News

    US Democrats Debate Future of Party

    Multimedia

    Audio

    As President George Bush's second inauguration approaches on January 20, opposition Democrats are doing a lot of soul-searching about the future of their party in the wake of their defeat in November. National correspondent Jim Malone has more on the Democrat's dilemma from Washington.

    Democrats have a lot of questions and concerns as they prepare to watch as the president is sworn in for a second four-year term.

    In the last two presidential elections, Democratic candidates Al Gore and John Kerry failed to carry a single southern state, an area of the country that used to be a party stronghold.

    Senator Kerry's strategy was to maximize Democratic turnout in regions of the country where the party is strongest, the northeast, upper Midwest and West Coast.

    Donna Brazile ran Al Gore's presidential campaign in 2000. She says the party needs to broaden its appeal to have any chance of recapturing the White House in 2008.

    "We cannot be a regional party," she said. "We have to return to being a national party. We have to be a party that appeals to all segments of the electorate and not just certain slices, as I say, a cookie cutter approach [limited] to politics and campaigning."

    Ms. Brazile was among several Democrats who discussed the future of their party at a forum in Washington sponsored by the Hotline political newsletter and the University of Virginia.

    In order to be more competitive, Democratic activists say the party must also do a better job of reaching out to religious voters who have tended to vote Republican in recent years.

    Former Indiana Congressman Tim Roemer is one of several candidates for Democratic Party Chairman. He spoke on ABC's This Week program.

    "When you talk to most of America, a lot of people do not feel that we are [able] to express our faith, to communicate values of faith, not just on issues such as abortion but on issues such as our concern for the poor," he said.

    Another candidate for party chairman is former Vermont Governor Howard Dean, who lost out to Senator Kerry in last year's Democratic presidential primaries.

    He warns Democrats not to stray too far from their liberal roots in an attempt to reach out to moderate and conservative voters.

    "It is important for us to talk about our [religious] faith," he said. "It is also important for us not to change our faith."

    Many political analysts believe President Bush's most important advantage in last year's election was the public's perception that he was strong on national security in the wake of the 2001 terrorist attacks.

    Jim Jordan managed John Kerry's campaign for a time in 2003. He says Democrats must do a better job of convincing Americans that they can protect the country from terrorism.

    "At the end of the day, the biggest structural problem for us is that we are a party on the federal [national] level, in Congress and with the presidential campaign, that the public simply does not trust us to keep them safe," he said. "When that is first and foremost in their mind, in a cold war environment or a neo-cold war environment like now, we have serious problems."

    Republicans hope to exploit this period of Democratic introspection and plan to push a conservative agenda both in Congress and around the country.

    David Frum is a former speechwriter for President Bush. He told the cable public affairs network C-SPAN that Republicans expect the president to fulfill his campaign pledges to reform the tax and pension systems without making major concessions to the Democrats.

    "I do not think the president ought to say I am going to be compromising on the things I was elected to do," he said. "Elections are the way the American people or any democratic people decide things. He has as strong a mandate as any president ever, certainly as strong as any president I can remember, and he has a duty also to his supporters to make good on the things he committed himself to do."

    As for the Democrats, the next major phase in their internal debate comes next month in Washington when the 447-member Democratic National Committee votes on a successor to current National Party Chairman Terry McAuliffe.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora