Factions in the Democratic Party (United States)
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- 1 Centrist factions
- 2 Center-left factions
- 3 Left-wing factions
- 4 Voter base
- 4.1 African Americans
- 4.2 Age
- 4.3 Asian Americans
- 4.4 Christians
- 4.5 Education
- 4.6 Hispanic Americans
- 4.7 Income
- 4.8 Irreligious Americans
- 4.9 Jewish Americans
- 4.10 Labor
- 4.11 LGBT Americans
- 4.12 Marital status
- 4.13 Ideology
- 4.14 Muslim Americans
- 4.15 Native Americans
- 4.16 Region
- 4.17 Registered Democrats
- 4.18 Women
- 4.19 Working class
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 External links
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During the 1968 United States presidential election, moderate pro-war candidate Hubert Humphrey took the Democratic presidential nomination over the winner of the popular vote, anti-war progressive Eugene McCarthy.
In December 1972, the Coalition for a Democratic Majority, a centrist faction within the Democratic Party, was created after the landslide victory of Republican Richard Nixon over anti-war progressive Democrat George McGovern in the 1972 presidential election. The presidency of Jimmy Carter led to a right-wing shift in the Democratic Party. From Franklin D. Roosevelt to Richard Nixon, there was a bipartisan support for maintaining social liberal programs created as part of FDR's New Deal. The Carter administration was the first to begin deregulating and neo-liberalizing the United States economic system.
In 1985, the Democratic Leadership Council, a centrist faction within the party, was created after the landslide victory of Republican Ronald Reagan over moderate Democrat Walter Mondale at the 1984 presidential election.
During the 1992 United States presidential election, Bill Clinton and Al Gore, both members of the Democratic Leadership Council, each ran as a New Democrat, running as a centrist Democrat for more limited government. On social issues, Clinton signed the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. On LGBT rights, although coming out strongly in 1993 for open military service for LGBT Americans, Clinton settled on the compromise Don't ask, don't tell policy (signed the Defense of Marriage Act into law) and signed Executive Order 12968 and 13087.
The 2004 Democratic Party presidential primaries and caucuses was largely a three-way fight between John Kerry, member of the New Democrat Coalition, John Edwards (also a member of the New Democrat Coalition) and Howard Dean, founder of the progressive Democracy for America.
Most centrist Democrats in Congress are members of the moderate, pro-growth New Democrat Coalition, although the Blue Dog Coalition does include some centrists. There is considerable overlap in the membership of the New Democrats and Blue Dogs, with most of the Blue Dogs holding simultaneous membership and leadership positions with the New Democrats.
During the 2020 Democratic Party presidential primaries and caucuses the following major presidential candidates are running as moderates: Michael Bennet, Joe Biden, Steve Bullock, John Delaney, John Hickenlooper, Amy Klobuchar, and Seth Moulton.
From the 1860s to the 1940s, conservative Democrats came to mean opposition to the Radical Republicans who wanted to grant full citizenship rights to freed slaves and take political power away from the ex-Confederates. In the 1940s, the Democratic Party began to advocate against segregation.
The conservative coalition was an unofficial coalition in the United States Congress bringing together a conservative majority of the Republican Party and the conservative, mostly Southern wing of the Democratic Party. It was dominant in Congress from 1937-1963 and remained a political force until the mid-1980s, eventually dying out in the 1990s. In terms of Congressional roll call votes, it primarily appeared on votes affecting labor unions. The conservative coalition did not operate on civil rights bills, for the two wings had opposing viewpoints. However, the coalition did have the power to prevent unwanted bills from even coming to a vote. The coalition included many committee chairmen from the South who blocked bills by not reporting them from their committees. Furthermore, Howard W. Smith, Chairman of the House Rules Committee, often could kill a bill simply by not reporting it out with a favorable rule and he lost some of that power in 1961. The conservative coalition was not concerned with foreign policy as most of the Southern Democrats were internationalists, a position opposed by most Republicans.
