In a heterogeneous society that respects individual rights, especially the right to express opinions freely, public opinions diversify and influence the formation of political groups, which represents people’s will, greatly. The Republican and Democratic Party of the US hold many opposing views. The gap has become increasingly broadened due to Party realignment and recent polarization in political stands among the public. Since Congressmen, who make laws and policies, are made up of Republicans and Democrats who are supported by their republican and democratic constituencies accordingly, they propose policies and negotiate with strong political ideologies.
Most Republicans are economic conservatives, who believe that the government should leave the distribution of economic benefits largely to the workings of the free market, and cultural/social conservatives, who advocate the use of government to promote traditional values. For example, Republicans usually support laws banning abortion while criticizing governmental regulations on the economy, such as tariffs and high taxes. In general, Republicans are defenders of state rights. They also hold a stronger individualistic belief that people should take care of themselves instead of being assisted by the government at the expense of all taxpayers. Thus, they have been opposing Medicare and Medicaid, two social programs in which the federal government is the provider. Such a policy gives more power to the central government and makes more people to rely on governmental assistance instead of supporting themselves through finding employment. As a result, conservative Republicans in Congress have been trying to repeal both programs or change the qualifications to limit the number of beneficiaries. Also, Republicans’ strong belief in a “free economy” is demonstrated by the tea Party Movement in 2009. The protestors called for sharp reductions in federal spending in response to the raised taxations of the federal government. The movement got support from the Republican party, which provided it an institutional base from which to pursue its goal of cutting taxes and government spending more systematically and strategically in the Senate and the House. Democrats, in contrast, attract economic liberals, who believe that government should use its power to help people who are economically disadvantaged, and Cultural/social liberals, who prefer leaving lifestyle choices to the individual. This can be seen in their mounting supports of Medicaid and Medicare programs, as well as other social programs.
As a result of economic issues such as government spending and taxation cultural issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage, there is a racial divide between Republican and Democratic political coalitions. There was a dramatic increase in racial resentment among White Republican voters who joined the Republican Party as they felt threatened by the loss of their previous dominant status in American society and American politics. In contrast, the Democratic party, with the notion of supporting the lower-social class men and labor unions, have more diverse racial compositions (Hispanic, African Americans, etc.) They have been active and supportive of major public assistance and civil rights programs. For instance, most Democratic supporters joined the Black civil rights movement (the 1950s), in which people boycotted businesses that treated African Americans as second-class citizens, mass demonstrations, and marches. The Democratic Party’s position on racial equality is seen in its majority support of the passage of the landmark 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
Another difference between Republic and Democratic parties that influence lawmakers’ stances is their opposing beliefs of the optimal economic system. Democrats support Demand-side economics, which theorizes government should increase its spending to give customers more money to use, which boosts the demand and subsequently prompts firms to retain or hire workers to produce the goods and services. Republicans contest, however, the supply-side policy is better. They believe large tax cuts for companies and upper-income taxpayers stimulates business activity by causing increased investment in products that boost employment and customer spending. This is also contributed by the fact that most supporters of the Republican party are middle- and higher-class citizens or firm and company owners whereas working-class and low-income families support Republicans. As a result, Republicans are against regulations, which they think curb competition and cause economic growth stagnation. For instance, they did not support the Clean Air Act or the 1970 Environmental Protection Agency, which is responsible for enforcing the nation’s environmental laws, including the levying of fines and sanctions on firms that violate them, because those restrictions limit profits of companies and increase governmental interference over businesses.
The differences between both Parties’ beliefs are beneficial in the sense that diverse voices are heard and represented. However, it is also causing problems such as deadlocks on the passage of policies to address Climate Change. With both parties being reluctant to compromise and the partisans being extremely passionate and firm about their views on the issue, the US government has been unable to make systematic strategies and policies that effectively address the imminent global crisis.