Decision 2020

‘Welcome Party’ Seeks to Unify Progressive and Moderate Democrats

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With two weeks until the New Hampshire primary, some in the Democratic Party are concerned about what they see as a fractured base and growing tensions between the progressives and the moderates.

"In any other country, Joe Biden and I would not be in the same party," Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a self described democratic socialist and Bernie Sanders supporter, told New York magazine this week. "Democrats can be too big of a tent."

Enter the Welcome Party.

"The Welcome Party is an organization where we focus on contacting independents to bring them over to the Democratic Party," said Amy Bradley, the party's political director in New Hampshire.

Based in the Granite State, the Welcome Party is targeting independent voters who have avoided joining a party for fear they might be judged for their varying opinions on issues.

"When we are a big tent, big party, we'll have more impact, so we shouldn't be fighting against each other within the party," Bradley said.

The Welcome Party believes you don't need to be a progressive purist, or to support programs like "Medicare for All" or free public college, to be a Democrat. It argues that independent and swing voters, who tend to be more moderate, should feel equally comfortable in the party.

"If this effort is to try to bring more moderate voices into this, my sense of things is, what we're really talking about is a subtext about electability," said political analyst Scott Spradling. "Which seems to be the quintessential question around the 2020 election cycle -- who is electable and who can beat Donald Trump?"

The Welcome Party says it is focused only on increasing the number of Democratic voters, not on a particular candidate.

"We just want to make it a bigger party," Bradley said.

The Welcome Party has expanded beyond New Hampshire to South Carolina. The plan is to make inroads into several other early primary states.

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