Today, conservative Democrats are generally regarded as members of the Democratic Party who are more conservative than the national political party as a whole. Today's conservative Democrats vary greatly in ideology. Some are fiscally conservative yet socially liberal, somewhat akin to the now rare Moderate Republicans, whereas others have a more communitarian ideology – that is, fiscally conservative and socially moderate – reminiscent of Christian democrats in Europe and Latin America. On foreign policy, conservative Democrats are generally liberal internationalists. Conservative Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives are usually members of the Blue Dog Coalition, although there is some overlap with the New Democrats. The Blue Dog Coalition prioritizes pragmatic and commonsense solutions to critical issues, "pursuing fiscal responsibility, ensuring a strong national defense, and transcending party lines to get things done for the American people."
Civil liberties advocates and people against national debt also often support the Democratic Party because its positions on such issues as civil rights and separation of church and state are more closely aligned to their own than the positions of the Republican Party and because the Democrats' economic agenda may be more appealing to them than that of the Libertarian Party.
Civil libertarians oppose gun control, the "War on Drugs", protectionism, corporate welfare, governmental borrowing and an interventionist foreign policy. Some civil libertarians also support the party because of their support of habeas corpus for unlawful combatants, opposition to torture of suspected terrorists, extraordinary rendition, warrantless wiretapping, indefinite detention without trial or charge, the Patriot Act, the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base and what they see as the erosion of the protections of the Bill of Rights.
In the 2010s, following the revelations about National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance in 2013 and the advent of online decentralization and cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Democratic lawmakers such as Representative Jared Polis have worked alongside libertarian Republicans like Senator Rand Paul and Representative Justin Amash, earning plaudits from such traditional libertarian sources as Reason. The growing political power of Silicon Valley, a longtime Democratic stronghold which is friendly to economic deregulation and strong civil liberties protections while maintaining traditionally liberal views on social issues, has also had a serious impact on the increasingly libertarian leanings of young Democrats.
The Democratic Freedom Caucus is an organized group of this faction. Another group, the Libertarian Democratic Caucus (LDC) seeks to build libertarian coalitions on issues regardless of political party.
Modern liberalism in the Democratic Party began during the Progressive era. From 1900-1920, liberals called themselves progressives and rallied behind Democrats such as William Jennings Bryan and Woodrow Wilson to fight corruption, waste and big trusts. The Wilson administration saw the enactment of the New Freedom, progressive social programs enacted from 1913–16, when the Democrats controlled Congress. The rise of the women's suffrage movement saw the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution and a push for civil rights legislation on the basis of gender. The first modern self-described liberal Democratic President was Franklin D. Roosevelt, who enacted the New Deal, a series of social liberal programs enacted in the United States between 1933–38 and a few that came later. From the 1940s onwards, liberal Democrats began pushing for desegregation and civil rights legislation for racial minorities. Starting in the 1960s, liberal Democrats began pushing for immigration reform and gun control. During the Cold War, the liberal Democratic movement became anti-communist.
In the 1970s, liberal Democrats began pushing for civil rights for disabled people, consumer protection, environmentalism, LGBT rights, reproductive rights and the end to capital punishment. The election of President Jimmy Carter in 1976 marked the end of the bipartisan support from Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt to Richard Nixon to the New Deal programs and marked the beginning of support among Presidents for more neoliberal economic policies. The key legislative achievement of the Obama administration, the passage and enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, was generally supported among liberal Democrats, but criticized by some for not going far enough. On social progressivism, liberal Democrats achieved expansion of LGBT rights, federal hate crime laws, rescinding the Mexico City Policy, later reinstituted by President Donald Trump, rescinding the ban on federal taxpayer dollars to fund research on embryonic stem cells, Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and the United States–Cuban Thaw. In the 2010s, Democratic liberals began pushing for the legalization of cannabis, succeeding in several states. President Barack Obama, who opposed cannabis legalization despite being a former smoker himself, did not crack down on states that did legalize cannabis during his presidency.
