May 18, 2022

Meet the New Dems - the Moderate Members Defending Our Democracy

Over the last 25 years, polarization, extremism, and support for political violence have drastically increased in the U.S., while trust in government and democratic institutions has eroded. These troubling trends led to President Trump's 2016 election and the deadly January 6 insurrection. And today, far-right forces are campaigning on the Big Lie, with at least 57 insurrectionists running for office across the country as of January 2022.

The threat to our democracy is real, and the stakes couldn't be higher.

We're at a turning point. We can sit back and watch our politics become more and more toxic, or we can elect moderate, pragmatic leaders willing to defend our democracy. It's clear which path we should take. As extremes of the political spectrum get louder and move farther apart, the key to protecting our republic rests in the center.

That is who we in the New Democrat Coalition are, and what we represent. New Dems have defended democracy and governed for the majority of Americans since 1997. Twenty-five years ago, our Coalition was founded by a group of House Democrats who were fed up with the gridlock in Washington. They wanted to deliver on the issues that were most important to Americans. Our founders knew the new information age would bring never-before-seen opportunities and challenges that would require fresh ideas and a belief in the power of working across the aisle. So New Dems committed themselves to breaking through the D.C. noise to advance a serious, forward-looking agenda that would give every American the opportunity to succeed in the 21st century.

While New Dems continue our mission of making good governance work for Americans today and tomorrow, some in the Democratic Party call for political purity tests. This is a mistake. As a big-tent party, we must reject their push for a smaller, more ideologically homogeneous party and instead embrace our diversity of thought.

Not only is diversity our greatest strength, it is an advantage over Republicans; just this year, the Republican National Committee (RNC) censured Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger for breaking with Trump and investigating the political violence that took place on January 6.

Protecting our country and truly representing the American people requires us to maintain a Democratic Party that welcomes those who believe in fairness, freedom, and a functioning democracy. Otherwise, we'll lose our governing majority and our republic. In that way, New Dems are a key line of defense against extremism. 

We take this responsibility and our role as the majority makers in Congress seriously. In 2018, New Dems made the House majority because we ran on kitchen-table issues, including lowering health care costs, strengthening the middle class, and cleaning up government. 

In a few short years, we've made good on these promises and Americans voted to maintain our majority in 2020. Recently, we delivered on bipartisan policies like the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to create jobs, strengthen our economy, and reduce inflation. And thanks to Democrats, we turned the page on the pandemic and got Americans back to work by passing the American Rescue Plan. 

Today we're working on the bicameral, bipartisan innovation act to secure supply chains and lower prices. While some radical members of Congress are fundraising off of obstruction, New Dems are living up to our reputation as the "get stuff done" caucus.

Many say moderates in Congress are a dying breed, but we are proof that's not the case. While Trump has taken over the GOP, pushing out moderate Republicans who cross him, the center of the Democratic Party is strong and growing. Democrats nominated and elected President Biden, a mainstream President, and our Coalition's membership has nearly doubled since 2017 from 52 to 98. While Republicans move farther from the center every day, Democrats are a strong, mainstream party welcome to all.

We need to break the partisan fever that is gripping our nation. We're on a dangerous path with two options: we can chase the extremes or we can govern for the majority of Americans.

As we look forward to the next 25 years, we'll continue to protect Americans' freedoms, preserve our democracy, and strengthen American global leadership for generations to come. Our members know that making progress is what's truly progressive and being moderate in approach yields results.

Congresswoman Suzan DelBene is the Chair of the center-left New Democrat Coalition in the House and represents Washington's 1st Congressional District.

By:  NDC Chair Suzan DelBene
Source: Newsweek