Democratic Leadership Council

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Founded in 1985, the Democratic Leadership Council is an organization of moderate leaders of the United States Democratic Party that tries to move the party towards centrist positions. Despite its often moderate policy positions, however, the DLC is fiercely partisan, as evidenced by the tone and content of their "New Dem Dispatch" e-mail bulletins on what they view to be Republican mistakes and Democratic alternatives.

The DLC's affiliated think tank is the Progressive Policy Institute, funded by the Third Way Foundation.

It is the opinion of DLC that left-wing positions are not politically viable, citing the failed candidacies of Senator George McGovern and Vice-President Walter Mondale. President Bill Clinton, a successful candidate, was active in the organization and is sometimes cited as evidence of the success of their policies.

Critics believe DLC-supported measures, such as the Welfare Reform Act, have had the effect of alienating the traditional constituencies of the Democratic Party such as labor, minorities, and the poor, and causing a reduction in Democratic voter turnout. Some contend that the 2000 presidential campaign was so close because voters could discern no significant policy difference between Governor George W. Bush and DLC activist Vice-President Al Gore. The DLC has been called the "Democratic Leisure Council" by the Reverend Jesse Jackson and Governor Mario Cuomo.

In May 2003, as the Democratic primary of the 2004 presidential campaign was starting to pick up, the organization voiced concern that the Democratic contenders might be taking positions too far left of the mainstream general electorate. Early front-runner Howard Dean, despite his reputation as a centrist governor of Vermont, was specifically criticized by DLC founder and CEO Al From. From's criticism of Dean was likely due to the former governor's outspoken opposition to the war in Iraq, which most party centrists, including From, endorsed. In October 2002, From and the DLC mentioned only in passing the plane crash that killed Senator Paul Wellstone, of Minnesota. Wellstone's proclamation, later used by Dean, calling himself "from the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party" has been interpreted by some as subtle criticism of the DLC and New Democrats in general.


Former chairs

New Democrat Governors

Members of the Senate New Democrat Coalition


External links


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