Today, liberal Democrats are generally regarded as being socially progressive. On economic issues, liberal Democrats vary, with some supporting neoliberal economics while others support Keynesian economics or a mixed economic system. On foreign policy, there is also a divide among liberal Democrats, with some being liberal internationalists while other are less in favor of interventionism.
The presidency of Obama was comparatively further to the left than Bill Clinton's. In 2011, the Democratic Leadership Council, which supported more centrist and Third Way positions, was dissolved. Obama has opposed tax reform, the Keystone XL Pipeline and signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law. The candidacy of Hillary Clinton in 2016 continued this trend, as Secretary Clinton eschewed her husband's "New Covenant" centrism and fiscal moderation for liberal policies such as rolling back mandatory minimum sentencing laws, a debt-free college tuition plan for public university students and a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.
A 2015 Gallup annual average based on January though December 2015 as part of Gallup's monthly Gallup Poll Social Series surveys found a record 45% of Democrats identify as liberals—a rise from 29% in 2000. A 2015 Public Religion Research Institute found 82% of liberal Democrats opposed legally permitting small business owners to discriminate by refusing products and services to gay and lesbian people; including on the basis of their religious beliefs, while 15% supported allowing this and 3% did not know or refused to answer. A March 2015 Pew Research Center poll found 75% of liberal Democrats believed cannabis should be legal while 22% were opposed and 3% did not know. A March 2016 Pew Research Center poll found 84% of liberal Democrats support same-sex marriage while 12% oppose same-sex marriage and 87% believe homosexuality should be accepted by society while 8% believe it should be discouraged. A May 2016 Gallup poll found that more Democrats identified as liberal on social issues (57%) than liberal on economic issues (41%). The 57% of Democrats who currently say they are liberal on social issues is up from 35% in 2001.
During the 2020 Democratic Party presidential primaries and caucuses the following major presidential candidates are running as liberals: Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Julián Castro, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, Jay Inslee, Wayne Messam, Beto O'Rourke, Tim Ryan, Joe Sestak, Tom Steyer, and Eric Swalwell.
Today, progressive Democrats are generally regarded as social progressives on social issues. On economic issues, progressive Democrats generally promote Keynesian economics or a mixed economic system. The Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) is a caucus of progressive House Democrats, along with one independent in the Senate, in the Congress. It is the second largest Democratic caucus in the House of Representatives and its members have included Congressmen Dennis Kucinich (OH), Alan Grayson (FL), John Conyers (MI), Barbara Lee (CA), Jim McDermott (WA) and John Lewis (GA).
Many progressive Democrats are ideological descendants of the New Left of Democratic presidential candidate and Senator George McGovern of South Dakota, while others were involved in the presidential candidacies of Vermont Governor Howard Dean and U.S. Representative Dennis Kucinich of Ohio and still others are dissatisfied former members of the Green Party. This group consists disproportionately of college-educated professionals. A recent study by the Pew Research Center found that a plurality (41%) resided in mass affluent households and 49% were college graduates.
Progressive Democratic candidates for public office have had popular support as candidates in metropolitan areas outside the South, and among African-Americans nationwide. Senators Paul Wellstone (MN), Elizabeth Warren (MA), Jeff Merkley and Sherrod Brown (OH) have been described as progressive. Additionally, Senator Bernie Sanders (VT), although not a Democrat, is widely considered a progressive who caucuses with the Democrats. Other famous progressives include Henry A. Wallace, Eugene McCarthy and Ted Kennedy.
The 2016 Democratic Party presidential primaries and caucuses between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders was largely a fight along ideological lines between the liberals and progressives. Clinton, who referred to herself as a "progressive who gets things done", received substantial support from African Americans, older Americans, women, LGBT Americans, Latino Americans and Jewish Americans; Sanders, the first chair of and still a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, instead received an overwhelming majority of support from Millennials across the board. During the run-up to polling day, Clinton campaigned to appeal to moderate Republicans due to their rejection of the Republican candidate Donald Trump, backed by the far-right alt-right movement. One key area that Clinton ran to the left of Sanders on was gun control, with Clinton having a staunchly pro-gun control voting record in Congress while Sanders has been in favor of gun control, but he has not always voted for pro-gun control positions.
