The Republican Party also called the Grand Old Party (GOP) is the second oldest active party in the United States of America and was established in 1854 by a coalition of former Whigs, Northern Democrats, former Liberty Party activists and Free-Soilers with the sole aim of opposing the spread of slavery and dreams of forming a united and modern America. Ripon, Wisconsin and Jackson, Michigan lay claim to the birthplace of the party. Abraham Lincoln is the first Republican to be elected President in 1861 and the GOP till date is also referred to as ‘party of Lincoln’. The party presided over the ‘American Civil War’ and ‘reconstruction’, major events which shaped America’s political and economic destiny. The color red has come to be recognized as the color of GOP though it has not been officially adopted by the party.
Republicans are known for their conservative platform – a curious blend of economic libertarianism and social conservatism leaning towards religious right. Their positions on issues of major importance are outlined below :
- The support a robust version of federalism with greater limitations based on federal power and a larger role reserved for the states.
- They strongly believe that making law is the prerogative of the legislature and that judiciary should not legislate from the bench, a case in point being the Roe Vs. Wade abortion ruling. Towards this end, they have supported various bills in the last decade limiting the courts ability to hear certain types of cases thereby restricting judicial activism and review.
- They favor free-market system and limited government regulation. The have formulating policies supporting businesses, economic liberalism and economic freedom.
- They favor lower income tax rates and believe that graduated tax rates (higher income tax rates for high income earners) unfairly target those who create jobs and wealth.
- They do agree that a ‘safety net’ should be provided for those who are needy and less fortunate but believe that the private sector would be more effective than the government in meeting these objective. Towards this end, they have been trying to privatize ‘social security funds management’.
- They oppose a ‘single-payer universal health care system’ as found in other developed countries labeling it as ‘socialized medicine’. They favor the current personal- or employer-based insurance system complimented by the Medicare and Medicaid programs of the government.
- As a general rule, they oppose strict environmental regulation as they believe it hurts businesses. They have made several notable contributions to the field of environmental protection but are not taking a consistent and clear stand on this major issue.
- They oppose same-sex marriage and gay rights.
- They oppose racial quotas, and abortions.
- They strongly favor capital punishment as a means to prevent crimes while, at the same time, strongly supporting gun ownership rights.
- They advocate a strong national defense and strongly support unilateralism in matters of national security and insist on their right to take any action in their own self-interest.
- As regards international policy, there is a wide disparity between their stated objective and actual action. While their objective is to support attempts at democratization of countries currently under dictatorships, they have been actively supporting dictatorships in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Uzbekistan while opposing democratically elected governments in Venezuela, Palestine and elsewhere.
The final decision is in your hands. Be sure that you register to vote and use your power to choose and vote responsibly.