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Republicans & Democrats | Conservative - Liberal - Populist - Libertarian | Other Parties | Conservatives | Political News and Opinion | Political polarization | Ratings | International | Links | Famous Trials and Supreme Court Decisions |
Famous Laws/Acts - Constitution - Amendments | Get Involved
Government (U.S., Departments and Agencies, Other)
U.S. Economics - Budget - Spending - Deficit - Taxes

Republicans & Democrats:
Presidential Elections
U.S. Balance of power President - Congress
(2000 Election Results by state and 2004 Election Target states
2004 Result Summary and Exit Poll surveys.
2008: Campaign (swing states) | Results
2010: Results
2012 Election
2016 Election | Results | Demographics | Postmortem

Liberal/Progressive/Libertarian/Conservative:

Note: This is a very simplified version and can easily be debated. Books have been devoted to this subject. We'll try to add more references later.

The old, traditional meanings of the terms are: Conservative = slow to change, cautious, even opposed to change; liberal = open-minded, progressive (whatever that might mean).

Many argue that contrary to common opinion Republicans are not true Conservatives and Democrats are not true Liberals. This is another subject to be visited later.

Classification based on government involvement in Social and Economic Issues.
Social Conservative Progressive
(Populist)
Libertarian Liberal
Economic


Conservatives believe in:

  • Very loosely, economic freedom.
  • Solving society's problems through individual action without government intervention.
  • More centralized government for social issues (more prisons, promote the Drug War, more federal sentencing guidelines, etc.) and defense.
  • Less central government control on economic issues.
See Conservatives below.

Liberals believe in:

  • Economic regulation. Taxation.
  • Personal freedoms.
  • Limited censorship.
  • Local control of social issues such as drugs and crime

Libertarian:

  • Less government intervention in both the social and economic realm.
  • "social liberals and economic conservatives.

Progressive:
(Also called Populist, Authoritarian or Statist.)

  • Government intervention in both the social and economic realm.

List at ontheissues.org

  • Libertarian view: typically focusing on non-governmental solutions and private decision-making in both the social and economic dimensions. "Libertarian" is the philosophy that summarizes "socially liberal and fiscally conservative," although Libertarian Party members dislike that phrase.
  • Liberal or leftist view: typically focusing on helping needy members of society, and using government to achieve societal good; government intervention only in economic matters.
  • Conservative or rightist view: typically focusing on fiscal frugality, strength abroad, and moral integrity; government intervention acceptable in social and personal matters.
  • Populist or progressive view: typically focusing on local solutions instead of federal action, on decentralizing power, and on religion as the basis for societal good;
  • Centrist or mixed view: typically focusing on reforming or amending existing institutions rather than replacing them.
See Political ideologies in the United States - Wikipedia

A 20-question quiz to figure out where you stand at OnTheIssues.org
quiz at the Libertarian Party site.
Another quiz to determine if you are a Democrat or Republican.

The party structure in those philosophical terms is as follows:

  • Republican Party: Generally conservative, but the "Religious Right" is much more populist. Republicans from the Northeast and the West Coast tend towards libertarianism, while those from the South and Midwest tend towards poplulism.
    See Conservatives
  • Democratic Party: Generally liberal, but President Clinton redefined the party as "New Democrats," which is much more centrist, especially on economic issues. Democrats from the South and West are known as "Blue Dog Democrats," which implies fiscal conservatism and moral populism.
  • Green Party: Generally liberal or leftist, especially on economic matters, where most Greens are populists. The Green Party holds no national offices in the US, but the international Green movement has been successful at electing officials in Europe. 2000 Presidential nominee was Ralph Nader.
  • Reform Party: Generally populist and centrist, but the Reform Party split into three factions during the 2000 elections. Pat Buchanan led one faction to a more conservative platform, and Ross Perot maintained control of a second faction. The only nationally elected Reform Party candidate, Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura, split from both of those factions as well. 2000 Presidential nominee was Pat Buchanan or John Hagelin, depending on faction.
  • Libertarian Party: Libertarian, as its name suggests. One member of Congress, Ron Paul of Texas, formerly was the party's nominee for President, but he was elected as a Republican. This is the largest of the "minor parties," with some elected officials at the local level. 2000 Presidential nominee was Harry Browne.
  • Socialist Party: Leftist and populist. One member of Congress, Bernie Sanders of Vermont, calls himself a Socialist, but is not associated with this party. 2000 Presidential nominee was David McReynolds.
  • Natural Law Party: Populist and centrist. 2000 Presidential nominee was John Hagelin, who also represented one faction of the Reform Party.
  • Constitution Party: Religious Right. 2000 Presidential nominee was Howard Phillips.

Conservatives:
See the Conservatives page
Demographic Shift

See Also: Politics and the Environment

See What shapes political views (brains, genes, ...)

Political News and Opinion:
Top 15 Most Popular Political Websites at eBiz|MBA
[xx] Million unique visits per month a/o May 2015, (xx) rank Breaking News and Opinion on The Huffington Post [110] (40)
Drudge Report [14] (192)
Salon [13] (108)
Politico [14] (485)
NewsMax [21] (297)
The Blaze [17] (268 K)
CSMonitor [4.0]
InfoWars [2.6]
The Washington Times [2.5]
RealClearPolitics - Opinion, News, Analysis, Videos and Polls [2.0]
Best Political News at about.com
Political Opinion Links at Yahoo
Liberal Humor - Liberal Blogs - FightConservatives.com
FiveThirtyEight | Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight uses statistical analysis to tell compelling stories.
Others on the blog page here.

