Democratic Party (United States)

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The Democratic Party is now, as ever, the firm friend of honest labor and the promoter of progressive industry. ~ 1920 Democratic Party Platform

The Democratic Party (DNC) is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States of America, along with the Republican Party. Founded in the early 19th century, it is the oldest political party in the world that is still in existence; members of the party are referred to as Democrats.

The Democratic Party currently favors socially liberal and economically centrist or progressive policies. It has controlled the Presidency since Joe Biden won the 2020 United States presidential election, and controls the Senate serving as the upper chamber of the United States Congress.

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The Democratic Party, whatever that is, lacks a vision or an ideology. But many people have said this. Why? That is because it is a conglomeration of mutually exclusive parts. It contains a large part of the American working class, which has suffered greatly since the Great Recession began. But it also contains a lot of Wall Street people and well-to-do people, and new technologists. What policies is going to unite these people? It's hard to find a unifying theme among them, other than they don't want the Republicans in power. Now, that often gets you fairly far, but it doesn't allow you to govern very effectively. ~ Eric Foner
The Democratic Party is a party of principle. It will sacrifice anybody to remain the principal party. ~ Russell Baker
I am not a member of any organized party; I am a Democrat. ~ Will Rogers
The Democratic Party is a vast body of confusion. ~ Russell Baker
We can make this thing into a party, instead of a memory. ~ Will Rogers
Democrats are in the saddle! ~ John J. Rogers
Democrats must tag along as best they may, no matter what ill may betide. ~ John J. Rogers
In short, the Democratic Party may be described as a common sewer and loathsome receptacle into which is emptied every element of treason, North and South, every element of inhumanity and barbarism which has dishonored the age. ~ Oliver P. Morton
Democrats opposed Reconstruction not because it was a failure, but because it was working. Today almost all historians of Reconstruction hold that view. ~ James W. Loewen
The Democratic Party commits itself to continuing efforts to eradicate all racial, religious, and economic discrimination. ~ Plank adopted by the Democratic national convention, 1948




  • The G20 bilateral arrived, and during the usual media mayhem at the start. [...] With the press gone, Xi said this is the most important bilateral relationship in the world. He said that some (unnamed) political figures in the United States were making erroneous judgments by calling for a new cold war, this time between China and the United States. Whether Xi meant to finger the Democrats, or some of us sitting on the US side of the table, I don't know, but Trump immediately assumed Xi meant the Democrats. Trump said approvingly that there was great hostility among the Democrats. He then, stunningly, turned the conversation to the coming US presidential election, alluding to China's economic capability to affect the ongoing campaigns, pleading with Xi to ensure he'd win. He stressed the importance of farmers, and increased Chinese purchases of soybeans and wheat in the electoral outcome. I would print Trump's exact words, but the government's prepublication review process has decided otherwise.


  • They do not object to negroes voting on account of ignorance, but on account of color... If every negro in Mississippi was a class graduate of Harvard, and had been elected class orator ... he would not be as well fitted to exercise the rights of suffrage as the Anglo-Saxon farm laborer.
  • The party which is humorously called the Douglas Democracy no more recognizes the rights declared by the Declaration of Independence to be inalienable than does the party of the administration. Its leader repudiates the theory that the Constitution establishes slavery, but he does not perceive in it, or in the circumstances of its adoption, or in the expressed sentiments and actions of its framers, any reason to suppose that it favors liberty more than slavery. He leaves all human rights at the mercy of a majority, and insists that the Constitution does the same.


  • Each colored voter of the state should say in scripture phrase, 'may my hand forget its cunning and my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth' if ever I raise my voice or give my vote to the nominee of the Democratic Party.
    • Frederick Douglass, "The Lesson of Emancipation to the New York Generation: An Address Delivered in Elmira, New York" (3 August 1880), as quoted in The Frederick Douglass Papers, Volume 4, p. 581. Douglass is referring to Psalm 137:5-6.
  • I knew that however bad the Republican party was, the Democratic party was much worse. The elements of which the Republican party was composed gave better ground for the ultimate hope of the success of the colored man's cause than those of the Democratic party.
    • Frederick Douglass, as quoted in Life and Times of Frederick Douglass (1941), chapter 47, p. 579
  • It is not true that the Republican party has not endeavored to protect the negro in his right to vote. The whole moral power of the party has been, from first to last, on the side of justice to the negro; and it has only been baffled, in its efforts to protect the negro in his vote, by the Democratic party.
  • No, sir, th' dimmycratic party ain't on speakin' terms with itsilf. Whin ye see two men with white neckties go into a sthreet car an' set in opposite corners while wan mutthers Thraiter an' th' other hisses Miscreent ye can bet they're two dimmycratic leaders thryin' to reunite th' gran' ol' party.


  • In effect, the Klan was a military force serving the interests of the Democratic party, the planter class, and all those who desired the restoration of white supremacy.
    • Eric Foner, A Short History of Reconstruction, New York: NY, Harper & Row Publishers, Inc. (1990) p. 184
  • The Democratic Party, whatever that is, lacks a vision or an ideology. But many people have said this. Why? That is because it is a conglomeration of mutually exclusive parts. It contains a large part of the American working class, which has suffered greatly since the Great Recession began. But it also contains a lot of Wall Street people and well-to-do people, and new technologists. What policies is going to unite these people? It’s hard to find a unifying theme among them, other than they don’t want the Republicans in power. Now, that often gets you fairly far, but it doesn't allow you to govern very effectively.


