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The Makeup of a Political Party

Jan 01, 2017 08:30AM ● Published by Jason Huddle

The Makeup of a Political Party

Democratic, Republican or Libertarian candidates: Their political brains being wired differently, they provide American voters individual distinctions that are very much taken to heart.

The 2016 presidential election was one of the most contentious in recent history, the outcome a surprise for the majority. And while some individuals vote based on family history or the state they live in, do they really know what their political party stands for?

The Democratic and Republican parties were actually one party originally. Against the strong national government views of the Federalist Party, the Democratic-Republican Party was formed in 1792 by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.

“The Democratic-Republican Party supported states’ rights and the literal and strict interpretation of the Constitution. They also prioritized financial and legislative support of family-based agriculture. Due to immense fear toward anything that resembled England’s monarchy, Democratic-Republicans contested elitism. They despised and feared the Federalists, who were extremely wealthy aristocrats that wanted to create a national bank and emphasize the power of the national government rather than state governments,” according to todayifoundout.com.

When the Federalist Party folded post-War of 1812, the Democratic-Republican Party experienced growing pains that saw a split. By 1828, there was the Democratic Party and the Whig Party. The Democrats’ platform focused on agriculture while the wealthier Whigs sought economic modernization.

Enter the Free Soil Party prior to the election of 1848. Against slavery in the newly developing West, they served to essentially divide the Whig Party, which collapsed in 1852. In 1854, the Republican Party grew out of opposition to slavery by both Democrats and those originally from the Whig Party.

“By the election of 1860, the anti-slavery Republican Party gained widespread popularity. Throughout the election, the Republican Party focused on the issue of slavery,” todayifoundout.com says. “They felt that the slaveholders and slavery supporters had taken over the government, and that these pro-slavery Democrats were voting against the progress of liberty. This incredibly powerful message led to the election of Republican Abraham Lincoln in 1860 who was, as you may have deduced, the first Republican president.”

The newest of the United States’ political parties is the Libertarian. Founded in 1971 during the Nixon era and the Vietnam War, the party “promotes civil liberties, non-interventionism, laissez-faire (leave alone) capitalism and the abolition of the welfare state,” according to wikipedia.org. And since the U.S. has not had a Libertarian elected to a high-level political office yet, it’s more difficult to analyze from past experience. However, the party does have its own set of policies. Those include:

• Limited government on all levels

• Individual freedom, including the legalization of drugs, free trade, health care pricing determined by the health care provider and patient, and elimination of campaign finance and gun control laws 

• Suspension of the death penalty until the party takes an official stand

• Social liberation: freedoms for all “consenting adults”

• Abortion left to the choice of the people involved and their personal views on the matter 

• “Unrestricted competition among financial institutions, as well as the elimination of the Internal Revenue Service, Social Security and income taxes,” according to thehill.com. 

• Non-interventionist foreign policy.

Republican policies include:

• Tax cuts for everyone: corporations, citizens at all income levels

• Opposition of gay marriage and abortion

• Advocating gun ownership

• Not increasing the minimum wage

• Supporting free trade

• No government regulation of the heath care system

• Less funding and tighter control of social programs

• Having a strong military presence worldwide to protect countries facing totalitarianism

• Providing aid to countries in need depending on circumstances

• Bolstering the production of more energy sources to reduce consumer costs, with less supervision over what sources are sanctioned 

• Maintaining a conservative approach      to education: longer in-school hours, specialized programs; letting financial institutions supply student loan programs, not the government

• Stronger punishments for criminals on all levels, even for non-violent crimes; in support of capital punishment

Democratic policies include:

• Tax cuts for low- and middle-      income families only; higher rates for corporations and the wealthy

• Supporting gay marriage, abortion and strict gun control laws

• Advocating trade restrictions

• Government regulation of health care system

• Offering social programs like welfare, unemployment benefits, food stamps and Medicaid, and appropriating more tax dollars toward them

• Limiting the use of military personnel in favor of targeted attacks

• Providing aid to countries in need depending on the circumstances

• Protecting the environment by limiting procurement and use of fossil fuels, and using tax dollars to investigate other forms of energy

• Changing up systems of education, favoring the Common Core System; loaning or granting students more money for education

• Lighter punishments, plus rehabilitation, for non-violent criminal offenders, like drug dealers; no capital punishment.

Who knows what political parties will arise before the next major elections. The Green and Constitution parties may gain more of a voice and/or become recognized in more U.S. states. Or the 30-plus minor political parties in existence may gain attention.

With this particular set of elections concluded, Americans have some time to ponder what their true, individual wants and goals are for the future of this country, and Cabarrus County, and act on them.

Article By: Kim Cassell

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