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In American politics, a conservative Democrat is a member of the Democratic Party with conservative political views, or with views that are fiscally or socially conservative compared to the positions taken by the Democratic Party. Traditionally, conservative Democratic elected officials are disproportionately found within conservative regions like Southern states, rural areas, and the Midwest.
The term "Blue Dog Democrat" is credited to Texas Democratic Representative Pete Geren (who later joined the Bush Administration). Geren opined that the members had been "choked blue" by Democrats on the left. It is related to the political term "Yellow Dog Democrat", a reference to Southern Democrats said to be so loyal they would even vote for a yellow dog before they would vote for any Republican. The term is also a reference to the "Blue Dog" paintings of Cajun artist George Rodrigue of Lafayette, Louisiana as the original members of the coalition would regularly meet in the offices of Louisiana representatives Billy Tauzin and Jimmy Hayes, both of whom later joined the Republican Party--both also had Rodrigue's paintings on their walls.
The Blue Dog Coalition "advocates for fiscal responsibility, a strong national defense and bipartisan consensus rather than conflict with Republicans". It acts as a check on legislation that its members perceive to be too far to the right or to the left on the political spectrum.
The Blue Dog Coalition is often involved in searching for a compromise between liberal and conservative positions. While the coalition is fiscally conservative, its ideology has changed over the years. In the early years of the caucus, its members "courted National Rifle Association endorsements [and] opposed legalized abortion and gay rights". As of 2014, there was no mention of social issues in the official Blue Dog materials.
Ideology and polls
According to a 2015 poll from the Pew Research Center, 54% of conservative and moderate Democrats supported same-sex marriage in 2015. This figure represented an increase of 22% from a decade earlier.
A 2015 Gallup poll found that 19% of Democrats identified themselves as conservative, a decline of 6% from 2000. In 2018, Gallup's ideology polling found that 35% of Democrats self-identified as moderate and 13% identified as conservative; 50% of Democratic respondents described their ideology as liberal.