Reform Democrat

Last updated on 25 August 2017

Reform Democrats in the United States are members of the Democratic Party who are opposed to the Democratic political machines of their respective cities, counties, or states or to analogous machine politics at a national level. The term is usually used in contrast with machine-affiliated Regular Democrats. Reform Democrats are generally associated with the good government traditions that arose out of the progressive movement of the early 20th century, and are usually, but not always, on the left wing of the Democratic Party. The lines between anti-machine Reform Democrats and pro-machine Regular Democrats are not always clear: often, once reformers achieve office they often take advantage of patronage to establish a machine in their own right. An example of this is the rise of the "Reform machine" of Jim Brennan in the wake of its triumph over the more traditional machine of Meade Esposito in Brooklyn, New York in the 1980s.

Although the term has somewhat fallen out of use since the 1970s, it still has some currency in Greater New York, such as the Hudson County Reform Democratic Organization in New Jersey.[1]

Notes

  1. ^ Ricardo Kaulessar, Ah, the political season has begun: Announcements for mayor, council seats spur intrigue, The Hudson Reporter, February 20, 2005. Accessed online December 22, 2006.

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