In 2016, the Blue Collar Caucus, a pro-labor, anti-outsourcing Caucus was formed, with significant overlap in members with the Progressive Caucus, although some moderates such as Dan Lipinski are members as well.
During the 2020 Democratic Party presidential primaries and caucuses the following major presidential candidates are running as progressives: Bill de Blasio, Tulsi Gabbard, Mike Gravel, Richard Ojeda, Elizabeth Warren, Marianne Williamson, and Andrew Yang.
In electoral politics, the Social Democrats, USA (SDUSA) National Co-Chairman Bayard Rustin stated in 1974 that the goal of SDUSA was to transform the Democratic Party into a social democratic party. Since the Great Recession, Occupy Wall Street, and Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign in 2016, support for democratic socialism and social democracy in the Democratic Party has increased. During the 2017 United States elections, eight more members of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) were elected to public office as Democrats on top of the twenty already serving.
During the 2020 Democratic Party presidential primaries and caucuses the only major presidential candidate who ran as a democratic socialist was Bernie Sanders.
There are three self-described democratic socialists in the United States Congress as of 2019: Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Representative Rashida Tlaib of Michigan; Ocasio-Cortez and Tlaib are members of the Democratic Party, while Sanders is an independent who caucuses with the Senate Democrats and has twice run for the Democratic Party's nomination for President of the United States, in 2016 and 2020. In all three of Sanders' elections to the Senate (2006, 2012 and 2018), and three of his elections to the House (1994, 1998, 2002), Sanders won the Democratic nomination, either through write-ins or appearing on the Democratic primary ballot; in all instances, he declined the nomination in order to remain an independent. Former Representative Ron Dellums of California described himself as a democratic socialist, and served from 1971 to 1998 in the House of Representatives and from 2007 to 2011 as Mayor of Oakland.
A large portion of the Democratic voting base are ethnic minorities. The Democrats' positions on affirmative action and civil rights, the economy and immigration have attracted many minorities to the party.
Originally, the Republican Party was favored by African Americans after the end of the civil war and emancipation of black slaves. This trend started to gradually change in the 1930s, with Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal programs that gave economic relief to all minorities including African Americans and Hispanics. Support for the civil rights movement in the 1960s by Democratic Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson helped give the Democrats even larger support among the African American community, although their position also alienated the Southern white population. Today, African Americans have as strong support for the Democratic Party as any group has for either party, voting 90% Democratic in the 2000 presidential election, 88% Democratic in the 2004 presidential election and 94% Democratic in the 2008 presidential election.
18–29 year old Americans
30–44 year old Americans
The Democratic Party also has considerable support in the small yet growing Asian American population. The Asian American population had been a stronghold of the Republican Party until the United States presidential election of 1992 in which George H. W. Bush won 55% of the Asian American vote, compared to Bill Clinton winning 31% and Ross Perot winning 15% of the Asian vote. Originally, the vast majority of Asian Americans consisted of strongly anti-communist, pro-democracy Vietnamese refugees, Chinese Americans, Taiwanese Americans, Korean Americans and socially conservative Filipinos who fled Ferdinand Marcos in the 1960s through the 1980s. The Republican Party's socially conservative, fervently anti-communist position strongly resonated with this original demographic. The Democratic Party made gains among the Asian American population starting in 1996 and in 2006 won 62% of the Asian American vote. Exit polls after the 2008 presidential election indicated that Democratic candidate Barack Obama had won 62% of the Asian American vote nationwide. In the 2012 presidential election, 73% of the Asian American electorate voted for Obama's re-election.
