Dennis Kucinich

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Posted by motoman 04/10/2009 @ 14:10

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AIG trustees nominate 5 directors - Boston Globe
AIG chief Edward Liddy (center) with Ohio Representative Dennis Kucinich and AIG's Anastasia Kelly. (Chip Somodevilla/ Getty Images) NEW YORK - American International Group Inc.'s trustees overseeing the government's stake in the insurer have selected...
If Obama's Lost Dennis Kucinich….. - Stop the ACLU
Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) argued Tuesday. Kucinich slammed the administration's deal, brokered with insurers, labor, healthcare providers, and other parties to save $2 trillion over the next 10 years as another bailout for a major industry....
Kucinich Supports Single Payer Health System - 90.3 WCPN ideastream®
Congressman Dennis Kucinich says proposals by the health care industry to cut costs by 2 trillion dollars are not enough to achieve real health care reform. Kucinich has long been a critic of for-profit heaslth insurance, and pushed that point Tuesday...
US House Approves Iraq-Afghanistan Funding - Voice of America
Opposing the bill were members of the Progressive Congressional Caucus, such as California Representative Lynne Woolsey and Ohio's Dennis Kucinich, far-left Democrats who say Congress should not provide more money for any war operations....
Kucinich: Talk to Iran before sanctions - PRESS TV
US lawmaker and former presidential contender Dennis Kucinich says the US must try diplomacy in dealing with Iran before pushing for more sanctions. The Ohio Congressman from the Democratic Party told Press TV that the US has not the right to toughen...
KJEE Morning Host Goes on TV - The Santa Barbara Independent
His cheeky interviews are not limited to the sports arena, however, as he also asked presidential hopeful Dennis Kucinich if he was tall enough to run for president while Kucinich was campaigning in Santa Barbara. “My English teacher used to tell me my...
'Impeach,' says Dennis Kucinich. 'Trade,' says Sherrod Brown ... - The Plain Dealer -
This proves, for instance, that Dennis Kucinich has a lot to say, ranking as the most verbose Ohioan in the US Capitol, followed by Sherrod Brown, Marcy Kaptur and Jim Jordan. Marcy Kaptur: Wall Street, banks, money and billion....
Rep. Marcy Kaptur Blasts AIG: They Hire Outside People to 'Rape Us' - Women on the Web
Dennis Kucinich, another Ohio Democrat, accused AIG of cheating public employees in Ohio out of their pension funds. "I came to Congress not to represent these people on Wall Street who have been shafting the American people …...
Webster University to Host Dennis Kucinich and International ... - PR Newswire (press release)
LOUIS, April 27 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A conference on "American Exceptionalism" and human rights will feature US Congressman Dennis Kucinich (OH, 10th Dist.) and International Criminal Court Judge Hans Peter Kaul, among other distinguished leaders...
We Interrupt This Hearing - Roll Call (subscription)
Dennis Kucinich. After all, the Ohio Democrat is a regular at the restaurant (so much so that his photo graces the wall). But change is coming to Zack's Taverna (which is located next to Mendelsohn's Good Stuff Eatery burger joint) — the restaurant...

Dennis Kucinich

Dennis Kucinich

Dennis John Kucinich (IPA: ) (born October 8, 1946) is a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives and was a candidate for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States in the 2004 and 2008 elections.

Kucinich currently represents the 10th District of Ohio in the House of Representatives, which he has been serving since 1996. His district includes most of western Cleveland as well as suburbs such as Parma and Lakewood. He is currently the chairman of the Domestic Policy Subcommittee of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. He is also a member of the Education and Labor Committee.

From 1977 to 1979, Kucinich served as the 53rd mayor of Cleveland, Ohio, a tumultuous term in which he survived a recall election and was successful in a battle against selling the municipal electric utility before being defeated for reelection by George Voinovich.

Kucinich was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on October 8, 1946, as the eldest of the seven children of Frank and Virginia Kucinich. His father, a truck driver, was of Croatian ancestry; his Irish American mother was a homemaker. Growing up, his family moved 21 times and Kucinich was often charged with the responsibility of finding apartments they could afford.

He attended Cleveland State University from 1967 to 1970. In 1973, he graduated from Case Western Reserve University with both a Bachelor of Arts and an Master of Arts (postgraduate) degrees in speech and communication. Kucinich was baptized a Roman Catholic. He is twice divorced, with a daughter, Jackie, from his marriage to Sandra Lee McCarthy. He married his third wife, Elizabeth Harper, a British citizen, on August 21, 2005. The two met while Harper was working as an assistant for the Chicago-based American Monetary Institute, which brought her to Kucinich's House of Representatives office for a meeting. She is 31 years younger than Kucinich.

Dennis was raised with four brothers, Larry, Frank, Gary and Perry; and two sisters, Theresa and Beth Ann. On December 19, 2007, Perry Kucinich, the youngest brother, was found dead in his apartment. On November 11, 2008, his youngest sister, Beth Ann Kucinich, also died.

In 2003, Kucinich was the recipient of the Gandhi Peace Award, an annual award bestowed by the Religious Society of Friends-affiliated organization Promoting Enduring Peace.

Kucinich's political career began early. After running unsuccessfully in 1967, Kucinich was elected to the Cleveland City Council in 1969 at the age of twenty-three. In 1972, Kucinich ran for a seat in the United States House of Representatives, losing narrowly to incumbent Republican William E. Minshall, Jr. After Minshall's retirement in 1974 Kucinich sought the seat again, this time failing to get the Democratic nomination, which instead went to Ronald M. Mottl. Kucinich ran as an Independent candidate in the general election, placing third with about 30% of the vote. In 1975, Kucinich became clerk of the municipal court in Cleveland and served in that position for two years.

Kucinich was elected Mayor of Cleveland in 1977 and served in that position until 1979. At thirty-one years of age, he was the youngest mayor of a major city in the United States, earning him the nickname "the boy mayor of Cleveland". Kucinich's tenure as mayor is often regarded as one of the most tumultuous in Cleveland's history. After Kucinich refused to sell Muni Light, Cleveland's publicly owned electric utility, the Cleveland mafia put out a hit on Kucinich. A hitman from Maryland planned to shoot him in the head during the Columbus Day Parade, but the plot fell apart when Kucinich was hospitalized and missed the event. When the city fell into default shortly thereafter, the mafia leaders called off the contract killer.

In the book Best and Worst of the Big-City Leaders, 1820–1993, Melvin G. Holli, in consultation with a panel of selected experts, claimed Kucinich to be among the ten worst big-city mayors of all time, while Kucinich's supporters say that Kucinich kept his campaign promise of refusing to sell Muni Light to CEI and was brave for not giving in to big business. Specifically, it was the Cleveland Trust Company that suddenly required all of the city's debts be paid in full, which forced the city into default, after news of Kucinich's refusal to sell the city utility. For years these debts were routinely rolled over, pending future payment, until Kucinich's announcement was made public. In 1998 the council honored him for having the "courage and foresight" to stand up to the banks and saving the city an estimated $195 million between 1985 and 1995.

In 1982, Kucinich moved back to Cleveland and ran for Secretary of State; however, he lost the Democratic primary to Sherrod Brown. In 1983, Kucinich won a special election to fill the seat of a Cleveland city councilman who had died. His brother, Gary Kucinich, was also a councilman at the time.

In 1996, Kucinich was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, representing the 10th district of Ohio. He defeated two-term Republican incumbent Martin Hoke by three percentage points. However, he has never faced another contest nearly that close, and has since been re-elected six times.

On August 27, 2008, he delivered a widely publicized speech at the Democratic National Convention.

Kucinich helped introduce and is one of 87 cosponsors in the House of Representatives of the United States National Health Insurance Act or HR 676 proposed by Rep. John Conyers in 2003, which provides for a universal single-payer public health-insurance plan.

His voting record is not always in line with that of the Democratic Party. Kucinich voted against the USA PATRIOT Act, against the Military Commissions Act of 2006, and was one of six who voted against the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Act. He also voted for authorizing and directing the Committee on the Judiciary to investigate whether sufficient grounds existed for the impeachment of Bill Clinton.

Kucinich criticized the flag-burning amendment and voted against the impeachment of President Clinton. His congressional voting record has leaned strongly toward a pro-life stance, although he noted that he has never supported a constitutional amendment prohibiting abortion altogether. But in 2003, he began describing himself as pro-choice and said he had shifted away from his earlier position on the issue. Press releases have indicated that he is pro-choice and supports ending the abstinence-only policy of sex education and increasing the use of contraception to make abortion "less necessary" over time. His voting record since 2003 has reflected his pro choice stance.

He has criticized Diebold Election Systems (now Premier Election Solutions) for promoting voting machines that fail to leave a traceable paper trail, and posted on his website internal company memos in which company executives promised to deliver the 2004 Ohio election to Bush. He was one of the thirty-one who voted in the House to not count the electoral votes from Ohio in the United States presidential election, 2004.

Kucinich has criticized the foreign policy of President Bush, including the 2003 invasion of Iraq and what he perceives as growing American hostility towards Iran. He has always voted against funding it. In 2005, he voted against the Iran Freedom and Support Act, calling it a "stepping stone to war". He also signed a letter of solidarity with Hugo Chávez in Venezuela in 2004.

He advocates the abolition of all nuclear weapons, calling on the United States to be the leader in multilateral disarmament. Kucinich has also strongly opposed space-based weapons and has sponsored legislation, HR 2977, banning the deployment and use of space-based weapons.

Kucinich advocates US withdrawal from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) because, in his view, it causes the loss of more American jobs than it creates, and does not provide adequate protections for worker rights and safety and environmental safeguards. He is against the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) for the same reason.

Kucinich is also in favor of increased dialog with Iran in order to avoid a militaristic confrontation at all costs. He expressed such sentiments at an American Iranian Council conference in New Brunswick, New Jersey which included Chuck Hagel, Javad Zarif, Nicholas Kristof, and Anders Liden to discuss Iranian-American relations, and potential ways to increase dialog in order to avoid conflict.

