The Democratic Party
Democrats have controlled Congress since 2006, after being in the minority for 12 years. Democratic control of the House made California’s Nancy Pelosi the first female speaker and Maryland’s Steny Hoyer the majority leader. His Senate counterpart is Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat who is facing a difficult reelection bid in 2010. The Democratic Party continued to ride the momentum of the 2006 win through the historic 2008 presidential election that sent Barack Obama to the White House. In that election year, Democrats received record support from minorities and first time voters. Democrats currently have 255 members in the House and 57 in the Senate. Two Independents, Sens. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut and Bernie Sanders of Vermont also caucus with the Democrats, bringing their operative majority to 59 seats. Democrats align themselves with the left of center in the political spectrum, advocating for issues like universal healthcare, financial reform, and cap and trade. Since Obama took office in 2009, Democrats have pushed several major pieces of legislation to the president’s desk. The first among them was the $787 billion stimulus package focused on rebuilding the economy. In 2010, Democrats passed the landmark healthcare reform and Wall Street reform bills. Democrats celebrate the three key pieces of legislation, but they have not helped the party in the 2010 elections. Challengers are charging Democrats with adding to the deficit, and Obama, Pelosi, and Reid have become targets for the anti-establishment voting mood. To fight through these high-stakes races and defend vulnerable incumbents like Sen. Barbara Boxer in California, Democratic party committees have raised over $584 million. While their efforts have helped incumbents like Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet and Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln fend off primary challengers, Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania and Rep. Alan Mollohan of West Virginia were unable to survive their primaries. Still, Democrats will aggressively hit the campaign trail, plugging recent legislation such as the extension of unemployment benefits and the passing of a layoff prevention bill and border security package.
The latest news on The Democratic Party
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