Democracy is a form of government in which all people have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Ideally, this includes equal (and more or less direct) participation in the proposal, development and passage of legislation into law. It can also encompass social, economic and cultural conditions that enable the free and equal practice of political self-determination.
Many people use the term “democracy” as shorthand for liberal democracy, which may include elements such as political pluralism; equality before the law; the right to petition elected officials for redress of grievances; due process; civil liberties; human rights; and elements of civil society outside the government.
Democratic Political Party:
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United State. The party’s social liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous operation in the United States, and is one of the oldest political parties in the world. The party had 72 million registered voters in 2004.
Since the 1890s, the Democratic Party has favored liberal positions (the term “liberal” in this sense describes social liberalism, not classical liberalism). In recent exit polls, the Democratic Party has had broad appeal across all socio-ethno-economic demographics. Historically, the party has favored farmers, laborers, labor unions, and religious and ethnic minorities; it has opposed unregulated business and finance, and favored progressive income taxes. In foreign policy, internationalism (including interventionism) was a dominant theme from 1913 to the mid-1960s. In the 1930s, the party began advocating welfare spending programs targeted at the poor. The party had a pro-business wing, and a Southern conservative wing that shrank after President Lyndon B. Johnson supported the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The major influences for liberalism were labor unions (which peaked in the 1936–1952 era), and the African American wing, which has steadily grown since the 1960s. Since the 1970s, environmentalism has been a major new component.
In recent decades, the party has adopted a centrist economic and socially progressive agenda, with the voter base having shifted considerably. Today, Democrats advocate more social freedoms, affirmative action, balanced budget, and a free enterprise system tempered by government intervention (mixed economy). The economic policy adopted by the modern Democratic Party, including the former Clinton administration, has been referred to as the “Third Way”. The party believes that government should play a role in alleviating poverty and social injustice and use a system of progressive taxation.
Social liberals (modern liberals) and progressives constitute roughly half of the Democratic voter base. Liberals thereby form the largest united typological demographic within the Democratic base.
Many progressive Democrats are descendants of the New Left of the Democratic. America Votes and the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights are liberal umbrella organizations that push for progressive causes.
Conservatives (Southern Democrats and Conservative Democrats)
The Pew Research Center has stated that conservative Democrats represent 15% of registered voters and 14% of the general electorate.
Independent Political Position:
In politics, an independent or non-party politician is an individual not affiliated to any political party. Independents may hold a centrist viewpoint between those of major political parties, a viewpoint more extreme than any major party, or they may have a viewpoint based on issues that they do not feel that any major party addresses. Other independent politicians are associated with a political party and may be former members of it, but choose not to stand under its label.
Though centrists Democrats differ on a variety of issues, they typically foster a mix of political views and ideas. Centrism landing in the middle between left-wing politics and right-wing politics. Centrist ideologies tend to focus around policies such as civil liberties/human rights, social liberalism and economic liberalism.
Moderate Political Position:
Voters who describe themselves as centrist often mean that they are moderate in their political views, advocating neither extreme left-wing politics nor right-wing politics. Voters may identify with moderation for a number of reasons: pragmatic, ideological or otherwise.
An alternate definition is to assume that the two poles in question (e.g., Left/Right) are well defined, making the ‘political center’ the position equidistant between these two extremes.
Radical Position: Radical Centrism
The term centrism can also be used as a radical position on the traditional one-dimensional political spectrum.
Socialist Movement Position:
“Centrism” has a specific meaning within the socialist political movement. It usually reflects an ideologically held position between a revolutionary and reformist position.