This means a conservative Democrat, by today’s standard. Of course, political standards change all the time, but John F. Kennedy really would have been a Republican by most measures today:
- He favored tax cuts
- He didn’t like racial quotes
- He was strong on defense
- He was strongly anti-communist
There is no chance we would survive on the Democratic ticket today.
I found these references in a Quora answer:
The press described him as conservative: “A Kennedy Runs for Congress; The Boston-bred scion of a former ambassador is a fighting-Irish conservative,” Look magazine headlined an article in its June 11, 1946, issue. The Chicago Tribune reported Kennedy’s election to the Senate in 1952 by describing him as a “fighting conservative.” On Dec. 7, 1958, Eleanor Roosevelt was asked in a television interview what she would do if she had to choose between a “conservative Democrat like Kennedy and a liberal Republican [like] Rockefeller?”
There are several Democratic organizations that describe themselves as “Kennedy Democrats”:
- Kennedy Democrats of Pennsylvania
- Kennedy Democratic Party (tagline: “Saving the Democrats from Left Wing Progressivism”)
Conservative Democrats are also described as “Blue Dog Democrats.” This is an actual Congressional voting caucus in the House, formed in 1995.
Why I Looked It Up
It was used to describe a character in a novel, and why the Republican president was friendly with him and appointed him as White House staff.