  • It is a sad place, young man, for you to put your young life into. It is to me far more like a graveyard than like a camp for the living. Look at it! It is billowed all over with the graves of dead issues, of buried opinions, of exploded theories, of disgraced doctrines... There towers to the sky a monument of four million pairs of human fetters taken from the arms of slaves, and I read on its little headstone this: 'Sacred to the memory of Human Slavery.' For forty years of its infamous life the Democratic Party taught that it was divine; God's institution. They defended it, they stood around it, they followed it to its grave as a mourner. But here it lies, dead by the hand of Abraham Lincoln; dead by the power of the Republican Party, dead by the justice of Almighty God. Don't camp there, young man. That is no place in which to put your young life. Come out, and come over into this camp of liberty, of order, of law, of justice, of freedom, of all that is glorious under these night stars.
  • Every Democrat must be on the alert on the day of Election to see that negroes under age do not vote and that those who are properly entitled to vote do not repeat, and if they should discover that squads should leave the precincts and go in the direction of another precinct, they must follow them and challenge their vote at the next precinct... Every Democrat must feel honor bound to control the vote of at least one Negro, by intimidation, purchase, keeping him away, or as each individual may determine.
  • Many participants in the anti-war movement, people who went to rallies or gave money or were involved in some other way, were Democrats, and once they saw Democrats in power they felt the job was done, and that a Democratic-led government would end the war without such a need for outside pressure... Many leaders of the anti-war movement were Democrats and were not well positioned or strongly inclined to battle with those Democrats in government who were continuing the war... The anti-war movement was too closely tied to the Democratic Party and that it would've been better to have more of an independent identity.
  • One thing has struck me as a bit queer. During my two terms of office, the whole Democratic press, and the morbidly honest and 'reformatory' portion of the Republican press, thought it horrible to keep U.S. troops stationed in the southern states, and when they were called upon to protect the lives of negroes, as much citizens under the constitution as if their skins were white, the country was scarcely large enough to hold the sound of indignation belched forth by them for some years. Now, however, there is no hesitation about exhausting the whole power of the government to suppress a strike on the slightest intimation that danger threatens.
    • Ulysses S. Grant, letter to Daniel Ammen (26 August 1877), Bristol Hotel, Burlington Gardens, London, United Kingdom. Regarding keeping U.S. Army soldiers stationed in southern U.S. states to protect the safety and civil rights of freed slaves (26 August 1877), as quoted in The Papers of Ulysses S. Grant: November 1, 1876–September 30, 1878, by Ulysses S. Grant, pp. 251-252.
  • Now, the Democrats have a different plan. The Democrats say that, 'If you have health insurance, we're going to make it better. If you don't have health insurance, we going to provide it to you. If you can’t afford health insurance, then we'll help you afford health insurance'. So America gets to decide. Do you want the Democratic plan, or do you want the Republican plan? Remember, the Republican plan. 'Don't get sick. And if you do get sick, die quickly'.


  • For a generation, ‘the South,’ slavery and the Democratic party have been different expression of the same political element.
  • The antiwar movement aspired to create a transgressive politics that challenged the institutions that generate war and imperialism. Yet, because it depended so heavily on the party in the street to mobilize support, it found itself caught up in the institutional, party-driven system that many activists saw as the cause of the problems that it mobilized to solve. In 2001, the antiwar movement began with an eye toward becoming an independent political force, yet it lived in the shadow of the Democratic Party. The Democrats and the antiwar movement struck a useful alliance from 2003 to 2006. The antiwar movement helped to demonstrate grassroots support for a key party issue and the party helped to provide activists, resources, and legitimacy for the movement. By early 2009, however, it was abundantly clear that Democrats were no longer interested in this alliance. Abandonment by the Democrats gave the movement the independence it desired, but also stripped it of its capacity for political influence. While Obama's election was heralded as a victory for the antiwar movement, Obama’s election, in fact, thwarted the ability of the movement to achieve critical mass.
  • [T]he Democratic Party would have been crippled in the old days without the support of the segregationist South.
  • To those who say, 'My friends, to those who say that we are rushing this issue of civil rights', I say to them we are 172 years late. To those who say? To those who say that, 'this civil-rights program is an infringement on states' rights'? I say this, The time has arrived in America for the Democratic Party to get out of the shadow of states' rights and to walk forthrightly into the bright sunshine of human rights.


  • Tonight we come together bound by our faith in a mighty God, with genuine respect and love for our country, and inheriting the legacy of a great party, the Democratic Party, which is the best hope for redirecting our nation on a more humane, just and peaceful course. This is not a perfect party. We are not a perfect people. Yet, we are called to a perfect mission: our mission to feed the hungry; to clothe the naked; to house the homeless; to teach the illiterate; to provide jobs for the jobless; and to choose the human race over the nuclear race. We are gathered here this week to nominate a candidate and adopt a platform which will expand, unify, direct and inspire our Party and the Nation to fulfill this mission. My constituency is the desperate, the damned, the disinherited, the disrespected, and the despised. They are restless and seek relief. They've voted in record numbers. They have invested faith, hope and trust that they have in us. The Democratic Party must send them a signal that we care. I pledge my best to not let them down.
  • I'll have them niggers voting Democratic for two hundred years.
    • Lyndon B. Johnson, said to two governors regarding the Civil Rights Act of 1964, according to then-Air Force One steward Robert MacMillan. As quoted in Inside the White House (1996), by Ronald Kessler, New York: Simon and Schuster, p. 33
  • These Negroes, they're getting pretty uppity these days and that's a problem for us since they've got something now they never had before, the political pull to back up their uppityness. Now we've got to do something about this, we've got to give them a little something, just enough to quiet them down, not enough to make a difference. For if we don't move at all, then their allies will line up against us and there'll be no way of stopping them, we'll lose the filibuster and there'll be no way of putting a brake on all sorts of wild legislation. It'll be Reconstruction all over again.
  • I shall not seek, and I will not accept, the nomination of my party for another term as your President.


I knew this much — that everybody voted Democrat down my way. If you were poor, you voted Democrat and if you were rich you voted Republican. ~ Jack Kirby
  • I knew this much — that everybody voted Democrat down my way. If you were poor, you voted Democrat and if you were rich you voted Republican.
    • Jack Kirby, February 1990, posted May 23, 2011 in issue 134 of The Comics Journal, now on TCJ Archive, page 5


