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Debate: Democrats vs. Republicans

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Which party should you belong to: Democratic or Republican?

Background and context

Despite still being a relatively young country, the United States of America has a long and colorful political history. Each of the surviving major political parties continues to brag about numerous larger-than-life political figures that have defined and shaped today’s Democratic and Republican parties.
Vastly differing Americans, with vastly differing backgrounds, living in vastly differing regions of the nation collectively appear to be divided almost equally – at least judging by the results of recent major elections during which the electorate split near evenly between liberal Democratic principles and more conservative Republican ideology. A review of the major issues of the day clearly demonstrates this divide; a nation split almost evenly and debating the key issues of the day in a fashion that likely would please our Founding Fathers. The debate article below explores the positions of Democrats and Republicans on various key issues, including the size of government, individual rights, the economy, taxes, welfare, race relations, abortion, foreign policy, national security and many others.

Contents

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Progress vs. tradition

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Pro

  • Democrats stand for social progress. Democrats tend to stand for "progress" in society, development, positive change, modernity, a living and evolving constitution, increased immigration and integration, new and innovative government programs.
  • Dems are optimistic about progress as a society Oliver Willis. "Oh. That's why I'm a democrat." Huffington Post. September 8th, 2008: "The Democratic party, for better or worse, believes in a Frank Capra/Jimmy Stewart view of the world. It says time and time again that through our collective might we can improve the nation, and as a byproduct the world. It is optimistic to the point of being almost corny. The party looks as the world as it is, and says 'Gosh darn it everyone, let's roll up our sleeves and clean up this mess.' It is no coincidence that the current leader of the party, Barack Obama, is the sort of guy you can imagine saying 'by golly' and not in an ironic way. [...] By contrast to the Democratic sunshine, the Republican party is night. Their view of the world is one in which everything is just a shade of negative, and that is the cold heart underlying the cynicism of speakers like Sarah Palin, Rudy Giuliani, and Mitt Romney. They see a world of despair and depression and they wallow in it. The Republican party and the conservative movement that supports it is all about being the snarky guy in the corner playing the angles and making a buck off the foibles and failures of others. For a few it promises the spoils of war - both ideological and real war - but for the rest it just offers a way of wallowing in darkness without any optimistic movement towards a better day."
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Con

  • Republicans represent traditional values. The social philosophy of the Republican Party could be summarized as 'traditional'.
  • Conserving freedoms is essential to societal progress. Republicans are conservative in the sense that they believe in preserving freedoms. And, these freedoms are essential to societal progress. This is particularly true in the economy, where it is necessary that individuals have maximum freedom to engage in commerce without heavy regulation and without heavy taxation. These and other conservative freedoms are what truly allow for the societal progress that Democrats claim to value.
  • Republicans see no contradiction between traditions and progress. Republicans do not see a contradiction in their desire to maintain family values and social traditions while at the same time making progress in society, particularly economic progress. Traditional values that favor discipline and independence, for example, foster entrepreneurship and economic growth. Family values, in addition, help fulfill individuals so that they can lead stable and productive lives. All of these things are key to social and economic stability and progress.
  • Reps preserve right traditions, while accepting new ideas. Republican Party Oath: "I believe we must retain those principles worth retaining, yet always be receptive to new ideas with an outlook broad enough to accommodate thoughtful change and varying points of view."
  • Government is not the driver of progress; individuals are. Progressivism seems to contend that government is responsible for advancing society. But, it's individuals working independently and freely in association that are the true innovators and advancers of society.
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Morality

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Democrat

  • Religious dogma plays too much of a role in Republican beliefs Paul Hsieh. "How the GOP lost my vote." Denver Post. November 13th, 2008: "But I didn't vote for a single Republican in 2008. I've become increasingly alienated by the Republicans" embrace of the religious "social conservative" agenda, including attempts to ban abortion, embryonic stem cell research, and gay marriage. [...] The Founding Fathers correctly recognized that the proper function of government is to protect individual rights, such as freedom of speech and freedom of religion. But freedom of religion also implies freedom *from* religion. As Thomas Jefferson famously put it, there should be a "wall of separation" between church and state. Public policy should not be based on religious doctrines. [...] Instead, the government's role is to protect each person's right to practice his or her religion as a private matter and to forbid them from forcibly imposing their particular views on others. And this is precisely why I find the Republican Party's embrace of the Religious Right so dangerous."
  • Democrats are liberal on morality; oppose governing it Paul Shlesinger. "Democrat vs. Republican: Political philosophies." Helium: "Democrats hold a liberal philosophy towards social issues such as gay marriage (support) and abortion (support). This philosophy on social issues stems (in part) from a belief that morality is subjective. Therefore, they believe that any attempt to govern based on morality could be interpreted as violating the religion clauses of the first amendment, either by establishing a religion based on such moral beliefs or prohibiting the free exercise of other moral beliefs that are progressive or different from traditional beliefs. In general, their progressive philosophy tends to attract support from non-Christians and from younger individuals."


