The New Democrats are a subsection of the American Democratic Party. Typically, their political ideals fall into middle grounds between the extremes of the far left progressives and far right conservatives, while still moderately favoring the left. Some New Democrats wish to distance themselves from the bipartisan left to right spectrum and will not identify themselves with either side. Most also hold tightly to values such as equality and community. Some ideas a New Democrat might support would be charter schools, work-based welfare and incentives for individuals and businesses to protect the environment.
The class formed in response to former US president Ronald's Reagan's political victories in the 1980s. Some Democrats reported that they felt their political position was becoming out of touch with the modern American culture, and a small group of politicians determined to reform the Democratic Party. Soon after, the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) was created and lead by New Democrat Al From.
Notable New Democrats have included Bobby Kennedy, Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton. US President Barack Obama requested his name be removed from the DLC's membership list in 2003. He later referred to himself as a New Democrat in March 2009, however.
Health care is a major concern for many New Democrats. Coverage for all is usually the goal of these politicians and voters, and they typically believe this is best achieved through federal action. Three pillars have been suggested by some New Democrats.
The first pillar is a nationwide requirement that all adults and children purchase private health insurance if it can be afforded. Second, states would offer government assistance in finding insurance for those below a certain income line. Finally, the government will create insurance pools that foster competition between private companies while also keeping prices affordable.
Educational reform is also discussed among New Democrats. Two concepts are typically promoted: charter schooling and teacher incentives. The DLC believes that these two ideas will create a more competitive nature among public schools for better quality and encourage the best-performing teachers to continue instructing with enthusiasm and creativity. Teacher incentives might also lure higher-quality teachers into more challenging subject areas or school districts.
New Democrats typically support federal efforts to encourage environmentally-conscious behaviors. This might include tax breaks for businesses with eco-friendly policies or offering financial reimbursements for individuals who trade in older cars for a more environmentally-sensitive vehicle. Some New Democrats also promote using energy efficiency to create new jobs and help stimulate the economy.