  • Don't interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties. And not to Democrats alone do I make this appeal, but to all who love these great and true principles.
  • I appeal to all, to Democrats as well as others, are you really willing that the Declaration shall be thus frittered away? Thus left no more at most, than an interesting memorial of the dead past? Thus shorn of its vitality, and practical value; and left without the germ or even the suggestion of the individual rights of man in it?
  • The Republicans inculcate, with whatever of ability they can, that the negro is a man; that his bondage is cruelly wrong, and that the field of his oppression ought not to be enlarged. The Democrats deny his manhood; deny, or dwarf to insignificance, the wrong of his bondage; so far as possible, crush all sympathy for him, and cultivate and excite hatred and disgust against him; compliment themselves as Union-savers for doing so; and call the indefinite outspreading of his bondage "a sacred right of self-government".
  • The Judge has alluded to the Declaration of Independence, and insisted that negroes are not included in that Declaration; and that it is a slander upon the framers of that instrument, to suppose that negroes were meant therein; and he asks you: Is it possible to believe that Mister Jefferson, who penned the immortal paper, could have supposed himself applying the language of that instrument to the negro race, and yet held a portion of that race in slavery? Would he not at once have freed them? I only have to remark upon this part of the Judge's speech, and that, too, very briefly, for I shall not detain myself, or you, upon that point for any great length of time, that I believe the entire records of the world, from the date of the Declaration of Independence up to within three years ago, may be searched in vain for one single affirmation, from one single man, that the negro was not included in the Declaration of Independence; I think I may defy Judge Douglas to show that he ever said so, that Washington ever said so, that any President ever said so, that any member of Congress ever said so, or that any living man upon the whole earth ever said so, until the necessities of the present policy of the Democratic Party, in regard to slavery, had to invent that affirmation.
  • You say you are conservative — eminently conservative — while we are revolutionary, destructive, or something of the sort. What is conservatism? Is it not adherence to the old and tried, against the new and untried? We stick to, contend for, the identical old policy on the point in controversy which was adopted by "our fathers who framed the Government under which we live;" while you with one accord reject, and scout, and spit upon that old policy, and insist upon substituting something new. True, you disagree among yourselves as to what that substitute shall be. You are divided on new propositions and plans, but you are unanimous in rejecting and denouncing the old policy of the fathers... Do you really feel yourselves justified to break up this government unless such a court decision as yours is, shall be at once submitted to as a conclusive and final rule of political action? But you will not abide the election of a Republican president! In that supposed event, you say, you will destroy the Union, and then, you say, the great crime of having destroyed it will be upon us! That is cool. A highwayman holds a pistol to my ear, and mutters through his teeth, 'Stand and deliver, or I shall kill you, and then you will be a murderer!' To be sure, what the robber demanded of me, my money, was my own, and I had a clear right to keep it, but it was no more my own than my vote is my own, and the threat of death to me, to extort my money, and the threat of destruction to the Union, to extort my vote, can scarcely be distinguished in principle... The Democrats cry John Brown invasion. We are guiltless of it, but our denial does not satisfy them. Nothing will satisfy them but disinfecting the atmosphere entirely of all opposition to slavery. They have not demanded of us to yield the guards of liberty in our state constitutions, but it will naturally come to that after a while. If we give up to them, we cannot refuse even their utmost request. If slavery is right, it ought to be extended; if not, it ought to be restricted, there is no middle ground. Wrong as we think it, we can afford to let it alone where it of necessity now exists; but we cannot afford to extend it into free territory and around our own homes. Let us stand against it!
  • At the battle of Waterloo, when Napoleon's cavalry had charged again and again upon the unbroken squares of British infantry, at last they were giving up the attempt, and going off in disorder, when some of the officers in mere vexation and complete despair fired their pistols at those solid squares. The Democrats are in that sort of extreme desperation; it is nothing else.
  • The principle of enslaving human beings because they are inferior, is this. If a man is a cripple, trip him up; if he is old and weak, and bowed with the weight of years, strike him, for he cannot strike back; if idiotic, take advantage of him; and if a child, deceive him. This, sir, this is the doctrine of Democrats and the doctrine of devils as well, and there is no place in the universe outside the five points of hell and the Democratic Party where the practice and prevalence of such doctrines would not be a disgrace.


  • The Democrats just never learn. Americans don't really care which side of an issue you're on as long as you don't act like pussies. When Van Jones called the Republicans assholes, he was paying them a compliment. He was talking about how they can get things done even when they're in the minority, as opposed to the Democrats, who can't seem to get anything done even when they control both houses of Congress, the presidency, and Bruce Springsteen.
  • As Reconstruction progressed, resistance grew to Republican attempts to assist freed slaves to attain full citizenship and economic opportunities. Many Southern whites resisted such efforts politically with membership in the Democratic Party and violently through groups such as the Ku Klux Klan. As Democrats gradually regained control of Southern state governments, Douglas advised blacks to remain loyal to the party of Lincoln because ‘the Republican party is the deck, all outside is the sea.’
    • John R. McKivigan, Heather L. Kaufman, In the Words of Frederick Douglass: Quotations from Liberty’s Champion, Ithaca and London, Cornell University Press, 2012, pp. 25-26
  • Every unregenerate rebel lately in arms against his government calls himself a Democrat. Every bounty jumper, every deserter, every sneak who ran away from the draft calls himself a Democrat... Every man who labored for the rebellion in the field, who murdered Union prisoners by cruelty and starvation, who conspired to bring about civil war in the loyal states, who invented dangerous compounds to burn steamboats and northern cities,, who contrived hellish schemes to introduce into northern cities the wasting pestilence of yellow fever, calls himself a Democrat. Every dishonest contractor who has been convicted of defrauding the government, every dishonest paymaster or disbursing officer who has been convicted of squandering the public money at the gaming table or in gold gambling operations, every officer in the army who was dismissed fur cowardice or disloyalty, calls himself a Democrat. Every wolf in sheep’s clothing, who pretends to preach the gospel, but proclaims the righteousness of man-selling and slavery—everyone who shoots down negroes in the streets, burns negro school-houses and meeting-houses, and murders women and children by the light of their own flaming dwellings, calls himself a Democrat. Every New York rioter in 1863, who burned up little children in colored asylums—who robbed, ravished and murdered indiscriminately in the midst of a blazing city for three days and nights, called himself a Democrat. In short, the Democratic Party may be described as a common sewer and loathsome receptacle into which is emptied every element of treason, North and South, every element of inhumanity and barbarism which has dishonored the age.


Voting rights activists also challenged the Democratic Party in Mississippi when Fannie Lou Hamer, Bob Moses, and Ella Baker founded the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP) in 1964. As was the case throughout most of the South, the Democratic Party in Mississippi was dominated by white segregationists. The MFDP elected delegates to attend the 1964 Democratic National Convention and demanded to be seated in place of the segregationist Democratic delegates. Hamer and other MFDP delegates made their case to the convention’s credentials committee, which offered the MFDP only two at-large delegates to be seated. The MFDP refused this compromise and left the convention. National media coverage of MFDP delegates’ testimony and of the racial violence in Mississippi and Alabama, along with pressure by civil rights groups, led to Congress passing the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (which prohibited the unequal application of voting laws) and the Voting Rights Act. ~ National Archives
  • Voting rights activists also challenged the Democratic Party in Mississippi when Fannie Lou Hamer, Bob Moses, and Ella Baker founded the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP) in 1964. As was the case throughout most of the South, the Democratic Party in Mississippi was dominated by white segregationists. The MFDP elected delegates to attend the 1964 Democratic National Convention and demanded to be seated in place of the segregationist Democratic delegates. Hamer and other MFDP delegates made their case to the convention’s credentials committee, which offered the MFDP only two at-large delegates to be seated. The MFDP refused this compromise and left the convention. National media coverage of MFDP delegates’ testimony and of the racial violence in Mississippi and Alabama, along with pressure by civil rights groups, led to Congress passing the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (which prohibited the unequal application of voting laws) and the Voting Rights Act.
  •  The tragedy of the Democratic Party through much of its history was an unwillingness to stand strong against its Southern wing and to clearly align itself with the cause of social and economic justice. The tragedy of the Republican Party is that when Democrats began to do the right thing, key figures in the GOP welcomed Thurmond into its fold and began to craft not just a “Southern strategy” but a politics of reaction.


