The United States of America has worked on the principles of a two-party system since 1850. Ever since, the dichotomy between the Republican Party and the Democratic Party has stirred debates and encouraged reflecting on how political dynamics should work and on what everyday life should look like. As the elections are approaching rapidly, and the decision majorly influences the country’s future, it is vital to understand the core concepts that lie at each party’s heart. Here are some findings of Rostra’s Editors on how the two parties visualize various aspects of America’s future. 

Separation of Powers

Republicans: The separation of powers, upon which the legitimacy of America’s constitution is based, is a central part of the Republican platform. From fulfilling their obligation to fill the vacancy recently opened in the Supreme court, to avoiding said court from being expanded to satisfy the wishes of those Democrats that see it as a means to their sectarian ends, Republicans promise to stand by the original word of the American people’s constitution. Moreover, as Democrats bemoan the diminishing power of the legislative body by the Republican party during the last legislative term, they fail to observe that, in fact, the separation of powers preset by the constitution allows the executive body to bypass the legislative side whenever it believes it to be acting contrary to the interests of the nation. This does not only further prove its independence from it but remediates the lack of action of a Democratic congress driven by its most radical sectors into confrontationist policies that have unfortunately made consensus impossible. Finally, Republican’s Federalist policies, emphasizing the freedom of individual states from the federal government’s intervention, are the ultimate defense of the separation of power. Unfortunately, the Democratic platform takes a contrary view, wishing instead to curtail the freedom of local governance. 

Democrats: Put simply, the checks and balances system has tried for hundreds of years to ensure that no person or entity can hold too much power. In contexts such as the one of the United States of America, Congress has appropriation powers over the executive body, namely the country’s president. What the Republican Party has failed to do is preserve the trias politica through its most visible representative as of 2020, namely Donald Trump, through the lack of concrete action towards the appropriations decisions taken by the Congress in regards to the president’s violation of the Impoundment Control Act.The Impoundment Control Act applies when the president either wants to hold up or not spend the money approved by the Congress. It also requires notifying the Congress on the decisions and on the reasons for making it. President Trump failed to notify the Congress that he withheld $400 million from the military aid. The ignorance of Donald Trump and the lack of legitimacy he confers to the United States’ legislative body has shaken the Republic to its very core.

Personal Liberty

Democrats: “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness” are three unalienable rights as established by the Declaration of Independence. Liberty, as such, is the ability to participate in influencing the decisions that affect our lives and the future, which the Democratic party is thoroughly respecting. Through extended access to health care and the fight against discrimination, the party aims at ensuring no impediments in achieving the liberty for which the USA is striving. The Democrats emphasize equal access to opportunity. Although both Republicans and Democrats seek liberty, the means differ and may affect the desired results. By allowing poverty to persist as it does nowadays, the Republicans have failed to eliminate the roadblocks to equal economic opportunity. The Democrats, however, are taking significant steps towards more such opportunities. For instance, Kamala Harris’ Lift Act would bring more Americans out of poverty by offering a generous credit for middle and lower-class married couples, reflecting, once again, the values of the Democratic Party.


Republicans: At times, hearing Democratic leaders and pundits utilizing the words Democrat and liberty in the same sentence is laughter-inducing for any and all versed in the happenings of American political history. Supporting segregation during the early twentieth century, restricting the right to bear arms across the nation, ruining cities and dooming inner-city communities with overbearing tax policies, that is the Democrat way. On the other hand, the GOP does not only respect liberty; it goes further, placing the notion at the heart of every policy it introduces. From a total rejection and repealing of overbearing federal policies that infringed upon the rights of individual states during the Obama administration, to the decrease in overall levels of taxation to promote the economic liberty of millions of Americans, the party of Lincoln remains steadfast in its belief that individual Americans are capable of leading their own “pursuit of happiness,” without having a central government breathing down their necks. Meritocracy over paternalism, liberty over equality, and hard-work over victimism are the freedom-focused values of the Republican platform.     


Mail-In Voting and Outcomes

Democrats: Mail-in ballots will presumably account for 50% of this year’s votes, compared to a quarter in the 2016 elections, as the pandemic is still a reason of concern. Older people are amongst the ones to fear going to the polls the most, whereas facilities such as schools that would typically be polling sites are not as willing to be open to the public amidst a pandemic. Although the safety concerns are justified and mail-in voting is a legitimate alternative, the Republicans have expressed their recent reluctance towards this option. The main reason is the allegation of fraud, which is unsupported by facts, as there are not only measures to prevent it, but also less than one percent of the mail-in votes have been subjected to such issues in the past twenty years. Moreover, there is no proof that the alternative would represent an advantage for either party. Considering the delicate global situation and the concerns of the U.S citizens, the Democrats are trying to make the mail-in voting system a better one. For instance, they have brought several legal challenges to ensure that the ballots are counted as long as they are postmarked by election day and to notify the voters of any problems that may reject their ballot. Nonetheless, they want to make sure that no laws overburden the voters amidst a pandemic.  

Republicans: With regards to Mail-in voting, the Republican stance is coherent with its defense of the democratic process as envisioned by the constitution. Although this form of voting has been used in limited quantities before, it inherently damages the fabric of the democratic process, as millions of voters cast their votes before the electoral campaign is truly over. Thus, at times, voters might not have been able to gather a full picture of the candidature they are depositing their confidence in. Moreover, various legal and constitutional issues arise from certain ballots being counted after the election is over, opening the door to the results being put in doubt. This might ultimately affect the legitimacy of the elections, something the Republican party, and the majority of the american people, would rather avoid. Naturally, the Democratic party wished to take full advantage of this system before the lurking corruption scandals facing their candidate’s family can come to light. Moreover, in a manner clearly indicative of their duplicitous hypocrisy, the Democratic party denounces in-person voting as too dangerous during a pandemic while failing to condemn–and instead actively encourage–mass public gatherings of protesters and rioters in the streets of American cities. However, regardless of their fear-mongering tactics, Democrats will fail to reap the rewards of their stratagems, as the Republican party relies on victory through ideas, not methods.   

