21st Century Democrats
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About Us

Our Mission

Since 1985, the mission of 21st Century Democrats has revolved around training progressives and building a network of populist Democrats who stand up for America’s working families.

We focus particular attention on Democratic leaders who can move up to higher office at every level and who represent the tradition of Democrats like Jim Hightower, Tom Harkin, Barbara Boxer, Raul Grijalva, John Lewis, Al Gore and Paul Wellstone. We support progressive Democratic leaders who will shape the direction of the Democratic Party and enact public policy that transforms this country to a just, fair and equal society for all.

Our Vision and Values

We are committed to leading the way toward a bold and progressive agenda that will improve the quality of life for all Americans. Our goal is to elect genuinely progressive Democrats who believe government has a positive role to play in our country and will fight to enact public policy that reflects the core values of equality, opportunity, compassion, justice and fairness that 21st Century Democrats believes in, stands up for, and works toward on a daily basis.

Our Strategies

Cultivating Leadership at Every Level

We educate young people who have shown a strong interest in politics and idealism about the future in grassroots organizing and field work. We have trained thousands of high school and college students, college graduates, and party activists, placing hundreds of them in their first political jobs in support of the progressive leaders we endorse. These results speak for themselves as many alumni have gone on to manage higher profile campaigns, become leaders in the progressive community, or even get elected as officials themselves.

Supporting Candidates Who Will Make a Difference

In each election cycle, we endorse a diverse array of candidates who exemplify our values and show unusual promise to advance our progressive goals. We invest in some of the most competitive races as well as in some of the most challenging – those in which the candidates are outstanding but the traditional Democratic supporters are most reticent. We back candidates in primaries as well as general election races, and we focus the bulk of our resources on electing challengers and protecting vulnerable incumbents.

Building a Powerful Network of Progressive Leaders

In a world in which social networks are the key to continued progress, we support our team of field organizers and elected leaders after Election Day. Through our alumni network, we foster relationships and often help alumni find their next job. We provide support and recognition for the members of our 21st Century Leaders In Action network, and we encourage the sharing and collaboration of ideas in order to help bolster progressive policies at all levels of government.

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2016 Candidates


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Tammy Duckworth

Illinois is critical for Democrats to take back control of the U.S. Senate — and we couldn’t ask for a more resilient candidate than Tammy…
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Ben Ray Luján

Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and representing New Mexico’s 3rd District in the House of Representatives since 2009, Ben Ray Lujan is a…
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keith ellison

Keith Ellison

Committed to putting progressives back on the path to leadership in Congress, Keith Ellison has focused not only on his own reelection but also on…
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Catherine Cortez Masto

With Senator Harry Reid retiring and control of the U.S. Senate at stake, the Koch brothers and the GOP have made this Nevada Senate seat a…
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Kamala Harris

When Barbara Boxer announced her retirement from the U.S. Senate, Kamala Harris appeared at the top of most lists of candidates to replace her. Harris,…
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Patty Murray

In 1992, Senator Patty Murray’s first campaign cost $1.2 million. In 2016, her campaign could cost more than $20 million. Who is the opponent with pockets deep enough…
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Russ Feingold

When we’re asked to give an example of a true progressive, Russ Feingold is the first name that comes to mind. From McCain-Feingold campaign finance…
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Ted Strickland

“This is our country, our Senate, our fight – for higher wages, for fair trade, for education and opportunity for all.” That’s why Ted Strickland…
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Steve Bullock

He has always been on the frontlines fighting for campaign finance reform, and now Governor Steve Bullock has won another battle against the “dark money”…
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Candidate Links




Elizabeth Warren Speaks for Me

Elizabeth Warren embodies the progressive spirit we want to see in more elected leaders. You can support our work to elect more progressives like her by ordering this limited edition “Elizabeth Warren Speaks for Me
T-shirt for a donation of $20.16.



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