  • Democrats and Republicans are far apart on a lot of issues. And I recognize there are folks on the other side who think that my policies are misguided. That's putting it mildly. That's OK. That's democracy. That's how it works. We can debate those differences vigorously, passionately, in good faith, through the normal democratic process. And sometimes we'll be just too far apart to forge an agreement. But that should not hold back our efforts in areas where we do agree. We shouldn't fail to act on areas that we do agree or could agree just because we don't think it's good politics, just because the extremes in our party don't like the word "compromise." I will look for willing partners wherever I can to get important work done. And there's no good reason why we can't govern responsibly, despite our differences, without lurching from manufactured crisis to manufactured crisis.
  • The difference between American parties is actually simple. Democrats are in favor of higher taxes to pay for greater spending, while Republicans are in favor of greater spending, for which the taxpayers will pay. In foreign policy, Republicans intend to pursue the war in Iraq but to do so with a minimal number of troops on the ground. This is not to be confused with the disastrous Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld policy of using a minimal number of troops on the ground to pursue the war in Iraq. Democrats intend to end the war, but they don't know when. Democrats are making the 'high school sex promise', I'll pull out in time, honest!




  • I think it is much easier to be a good member of the Church and a Democrat than a good member of the Church and a Republican.
  • When this country belatedly recognized the wrongs of slavery, there were those who dug in their heels and said, slow down, it's too early. Let's wait. Things aren't bad enough. When women spoke up for the right to speak up, they wanted to vote, some insisted slow down, there will be a better day to do that. The day isn't quite right. When this body was on the verge of guaranteeing equal civil rights to everyone, regardless of the color of their skin, some senators resorted to the same filibuster threats that we hear today.
  • We Democrats believe that America is still the country of fair play, that we can come out of a small town or a poor neighborhood and have the same chance as anyone else... We Democrats believe that America can overcome any problem, including the dreaded disease called AIDS. We believe that America is still a country where there is more to life than just a constant struggle for money, and we believe that America must have leaders who show us that our struggles amount to something and contribute to something larger, leaders who want us to be all that we can be.
  • The southern Democrats are in the saddle and the northern Democrats must tag along as best they may, no matter what ill may betide.
    • John Jacob Rogers, remarks in the House (2 May 1913), Congressional Record, vol. 50, p. 42
  • I am not a member of any organized party; I am a Democrat.
    • Will Rogers, P. J. O'Brien, Will Rogers, Ambassador of Good Will, Prince of Wit and Wisdom (1935), chapter 9, p. 162. "Rogers was a lifelong Democrat but he studiously avoided partisanship. He contributed to the Democratic campaign funds, but at the same time he frequently appeared on benefit programs to raise money for the Republican treasury. Republican leaders sought his counsel in their campaigns as often as did the Democrats". Id., p. 162
  • We can make this thing into a party, instead of a memory.
    • Will Rogers, letter to Al Smith regarding the Democratic Party (January 19, 1929); in The Autobiography of Will Rogers, ed. Donald Day (1949), p. 197
  • You've got to be optimist to be a Democrat, and you've got to be a humorist to stay one.
    • Will Rogers, Good Gulf radio show (24 June 1934), Radio Broadcasts of Will Rogers, ed. Steven K. Gragert (1983), p. 92


  • The Democratic administration has initially created the confusion by its lack of effective leadership, by its contradictory grave warnings and optimistic assurances, by its complacency to the threat of communism here at home, by its oversensitiveness to rightful criticism, by its petty bitterness against its critics.
  • We are now, probably for the first time in our history, entering a new aspect of national politics... For the first time in the history of the country, a political party organized on the express doctrine, and with the avowed purpose, of overthrowing the Government, in the event of their being unable to control it through the ballot-box. It is asserted here by gentlemen on the other side—by one portion of them—that if a Republican President shall be elected, they will resist his inauguration forcibly. That is one proposition made on the other side of the House, by the Democratic Party... I take it for granted there can be no controversy about what that resistance amounts to. It can only be done by levying war against the United States. The thing threatened is treason against the United States. There can be no controversy about that... Another portion say that, if a Republican President is elected, they will secede from the Confederacy, and organize a separate and independent confederacy of their own. Whether that constitutes treason or not, is a matter of opinion, and may be a matter of controversy; but it is, nevertheless, equally fatal to the perpetuity of the existing Government and the existing institutions of the country... ‍'‍We will rule this country, or we will ruin it. We will overturn this Government if we are not allowed to administer it ourselves.‍'‍ That is the naked, undisguised proposition of the Democratic Party in the year of grace 1860.


  • I've seen it happen time after time. When the Democratic candidate allows himself to be put on the defensive and starts apologizing for the New Deal and the fair Deal, and says he really doesn't believe in them, he is sure to lose. The people don't want a phony Democrat. If it's a choice between a genuine Republican, and a Republican in Democratic clothing, the people will choose the genuine article, every time; that is, they will take a Republican before they will a phony Democrat, and I don't want any phony Democratic candidates in this campaign.




  • I never use the words Democrats and Republicans. It's liberals and Americans.
    • James G. Watt, in a statement of November 1981, quoted in New York Times (10 October 1983); also quoted in Energy and Environment : The Unfinished Business (1986) by Congressional Quarterly, Inc., p. 91
  • The Democratic power elite on some level feels delegitimized by its working-class, black and female constituencies. What it wants are the "legitimate" votes of suburban, white, middle-class, affluent males. Even liberal voters and organizations tend on some tacit level to accept the idea that they are not the "real" Americans the Democrats must pursue.
    • Ellen Willis "The Democrats and Left Masochism", New Politics, Vol. 8, No. 3, issue #31 (Summer 2001)
  • For democrats, it's as crucial to defend secular culture as to preserve secular law. And in fact the two projects are inseparable: When religion defines morality, the wall between church and state comes to be seen as immoral.
    • Ellen Willis "Freedom from Religion," The Nation (19 February 2001)