According to a survey taken by the Times of India, Obama had the support of 85% of Indian Americans, 68% of Chinese Americans and 57% of Filipino Americans in 2012. The Asian American community's increasing number of young voters has also helped to erode traditionally reliably Republican voting blocs such as Vietnamese and Filipino Americans, leading to an increase in support for Democrats. Prominent Asian American Democrats include Senators Mazie Hirono and Tammy Duckworth, former Senators Daniel Inouye and Daniel Akaka, former Governor and Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke and Representatives Mike Honda, Judy Chu, Doris Matsui and Norman Mineta.
As of 2019[update], every Democratic United States President, Democratic United States Vice President, and Democratic United States presidential nominee has been a Christian. According to the Pew Research Center, 78.93% of the Democratic caucus members in the 116th United States Congress were Christian. According to a 2017 Pew Research Center poll, 59% of Democratic and lean Democratic registered voters are Christian.
Non-high school graduates
The Hispanic American population, particularly the large Mexican American population in the Southwest and large Puerto Rican, Dominican and South American populations in the Northeast have been strongholds for the Democratic Party. Hispanic Democrats commonly favor liberal views on immigration, which supersedes in priority over the socially conservative views many Hispanics hold. In 1996 presidential election, Democratic President Bill Clinton received 72% of the Hispanic vote.
After a period of incremental gains under George W. Bush, the Republican Party's support among Hispanics seriously eroded after a heated and acrimonious debate within the party during the 109th Congress over immigration reform. Nationwide protests helped galvanize Hispanic political participation and in the 2006 mid-term elections Democrats increased their share the Hispanic vote from 2004 by 14 points to 69%. The trend continued in 2008 as Barack Obama carried the Latino vote with 67%. Obama expanded his share of the Latino vote to 71% in the 2012 presidential election.
Families with income less than $30,000
|Year||Branch||% of Democratic vote among families with income less than $30,000|
|1992||United States House of Representatives||61|
|1994||United States House of Representatives||55|
|1996||United States House of Representatives||58|
|1998||United States House of Representatives||56|
|2000||United States House of Representatives||58|
|2002||United States House of Representatives||60|
|2004||United States House of Representatives||62|
|2006||United States House of Representatives||65|
|2008||United States House of Representatives||68|
|2010||United States House of Representatives||57|
|2012||United States House of Representatives||64|
|2014||United States House of Representatives||60|
|2016||United States Presidency||53|
|2016||United States House of Representatives||57|
|2018||United States House of Representatives||63|
Families with income $30,000–49,999
The Democratic Party receives support from secular organizations such as the Secular Coalition for America and many agnostic and atheist Americans. Exit polls from the 2008 election showed that although a religious affiliation of "none" accounted for 12% of the electorate, they overwhelmingly voted for Obama by a 75–25% margin. In his inaugural address, Obama acknowledged atheists by saying that the United States is not just "Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus but non-believers as well". In the 2012 election cycle, Obama has moderate to high rankings with the Secular Coalition for America, whereas the majority of the Republican candidates have ratings in the low-to-failing range.
An October 2012 American Values Survey found that among unaffiliated American likely voters, 23% of unaffiliated American likely voters made up Obama's religious coalition of supporters, the largest share of the coalition.
A Pew Research Center survey conducted between January and June 2016 found 28% of Democratic and Democratic-leaning registered voters were religiously unaffiliated. A Pew Research Center survey conducted in June 2016 found 67% of religious nones supported Hillary Clinton for President, 23% supported Donald Trump and 10% answered other/do not know/or refused to answer.
|Year||Branch||% of Democratic vote who self identify their religion as "None"|
|1996||United States Presidency||59|
|2000||United States Presidency||61|
|2004||United States House of Representatives||65|
|2004||United States Presidency||67|
|2006||United States House of Representatives||74|
|2008||United States House of Representatives||72|
|2008||United States Presidency||75|
|2012||United States House of Representatives||71|
|2012||United States Presidency||70|
|2014||United States House of Representatives||69|
|2016||United States Presidency||68|
|2016||United States House of Representatives||72|
|2018||United States House of Representatives||70|
Atheist and agnostic Americans
An October 2012 American Values Survey found that among atheist and agnostic American voters, 51% identified politically independent, 39% Democratic, 9% Republican and 1% other. It also found that atheist and agnostic American voters identify 57% liberal and 81% supported Barack Obama in the 2012 presidential election.