Taxes

Republicans: Republicans understand that Taxes are a practical rather than a dogmatic issue. And the data speaks for them. For, no matter how much openly socialist Democrats, masking themselves as “progressives,” try to sabotage the Republican race towards economic growth and prosperity, the American economy spent the last three years in a constant upwards drive, which saw the lowest numbers of unemployment among women and Black Americans in history. Furthermore, not only did the current administration’s tax breaks help America’s economy recover from the slump that Democratic leaders had left it in, but it also drove the stock market to record highs. With the COVID-19 pandemic putting economic activities in crisis, this growth-centered tax policy is more relevant than ever. Democrats, on the other hand, believe that the public sector, and the expansion of tax rates across the board, is the answer to the current economic hardships (which thanks to Republican fiscal-policy are considerably softer than those facing other countries), when, in fact, this solution will only lead to long-term debt burdens and increased government inefficiency. Republicans, on the other hand, stand by the private sector, once again motivated by the belief that the people know best.

Democrats: The Republican party wrongfully perceives people with higher incomes contributing more in taxes to the government budget as an adversary of increased consumer demand. However, the Democratic Party’s standpoint rests on taking into account the needs of the citizens’ everyday lives in the United States. Supporting public investment, such as education, inevitably promotes economic growth in the long-run. As for the economic progress, not only did the Trump Administration fail to protect the middle and lower class by favoring the corporations and the wealthy, but business investment has also declined during his mandate. 

Supreme Court

Republicans: As is commonly known, the constitution of the United States of America allows the president, upon the opening of a position in the supreme court, to nominate a candidate to be approved by the senate. Regardless of whether his term will last four more months, years, or days, the president must nominate a justice. Therefore, this issue is not necessarily an electoral one, but rather constitutional. The leader of the Democratic party, and in particular its most radical wing, must tell the American people whether his party will stand by this principle or betray the tenants that make their country one of the oldest democracies in the world. Unfortunately, recent statements by members of said party seem to indicate that the latter will take place. Moreover, as the Democratic platform seeks to expand the court, a move opposed by a majority of constitutional scholars and with negative precedent, even some moderate, law-savvy Democrats are beginning to show their discontent for their leadership’s position. In light of this issue, a vote for the Republican party thus becomes a vote for the constitutional order and the freedoms it defends. 

Democrats: The judicial body of the state should have its impartiality ensured. However, once Republicans appoint the majority of the Supreme Court Justices, it can pose several questions on the radicalization of the conservative party, which is, as such, a threat to democracy. The only way to do so is by packing the court: a method that ensures the strengthening of the Democratic party and democracy itself. The Republican side of this debate fails to notice that packing the court is a different action than appointing a Supreme Court Justice right now – and packing the court is an easy task to do from a legislative standpoint. However the Democrats plan on expanding the Court, they must do so in conversation with the public in order to preserve civic trust in the Court. Moreover, the concept of packing the Court is followed by other proposals on behalf of the Democratic party that aim at strengthening the judiciary’s legitimacy, such as the 18-year limit on Supreme Court terms.

Environmental issues

Democrats: Climate change poses a threat not only to our lives but to our economic life as well. For this party, climate change is a priority, and it envisions its solutions as a means to create stable jobs and, most importantly, a safer future. What the Republicans misinterpret is the impact that it has on our long-term plans. By stating it is a hoax, the president has disrespected the promise he made to his citizens as their leader. President Trump has brought future generations an environment debt that will be hard to pay. This debt is mainly due to the withdrawal of the Trump Administration from the Paris Agreement, which not only left the USA alone in the battle against the greatest threat humanity faces nowadays but could have also represented an economic pillar in the fight towards climate justice. Moreover, the Paris Agreement is considered by most to be a renegotiated Kyoto Protocol, its predecessor, which was led mainly by the United States, ergo American-friendly. Lastly, the House of Representatives, which is Democrat-led, aims to prevent the withdrawal, highlighting the party’s priorities and long-term goals. 

Republicans: Although the media, and the Democratic establishment, aim to present the Republican platform as anti-climate, this could not be further from the truth. Contrary to their Democratic counterparts, Republicans offer concrete policy solutions that veer away from the hysteria and exaggeration that can lead the nation’s economic prosperity astray. From enforcing common-sense climate regulation that also allows American businesses to thrive, to withdrawing from the Paris climate accord to secure better terms, Republicans work behind the limelight to shape a truly America-first climate policy. Moreover, as Democrat leaders refuse to settle on a stance regarding fracking, changing positions every time they are questioned on the issue, Republicans push for a gradual evolution of energy sources while maintaining the importance of energy independence in an uncertain world. In fact, free-market-oriented environmentalist youth organizations within the GOP, such as the American Conservation Coalition (ACC), have increasingly pushed the party towards a greener approach to energy policy, showing that the future of the party, and the policy it will implement, is green at heart. 

In conclusion, we have seen that the Democratic and Republican parties offer distinctly separate views on how America’s future should unfold. It is now up to the citizens of the republic to make their voices heard this November. Irrespective of their differences, candidates of all parties have called upon all their citizens to vote, emphasizing the importance of the democratic process for the prosperity and freedom of all. Until then, the world awaits the outcome with bated breath.