The Republican and Democratic Parties: Where Are They Now?
During my college politics readings, I’ve found some helpful information about what the Republican and Democratic Parties stand for and the demographic and ideological constituencies that support them. You probably know some of this information already, but—like me—you may find that some of it is new to you.
Today’s Republicans and Democrats hold positions that largely mirror their predecessors from the New Deal era forward. Democrats favor a larger government role in controlling the economy, civil rights for minorities, and support for untraditional stances on social issues like abortion (Kollman 470). Democrats must balance the moderate and progressive wings of the party, while Republicans must accomodate both mainstream Republicans who support a strong focus on national defense and are economically conservative to varying degrees, and Freedom Caucus/Tea Party Republicans, who support very small government (Kollman 455). Broadly, Republicans back a smaller government role in both economic intervention and government spending and traditional stances on social issues (Kollman 470).
Today’s Republican and Democratic Parties are more unified in that they are more unified in terms of ideology than they used to be—my professors says there used to be conservative Democrats (such as Southern Democrats) and liberal Republicans, as odd as it sounds (Kollman 473). It seems to me that the parties’ positions and coalitions are currently in a more stable rather than transitory phase, which has contributed to a more political polarization between the two parties (Kollman 473).
As for coalitions, according to my textbook, Republicans are backed mostly by:
- White suburban and rural residents
- Whites in the South
- Residents of the Mountain West and High Plains
- Business owners and executives
- Wealthy retirees
- Well-paid professionals
- Religiously observant Christians
And Democrats’ votes come from:
- Residents of the large cities of the East, Upper Midwest, and West Coast
- African Americans, Jews, Latinos, and LGBTQ+
- Labor union members
- Lower income earners and moderately paid professionals
- Strong environmentalists
Kollman, Ken. The American Political System. 3rd ed., W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2017.