In the United States there exists largely a dichotomy with respect to parties of political affiliation, and while other parties can and do exist, most people refer to the US as it is now as a “two-party state. ” The two parties, the Democratic Party and the Republican Party, have existed in our country for over one hundred fifty-three years each, and the struggle for power in which they both partake has been no small matter, becoming more and more hotly contested as time goes on.
While both the Democratic Party and the Republican Party (GOP herein) seem starkly opposite at surface level, the two often have similar goals, aspirations and plans for our country, with the main point of contention being the methods by which such things are brought about. Fiscally, the Democrats and GOP both want a free economy with as little national debt as sustainably possible, but, for the most part, the Democrats favor government action, and the GOP favors private action. With respect to social policy, the Democrats favor more progressive legislation, and the GOP favors more traditional legislation.
As the US stands currently, in a recession, no American could disagree that everyone’s goal for the economy is to get out of the recession. The real question is “How do we do it? ” Republicans say that we should cut spending, cut taxes and allow those cuts in taxes to promote job creation in the private sector: jobs come from businesses, and when the people who own the businesses have more money, they can hire more people to do more work, which would raise GDP and reduce the national debt.
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Democrats say that we should raise taxes to increase revenue, and use the increased revenue to sponsor various economic stimuli to promote greater productivity and job creation. This sort of top-down/bottom-up perspective has led many Americans to believe the motivations of the two parties to be a conflict of social classes, with Republicans representing largely the rich, and Democrats representing largely the poor.
Undoubtedly, the largest differences between the two major parties exist in the social platforms of each. The GOP is composed mostly of those who are socially conservative, the Democratic Party, of those who are socially liberal, but there are certainly those within each party whose beliefs vary. The Democratic Party generally supports legislation promoting social tolerance, i. e. policies which limit the government’s ability to tell any person what to do, provided that they not infringe upon the rights of others.
This amounts to policies in favor of things gay marriage and marijuana legalization and policies opposed to abortion restrictions, welfare drugs tests and public funding of religious institutions and schools. The GOP generally supports social legislation which maintains the status quo, protecting the foundation of America which those before us have provided. In this manner, the GOP usually favors legislation that protects the sanctity of marriage (i. e. ne man, one woman), prevents drug addicts from receiving welfare and prevents people from harming themselves with drug use, and the GOP generally opposes legislation that would allow any of the previous things to occur. Interestingly, however, the GOP strongly supports the exercise of the Second Amendment to its fullest capacity, opposing almost any gun control law, while the Democrats generally favor gun control with respect to some of the more dangerously liable guns such as assault rifles or even some semi-automatic rifles.
In terms of demographics and geography, the Democrats and Republicans are quite contrasting. By and large, the Republican Party is most powerful in the South and Midwest, while the Democratic Party gains its power mostly from the North and the West coast. Republicans are more likely to be older, more wealthy, more religious and white (though this obviously does not mean all Republicans are white). Democrats are more likely to be younger, more educated and more ethnically varied than the Republican Party.
These snapshots into the average Democrat or the average Republican must be taken with a grain of salt, however, as demographics and geographic are not causes of the party composition, but merely correlations which have been concluded. While the Democrats and Republicans have long been considered bitter rivals, and for the most part it is true, the two major parties in America are not quite as disparate and incongruous as many would think.
They both have the same major goals for the economy, but only the methodology differs. They have different ideas for social policy, stemming from the more religious and more secular worldviews which most Republicans and most Democrats respectively hold. With the differences aside from both, the Democrats and Republicans in political offices do come together to prevent the one which they fear most: the success of any third party. Both parties will stop at nothing to maintain whatever power they each have.
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