Jewish Americans communities tend to be a stronghold for the Democratic Party, with more than 70% of Jewish voters having cast their ballots for the Democrats in the 2004 through 2012 presidential elections. Of the 29 Jewish Senators and Congressmen currently serving in Congress, 27 are Democrats. Among American Jews are people who consider themselves religious believers of one denomination or another, agnostic and/or atheists and people who are explicitly or implicitly secular.
Since the 1930s, a critical component of the Democratic Party coalition has been organized labor. Labor unions supply a great deal of the money, grass roots political organization and voting base of support for the party. Union membership in the United States has declined from an all-time high in 1954 of 35% to a low of 11% in 2015. After the 1968 Democratic National Convention, the McGovern–Fraser Commission set up the modern system of primaries. It also removed organized labor from its structural position of power in the Democratic Party and opened it up democratically to the voters. This saw a massive decline in the power of organized labor within the Democratic Party.
|Year||Branch||% of Democratic vote among union members|
|2000||United States Presidency||62|
|2004||United States House of Representatives||65|
|2004||United States Presidency||61|
|2006||United States House of Representatives||68|
|2008||United States House of Representatives||65|
|2008||United States Presidency||60|
Since the 1970s, LGBT Americans have become a key core consistency within the Democratic Party. In 1971, the Alice B. Toklas Memorial Democratic Club of San Francisco was formed as the first registered political action committee for LGBT Democrats in the nation. The 1972 Democratic National Convention saw the first speaking slots for LGBT people at a Democratic National Convention, along with votes and rejecting LGBT rights plank to the Democratic Party platform. The presidency of Jimmy Carter was the first to address LGBT rights, but he did very little to address LGBT rights as President. In the 1980 Democratic Party presidential primaries, in response to Carter not doing enough for LGBT rights and not supporting an LGBT plank in the Democratic Party, Ted Kennedy courted to LGBT voters, supporting adding an LGBT plank to the Democratic Party. LGBT voters voted for Kennedy during the primary, helping him win the California primary and lead to the first LGBT plank to the Democratic Party. During the 1988 United States presidential election, Michael Dukakis was overtly homophobic, leading to many LGBT voters to boo him during a meeting Dukakis had with LGBT groups. Polling showed that George H. W. Bush won 35–40% of the LGBT vote during the 1988 presidential election.
Both Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama heavily targeted LGBT voters. Exit polling going back to 1990 to the present show that LGBT voters overwhelming prefer the Democratic Party over the Republican Party. On average, about 72.5% of LGBT voters voted Democratic in exit polling for the presidential elections dating from 1992 to the present. On average, about 74.42% of LGBT voters voted Democratic in exit polling for House of Representatives elections dating from 1990 to the present. In the 2012 election exit polls, Obama won 76% of LGBT voters. In the 2016 election polls, Hillary Clinton won 78% of LGBT voters.
|Hunter College||November 15–26, 2007||501||62.8%||22.3%||6.5%||4.5%||1.2%||1.1%||1.0%||0.6%|
- Transgender Americans
At the 2000 Democratic National Convention, Jane Fee of Minnesota was the first transgender delegate to a Democratic National Convention. The 2008 national Democratic Party platform for the first time included "gender identity" in the party platform, the first explicit inclusion of transgender people in the national Democratic Party platform. In 2009, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) added gender identity to the DNC's non-discrimination policy and DNC Chair Tim Kaine appointed Barbra Casbar Siperstein the first openly transgender member of the DNC. In 2010, President Obama became the first president to appoint an openly transgender person to political positions in the United States federal government. In 2012, Trans United for Obama, the first partisan transgender issues group was formed to reelect President Barack Obama. During the 2015 State of the Union Address, President Obama became the first U.S. president ever to use the term "transgender". At the 2016 Democratic National Convention, Sarah McBride became the first openly transgender person to address a Democratic National Convention. A 2015 United States Transgender Survey found 50% of transgender Americans identified as Democrats, 48% as independents, including 4% socialist or democratic socialist, 2% Republicans and Green Party and 1% Libertarian and anarchist. Of the sample that is independent, 79% reported that they were Democrats or lean towards the Democratic Party, 4% were Republicans or lean towards the Republican Party and 17% were independents who do not lean Democratic or Republican parties. When asked about their political views, 55% described themselves as very liberal, 27% liberal, 15% moderate, 2% conservative and 1% very conservative.
