The best kind of decisions one can make is informed decisions. You process the information as much as you can, and make your decisions with a conviction.
Election decisions are important ones, but they are hard to make when political ads generally do not tell the whole truth, or worse yet they tell half-truths or lies about their candidates or opponents.
A quick guide that is helpful is to understand the party platforms the candidates stand on.
Now we have to talk about Democrat and Republican differences.
I know, I know, talking about democrat and republican stuff can polarize an otherwise congenial group.
In the end each of us has to make that important, consequential decision according to our conviction.
I generally like to cite information from non-partisan sources, the below is a collection. I will conclude with my comments in the end.
Democrats and Republicans
Are generally more liberal.
Believe in a larger government, and government regulations of corporations and businesses.
Stand for government-supported programs such as healthcare, support giving government subsidies to businesses, schools and hospitals, which results in levying higher taxes.
Tend to believe the government must do what is necessary to make the populace more “equal”, thus they tend to legislate “equality”.
Generally are Pro-Choice, support abortion programs even at late-term, and gay marriage.
Believe in decrease in military budget and involvements.
Advocate gun control.
Are generally more conservative.
Believe that the answers do not lay with the government, but rather with the individuals. Believe in individual responsibility, and individual justice.
They want less government interference.
Tend to believe more strongly in property rights and less strongly in welfare rights.
Hold economic equity above equality.
For capitalism and free market.
Many republicans are religious and tend to hold to the morals characterizing the Founding Fathers.
They tend to be pro-life, disapprove abortions and, for some, against gay marriage.
Believe in strong national defense.
Against gun control.
Additional Input and Opinions:
• Generally, Republicans are more interested in regulating personal matters and in deregulation of business and economic matters.
• Democrats are generally more interested in deregulating personal matters and increasing regulations of economic/business and public matters.
• Democrats believe in more spending to expand government, while Republicans believe in less spending and a smaller government.
• Democrats believe in lowering the taxes on the poor, and increasing taxes on the rich, while Republicans want to lower taxes on everyone, not just poor people.
• Democrats believe in spending to create jobs in the public sector while republicans believe in helping small businesses in tax cuts or incentives to create jobs in the private sector.
• Democrats tend to promote multiculturalism, republicans tend to promote traditional value. Democrats advocates religious freedom, tolerance and sensitivity, but tend to have separate standard for Christians.
It is helpful to understand the above general differences. We can also dissect the political/ ideological spectrum on a straight line continuum with the extremes on both ends.
There is the center, the center left, and the center right.
You have the democrats who are pro-life, and you have the republicans who are pro-choice. You have pro-life republicans who are liberal in fiscal policy, and you have the fiscally conservative democrats.
These are the moderates in this group.
In the 111th congress, during the debates of the healthcare bill, the moderate blue dog democrats in congress initially stood firmly to keep abortion funding out of the bill. Eventually they voted with the president and party leaders, as reported, as a result of backdoor dealings in order to pass the bill.
Voters in this moderate group constitute a larger number, enough to swing elections to either side. They will be making the difference in the coming elections.
On the left side, you have the regular democrats; and on the right side, the regular republicans; they stand on the respective general party platforms.
On the far left, we see a group either in government or private organizations behind the scene advocating social equality programs; some are known as the progressives. Not only do they believe that government should take care of society’s welfare, they, including our president and some of his advisors, believe in government’s role in the re-distribution of wealth to achieve equality. The Center for American Progress* ( billionaire George Soros who has visited the White House many times is a financial supporter ) is an example. (*Look it up in wikepedia.) So far, the president has not been successful entirely in implementing this policy, but he has been trying and the healthcare bill demonstrates that ideology.
On the far right, there are extreme religious or conservative groups who are uncompromising in their belief system. Unfortunately some in the general public consider conservatives as hate groups . I will not mingle the small number of extreme groups with the larger number of conservatives who believe in God, who believe in conservative values without condemning others who do not, who actively engage in charitable and civic services in spite of their beliefs against abortions and same-sex agenda and promotions in schools and public policy.
Our current administration and the 111th congress illustrate these differences succinctly, quite far to the left.
President Clinton’s policy was considered moderate or center left.
The moderates helped in voting president Obama in, and the moderates helped voting the incumbent democrats out in 2010 because the congress went too far left in spending and in pushing the healthcare laws in spite of public disapproval, a situation the president himself called “shellacking”.
Analyzing who and which groups support which parties also provides clues about what those affiliations mean in public policy.
The following groups generally vote democrats: labor unions, ACLU, trial lawyers, small farmers, civil servants, environmentalists, artisans, Hollywood producers, directors, actors, academics, philanthropists, feminists, immigrants, and people who receive benefits from the government.
Our society, especially the impressionable young people, are very much influenced by what Hollywood produces. Hollywood sets the tone of what’s in, and can expel any concern of moral standard under the protection of free speech. Hollywood is a huge voting block which has the ability to influence politics. Hollywood likes individual freedom of lifestyle. There are exceptions of serious-minded conservatives and committed Christians in Hollywood living out their faith.
Christian groups generally vote republican because of matters of their faith on abortion, marriage issues.
The progressives really believe in their ideology, that government must do everything it can to make society more equal, regardless of the hard work, sacrifices, dedication of the individuals that make them successful and wealthy. Wealth needs to be shared and re-distributed. The capitalists believe in hard work and that opportunity to succeed is open to everyone who wants.
It is quite clear to me that the two ends of the ideological spectrum shall never meet.
You must know the difference and know what you want for yourself, your children, and grand children.
We select our party affiliation based on its philosophy, ideas, worldview and politics. For some, the most important factors are moral/social issues, such as abortion, same-sex marriage, embryonic stem cell research, and euthanasia.
Find out where your candidates stand on the issues that are important to you.
May we be wise.
slightly revised 4/5/2011