He believes the US should move aggressively to reduce emissions that cause climate change due to global warming and should ratify the Kyoto Protocol, a major international agreement signed by over 160 countries to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by each signatory.

On January 9, 2009, Kucinich was one of the dissenters in a 390-5 vote with 22 abstentions for a resolution recognizing Israel's "right to defend itself " and reaffirming the U.S.'s support for Israel. The other 4 "no" votes were Gwen Moore of Wisconsin, Maxine Waters of California, Nick Rahall of West Virginia, and Ron Paul of Texas.

Despite Kucinich's committed opposition to the war in Iraq, in the days after the September 11, 2001 attacks he did vote to authorize President Bush broad war making powers, the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists. The Authorization was used by the Bush Administration in its justification for suspension of habeas corpus in the Guantanamo Bay detention camp and its wiretapping of American citizens under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Kucinich voted along with 419 of his House colleagues in favor of this resolution, while only one Congresswoman opposed, Representative Barbara Lee.

Ralph Nader praised Kucinich as "a genuine progressive," and most Greens were friendly to Kucinich's campaign, some going so far as to indicate that they would not have run against him had he won the Democratic nomination. However, Kucinich was unable to carry any states in the 2004 Democratic Primaries, and John Kerry eventually won the Democratic nomination at the Democratic National Convention.

On December 10, 2003, the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) announced the removal of its correspondents from the campaigns of Kucinich, Carol Moseley Braun and Al Sharpton.

The announcement came one day after a Democratic presidential debate hosted by ABC News' Ted Koppel, in which Koppel asked whether the candidacies of Kucinich, Moseley Braun and Sharpton were merely "vanity campaigns," and Koppel and Kucinich exchanged uncomfortable dialog.

Kucinich, previously critical of the limited coverage given his campaign, characterized ABC's decision as an example of media companies' power to shape campaigns by choosing which candidates to cover and questioned its timing, coming immediately after the debate.

ABC News, while stating its commitment to give coverage to a wide range of candidates, argued that focusing more of its "finite resources" on those candidates most likely to win would best serve the public debate.

In the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination race, national polls consistently showed Kucinich's support in single digits, but rising, especially as Howard Dean lost some support among peace activists for refusing to commit to cutting the Pentagon budget. Though he was not viewed as a viable contender by most, there were differing polls on Kucinich's popularity.

He placed second in's primary, behind Dean. He also placed first in other polls, particularly Internet-based ones. This led many activists to believe that his showing in the primaries might be better than what Gallup polls had been saying. However, in the non-binding Washington, D.C. primary, Kucinich finished fourth (last out of candidates listed on the ballot), with only 8% of the vote. Support for Kucinich was most prevalent in the caucuses around the country.

In the Iowa caucuses he finished fifth, receiving about 1% of the state delegates from Iowa; far below the 15% threshold for receiving national delegates. He performed similarly in the New Hampshire primary, placing sixth among the seven candidates with 1% of the vote. In the Mini-Tuesday primaries he finished near the bottom in most states, with his best performance in New Mexico where he received less than 6% of the vote, and still no delegates. Kucinich's best showing in any Democratic contest was in the February 24 Hawaii caucus, in which he won 31% of caucus participants, coming in second place to Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts and winning Maui County, the only county won by Kucinich in either of his presidential campaigns. He also saw a double-digit showing in Maine on February 8, where he got 16% percent in that state's caucus.

On Super Tuesday, March 2, Kucinich gained another strong showing with the Minnesota caucus, where 17% of the ballots went to him. In his home state of Ohio, he gained 9% in the primary.

Kucinich campaigned heavily in Oregon, spending 30 days there during the two months leading up to the state's May 18 primary. He continued his campaign because "the future direction of the Democratic Party has not yet been determined" and chose to focus on Oregon "because of its progressive tradition and its pioneering spirit." He even offered to campaign jointly with Kerry during Kerry's visit to the state, though the offer was ignored. He won 16% of the vote.

Even after Kerry won enough delegates to secure the nomination, Kucinich continued to campaign until just before the convention, citing an effort to help shape the agenda of the Democratic Party. He was the last candidate to end his campaign. He endorsed Kerry on July 22, four days before the start of the Democratic National Convention.

Kucinich described his stance on the issues as mainstream. "My politics are center for the Democratic party," he said in an interview before an AFL-CIO sponsored debate.

On November 16, 2007, Larry Flynt hosted a fundraiser for Kucinich at the Los Angeles-based Hustler-LFP headquarters, attended by Kucinich and his wife, which has drawn criticism from Flynt's detractors. Attendees included such notables as Edward Norton, Woody Harrelson, Sean Penn, Robin Wright Penn, Melissa Etheridge, Tammy Etheridge, Stephen Stills, Kristen Stills, Frances Fisher, and Esai Morales. Campaign spokesmen have declined to comment.

In December 2007, author Gore Vidal endorsed Kucinich for president.

Kucinich's 2008 presidential campaign was advised by a steering committee including Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) Founder Steve Cobble, long-time Kucinich press secretary Andy Junewicz, former Carter Fundraiser Kenneth Brandon, Ani DiFranco Tour Manager Susan Alzner, West Point Graduate and former Army Captain Mike Klein and New Jersey-based political consultant Vin Gopal. The campaign was seen as a platform to push progressive issues into the Democratic Party, including a not-for-profit health care system, same-sex marriage, increasing the minimum wage, opposing capital punishment, and impeachment.

On Tuesday, January 15, 2008, Kucinich was "disinvited" from a Democratic presidential debate on MSNBC. A ruling that the debate could not go ahead without Kucinich was overturned on appeal. Kucinich later responded to the questions posed in the MSNBC debate in a show hosted by Democracy Now!.

Kucinich dropped his bid for the Democratic nomination on Thursday, January 24, 2008, and did not endorse any other candidate. He later endorsed Barack Obama after he had won the nomination. On Friday, January 25, 2008, he made a formal announcement of the end of his campaign for president and his focus on reelection to congress.

Kucinich has always been reelected to Congress by sound margins in his strongly Democratic-leaning district. Kucinich has so far won primary challenges against him for the Democratic nomination convincingly. In the most recent general election (2006), Kucinich defeated another Democratic primary challenger by a wide margin and defeated Republican Mike Dovilla in the general election with 66% of the vote.

His opponents included Cleveland City Councilman Joe Cimperman and North Olmsted Mayor Thomas O'Grady. In February Kucinich raised around $50,000 compared to Cimperman's $228,000 , but through a YouTube money-raising campaign he managed to raise $700,000, surpassing Cimperman's $487,000.

Cimperman, who was endorsed by the Mayor of Cleveland and the Cleveland Plain Dealer, criticized Kucinich for focusing too much on campaigning for president and not on the district. Kucinich accused Cimperman of representing corporate and real estate interests. Cimperman described Kucinich as an absentee congressman who failed to pass any major legislative initiatives in his 12-year House career. In an interview, Cimperman said he was tired of Kucinich and Cleveland being joke fodder for late-night talk-show hosts, saying "It's time for him to go home." An ad paid for by Cimperman's campaign claimed that Kucinich has missed over 300 votes, but by checking the ad's source the actual number was 139. However, Kucinich is well known for his constituency service.

A report suggested that representatives of Nancy Pelosi and American Israel Public Affairs Committee would "guarantee" Kucinich's re-election if he dropped his bid to impeach Dick Cheney and George W. Bush, though Kucinich denies the meeting happened. It was also suggested that Kucinich's calls for universal health care and an immediate withdrawal from Iraq made him a thorn in the side of the Democrats' congressional leadership, as well as his refusal to pledge to support the eventual presidential nominee, which he later reconsidered.

Kucinich won the primary, receiving 68,156 votes out of a total of 135,589 cast to beat Cimperman 52% to 33%.

Kucinich defeated former State Representative Jim Trakas in the November 4, 2008 general election with 153,357 votes, 56.8% of those cast.

Based on his voting record in Congress, the American Conservative Union (ACU) gave Kucinich a conservative rating of 9.73%, and for 2008, the liberal Americans for Democratic Action (ADA) gave him a liberal rating of 95%.

In the aftermath of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 Kucinich calls for the Federal Reserve System to be put under control of U.S. Treasury. Additionally, banks shall no longer be allowed to create money, putting an end to Fractional-reserve banking. He cites Stephen Zarlenga as the initiatior of that proposal.

Kucinich introduced the first Space Preservation Act, on October 2, 2001, with no cosponsors. The bill was designed to "preserve the cooperative, peaceful uses of space for the benefit of all humankind." The bill was referred to the House Science, the House Armed Services, and the House International Relations committees. The bill died in committee (April 9, 2002) because of an unfavorable executive comment received from the Department of Defense.

During the first Democratic Presidential debate at South Carolina State University, none of the other candidates' hands went up when the moderator, Brian Williams, asked if they would support Kucinich's plan to impeach Cheney. In response, Kucinich retrieved a pocket-sized copy of the U.S. Constitution from his coat and expressed the importance of protecting and defending constitutional principles.

This is a pocket copy of the Constitution which I carry with me, because I took an oath to defend the Constitution. We've spent a lot of time talking about Iraq here tonight and America's role in the world. This country was taken into war based on lies. This country was taken into war based on lies about weapons of mass destruction and Al Qaeda's role with respect to Iraq, which there wasn't one at the time we went in. I want to state that Mr. Cheney must be held accountable. He is already ginning up a cause for war against Iran. Now, we have to stand for this Constitution, we have to protect and defend this Constitution. And this vice president has violated this Constitution. So I think that while my friends on the stage may not be ready to take this stand, the American people should know that there's at least one person running for president who wants to reconnect America with its goodness, with its greatness, with its highest principles, which currently are not being reflected by those who are in the White House.

As of January 29, 2008, 24 other Congressional representatives have become cosponsors. Six of these are members of the House Judiciary Committee: Tammy Baldwin, Keith Ellison, Hank Johnson, Maxine Waters, Steve Cohen and Sheila Jackson-Lee. In addition, Congressman Robert Wexler, supported by Representatives Luis Gutierrez and Tammy Baldwin, have begun openly calling for impeachment hearings to begin.