Activism:
Change.org - Start, Join, and Win Campaigns for Change [1.5}
Credo Action Home [2.1]

More news sites:
Politics and Religion
Slate
Financial Times
Christian Science Monitor
Justice Talking a NPR program
New York Times
Liberal / Progressive:
The Nation
Salon
Sojourners: Christians for Justice and Peace
Conservative:
Town Hall

Are the Media Biased?
See Academic bias below

Big Issues:
Politics and Religion
Anti-science - Liberals and Conservatives
Obamacare

Political polarization has increased over the last 50 years. In a June 23, 2005, New York Times article "One Nation, Divisible" by Norman Ornstein And Barry Mcmillion , of the American Enterprise Institute, attribute much of it to Congressional redistricting. They say:
"Thirty-three percent of House members were near-pure centrists in 1955; in 2004, just over eight percent fit that category. Thirty-nine senators were centrists in 1955, compared with nine in 2004."
"The expansion in the number of safe seats in the House that began in the 1980's has put an increased importance on primaries, which favor more ideological candidates."
See chart.

Another reason for division by the red states (republican) in the heartland and blue states (democratic) on the coasts is the cost of living difference. The average 2006 home price in popular surburban areas on the coasts ranged from $400-500,000 while in the heartland they were from $200-250,000. Wages were higher on the coasts but not enough to make up for the increased costs. So, more people in the heartland can achieve the American Dream with the status quo.

See polarization for other reasons.

See:
Politics and Science
Civil Discourse
US Political History

Are the Media Biased?
Academic Bias:
"The American College Teacher" a study done by UCLA's Higher Education Research Institute since 1990 shows a little under a 3 to 1 liberal bias in American college faculties.
2001 results:
far left 5.3%
liberal 42.3%
middle of the road 34.3%
conservative 17.7%
far right 0.3%
The trend is for conservatives to remain around 18% while the middle of the road group is shrinking and the liberal and far left are growing (from about 42% in '89-'90 to 52% in '04-'05).

In a 2005 study "Politics and Professional Advancement Among College Faculty", by Stanley Rothman, Smith College S. Robert Lichter, Center of Media and Public Affairs Neil Nevitte, University of Toronto, published in The Forum, faculty members were asked to place themselves on the political spectrum, and 72 percent identified as liberal while only 15 percent identified as conservative, with the remainder in the middle.
This study does not include Communtity Colleges (Community colleges are 33% liberal and 22% conservative), while the UCLA study includes them.
See: Leaning to the Left at Inside Higher Education.

Ratings of Legislators liberal/conservative:
OnTheIssues.org - Candidates on the Issues
American Conservative Union (ACU) Ratings of legislators
Americans for Democratic Action (ADA) Ratings at: ADA (pdf) and vote-smart.org
League of Conservation Voters Environmental Scorecards

Presidents Ratings

International: see International Politics
U.S. Image abroad

Books:
A Preface to Morals, by Walter Lippmann
God's Politics, Jim Wallis
Culture Warrior, 2006, Bill O'Reilly
O'Reilly makes a distinction between those who want "traditional values" and "secular-progressives", who he describes as those who target the affluent for most of the government's revenus, Less school discipline, hostility to religious values, and a foreign policy which would abandon the America first objective.

The New American Story, 2007, Bill Bradley

Other authors such as Al Franken on the left and Ann Coulter on the right are more controversial.

Other:

Disparity of Income
Famous Trials and Supreme Court Decisions
Major Acts of Congress - Constitution - Amendments
Church and State
My favorite Republicans

Government Officials and Agencies:

The Supreme Court
Federal, State and Local elected government officials for Martinsville, Bridgewater Twp, Somerset Co. NJ
Branches - Departments - Agencies

Truth Checkers:
A lot of email and political discussion includes many half truths and falsehoods. There are several ways to check these:
snopes.com: Urban Legends & Politics Reference Pages analyzes a lot of the hoax emails
PolitiFact | Sorting out the truth in politics
FactCheck.org | A Project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center
PolitiFact.com reviews statements by politicians and rates them on a Truth-O-Meter score

Miscellaneous:
Democracy doesn't work - Free Trade - Trump - Plato's Guardians

Links:
Proletarian Revolution and Socialism (proletariat, communism)
Conservatives
Conservative Organizations
What shapes political views
U.S. decline
2008: Campaign (swing states), Results
2010: Results
2012 Republican Candidates
U.S. Economics - Budget - Spending - Deficit - Taxes
U.S. Balance of power President - Congress
Tax rates by country.
2006 controversy over justice department dismissal of U.S. Attorneys
Conservationists
Violence - left-right
Political ideologies in the United States - Wikipedia
Political Humor
Tolerance
Democracy
Cognitive Dissonance - Self Esteem (flip-flopping)
Discrimination
Letter to Sen. Alan Simpson who called senior citizens "the Greediest Generation".
U.S. religious groups and their political leanings | Pew Research Center


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last updated 24 Feb 2012