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Republican

  • Democrats allow "progress" of immoral values. Democratic "progress" is all about advancing new and innovative social norms and values, which could mean allowing gays to marry, sex changes to be legally recognized, and even incest among consenting adults. But, this is not "progress". It is the opposite. It is the degradation of social values.
  • Republicans believe morality is absolute, so govt can regulate it. Republicans tend to believe that their morality is absolute, defined, and not subjective. Part of this has to do with their more common belief in God, and in their belief that their own religious interpretations are correct and that the beliefs of others are simply wrong. From this, they conclude that the government can and should regulate according to their interpretation of morality. Since they believe strongly that their interpretation must be right, they have no concern about government regulating in favor of these interpretations.
  • What's wrong with basing morality on religious underpinnings? The US Constitution draws heavily on religion. It does so because religion offers a very strong basis for moral beliefs. These beliefs are timeless, and compose a major part of our common understanding of morality. What's wrong with, therefore, using them?


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Individualism

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Pro

  • Dems appreciate collective interdependence in society. Republicans are all about the individual, protecting the individual from other people, and ensuring that the individual need not be burdened by collective issues surrounding them in society, nor the tax burdens that might be associated with dealing with these problems. But, this under-appreciates how we are connected to each other in such an intimate way; where an individual's success, in an economy, is dependent on the success and demand coming from other individuals in a society. Where someone's own education is dependent on the society that fosters it, and the education of those individuals around them. Where someone's health and safety are dependent on the sanitation, police forces, and social services available.
  • Reps by govt, but forget it is of, by, for the people. Republicans often bash government and celebrate the individual over government, as if we don't live in a democracy, where government is of, by, and for the people. In a democracy, the government is not an oppressive monolithic figure. Instead, it is composed of elected officials and is, therefore, controlled and directed by the will of the people. To bash government is, therefore, to bash the citizens behind it.


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Con

  • Republicans believe in power of individual over govt Republican Party Oath: "I believe that good government is based on the individual and that each person’s ability, dignity, freedom and responsibility must be honoured and recognised. I believe that free enterprise and encouragement of individual initiative and incentive have given this nation an economic system second to none."[1]
Haley Barbour, former Republican National Committee Chairman, produced a "Why I'm a Republican" list, including the following rationale in November 1994. "I believe the strength of our nation lies with the individual and that each person's dignity, freedom, ability and responsibility must be honored."[2]
"GOP vs. Democrats." Arizona Republican Party: "Republicans believe responsibility for each person's station in life ultimately resides with each individual person. The Republican Party encourages individuals to work to secure the benefits of society for themselves, their families, and for those who are unable to care for themselves. Democrats believe each person's rights can be sacrificed to the assumed needs of the group. Democrats assume "society" collectively is responsible for each of its members. Democrats place less emphasis on individual enterprise and initiative and prefer government 'programs,' such as the failed forty-year 'War on Poverty.'"
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Limited government

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Pro

  • Republicans are too suspicious and critical of government GovernmentIsGood.com: "Why a website defending government? Because, like many Americans, I am tired of the government bashing that is constantly coming from the political right. For decades conservatives have been demonizing government and not enough has been done to defend it. Ever since Ronald Reagan declared in 1981 that 'Government is not a solution to our problem, government is the problem,' Republicans have been waging a political war against this institution. Their core message: the free market is good and government is bad. [...] Blithely ignoring anything good about government, conservatives have conducted a relentless smear campaign against this institution, portraying it as wasteful, ineffective, corrupt, oppressive, and bad for business. And wherever they have been in power, Republican officials have pursued an anti-government agenda of slashing taxes, cutting social programs, and rolling back regulations. 'Smaller government' has been the conservative mantra – except of course for the ever-growing expenditures for defense and national security."
  • Govt is often only thing big enough to take on biggest challenges GovernmentIsGood.com: "more energetic government is necessary in a whole range of areas in our society, not just in the financial sector. The anti-government philosophy of deregulation has not only proved a disaster for the financial system, but also for food safety, energy policy, and environmental protection. And cutting back taxes has led to school budgets being slashed, public safety workers being laid off, poor children being denied medical care, and bridges and roads falling into dangerous disrepair. The election of Barack Obama signaled that many Americans were beginning to realize that government is not the problem; it is actually the only solution to most of the pressing problems we face as a nation – including infrastructure decay, rising unemployment, global warming, and a worsening health care crisis."
  • Robust government has been an amazing force for good GovernmentIsGood.com: "But what exactly does it mean to say that government is good? It means that, on balance, government programs have a very positive impact on the lives of all Americans – that government has been a powerful force for good in our society. It is not an exaggeration to say that a good portion of the improvement in the quality of Americans’ lives during the last 100 years has been due to the efforts of our federal, state, and local governments. Consider, for instance, the wide variety of vital roles and functions that big government plays in our society. Things like providing roads and sewers and other essential infrastructure facilities, preventing economic depressions, eliminating horrible diseases like polio and smallpox, ensuring drinkable water and breathable air, dispensing justice, providing retirement security, preventing business abuses, sponsoring stunning scientific breakthroughs, feeding the hungry, recalling unsafe products, educating our children, reducing workplace injuries and deaths, responding to disasters and emergencies, preventing crime, protecting civil liberties, rescuing endangered species, ensuring the safety of drugs, guarding our national security, caring for the elderly, and so on."



