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Video:Profile of the Democratic Party

with Nathan Buck

The Democratic party is one of the major political parties in the U.S. and encompasses many ideals. Watch this About.com video to learn more about the Democratic party.See Transcript

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Transcript:Profile of the Democratic Party

Hi, my name is Nathan Buck for About.com. Today, I am going to profile the modern Democratic Party.

Introduction to the Democratic Party

Today's Democratic Party has many factions and its share of contradictory positions on a wide range of issues. Recent Democratic presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama are considered centrist Democrats. However, it is generally agreed that Democrats coalesce around a belief that, while government is not the only solution to economic, social and moral challenges, it can be a force for good and should be used to actively improve the prosperity and well-being of America and Americans.

Core Beliefs of the Democratic Party

Democrats tend to believe that, while our capitalist system should be preserved, it must be regulated by government to be kept from corruption and excess. Democrats also believe that working and middle class individuals and households particularly need a helping hand in order to thrive in our system, and believe that successful individuals and businesses are morally and legally obligated to give back to the system by which they have benefitted -- and thus champion a progressive tax code. Finally, the Democrats believe that Americans have a right to affordable health care, and has consistently pursued a National Health Care system, and of the two parties is considered to be the one that champions Immigration Reform, Women's and Minority Rights and Organized Labor.

Early Roots of the Democratic Party

The U.S. Democratic Party is one of the oldest continually operating political parties in the world, tracing its history back to Thomas Jefferson, whose populist beliefs are an enduring tradition in the party. It achieved its present day name under President Andrew Jackson in 1828. The issue of slavery ripped apart the Democratic party in the 1850s with many Democrats opting to side with the pro-slavery South in the lead up to the Civil War. This created an opening for the new anti-slavery Republican Party, led by Abraham Lincoln, and the Republicans would go on to dominate U.S. politics for the next 50 years.

Formation of Modern-Day Democratic Party

It was under Franklin Roosevelt that the modern day Democratic party really emerged. Roosevelt's policies, in particular his New Deal expansion of government and deficit spending creating government sponsored jobs to combat unemployment, his aggressive regulation of banks and Wall Street, his creation of the Social Security system, and his defense of labor unions and support for minorities are all legacies that all subsequent Democratic Presidents, and even some Republicans, would draw from during their administrations.

Demographics of the Democratic Party

Although it is a big tent, one can generalize that Democrats are urban, from the Northeast and the Coasts, female, college-educated and minorities. They are poor, working or middle class and pro-labor. In terms of political power the Democratic party has held the presidency for 16 of the last 40 years including the current president, and since the so-called Republican Revolution in 1994 has held the House of Representatives for only 4 of the last 18 years and the Senate for 8 including the past 6 years. And that's some information about the Democratic Party. To learn more please visit About.com.

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