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Future of the Democratic Party

- October 13, 2017
Can it stage a comeback?
Featured Report

After disastrous losses in the 2016 elections, Democrats are shut out of power in Congress, the White House and 23 states, and party strategists are locked in a fierce debate over how to reverse those defeats. The party's most liberal wing says Democrats must energize their base by moving further left and embracing universal health care and other ideas that Sen. Bernie Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist, proposed during his strong 2016 run for the presidential nomination. But moderate Democrats counter that the party must broaden its support by attracting white working-class voters who helped elect President Trump. Yet others, pointing to weaknesses in Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, argue the party lacks a compelling vision for the United States and cannot win by simply opposing Trump. Meanwhile, as a raft of liberal groups work to elect Democrats on the state and federal levels, party officials are debating whether support for abortion rights should be required of Democratic candidates seeking party endorsement.

Improving Prospects

Democrats are pouring money into congressional races.

The 2018 Map

To regain the House, Democrats must overcome GOP-drawn congressional districts.

Efforts in the States

Many governorships occupied by Republicans will be up for grabs next year.

1960s–1970sDemocrats pass liberal legislation in Congress but grow less competitive at the presidential level.
1980s–1990sDemocrats lose control of Congress but break the GOP “lock” on the White House.
2000-PresentPower shifts back and forth between the parties.

Can Democrats win back white working-class voters?


Lanae Erickson Hatalsky
Vice President for Social Policy and Politics, Third Way.


Kay Hymowitz
Senior Fellow, Manhattan Institute.


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