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Con

  • Reps believe govt should only do things citizens/comps can't Republican Party Oath: "I believe that the proper function of government is to do for the people those things that have to be done but cannot be done, or cannot be done as well by individuals, and that the most effective government is government closest to the people."[3]
"Why I'm a Republican." Republican Party of Wakulla County: "I Believe... The proper function of government is to do for the people those things that have to be done but cannot be done, or cannot be done as well, by individuals, and that the most effective government is government closest to the people."
"He Governs Best Who Governs Least." The Headstrong Club.: "The young American republic was founded in large measure in reaction to the remote and unaccountable government of the American colonies from London. In this context two great proponents of democracy, Thomas Paine and Thomas Jefferson, both argued that the role of the state should be as limited as possible. In Common Sense, published in January 1776, Paine declared; 'Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one.” Meanwhile Jefferson is often quoted as saying both; 'My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government,' and 'That government is best which governs the least, because its people discipline themselves.” The Jefferson quotes are problematic because they do not appear in his writings and the earliest known attributions were made only decades later. The remarks attributed to Jefferson may merely be the efforts of lesser men to appropriate the statesman’s authority for themselves, nevertheless he certainly made a case for government to leave plenty of room for business so let us consider the proposition that small government is best."
  • Big govt means more special interests in govt Woodrow Wilson noted the dangers of too much government: “If the government is to tell big business men how to run their business, then don’t you see that big business men have to get closer to the government even than they are now?”[4]
  • Govt of, by, for the people is still a burden on people. While it may be true that, in a democracy, government is of, by, for the people, it should also be recognized that the bigger the government gets, and the more employees it has, the more taxpayer money it expends. While it may be trying to do "the will of the people", it inadvertently burdens and harms the people in the process.


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Social justice:

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Pro

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Con

  • Republicans believe in equality of opportunity, not outcomes Republicans oppose wealth redistribution, or any efforts to equalize outcomes among individuals. They do, however, believe that all individuals should have an equal opportunity from the day they are born till the day the die, an equal right to succeed.
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Welfare

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Pro

  • Republicans lack compassion for the disadvantaged David Carlin. "Why I'm Not a Republican." Inside Catholic. September 6th, 2008: "4. Democrats, I concede, put too much self-congratulatory stress on the "compassion" they feel for underdogs. Many underdogs would be better off if, instead of being the "beneficiaries" of compassion, they were told that they live in a relentlessly competitive society and that they'd better get a grip on themselves if they don't want to remain at the bottom of the league. Nonetheless, compassion for the underdog is a good thing, and many Republicans, I fear, have far too little of it. I am reminded of this almost every time I hear Rush Limbaugh on the radio: Limbaugh makes me laugh, but he also makes me cringe."


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Con

  • Republicans believe private sector is better at helping poor than govt. Most Republicans agree there should be a "safety net" to assist the less fortunate; however, they tend to believe the private sector is more effective in helping the poor than government is; as a result.
  • Reps believe charity should be voluntary, not through govt welfare. Republicans support giving government grants to faith-based and other private charitable organizations to supplant welfare spending
  • Reps believe heavy limits help ensure safety net is not abused. Members of the GOP also believe that limits on eligibility and benefits must be in place to ensure the safety net is not abused.
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Taxes

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Pro

  • Dems just as good as Reps historically on low taxes "Should fiscal conservatives vote Republican." We Op-Ed. March 5, 2008: "tax rate on those individuals from the highest tax bracket has been dropping precipitously since the end of WWII, regardless of which party held the white house. In fact, the rates began to fall under Kennedy, a Democrat, and continued through Johnson, another Democrat. The tax rate held steady through Nixon, Ford, and Carter, before tumbling further under Reagan. The tax rate bottomed out in 1989, under Bush I, at 28%- less than a third of its modern peak of 94%, under Truman. Bush then raised taxes from their absurd low, and they have been bouncing around the 30s every since. So from this graph it seems pretty clear: Keeping taxes low for the wealthy has been a bipartisan effort for the last sixty years."
  • Democrats support a more progressive tax structure. This can help provide more services and reduce economic inequality. Currently they have proposed reversing those tax cuts the Bush administration gave to the wealthiest Americans while wishing to keep in place those given to the middle class.


