The Conservative Democrats are also known as 'Dixiecrats', 'Boll Weevils', and more recently as 'Blue Dog Democrats' and 'New Democrats'.
The Democratic party was earlier conceived as the Democratic-Republican party during the Jeffersonian era. It was found by Thomas Jefferson against the Federalist Party. In 1828, the party split due to differences and came to be known as the Democratic Party led by Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren who represented farmers, urban laborers, and Irish Catholics. It gained immense popularity in New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and the western states.
Eventually their number increased in the Southern states as well and the Southern democrats played an active role in shaping the policies of the nation.
From these Southern states rose the conservative Democrats who believed in observing a middle ground in politics, their beliefs contradicted with the collective notions of the Democratic party as a whole.
Explained below are their opinions and values.
Definition of Conservative Democrat
A Conservative Democrat is a member of the Democratic Party with personal conservative political views, or follows a middle path on governmental and political issues and upholds distinctly separate beliefs than the majority of the Democratic Party
The Southern Democrats were increasingly favoring the policies by Republican President Ronald Reagan on issues of military expenditure, tax deductions, and deregulation of the financial system and hence they came to be known as the 'boll weevils' or 'Dixiecrats' during the 1980s.
The Democrats underwent major realignment, they became moderate and most of them formed the conservative and moderate Democratic Leadership Council. As a result of this, the conservative Democrats oddly found themselves in agreement with the political views of the Republicans rather than their original party.
After the 1994 election victory of the Republicans, the conservative Democrats within the House of Representatives formed a coalition known as the 'Blue Dog Democrats.' They popularly stated that the ideologies of the original Democrats had been so extreme that it 'choked them blue'. The Blue Dog Democrats supported national and financial security. Eventually, this label waned and the conservative Democrats reintegrated themselves in the 2006 mid-term elections. This was when the main Democratic Party put moderate and conservative candidates up against the Republicans. The Blue Dog Coalition later lost half of its members in 2010 but the sect continues to grow in popularity among on-the-fence voters even today.
Beliefs & Values
They advocate a smaller government which limits the straggly bureaucracy that intrudes on people's lives and dictates their day-to-day activities. Small governments also limit monetary waste of the government on oversized governmental programs. They also promote social programs which are beneficial for the country.
On social issues such as marriage, abortion and family matters, most of them believe marriage is ideally and socially acceptable between a man and a woman, a considerable few support gay marriage. They propagate that the government should be more instrumental in defending the morals of the country. Rather than giving tax cuts to the wealthy, the government must provide tax benefits to the working class. The working class must have better wages and economic opportunities thus creating more marketplace expenditures which in turn will support the economy of the nation. They believe that the rich must be made to pay their fair share of taxes. Abortion is advocated only when both the lives - the child and the mother are in danger.
They advocate a strict control of the federal government budget. On issues of foreign policy and regulation of the environment the government must provide financial security and environmental safety for all its citizens. They recommend generating environmental laws that are beneficial for the existing natural habitats and animal conservation.
They are majorly opposed to the war on terrorism, but advocate a strong military even in the time of peace for the national security of the nation. Many conservative Democrats oppose illegal immigration, but believe that immigrants who are already in the country must have equal rights as citizens of the nation.
They have high regards for a better education system and family values. They believe education and family values cater to the core beliefs of the nation, education promotes leadership and family instills traditional values in an individual.
Although their beliefs keep contradicting over time, their basic value system remains the same on issues related to support on gun rights, owing a formidable military force, more adept education system, free market capitalism, compact government, and fiscally conservative policies. Even though being a minority wing in the party, they provide a considerable amount of decisive votes on major political issues through centrist positions and neo-liberal fiscal policy.