On November 6, 2007, Kucinich used special parliamentary procedure and moved for a vote on impeaching the Vice President. The measure was opposed by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and House Speaker Pelosi, who stood by previous comments that, "impeachment is not on our agenda," and they initially moved to table the bill. When that attempt failed, Mr. Hoyer quickly moved to refer the bill to the House Judiciary Committee. That motion succeeded.

The expanded use of H-1B and L-1 visas has had a negative effect on the workplace of Information Technology workers in America. It has caused a reduction in wages. It has forced workers to accept deteriorating working conditions and allowed U.S. companies to concentrate work in technical and geographic areas that American workers consider undesirable. It has also reduced the number of IT jobs held by Americans.

In the aftermath of the Virginia Tech massacre in Blacksburg, Virginia, Kucinich proposed a plan that he says will address violence in America. Kucinich is currently drafting legislation that includes a ban on the purchase, sale, transfer, or possession of handguns by civilians.

The congressman has pushed for gun control, even as a city councilman. He did carry a handgun for a period of time in 1978 (under the recommendation of the police) when he was the target of a Mafia plot.

Kucinich is also involved in efforts to bring back the Fairness Doctrine, requiring radio stations to give liberal and conservative points of view equal time, which he and other critics of talk radio claim is not presently the case. He is joined in this effort by fellow Democrat Maurice Hichney, among others, as well as Vermont's independent Senator Bernie Sanders. Conservatives have criticized these plans, alleging that what they believe to be a liberal-dominated Hollywood, academia, new media, and mainstream media would not be subject to these regulations.

Kucinich addresses the issue of factory farming in his policy encouraging independent, family-owned, and organic farming. This would help lead to "the meat that we consume coming from happy and healthy free-range animals," Kucinich states on his campaign website.

Kucinich believes that the prices for patented drugs are unreasonably high, and that patent monopolies have created a restricted, unfree drug market. "Simply put, if drug manufacturers were operating in a free market like most other businesses in the US, drug prices would be significantly lower." On September 29, 2004, he introduced H.R. 5155, the Free Market Drug Act; a system where the National Institutes of Health would fund research, thus disconnecting the manufacturing of drugs from research and increasing competition among private manufacturers.

As mayor of Cleveland in the 1970s, Kucinich saved the city's Municipal Light System and opposed construction of the Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Plant and Perry Nuclear Power Plant on Lake Erie. Kucinich also helped Ohioans defeat a planned regional radioactive waste dump, and has long advocated renewable energy and efficient energy use.

He officially offered his resolution the next day and the Clerk spent just under four hours reading the resolution into the House record. After the Clerk had finished reading the resolution, Kucinich moved to refer the resolution to the House Judiciary Committee; the House voted on June 11 to refer the resolution.

On June 20, former Bush press secretary Scott McClellan testified before the House Judiciary Committee about his experiences in the administration leading up to the war.

On July 10, 2008, Kucinich introduced one article of impeachment against President George W. Bush for misleading Congress into war.

On July 14, 2008 Kucinich introduced a new resolution of impeachment against George W. Bush with only one count. Kucinich charged Bush of manufacturing evidence to sway public opinion in favor of the war in Iraq. Speaker Pelosi said in a CBS interview on July 14 that this resolution of impeachment should be looked at more closely. On July 15 the resolution was sent to the judiciary committee. According the associated press the judiciary committee is expected to hold at least one hearing on the issue and will hear testimony from Washington insiders, and experts.

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Dennis Kucinich presidential campaign, 2008

Dennis Kucinich campaign logo

Dennis Kucinich announced on December 12, 2006 that he would seek the nomination for the Democratic Party to run for President of the United States. Although a Democratic candidate, he was not included in the New Hampshire debates on January 4, 2008 or the South Carolina debates on January 21, 2008 because of his poor showings in the Iowa caucuses and the polls.

On Thursday, January 24, 2008, Kucinich dropped his bid for the Democratic nomination after failing to draw more than 2% of the vote in a single contest. In withdrawing from the race, he cited his exclusion from Presidential debates and to continue his service in Congress.

Kucinich describes his stance on the issues as mainstream. "My politics are center for the Democratic party," he said in an interview before an AFL-CIO sponsored debate.

Dennis Kucinich was last (8-12th) in early polls but got stronger and in June and July climbed to 4th and 5th in several polls. In the Rasmussen Reports poll of 14 August 2007, Dennis Kucinich is tied for 5th place, behind Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, Senator Barack Obama, former Senator John Edwards, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, and tied with Senator Joe Biden. Data from Rasmussen Reports The latest Rasmussen poll of Democratic candidates, released on September 5th, 2007 showed Kucinich in a tie for fourth place with Governor Richardson with 4% of Democratic voters saying they support him. The latest FOX News poll that did not include former Vice President Al Gore placed Kucinich with 4% of registered Democratic voters, behind Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards. Including Gore, Kucinich is tied with Governor Richardson.

In the early primary state of New Hampshire, Kucinich has polled as high as tied for 4th place at 7%.

Kucinich has fared much better with unofficial online polls of "netroots" voters, winning the November 2007 Democracy for America "pulse poll", taking first place in over 40 states . Likewise, Kucinich took first in a Daily Kos poll of who won the Las Vegas presidential primary debate .

Kucinich was excluded from the January 15, 2008 debate in Las Vegas, Nevada. Kucinich sued for the right to participate in the debate, but the Nevada Supreme Court ruled in favor of MSNBC.

Kucinich was excluded from Texas Democratic Primary because he refused to sign a so-called "loyalty oath," which required the signers to "fully support the Democratic nominee for president, whoever that shall be." Kucinich lost his federal suit to be included on the ballot. Kucinich is appealing the decision to the United States Supreme Court.

On January 24, 2008, Dennis Kucinich dropped his presidential bid.

Kucinich named Ron Paul as his choice running mate in November, 2007. In a January 1st, 2008 press release Kucinich asked his Iowa supports to make Barack Obama their second choice.

On August 26, 2008, Kucinich gave a spirited speech in support of Obama and Joe Biden at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. He received a standing ovation.

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Mayoral administration of Dennis Kucinich

The mayoral administration of Dennis Kucinich refers to Dennis Kucinich's tenure as mayor of Cleveland, Ohio. The Kucinich administration is often regarded as one of the most tumultuous in Cleveland's history. Kucinich relied heavily on confrontation politics as a solution to problems, a style that made him seem bombastic to the general public. His cabinet was often criticized for including members who were too young or inexperienced to handle their respective positions. For example, Kucinich appointed 24-year-old attorney Joseph Tegreene as his finance director, a move that alarmed business leaders due to Tegreene's minimal financial experience (eight months as a stockbroker).

In 1977, Cleveland's mayoral elections became nonpartisan. Initially, Kucinich supported Ralph J. Perk, the incumbent Republican mayor. However, he started to criticize Perk, eventually broke off with him, and began making plans to run for mayor himself. Democratic support went to Edward F. Feighan, who was then a member of the Ohio House of Representatives.

Many expected the real race to be between Kucinich and Feighan battling for the second spot and a run off against Perk. However, by the time of the mayoral primary, it became increasingly difficult for the city to meet its expenses. Some felt the city's publicly-owned electric company, Municipal Light (Muny Light) should be sold to a private electric company, the Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company (CEI). Perk agreed to the sale, a move that became one of the most heated election issues during the primary. Both Kucinich and Feighan pounded the mayor on the issue, demanding that the sale be canceled. As a result, Perk finished third behind both candidates.

In his campaign, Kucinich hearkened back to Cleveland's glory days, especially of Tom L. Johnson, the former progressive mayor who governed the city from 1901 to 1909. Kucinich ran on Johnson's populist philosophy, which he felt would ultimately solve the city's problems. Tax abatement became the new issue held against Feighan. As a state representative, Feighan chaired the committee that passed tax abatement legislation in the Ohio House and now was unable to backtrack on the issue. In the general election, Kucinich won with 93,047 votes, against Feighan received 90,074 votes. At 31, he was the youngest mayor of a major city in the United States.

Kucinich's term as mayor began in January 1978, a time when Cleveland and most of Cuyahoga County was suffering from unrelenting snowfall (to the point where the area was considered a "disaster zone"). Additionally on January 26, the worst blizzard in the city's history hit with winds exceeding 100 miles an hour.

Despite this, Kucinich, once in office, moved to reverse actions of the previous Ralph Perk administration that he campaigned against. He rejected a $41 million federal grant for a Urban Mass Transportation Administration people mover to be built in Downtown Cleveland. In 1976, Cleveland was one of four cities to receive federal support on such a project. The mayor commented afterwards that the people mover ought to go "back to Disneyland where it belongs." He also vetoed eight ordinances, most of which were tax abatements and subsidies.

As mayor-elect, Kucinich appointed the former San Francisco sheriff, Richard D. Hongisto as chief of police, a decision he would later come to regret. Hongisto became immensely popular in Cleveland, especially with the city's ethnic Eastern European community. The chief was also popular with the media, especially after Hongisto saved a person from a snow bank during the 1978 snowstorm. However, on March 23, Kucinich publicly suspended Hongisto for refusing to accept civilian control. Hongisto asserted that Kucinich interfered with the operation of the Cleveland Police Department. Specifically, he stated that Kucinich's executive secretary Bob Weissman had pressured him to "punish" Kucinich opponents on City Council and to reward police jobs to Kucinich supporters with "questionable ethics." In turn, Kucinich charged Hongisto with insubordination.

In a press conference televised on Good Friday, Kucinich gave Hongisto 24 hours to back up his charges. Then the mayor fired the chief in front of the live television cameras.

After Hongisto's discharge, both critics and former supporters alike felt that Kucinich's actions against the police were too rash and that his administration was not capable of governing a struggling city. A drive began to remove the mayor from his post through a recall election.