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Con

  • Republicans believe in supply-side economics and lower taxes. A leading economic theory advocated by modern Republicans is supply-side economics. Some fiscal policies influenced by this theory were popularly known as Reaganomics, a term popularized during the Presidential administrations of Ronald Reagan. This theory holds that reduced income tax rates increase GDP growth and thereby generate the same or more revenue for the government from the smaller tax on the extra growth. This belief is reflected, in part, by the party's long-term advocacy of tax cuts.
  • Govt spending is a problem that higher taxes can't solve. [...] President Ronald Reagan: "We don't have a trillion-dollar debt because we haven't taxed enough; we have a trillion-dollar debt because we spend too much"
  • Higher taxes discourage hard work. "America’s producers can compete successfully in the international arena – as long as they have a level playing field. Today’s tax code is tilted against them, with one of the highest corporate tax rates of all developed countries. That not only hurts American investors, managers, and the U.S. balance of trade; it also sends American jobs overseas. We support a major reduction in the corporate tax rate so that American companies stay competitive with their foreign counterparts and American jobs can remain in this country."
  • Some Republicans believe all tax increases should be voted upon. This is because tax increases are a significant government action into the lives and liberties of citizens. If government is of, by, and for the people, any tax increase should be voted upon by the people.[6]


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Economy

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Democrat

  • Democrats have a better record of balancing budgets Larry Bartels. "Why the economy fares much better under Democrats." Christian Science Monitor. October 21st, 2010: "The bottom line: During the past 60 years, Democrats have presided over much less unemployment and much more robust income growth.Prefer a broader historical comparison? In the past three decades, since the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries oil price shocks of the mid-1970s and the Republican turn toward "supply side" economics, the average unemployment rate under Republican presidents has been 6.7 percent – substantially higher than the 5.5 percent average under Democratic presidents. (The official unemployment rate takes no account of people who have given up looking for work or taken substantial pay cuts to stay in the labor force.) Over an even broader time period, since the late 1940s, unemployment has averaged 4.8 percent under Democratic presidents but 6.3 percent – almost one-third higher – under Republican presidents."
  • Progressives combat anti-competitive concentration of capital Mark Pash, CFP with Brad Parker. "Progessive Economic Principles: Creating a quality economy.": "In a free enterprise environment, there is a continual, natural flow of capital to the powerful; the highly educated and already wealthy by various means, both legal and illegal or by shear luck. This natural concentration of wealth continually reduces both the number of businesses and ample individual consumers, eventually hurting commerce and society. All studies, computer models, research and statistics in the past and present validate this scenario. Concentrated wealth, promoted by this flaw of capitalism, creates a system of, “The Rich get Richer” for both individuals and businesses. This natural bias to the already wealthy reduces competition and the number of adequate consumers. The antitrust laws were established to counter this monopolistic tendency in business enterprises. The fiscal system of taxing the rich and redistribution back to the many was created to solve this problem on an individual basis."
  • Progressive promote wealth "recirculation", not "redistribution" Mark Pash, CFP with Brad Parker. "Progessive Economic Principles: Creating a quality economy.": "Frankly, I think the word “redistribution” is the wrong word to describe [progressive policies against anti-competitive concentrations of wealth]. It should be called “recirculation”. The vast majority of government spending including military is allocated domestically. It is not hoarded so that its recipients can live on its return. It is recirculated through the economy. These monies collected by taxes are spread to more individuals creating better consumers. These consumers are able to spend more in private enterprises, which create wealth for certain capitalists and to some extent for their employees. Unfortunately, this system can be thwarted to achieve the aims of the few rather than the many."
  • Dems focus on increasing wages, creating better consumers Mark Pash, CFP with Brad Parker. "Progessive Economic Principles: Creating a quality economy.": "quality customers can only be created by paying wages high enough to sustain and enhance every worker’s ability to purchase quality goods and services. Therefore, we should develop standards for a quality customer minimum wage instead of the present understanding and application of just a minimum wage. [...] There is no such thing as a competitive labor market, not with billions of people in poverty and low cost slave labor. These people do not make good customers. This is a major global problem. The challenge is running a business - microeconomics - with a customer base drawn from a fully employed and adequately compensated work force."


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Republican

  • Republicans are best at stimulating economic growth Mona Charen. "14 reasons to vote Republican on November 7th." Townhall.com. 2008: "1) The economy. More than 6.6 million new jobs have been created since August 2003. Our 4.1 annual growth rate is superior to all other major industrialized nations. The Dow has set record highs multiple times in the past several weeks. Productivity is up, and the deficit is down. Real, after-tax income has grown by 15 percent since 2001. Inflation has remained low. As Vice President Cheney summed it up at a recent meeting with journalists, "What more do you want?" The tax cuts proposed by President Bush and passed by a Republican Congress can take a bow."
  • Republicans more enthusiastically support free market capitalism "Why am I a Republican?" Early Riser. February 7th, 2006: "Economics - Even when I was a Democrat (birth to age 30), I generally agreed with free-trade capitalist Republicans versus protectionist-leaning, socialist-coddling Democrats. As nice as it sounds that we should divert the wages of the rich to bring the poor up to middle-class standards of living, it doesn't work. When the government gets too entangled with commerce (whether though excessive taxation, regulation or state-owned enterprises), history has shown that those governments have to start controlling other aspects of citizens' lives in order to get the economic outcomes they desire. Corporations, along with organized religions, also prove to be useful counter-balances against too much government power. [...] Republicans certainly don't always side with free-market capitalism (I was strongly opposed to the steel tariffs that W pushed though in his first term), but they are head and shoulders above the socialist legislation that the union-dues addicted Democrats would pass if they had control of the government."
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Liberties

