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  • Writer's pictureJai Kasera

The 2020 Presidential Election: Key Party Differences


With the November presidential election coming up, the big question is: who are you going to vote for? However, to make an informed decision, it is imperative that you know the stances that the political parties, the Republicans and Democrats, take on controversial issues.

Lawmakers protect the interest of their party, and many of their actions are based on helping their supporters. Most of the time, this results in a controversy between Republicans and Democrats, as their interests and supporters are typically not aligned. This can be seen regarding many issues, fiscal policy, social policy, and foreign policy being some that are the most controversial.

The two parties disagree on fiscal policy. But first, what is fiscal policy? Fiscal policy is the use of government taxation and spending to influence the economy. There are two types of fiscal policy: supply-side policy, which Republicans prefer, and demand-side policy, which Democrats prefer. Supply-side policy is a method in which the government initiates tax cuts on wealthy taxpayers and businesses, allowing them to invest in production, thus stimulating the weak economy. Republicans prefer this because it doesn't require a new federal program, and because wealthy taxpayers and firms have a higher tendency to vote Republican. Demand-side policy, on the other hand, is a method in which the government puts money into consumers' possessions, stimulating the economy. A recent example of demand-side policy was the COVID-19 stimulus package in April. Through this, the government hoped for people to use that money to buy things, increasing the demand for products and helping the economy. Democrats prefer this method because this method helps low-income individuals, who are people who often vote Democratic.

Secondly, Democrats and Republicans have differing opinions on social policy. The contrast between their ideas was intensified after the Roe v. Wade supreme court decision in 1973 and the supreme court decision regarding LGBTQ rights. The supreme court ruled that abortion would be allowed during the first trimester of a woman's pregnancy. The Democrats supported this decision, and since then have included this decision in their elections and opinions. The Republicans, on the other hand, were appalled by this decision, showing their conservative mindset. This ruling was a landmark in a further separation between the two parties and the people who voted for the different parties. Women had a higher tendency to vote for Democrats after the ruling as the Democrats supported the decision, while religious denominations who did not support women's rights voted for Republicans. Although not everyone from these groups of people will support the same political party, the general group will have the same partisan views. For instance, in the 2016 presidential election, 54% of women voted for Clinton while only 39% voted for Trump.

Finally, foreign policy has furthered the divide between the two political parties. Republicans support free trade, in which there are no tariffs on imports coming into the country. However, Democrats support protectionism, or placing tariffs on certain goods being imported into the US. Republicans prefer free trade because American multinational corporations can get their goods produced cheaply in other countries and export the goods to the US. These types of corporations often vote Republican, so the Republicans aim to keep these corporations happy. Protectionism, on the contrary, cancels the benefit of producing goods in a country where wages are lower by placing tariffs, so it forces corporations to hire workers in the US, promoting domestic exporters and increasing employment in the US. Democrats are aligned with labor unions and the belief of increasing job employment, so they prefer protectionism.

Hopefully, by reading this article, you have a greater understanding of some of today’s controversial policies that are disputed by Republicans and Democrats. By examining how each party responds to these issues, we can make more informed decisions on who to vote for in the November presidential election.


We the People: An Introduction to American Government by Thomas Patterson


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