Muslims make up about 0.6% of Americans and in the 2008 presidential election, 89% of Muslim Americans voted for Barack Obama. Muslim Americans tend to be financially well off as many in the community are small businessmen and educated professionals. They also tend to be socially conservative, but the younger generation of Muslim Americans tend to be more accepting in social liberal issues. However, after the September 11 attacks many experienced hostility and discrimination and many right-wing religious and political leaders attacked Islam both as a violent religion and as a threat to American values. Furthermore, most Muslim Americans opposed the Iraq War, solidifying their shift to the Democratic Party. Islamic convert Keith Ellison was elected as the first Muslim Congressman in 2006. He was elected as Democrats' Representative for Minnesota's 5th congressional district.
The Democratic Party also has strong support among the Native American population, particularly in Arizona, New Mexico, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Washington, Alaska, Idaho, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Oklahoma and North Carolina. Though now a small percentage of the population (virtually non-existent in some regions), most Native American precincts vote Democratic in margins exceeded only by African Americans.
Modern-day Democratic Native American politicians include former Congressman Brad Carson of Oklahoma and Lieutenant Governor Byron Mallott of Alaska as well as Principal Chief Bill John Baker of the Cherokee Nation and Governor Bill Anoatubby of the Chickasaw Nation.
While the American working class has lost much of its political strength with the decline of labor unions,[obsolete source] it remains a stronghold of the Democratic Party and continues as an essential part of the Democratic base. Today, roughly a third of the American public is estimated to be working class with around 52% being either members of the working or lower classes. Yet as those with lower socioeconomic status are less likely to vote, the working and lower classes are underrepresented in the electorate. The working class is largely distinguished by highly routinized and closely supervised work. It consists mainly of clerical and blue-collar workers. Even though most in the working class are able to afford an adequate standard of living, high economic insecurity and possible personal benefit from an extended social safety net make the majority of working-class people left-of-center on economic issues. However, most working class Democrats differ from most liberals in their more socially conservative views. Working class Democrats tend to be more religious and likely to belong to an ethnic minority. White working class Democrats are more in favor of gun rights and oppose affirmative action programs while non-white working class Democrats are more in favor of gun control measures and support affirmative action programs. Socially conservative and disadvantaged Democrats are among the least educated and lowest earning ideological demographics. In 2005, only 15% had a college degree, compared to 27% at the national average and 49% of liberals, respectively. Together socially conservative and the financially disadvantaged comprised roughly 54% of the Democratic base. The continued importance of the working class votes manifests itself in recent CNN exit polls, which shows that the majority of those with low incomes and little education vote for the Democratic Party.
However, since at least 1980 there has been a noticeable decline in support for the Democratic Party among white working class voters. In the 2008 presidential election, Barack Obama carried 40% of white voters without college degrees to John McCain carrying 58%. In the 2010 midterms, Democratic candidates for the House of Representatives carried only 33% of the white working class vote compared to 63% for the Republican candidates. In the 2012 presidential election, Obama carried 36% of white working class voters to Mitt Romney carrying 61%. In the 2014 midterms, Democratic candidates for the House of Representatives carried 34% of the white working class vote compared to 64% for the Republican candidates. In the 2016 presidential election, Hillary Clinton carried only 28% of white working class voters to Donald Trump carrying 67%.
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