As Democrats lay plans to regain power in North Carolina, the coalition that makes up their party has grown even more important.

As we continue to explore the political factions in our state, keep in mind that few politicians fit neatly into just one of these categories. Most of them, even the examples we give, can cross over.

[ICYMI last week: 8 types of Republicans in North Carolina]

Progressive Democrats

This fast-growing wing of the party typically puts social issues front and center, campaigning in support of LGBT rights, abortion rights, restricting gun ownership, raising the minimum wage and creating sanctuary cities. They were energized first by House Bill 2 and then the election of President Donald Trump. It’s these politicians who must win for there to be a “blue wave” in the state this fall.

Key examples: N.C. Sen. Terry Van Duyn, N.C. Sen. Jay Chaudhuri, N.C. Rep. Pricey Harrison

[Make sure you’ve subscribed to our newsletter to get next week’s analysis of the different types of unaffiliated voters in North Carolina.]

Photo by NC Senator Terry Van Duyn via Facebook.

Civil Rights Democrats

These politicians typically came of age during the Civil Rights Era, and racial and social justice continues to be a primary concern. They’ve led the charge in challenging Republican-led redistricting efforts, which a court found targeted African-Americans with “surgical precision.”

They are primarily African-American, but they do not have to be.

Key examples: U.S. Rep. Alma Adams, Rev. William Barber, Anita Earls, N.C. Sen. Joyce Waddell

Photo by Alma Adams for Congress via Facebook.

The Religious Left

After years of the right side of the spectrum laying claim to Christianity, the past few years have seen a resurgence of religious leaders making waves on the left. They tend to focus on serving the poor and welcoming immigrants.

Key examples: Rev. William Barber, John Pavlovitz

Rev. William Barber, at right, during a rally in Washington D.C. Photo by Becker1999 via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Pro-business Democrats

These centrist, moderate Democrats tend to focus on economic growth and improving the economy. They overlap with Chamber of Commerce Republicans, but might be falling out of style more quickly. New Democrat Coalition

Key examples: Former U.S. Rep. Bob Ethridge, former U.S. Rep. Brad Miller, former N.C. Treasurer Janet Cowell

Photo by Rep. Brad Miller via Facebook.

Populist Democrats

These Democrats make poverty and the little man a centerpiece of their campaign. Lately they’ve tilted farther to the left, favoring free college for all and breaking up the banks They supported Bernie Sanders in the 2016 campaign and probably still feel the Bern.

Key examples: former U.S. Sen. John Edwards

Photo by John Edwards via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Socialist Democrats

This small but growing faction of Democrats represents the extreme left of the party. They’re currently organizing around the state.

Key examples: Stephanie Cholensky

Update: Stephanie wrote in to clarify that while she is a democratic1 Socialist she is not a Democrat, and her party, in fact, bans dual registration with pro-capitalist parties. The Democratic Socialists of America, however, do participate in the Democratic Party. Our apologies, Stephanie.

Conservative Democrats

These politicians dominated North Carolina politics for several generations, but today they’ve all but disappeared  — except for the voter roll.

Key examples: Sheriff Irwin Carmichael, former U.S. Rep. Mike McIntyre, former U.S. Rep. Heath Shuler

Photo by Sheriff Irwin Carmichael via Facebook.

Young Democrats

Much like young Republicans are carving a new path through the coalition of their party, so too are younger Democrats. They meld progressive politics with pro-growth, pro-jobs campaign issues.

Key examples: N.C. Sen. Jeff Jackson

Photo by Jeff Jackson via Facebook



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