry's The One" (November 8, 2004).
  71. ^ The American Conservative. "Old Right Nader" (November 8, 2004).
  72. ^ The New York Times. "Election Results: South Carolina" (November 6, 2008).
  73. ^ Stein, Sam (April 15, 2010). "Walt Minnick Tea Party Endorsement: Minnick Campaign Accepts". Huffington Post. 
  74. ^ "Walt Minnick: The Tea Party's 'token Democrat'?" The Week. April 22, 2010
  75. ^ Cadei, Emily. Minnick Earns Perfect Score on 'RePork Card' CQ Politics. 13 August 2009.
  76. ^ "Miss. Right to Life Grades The Candidates". Retrieved 2014-10-06. 
  77. ^ West, Phil. "Travis Childers receives NRA endorsement". Retrieved 2014-10-06. 
  78. ^ Andrew Jackson: Conservative Stalwart, Not Populist Business-Basher
  79. ^ The Impeachment of Andrew Johnson
  80. ^ Reagan adviser Bruce Bartlett: Face it, Obama is a conservative
  81. ^ Bill Clinton's conservative legacy?
  82. ^ Obama: FDR Was 'Fiscally Conservative'
  83. ^ Franklin Pierce, Forgotten Conservative
  84. ^ a b How Reaganism actually started with Carter
  85. ^ Top 10 Greatest Conservative Presidents
  86. ^ George Will: John F. Kennedy the conservative
  87. ^ The legend of Al Gore and Rick Perry
  88. ^ Ben Nelson Retiring Ahead Of 2012 Election
  89. ^ Creating Consent of the Governed: A Member of Congress and the Local Media
  90. ^ Norcross backs Booker for Senate
  91. ^ [1]." Moore, Stephen. "The Good Governor Guide. " Wall Street Journal 5 Feb. 1992, Eastern edition: ABI/INFORM Global, ProQuest. Web. 5 August 2009.
  92. ^ Hillary Clinton Sides With Big Oil
  93. ^ The Man in the Middle: Joe Donnelly
  94. ^ Joe Manchin boosts fellow red-state Dems
  95. ^ New DSCC chair Jon Tester doesn't look or think like his party, and that could be a problem
  96. ^ John Edwards says Dems should do more on poverty
  97. ^ Rep. Gillibrand Tapped To Fill Clinton's Seat
  98. ^ Mary Landrieu says the pundits and polls have it all wrong
  99. ^ Democrat Mark Pryor struggles to hold Senate seat in Arkansas
  100. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Conservative Democrats Warn Against Funding Abortion in Healthcare Reform
  101. ^ Last white Democrat from Deep South loses Congressional seat
  102. ^ Andrew Cuomo, fake Democrat
  103. ^ 'Zell, We Hardly Knew Ye': Senator Zell Miller and the Politics of Region
  104. ^ Section 1: Changing Views of Same-Sex Marriage
  105. ^ U.S. Liberals at Record 24%, but Still Trail Conservatives

External links[edit]