Quotes from party platforms

  • The American Democracy place their trust, not in factitious symbols, not in displays and appeals insulting to the judgment and subversive of the intellect of the people, but in a clear reliance upon the intelligence, patriotism, and the discriminating justice of the American masses. Resolved, That we regard this as a distinctive feature of our political creed, which we are proud to maintain before the world, as the great moral element in a form of government springing from and upheld by the popular will; and we contrast it with the creed and practice of Federalism, under whatever name or form, which seeks to palsy the will of the constituent, and which conceives no imposture too monstrous for the popular credulity.
  • Resolved, That the Federal Government is one of limited powers, derived solely from the Constitution, and the grants of power shown therein ought to be strictly construed by all the departments and agents of the government, and that it is inexpedient and dangerous to exercise doubtful constitutional powers.
  • Resolved, Congress has no power, under the Constitution, to interfere with or control the domestic institutions of the several States; and that such States are the sole and proper judges of everything pertaining to their own affairs, not prohibited by the Constitution; that all efforts, by abolitionists or others, made to induce Congress to interfere with questions of slavery, or to take incipient steps in relation thereto, are calculated to lead to the most alarming and dangerous consequences, and that all such efforts have an inevitable tendency to diminish the happiness of the people and endanger the stability and permanency of the Union, and ought not to be countenanced by any friend to our Political Institutions.
  • [T]he liberal principles embodied by Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence, and sanctioned in the Constitution, which makes ours the land of liberty, and the asylum of the oppressed of every nation, have ever been cardinal principles in the Democratic faith, and every attempt to abridge the present privilege of becoming citizens and the owners of soil among us, ought to be resisted with the same spirit which swept the alien and sedition laws from our statute book.
  • Resolved, That the Democratic party recognizes the great importance, in a political and commercial point of view, of a safe and speedy communication, by military and postal roads, through our own territory, between the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of this Union, and that it is the duty of the Federal Government to exercise promptly all its constitutional power to the attainment of that object, thereby binding the Union of these States in indissoluble bonds, and opening to the rich commerce of Asia an overland transit from the Pacific to the Mississippi River, and the great lakes of the North.
  • The Democratic party in National Convention assembled, reposing its trust in the intelligence, patriotism, and discriminating justice of the people; standing upon the Constitution as the foundation and limitation of the powers of the government, and the guarantee of the liberties of the citizen; and recognizing the questions of slavery and secession as having been settled for all time to come by the war, or the voluntary action of the Southern States in Constitutional Conventions assembled, and never to be renewed or reagitated; does, with the return of peace, demand, ...
    One currency for the government and the people, the laborer and the office-holder, the pensioner and the soldier, the producer and the bond-holder. ...
    Economy in the administration of the government, the reduction of the standing army and navy; the abolition of the Freedmen's Bureau; and all political instrumentalities designed to secure negro supremacy; simplification of the system and discontinuance of inquisitorial modes of assessing and collecting internal revenue, so that the burden of taxation may be equalized and lessened, the credit of the government and the currency made good; the repeal of all enactments for enrolling the State militia into national forces in time of peace; and a tariff for revenue upon foreign imports, such as will afford incidental protection to domestic manufactures, and as will, without impairing the revenue, impose the least burden upon, and best promote and encourage the great industrial interests of the country.
  • Resolved, That this convention sympathize cordially with the workingmen of the United States in their efforts to protect the rights and interests of the laboring classes of the country.
  • Local self-government, with impartial suffrage, will guard the rights of all citizens more securely than any centralized power. The public welfare requires the supremacy of the civil over the military authority, and the freedom of person under the protection of the habeas corpus.
  • We hold that it is the duty of the Government, in its intercourse with foreign nations, to cultivate the friendships of peace by treating with all on fair and equal terms, regarding it alike dishonorable either to demand what is not right or to submit to what is wrong.
  • Reform is necessary in the civil service. Experience proves that efficient economical conduct of the government is not possible if its civil service be subject to change at every election, be a prize fought for at the ballot-box, be an approved reward of party zeal instead of posts of honor assigned for proved competency and held for fidelity in the public employ; that the dispensing of patronage should neither be a tax upon the time of our public men nor an instrument of their ambition
  • We hold that the Constitution follows the flag, and denounce the doctrine that an Executive or Congress deriving their existence and their powers from the Constitution can exercise lawful authority beyond it or in violation of it. We assert that no nation can long endure half republic and half empire, and we warn the American people that imperialism abroad will lead quickly and inevitably to despotism at home.
  • We condemn and denounce the Philippine policy of the present administration. It has involved the Republic in an unnecessary war, sacrificed the lives of many of our noblest sons, and placed the United States, previously known and applauded throughout the world as the champion of freedom, in the false and un-American position of crushing with military force the efforts of our former allies to achieve liberty and self-government.
  • We oppose militarism. It means conquest abroad and intimidation and oppression at home. It means the strong arm which has ever been fatal to free institutions. It is what millions of our citizens have fled from in Europe. It will impose upon our peace loving people a large standing army and unnecessary burden of taxation, and will be a constant menace to their liberties. A small standing army and a well-disciplined state militia are amply sufficient in time of peace. This republic has no place for a vast military establishment, a sure forerunner of compulsory military service and conscription.
  • Jefferson said: "Peace, commerce and honest friendship with all nations- entangling alliance with none." We approve this wholesome doctrine, and earnestly protest against the Republican departure which has involved us in so-called world politics, including the diplomacy of Europe and the intrigue and land-grabbing of Asia, and we especially condemn the ill-concealed Republican alliance with England, which must mean discrimination against other friendly nations, and which has already stifled the nation's voice while liberty is being strangled in Africa.
  • We recognize that the gigantic trusts and combinations designed to enable capital to secure more than its just share of the joint product of capital and labor, and which have been fostered and promoted under Republican rule, are a menace to beneficial competition and an obstacle to permanent business prosperity.
    A private monopoly is indefensible and intolerable.
  • The Democratic Party favors the League of Nations as the surest, if not the only, practicable means of maintaining the permanent peace of the world and terminating the insufferable burden of great military and naval establishments. It was for this that America broke away from traditional isolation and spent her blood and treasure to crush a colossal scheme of conquest.
  • The Democratic Party is now, as ever, the firm friend of honest labor and the promoter of progressive industry. It established the Department of Labor at Washington and a Democratic President called to his official council board the first practical workingman who ever held a cabinet portfolio....
    Labor is not a commodity; it is human. Those who labor have rights, and the national security and safety depend upon a just recognition of those rights and the conservation of the strength of the workers and their families in the interest of sound-hearted and sound-headed men, women and children. Laws regulating hours of labor and conditions under which labor is performed, when passed in recognition of the conditions under which life must be lived to attain the highest development and happiness, are just assertions of the national interest in the welfare of the people.
