Out of the two central political parties in the United States, people usually identify as either a Democrat or a Republican. They feel they can simply define themselves as a Liberal or a Conservative. But let’s be honest, most of the time when you’re the person on the other side of the aisle, listening to someone’s opinion on a given issue, you’ll usually find a ton of hypocritical flaws in said person’s argument – all of which seem to go against their own party’s general belief system.
To get a better understanding, let’s break it down.
A Democrat is simply an advocate of democracy. They are defined as a person who believes in the political or social equality of all people. The party’s philosophy is one of modern liberalism and one that attempts to pass legislation based on social and economic fairness for all. On the spectrum of Democrats you can find a range that from progressives, to centrists, to conservative Democrats. Historically, the party represents workers, farmers, labor unions, and ethnic minorities. It opposes unregulated business and finance, and tends to favor progressive income taxes. Some places throughout the country have a larger Democratic population than others. States like New York and California have both recently been dubbed as “liberal territory”.
The Republican Party, commonly referred to as the GOP, relates to the nature of our Republic. The party got its name from Republicanism which was the prevalent value of that party throughout the American Revolution. The current ideology is known as American Conservatism. The scale ranges anywhere from Libertarianism to Christian Conservatism. The Republican platform revolves around free-market capitalism, being fiscally disciplined, and socially prohibitive. They advocate for deregulation, a strong military, and putting restrictions on workers’ rights and labor unions. Today, in the “red states,” most of which are in the South and Midwest, you’ll find a population that is predominantly Republican.
Here’s the twist:
The party that most people identify with today – is generally not what their party currently represents. With all of the vitriolic name-calling people are being pushed into political boxes and packaged into an inaccurate description which stereotypes their general ideals.
Think about it like this:
The political spectrum ranges from the left wing to the right wing. On the far left are Communism and Socialism. On the right, are Capitalism and Fascism. When trying to figure out where you fall on the scale, remember that there are not only Democrats and Republicans, but there are also Liberals and Conservatives within both parties respectively.
Believe it or not, most people today who call themselves either Democrats or Republicans actually identify with what their party once was.
The truth is:
There was a time when your party actually switched philosophies. If you identify as one or the other, make sure you approve of what your representatives are voting on today.
The Republican “Party of Lincoln,” at one time dominated the northern states. The party helped fund the Transcontinental Railroad, and instituted a national currency, as well as a protective tariff. This was opposite of the Democratic Party at the time, which dominated in the South. The Democrats opposed those measures, all while Republicans were working hard to pass laws that granted protections for African-Americans and helping to advance social justice. It wasn’t until 1936, during the Great Depression, when the Democratic President Franklin Roosevelt won the election that things really began to shift. He introduced the New Deal, which included not only regulation on financial institutions, but instated welfare and pension programs, infrastructure and more. The Republican who ran against him at the time opposed all of the above. Eventually, Republicans began favoring more limited government, in order to increase their chance at winning elections.
When Harry Truman took office in 1945 and established the President’s Committee on Civil Rights, the Democrats took over as the party of freedom and justice for all. There was a clear rift in 1948, when the Dixiecrats were established (the Democrats of the South). Those who disagreed left the Democratic Party to join the Republicans, as that platform was now more aligned with their beliefs.
By the 1960s the transformation of the two parties had taken full effect. Once the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed, the line in the sand was drawn and clear political agendas were created.
Ask yourself what you stand for today. Both parties, whether you fall on the Liberal or Conservative end of being a Democrat or Republican, embrace their current platforms and reflect the way their legislators vote.
Here is a link to each party and where they side on the issues.
Who you vote for today, and the laws they attempt to pass, should reflect what you believe in. If you are voting against your own interests based on party loyalty, you may actually be on the wrong side.