The Democratic Leadership Council Discusses Its Strategy to Redefine the Democrat Party

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The Democratic leadership council discusses its strategy to redefine the Democrat Party

Reforming a political party gives new meaning to the Democrat and Republican Party mascots, the donkey and the elephant. Like trying to lead a stubborn donkey or an elephant that doesn't want to budge, it isn't easy to move a political party.

For more than 15 years, New Democrats have pushed and pulled our donkey party back into the political mainstream. We had to, out of political necessity.

In 1984, the party of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, and John F. Kennedy, and the party that led America to most of its economic and social progress in the twentieth century, lost forty-nine states. By 1992, it had lost five of the last six presidential elections, and most experts said it would not win the presidency again in the twentieth century. The national party had clearly lost its way.

Rather than giving up, New Democrats formed the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) and set out to rebuild the party by redefining it. Democrats believed if they stood for good ideas that connected with the everyday needs of the American people, voters would once again turn to Democrats for national leadership. Overcoming considerable resistance, the DLC built a modem, progressive Democrat Party that tackled the country's challenges through modem means and fresh ideas.

The result: Just eight years after the 1984 debacle, Bill Clinton, former chair of the DLC and leader of the New Democrat movement, won the White House. In 1996, he was re-elected. It was the fist time in six decades that a Democrat retained the presidency.

Because his political success w...

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...'s most dynamic leaders.

The New Democrat Coalitions in both the U.S. House and Senate are fast becoming the largest and most 'important forces in their respective caucuses. New Democrat governors have reclaimed statehouses in California and across the South from Mississippi to North Carolina. There is not one Democratic governor who does not govern as a New Democrat.

Just a small insurgency fighting for survival a decade and a half ago, New Democrats now define the Party and have put it on the precipice of becoming America's majority party again. Best of all, the movement is still young with its best years ahead.

AI From is the founder and chief executive officer of the Democratic Leadership Council, an idea action center of the "Third Way" governing philosophy that is reshaping progressive politics in the United States and around the globe.
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