What is a Progressive Democrat?

Updated on May 24, 2016

District Map

2009 map showing districts with Progressive Democrat representation in the US.
2009 map showing districts with Progressive Democrat representation in the US. | Source

Progressive Democrat

In the United States our political system is occupied by two parties, the Democrats and the Republicans. The Republican side is commonly referred to as the right side and contains conservative views while the Democrats are the left side and hold more liberal opinions.

Inside each political party are a few different groups that, even though they are members of the Democratic and Republican Party’s, they have positions that might vary slightly from their party’s overall vision. For example a Conservative Democrat is still a registered Democrat but holds more conservative views than your average Democrat; our country also has Liberal Republicans.

The term “progressive” typically refers to politicians that can also be labeled as “liberal”. Progressive politics took root and started to be recognized back in the 1890’s. Variations of the original opinions have taken hold but the core positions still remain true. Here in the US a group was founded back in 2004, they call themselves the Progressive Democrats of America, and they are recognized as a political action committee supporting candidates that share their views.

Progressive Definition

A progressive politician is one who usually favors the middle class and sympathizes with them and any struggles they may be facing. More often than not progressive politicians will side with a position if it is estimated to benefit the middle class in some way.

As mentioned earlier smaller groups have emerged and become fixtures on the political scene from each party. Many people have become familiar with the Occupy Wall Street movement that transformed into Occupy whatever seems appropriate at the time. This group was against the richest and most powerful people in our country getting even richer and more powerful. Their platform was very sympathetic towards progressive positions.

On the other side we have all been introduced to the Tea Party. This collection of citizens was trying to replicate the disgust with government way back when the real Boston Tea Party occurred. They protested to show their disapproving of what the government was doing and the direction they were taking the country. This group more closely sided with Republican and conservative beliefs.

Progressive Democrats of America

Ethical and Social Issues

Just like any group, Progressive Democrats have positions on issues that affect a large portion of the general population every day. Some of these positions are on par with other politicians and what they are trying to accomplish in Washington but sometimes politicians just say what needs to be said to garner voter support (no kidding right?). For progressive Democrats these positions are part of who they are.

Transparency in Government

Progressive Democrats believe in some very simple principles. They are concerned with the government doing things without public knowledge; transparency is important to them. It is acknowledged that the government has to keep secrets like who we are spying on or military locations but how we make energy policy should be information available if wanted.

The lack of transparency at times is probably why so many people have lost faith our elected officials. All we see is the fighting and bickering while the country still faces real issues. It sure seems like the politicians are more concerned with keeping their positions, and saving face, than rolling up their sleeves and trying to get something accomplished.

Medical Health Insurance

On health care Progressive Democrats are in favor of single-payer health care program. In this kind of program multiple parties fund a pool that covers medical costs. Other countries, like Australia, Canada and the UK have programs like this.

Electronic Voting

When it comes to voting Progressive Democrats have most likely been on edge the last few elections. They are concerned about the integrity of a voting cycle, and the lack of consistency regarding electronic voting machines has fueled this anxiety. When the stories came out about the machines being tampered with, or even hacked into possibly creating manipulations of the results, they had to cringe. This concern is probably bred out of their transparency beliefs because it can be difficult to trust an electronic file, especially when you compare it to a ballot that you can physically see what a voter has elected to support.

US Foreign Affairs

It can be difficult for a Progressive Democrat to support a war or military conflict and it has been documented how much they were against the recent Iraq military conflict. They feel the money could be better spent here helping American citizens then fighting an enemy in some foreign country. I can sympathize with this position because we were spending money to blow things up in Iraq and then paying to fix it afterwards. I know where I live we could use some extra cash to fix our roads and poor levees.

Immigration Issues

Comprehensive immigration reform is supported by Progressive Democrats. They want to see undocumented individuals getting the opportunity to become citizens and not just sent back to their last country of record. A chance to go through the necessary channels to obtain citizenship must be available and it should be as fair and simplistic as possible to assist the individual in getting legitimate citizenship.

