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What boycotting House Democrats had in common

Kevin King

Kevin King

Jan 21, 2017

Yesterday morning, a crowd of 250,000+ gathered outside our nation’s capitol to witness the peaceful transition of power from one administration to another. Yet as President Trump took the oath of office there were several faces missing from the inaugural grandstand -- approximately 68 House Democrats.

Over the past two weeks, one-third of House Democrats made public announcements they would not be attending the inauguration in protest of President Trump. As the largest group of lawmakers to boycott a presidential inauguration in recent history, we took a deeper look into what these House Democrats had in common.

Almost all Members made their decision after President Trump's Rep. Lewis tweet.

As of January 13th, there were only 9 House Democrats planning to boycott the inauguration. After President Trump and Rep. Lewis’ Twitter exchange over MLK weekend, the number of boycotting Democrats increased seven-fold.


More than 75% of boycotting Democrats represent extremely partisan districts.

Fifty-three of the boycotting Democrats represent districts with a Partisan Voting Index (PVI) of D+10 or more and 30 represent districts with a PVI of D+20 or more. So it should come as no surprise that 86% of boycotting Democrats won their last election by more than 60% of the vote. There are, however, 15 boycotting Members in competitive congressional districts.


One-third of boycotting Democrats are from California and New York.

Twenty-three boycotting Members represent districts in California and New York, including 16 from California and 7 from New York. In total, 44 boycotting Members are from states won by Secretary Clinton and 24 are from states won by President Trump last November.


Partisan divide in the Trump Era.

Given these common characteristics, it’s clear these House Democrats reflect a deep partisan divide emerging in the new Trump Era. And if the inauguration boycott is any indication of what’s to come, Democrats in Congress face an uphill battle with little common ground and a lot to protest.


See the decline of Democrats in Congress


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