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Pro


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Con

  • Republicans believe in negative rights limiting govt. Republicans believe in securing for individuals only their "innate rights" or God-given ones, which the government cannot take away, instead of ones that the government is obligated to provide. This is why they are called negative rights.
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Constitution

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Democrat

  • Democrats tend to believe in a "living" "evolving" constitution. This means that they believe that the Constitution can evolve with the times, and that we are not locked in an historical interpretation of what the Founders might have interpreted the Constitution to mean. Democrats tend to recognize that there was no single intention or belief system among the Founders, and therefore that there is no single "Founding intent" behind the Constitution. Therefore, the Constitution must be placed in a modern context and interpreted properly to maximize benefits in modernity.
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Republican

  • Republicans tend to favor a strict interpretation of the Constitution. Many current Republicans voice support of strict constructionism, the judicial philosophy that the Constitution should be interpreted narrowly and as close to the original intent as is practicable rather than a more flexible "living Constitution" model.


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State rights

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Pro


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Con

  • Republicans believe govt most effective when decentralized "GOP vs. Democrats." Arizona Republican Party: "Republicans believe governmental power and resources should be kept close to the people, through their state and community public servants, rather than centralized in distant big government. [...] Democrats believe a centralized power in Washington should control and direct our lives, with secondary consideration for the rights of individual citizens and communities. This has led to increasingly more federal controls and regimentation, often in the hands of un-elected bureaucrats, causing a severe erosion of local government power across the country."


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Thinking process

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Pro

  • Democrats tend to be more humble "Why I'm a Democrat." Time. June 12th, 2007: "I'm a Democrat because we have humility. Can you imagine a Republican apologizing to the country the way Clinton did after the sex scandal? Let alone the way JFK did after the Bay of Pigs? Taking any personal responsibility for anything? Shit George W. Bush couldn't even figure out anything he's done wrong in 4 years."
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Con

  • Republicans have discipline and authority of football coaches Steve Kornacki. "Why your coach voter Republican." Wall Street Journal. September 2, 2009: "There's no evidence that coaches with a conservative bent are better coaches or more likely to get jobs. Football coaches aren't the most diverse group, which may help explain their political similarities. [...] Still, could it be that football coaches, just by the nature of the job, are more comfortable on the right end of the political spectrum? [...] 'I'd say that sounds likely—very likely,' said Bobby Bowden, the longtime Florida State coach and an outspoken Republican. Mr. Bowden, a 79-year-old native Alabaman, describes himself as a lifelong conservative who—like many white Southerners of his generation—migrated from the Democratic Party to the GOP a few decades ago. There is, he says, a natural connection between his political and coaching philosophies. 'In coaching, you've got to have more discipline and you've got to be more strict and just conservative, I think. It fits with the Republicans,' he said. Mr. Holtz, who coached Notre Dame to its last national championship in 1988, draws a parallel between the standards and rules that most coaches set for their players and the Republican vision of how American society ought to operate. 'You aren't entitled to anything. You don't inherit anything. You get what you earn—your position on the team,' Mr. Holtz said. 'You're treated like everybody else. You're held accountable for your actions. You understand that your decisions affect other people on that team…There's winners, there's losers, and there's competitiveness.'"
  • Democrats bad at executing their governing agenda Ezra Klein. "Can Democrats govern?" Washington Post. January 21, 2010: "It's worth taking a step back from health-care reform for a second. What Democrats are doing isn't just abandoning a particular policy issue. They're proving themselves unable to govern. Democrats spent most of 2009 with 60 votes in the Senate and about 256 in the House. They had a popular new president who was following a disastrous Republican administration and a financial crisis. The opposition party was polling somewhere between foot fungus and spoiled meat. You don't get opportunities like this very often. The Senate majority, in fact, was larger than either party had enjoyed since the 1970s. And what have Democrats accomplished? Well, not much. You can see a list here. A stimulus that was too small. Ted Kennedy's Serve America Act. Credit card regulations that were largely an acceleration of rules the Federal Reserve was going to impose anyway. I guess they almost passed a compromised health-care bill, but you don't go down in history for almosts."
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History

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Pro

  • Democratic heroes include Franklin Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy.
  • Democrats have accomplished more when in power kgosztola. "Progressivism Fails Because Democrats are Afraid to Advance a Progressive Agenda." FireDogLake. July 21, 2010: "CAP claims (in the above cited report) progressives were responsible for: the 8-hour work day and 40-hour work week, civil service tests to replace political patronage, worker’s compensation for on-the-job accidents, national supervision of banks and the creation of a flexiblenational currency, unemployment insurance, regulation of the securities industry, prohibitions against child labor and workplace exploitations, federal insurance of bank deposits, the legal right of people to organize within labor unions and engage in, bans on speculative banking practices collective bargaining for fair wages and benefits, the constitutional right to vote, full legal equality, and the elimination, refinancing and foreclosure protections for home and farm owners of formal discrimination for women and minorities, national infrastructure including electrification, railways, airports, the graduated income and inheritance tax bridges and roads, and the Internet, protections against contaminated food and medicines, Social Security and Medicare to aid the elderly and Medicaid and CHIP to help low-income families and children, hundreds of millions of acres of protected wilderness areas, waterways, minimum wage laws and income support for the working poor and national parks, antimonopoly and anticompetitive regulations of corporations, public education, college loans and grants for students, and the GI Bill, direct elections of U.S. senators, direct primary elections of political candidates, and the initiative and referendum process in the states."


