Brazile announced that she would not run for a full term. With no president to select a chair, this became the first contested DNC chair election since 1985. A DNC executive committee meeting took place in December to provide further procedural clarity into the race, though the election itself was to be held at the DNC's Winter Meeting in late February 2017. The 448 DNC members were the sole voting members. A quarter of the members were state level chairs and vice chairs; the remainder had been elected at the state level. To be elected as chair, a simple majority of votes was required.
Mid–December – Meeting of the executive board of the Democratic National Committee.
February 23–26, 2017 – Election to be held by party voting members at the DNC's Winter Meeting (election must be held on or before March 31, 2017)
2:28 p.m. ET, February 25, 2017 – First round of voting is concluded: Tom Perez received 213.5 votes, Keith Ellison got 200. (214.5 votes required to win the first round.)
3:20 p.m. ET, February 25, 2017 – Tom Perez is elected the chair of the DNC after the second round of voting. Perez motioned for Keith Ellison to be elected as Deputy Chairman of the DNC, which was approved by unanimous voice vote.
Calling for a return to the fifty-state strategy, Howard Dean, a former Governor of Vermont who served as chairman of the DNC from 2005 to 2009, announced his candidacy on November 10. Citing the potential for a divisive race, Dean withdrew himself from consideration on December 2.
Howard Dean, Governor of Vermont 1991–2003; chairman of the DNC 2005–2009. Dean withdrew on December 2, 2016, and endorsed Buttigieg on February 22, 2017. After Buttigieg withdrew, Dean endorsed Keith Ellison on February 25, 2017.
With 447 voting members of the DNC, 224 votes were expected to be needed to win the chairmanship. However, only 427 members voted in the first round (Chairperson Donna Brazile and two other members present did not vote, and one abstained), so only 214.5 votes were required to reach the threshold for victory. In the first round, Perez received 213.5 votes, while Ellison received 200, Boynton Brown received 12, Buttigieg received one, and Greene received 0.5.[a]
After the first round, Greene dropped out and endorsed Perez, while Peckarsky and Ronan dropped out and endorsed Ellison. Boynton Brown withdrew without endorsing a candidate. In the second round, 435 votes were cast: 235 for Tom Perez and 200 for Keith Ellison. After Perez won, he selected Ellison as deputy chair.
The 2020 Democratic Party presidential primaries and caucuses will be a series of electoral contests organized by the Democratic Party to select the approximately 3,768 pledged delegates to the Democratic National Convention, who by pledged votes shall elect the Democratic nominee for President of the United States in the 2020 U.S. presidential election. The elections are scheduled to take place from February to June 2020, within all fifty U.S. states, the District of Columbia, five U.S. territories, and Democrats Abroad. An extra 764 unpledged delegates (superdelegates), including party leaders and elected officials, will be appointed by the party leadership independently of the primary's electoral process; but their influence towards electing the presidential nominee has been significantly reduced after the DNC decided to remove their voting rights for the first ballot at the convention. The convention also approves the party's political platform and vice-presidential nominee.
As of May 2019, a total of 25 major candidates have entered the race to be elected as the Democratic Party presidential nominee, of which so far only one (Ojeda) opted to withdraw before the first official debates. This is the largest presidential primary field for any political party in American history, eclipsing the 17 major candidates of the 2016 Republican Party presidential primaries.
The Democratic Party is the oldest voter-based political party in the world and the oldest existing political party in the United States, tracing its heritage back to the anti-Federalists and the Jeffersonian Democratic-Republican Party of the 1790s. During the Second Party System (from 1832 to the mid-1850s) under Presidents Andrew Jackson, Martin Van Buren and James K. Polk, the Democrats usually bested the opposition Whig Party by narrow margins. Both parties worked hard to build grassroots organizations and maximize the turnout of voters, which often reached 80 percent or 90 percent of eligible voters. Both parties used patronage extensively to finance their operations, which included emerging big city political machines as well as national networks of newspapers. The party was a proponent for slave-owners across the country, urban workers and caucasian immigrants.
From 1860 to 1932 in the era of the American Civil War to the Great Depression, the opposing Republican Party, organized in the mid-1850s from the ruins of the Whig Party and some other smaller splinter groups, was dominant in presidential politics. The Democrats elected only two Presidents to four terms of office for twenty-two years, namely Grover Cleveland (in 1884 and 1892) and Woodrow Wilson (in 1912 and 1916).
Over the same period, the Democrats proved more competitive with the Republicans in Congressional politics, enjoying House of Representatives majorities (as in the 65th Congress) in 15 of the 36 Congresses elected, although only in five of these did they form the majority in the Senate. Furthermore, the Democratic Party was split between the Bourbon Democrats, representing Eastern business interests; and the agrarian elements comprising poor farmers in the South and West. The agrarian element, marching behind the slogan of free silver (i.e. in favor of inflation), captured the party in 1896 and nominated William Jennings Bryan in the 1896, 1900 and 1908 presidential elections, although he lost every time. Both Bryan and Wilson were leaders of the progressive movement in the United States (1890s–1920s).
Starting with 32nd President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932 during the Great Depression, the party dominated the Fifth Party System, with its progressive liberal policies and programs with the New Deal coalition to combat the emergency bank closings and the continuing financial depression since the famous Wall Street Crash of 1929 and later going into the crises leading up to World War II. The Democrats and the Democratic Party finally lost the White House and control of the executive branch of government only after Roosevelt's death in April 1945 near the end of the war and after the continuing post-war administration of Roosevelt's third Vice President Harry S. Truman, former Senator from Missouri (for 1945 to 1953, elections of 1944 and the "stunner" of 1948). A new Republican Party President was only elected later in the following decade of the early 1950s with the losses by two-time nominee, the Governor of Illinois Adlai Stevenson (grandson of the former Vice President with the same name of the 1890s) to the very popular war hero and commanding general in World War II, General Dwight D. Eisenhower (in 1952 and 1956).
With two brief interruptions since the Great Depression and World War II eras, the Democrats with unusually large majorities for over four decades, controlled the lower house of the Congress in the House of Representatives from 1930 until 1994 and the Senate for most of that same period, electing the Speaker of the House and the Representatives' majority leaders/committee chairs along with the upper house of the Senate's majority leaders and committee chairmen. Important Democratic progressive/liberal leaders included 33rd and 36th Presidents Harry S. Truman of Missouri (1945–1953) and Lyndon B. Johnson of Texas (1963–1969), respectively; and the earlier Kennedy brothers of 35th President John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts (1961–1963), Senators Robert F. Kennedy of New York and Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts who carried the flag for modern American liberalism. Since the presidential election of 1976, Democrats have won five out of the last eleven presidential elections, winning in the presidential elections of 1976 (with 39th President Jimmy Carter of Georgia, 1977–1981), 1992 and 1996 (with 42nd President Bill Clinton of Arkansas, 1993–2001) and 2008 and 2012 (with 44th President Barack Obama of Illinois, 2009–2017). Democrats have also won the popular vote in 2000 and 2016, but lost the Electoral College with Al Gore and Hillary Clinton, respectively. The 1876 and 1888 elections were other two presidential elections in which Democrats won the popular vote, but lost the Electoral College (the Democrats candidates were Samuel J. Tilden and Grover Cleveland). Social scientists Theodore Caplow et al. argue that "the Democratic party, nationally, moved from left-center toward the center in the 1940s and 1950s, then moved further toward the right-center in the 1970s and 1980s".
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