The first recall election in the city's history was set for August 13. Kucinich ended up winning, but by a narrow margin of 236 votes.

CEI was responsible for numerous violations of federal antitrust law in its attempt to put Muny Light out of business. The Atomic Safety and Licensing Board of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission determined that CEI blocked Muny Light from making repairs to its generator by lobbying the city council to place restrictive conditions on Muny Light bonds. Because of the delay in repairs, Muny Light had to purchase power. CEI then worked behind the scenes to block Muny Light from purchasing power from other power companies. CEI became the only power company Muny Light could buy from. At that point, CEI began price gouging—sharply increasing (even tripling) the cost of power to Muny Light. As a result, Muny Light began to lose money. CEI went to court to demand that Muny pay $14 million in damages for power it had purchased. Former mayor Ralph Perk had intended to pay that light bill by selling the light system, simultaneously disposing of a $328 million antitrust suit the city had filed against CEI.

Instead, he proposed saving money by laying off 600 employees, including 400 police officers and firefighters, and proposed a $50 million bond issue to pay the Muny debt to CEI. He even agreed to seek an increase in the city income tax, something he had steadfastly refused in the past.

As the week dragged on, the mayor appeared on Good Morning America and repeated his vow not to sell. Three of the six banks that held Cleveland's $14 million in notes presented the notes for redemption at the office of the city treasurer at Cleveland City Hall. They stated that they were willing to listen if the city developed "a financial plan satisfactory to all parties involved." Meanwhile, news reporters from around the nation flocked to Cleveland to watch as the situation intensified.

On December 14 at 11 p.m. (EST), Council met to consider a resolution that only gave Kucinich but one alternative: sell Muny Light or claim default. At the same session, Kucinich handed each Council member a letter advising him or her that he was exercising the right given to him to call the special council meeting. Council refused.

In a dramatic closed-door meeting, Kucinich administration officials, CEI business leaders, and council members packed City Hall and watched the clock as Cleveland became the first major American city to default on its financial obligations since the Great Depression at midnight on December 15, 1978.

The Plain Dealer later revealed that Cleveland Trust and CEI had seven interlocking directors, making Trust CEI's bank. Together with another bank, Cleveland Trust owned a substantial share of CEI stock and had numerous other mutual interests.

The city's surrounding suburbs offered little financial support. Only 12 of the 59 agreed to help in a plan led by University Heights mayor Beryl Rotheschild. These suburbs included Bay Village, Bedford, Fairview Park, Garfield Heights, Lakewood, Maple Heights, Newburgh Heights, North Royalton, Orange, Richmond Heights, University Heights, and Westlake.

Issue #1 failed and Muny Light was never sold. Issue #2 passed, increasing the city's income tax from 1 percent to 1.5 percent to provide more revenue. Public power was continued in Cleveland.

As election season approached, Kucinich decided to run again in the mayoral primary. In April, state senator, Charles Butts announced that he would enter the race. On July 5, council majority leader, Basil Russo joined the race. Finally, after off-and-on remarks of his candidacy, Republican George V. Voinovich, who initially supported Kucinich in 1977, decided to give up his position as lieutenant governor of Ohio to run on July 26.

Unlike the 1977 race, however, there were very few debates. The Plain Dealer endorsed Voinovich while the Cleveland Press endorsed Butts. On primary night at Kucinich headquarters, the band played the theme from Rocky, while Kucinich spoke of the race in the form of a football metaphor: "We are trailing at the half, but what counts is who's winning at the end of the fourth quarter." In the end, the mayor finished second to Voinovich, 47,000 to 36,000 votes.

However, everything came to a virtual halt when Voinovich's nine-year-old daughter was struck by a van and killed. Kucinich could no longer continue his aggressive campaigning against Voinovich. Polls, which were already leaning in Voinovich's favor, now showed overwhelming support for the former lieutenant governor. On November 6, he won the general election with 94,541 votes to 73,755. Kucinich ended up winning only eight of Cleveland's then-33 wards.

Critics of Kucinich's performance as mayor cite the city's economic decline during his stewardship. Kucinich was often satirized in editorials and editorial cartoons as "Dennis the Menace," a reference to the Dennis the Menace comic strip, Kucinich's name and youthful appearance, and his positions, which in that context were often characterized as extremist and anti-business. His confrontational style of politics was also lampooned. One issue of the Cleveland Magazine published in 1979 even featured a lengthy cartoon that depicted Kucinich as an Adolf Hitler-esque dictator. Melvin G. Holli, in consultation with a panel of experts, placed Kucinich among the ten worst big-city mayors of all time in the book, Best and Worst of the Big-City Leaders 1820-1993.

During his administration, Kucinich's successor, George Voinovich defended Muny Light as CEI continued making attempts to take it over. CEI itself was subsequently acquired and is now part of FirstEnergy. Muny Light is now known as Cleveland Public Power and is still in city hands, used today throughout parts of Cleveland. After the 2003 North America blackout, First Energy was identified as a contributor to the disaster due to various failures. Kucinich began to advocate for liability proceedings.

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Democratic Party (United States)

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The Democratic Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. It is the oldest political party in continuous operation in the United States and it is one of the oldest parties in the world. Today, the party supports a liberal and/or center-left platform.

The Democratic Party traces its origins to the Democratic-Republican Party, founded by Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and other influential opponents of the Federalists in 1792. However, the modern Democratic party truly arose in the 1830s, with the election of Andrew Jackson. Since the division of the Republican Party in the election of 1912, it has gradually positioned itself to the left of the Republican Party on economic and social issues. Until the period following the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Democratic Party was primarily a coalition of two parties divided by region. Southern Democrats were typically given high conservative ratings by the American Conservative Union while northern Democrats were typically given very low ratings. Southern Democrats were a core bloc of the bipartisan conservative coalition that lasted through the Reagan-era. The economically activist philosophy of Franklin D. Roosevelt, which has strongly influenced American liberalism, has shaped much of the party's economic agenda since 1932, and served to tie the two regional factions of the party together until the late 1960s. In fact, Roosevelt's New Deal coalition usually controlled the national government until the 1970s.

In 2004, it was the largest political party, with 72 million voters (42.6% of 169 million registered) claiming affiliation. By comparison the Republican Party has 55 million members. An August 2008 estimate claims that 51% of registered voters, including independents, lean toward the Democratic Party and 38% lean toward the Republican Party. Since the 2008 general elections, the Democratic Party is the majority party for the 111th Congress; the party holds a majority in both the House of Representatives and the United States Senate. Democrats also hold a majority of state governorships and control a majority of state legislatures. Barack Obama, the current President of the United States, is the 16th Democrat to hold that office.

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) is responsible for promoting Democratic campaign activities. While the DNC is responsible for overseeing the process of writing the Democratic Platform, the DNC is more focused on campaign and organizational strategy than public policy. In presidential elections it supervises the Democratic National Convention. The national convention is, subject to the charter of the party, the ultimate authority within the Democratic Party when it is in session, with the DNC running the party's organization at other times. The DNC is currently chaired by Virginia Governor Tim Kaine.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) assists party candidates in House races; its current chairman (selected by the party caucus) is Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland. Similarly the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) raises large sums for Senate races. It is currently headed by Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey. The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC), currently chaired by Mike Gronstal of Iowa, is a smaller organization with much less funding that focuses on state legislative races. The DNC sponsors the College Democrats of America (CDA), a student-outreach organization with the goal of training and engaging a new generation of Democratic activists. Democrats Abroad is the organization for Americans living outside the United States; they work to advance the goals of the party and encourage Americans living abroad to support the Democrats. The Young Democrats of America (YDA) is a youth-led organization that attempts to draw in and mobilize young people for Democratic candidates, but operates outside of the DNC. In addition, the recently created branch of the Young Democrats, the Young Democrats High School Caucus, attempts to raise awareness and activism amongst teenagers to not only vote and volunteer, but participate in the future as well.The Democratic Governors Association (DGA) is an organization supporting the candidacies of Democratic gubernatorial nominees and incumbents; it is currently chaired by Governor Brian Schweitzer of Montana. Similarly the mayors of the largest cities and urban centres convene as the National Conference of Democratic Mayors.

Each state also has a state committee, made up of elected committee members as well as ex-officio committee members (usually elected officials and representatives of major constituencies), which in turn elects a chair. County, town, city and ward committees generally are composed of individuals elected at the local level. State and local committees often coordinate campaign activities within their jurisdiction, oversee local conventions and in some cases primaries or caucuses, and may have a role in nominating candidates for elected office under state law. Rarely do they have much funding, but in 2005 DNC Chairman Dean began a program (called the "50 State Strategy") of using DNC national funds to assist all state parties and paying for full-time professional staffers.

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. The Democratic Party is currently the nation's largest party. In 2004, roughly 72 million (42.6 percent) Americans were registered Democrats, compared to 55 million (32.5 percent) Republicans and 42 million (24.8 percent) independents.

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, typified by Al Smith, 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 more socially progressive agenda, with the voter base having shifted considerably. Once dominated by unionized labor and the working class, the Democratic base currently consists of well-educated and relatively affluent liberals, the socially more conservative working class, middle class moderates, the young, women, minorities, and LGBTS. 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, may also be referred to as the "Third Way". The party believes that government should play a role in alleviating poverty and social injustice, even if such requires a larger role for government and progressive taxation.

The Democratic Party, once dominant in the Southeastern United States, is now strongest in the Northeast (Mid-Atlantic and New England), Great Lakes region, and the Pacific Coast (including Hawaii). The Democrats are also strongest in major cities.

Social liberals, also referred to as progressives or modern liberals, constitute roughly half of the Democratic voter base. Liberals thereby form the largest united typological demographic within the Democratic base. According to the 2008 exit poll results, liberals constituted 22 percent of the electorate, and 89 percent of American liberals favored the candidate of the Democratic Party. While college-educated professionals were mostly Republican until the 1950s, they now compose perhaps the most vital component of the Democratic Party. A majority of liberals favor diplomacy over military action, stem cell research, the legalization of same-sex marriage, secular government, stricter gun control, and environmental protection laws as well as the preservation of abortion rights. Immigration and cultural diversity is deemed positive; liberals favor cultural pluralism, a system in which immigrants retain their native culture in addition to adopting their new culture. They tend to be divided on free trade agreements and organizations such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Most liberals oppose increased military spending and the display of the Ten Commandments in public buildings.

