22 Jan 2023


Political Parties in the United States

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Many developed democratic countries have established political parties that are based on certain political ideologies. These ideologies range across a spectrum, with the two strongest parties being at their opposite ends. A political spectrum is a term used to classify different political positions of various people and entities. In the U.S., political ideologies range between the right and the left wings. 

The right and the left are the general terms used to refer to the conservatives and the liberals, while the spectrum may also embody progressives and moderates. The positions define the political parties stand on economic issues, social issues, and rights (LCCC, 2021). The left is concerned with promoting positive secondary rights such as the inclusion of special groups like the LGBTQ community, the extension of privacy, and sexual reproductive rights. They also focus on social and economic progressiveness, which is communal-based, thereby calling for the inclusion of various minorities and vulnerable groups in these forums. The right focuses on conservative ideals such as small government, which refers to reduced federal involvement in the States, conservation of individual liberties such as the second amendment rights, and promotion of traditional and Christian values on social issues. 

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The American people are strong adherents to this right-left axis, leading to most being loyal members of either the right Republican Party or the left Democratic Party. However, other minor parties or subgroups are on either side but at different levels to the two major parties, such as the extremists on both sides and the moderates who may be closer to the center than all other demographics. The party membership, partisanship, and political antipathy also shift slightly across the spectrum at different historical periods (PRC, 2021). This can be traced when looking at the historical development of the two parties. The democratic party was considered conservative in the nineteenth century as it had its stronghold in the South and supported slavery but completely shifted its ideologies during the 20 th century, as can be observed by its modern views on racial issues such as the critical race theory (LCCC, 2021). As cities grew, the ingroup demographics within the Democratic party competed to steer the party in different directions. The urban educated liberal groups ultimately prevailed, and the party found itself adopting progressive and liberal values. It gained support in the urban areas and the North while its Southern dominance diminished, which led to a total reversal of ideologies between the two parties. The Republican Party was originally involved with advocating for abolishing slavery, and its government under president Abraham Lincoln oversaw the civil revolution and the subsequent abolition. However, the party did not endorse the socialist economic models that the liberals in the Democratic party gradually adopted. 

The beliefs, attitudes, and positions of members of the groups across the left-right spectrum are unique and may at times be contradictory. This contradiction leads to divisions and partisanship among politically active citizens and is often fanned by politicians (PRC, 2021). The Right may, for example, reject some scientific progress and views in fields such as abortion and global warming. On the other hand, the left may be opposed to extensive gun rights or restrictions on social welfare programs. This ideological uniformity of Americans, which has increased from 10% to 21% within the last two decades, is increasingly tied to partisanship (PRC, 2021). Currently, 94% of Democrats are to the left of the median Republican, while 92% of Republicans are right to the median democrat. However, even as the partisan antipathy increases, the majority of members of both parties avoid extreme ideologies and do not see the other party as dangerous to the nation. 


The right and the left, represented in U.S. politics by Republicans and Democratic parties, are the general terms used to refer to the conservatives and liberals, respectively. Americans are very adherent to these two political parties, and all other subgroups and parties are minor. The different ideologies of each party are often distinct and contradictory, which leads to partisanship and political antipathy. However, it is essential for the parties aligned across the left-right axis to boost cooperation and bipartisanship governance as it is the will of most Americans. 


LCCC. (2021, March 10). Detecting bias: The U.S. political spectrum . LibGuides at Lorain County Community College.  https://libguides.lorainccc.edu/c.php?g=29395&p=183700 

Political polarization in the American public . (2021, April 9). Pew Research Center - U.S. Politics & Policy.  https://www.pewresearch.org/politics/2014/06/12/political-polarization-in-the-american-public/ 

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