Democratic Party (United States)

The Democratic Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States. Founded in 1828, it was predominately built by Martin Van Buren, who assembled a wide cadre of politicians in every state behind war hero Andrew Jackson, making it the world's oldest active political party.[13][14][15] Its main political rival has been the Republican Party since the 1850s. In the modern day, it is a big-tent coalition that encompasses a wide variety of ideological factions, including but not limited to centrists, liberals, and progressives.[16] The party is less ideologically uniform than the Republican Party (with major individuals within it frequently holding widely differing political views) due to a broader list of unique voting blocs that compose it.[17][18][19]

Democratic Party
ChairpersonJaime Harrison (SC)
Governing bodyDemocratic National Committee[1][2]
U.S. PresidentJoe Biden (DE)
U.S. Vice PresidentKamala Harris (CA)
Senate Majority LeaderChuck Schumer (NY)
Speaker of the HouseNancy Pelosi (CA)
House Majority LeaderSteny Hoyer (MD)[lower-alpha 1]
FoundedJanuary 8, 1828; 194 years ago (1828-01-08)[3]
Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
Preceded byDemocratic-Republican Party
Headquarters430 South Capitol St. SE,
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Student wing
Youth wingYoung Democrats of America
Women's wingNational Federation of Democratic Women
Overseas wingDemocrats Abroad
Membership (2021) 47,019,985[4]
Colors  Blue
Seats in the Senate
Seats in the House of Representatives
220 / 435
State governorships
22 / 50
Seats in state upper chambers
861 / 1,972
Seats in state lower chambers
2,432 / 5,411
Territorial governorships
3 / 5
Seats in territorial upper chambers
31 / 97
Seats in territorial lower chambers
8 / 91
Election symbol

The historical predecessor of the Democratic Party is considered to be the Democratic-Republican party.[20][21] Before 1860, the Democratic Party supported powerful and active executive governance, the slave power, agrarianism, expansionism, and Manifest Destiny while opposing the establishment of a national bank, protectionism, and the conservative views of their National Republican and Whig rivals.[22] The Civil War period saw the party split over the issue of slavery and secession from the Union and won the presidency only twice between 1860 and 1910. In the late 19th century, it continued to oppose high tariffs while having fierce internal debates on the gold standard. In the early 20th century, it supported progressive reforms and opposed imperialism, with Woodrow Wilson winning the White House in 1912 and 1916. Since Franklin D. Roosevelt and his New Deal coalition after 1932, the Democratic Party has promoted a social liberal platform.[5][23] The New Deal attracted strong support for the party from recent European immigrants, many of whom were Catholics based in the cities, but caused a decline of the party's pro-business wing.[24][25][26] Following the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the core bases of the two parties shifted, with the Southern states becoming more reliably Republican in presidential politics and the Northeastern states becoming more reliably Democratic. The once-powerful working class and labor union element of the party has declined since the 1970s. Since the early 2010s, the party has shifted significantly to the left on social, cultural, and religious issues and attracted support from college-educated white Americans.[27][28][29][30] People living in urban areas, women, and younger Americans, as well as most racial, religious, and sexual minorities, are more likely to support the Democratic Party.[31][32][33][34]

The Democratic Party's philosophy of modern liberalism blends notions of civil liberty and social equality with support for a mixed economy.[35] In Congress, the party is a big-tent coalition with influential centrist, progressive, and conservative wings.[27][16] Corporate governance reform, environmental protection, support for organized labor, expansion of social programs, affordable college tuition, health care reform,[36] equal opportunity, and consumer protection form the core of the party's economic agenda.[37][38] On social issues, it advocates campaign finance reform,[39] LGBT rights,[40] criminal justice[41] and immigration reform,[42] stricter gun laws,[43] abortion rights,[44] and drug reform.[45]

Including the incumbent, Joe Biden, 16 Democrats have served as President of the United States. As of 2022, the party holds a federal government trifecta (the presidency and majorities in both the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate), as well as 22 state governorships, 17 state legislatures, and 14 state government trifectas. Three of the nine sitting U.S. Supreme Court justices were appointed by Democratic presidents. By registered members (in those states which permit or require registration by party affiliation), the Democratic Party is the largest party in the United States and the third largest in the world.[5]

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