Republican and Democrat policies

The similarities and differences of the Republican and Democrat stance on:

  • Role, size & form of Federal Government 
  • Social policy
  • Economic policy
  • Foriegn policy
  • Other key issues (immigration, tution fees and climate change)

Republican and Democrat policies


  • Both are for state autonomy
  • Both pro 2nd amendment
  • Both in their 2016 platforms stressed the need for Free Trade agreements which did not undercut the US and which promoted 'America First'


  • D- want a larger and more interventionist federal government, which will have increased federal spending. eg. Dodd-Frank Act, Obamacare
  • R- want a smaller and less interventionist government which will decrease spending and costs. eg. replace Dodd-Frank with housing legislation (part of the 2016 platform, repeal Obamacare, Community block grants and pro 10th amendment
  • D- want greater background checks and more regulation on guns
  • R- want there to be complete freedom on the ownership of guns
  • D- anti-death penalty. eg. wanted it abolished in 2016 platform- counts as cruel and unusual (8th amendment)
  • R- pro-death penalty
  • D- want a non-discrimination policy at federal level [links to big govt.] in order to protect LGBT+ rights eg. repeal DADT in 2010
  • R- want stricter rules against LGBT+ rights. eg. the Federal Marriage Amendment which would constitutionally define marriage as heterosexual
  • D- pro-choice eg. support Roe vs. Wade
  • R- pro-life eg. oppose and want to overturn Roe vs. Wade, enacted the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2008 and defunded planned parenthood in 2017
  • D- supportive of affirmative action [see racial politics]
  • R- oppose affirmative actions and believe the focus should not be on race
  • D- Economically interventionist eg. bailed out the auto industry during the financial crisis
  • R- Fiscally conservative (largely, [see internal divisions] eg. less spending and a laissez faire attitude to the economy (free market)
  • D- Progressive taxation eg. American Taxpayer Relief Act, incomes of $400,000+ had a 39.6% tax rate designed to improve economic equality
  • R- Flat taxation, and tax cuts as over-taxation threatens economic growth eg. Bush $1.3 Trillion tax cuts and Trump- the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (cuts the corporate tax level from 35% to 21% and reduces the top income level to 37%)

Overall comparison

Overall, the two major American parties can be said to be divided only by social policy. This supports Mark Shield's theory that there are two Republican parties separated by abortion. Note:This however is not the only theory of power, there is a nuanced ideological distinction in terms of economic, foreign and immigration policy which could suggest that while America appears to be an indistinct one party system it does in fact maintain its two party basis. [for more see theories of power] 


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