This ideological group differs from the traditional organized labor base. According to the Pew Research Center, a plurality of 41 percent resided in mass affluent households and 49 percent were college graduates, the highest figure of any typographical group. It was also the fastest growing typological group between the late 1990s and early 2000s. Liberals include most of academia and large portion of the professional class.

Many progressive Democrats are descendants of the New Left of Democratic presidential candidate Senator George McGovern of South Dakota; others were involved in the presidential candidacies of Vermont Governor Howard Dean and U.S. Representative Dennis Kucinich of Ohio; still others are disaffected former members of the Green Party. The Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) is a caucus of progressive Democrats, and is the single largest Democratic caucus in the House of Representatives. Its members have included Dennis Kucinich of Ohio, John Conyers of Michigan, Jim McDermott of Washington, John Lewis of Georgia, Barbara Lee of California, the late Senator Paul Wellstone of Minnesota, and Sherrod Brown of Ohio, now a Senator.

Civil libertarians also often support the Democratic Party because Democratic positions on such issues as civil rights and separation of church and state are more closely aligned to their own than the positions of the Republican Party, and because the Democratic economic agenda may be more appealing to them than that of the Libertarian Party. They oppose gun control, the "War on Drugs," protectionism, corporate welfare, government debt, and an interventionist foreign policy. The Democratic Freedom Caucus is an organized group of this faction.

See also: Southern Democrats.

The Pew Research Center has stated that conservative Democrats represent 15% of registered voters and 14% of the general electorate. In the House of Representatives, the Blue Dog Coalition, a caucus of fiscal and social conservatives and moderates, primarily southerners, forms part of the Democratic Party's current faction of conservative Democrats. They have acted as a unified voting bloc in the past, giving its forty plus members some ability to change legislation and broker compromises with the Republican Party's leadership. Historically, southern Democrats were generally much more ideologically conservative. In 1972, the last year that a sizable number of conservatives dominated the southern wing of the Democratic Party, the American Conservative Union gave higher ratings to most southern Democratic Senators and Congressmen than it did to Republicans. Today, Democrats are usually classified as 'conservatives' on the basis of holding some socially conservative views to the right of the national party, even though their overall viewpoint is generally far more liberal than conservative Democrats of years past.

Though centrist Democrats differ on a variety of issues, they typically foster a mix of political views and ideas. Compared to other Democratic factions, they tend to be more supportive of the use of military force, including the war in Iraq, and are more willing to reduce government welfare, as indicated by their support for welfare reform and tax cuts. One of the most influential factions is the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC), a nonprofit organization that advocates centrist positions for the party. The DLC hails President Bill Clinton as proof of the viability of "Third Way" politicians and a DLC success story. Former Representative Harold Ford, Jr. of Tennessee is its current chairman.

Professionals, those who have a college education and whose work revolves around the conceptualization of ideas, have supported the Democratic Party by a slight majority since 2000. Between 1988 and 2000, professionals favored Democrats by a 12 percentage point margin. While the professional class was once a stronghold of the Republican Party it has become increasingly split between the two parties, leaning in favor of the Democratic Party. The increasing support for Democratic candidates among professionals may be traced to the prevalence of social liberal values among this group.

A study on the political attitudes of medical students, for example, found that "U.S. medical students are considerably more likely to be liberal than conservative and are more likely to be liberal than are other young U.S. adults. Future U.S. physicians may be more receptive to liberal messages than conservative ones, and their political orientation may profoundly affect their health system attitudes." Similar results are found for professors, who are more strongly inclined towards liberalism and the Democratic Party than other occupational groups.

Academics, intellectuals and the highly educated overall constitute an important part of the Democratic voter base. Academia in particular tends to be progressive. In a 2005 survey, nearly 72% of full-time faculty members identified as liberal, while 15% identified as conservative. The social sciences and humanities were the most liberal disciplines while business was the most conservative. Male professors at more advanced stages of their careers as well as those at elite institutions tend be the most liberal. Another survey by UCLA conducted in 2001/02, found 47.6% of professors identifying as liberal, 34.3% as moderate, and 18% as conservative. Percentages of professors who identified as liberal ranged from 49% in business to over 80% in political science and the humanities. Social scientists, such as Brett O'Bannon of DePauw University, have claimed that the "liberal" opinions of professors seem to have little, if any, effect on the political orientation of students. Whether or not that is true, some conservatives and Republicans complain they are offended and even threatened by the liberal atmosphere of college campuses. As of July 2008 the Students for Academic Freedom arm of the David Horowitz Freedom Center, a conservative organization, posted a list of 440 student complaints, most of which pertain to perceived liberal bias of college professors (Abuse Center).

The liberal inclination of American professors is attributed by some to the liberal outlook of the highly educated.

Those with Postgraduate education, have become increasingly Democratic beginning in the 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, and 2008 elections. Intellectualism, is the tendency to constantly reexamine issues, or in the words of Edwards shields, the "penetration beyond the screen of immediate concrete experience," have also been named as an explanation why the academy is strongly democratic and liberal.

Although Democrats are well represented at the post graduate level, self-identified Republicans appear to dominate among those who have, at the least, attained a 4-year college degree. The trends for the years 1955 through 2004 are shown by gender in the graphs below, reproduced with permission from Democrats and Republicans — Rhetoric and Reality, a book published in 2008 by Joseph Fried. These results are based on surveys conducted by the National Election Studies, supported by the National Science Foundation.

Studies have shown that younger voters tend to vote mostly for Democratic candidates in recent years. Despite supporting Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush, the young have voted in favor of the Democratic presidential candidate in every election since Bill Clinton in 1992, and are more likely to identify as liberals than the general population. In the 2004 presidential election, Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry received 54% of the vote from voters of the age group 18–29, while Republican George W. Bush received 45% of the vote from the same age group. In the 2006 midterm elections, the Democrats received 60% of the vote from the same age group. Polls suggest that younger voters tend to be more liberal than the general population and have more liberal views than the general public on same-sex marriage and universal healthcare, helping Barack Obama carry 66% of their votes in 2008.

Since the 1930s, a critical component of the Democratic Party coalition has been organized labor. Labor unions supply a great deal of the money, grass roots political organization, and voting base of support for the party. Democrats are far more likely to be represented by unions, although union membership has declined, in general, during the last few decades. This trend is depicted in the following graph from the book, Democrats and Republicans — Rhetoric and Reality. It is based on surveys conducted by the National Election Studies (NES).

The historic decline in union membership over the past half century has been accompanied by a growing disparity between public sector and private sector union membership percentages. The three most significant labor groupings in the Democratic coalition today are the AFL-CIO and Change to Win labor federations, as well as the National Education Association, a large, unaffiliated teachers' union. Both the AFL-CIO and Change to Win have identified their top legislative priority for 2007 as passage of the Employee Free Choice Act. Other important issues for labor unions include supporting industrial policy (including protectionism) that sustains unionized manufacturing jobs, raising the minimum wage and promoting broad social programs such as Social Security and universal health care.

While the American working class has lost much of its political strength with the decline of labor unions, it remains a stronghold of the Democratic Party and continues as an essential part of the Democratic base. Today roughly a third of the American public is estimated to be working class with around 52 percent being either members of the working or lower classes. Yet, as those with lower socioeconomic status are less likely to vote, the working and lower classes are underrepresented in the electorate. The working class is largely distinguished by highly routinized and closely supervised work. It consists mainly of clerical and blue-collar workers. Even though most in the working class are able to afford an adequate standard of living, high economic insecurity and possible personal benefit from an extended social safety net, make the majority of working class person left-of-center on economic issues. Most working class Democrats differ from most liberals, however, in their more socially conservative views. Working class Democrats tend to be more religious and likely to belong to an ethnic minority. Socially conservative and disadvantaged Democrats are among the least educated and lowest earning ideological demographics. In 2005, only 15% had a college degree, compared to 27% at the national average and 49% of liberals, respectively. Together socially conservative and the financially disadvantaged comprised roughly 54% of the Democratic base. The continued importance of the working class votes manifests itself in recent CNN exit polls, which shows that the majority of those with low incomes and little education vote for the Democratic Party.

From the end of the Civil War, African Americans almost unanimously favored the Republican Party due to its overwhelming political and more tangible efforts in achieving abolition, particularly through President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation. The south had long been a Democrat stronghold, favoring a state's right to legal slavery. In addition, the ranks of the fledgling Ku Klux Klan were comprised almost entirely of white Democrats angry over poor treatment by northerners, both perceived and actual. However, as years passed and memories waned, African Americans began drifting to the Democratic Party, as Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal programs gave economic relief to all minorities, including African Americans and Hispanics. Support for the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s by Democratic presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson and a hard-fought Republican congressional movement, helped give the Democrats even larger support among the African American community, which consistently vote 85-95% Democrat. However, this alienated many of the southern whites that had been a stronghold for Democrats in the past. In addition, recent Caribbean and African immigrants have voted solidly Democratic.

The Hispanic population, particularly the large Mexican American and Salvadoran American population in the Southwest and the large Puerto Rican and Dominican populations in the Northeast, have been strong supporters of the Democratic Party. They commonly favor liberal views on immigration. In the 1996 presidential election, Democratic President Bill Clinton received 72 percent of the Hispanic vote. Since then, however, the Republican Party has gained increasing support from the Hispanic community, especially among Hispanic Protestants and Pentecostals. Along with Bush's much more liberal views on immigration, President Bush was the first Republican president to gain 40 percent of the Hispanic vote (he did so in the 2004 presidential election). Yet, the Republican Party's support among Hispanics eroded in the 2006 mid-term elections, dropping from 44 to 30 percent, with the Democrats gaining in the Hispanic vote from 55 percent in 2004 to 69 percent in 2006. The shift in the Hispanic population's support back to the Democratic party was largely due to the Immigration Debate, which was sparked by H. R. 4437, a Republican enforcement-only bill concerning illegal immigration. Democrats increased their share of the Hispanic vote in the 2008 presidential election, with Barack Obama receiving 67%. Cuban Americans still heavily vote Republican but Mexican Americans, Puerto Rican Americans, Dominican Americans, and Central American and South American immigrants have all voted dependably for Democrats.