  • We hold that government must function not to centralize our wealth but to preserve equal opportunity so that all may share in our priceless resources; and not confine prosperity to a favored few. We, therefore, pledge the Democratic Party to encourage business, small and great alike; to conserve human happiness and liberty; to break the shackles of monopoly and free business of the nation; to respond to the popular will.
  • Unemployment is almost as destructive to the happiness, comfort, and well-being of human beings as war. We expend vast sums of money to protect our people against the evils of war, but no governmental program is anticipated to prevent the awful suffering and economic losses of unemployment. It threatens the well-being of millions of our people and endangers the prosperity of the nation. We favor the adoption by the government, after a study of this subject, of a scientific plan whereby during periods of unemployment appropriations shall be made available for the construction of necessary public works and the lessening, as far as consistent with public interests, of government construction work when labor is generally and satisfactorily employed in private enterprise.
  • In this time of unprecedented economic and social distress the Democratic Party declares its conviction that the chief causes of this condition were the disastrous policies pursued by our government since the World War, of economic isolation, fostering the merger of competitive businesses into monopolies and encouraging the indefensible expansion and contraction of credit for private profit at the expense of the public.
  • We condemn the improper and excessive use of money in political activities.
    We condemn paid lobbies of special interests to influence members of Congress and other public servants by personal contact.
    We condemn action and utterances of high public officials designed to influence stock exchange prices.
  • We hold this truth to be self-evident—that 12 years of Republican leadership left our Nation sorely stricken in body, mind, and spirit; and that three years of Democratic leadership have put it back on the road to restored health and prosperity.
    We hold this truth to be self-evident—that 12 years of Republican surrender to the dictatorship of a privileged few have been supplanted by a Democratic leadership which has returned the people themselves to the places of authority, and has revived in them new faith and restored the hope which they had almost lost.
  • We have built foundations for the security of those who are faced with the hazards of unemployment and old age; for the orphaned, the crippled, and the blind. On the foundation of the Social Security Act we are determined to erect a structure of economic security for all our people, making sure that this benefit shall keep step with the ever-increasing capacity of America to provide a high standard of living for all its citizens.
  • The Republican platform proposes to meet many pressing national problems solely by action of the separate States. We know that drought, dust storms, floods, minimum wages, maximum hours, child labor, and working conditions in industry, monopolistic and unfair business practices cannot be adequately handled exclusively by 48 separate State legislatures, 48 separate State administrations, and 48 separate State courts. Transactions and activities which inevitably overflow State boundaries call for both State and Federal treatment.
  • In our relationship with other nations, this Government will continue to extend the policy of the Good Neighbor. We reaffirm our opposition to war as an instrument of national policy, and declare that disputes between nations should be settled by peaceful means.
  • To make America strong, and to keep America free, every American must give of his talents and treasure in accordance with his ability and his country's needs. We must have democracy of sacrifice as well as democracy of opportunity. ...
    In self-defense and in good conscience, the world's greatest democracy cannot afford heartlessly or in a spirit of appeasement to ignore the peace-loving and liberty-loving peoples wantonly attacked by ruthless aggressors. We pledge to extend to these peoples all the material aid at our command, consistent with law and not inconsistent with the interests of our own national self-defense—all to the end that peace and international good faith may yet emerge triumphant.
  • We have defended and will continue to defend all legitimate business.
    We have attacked and will continue to attack unbridled concentration of economic power and the exploitation of the consumer and the investor.
    We have attacked the kind of banking which treated America as a colonial empire to exploit; the kind of securities business which regarded the Stock Exchange as a private gambling club for wagering other people's money; the kind of public utility holding companies which used consumers' and investors' money to suborn a free press, bludgeon legislatures and political conventions, and control elections against the interest of their customers and their security holders.
  • The Democratic Party stands on its record in peace and in war.
    To speed victory, establish and maintain peace, guarantee full employment and provide prosperity —this is its platform.We do not here detail scores of planks. We cite action.
    Beginning March, 1933, the Democratic Administration took a series of actions which saved our system of free enterprise.
    It brought that system out of collapse and thereafter eliminated abuses which had imperiled it.
    It used the powers of government to provide employment in industry and to save agriculture.
    It wrote a new Magna Carta for labor.
    It provided social security, including old age pensions, unemployment insurance, security for crippled and dependent children and the blind. It established employment offices. It provided federal bank deposit insurance, flood prevention, soil conservation, and prevented abuses in the security markets. It saved farms and homes from foreclosure, and secured profitable prices for farm products.
    It adopted an effective program of reclamation, hydro-electric power, and mineral development.
    It found the road to prosperity through production and employment.
    We pledge the continuance and improvement of these programs.
  • [T]his Convention sends its affectionate greetings to our beloved and matchless leader and President, Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
    He stands before the nation and the world, the champion of human liberty and dignity. He has rescued our people from the ravages of economic disaster. His rare foresight and magnificent courage have saved our nation from the assault of international brigands and dictators Fulfilling the ardent hope of his life, he has already laid the foundation of enduring peace for a troubled world and the well being of our nation. All mankind is his debtor. His life and services have been a great blessing to humanity.
  • Ours is the party which rebuilt a shattered economy, rescued our banking system, revived our agriculture, reinvigorated our industry, gave labor strength and security, and led the American people to the broadest prosperity in our history.
    Ours is the party which introduced the spirit of humanity into our law, as we outlawed child labor and the sweatshop, insured bank deposits, protected millions of home-owners and farmers from foreclosure, and established national social security.
    Ours is the party under which this nation before Pearl Harbor gave aid and strength to those countries which were holding back the Nazi and Fascist tide.
    Ours is the party which stood at the helm and led the nation to victory in the war.
    Ours is the party which, during the war, prepared for peace so well that when peace came reconversion promptly led to the greatest production and employment in this nation's life.
  • We condemn Communism and other forms of totalitarianism and their destructive activity overseas and at home. We shall continue to build firm defenses against Communism by strengthening the economic and social structure of our own democracy. We reiterate our pledge to expose and prosecute treasonable activities of anti-democratic and un-American organizations which would sap our strength, paralyze our will to defend ourselves, and destroy our unity, inciting race against race, class against class, and the people against free institutions.
  • An objective appraisal of the past record clearly demonstrates that the Democratic Party has been the chosen American instrument to achieve prosperity, build a stronger democracy, erect the structure of world peace, and continue on the path of progress.
  • Peace with honor is the greatest of all our goals. We pledge our unremitting efforts to avert another world war. We are determined that the people shall be spared that frightful agony.
  • We reject the ridiculous notions of those who would have the United States face the aggressors alone. That would be the most expensive—and the most dangerous—method of seeking security. This nation needs strong allies, around the world, making their maximum contribution to the common defense. They add their strength to ours in the defense of freedom.
  • Every American child, irrespective of color, national origin, economic status or place of residence should have every educational opportunity to develop his potentialities.
  • Our country is founded on the proposition that all men are created equal. This means that all citizens are equal before the law and should enjoy equal political rights. They should have equal opportunities for education, for economic advancement, and for decent living conditions.
