There have always been different divisions within the Democrat Party and it has historically been factionalised into two main groups (as seen in the New Deal Coalition). There is the southern conservative wing, made up of Democrats from southern states who hold conservative views on issues including social and economic issues. These Democrats are seldom reliable voters in Congress, often voting with the Republicans on fiscal issues e.g. in 2009 some Blue Dog Democrats voted against Obama’s fiscal stimulus package. The second key factions within the Democrat Party is the north eastern liberal wing made up of Democrats from the West Coast and north eastern states. This division is the division that alienated the traditional Democrat voters from the south during the break up on the ‘solid south’ after the north eastern liberals supports the Civil Rights Movement. President Obama, when first elected in 2008, was the first northeaster liberal to become President since President Kennedy in 1960.
In the 1980’s a new division within the Democrat Party emerged with the development of the ‘New Democrats’, mainly associated with President Clinton, Al Gore and the Democratic Leadership Council who developed due to their acknowledgment of the need to triangulate to improve the Democrat’s chances of winning the presidency. New Democrats are centrists sometimes known as the ‘Third Way’ and hold more moderate social positions and have neo-liberal fiscal values, shown by Clinton’s repeal of the Glass Steagall Act 1999. Overall there are two historic divisions within the Democrat Party; the north eastern liberals and the southern conservative Democrats, though recent decades have seen the emergence of a third division; the New Democrats.
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