Some argue that there are no differences in ideologies of the Republicans and Democrats. The two parties have only learned to the slight "right" or "left" of each part. Others express that the differences are quite distinct. However, people agree that each party has its stands when it comes to diversity issues. These are four differences in their ideologies.

Ideological Differences

The Democrats are for liberalism, which is otherwise identified as American Liberalism. The Democrats support the citizens' control of the government, while the Republican's believe that the people/citizens should control the government. Through such an ideology, the Democrats feel that the country should have government-supported programs, while the Republicans support the running of issues at the state level with as little government interference as possible (Wildavsky, 1992). In the same limelight, while the Republicans detest gay marriage, abortion, affirmative action, and gun control, the Democrats are in support of the same.

Neoconservatism began before George W. Bush took the presidential position. This ideology supports using the government as a tool to achieve conservative goals. This is why, Bush started the war in Iraq in order to oust Hussein. Republicans believe in the increase in military spending. On the other hand, the Democrats are in total contradiction of this ideology (Wildavsky, 1992). They believe that military spending should be decreased as much as possible. Socialism is another ideology that attracts different views of both parties. While the Democrats believe in strengthening the federal leadership and centralizing the economy, the Republicans advocate for capitalism and the free market. The Democrats believe that the way to economic success and sustenance is to have markets that are structured and regulated. There should be minimal entanglements from the external forces.

The Democratic Party was started in order to oppose the oppression of the blacks and other minority groups amongst speaking out against other injustices. The party members were, therefore, identified as liberal, while the Republicans were identified as conservative. Consequently, the Democrats believe in the legalization of equal rights for both men and women, while the Republics fight against this (Wildavsky, 1992).

The Third Party Lack of Success

The two main parties in the United States have formed a Duopoly. This means that almost all the political power in the nation is shared by the two parties. Although there are no precise rules stating that the country can only be run by the most powerful parties in the land, other laws and procedures ensure that such a scenario takes place. There are other parties in the United States. Unfortunately, they are unsuccessful in the presidential arena due to a number of reasons. One of the major entities hindering the minority's success is the electoral system (Bibby, 1998). A candidate wins an election by gathering more votes than any other candidate in the race. This is known as gaining plurality. There is no reward in becoming the second one. Due to such circumstances, parties win by becoming as large as possible by eliminating as many differences as possible between the voters and candidates. Since there is no profit in forming a party that can only gain votes but not win, the minority parties remain at a disadvantage, as the two parties continue to dominate the plurality system. From another perspective, third parties are hindered by nothing or no one else, but the plurality system.

The single-member districts characterize the electoral system. Only one member is sent by a district to the legislature. Since it is about winning by a majority vote, minor parties can only remain second. The Electoral College is another hindering factor (Bibby, 1998). The candidate, who wins the popular vote, gains all the electoral votes in the presidential election. Although this rule is not applicable in two states, the other states favor the two-party system. Due to this rule, successful candidates from the third parties fail to gain even one electoral vote. The proportional representation does not favor the third parties either. Instead of using plurality in determining an allocation of seats in the legislature, parties use proportion. For example, a party that gains 40% of the votes will gain 40% of the seats. In most cases, the third parties will always get the smaller percentage; hence, will be disadvantaged during the presidential elections.

The Campaign Process

The campaign process is relevant in a two-party system. As indicated, the aim of a party or a party candidate is not only to gather as many votes as possible but to gather the most votes. Through the campaign processes, parties are able to "sell" what they stand for on the various issues to the voters (Hillygus, 2007). Doing or failing to do relevant things can boost or jeopardize a candidate or a party. Through the election process, each party reveals issues or things that boost the party in question or jeopardize the other party or its candidates. The candidates' characters and actions are scrutinized during this process. In the 2012 elections, Mitt Romney's "Single Parent" comment highly affected his popularity among the voters, even the Republican voters.  In 2008, the negative attention given to Sarah Palin, who was John McCain's running mate, may have affected McCain's victory. The Campaign process is used to prove that one party is better or worse than the other.


Bibby, J. F., Maisel, L. S. (1998). Two parties or more? The American party system. Boulder, Colo: Westview Press.

Hillygus, D. (2007, August 1). The dynamics of voter decision making among minor-party supporters: The 2000 presidential election in the United States. Peace Research Abstracts Journal, 44, 4.

Wildavsky, A. B. (1992, January 1). Are American political parties pretty much the same as they used to be in the 1950s, only a little different, or are they radically different? A review essay. Journal of Policy History, 4, 2.

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