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Just How Leftist Has the Democratic Party Become?

The voting statistics of elected Democratic officials are simply astounding.

by
Andy Wickersham

Bio

January 28, 2010 - 12:00 am

Glenn Beck posed the following question during his Fox News program last week:

Who will win the battle for the soul of the Democratic Party?

Truth be known, that battle has already been won, and the proof that liberals (or progressives, statists, etc.) have been victorious goes well beyond their assault on liberty under Obama. The “liberalization” of the Democratic Party — a party which in the last three decades has nominated Jimmy Carter, Walter Mondale, Michael Dukakis, Bill Clinton, Al Gore, John Kerry, and Barack Obama for president — actually occurred well before Chicago on the Potomac began playing.

In 1996 Stephen Moore and Jeremy Hildreth wrote an article for National Review titled “Endangered Species: As the Political Parties Polarize, Conservatives Have All but Disappeared from Democratic Ranks.” In their article they reveal findings showing the change in ideological makeup of Democrats in Congress between 1974 and 1995. Here are some of the results of their analysis:

Employing statistics from the Americans for Democratic Action, a self-defined liberal activist group, we analyzed House and Senate voting records dating back to 1974. Using as a definition of “liberal” someone who votes with the ADA recommendation at least two-thirds of the time, we found that in 1995 nearly four out of five Democrats in the House (78 percent) qualified as liberal. That is more than double the 34 percent of 1974.

They go on to say about the Senate:

In the Senate, the statistics are equally grim. In 1974, only 55 percent of Democrats were classified as liberal; by 1995, the figure had risen to 93.5 percent.

Well, unfortunately the situation has gotten even more grim. According to the ADA statistics (based on 20 votes), 97 percent of the Democrats in the House and 98 percent of the Democrats in the Senate voted with the ADA recommendation at least two-thirds of the time in 2008. The only Senate Democrat voting against the ADA position more than a third of the time was Louisiana’s Mary Landrieu.

The congressional Democrats were so liberal in 2008 that nine out of ten members of the “party of Jefferson” voted with the ADA at least four-fifths of the time. By voting just once against the ADA recommendation, Dennis Kucinich was unable to match the liberal voting perfection attained by 86 of his Democratic colleagues. And a quick look at the performance of the Massachusetts congressional contingent makes Scott Brown’s victory look all the much more astounding: the 12 Democrats representing the Bay State managed a grand total of 4 votes against the ADA position.

The ADA is not the only group that puts out congressional vote ratings. A look at the American Conservative Union’s (ACU) vote ratings confirms the ADA findings that the Democratic Party in Congress has become almost exclusively a club for liberals. According to the ACU’s statistics (based on 25 votes), 98 percent of House Democrats voted against the ACU position at least two-thirds of the time, and 92 percent of the Democratic representatives voted against the ACU’s position at least four-fifths of the time.

But as remarkably liberal as the House Democrats were in 2008 according to the ACU’s statistics, the Democrats in the upper chamber were even more so. An astonishing 94 percent of the Democratic senators voted against the ACU’s position at least four-fifths of the time in 2008, and not one Democratic senator managed to escape the liberal third.

However, the liberal composition of the congressional Democratic caucuses perhaps becomes most apparent when you look at the performance of that group of maverick Democrats known as the Blue Dogs. Of the current Blue Dogs that were serving in 2008, the typical (median) member voted with the ACU only 12 percent of the time. And this from a group that claims on its website that it was formed “with the goal of representing the center of the House of Representatives and appealing to the mainstream values of the American public.”

The performance of these Blue Dogs in 2008 was actually quite close to the typical congressional Democrat’s woeful performance over the entire ten-year period between 1999 and 2008. During this period the typical Democrat in the House averaged an ACU score of 8, while the typical Democrat in the Senate averaged an ACU score of 10.

So as you can see, the Democratic Party — a party that had tried to give us HillaryCare before Barack Obama even attained his first elective office — had lurched left before The One came to town. It had clearly taken up residence on the far left no later than 2007, as 91 percent of the Democrats in the House and 96 percent of the Democrats in the Senate voted against the ACU’s position at least 80 percent of the time that year — a year in which the typical Democrat in the House voted against the ACU position every single time.

The good news is there is an upside to America’s dreadful decision to give these people complete control. They are out in the open now, and if it turns out that Katy Abram was on to something back in August when she told Arlen Specter “you have awakened the sleeping giant,” a party this far to the left of the American center is going to have a hell of a time putting him back to sleep. What did Obama say about putting lipstick on a pig?

Andy Wickersham has a master's in public policy from Claremont Graduate University. He is the former producer of a prominent Southern California land development publication.
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