The political parties that are present in our current governmental institution are made up of the Republican Party the Democratic Party. Each party is passionate in their own beliefs and ideologies, while these beliefs clearly define one party from the other. Regardless of your political affiliation these parties are the basis of how our government is run and how laws are created and passed.
The Republican Party was created in the 1850’s by the common typical United States citizens. During a time where slavery was dominating American culture and lifestyles this party took a stand against slavery. One of the main principles this party was founded on was the belief in “free soil, free labor, free speech, and free men.” Many of these founders were people who opposed slavery and everything to do with slavery. One of the most known American presidents and the president known for abolishing slavery was Abraham Lincoln who was in fact a Republican. Elected in 1860 Lincoln abolishes slavery and cements the Republicans ideas, virtues and beliefs into American history while becoming the first Republican President.
Another name associated with the Republican Party is the GOP, or Grand Old Party, or what was once used was the gallant old party. The Republicans use a symbol that is commonly seen during elections and other political functions, which is an elephant. The elephant was created in 1874 by the cartoonist Thomas Nast in a political cartoon. The elephant obviously has stuck with the party ever since. The Republican Party played a major role in the abolition of slavery, women’s suffrage, and overall equality for all American citizens while maintaining that “individuals, not government can make the best decisions,” and also the belief in small government and less government influence. Republicans are looked upon as being Conservatives and reside on the right side of the political spectrum or continuum. The main beliefs and views of the Republican Party is a belief in a free market economy, low taxes upon all citizens, the party is opposed to same sex marriages, as well as being against openly gay, lesbian or bisexuals from serving in the military. The Republican Party is adamantly against abortion, they support the death penalty and tougher penalties to be enforced upon criminals, and they are also in favor the Patriot Act and other such laws that allow for more invasion of “privacy.” The Republican Party is strongly against any type of government run healthcare system and any type of strong or overwhelming amount of government control or inclusion in the lives of American citizens.
The Democratic Party is the other strong party in our current political system. It is also regarded as the oldest existing political party in the United States, and also one of the oldest in the world. The Democratic Party which was founded in 1792 by Thomas Jefferson was originally created as a way for citizens to fight against the Federalist Party as well as to fight for the Bill of Rights. In 1800, the Democratic Party nominated and eventually elected Thomas Jefferson for President. He then served as the first Democratic President. Following Jefferson the next few Presidential elections were won by Democrats who helped build and strengthen the United States military, and take America through the War of 1812 victoriously. The party was founded on the principle beliefs of states rights and belief in the constitution and abiding by it. Today’s Democrats are looked upon to be liberals and are found on the left side of the political spectrum. The main beliefs and views that the Democratic Party hold in high regards are the creation of a healthcare system funded by the government that insures all citizens, they are in support of gay and lesbian citizens including their rights to marry and serve openly in the military. They also do not believe there should be any sort of ban that stops gay or lesbian couples from becoming married. The Democratic Party has strong feelings regarding the environment and the effects that we have upon it.
The symbol that is commonly used as a representation of the Democratic Party is the donkey. Also illustrated in Thomas Nast’s political cartoon in 1874, the donkey has stuck with the party ever since. Although it is not official the Democrats are also represented by the color blue. In the 2000 Presidential race between George W. Bush and Al Gore, the map used to depict which state was won by what candidate shown blue for the Democrats and red for the Republicans. The Democratic Party has been filled with numerous influential and world changing presidents; however the current President Barack Obama has broken down the wall for minorities and will allow for even greater change in both political parties from small local governments to our national government.