Any undocumented workers should also be given the same opportunities to become legal citizens and these workers shouldn’t be treated poorly just because they do not have the right paperwork.

Importance of Environment

Progressive Democrats recognize the importance of being “green” and preserving our natural resources. Their movement would support organizations like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or The Sierra Club and any others that are pushing to address problems like climate change. They would also probably be against any further oil drilling or anything that would continue our dependence on fossil fuels.

Progressive Politics

Are you familiar with the Progressive Democratic policies mentioned here?

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Dennis Kucinich

In the House of Representatives and the Senate there are a few elected officials who can be labeled as Progressive Democrats, some of them are very recognizable names to even the casual follower of politics. Probably the most recognizable name is that of Dennis Kucinich, a member of the House of Representatives. The name should be recognizable because of his attempts at being the Democratic nominee for President in 2004 and again in 2008; both attempts fell short.

Another big name is Jesse Jackson. Even though Jackson hasn’t held as high of a political position as Kucinich has he has still managed to interject himself in many issues, usually connected to race and civil rights issues.

Progressive Movements

Sometimes fads are created and while popular for a short period of time they slowly fade to irrelevancy. Based on the effort being put forth by the Progressive Democrats, and their supporters, I don’t believe this movement will go away. There are too many people getting educated on the flaws in our government and they are motivated to organize and do something about it. Disagree with their beliefs if you want to, but don’t underestimate their passion for their values.

Do you know if you are a Progressive Democrat?

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    • profile image


      19 months ago

      I am immigrant ,I chose to be PDA and work with hard to better serve this country.

    • profile image

      Some random progressive 

      2 years ago

      I am heavily involved in politics and i never knew what to call my self. I knew my ideology wasn't the typical "liberal" ideals so its nice to have a better name to put to my ideology. Might have to fact check just to be safe.

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      I have always been very liberal and now I know I am also a progressive democrat

    • Neil Sperling profile image

      Neil Sperling 

      4 years ago from Port Dover Ontario Canada

      If folks looked at the current monetary system they would realize no matter who wins the election nothing will change. There are flaws in communism, socialism as well as capitalism ---- the monetary system is the only common thread - it is the problem. We need Thrivalism. I wrote about it.

    • jo miller profile image

      Jo Miller 

      4 years ago from Tennessee

      Liberal has become a dirty word in some political circles. Progressive seems more palatable to some, and right now there is a debate in the Democratic Party to see who can be the most progressive. I love it.

    • adjkp25 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Idaho

      Nettlemere - Thanks and I'm glad it helped clear things up for you.

    • Nettlemere profile image


      8 years ago from Burnley, Lancashire, UK

      That was good, American politics has always confused me because I can never remember which side's conservative let alone the extra subdivisions with in. This was nice clear info and interesting.

    • adjkp25 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Idaho

      alliemacb - I'm glad you learned something and found it interesting. Thanks

    • adjkp25 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Idaho

      Marcy - thanks for reading and your question on immigration. I added a section regarding immigration reform so hopefully that answers your question.

    • alliemacb profile image


      8 years ago from Scotland

      They say you learn something new every day and I just did. Very interesting hub.

    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 

      8 years ago from Planet Earth

      This is such interesting information! How would Progressive Democrats feel about immigration? That's been heavy in the news lately, and in curious about that stance for thus group.

      Thanks for publishing this - I enjoyed it! Voted up and interesting.

    • adjkp25 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Idaho

      Rodric29 - I'm glad you found it interesting. The quiz was my first crack at doing one so I will have to figure out a way to make it better. Thanks

    • Rodric29 profile image

      Rodric Anthony 

      8 years ago from Peoria, Arizona

      Very interesting article. I think the questions in no way help the read know whether he or she is a progressive, but it was a nice widget.


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