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Con

  • Republican heroes include Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan.
  • Republicans have accomplished more while in party "Beliefs of the Republican party." History Learning Site: "The following is taken from the 1995 Republican Party’s history of the party as presented by the Republican Party’s National Committee. Historically, the party has supported. The abolition of slavery The right of free speech Support of women’s suffrage The reduction of the power of Federal government The reduction of Federal bureaucracy The return of power to state governments The support of the idea of the primacy of the individual To fight for the right of individuals in opposition to large "bloated" government In 1866, a Republican government passed the 1866 Civil Rights Act – a law which restricted the right of states (though this was aimed at the Southern states in particular) to restrict the right of Black Americans to testify in a court of law and to restrict the right of Black Americans to own property The Republicans proposed the 14th Amendment which became part of the Constitution. Jeanette Rankin - a Republican - became the first woman to serve in the House of Representatives, for the state of Montana. The Republicans claim that they were the first party to officially push for women’s suffrage. The Republicans claim to be the first party to favour environmental issues when President Nixon pushed for a Clean Air Act which was duly passed by Congress." [See longer list in argument page or in article].


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Unions

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Pro


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Con

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Corporate interests

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Pro

  • Republicans are more closely aligned with big corporations David Carlin. "Why I'm Not a Republican." Inside Catholic. September 6th, 2008: "In a modern industrial society, it is normal that there should be two principal parties, one dominated by big business, the other by the "little people." Ever since the presidency of General Grant (1869-77), the GOP has been dominated -- and continues today to be dominated -- by big-business interests. (My Republican friends, I observe, hate to be told this, but it's true all the same.) [...] Now I have no objection to the fact that big business dominates one of our major political parties. It is right that this should be so -- what a strange world it would be if big business, with its great intelligence and vast resources, were not able to dominate one of our two parties! It's just that I, for reasons of temperament and personal history, prefer being with the party of the 'little people.'"


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Con

  • Republicans are more friendly to businesses large and small. The GOP is usually seen as the traditionally pro-business party and it garners major support from a wide variety of industries from the financial sector to small businesses. Republicans are about 50 percent more likely to be self-employed, and are more likely to work in the area of management. This reflects very well on Republicans, not poorly. While it is true that some of the biggest corporations in America favor Republican politicians, it is clearly also true that medium and small companies, including the self-employed, also tend to support the Republican pro-business platform. These businesses are what drive America's economy, so it is very impressive that the Republican party enjoys such wide-spread support from this community.


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Foreign Policy

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Democrat

  • Republican realism relies too heavily on faceless calculations of power. Republican thinking on defense and international relations is heavily influenced by the theories of neorealism and realism, characterizing conflicts between nations as struggles between faceless forces of international structure, as opposed to being the result of the ideas and actions of individual leaders. This ignores the reality that nations are lead by leaders with varying motives, ideologies, values, compassion, hatred, and so forth.


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Republican

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National Security

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Democrat

  • Democrats believe security is best maintained internally, not externally. Paul Shlesinger. "Democrat vs. Republican: Political philosophies." Helium: "The Democratic Party’s philosophy on security can be summarized as “internal”. What this means is that the party puts a priority on dealing with risks from inside the country. This philosophy explains the tendency of Democrats to oppose military involvement more frequently then their Republican counterparts."
  • Dems generally favor reducing or maintaining defense spending.
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Republican

  • Republicans have historically resisted foreign interventionism. Although the Republican Party has always advocated a strong national defense, historically they disapproved of interventionist foreign policy actions. Republicans opposed Woodrow Wilson's intervention in World War I and his subsequent attempt to create the League of Nations. They were also staunchly opposed to intervention in World War II prior to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. In the 1990s, although George H. W. Bush supported fighting in the Gulf War, Republicans opposed the intervention of the United States in Somalia and the Balkans; and in 2000, George W. Bush ran on a platform that opposed these types of involvement in foreign conflicts.
  • Republicans tend to favor increasing defense spending.


