It’s easy to forget that we are not, in fact, a 2 party political system; our very republic is based around a system designed to be comprised of multiple parties. In an environment where the 2 primary parties have a throat hold on the government and are able to up vote legislation that allows them to spend nearly unchecked sums of money, it is less that we have forgotten, than we have been forced to believe that there are only 2 parties.
The truth is that there are numerous political parties, each with their own agendas, and philosophies in addition to their core beliefs of how the US government should run this country. At the core of all of them, they can be observed as 4 primary parties of which other parties belong to in large part.
REPUBLICANS: Republicans are conservative and they favor a more limited government, with more measured change in public and social policy, and a tendency for using government to guarantee national security. Republicans are largely opposed to growing domestic programs designed to guarantee equality and expanding freedoms of Americans. Republicans are associated with “traditional ” life styles and families viewing them as as a better basis for a successful society. Traditionally, the Republican party appeals highly to the middle and upper class and non-minority voters who have reached a level of economic security.
REPUBLICANS TEND TO EMPHASIZE:
- Crime protection and harsh punishment of criminals
- Deficit reduction (not letting government go into debt for new programs)
- Lower taxes (leaning heavily on upper class income tax reductions)
- Motivation (providing opportunities for rewarding hard work and skill)
- National security and Larger Military
- Order and morality in society (opposing abortion, supporting prayer in schools, etc.)
DEMOCRATS: Democrats are more liberal, believing government is a force to evoke change, especially to improve economic, and social inequality. They prefer domestic spending programs, especially for teh poor or disenfranchised, and support the freedom of individuals to make choices on issues such as abortion and pornography. The Democratic Party draws more of its support from the less economically advantaged and those who feel they have been discriminated against.
DEMOCRATS TEND TO EMPHASIZE:
- Discrimination issues (against minorities and women especially)
- Environmental protection
- Equality (reducing the gap between the rich and the poor, spreading the wealth)
- Socialized health care
- Freedom (free expression of one’s views, freedom to pursue alternative life styles)
LIBERTARIANS: Libertarians are against virtually all forms of government activity. They would abolish most government programs except for a limited national defense and police force. They see most government programs as ineffective and dangerous to progress and accomplishment. They prefer a government that allows individuals to pursue their own interests with only limited government interference.
LIBERTARIANS TEND TO EMPHASIZE:
- Personal Liberty (to make ones own choices and acceptance of consequences)
- Self-Ownership (you govern your body and the government does not)
- Expression and Communication ( individual privacy and government transparency)
- Economic Liberty (want all members of society to have abundant opportunities to achieve economic success)
- Lower Taxes (for all classes and abolishing the IRS)
- Personal Relationships (Sexual orientation, preference, gender, or gender identity should have no impact on the government’s treatment of individuals)
REFORM PARTY: The Reform Party is a protest against politics as they stand now. Its particular policy tends to vary with its current nominees. Its members express frustration with the choices offered by the two major parties and seek new and creative choices. The party has typically been opposed to extensive US involvement in foreign affairs and opposed closer trading ties with other nations in order to pay more attention to US domestic problems.
REFORMISTS TEND TO EMPHASIZE:
- Ethical Standards for Government (no more gifts, trips, free meals, etc.)
- Balancing the budget (aggressive cuts, removing social programs)
- Campaign reform (voter ID requirements, eliminate large gifts)
- New tax system (requiring Americans to vote on any new tax raises)
- Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security reform (stop the government from using the money)
- America First (less foreign aid, close borders, severing trade agreements to promote jobs in the US)