The Democratic Party also has considerable support in the growing Asian American population. The Asian American population had been a stronghold of the Republican Party until the 1992 presidential election in which George H. W. Bush won 55% of the Asian American vote, compared to Bill Clinton winning 31%, and Ross Perot winning 15% of the Asian American vote. The Democrats made gains among the Asian American population starting with 1996 and in 2006, won 62% of the Asian American vote. This is due to demographic shifts in the Asian American community, with growing numbers of well-educated Chinese and Indian American immigrants that are typically economic centrists and social progressives. Newer generations of more liberal Vietnamese American and Filipino American youth have also began to replace older more conservative generations that have voted reliably Republican. Vietnamese Americans still vote mostly Republican (though this has lessened recently), while Chinese Americans, Indian Americans, Korean Americans, Japanese Americans, Southeast Asian Americans other than Vietnamese (especially Hmong Americans, Cambodian Americans, and Laotian Americans,) and Pacific Islander Americans have voted mostly Democratic. Filipino Americans have recently begun to lean Democratic, especially the young. Younger Asian-Americans of all ethnic backgrounds aged 18–30 have gravitated towards the Democratic Party in the last few elections.

The Democratic Party also has strong support among the Native American population, particularly in Arizona, New Mexico, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Washington, Alaska, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and North Carolina.

Jewish American communities tend to be a stronghold for the Democratic Party, with more than 70% of Jewish voters having cast their ballots for the Democrats in the 2004 and 2006 elections. Support tends to vary among specific sectarian groups, with only 13% of Orthodox Jews supporting Barack Obama while around 60% of Conservative Jews and Reform Jews do so.

Arab Americans and Muslim Americans have leaned Democratic since the Iraq War. Zogby found in June 2007 that 39% of Arab Americans identify as Democrats, 26% as Republicans, and 28% as independents. Arab Americans historically voted Republican until recent years, having supported George W. Bush over Al Gore in 2000.

These views are generally held by most Democrats. Some Democrats take other positions on these issues.

Democrats favor a higher minimum wage, and more regular increases, in order to assist the working poor. The Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007 was an early component of the Democrats' agenda during the 110th Congress. In 2006, the Democrats supported six state ballot initiatives to increase the minimum wage; all six initiatives passed.

Democrats have opposed tax cuts and incentives to oil companies, favoring a policy of developing domestic renewable energy, such as Montana's state-supported wind farm and "clean coal" programs as well as setting in place a cap and trade policy in hopes of reducing carbon emissions.

Democrats generally support a more progressive tax structure to provide more services and reduce injustice. Currently they have proposed reversing those tax cuts the Bush administration gave to the wealthiest Americans while wishing to keep in place those given to the middle class. Democrats generally support more government spending on social services while spending less on the military. They oppose the cutting of social services, such as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and various welfare programs, believing it to be harmful to efficiency and social justice. Democrats believe the benefits of social services, in monetary and non-monetary terms, are a more productive labor force and cultured population, and believe that the benefits of this are greater than any benefits that could be derived from lower taxes, especially on top earners, or cuts to social services. Furthermore, Democrats see social services as essential towards providing positive freedom, i.e. freedom derived from economic opportunity. The Democratic-led House of Representatives reinstated the PAYGO (pay-as-you-go) budget rule at the start of the 110th Congress. DNC Chairman Howard Dean has cited Bill Clinton's presidency as a model for fiscal responsibility.

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.

Democrats believe that the government should protect the environment, and have promised to fight to strengthen the laws that ensure people have clean air to breathe and clean water to drink. They also promise to make sure these laws are enforced. They feel that a sensible energy policy is key to a strong economy, national security, and a clean environment.

Most Democrats have the long-term aim of having low-cost, publicly funded college education with low tuition fees (like in much of Europe and Canada), which should be available to every eligible American student, or alternatively, with increasing state funding for student financial aid such as the Pell Grant or college tuition tax deduction.

The Democratic Party has a mixed record on international trade agreements that reflects a diversity of viewpoints in the party. The liberal and cosmopolitan wing of the party, including the intelligentsia and college-educated professionals overall, tend to favor globalization, while the organized labor wing of the party opposes it. In the 1990s, the Clinton administration and a number of prominent Democrats pushed through a number of agreements such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Since then, the party's shift away from free trade became evident in the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) vote, with 15 House Democrats voting for the agreement and 187 voting against.

The Democratic Party supports equal opportunity for all Americans regardless of sex, age, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, creed, or national origin. The Party supports affirmative action programs to further this goal. Democrats also strongly support the Americans with Disabilities Act to prohibit discrimination against people on the basis of physical or mental disability.

The Democratic Party is divided on the subject of same-sex marriage. Some members favor civil unions for same-sex couples, others favor full and equal legalized marriage, and others are opposed to same-sex marriage on religious or ideological grounds. A June 2008 Newsweek poll found that 42% of Democrats support same-sex marriage while 23% support civil unions or domestic partnership laws and 28% oppose any legal recognition at all. The 2004 Democratic National Platform stated that marriage should be defined at the state level and it repudiated the Federal Marriage Amendment. Senator John Kerry, Democratic presidential candidate in 2004, did not support same-sex marriage.

A broad majority of Democrats have supported other LGBT related laws such as extending hate crime statutes to cover violence against LGBT people, legally preventing discrimination against LGBT people in the workforce, and repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Some issues are controversial while others have wide support. A 2006 Pew Research Center poll of Democrats found that 55% support gay adoption with 40% opposed while 70% support gays in the military with only 23% opposed.

Most members of the Democratic Party believe that all women should have access to birth control, and supports public funding of contraception for poor women. The Democratic Party, in its national platforms since 1992, has 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. When Congress voted on the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act in 2003, Congressional Democrats were split, with a minority (including current Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid) supporting the ban, and the majority of Democrats opposing the legislation.

The Democratic Party opposes attempts to reverse the 1973 Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, which declared abortion covered by the constitutionally protected individual right to privacy under the Ninth Amendment, and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which lays out the legal framework in which government action alleged to violate that right is assessed by courts. As a matter of the right to privacy and of gender equality, many Democrats believe all women should have the ability to choose to abort 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 also believe that poor women should have a right to publicly funded abortions.

Current Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid self-identifies as 'pro-life', while President Barack Obama and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi self-identify as 'pro-choice'. The pro-life faction in the Party is represented by groups such as Democrats for Life of America while the pro-choice faction is represented by groups such as EMILY's List. A Newsweek poll from October 2006 found that 25% of Democrats were pro-life while a 69% majority were pro-choice. Pro-life Democrats themselves state that they represent over 40% of Democrats.

Democrats in the House of Representatives and United States Senate near-unanimously voted for the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists against "those responsible for the recent attacks launched against the United States" in Afghanistan in 2001, supporting the NATO coalition invasion of the nation. Most elected Democrats continue in their support of the Afghanistan conflict, and some have voiced concerns that the Iraq War is shifting too many resources away from the presence in Afghanistan. Some Democrats also oppose the invasion. In spring 2008, Gallup found that 41% of Democrats called the invasion a "mistake" while a 55% majority disagreed.

Since 2006, Democratic candidate Barack Obama has called for a "surge" of troops into Afghanistan and, since 2008, Republican candidate John McCain has also called for a "surge". Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senator Chuck Schumer have expressed support for Obama's plan. Pelosi has stated that “We need more resources there... We are understaffed there, not only in our military presence, but also in terms of the reconstruction of Afghanistan." In spring 2008, Gallup found Democrats evenly divided about whether or not more troops should be sent — 56% support it if it would mean removing troops from Iraq and only 47% support it otherwise.

See also: National Jewish Democratic Council. See also: Israel-United States relations.

71% of Americans define themselves as supporters of the state of Israel, making it Americans' 5th most favored country. Democrats are no exception and have both recently and historically supported Israel. A 2008 Gallup Poll found that 64% say that they have a favorable image of Israel while only 16% say that they have a favorable image of the Palestinian Authority. Within the party, the majority view is held by the Democratic leadership with the minority pro-Palestinian view held by individual members of the party's left-wing such as John Conyers Jr., George Miller, Nick Rahall, Dave Obey, Dennis J. Kucinich, Jim McDermott, and Cynthia McKinney as well as former President Jimmy Carter. The party leadership refers to the other side as a "fringe".

It is in the best interests of all parties, including the United States, that we take an active role to help secure a lasting settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with a democratic, viable Palestinian state dedicated to living in peace and security side by side with the Jewish State of Israel. To do so, we must help Israel identify and strengthen those partners who are truly committed to peace, while isolating those who seek conflict and instability, and stand with Israel against those who seek its destruction. The United States and its Quartet partners should continue to isolate Hamas until it renounces terrorism, recognizes Israel’s right to exist, and abides by past agreements. Sustained American leadership for peace and security will require patient efforts and the personal commitment of the President of the United States. The creation of a Palestinian state through final status negotiations, together with an international compensation mechanism, should resolve the issue of Palestinian refugees by allowing them to settle there, rather than in Israel. All understand that it is unrealistic to expect the outcome of final status negotiations to be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949. Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel. The parties have agreed that Jerusalem is a matter for final status negotiations. It should remain an undivided city accessible to people of all faiths.

A January 2009 Pew Research Center study found that, when asked "which side do you sympathize with more", 42% of Democrats and 33% of liberals side with the Israelis. Around half of all political moderates and/or independents sided with Israel.