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Gun Control

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Democrat

  • Goverment should limit use of firearms. [...] President Barack Obama: "As a general principle, I believe that the Constitution confers an individual right to bear arms. But just because you have an individual right does not mean that the state or local government can’t constrain the exercise of that right, in the same way that we have a right to private property but local governments can establish zoning ordinances that determine how you can use it. We can have reasonable, thoughtful gun control measures that I think respect the Second Amendment and people’s traditions."
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Republican

  • Individual's have right to bear arms. [...] Texas Congressman Ron Paul: "When the 2nd Amendment speaks of a 'well-regulated militia,' it means local groups of individuals operating to protect their own families, homes, and communities. They regulated themselves because it was necessary and in their own interest to do so. The Founders themselves wrote in the Federalist papers about the need for individuals to be armed. Gun control makes people demonstrably less safe - as any honest examination of criminal statistics reveals. It is no coincidence that violent crime flourishes in the nation’s capital, where the individual’s right to self-defense has been most severely curtailed."


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Abortion

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Democrat

  • Dems believe women have right to control their bodies, choose abortion. [...] President Barack Obama: "A woman's ability to decide how many children to have and when, without interference from the government, is one of the most fundamental rights we possess. It is not just an issue of choice, but equality and opportunity for all women."
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Republican

  • Sanctity of human life. [...] NJ Governor Chris Christie: "I am pro-life. Hearing the strong heartbeat of my unborn daughter 14 years ago at 13 weeks gestation had a profound effect on me and my beliefs. The life of every human being is precious. We must work to reduce abortions in New Jersey through laws such as parental notification, a 24-hour waiting period and a ban on partial-birth abortion."


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Health Care

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Democrat

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Republican

  • Reps generally oppose govt run health care programs. The party opposes a government-run single-payer health care system, believing such a system constitutes socialized medicine and is in favor of a personal or employer-based system of insurance, supplemented by Medicare for the elderly and Medicaid, which covers approximately 40% of the poor. The GOP has a mixed record of supporting the historically popular Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid programs. Congressional Republicans and the Bush administration supported a reduction in Medicaid's growth rate.


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Immigration

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Demorat

  • Democrats tend to oppose building a border fence. Their concern is that it is too draconian and generally sends a harmful symbol.
  • Allow illegal aliens to obtain driver's licenses.
  • Prevent creation of national ID card & database.
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Republican

  • Republicans tend to support building a border fence.
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Crime

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Democrat

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Republican

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Gender

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Pro

  • Gender pay gap narrowed under Reps due to sluggish male salaries. Lane Kenworthy. "Vote Republican if You Want Equal Pay?" Consider the Evidence. September 13, 2008: "In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, Casey Mulligan points out that over the past half century the pay gap between women and men has shrunk more under Republican presidents than under Democratic ones. The following chart shows this. The data are from the Census Bureau. Mulligan argues that the best way to achieve equal pay is therefore “to work for a labor market that creates opportunities for women like it did during the Reagan and the Bush years.” But as the next two charts indicate, the Republican advantage in closing the gender pay gap owes mainly to slow earnings growth for men during Republican administrations, rather than rapid earnings growth for women."


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Con

  • Republicans have better closed the gender wage gap. Casey Mulligan. "Vote Republican If You Want Equal Pay." Wall Street Journal. September 12th, 2008: "Johnson, Carter and Bill Clinton were all Democrats, yet none of them witnessed much labor market progress for women during their administrations. Essentially all of the labor-market progress for women occurred during Republican administrations: eight years of Reagan, four years of George H.W. Bush, and six years of George W. Bush (I do not yet have the data for the last two years of the current administration). By 2006, the gender wage gap had narrowed to 21%. The Nixon-Ford administrations were the only Republican administrations that failed to witness significant reduction in the gender wage gap during their terms. Sen. Obama says that he wants equal pay for women. If the historical record is any guide, the best way to achieve this is to work for a labor market that creates opportunities for women like it did during the Reagan and the Bush years. At the Reagan-Bush years' pace, the gender wage gap in 2016 would be down to about 12%. At the Carter-Clinton years' pace, women will not see new opportunities, and the gender pay gap will be essentially where it is today."


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Drugs

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Democrat

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Republican

  • Regulation of drugs should be at state level. [...] Texas Congressman Ron Paul: "Alcohol is a deadly drug, kills more people than anything else. And today the absurdity on this war on drugs has just been horrible. Now the federal government takes over and overrules states where state laws permit medicinal marijuana for people dying of cancer. The federal government goes in and arrests these people, put them in prison with mandatory sentences. This war on drugs is totally out of control. If you want to regulate cigarettes and alcohol and drugs, it should be at the state level. That’s where I stand on it. The federal government has no prerogatives on this.
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Environment

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Democrat

  • Government responsibility to environment. [...] 2008 Democratic Party Platform: "The Democratic Party believes that it is our responsibility to protect America's extraordinary natural resources. The health of our families and the strength of our economy depend on our stewardship of the environment. We reject the false choice between a healthy economy and a healthy environment. Democrats will fight to strengthen the laws that ensure we have clean air to breathe and clean water to drink."
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Republican

  • Individual responsibility to environment. [...] 2004 Republican Party Platform: "Economic prosperity is essential to environmental progress. We link the security of private property to our environmental agenda because environmental stewardship has been best advanced where property is privately held. People who own the land also protect it."
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Energy

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Democrat

  • Democrats oppose subsidies for oil companies. Democrats have opposed tax cuts and incentives to oil companies.
  • Democrats favor developing renewable energy. They favor a policy of developing domestic renewable energy, such as Montana's state-supported wind farm and "clean coal" programs as well as setting in place a cap and trade policy in hopes of reducing carbon emissions.


