The two major political parties in the United States, the Democratic and Republican Parties, correspond closely with liberal and conservative ideologies, respectively. These ideologies influence US policy debates, which often concern the appropriate amount of government intervention in the economy or in social behavior.
The two major parties are:
- Democratic Party- founded in about 1828 with the election of Andrew Jackson.
- Republican Party- founded in about 1856 as a precursor to the Civil War, and Abraham Lincoln’s election.
Dominant US ideologies and political parties
|conservative ideology||Conservatives tend to believe that government should be small, operating mainly at the state or local level. They favor minimal government interference in the economy and prefer private sector-based solutions to problems. “Social conservatives” believe that government should uphold traditional morality, and therefore should impose restrictions on contraception, abortion, and same-sex marriage. Conservatives are said to fall on the “right wing” of the axis of political beliefs, a convention that dates from the place where conservatives sat in assembly during the French Revolution.|
|Democratic Party||One of the two main political parties in the United States. Founded in 1828 by supporters of Andrew Jackson, the Democratic Party is the world’s oldest active political party. Although its platform has transformed many times over the years, today the core values of the Democratic Party align with liberal ideology.|
|liberal ideology||The definition of liberalism has changed over time, but modern-day liberals tend to believe that government should intervene in the economy and provide a broad range of social services to ensure well-being and equality across society. Liberals usually believe that the government should not regulate private sexual or social behaviors. They are said to fall on the “left wing” of the axis of political beliefs, a convention that dates from the place where supporters of the revolution sat in assembly during the French Revolution.|
|progressive ideology||‘Progressive’ is used interchangeably with ‘liberal’ by many today; others argue that the two terms are distinct. Those who consider the terms separate may say that liberals believe in protecting previously disadvantaged groups from discrimination, while progressives believe it’s the government’s job to address past wrongs and reform the systemic issues that caused those disadvantages in the first place.|
|Republican Party||One of the two main political parties in the United States. Founded in 1854 by anti-slavery activists, the Republican Party’s platform has also transformed over the years to address issues of concern to its constituents. Today, the core values of the Republican Party align with conservative ideology|
Other ideologies and parties
|communitarian||Communitarians tend to support legislation that emphasizes the needs of communities over the rights of the individual. They are likely to be economically liberal, but socially conservative.|
|Green Party||The fourth-largest party in the United States. Founded in 2001, the Green Party favors a strong federal government. Its candidates often run on a platform of grassroots democracy, nonviolence, social justice, and environmentalism.|
|Libertarian Party, libertarian ideology||The third-largest party in the United States. Founded in 1971 by people who felt that the Republican and Democratic parties no longer represented the libertarian intentions of the Founders; libertarians favor limited government intervention in personal, social, and economic issues.|
|nationalists||Nationalists tend to promote the interests of their nation, and often believe in the superiority of their nation over others.|
Historically: Political parties in the US
The Democratic Party was the heir to Thomas Jefferson’s Democratic Republican Party, with a power base located in Southern and agrarian interests.
The core principles were aligned much more with those of the French Revolution and the individual and local governance, over the masses and the central government.
The Republican Party grew in the vacuum created by the death of the Whig Party, which had utterly failed to create a national consensus to address the issue of slavery. (The Whigs were more or less the heirs to the Federalists, as set up by Alexander Hamilton and others),
In any event, the Federalists/Whigs/Republicans favored a much more powerful central government, with many less “rights” reserved to the people or state governments. And by the 1860’s, the Republicans had grown so radical in this endeavor as to favor the only Constitutional Amendment to empower the Federal government with POLICING power over the individual! (To stop slavery)
After the Civil War…
The Democratic Party was marginalized for a generation, and big business needed a partner to help industry. The marriage between the Republicans and the gilded class was easy, as bigger government was needed to standardize interstate commerce, build railroads, and enforce contracts.
The “small government” protesters within the Democratic Party struggled to win, despite notable conservative icons like William Jennings Bryan at the helm. This persisted until 1912….
William H Taft secured the Republican nomination with help of big business, whom his predecessor Teddy Roosevelt thought had gained too much influence over the “”Grand Old Party,” so Roosevelt and his now former “Republican” followers bolted the party to form the Progressive Party to push for the rights of “”the common man.”. This split the vote and allowed Woodrow Wilson, a democrat, to win.
Over the next generation, the Democratic Party absorbed the Progressives who fled with Teddy Roosevelt, forming an unbeatable coalition that won 5 consecutive elections from 1932–1948.
Forcing the withered Republican Party to nominate a 5 star WW2 war hero general to win 2 elections, before the same coalition would win another 2 elections. Yes….this southern democratic (conservative) and northern democrat (progressive) alliance won 7 of 9 elections, and arguably resurfaced in 76 for 8 on 11 elections!
However, in 1968 Richard Nixon embarked on the “”southern strategy,” to get alienated conservative Democrats across the south to vote Republican, and a generation later….the change was complete.
Today: Political parties in the US
The Democratic Party is the progressive, liberal, and moderate party. The “conservative” democrats largely espouse the exact same platform Eisenhower ran on as a Republican in 1956.
The Republican Party is the Conservative party, largely drawing upon the ideas of Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan, and Aryn Rand. This agenda has become even further rightwing in recent years, as the push for “”supply side” economica has become a suicide pact, that former Republican leaders were once able to proclaim were “”voodoo economics,” but no more.
Future: Political parties in the US
With the modern insertion of Donald Trump, and the undeniably fascist TACTICS of attacking the press, spreading “”alternative facts,” and much more… it seems likely that the next generation of the Republican Party may be fascist-lite or worse within America.
As for the Democratic Party? The next 4 years will determine whether they respond in kind, and use political purity tests like the GOP did to their detriment, and become more socialist in nature. Or whether they embrace big tent tactics and govern for a generation with uninterrupted control once again.
-end the gerrymander, and embrace compromise and big tent governance….the extremes cannot govern, and if one side has already lost its mind, we cannot afford to let the other side follow suit.