In 2002, Democrats were divided as a majority (29 for, 21 against) in the Senate and a minority of Democrats in the House (81 for, 126 against) voted for the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq. Since then, many prominent Democrats, such as former Senator John Edwards, have expressed regret about this decision, and have called it a mistake, while others, such as Senator Hillary Clinton have criticized the conduct of the war but not repudiated their initial vote for it. Referring to Iraq, in April 2007 Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid declared the war to be "lost" while other Democrats (especially during the 2004 presidential election cycle) accused the President of lying to the public about WMDs in Iraq. Amongst lawmakers, Democrats are the most vocal opponents of Operation Iraqi Freedom and campaigned on a platform of withdrawal ahead of the 2006 mid-term elections.

A March 2003 CBS News poll taken a few days before the invasion of Iraq found that 34% of Democrats would support it without United Nations backing, 51% would support it only with its backing, and 14% would not support it at all. The Los Angeles Times stated in early April 2003 that 70% of Democrats supported the decision to invade while 27% opposed it. The Pew Research Center stated in August 2007 that opposition increased from 37% during the initial invasion to 74%. In April 2008, a CBS News poll found that about 90% of Democrats disapprove of the Bush administration's conduct and want to end the war within the next year.

On February 27, 2009, President Obama announced, “As a candidate for president, I made clear my support for a timeline of 16 months to carry out this drawdown, while pledging to consult closely with our military commanders upon taking office to ensure that we preserve the gains we’ve made and protect our troops... Those consultations are now complete, and I have chosen a timeline that will remove our combat brigades over the next 18 months." Around 50,000 non-combat related forces will remain. Obama's plan drew wide bipartisan support, including defeated Republican Presidential candidate Senator John McCain.

Democrats usually oppose the doctrine of unilateralism, which dictates that the United States should use military force without any assistance from other nations whenever it believes there is a threat to its security or welfare. They believe the United States should act in the international arena in concert with strong alliances and broad international support. This was a major foreign policy issue of John Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign; his platform attributed rifts with international allies to unilateralism. Barack Obama's 2008 campaign also discussed promoting the image of the United States abroad.

In a general sense, the modern Democratic Party is more closely aligned with the international relations theories of liberalism, neoliberalism, and functionalism than realism and neorealism, though realism has some influence on the party. Wilsonian idealism, in which unilateral foreign intervention is justified to end genocide or other humanitarian crises, has also played a major role both historically and currently- with its supporters known as 'liberal hawks'.

We believe that the people of Puerto Rico have the right to the political status of their choice, obtained through a fair, neutral, and democratic process of self-determination. The White House and Congress will work with all groups in Puerto Rico to enable the question of Puerto Rico’s status to be resolved during the next four years. We also believe that economic conditions in Puerto Rico call for effective and equitable programs to maximize job creation and financial investment. Furthermore, in order to provide fair assistance to those in greatest need, the U.S. citizens in Puerto Rico should receive treatment under federal programs that is comparable to that of citizens in the States. We will phase-out the cap on Medicaid funding and phase-in equal participation in other federal health care assistance programs. Moreover, we will provide equitable treatment to the U.S. citizens in Puerto Rico on programs providing refundable tax credits to working families.

We believe that four million disenfranchised American citizens residing in Puerto Rico have the right to the permanent and fully democratic status of their choice. The White House and Congress will clarify the realistic status options for Puerto Rico and enable Puerto Ricans to choose among them.

Puerto Rico has been under U.S. sovereignty for over a century and Puerto Ricans have been U.S. citizens since 1917, but the island’s ultimate status still has not been determined and its 3.9 million residents still do not have voting representation in their national government. These disenfranchised citizens — who have contributed greatly to our country in war and peace — are entitled to the permanent and fully democratic status of their choice. Democrats will continue to work in the White House and Congress to clarify the options and enable them to choose and to obtain such a status from among all realistic options.

Democrats are opposed to use of torture against individuals apprehended and held prisoner by the U.S. military, and hold that categorizing such prisoners as unlawful combatants does not release the U.S. from its obligations under the Geneva Conventions. Democrats contend that torture is inhumane, decreases the United States' moral standing in the world, and produces questionable results. Democrats largely spoke out against waterboarding.

All Democrats in the U.S. Senate, except for Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, voted for the original USA PATRIOT Act legislation. After voicing concerns over the "invasion of privacy" and other civil liberty restrictions of the Act, the Democrats split on the renewal in 2006. Most Democratic Senators voted to renew it, while most Democratic Representatives voted against renewal. Renewal was allowed after many of the most invasive clauses in the Act were removed or curbed.

The Democratic Party believes that individuals should have a right to privacy. For example, Democrats have generally opposed the NSA warrantless surveillance of U.S. citizens.

Some Democratic officeholders have championed consumer protection laws that limit the sharing of consumer data between corporations. Most Democrats oppose sodomy laws and believe that government should not regulate consensual noncommercial sexual conduct among adults as a matter of personal privacy.

With a stated goal of reducing crime and homicide, the Democratic Party has introduced various gun control measures, most notably the Gun Control Act of 1968, the Brady Bill of 1993 and Crime Control Act of 1994. However, many Democrats, especially rural, Southern, and Western Democrats, favor fewer restrictions on firearm possession and warned the party was defeated in the 2000 presidential election in rural areas because of the issue. In the national platform for 2004, the only statement explicitly favoring gun control was a plan calling for renewal of the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban.

The Democratic Party evolved from Anti-Federalist factions that opposed the fiscal policies of Alexander Hamilton in the early 1790s. Thomas Jefferson and James Madison organized these factions into the Democratic-Republican Party. The party favored states' rights and strict adherence to the Constitution; it opposed a national bank and wealthy, moneyed interests. The Democratic-Republican Party ascended to power in the election of 1800. After the War of 1812, the party's chief rival, the Federalist Party disbanded. Democratic-Republicans split over the choice of a successor to President James Monroe, and the party faction that supported many of the old Jeffersonian principles, led by Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren, became the Democratic Party. Along with the Whig Party, the Democratic Party was the chief party in the United States until the Civil War. The Whigs were a commercial party, and usually less popular, if better financed. The Whigs divided over the slavery issue after the Mexican–American War and faded away. In the 1850s, under the stress of the Fugitive Slave Law and the Kansas-Nebraska Act, anti-slavery Democrats left the party. Joining with former members of existing or dwindling parties, the Republican Party emerged.

The Democrats split over the choice of a successor to President James Buchanan along Northern and Southern lines, while the Republican Party gained an ascendancy in the election of 1860. As the American Civil War broke out, Northern Democrats were divided into War Democrats and Peace Democrats and Southern Democrats formed their own party. Most War Democrats rallied to Republican President Abraham Lincoln and the Republicans' National Union Party. The Democrats benefited from white Southerners' resentment of Reconstruction after the war and consequent hostility to the Republican Party. After Redeemers ended Reconstruction in the 1870s, and the extremely violent disenfranchisement of African Americans took place in the 1890s, the South, voting Democratic, became known as the "Solid South." Though Republicans continued to control the White House until 1884, the Democrats remained competitive. The party was dominated by pro-business Bourbon Democrats led by Samuel J. Tilden and Grover Cleveland, who represented mercantile, banking and railroad interests, opposed imperialism and overseas expansion, fought for the gold standard, opposed bimetallism, and crusaded against corruption, high taxes, and tariffs. Cleveland was elected to non-consecutive presidential terms in 1884 and 1892.

Issues facing parties and the United States after the Second World War included the Cold War and the Civil Rights Movement. Republicans attracted conservatives and white Southerners from the Democratic coalition with their resistance to New Deal and Great Society liberalism and the Republicans' use of the Southern strategy. African Americans, who traditionally supported the Republican Party, began supporting Democrats following the ascent of the Franklin Roosevelt administration, the New Deal, and the Civil Rights movement. The Democratic Party's main base of support shifted to the Northeast, marking a dramatic reversal of history. Bill Clinton was elected to the presidency in 1992, governing as a New Democrat when the Democratic Party lost control of Congress in the election of 1994 to the Republican Party. Re-elected in 1996, Clinton was the first Democratic President since Franklin Roosevelt to serve for two terms. The Democratic Party regained majority control of Congress in the 2006 elections. Some of the party's key issues in the early 21st century in their last national platform have included the methods of how to combat terrorism, homeland security, expanding access to health care, labor rights, environmentalism, and the preservation of liberal government programs.

The most common mascot symbol for the party is the donkey. According to the Democratic National Committee, the party itself never officially adopted this symbol but has made use of it. They say Andrew Jackson had been labeled a jackass by his opponents during the intense mudslinging that occurred during the presidential race of 1828. A political cartoon titled "A Modern Balaam and his Ass" depicting Jackson riding and directing a donkey (representing the Democratic Party) was published in 1837. A political cartoon by Thomas Nast in an 1870 edition of Harper's Weekly revived the donkey as a symbol for the Democratic Party. Cartoonists followed Nast and used the donkey to represent the Democrats, and the elephant to represent the Republicans.

In the early 20th century, the traditional symbol of the Democratic Party in Midwestern states such as Indiana, Kentucky, Oklahoma and Ohio was the rooster, as opposed to the Republican eagle. This symbol still appears on Oklahoma, Kentucky, Indiana, and West Virginia ballots. In New York, the Democratic ballot symbol is a five-pointed star. For the majority of the 20th century, Missouri Democrats used the Statue of Liberty as their ballot emblem. This meant that when Libertarian candidates received ballot access in Missouri in 1976, they could not use the Statue of Liberty, their national symbol, as the ballot emblem. Missouri Libertarians instead used the Liberty Bell until 1995, when the mule became Missouri's state animal. From 1995 to 2004, there was some confusion among voters, as the Democratic ticket was marked with the Statue of Liberty, and it seemed that the Libertarians were using a mule.

