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Republicans & Democrats:
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
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.
| ||Conservative ||Progressive
| || |
Conservatives believe in:
See Conservatives below.
- 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.
Liberals believe in:
- Economic regulation. Taxation.
- Personal freedoms.
- Limited censorship.
- Local control of social issues such as drugs and crime
- Less government intervention in both the social and economic realm.
- "social liberals and economic conservatives.
(Also called Populist, Authoritarian or Statist.)
- Government intervention in both the social and economic realm.
List at ontheissues.org
See Political ideologies in the United States - Wikipedia
- 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.
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. The Republican Party currently controls the Presidency and the House of Representatives. 2000 Presidential nominee was George W. Bush.
- 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. The Democrats currently control the Senate, by a one-vote margin. 2000 Presidential nominee was Al Gore.
- 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.
See Neocon and Paleocon below:
A Sean Wilentz article in the Oct. 16, 2005 NY Times Magazine made the following points.
"A generation of influential scholars claimed that liberalism was the core of all American political thinking. Well into the 1970's, many observers wondered whether a Republican Party that allied itself with the conservative movement could long survive.
He contends that the conservative movement started with the Whig Party of the 1830's and 40', which arose to power to oppose Andrew Jackson's Democratic Party after they destroyed the all-powerful Second Bank of the US. "The Whigs built a national following dedicated to protecting business and reducing federal economic regulation. By combining a pro-business conservatism geared to the common man with an evangelical Christian view of social virtues and vices, they won the presidency twice in the 1840's and controlled either the House or the Senate for most of the decade.
A century and a half before Reagan's election, the Whigs worked out the basic ideas of supply-side, trickle-down economics. They claimed the romance of risk and private investment and a compelling but simplistic view of America as, in one widely used Whig phrase, "a country of self-made men."
Parties realligned in the 1850's over the slavery issue. The Whig party collapsed; its anti-slavery wing joined the anti-slavery Democrats in the north to form the Republican party in 1854 after the Democratic party was taken over by the southern states.
In "Dixiecrats" at u-s-history.com they say:
"President Franklin Roosevelt's electoral body in 1945 had included a diverse, in fact contradictory, set of elements Ñ both conservatives and liberals, northern and southern Democrats and Republicans. By 1948, however, the civil rights issue revealed the real philosophical differences between northern and southern Democrats as never before."
At the 1948 Democratic National Convention, some controversial new civil rights planks of racial integration and the reversal of Jim Crow laws were proposed for the party platform. 35 southern Democrats walked out in protest. They formed the States' Rights Democratic Party, which became popularly known as the Dixiecrats.
New York moderate Nelson Rockefeller's defeat in the presidential primary in 1960 election marked the beginning of the end of moderates and liberals in the Republican Party.
Clearer political and ideological lines began to be drawn between the Democrat and Republican parties as moderates and liberals converted from Republican to Democrat. Conservatives in the Democratic Party began to move to the increasingly conservative Republican Party.
The candidacy of Republican conservative Barry Goldwater in 1964 included some of the Dixiecrat ideologies and therefore accelerated the transition from a solid South for the Democrats to one for the Republicans.
Neocon (Neoconservative) - A right-wing political philosophy that emerged in the United States from the rejection of the social liberalism, moral relativism, and New Left counterculture of the 1960s. In United States, they align themselves with most conservative values, such as free market, limited welfare, and traditional cultural values.
The forerunners of neoconservatism were often liberals or socialists who strongly supported the Allied cause in World War II. Through the 1950s and early 1960s the future neoconservatives had been socialists or liberals strongly supportive of the American Civil Rights Movement, integration, and Martin Luther King, Jr.. As the radicalization of the New Left pushed these intellectuals farther to the right, they moved toward a more aggressive militarism, while becoming disillusioned with President Lyndon B. Johnson's Great Society domestic programs.
Paleocon (Paleoconservatism) - a term for an anti-communist and anti-authoritarian right-wing movement in the United States that stresses tradition, civil society and classical federalism, along with familial, religious, regional, national and Western identity.
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 Jan 2012
Breaking News and Opinion on The Huffington Post
Drudge Report 
The Blaze [4.1]
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
Change.org - Start, Join, and Win Campaigns for Change [1.5}
Credo Action Home [2.1]
More news sites:
Politics and Religion
Christian Science Monitor
Justice Talking a NPR program
New York Times
Liberal / Progressive:
Sojourners: Christians for Justice and Peace
Are the Media Biased?
See Academic bias below
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."
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.
Politics and Science
US Political History
Are the Media Biased?
"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.
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).
|far left ||5.3%
|middle of the road ||34.3%
|far right ||0.3%
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
International: see International Politics
U.S. Image abroad
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.
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
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
What shapes political views
2008: Campaign (swing states), Results
2012 Republican Candidates
U.S. 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
Political ideologies in the United States - Wikipedia
Cognitive Dissonance - Self Esteem (flip-flopping)
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