What is the difference between Republicans and Democrats?

Democrats are generally more liberal. They believe in a larger federal government, and often implement tax plans to try to help the less privileged. They tend to believe the government must look for the greater good above the individual person in terms of welfare and do what is necessary to make the populace more "equal". They assert that the values our country holds must evolve over time, and, therefore, tend to support such controversial choices as Pro Choice and gay marriage.

Republicans are generally more conservative. They believe that the answers do not lay with the government generally, but rather with the people. They want less government interference and tend to believe more strongly in property rights and less strongly in well-fare rights, holding economic equity above equality. Many republicans are religious and tend to hold to the morals characterizing the Founding Fathers, which results in general disapproval of abortions and, for some, gay marriage.

Additional input and opinions from contributors:

  • To sum it up, Democrats lean toward equality under a large federal government. Republicans lean towards people looking after themselves and their neighbors under small federal government and strong state governments.
  • These are the two dominant parties in our political system. Generally, Republicans are more interested in regulating personal matters and in deregulation of business and economic matters. Democrats are generally more interested in deregulating personal matters and increasing regulation of economic/business matters. Democrats also believe in bigger government and more spending to expand government, while, unlike democrats, Republicans believe in less spending and a smaller government. Democrats believe in lowering the taxes on the poor, and increasing taxes on the rich, while Republicans want to lower taxes on everyone, not just poor people.

    Democrats are liberals while Republicans are conservatives.

  • There is very little fundamental difference between Democrats and Republicans in practice. In general (theoretically) today, Republicans support less social freedom and more economic freedom, while Democrats support less economic freedom and more social freedom. Democrats are known as the "big government" party and Republicans as the "limited government" party, but in reality both parties support big government. Government has consistently grown under the power of both parties. Their foreign policies are very similar (interventionist), but each party seems to only support these policies when their administrations are administering them. The root of the Republican Party is limited government, but they generally do not execute this well. Also, what many Republicans defend as "capitalism" and "free markets" is really government-aided corporatism, which is not economic freedom at all. There has however been a backlash in the Republican Party to return to limited government roots, including both economic and social freedoms and a non-interventionist foreign policy.

    As for the terms "liberal" and "conservative", their meanings and connotations have become very confusing. "Conservative" and "Republican", and "Liberal" and "Democrat" have somewhat become interchangeable in today's society. However, "conservative" really means that one believes that things should stay the same, while "liberal" means that one believes things should change. Historically, societies had not been very free, so historical Liberals generally supported increased freedoms. The Founding Fathers of the United States were Liberals during their time, since they supported freedoms that did not exist in their society--they wanted things to change. However, today they would (probably) be considered Conservatives, since they supported limited government. Classifying people's political views today by these words is very confusing. Since today a "Conservative" is generally a Republican, and a "Liberal" is generally a Democrat, how does one classify someone who belongs to a third party? For example, Libertarians support economic freedoms as Republicans do, indicating they are Conservatives. On the other hand, they also support social freedoms as Democrats do, indicating they are Liberals. However, since historical Liberals (not to be confused with today's Democrats) were freedom-lovers, supporting all types of freedoms make Libertarians the ultimate Liberals, right? But then again, Libertarians are the ultimate proponents of the Republican roots of limited government. Libertarians want to limit government (in all areas) far more than Republicans, making Libertarians the ultimate Conservatives. Since one person can simultaneously be classified as super liberal and super conservative (which are opposites), these words do not have very good definitions in today's society and have very different meanings to different people.

  • This is a pretty vague question but I will do my best to answer it. I am a republican so if I sound biased, sorry. Anyway, democrats believe in taxing and spending and republicans believe in saving and waiting or borrowing and spending. Abortion is one of the biggest arguments between the parties. Democrats are pro-choice which means that they want people to have the choice to abort. Republicans are pro-life which means they want to outlaw abortion. Next, is gay marriage. Democrats think that anyone has the right to get married while most republicans believe that marriage should only be between a man and a woman.
  • There are lots of websites that distinguish the difference, just, they are usually biased to the brink. Best to watch the news or look up a dictionary definition.

    Republicans believe people are best taking care of themselves or helping others through private charity. Democrats believe the government is best at taking care of people.

  • Republicans think that everyone can care for themselves on their own they are more independent Democrat is more groups and everyone together, everyone takes care of each other. Obviously McCain is republican and Obama is democrat. They are both explainable beliefs.
  • Democrats: pro-choice, more gun control, more government power - Republicans: pro-life, less gun control, less government power
  • Leaving out any kind of value judgments, the difference in the parties is ideological... Democrats believe in rights. Democrats believe that you have certain rights as citizens, taking it as far as the right to health care. Republicans believe in privilege. Republicans believe that you can have only that which you can afford or earn. That's it in a nutshell but you need to decide which you think is the better ideology. Do you think you should be given things as a citizen or should you have to work for what you get?
  • All of you had valid points. I find myself in between though. I see both sides. When I go to the ballots I find myself wanting to vote for both dem. and rep., but their is another thing that I have noticed. People today do not vote for who they want in office. They vote for who they do not want in office.

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