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What are these parties?

  1. Apr 11, 2007 #1
    what exactly is the difference between a liberal republican and a conservative democrat. What are the issues that make you one of these? And how do these compare to the moderate party?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 11, 2007 #2
    I always thought the difference was:
    liberal/conservitive (social issues)
    republican/democrat (economic issues).
    And moderates. I think are someone who generaly picks and choose between what they like in both parties, ie maybe they like tax cuts and bigger goverment. Or maybe they are pro choice and for the death penelty. I'll be the first to admit that this is just my experience; I am not really sure.
  4. Apr 11, 2007 #3


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    I always interpreted that as meaning which side your ideas swing towards within your party followed by which party you support. A conservative democrat may be somewhat right-wing when compared to other democrats, but overall is still fairly left-wing.

    Maybe a scale would help, form left to right:
    liberal democrat, conservative democrat, liberal republican, conservative republican

    I've never heard of any "moderate party", but there's probably some overlap. A lot of parties have overlap in some ways. I think the Cato Institute (libertarian think tank) said something like 15% of Americans would be classified as Libertarian, and that sounds about right. A libertarian is somebody who is against government spending (generally a republican idea), but is in favour of civil rights (democrat idea). If you're a libertarian and want to run for office, you run as a "liberal republican" because there's no way in hell you can win as a libertarian.
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2007
  5. Apr 11, 2007 #4
    I'm a moderate, but we don't really have a party :cry:

    In my opinion, moderates are those who have issues with government, no matter which party is in power. The fact of matter is no government can be perfect. There is always something to work on, mistakes to be corrected (sometimes, just recognizing the mistake would already help a bunch), and until then, I will keep complaining about the ineffectiveness of the government. I guess that makes me anti-incumbent.

    However, there could be vast different incompetency level, which is why I despised the the current administration more so than Clinton's government. I'm more result-oriented. I don't care if they have "sounded intelligence" "at the time". No excuse is going to change the fact that the government fail to perform.

    Worst yet, the political spectrum has gradually biased toward the right in the last few years(but had been better after the election). Now days, people like Moore is called a radical and some "liberals" are on the right side of my political spectrum. :uhh: But I'm staying right where I am, no one is going to take the moderate title from me.

    Liberal republican and conservative democrats are closest moderates that don't want the hassle of being an independent. They want to stick with one of the established party to gain access to the voting base. They have the merit of not always sticking with partisan politics. There is just no support for them to break away from the politic handcuff that's rupturing social fabric.

    I still advocate a major electoral overhaul. I say a more efficient and more balanced government need to reflect the voice of the libertarians and the greens. There ought to a home for those who don't belong to either side of the bipolar party line.
  6. Apr 11, 2007 #5


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    I may be officially affiliated with either party depending on which primary/caucus I want to effect. I am far more fiscally conservative than the Republicans and far more socially liberal than the Democrats. That puts me in some sort of no-man's land that even the Libertarians cannot claim. Many of the problems facing our country arise from the fact that there is a two-party political machine directing the debates on issues, presenting candidates, and sucking up bribes from big donors. If we had a diffuse multi-party parliamentary system of government, the influence-peddling and corruption would not disappear, but it would at least be reduced and would be addressable in the short term (no-confidence votes). Unfortunately, our government is 100% owned by vested interests and our elections have been reduced to the significance level of whether we prefer Coke or Pepsi or Time or Newsweek. Business owns government in the US.
  7. Apr 11, 2007 #6


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    I think they all are interchangeable, but probably suggest the person's history of party affiliation moreso than their current political leanings. It's all a way of saying "I don't totally agree with where either of these parties is standing on these issues, and I differ in X way."

    Actually, someone recently told me he was a Democrat with fiscally conservative views, to which I responded that I'm a Republican with socially liberal views...all as a funny way of saying, "Yep, I'm right there with you in the middle."
  8. Apr 11, 2007 #7


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    A liberal Republican politician gets money from the Republican party and a liberal Republican votor votes in Republican primaries. And vice versa.