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Republican

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Education

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Democrat

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Republican

  • Republicans support school choice through charter schools and vouchers.
  • Republicans support private sector involvement in schools. Many have denounced the performance of the public school system and the teachers' unions. The party has insisted on a system of greater accountability for public schools, most prominently in recent years with the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. Many Republicans, however, opposed the creation of the United States Department of Education when it was initially created in 1979.



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Race

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Pro

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Con

  • Dems harm minorities through affirm action, welfare "Why am I a Republican?" Early Riser. February 7th, 2006: "Today, Republicans preach, and largely practice, the idea of meritocracy (i.e. Dr. King's idea that people should be judged by the content of their character) versus the Democrats tendency to confuse unequal outcomes (a fact of life in a free society) with unequal opportunity (racism). [...] Is Trent Lott an idiot? Yes. Are Republicans hatching a secret plot to keep minorities in the under-classes? Absolutely not. I would argue that the welfare state (which financially supports a culture of teen mothers with disinterested fathers) is the single biggest inhibitor to minority success in America."
  • Democrats wrongly bash Republican minorities "Why am I a Republican?" Early Riser. February 7th, 2006: "African-American Democratic leaders have acted so hurtfully and negatively toward fellow African Americans that have chosen to be active Republicans. Claiming that Rice and Powell are 'house slaves' (Belafonte) and throwing oreos at Ohio Republican Michael Steele are indicative of the fear that African Americans may not be a solid Democratic voting block and, god forbid, some may even find an ideological home in the Republican party. Even in the blogging world, Republicans who happen to be minorities, get chastised by left leaning bloggers as being stooges who have been tricked by evil Republicans into selling-out their race (eg. attacks against Michelle Mallkin)."
  • Reps see economic factors more important than race in affirm action. Many Republicans support race-neutral admissions policies in universities but support taking into account the socioeconomic status of the student. This is because these conditions can be more important in determining the potential for a student to succeed than race. Indeed, it seems unfair that a black student from a wealthy and educated family should be given an advantage over a poor white student.


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Minimum wage

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Pro

  • Democrats generally favor a higher minimum wage. Democrats favor a higher minimum wage, and more regular increases. The Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007 was an early component of the Democrats' agenda during the 110th Congress. In 2006, the Democrats supported six state ballot initiatives to increase the minimum wage; all six initiatives passed.


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Con

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Death penalty

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Pro


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Con

  • Republicans support the death penalty as a form of punishment.


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Torture

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Pro

  • Most Democrats believe torture is always unjust. Many Democrats are opposed to the use of torture against individuals apprehended and held prisoner by the U.S. military, and hold that categorizing such prisoners as unlawful combatants does not release the U.S. from its obligations under the Geneva Conventions. Democrats contend that torture is inhumane, decreases the United States' moral standing in the world, and produces questionable results. Democrats largely spoke out against waterboarding.


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Con

  • Some Reps believe torture can be just in "ticking time-bomb". Some Republicans believe that torture can be justified in the unique scenario in which a ticking time-bomb is known, and torture has the potential to reveal the location so as to save lives.
  • Republicans believe in more flexible interrogation techniques. Many support techniques such as waterboarding, believing that it does not qualify as "torture."
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Tactics

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Pro

  • Republicans use fear to win votes Paul Krugman. "Fear Strikes Out." New York Times. March 21st, 2010: "the emotional core of opposition to [health care] reform was blatant fear-mongering, unconstrained either by the facts or by any sense of decency. It wasn’t just the death panel smear. It was racial hate-mongering, like a piece in Investor’s Business Daily declaring that health reform is “affirmative action on steroids, deciding everything from who becomes a doctor to who gets treatment on the basis of skin color.” It was wild claims about abortion funding. It was the insistence that there is something tyrannical about giving young working Americans the assurance that health care will be available when they need it, an assurance that older Americans have enjoyed ever since Lyndon Johnson — whom Mr. Gingrich considers a failed president — pushed Medicare through over the howls of conservatives. And let’s be clear: the campaign of fear hasn’t been carried out by a radical fringe, unconnected to the Republican establishment. On the contrary, that establishment has been involved and approving all the way. Politicians like Sarah Palin — who was, let us remember, the G.O.P.’s vice-presidential candidate — eagerly spread the death panel lie, and supposedly reasonable, moderate politicians like Senator Chuck Grassley refused to say that it was untrue. On the eve of the big vote, Republican members of Congress warned that 'freedom dies a little bit today' and accused Democrats of 'totalitarian tactics,' which I believe means the process known as 'voting.'"
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Con

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Pro/con sources

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Con

See also:

External links and resources:


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