    We will continue our efforts to eradicate discrimination based on race, religion or national origin.
  • We rededicate ourselves to the high principle of national self-determination, as enunciated by Woodrow Wilson, whose leadership brought freedom and independence to uncounted millions.
    It is the policy of the Democratic Party, therefore, to encourage and assist small nations and all peoples, behind the Iron Curtain and outside, in the peaceful and orderly achievement of their legitimate aspirations toward political, geographical, and ethnic integrity, so that they may dwell in the family of sovereign nations with freedom and dignity. We are opposed to colonialism and Communist imperialism.
  • We favor elimination of unnecessary distinctions between native-born and naturalized citizens. There should be no "second class" citizenship in the United States.
  • We shall provide medical care benefits for the aged as part of the time-tested Social Security insurance system. We reject any proposal which would require such citizens to submit to the indignity of a means test—a "pauper's oath."
  • Freedom and civil liberties, far from being incompatible with security, are vital to our national strength. Unfortunately, those high in the Republican Administration have all too often sullied the name and honor of loyal and faithful American citizens in and out of Government.
    The Democratic Party will strive to improve Congressional investigating and hearing procedures.
  • The time has come to assure equal access for all Americans to all areas of community life, including voting booths, schoolrooms, jobs, housing, and public facilities.
    The Democratic Administration which takes office next January will therefore use the full powers provided in the Civil Rights Acts of 1957 and 1960 to secure for all Americans the right to vote.
  • Emerson once spoke of an unending contest in human affairs, a contest between the Party of Hope and the Party of Memory.
    For 7 1/2 years America, governed by the Party of Memory, has taken a holiday from history.
    As the Party of Hope it is our responsibility and opportunity to call forth the greatness of the American people.
    In this spirit, we hereby rededicate ourselves to the continuing service of the Rights of Man-everywhere in America and everywhere else on God's earth.
  • On November 22, 1963, John Fitzgerald Kennedy was shot down in our land.
    We honor his memory best—and as he would wish—by devoting ourselves anew to the larger purposes for which he lived.
    Of first priority is our renewed commitments to the values and ideals of democracy.
    We are firmly pledged to continue the Nation's march towards the goals of equal opportunity and equal treatment for all Americans regardless of race, creed, color or national origin.
    We cannot tolerate violence anywhere in our land—north, south, east or west. Resort to lawlessness is anarchy and must be opposed by the Government and all thoughtful citizens.
    We must expose, wherever it exists, the advocacy of hatred which creates the clear and present danger of violence.
    We condemn extremism, whether from the Right or Left, including the extreme tactics of such organizations as the Communist Party, the Ku Klux Klan and the John Birch Society.
  • American workers are entitled to more than the right to a job. They have the right to fair and safe working conditions and to adequate protection in periods of unemployment or disability.
  • The best of modern medical care should be made available to every American. We support efforts to overcome the remaining barriers of distance, poverty, ignorance, and discrimination that separate persons from adequate medical services.
  • In the pursuit of our national objectives and in the exercise of American power in the world, we assert that the United States should:
    Continue to accept its world responsibilities—not turn inward and isolate ourselves from the cares and aspirations of mankind;
    Seek a world of diversity and peaceful change, where men can choose their own governments and where each nation can determine its own destiny without external interference;
    Resist the temptation to try to mold the world, or any part of it, in our own image, or to become the self-appointed policeman of the world;
    Call on other nations, great and small, to contribute a fair share of effort and resources to world peace and development;
    Honor our treaty obligations to our allies;
    Seek always to strengthen and improve the United Nations and other international peace-keeping arrangements and meet breaches or threatened breaches of the peace according to our carefully assessed interests and resources...
  • We are an acting, doing, feeling people. We are a people whose deepest emotions are the source of the creative noise we make-precisely because of our ardent desire for unity, our wish for peace, our longing for concord, our demand for justice, our hope for material well being, our impulse to move always toward a more perfect union.
    In that never-ending quest, we are all partners together—the industrialist and the banker, the workman and the storekeeper, the farmer and the scientist, the clerk and the engineer, the teacher and the student, the clergyman and the writer, the men of all colors and of all the different generations.
    The American dream is not the exclusive property of any political party. But we submit that the Democratic Party has been the chief instrument of orderly progress in our time. As heirs to the longest tradition of any political party on earth, we Democrats have been trained over the generations to be a party of builders. And that experience has taught us that America builds best when it is called upon to build greatly.
  • The Democratic Party is proud of its past; but we are honest enough to admit that we are part of the past and share in its mistakes. We want in 1972 to begin the long and difficult task of reviewing existing programs, revising them to make them work and finding new techniques to serve the public need. We want to speak for, and with, the citizens of our country. Our pledge is to be truthful to the people and to ourselves, to tell you when we succeed, but also when we fail or when we are not sure. In 1976, when this nation celebrates its 200th anniversary, we want to tell you simply that we have done our best to give the government to those who formed it—the people of America.
  • Our party--standing by its ideals of domestic progress and enlightened internationalism--has served America well. We have nominated or elected men of the high calibre of Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, Adlai E. Stevenson, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Lyndon Baines Johnson—and in the last election Hubert Humphrey and Edmund S. Muskie. In that proud tradition we are now prepared to move forward.
  • We believe in the right of an individual to speak, think, read, write, worship, and live free of official intrusion. We are determined that our government must no longer tap the phones of law-abiding citizens nor spy on those who have broken no law. We are determined that never again shall government seek to censor the newspapers and television. We are determined that the government shall no longer mock the supreme law of the land, while it stands helpless in the face of crime which makes our neighborhoods and communities less and less safe.
  • A first priority of a Democratic Administration must be eliminating the unfair, bureaucratic Nixon wage and price controls.
  • The Democratic Party deplores the increasing concentration of economic power in fewer and fewer hands. ...The Democratic Administration should pledge itself to combat factors which tend to concentrate wealth and stimulate higher prices.
    To this end, the federal government should:
    Develop programs to spread economic growth among the workers, farmers and businessmen;
    Help make parts of the economy more efficient such as medical care—where wasteful and inefficient practices now increase prices;;
    Step up anti-trust action to help competition, with particular regard to laws and enforcement curbing conglomerate mergers which swallow up efficient small business and feed the power of corporate giants...
  • The new Democratic Administration should bring an end to the pattern of political persecution and investigation, the use of high office as a pulpit for unfair attack and intimidation and the blatant efforts to control the poor and to keep them from acquiring additional economic security or political power.
  • The Democratic Party in 1972 is committed to resuming the march toward equality; to enforcing the laws supporting court decisions and enacting new legal rights as necessary, to assuring every American true opportunity, to bringing about a more equal distribution of power, income and wealth and equal and uniform enforcement in all states and territories of civil rights statutes and acts.
  • The Democratic Party's concern for human dignity and freedom has been directed at increasing the economic opportunities for all our citizens and reducing the economic deprivation and inequities that have stained the record of American democracy.
  • We need a comprehensive national health insurance system with universal and mandatory coverage. Such a national health insurance system should be financed by a combination of employer-employee shared payroll taxes and general tax revenues.