    Such people would generally just associate themselves with whichever party has their position on whatever issue they consider most important at the time.

    Now that's party tounge-in-cheek and ShawnD is right that for some it just describes them as being away from the party's average position, but there really are some people that could belong to either party. John McCain is such a person, imo, but his ideas on abortion and the military are benchmark issues that prevent him from actually becoming a Democrat. My mom actually speculated that he might be pro choice in reality but won't admit it because it would cost him too much party support. That could be true, but I get the feeling his convictions are too important to him to be that much of a herd-follower.

    Both my parents, like Turbo-1, have switched afiliations for specific elections. It makes a lot of sense for presidential primaries especially, since a vote in a presidential primary for the incumbent's party is utterly useless. My parents are typically Republican, but both switched to Democrat to vote against Clinton in the '92 primary....then my dad voted for him twice in the general elections! :uhh:
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2007
  9. Apr 11, 2007 #8


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    Well, you may actually be more liberal than you realize if you think Michael Moore makes sense and you see some self-identified liberals to your right.
    Agreed. It is a tough balance and can bite them in the ass, like it did McCain in 2000.
    I basically just consider a moderate someone who'se ideas on specific issues fall on both sides of the spectrum. Ie, someone who is pro choice and pro gun control would ordinarily be considered liberal while someone who is pro small government and pro death penalty would be conservative. I'm all of the above and the reality is, I think, that most people have views that span both sides of the spectrum.
  10. Apr 11, 2007 #9
    As I said, no one is going to take the moderate title away from me, not even you Russ. Moore is a liberal, he is not a radical the way the portrait by the mainstream media AFTER he hit nerves in his movie. I can't make a blanket statement saying I agree or disagree with Moore, because in reality what is important is the individual messages he preaches. Some of them make sense, some don't, and some are too far ahead of our time(just like the idea of electoral reform). The guy got a brain and can talk in a persuasive manner, I will give him that (unlike some others, let say O'Reilly).

    Again, what is important is that the political spectrum had shift toward the right in the last few years and I refuse to be taken on the ride. I don't buy the idea of re-labeling myself and just be part of the short period trend. Why should I? My stances really hasn't change that much, if at all. From a historical perspective, it would also be too confusing to put issues in context (for me at least, but currently many politic label is indeed a mess).
  11. Apr 11, 2007 #10


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    I wouldn't say the spectrum has shifted, just the average position of the populace. The ideals that defined a liberal and conservative haven't changed much since the '70s, but more people identify with conservative ideas now than then.

    But such people identify themselves (correctly) as conservative, not liberals to your right. Have you taken a 'where do I stand' quiz lately? Most people, if asked, will identify themselves as more moderate than they actually are. It is just that people want to believe they are.
  12. Apr 12, 2007 #11


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    It gets back to the saying, "All politics is local."

    For any given locale, I think you could say there's a difference between people with a conservative bent and people with a liberal bent. The more conservative are Republican and the more liberal are Democrat, with some in the middle on even local issues.

    People's environments affect their opinions, and even their ideals, a lot more than they would probably like to believe. A person living in New York City is starting out from a far more liberal base than someone living in Oklahoma City.

    All things being relative, the Republican from New York City may be far more conservative than Democrats from New York City and still be more liberal than a Democrat from Oklahoma City.

