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Since the 1890s, the Democratic Party has favored liberal positions (the term "liberal" in this sense describes social liberalism, not classical liberalism). In recent exit polls, the Democratic Party has had broad appeal across all socio-ethno-economic demographics.[27][28][29] Historically, the party has favored farmers, laborers, labor unions, and religious and ethnic minorities; it has opposed unregulated business and finance, and favored progressive income taxes. In foreign policy, internationalism (including interventionism) was a dominant theme from 1913 to the mid-1960s. In the 1930s, the party began advocating welfare spending programs targeted at the poor. The party had a fiscally conservative, pro-business wing, typified by Grover Cleveland and Al Smith, and a Southern conservative wing that shrank after President Lyndon B. Johnson supported the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The major influences for liberalism were labor unions (which peaked in the 1936–1952 era), and the African American wing, which has steadily grown since the 1960s. Since the 1970s, environmentalism has been a major new component.
In recent decades, the party has adopted a centrist economic and socially progressive agenda, with the voter base having shifted considerably. Today, Democrats advocate more social freedoms, affirmative action, balanced budget, and a market economy tempered by government intervention (mixed economy). The economic policy adopted by the modern Democratic Party, including the former Clinton administration, has been referred to as the "Third Way".[30] The party believes that government should play a role in alleviating poverty and social injustice and use a system of progressive taxation.
The Democratic Party, once dominant in the Southeastern United States, is now strongest in the Northeast (Mid-Atlantic and New England), Great Lakes region, and the Pacific Coast (including Hawaii). The Democrats are also very strong in major cities (regardless of region).


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