The two political party groups can differ vary greatly on certain issues and topics that concern the American people but can also be in agreement on many issues. The Republican Party for instance believes in regards to National Security that we need a strong, versatile, and adaptive military. One that is capable of defending the United States against new and unknown threats, as well as keeping pace with the nuclear arms race. Also a National Security that will defend against terrorists on United States soil as well as foreign soil. Republicans believe we need a strong, growing and well prepared military to defend the nation at a moment’s notice. The Democratic Party’s stand on National Security is much the same. They are aware of the potential threats that are out there for American citizens and the world. From terrorists in Iraq, Iran, or other foreign countries to terrorists that are currently located near or in the United States, they realize that the military is a needed force to keep all U.S. citizens safe. But the Democratic Party does lean to the side of a small military force and more peace among all nations in the world.
Another topic that brings about much discussion between the two political parties is the issue regarding energy and alternative fuels. The use and advancements in nuclear power, cleaner coal practices, wind power, solar power, and hydropower are just a few of the energy uses that the Republican Party advocates for and promotes more spending research to go towards. Much like the Republican Party the Democratic Party sees great importance in becoming more energy efficient and independent in the future. They see the benefit of safer and more environmentally friendly fuels and are advocates to more research and development in this area. Both parties see the potential for millions of jobs to be created from the advancement in alternative fuels and the progressing industry for our independent energy sources.
However even though many policies and issues both political parties feel in agreement upon there are some issues that the parties are in disagreement over. One such policy includes the everlasting debate over Healthcare Reform. The Republicans are adamant about a Healthcare Reform that will benefit people today and in the future, however they are not willing to put billions of taxpayers’ dollars out to pay for it. The Republican Party believes that healthcare should not be a government run or heavily influenced entity. They believe in changes to our current healthcare system that would lower costs for all citizens, making healthcare more affordable and obtainable to the millions of uninsured Americans. The Republican Party also believes in creating new laws that would help end the tremendous amount of lawsuits being filed against doctors which currently is a major cause for the rising costs of healthcare among patients. The Democratic Party stance on healthcare is for a total reform. The Democratic Party believes in a Healthcare system ran and funded by the government that would give healthcare to all American citizens. Their belief in a healthcare system for all would help promote wellbeing and prevention of future diseases, disorders and health issues, one that would help lessen the gap between what healthcare covers and what it doesn’t, as well as promote competition, new technologies, and choice among American citizens and the healthcare field.
Other disparities among the Republican Party and the Democratic Party are their beliefs on abortion. The Republican Party is completely against abortion and is more prolife, while the Democratic Party is in favor of allowing abortion and being more prochoice. Another policy issue between the two parties is the debate over minimum wage. Many Democrats are in favor of a higher minimum wage, while Republicans are against a higher minimum wage citing higher costs lead to higher prices for goods and services and higher unemployment. One major difference between the two political parties that is one of the most evident is their stance on taxes. The Republican Party which in some instances is more business oriented favors lower taxes for all citizens. They also in favor of giving tax cuts more often than the Democratic Party does. The Democratic Party stance on taxes is that they aren’t a bad thing, and quite often will raise taxes on the American citizens. Their belief in doing so is that the tax money will go to fund different government run assistance groups such as welfare, or any other type of assistance program for people in need.
There are many differences and similarities between the Republican and Democratic Party. In class we were educated about the Reactional Actor Strategy where on the continuum there are very few people in the parties on the extreme end, most are near the middle. This is true for both political parties because they do have their differences, however they are so alike. Their main goal is to better the American people, but they have their own plan for doing so. This plan can be different for each political party but it is still a plan to benefit us as citizens. Each party is striving to reach the middle on the bell curve presented to us. By doing so they are incorporating ideas and views from the other political party whether they are aware of it or not. They are attempting to reach the middle area to obtain the most votes. I believe the parties are more alike they what people say or think they are. There are some major differences between the parties that make them distinguishable from one another but they all in one way believe in a new Healthcare system, they believe in a National Defense, they believe in educating our younger generations, and they all do believe in becoming more environmentally friendly, fuel efficient, and energy independent. They are two separate parties, separated by different ideas and beliefs about policies and issues within the U.S. however they are not separated by that much and have more in common with each other then they lead us as American citizens to believe.