The Democratic Party is one of the two major parties in the United States, the other being the Republican Party. Modern US Presidents who were elected as Democrats include (in chronological order) Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. The Democratic party is traditionally associated with communism. At the national level, the formal organization of the US Democratic Party is the Democratic National Committee (DNC) Common Democratic issues (discussed below) are women's right to choose, environmentalism, and discrimination. Although, in the last (2006) election the Democratic Party gained seats in both the US House and US Senate, the Democratic party does not have control of the executive branch of the federal government.
- Website: http://www.democrats.org/
- War in Iraq
In March 2003, the world witnesses what President George W. Bush described as a night of "shock and awe," a pre-emptive military strike on the country of Iraq as part of the "War on Terror," started in the wake of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Towers.
The military operation in Iraq (which has now escalated to a war) has become increasingly unpopular in the United States. Democratic leaders, who gave President Bush the authority to use military force in Iraq, have claimed they felt betrayed by Mr. Bush's decision to attack Iraq without using all the diplomatic options they felt had not been exhausted. Recently, even Republican political leaders have begun voicing their concern over the military involvement in Iraq.
Currently, Democrats lack a cohesive and unitive stance on the war. While certain key Democrats like John Kerry propose a timetable for the removal of the troops, others support the president in the matter, most noteably Senator Joe Lieberman. Most, however, call for a plan that will see the gradual reduction of troops while preventing chaos that would ensue upon a hasty retreat of US troops. Democratic presidential hopefuls Russ Feingold and Hillary Clinton both fall somewhere in between Kerry and Lieberman, with Feingold leaning toward Kerry's plan of a planned removal of troops, but with a more flexible timetable, and Clinton seeking out a more moderate stance on the issue.
The war in Iraq is arguably the most important issue to the Democrats in the upcoming mid-term elections, and will likely be just as important in two years in the 2008 presidential elections.
- Reproductive rights
The Democratic Party believes that all women should have access to birth control, and supports public funding of contraception for poor women. The Democratic Party, in its platform in 2000 and 2004, called for abortion to be "safe, legal and rare"—namely, keeping it legal by rejecting laws that allow governmental interference in abortion decisions, and reducing the number of abortions by promoting both knowledge of reproduction and contraception, and incentives for adoption.
The Democratic Party opposes attempts to reverse the 1973 Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade which recognized abortion as a right. As a matter of the right to privacy and of gender equality, many Democrats believe all women should have the ability to choose without governmental interference. They believe that each woman, conferring with her conscience, has the right to choose for herself whether abortion is morally correct. Many Democrats believe that poor women should have a right to publically funded abortions.
Some Democrats explicitly oppose the legality of abortion on moral grounds, including former Pennsylvania Governor Robert P. Casey and Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley.
A substantial number of party members have been shifting to the center on this issue. Some believe in programs to make abortions less frequent as well as making sure the procedure is legal and available. Senator Clinton of New York said in early 2005 that the opposing sides should find "common ground" to prevent unwanted pregnancies and ultimately reduce abortions, which she called a "sad, even tragic choice to many, many women."
- Crime and gun control
Democrats often focus on methods of crime prevention, believing that preventive measures save taxpayers' money in policing and medical costs, and prevent crime and murder. They emphasize improved community policing and more on-duty police officers in order to help accomplish this goal. The Party's platform in 2000 and 2004 cited crackdowns on gangs and drug trafficking as preventive methods. The party's platforms have also addressed the issue of domestic violence, calling for strict penalties for offenders and protection for victims.
With a stated goal of reducing crime and homicide, the Democratic Party has introduced various gun control measures over the last hundred years. The most notable of these were the National Firearms Act of 1934 and 1939 Gun Control Act (signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt), the Gun Control Act of 1968 (introduced by Senator Christopher Dodd and endorsed by Sen. Edward Kennedy), the Brady Bill of 1993 and Crime Control Act of 1994 (signed by President Bill Clinton). However, many Democrats, especially rural, Southern, and Western Democrats, favor fewer restrictions on firearm possession. In the national platform for 2004, the only statement explicitly favoring gun control was a plank calling for renewal of the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban.
Democrats support Equal Opportunity for all Americans regardless of sex, age, race, sexual orientation, religion, creed, or national origin.
The Democratic party mostly supports affirmative action as a way to redress past discrimination and ensure equitable employment regardless of ethnicity or gender, but opposes the use of quotas in hiring. Democrats also strongly support the Americans with Disabilities Act to prohibit discrimination against people on the basis of physical or mental disability.
- The Environment
The Democratic Party is generally pro-environment and favors conservation of natural resources and together with strong environmental laws against pollution.
- Health Care and insurance coverage
Democrats call for "affordable and quality health care," and many advocate an expansion of government intervention in this area. Many Democrats favor a national health insurance system in a variety of forms to address the rising costs of modern health insurance. In 1951, President Harry S. Truman proposed national health insurance as a part of his Fair Deal program, although his proposal was defeated by the American Medical Association. More recently, Senator Edward Kennedy has called for a program of "Medicare for All". 
In his 2004 platform, John Kerry affirmed his support of federally funded stem-cell research "under the strictest ethical guidelines." He explained, "We will not walk away from the chance to save lives and reduce human suffering." 
Some Democratic governors have supported purchasing Canadian drugs, citing lower costs and budget restrictions as a primary incentive. Recognizing that unpaid insurance bills increase costs to the service provider, who passes the cost on to health-care consumers, many Democrats advocate expansion of health insurance coverage.
2008 Presidential ElectionEdit
- Wikipedia: Main Article
Announced candidates for the Democratic Party:
- Senator Joe Biden of Delaware
- Senator Christopher Dodd of Connecticut
- Former Senator Mike Gravel of Alaska
- Representative Dennis Kucinich of Ohio
- Retired General Wesley Clark of Arkansas
- Senator Hillary Clinton of New York
- Former Senator Tom Daschle of South Dakota
- Former Senator John Edwards of North Carolina
- Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin
- Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts
- Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico
- Governor Tom Vilsack of Iowa
- Former Governor Mark Warner of Virginia
Other potential candidates
- Senator Barbara Boxer of California
- Senator John Breaux of Louisiana
- Governor Phil Bredesen of Tennessee
- Senatorial Candidate Bob Casey Jr. of Pennsylvania
- Governor Mike Easley of North Carolina
- Former Vice President Al Gore of Tennessee
- Governor Joe Manchin of West Virginia
- Governor Brad Henry of Oklahoma
- Senator Barack Obama of Illinois
- Governor Brian Schweitzer of Montana
- Reverend Al Sharpton of New York
Not Running or Withdrawn candidates
- War in Iraq
- Universal Healthcare
- Stem Cell Research