    That creates some strange results, sometimes. Just look at poor Mitt "The Varmint Hunter" Romney. He's having to go through huge personal gyrations to prove he's really a Republican. And you wonder why Ben Nelson of Nebraska still calls himself a Democrat when he's probably more conservative than Republican Chuck Hagel, the other Senator from Nebraska. He can't even call himself the most liberal Senator of a conservative state.
  13. Apr 13, 2007 #12

    Ivan Seeking

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    I think conservative Democrats and liberal Republicans are both properly called Independents... like me! :biggrin: I don't see why any moderate would claim allegiance to either party any more.
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2007
  14. Apr 13, 2007 #13


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    I do not claim party allegiance (I detest them both about equally), but here in Maine you can change party affiliations on voting day, and I have done so a number of times in order to exert influence in primaries. In general elections, it doesn't matter what your professed affiliation is, but it can have a leveraged effect in primaries. Let's say that you favor a candidate from the R party and he or she looks like a shoe-in in the primary. It might be a good idea to change your affiliation to D for the primary so you can vote for a candidate that you think would be weaker against your preferred R candidate. It might be an issue of character, lack of experience...practically anything that you think might make that candidate vulnerable. Vote for that person so that your favored candidate has a better chance in the general election. I have to hold my nose every time I vote with rare exceptions. There are very few politicians that view their jobs as public service - lining up at the trough and currying favor with the wealthy is more like it.
  15. Apr 14, 2007 #14
    This is where we disagree. For example, we can agree that conservative believe in small government, yes? But has the current administration make any attempt to achieve this ideal? A politician can call him a liberal 7 times per week. But if his voting record is too hawkish, then as far as I'm concerned, he is on my right(on this issue).

    Then you have new "ideals" like torture, warrantless tapping, hawkish diplomacy tactic. Only Neo-cons would want any part of these "ideals". But the fact of the matter is, currently most conservatives do support these travesty of American freedom. Why? My opinion is that they are pimped by the "conservative" leaders, which is why the spectrum shift is going to be short-termed. If a Dem wins the 08 election, I would expect the spectrum to swing back by a good portion.

    Well, my belief is not shaped by some quiz from someone else. But if the game is good I will play. Post one that you think is worthy. But we probably need to do it in a separated "everybody come take a quiz" type of thread.

    What would be interesting though, is if we can find a quiz that's written before 2000. That might just show how much the standard has changed overtime.

    By the way, what is your political stance?
  16. Apr 15, 2007 #15
    Why is "liberal" on the left in America? Here in Europe it can be on the right especially for economic issues, perhaps not so for Social issues. It seems you have hijacked some well defined English terms and changed their meaning :smile:
  17. Apr 15, 2007 #16


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    Liberalism has more to do with changing the way things are done. America is a socially conservative (tight-ass) country with capitalist economic policies, so liberalism is the push towards person freedoms that the group may not agree with (gay marriage) and policies that are more socialist in nature (public health care), and throw in a few things just to piss off the other side (gun laws). Unfortunately a lot of people do not have liberal or conservative ideas for both economic and social policies, and I think that's why America's voter turnout is so incredibly low. If I lived in the US I probably wouldn't even vote since neither the Democrats nor Republicans appeal to me; I agree with half of the policies on either side.
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2007
  18. Apr 16, 2007 #17


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    You probably already know this, but the designations come from the French legislative assembly during revolutionary times, when the Royalists sat on the right side of the aisle, and the Radicals sat on the left side. We've adopted the terms in the US to broadly connote the political right as being that side of the spectrum that seeks to maintain individual responsibility and inequalities seen as arising naturally from human differences, keeping the government out of it, while the left seeks to use the tools of government to create social and economic equity. One is seen as analogous to the Royalists (seeking to maintain a status quo), while the other is analogous to the Radicals (seeking to change the status quo).

    That isn't necessarily what's actually done, but those are the party lines sketched out to their most general form.
  19. May 22, 2007 #18
    Remember that political science is for those who flee from math and science.

    The common discourse on political views is like physics viewing the path of a cannon ball with a single number, its X position at time [now].

    A quick peek at
    looking only at the diagrams will illustrate the difference adding up/down to left/right makes in understanding why liberal and conservatives can be so alike while being so different.

    The difference between an authoritarian liberal and authoritarian conservative isn't all that great if you can't escape their dictatorship.
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