The Differences between Democrats and Republicans

The world is waiting for the next United States elections when the Republican Party, conservative (right), and the Democratic Party, liberal (center-left) will face each other. Both profess a representative democracy, the division of powers, and the free market of the capitalist system. The liberalism of the Democrats is a social liberalism, close to the European social democracy. Along very general lines, the following would be their proposals and their differences:

Republicans believe that government should be very small and must not intervene in economic activities, leaving them to regulate themselves. Their politics emphasize individualism more than social solidarity. They consider social assistance to be a private matter, not of the state. Republicans tend to oppose increases to the minimum wage, arguing for the necessity of businesses to maintain low costs in order to prosper and generate employment. For them, it is important to regulate matters of one’s personal life, such as morals and customs of the citizenry, including homosexuality and abortion. They oppose the Affordable Care Act (regulations for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, more accessible and with greater coverage) because they believe that supervision and regulation by the government has a negative impact on the quality of care.

Republicans recognize the necessity of social programs to help needy people, like unemployment benefits or food stamps, but they want to cut back funds and instead support private charity organizations. They promote tax cuts for companies and wealthy people, justifying it by saying that they create employment. They want to abolish government loans for university studies, so that only banks and private institutions can issue them. They believe that citizens have the right to freely own, without any restrictions, all types of weapons, including weapons of war, as part of their individual freedoms. Republicans are in favor of greater militarism and of maintaining the power of the U.S. through shows of force.

Democrats are in favor of a government that establishes some business regulations in order to avoid mistreatment of workers, disloyal competition or monopolies. They believe that it is necessary to have moderate state intervention to guarantee that the populace has access to health care, basic education, and food needed for survival. They are in favor of social changes to improve the situation of the middle class, minorities and the poor. They favor an increase of the minimum wage, so that Americans may have more money to purchase goods and services and thus improve the economy. They are against state intervention in personal, moral and religious matters, including those of gays and the decision to have an abortion or not. They promote government regulation and supervision of the Social Security system according to the Affordable Care Act, with greater coverage and access to medical and social benefits.

They maintain that the government should carry out social programs for the well-being of the needy, such as unemployment benefits — limited and temporary — and food stamps. They believe in tax cuts for families and small and mid-size businesses, but in keeping taxes the same for wealthy individuals and corporations. They favor government loans for university studies. They promote the regulation and restriction of the sale and possession of weapons. They are less inclined to participate in wars and foreign conflicts, preferring to tackle international problems diplomatically and act in coordination with multinational organizations, like the European Union, Organization of American States or United Nations.

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