Although both major political parties (and many minor ones) use the traditional American red, white, and blue colors in their marketing and representations, since election night 2000 the color blue has become the identified color of the Democratic Party, while the color red has become the identified color of the Republican Party. That night, for the first time, all major broadcast television networks used the same color scheme for the electoral map: blue states for Al Gore (Democratic nominee) and red states for George W. Bush (Republican nominee). Since then, the color blue has been widely used by the media to represent the party, much to the confusion of non-American observers, as blue is the traditional color of the right and red the color of the left outside of the United States (c.f. red for the Liberals and blue for the Conservatives in Canada, or red for Labour and blue for Conservative in the United Kingdom). Blue has also been used by party supporters for promotional efforts (e.g. ActBlue, BuyBlue, BlueFund) and by the party itself, which in 2006 unveiled the "Red to Blue Program" to support Democratic candidates running against Republican incumbents in the 2006 midterm elections.

Jefferson-Jackson Day is the annual fundraising event (dinner) held by Democratic Party organizations across the United States. It is named after Presidents Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson, whom the party regards as its distinguished early leaders.

The song "Happy Days Are Here Again" is the unofficial song of the Democratic Party. It was used prominently when Franklin D. Roosevelt was nominated for president at the 1932 Democratic National Convention and remains a sentimental favorite for Democrats today. For example, Paul Shaffer played the theme on the Late Show with David Letterman after the Democrats won Congress in 2006. More recently, the emotionally similar song "Beautiful Day" by the band U2 has become a favorite theme song for Democratic candidates. John Kerry used the song during his 2004 presidential campaign, and it was used as a celebratory tune by several Democratic Congressional candidates in 2006. Aaron Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man is traditionally performed at the beginning of the Democratic National Convention.

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Iowa Democratic caucuses, 2008


The 2008 Democratic caucuses in Iowa occurred on January 3, 2008, and were the state caucuses of the Democratic Party in Iowa. It was the first election for the Democrats of the 2008 presidential election. Of the eight major Democratic presidential candidates, U.S. Senator Barack Obama of Illinois received the most support, making him the first African American person to carry the caucus. John Edwards came in second and Hillary Clinton came in third, though Clinton received more delegates than Edwards. Campaigning had begun as early as two years before the event.

The caucuses in Iowa have historically been the first held in the United States. The caucus marked the traditional and formal start of the delegate selection process for the 2008 United States presidential election, and the process in which members of the Democratic political party gathered to make policy decisions.

Iowa state law mandates that its caucus must be held at least eight days before any other meeting, caucus, or primary for the presidential nominating process. Therefore, the Iowa caucuses have always been traditionally the leading state in the nominating process. Not only did controversy brew between the candidates, but the caucuses themselves drew a large amount of media attention. The decisions of the Iowans often affect the rest of the campaign season. Obama's victory in Iowa helped establish him as one of the Democratic front-runners of 2008 and was a first step toward his eventual nomination.

The caucuses followed the regular procedures of the Democratic Party process. Any voter who was a registered Democrat and a resident of Iowa was eligible to participate in the event. Individuals could have chosen to register or change their party affiliation at the door. It was estimated that 60% of the caucus goers would have attended the caucuses for the first time. All of the caucus goers met in public buildings or schools in their respective precincts and divided themselves into groups; each group represented a candidate. The voting was done publicly (viva voce). To be viable, each preference group must have had at least 15% of the caucus goers' votes. If a candidate received less than 15% of the caucus goers' votes, then the supporters of that non-viable candidate had 30 minutes to join a viable candidate's group, join another non-viable candidate's group to make the candidate viable, join an uncommitted group, or choose not to be counted as a voter.

In Iowa, there were 1,784 precincts for the caucuses. Each viable preference group at each caucus elected a certain number of delegates proportional to the group's size that would represent the candidate at the county conventions. There are 99 counties in Iowa, and their Democratic conventions would take place on March 15, 2008. At these conventions, a subset of delegates would be chosen to attend the district, then state conventions. At the state convention on June 14, 2008, a subset of delegates would be chosen to attend the national convention which starts on August 25, 2008. As in the precinct caucuses, the pledged delegates to the national convention will proportionally represent the candidates compared to the results of the state caucus.

The delegate allocation to the national convention is as follows: 29 district delegates will proportionally represent a candidate's support at each Congressional District. The First Congressional District receives six pledged delegates, the Second Congressional District receives seven, the Third Congressional District receives six, the Fourth Congressional District receives six, and the Fifth Congressional District receives four. All of these pledged delegates represent each Congressional District independently; they are not affected by the results of the state convention.

At the state convention, on the other hand, sixteen pledged delegates proportionally represent the candidates' support. Ten of these delegates will be designated as at-large, meaning that they represent the entire state as a whole. The other six will be referred to as Party Leaders and Elected Officials (PLEO). These may include members of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), members of the House and the Senate, the governor, and former party leaders. Not all of the PLEOs are pledged, but if they are, they will represent the state as a whole along with the at-large delegates. In total, the Democratic presidential candidates will be allocated a total of forty-five pledged delegates, depending on their support in each district and in the state.

Twelve delegates that do not represent caucus results will be sent to the National Convention; they are referred to as unpledged. Eleven of them are PLEOs, which include six members of the DNC, one Senator, three Representatives, and one Governor. Because these unpledged delegates high profiles are usually high profile elected officials, they are referred to as superdelegates. The other unpledged delegate is an add-on delegate, who is selected at the state convention.

While this process lasts for a period of approximately five months, the results of the state caucus are usually predictable by the results of the precincts' caucuses combined. Therefore, the results of the precinct caucuses provides a good measurement of Iowa's delegation to the national convention.

The above results have a margin of sampling error of ±3.5%.

Barack Obama's results in the opinion polls rose from 28% in the Des Moines Register's poll in late November 2007. This was in part a result of a "dramatic influx of first-time caucusgoers, including a sizable bloc of political independents." Hillary Clinton remained at a constant 25%, while John Edwards was almost unchanged when his ratings increased to 24% from 23% in November. Approximately one-third of likely caucus goers said that they could have been persuaded to choose a different candidate before the caucuses.

The December results of the Des Moines Register's poll also showed a widened gap between the three-way contest for the lead—Clinton, Edwards, and Obama—and the rest of the Democratic candidates. No other Democrat received more than 6% support of caucus goers.

30% of the sample population from the Des Moines Register's poll said that a candidate's ability to bring about change in the United States was the most important to them. 27% of the population said that a candidate who would be most successful in unifying the country would have taken priority in their votes. Most caucus goers also said that Obama was strong in both of these areas. Having the experience and competence to lead was considered the most important aspect of a candidate by 18% of the sample population; Hillary Clinton was rated best on this trait. Only 6% of the sample population said that being best able to win the general election was the top priority; Hillary Clinton, again, was rated best on this trait.

The Iowa Democratic Party does not release vote counts (it releases only the number of delegates to the state convention). Since Clinton had the highest delegate strength in the Fifth Congressional District (a district allocated four national convention delegates) and received the same amount of national delegates elsewhere, she projected to receive the one more national delegate than Edwards despite receiving fewer projected delegates to the state convention.

The Democratic National Committee gives the 50 states 794 superdelegates. According to a Jan. 4 poll conducted by the Associated Press, most of the superdelegates were undecided, but 160 had endorsed Clinton, compared to 59 for Obama and 32 for Edwards. Along with the delegates that the candidates secured from Iowa, the numbers were as follows: 175 for Clinton, 75 for Obama, and 46 for Edwards. (To win the Democratic nomination for President 2,024 delegates are needed.) Thus Clinton initially retained an overall delegate lead following the Iowa results.

Dennis Kucinich and Barack Obama competed against each other in the Iowa caucuses, but Kucinich asked that Iowans caucusing for him, should they fail to build a viable preference group on caucus night, realign to Barack Obama in the second round. Both have fought for the same priorities including ending the Iraq War, reforming Washington, and creating a better life for working families. In the 2004 Iowa Democratic caucuses, Kucinich made a similar announcement in favor of John Edwards. At that caucus, Edwards's aides claimed that this request helped put him in second place. In the 2008 caucus, however, Kucinich did not conduct much of a campaign in Iowa. He paid for no organizers nor offices in the state, and he was not invited to the Des Moines Register's debate in December 2007. Mike Gravel didn't conduct an active campaign either.

The 2008 caucuses saw a record turnout for both parties, but more notably for the Democratic caucuses, which drew more than 239,000 voters, almost double the Republican turnout. Entrance polling indicated that a significant portion of the turnout came from first-time caucus attendees, as well as attendees under the age of thirty; two groups of voters that primarily lent their support to Barack Obama. Women, previously expected to largely back Hillary Clinton, split their vote between Clinton and Obama, the latter of whom actually received slightly more support. In the aftermath of the results from the Iowa caucuses, Chris Dodd and Joe Biden dropped out of the presidential race.

As a result of these caucuses, Barack Obama received a significant surge of support in the state of New Hampshire, which held its Democratic primary five days after the Iowa caucuses. In New Hampshire pre-primary polls conducted from January 4 to January 6, 2008, Obama enjoyed a 13% lead over Clinton.

The economic impact of the 2004 Iowa Democratic caucuses was estimated at roughly $50 to $60 million. Considering the fact that the candidates from both the Democratic and Republican parties competitively raced for the nomination and an early start to the campaign season, the Iowa Department of Economic Development stated that the economic impact of the 2008 caucuses would be much greater than that of 2004. The caucuses also give the Iowa Department of Economic Development the opportunity to showcase its state's leaderhip role in renewable energy, manufacturing, and the biosciences, or to show the state's top ranking in the quality of life.

In addition, various trade officials, ambassadors, and economists came together on the same day of the caucuses at the World Trade Organization's Headquarters in Geneva to kick off their seventh year of their Doha round trade talks. Those who attended the meeting also closely watched the caucuses because the candidate who wins the United States presidency is going to be a major factor in international trade. Hillary Clinton has called for a "break" in international trade talks. John Edwards and Barack Obama, to a lesser extent, have expressed skepticism on the kinds of free-trade deals that are discussed at the Doha rounds. The Republicans with President George W. Bush, on the other hand, openly supported the trade agreements.

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Source : Wikipedia