  • The Democratic Party's strong commitment to environmental quality is based on its conviction that environmental protection is not simply an aesthetic goal, but is necessary to achieve a more just society. Cleaning up air and water supplies and controlling the proliferation of dangerous chemicals is a necessary part of a successful national health program. Protecting the worker from workplace hazards is a key element of our full employment program. Occupational disease and death must not be the price of a weekly wage.
  • The Democratic Party will oppose any effort to tamper with the Social Security system by cutting or taxing benefits as a violation of the contract the American government has made with its people.
  • The Democratic Party must continue to be as environmentally progressive in the future as it has been in the past. Progress in environmental quality—a major achievement of the 1970s—must continue in the 1980s.
  • For the economy, the Democratic Party is committed to economic growth, prosperity, and jobs. For the individual, we are committed to justice, decency, and opportunity. For the nation, we are committed to peace, strength, and freedom.
  • We are the Party of American values—the worth of every human being; the striving toward excellence; the freedom to innovate; the inviolability of law; the sharing of sacrifice; the struggle toward justice; the pursuit of happiness.
    We are the Party of American progress—the calling to explore; the challenge to invent; the imperative to improve; the importance of courage; the perennial need for fresh thinking, sharp minds, and ambitious goals.
    We are the Party of American strength—the security of our defenses; the power of our moral values; the necessity of diplomacy; the pursuit of peace; the imperative of survival.
    We are the Party of American vision—the trustees of a better future. This platform is our road map toward that future.
  • Reaganomics is based on the theory that blanket-tax cuts for business and the rich would turn directly into higher productivity that private investors and industry would use the money saved to restore our edge in innovation and competitiveness.
  • [T]he Reagan Administration has virtually wished away the role of government. When it comes to the economy, its view is that the government that governs best is one that governs not at all.
    A Democratic Administration must answer this challenge reaffirming the principle that government must both "provide for the common defense" and "promote the general welfare" as coequal responsibilities under the Constitution. If the Democratic Party can succeed in correcting the present imbalance, it will reverse the cycle of pain and despair, and recapture the initiative in the area of social and economic progress.
  • Wee believe that the time has come for America to take charge once again of its economic future, to reverse seven years of "voodoo economics," "trickle down" policies, fiscal irresponsibility, and economic violence against poor and working people that have converted this proud country into the world's largest debtor nation, mortgaged our children's future by tripling our national debt, placed home ownership out of reach for most young families, permitted the rise of poverty and homelessness on the streets of America, reduced the buying power of working men and women, and witnessed the decline of our industrial, natural resource and mining base, the unending tragedy of family farm foreclosures, an unhealthy dependence on foreign energy and foreign capital, and the increasing foreign ownership of our land and natural resources.
  • The Democratic Party in Convention assembled and united, the Party of hope and change and fairness for all, hereby declares its readiness to end the stalemate in Washington by challenging, encouraging and inviting the American people—challenging them to do their patriotic best to meet their community responsibilities, encouraging them to protect and preserve their families, our most precious assets, and inviting them to join with us in leading the land we love to a brighter and still greater future of opportunity and justice for all.
  • The Revolution of 1992 is about a radical change in the way government operates—not the Republican proposition that government has no role, nor the old notion that there's a program for every problem, but a shift to a more efficient, flexible and results-oriented government that improves services, expands choices, and empowers citizens and communities to change our country from the bottom up. We believe in an activist government, but it must work in a different, more responsive way.
  • Governments don't raise children, people do. People who bring children into this world have a responsibility to care for them and give them values, motivation and discipline. Children should not have children. We need a national crackdown on deadbeat parents, an effective system of child support enforcement nationwide, and a systematic effort to establish paternity for every child.
  • Welfare should be a second chance, not a way of life. We want to break the cycle of welfare by adhering to two simple principles: no one who is able to work can stay on welfare forever, and no one who works should live in poverty. We will continue to help those who cannot help themselves. We will offer people on welfare a new social contract. We'll invest in education and job training, and provide the child care and health care they need to go to work and achieve long-term self- sufficiency. We will give them the help they need to make the transition from welfare to work, and require people who can work to go to work within two years in available jobs either in the private sector or in community service to meet unmet needs.
  • As the party of inclusion, we take special pride in our country's emergence as the world's largest and most successful multiethnic, multiracial republic. We condemn antisemitism, racism, homophobia, bigotry and negative stereotyping of all kinds. We must help all Americans understand the diversity of our cultural heritage. But it is also essential that we preserve and pass on to our children the common elements that hold this mosaic together as we work to make our country a land of freedom and opportunity for all.
  • To empower America's communities, Democrats pledge to restore government as the upholder of basic law and order for crime-ravaged communities. The simplest and most direct way to restore order in our cities is to put more police on the streets.
  • The United States must be prepared to use military force decisively when necessary to defend our vital interests. The burdens of collective security in a new era must be shared fairly, and we should encourage multilateral peacekeeping through the United Nations and other international efforts.
  • Today's Democratic Party believes that America must put our families first. The Republican budget tried to take Big Bird away from 5-year-olds, school lunches away from 10-year-olds, summer jobs away from 15-year-olds, and college loans away from 20-year-olds.
  • Today's Democratic Party will stand firmly against the Republican assault on education. Cutting education as we move into the 21st century would be like cutting defense spending at the height of the Cold War. We must do more to expand educational opportunity -- not less.
  • Today's Democratic Party believes the first responsibility of government is law and order. Four years ago, crime in America seemed intractable. The violent crime rate and the murder rate had climbed for seven straight years. ... Bill Clinton promised to turn things around, and that is exactly what he did.
  • Today's Democratic Party knows that we can protect the environment and expand the economy. We believe we can create more jobs over the long run by cleaning the environment
  • The Democratic Party stands behind the right of every woman to choose, consistent with Roe v. Wade, and regardless of ability to pay.
  • Democrats believe that every American - regardless of income, geography, race, or disability - should be able to reach across a computer keyboard, and reach the vast new worlds of knowledge, commerce, and communication that are available at the touch of a fingertip.
    That is why Democrats fought for the e-rate to wire every classroom and library to the Internet. In the next four years, we must finish connecting the job and then go further.
    We must launch a new crusade - calling on the resources of government, employers, the high-tech industry, community organizations, and unions - to move toward full Internet access in every home, for every family, all across the United States. We must make sure that no family or community is left out. We must not rest until Internet access is universal.
  • We cannot be the world's policeman, and we must be discriminating in our approach. But where the stakes are high, when we can assure ourselves that nothing short of military engagement can secure our national interest, when we know that we have the military forces available for the task, when we have made our best efforts to join with allies, and when the cost is proportionate to the objective, we must be ready to act.
  • For eight years, the Democratic Party's new thinking has helped America reach unparalleled heights of prosperity, progress, and peace. Now, we say that this is the time to move forward - not to go back.

See also