Every so often, I hear someone say something like, “There’s no reason to vote. Both parties are the same.”
Maybe they believe this. Or maybe they’re just throwing their hands up at all of politics.” Cause WOW are Democrats and Republicans ever different.
Different basic assumptions
For the most part, Democrats think the government should try to help solve important problems. Republicans think the government should get out of the way and let businesses and citizens solve problems.
From here, all kinds of things follow. Democrats think we should make laws about what’s too little to pay people, or what kind of working conditions are too terrible to work in. Republicans think the market should decide how much your work is worth, and that people should decide for themselves if working conditions are too terrible to work in. Democrats think citizens need to be protected from big businesses that might harm your health, the environment, etc. Republicans think big businesses provide jobs and need to be protected from big government.
This is true for environmental policies, too. Democrats think the government should work to protect natural resources and pass laws to make sure private companies have environmentally-friendly business practices. Republicans think the government should stay out of it: if people really want to protect the environment, they’ll buy from environmentally-conscious companies.
Oh. There’s also that Democrats think global warming is real. Republicans have been saying it’s not, or at least expressing doubt, for the last decade.
What about schools? Democrats think we should invest in public education. Republicans think public education’s fine, but also maybe businesses could run schools.
On social issues, the parties reverse
When it comes to how we should relate to one another, the parties switch philosophies. Democrats think the government should get out of the way as long as people aren’t harming anybody, and Republicans think the government should regulate who you can be and what you can do with your body.
For example, Republicans have banned people who are gay or lesbian from the military, and prevented them getting married and from adopting children. Democrats think sexuality shouldn’t be a factor in any of those.
Republicans think abortion should be illegal, or only used in cases where the mother might die. Democrats believe a woman should decide for herself if abortion is right for her.
Most Democrat think having or smoking weed shouldn’t be criminalized. Republicans want it to stay illegal.
Obviously, these are big generalizations
There are Republicans who think global warming is real and that abortion should be legal, and there are Democrats who think we should the government shouldn’t regulate businesses as much as they do. And the candidates themselves will never perfectly match your views. But the point is, the parties really do have truly different positions on how we should set up society — which makes it all the more important that we figure out who we agree with and vote.