After every four years, any liberal American citizen always has to make a choice between supporting either a republican candidate or a democratic candidate for president. These two parties have varying core beliefs. This paper seeks to compare and contrast these two essential players in the American democracy. Despite the fact that each party has a solid fan base, each party has to do a lot of campaigning each electioneering year to make itself more popular than the other. They go around the country selling their philosophies and that of their candidate. While there are few areas that these parties share in ideals, there are numerous issues that they do not agree. This paper will discuss the most significant issues that are prioritized by the American electorate. It will illustrate the position of both parties and what influences their philosophies.
In terms of core beliefs that drive republicans, they believe that all people have their place and role to play in society. Therefore, they believe the role of the government is to facilitate a person attain his optimal capabilities to realize his potential. The person will then enjoy these accrued benefits with his family and those that he cares about. The republican philosophy is premised on limited government interference in private matters and property. Governmental intervention can only be justified in cases where a person or the society as a whole has failed to provide an amicable solution to the conundrum. This means that they advocate for one’s destiny to be left to one’s own hands and government act with a lot of restrain. Moreover, republicans believe in state governments and cherish at the spirit of devolution whereby responsibility, accountability and resources are at the local government instead of a faraway federal government. On the other hand, democrats believe that the sole responsibility of governmental functions is to care for its citizenry. Therefore, the government is fulfilling its primal responsibility must do so at all cost even if it means limiting civil rights and free enterprises. It is the Democratic Party that pushed for the establishment of a central government that would govern from Washington D.C. Democrats argue that the federal government is obligated to intervene and assist citizens even at the local levels. They do not believe in state government and local government. This is a sharp contrast from the philosophy of republicans.
Democrats believe that the government should regulate a significant area of the economy in order to attain macroeconomic goals. They feel that it is too complicated for a citizen to handle on their own. In addition, they believe that leaving the economy in private hands will result in income disparities due exploitation of labor. The government should thus be instrumental in regulating, controlling and guiding the direction that the economy should go in the interests of the citizenry and also in the interest of labor unions. However, republicans tend to differ. Most of them subscribe to the schools of thought that believe that the economy should a free enterprise. There should be a free market economy that would facilitate innovations and competitive economic growth. They believe that a free market economy is one of the fundamental reasons that have made the United States prosper. They believe any distortions in the market will be corrected by market forces. Unlike democrats, republicans believe that the government should only come in to facilitate entrance into the market and stimulation of the market activity if market forces fail. People should be able to use their talents to acquire personal property and wealth without governmental restrictions.
Both democrats and republicans believe in providing the best education for American children. Republicans argue that, all children in the country irrespective of status or background should get world class education with emphasis on mathematics and reading. Republicans are more concerned with students being competitive rather than merely acquiring basic skills. They advocate that children should at least be taught more than one language. Schools should note the progress of students through tests and be able to provide the requisite report if required.On the other hand, democrats advocate for scrapping of tests as they believe they only serve to burden teachers and waste time. They believe that all children should be enrolled in school until they attained the requisite basic skills. They also advocate that unions should be mandated with the task of running schools rather than PTAs.
Democrats place a lot of trust in the federal government. They think that the government ought to know the best thing for everyone. They posit that government bureaucrats are more conversant with the needs of the citizens at the local levels than elected officials from the same area. Because they believe governmental matters are complicated, they encourage the federal government to levy taxes according to how it deems fit in order for it to be able to meet its obligations towards its citizens. In contrast, republicans advocate for less governmental spending. Apart from the belief that they should authorize all tax adjustment, republicans have always wanted to control their own spending without governmental regulation. However, they want to reduce and control government spending.
With regards to national security, both parties are of the opinion that a safe and secure America is not debatable. They all believe that true security should originate with America having the strength, capabilities and equipment to defend its citizens. However, there has been a lack of consensus in recent debates about the amount to be spent in the national defense security. While republicans are pushing for more investments and construction of far superior weapons, democrats are relaxed and do not have the buzz to join in another arms race. They believe that America is far much ahead of her allies and rivals. Democrats also subscribe to a policy of negotiation and board room deals to negotiate for peace instead of military ways preferred by republicans. While republicans root for the search and murder of all terrorists groups especially after the 9-11 attacks, democrats prefer signing of peace treaties and reconciliation.
Another significant national issue is immigration. Democrats belie that the U.S, as a superpower has an obligation and duty to provide aid and unconditional help to other countries nationals. Whereas republicans share the same sentiments, they advocate for more strict laws and regulations before a person can be allowed entry into the US. Democrats are more concern with human compassion and seek to provide the requisite aid. However, republicans think that the American citizens’ safety should be prioritized. They believe only emergence cases should be allowed access to enter within the American border.
In conclusion, the main philosophical divergence between Democrats and Republican is that republican believe in the free-market system with minimal government interference and devolution power to state governments. On the other Democrats believe in the federal government intervention by curtailing freedom of enterprise in order to maximize social welfare and minimize income parity. There several issues that both Republican and Democrats believe need to prioritized such as national security, education, government intervention to ensure full employment and achieve other macroeconomic goals. However, it is their approach in handling these issues that differ.
Edwards, Mickey. The Parties Versus the People: How to Turn Republicans and Democrats Into Americans. New York: Yale University Press, 2012.
Fried, Joseph. Democrats and Republicans: Rhetoric and Reality : Comparing the Voters in Statistics and Anecdotes. New York: Algora Publishing, 2008.