Future of the Democratic Party

October 13, 2017 • Volume 27, Issue 36
Can it stage a comeback?
By Alan Greenblatt


Hillary Clinton concedes the presidential election in New York City (Cover: Getty Images/Brooks Kraft)
Hillary Clinton concedes the presidential election in New York City on Nov. 9, 2016, after her surprising defeat by Republican nominee Donald Trump. To regain power, liberals say Democrats must move further to the left. But moderates say the party must do more to attract white working-class voters who backed Trump. (Cover: Getty Images/Brooks Kraft)

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.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Political Parties
May 26, 2023  Congressional Investigations
Jan. 06, 2023  Dark Money
Mar. 25, 2022  The Democrats' Future
Apr. 30, 2021  The GOP's Future
Oct. 13, 2017  Future of the Democratic Party
Sep. 09, 2016  Populism and Party Politics
Nov. 14, 2014  Nonprofit Groups and Partisan Politics
Oct. 24, 2014  Future of the GOP
Feb. 28, 2014  Polarization in America
Mar. 19, 2010  Tea Party Movement Updated
Mar. 20, 2009  Future of the GOP
Jun. 08, 2007  Democrats in Congress
Apr. 30, 2004  The Partisan Divide
Dec. 22, 1995  Third-Party Prospects
Jan. 11, 1985  Post-1984 Political Landscape
Nov. 09, 1984  Democratic Revival in South America
Sep. 14, 1984  Election 1984
Dec. 19, 1980  Future of the Democratic Party
Sep. 29, 1978  New Right in American Politics
Jan. 04, 1974  Future of Conservatism
May 03, 1972  The New Populism
Feb. 02, 1956  Foreign Policy in Political Campaigns
Dec. 22, 1954  Divided Government
Aug. 04, 1952  Two-Party System
Jun. 06, 1952  Party Platforms
Sep. 05, 1951  Southern Democrats and the 1952 Election
Oct. 06, 1948  Voting in 1948
Aug. 27, 1948  Republicans and Foreign Policy
Jul. 16, 1947  Third Party Movements
Aug. 22, 1940  Political Realignments
Jan. 13, 1938  The G. O. P. and the Solid South
Jul. 22, 1936  Third Party Movements in American Politics
Jul. 07, 1936  The Monopoly Issue in Party Politics
Nov. 12, 1935  Party Platforms and the 1936 Campaign
May 18, 1934  Political Trends and New Party Movements
Jan. 13, 1932  National Party Platforms, 1832–1932
May 16, 1928  Third Party Movements
Jan. 21, 1928  Major Party Platforms 1924–1928
Nov. 14, 1924  The Election and the Third Party
Sep. 05, 1924  Party Claims and Past Political Complexion of the States
Jun. 25, 1924  Third Party Platforms
Jun. 18, 1924  Thrid Parties: Past and Prospective
Campaigns and Elections
Campaigns and Elections
Civil Rights Movement
Conservatism and Liberalism
Internet and Social Media
Journalism and the News
Party Politics
Party Politics
Powers and History of the Presidency
Reapportionment and Redistricting