Republicans and Democrats: Similar Differences America is a truly unique country. This land allows for people from all types of nationalities to come and unite under one banner. This land allows for differences in opinion, religion, and even differences in sexual preference. This land is not a dictatorship. This land is America: land of the free, home of the brave. All patriotism aside, America is a land of free thought and freedom of ideas. This leads to many, many different ideas, especially on how this country should be ran.
These differences generally fall into the broad political categories of conservative or liberal. Conservative ideas tend to favor economic opportunity and less government interference within everyday life, whereas liberal ideas to favor greater government intervention and civil rights. The conservative party in America is the Republican Party, while the Democratic Party is the liberal party. They are continually at odds with one another on a wealth of issues. In fact, the issue usually doesn’t matter… pick any issue and one can hear two different points of view.
Contrary to popular belief though, these two parties share common ground. Three issues that can be examined as such are public health care, election process, and lack of cooperation. With the election of President Obama, public healthcare has become a major issue in American politics. Currently the Democrats and Democratic Party are staunchly behind the new healthcare bill. In fact, even the Republicans have “frequently said they want to work with Democrats,” (Cohn 12) on the healthcare reform.
Those words are all but meaningless as Republicans end up nearly unanimously opposing every single bill that comes from the Democrats. This is not the first time that a party has railed against the other on the issue of healthcare reform. Back in the 1970’s, “Richard Nixon put forward a health care reform proposal that Kennedy and his liberal allies rejected as too timid. ” (Cohn 12) So, while the two parties have each attempted healthcare reform, the other side has opposed them. Interestingly, these two parties share the trait of belligerence and uncooperativeness.
Another point that exemplifies the similarities between these two radically different parties is the election process. At the national level, Republican and Democrat nominees are “selected via primary elections,” (Adams, Merrill III 344) where the parties “choose between candidates vying for the party’s nomination. ” (Adams, Merrill III 344) The parties part ways on the election process, and the difference becomes more a discussion on topics and issues rather than structural processes. The Democrats begin to push forward their liberal members heavily in the primaries.
While vying for the Democratic primary vote, a nominee tries to appear a very liberal representative. When the general election begins, one can view this candidate changing views and heading back to the Middle (or less liberal) to pick up votes among the Independent voters (those who are neither strongly liberal nor conservative). The Republicans go the different route and begin to push forward their strongly conservative nominees. After the primaries, one can see the Republican candidate come slightly more to the Middle, but Republicans tend to stay more conservative than Democrats stay liberal.
In political jargon, this means that the Right stays farther right than the Left stays left. As mentioned before, one of the issues that both parties share the most is the lack of willingness to cooperate with the other side. Many people complain about the bull-headedness uncooperativeness of either side, but this is what allows the system to function. “If they [the two major parties] agreed, we would have one party too many,” (Victor, Friel 1) gives a good summary of the way the system was meant to work.
The parties thrive on competition and disagreements. The disagreements allow for intellectual debate to happen. So it is one can find the similarity that both parties tend to disagree with the other. “Bipartisanship [or cooperation between the two parties] is not a viable strategy for getting legislation through Congress,” (Victor, Friel 1) due to both parties having so many differences with each other. There are times though when one party or the other has broken the mold and stretched across the aisle to work with the opposite party.
Even with the majorly opposed health care package President Obama is championing, there were three Republican Congressmen who supported it. There will always be those who disagree. There will always be at least two sides to any story. This is why one finds the Republicans and Democrats taking different sides on any given topic. Even when they agree, such as on health care reform, that agreement has vastly different ideas of how to reach a common goal. The two parties are structurally very similar, as are the individuals in them. The major differences lie in the beliefs of each party.
Large or small, black or white, gay or straight, handicapped or physically fit, liberal or conservative, people can find representation of their beliefs in the political parties of today.
Works Cited Adams, James, Merrill III, Samuel. Candidate and Party Strategies in Two-Stage Elections Beginning With a Primary. American Journal of Political Science, Vol. 52, No. 2 (2008): pp. 344-359. Journal. Cohn, Jonathan. Party Is Such Sweet Sorrow. New Republic, Vol. 240, Issue 17 (Sept. 2009), pp. 12-16. Article. Victor, Kirk, Friel, Brian. Dems Singing The Post-Bipartisan Blues. National Journal (Feb 2009): pp. 19. Article.