BY SAMMY JOHNSON
As you may know, the political parties have been in the news a lot lately, but you may not know much about them. Here is a guide to their history and beliefs.
The Democratic Party is one of the original political parties in America and was originally the Democratic-Republican party. During President John Quincy Adams’ term, it split in two. Those who backed President Adams called themselves National Republicans. Those who backed General Andrew Jackson called themselves Democrats. Jackson won the next election, and Democrats were in power for the next twelve years. The party was predominantly the conservative party until about 1910. Democrats were very unpopular in this period, with Dems winning the presidential election only twice (and with the same guy). In the 1910s however, the Democrats attracted a large number of supporters from outside their previous base. A fairly big conservative faction of the party remained, though. Many people of color became Democrats in the 1930s and 1940s when Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal Programs provided much-needed economic relief. The conservative faction broke away from the Democrats after Democratic President Lyndon B. Johnson is thought to have alienated them.
The Democratic Party is, generally speaking, the more liberal party out of the two big parties. They have two main factions: The liberals/centrists (centrists are not too liberal but not too conservative) and the progressives. Some more liberal/centrist-leaning ideas are that the government should spend more on domestic programs (domestic programs mean things like Healthcare, Social Security, Education, and other things like that), protect the environment with restrictions, and take a more open stance on immigration. Democrats generally support Black Lives Matter and want to reform the criminal justice system (meaning they want to make the courts more fair). They generally believe in a “fair tax” which means taxing people on their income. If you make more money, you pay more tax. Taxes are money you pay for government services. The Progressives, on the other hand, generally believe that every American should have national healthcare and in defunding the police (using tax dollars for policing in different ways than they are currently used). So generally speaking, a progressive is like a more liberal liberal. A powerful liberal in the party is Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi. A powerful progressive is Senator Bernie Sanders.
The Republicans were founded in the 1850s to oppose slavery. They became much more powerful when one of the major parties at the time, the Whigs, split and many Whigs became Republicans. They were the party of American legend Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln’s views were very liberal for his time, so the “GOP” (a nickname of theirs that stands for “Grand Old Party”) was the liberal party until the 1910s, when conservatives gained leadership of the party. They were still popular until 1929, when the stock market crashed under President Herbert Hoover (a Republican), which made a lot of people poor. The blame was placed on the party and they were unpopular until the 1950s, when America became more conservative and Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower was elected President. Republicans became more powerful in the 1960s, when many previous Democrats shifted to the party, and more still in the 1980s, when conservative Christians became politically powerful.
Nowadays the GOP is mostly the conservative party. One key ideal is that the government should be smaller (that the government should spend less, that environmental restrictions hurt the economy. Conservatives will often say that businesses would make more money if not for the restrictions, and that taxes should be lower. The Republican Party generally supports spending more money on the Military including the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines. They also generally support being “tough” on crime, meaning they generally believe in harsher sentences. They used to have a big centrist faction, but the modern leadership of the party tends to drive away many centrists, so it is smaller now. A powerful conservative is Senator Mitch McConnell.
Sources: https://democrats.org https://www.gop.com/