4.7 Ideologies of Political Parties

5 min readapril 16, 2023


Isabela Padilha Vilela



AP US Government 👩🏾‍⚖️

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Political parties seek governmental power, and a two-party system in the U.S. contributes to the Democratic and Republican parties to remain the most important of these organizations today. The Ideology spectrum provides a large range of ideological beliefs, and most parties align with a different "part" of this spectrum: 

Democratic Party

It aligns with liberalism (the "left-wing") as it emphasizes the need for social equality and justice. Some of the key priorities and policies in the Democratic Party platform include:
1. Access to affordable health care: Democrats believe that access to quality, affordable health care is a fundamental right. They support expanding access to health care through programs such as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and ands well as implementing additional reforms to make health care more accessible and affordable for all Americans. This includes increasing financial assistance for those who purchase insurance on the individual market, lowering the cost of prescription drugs, and investing in research to find new treatments and cures.
2. Economic fairness: Democrats believe in creating an economy that works for everyone, not just the wealthy few. They support policies such as increasing the minimum wage, strengthening labor protections and addressing income inequality. This includes implementing measures to reduce poverty, increase access to affordable housing, and provide support for working families, such as paid family leave and affordable child care. Democrats also believe in creating a tax system that is fair and equitable, with higher taxes on the wealthy and corporations to support investments in education, health care, avitalother key priorities.
3. Climate actions: Democrats believe that addressing climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing the country and the world. They support policies such as transitioning to clean energy, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and protecting public lands and waters. This includes investments in renewable energy technologies such as wind and solar power, as well as measures to reduce energy consumption, such as energy efficiency programs. Democrats also support measures to prepare communities for the impacts of climate change, such as sea level rise and extreme weather events, and to protect wildlife and habitats.
4. Criminal justice reform: Democrats support criminal justice reforms to reduce mass incarceration and address racial disparities in the justice system. This reduces sentences for non-violent offenses, mandatory minimums, and improved access to rehabilitation and reentry programs. Democrats also support reforms to address racial profiling, excessive use of force by law enforcement, and the justice system's disproportionate impact on communities of color.
5. Education: Democrats believe in providing all Americans with access to quality education, from early childhood education through college and beyond. They support policies such as expanding early childhood education, making college more affordable and reducing student debt. This includes measures to increase funding for public schools, reduce class sizes, and improve teacher training and support. Democrats also support policies to increase access to technical and vocational education, to help prepare workers for the jobs of the future.
6. Civil rights and equality: Democrats believe in protecting the rights of all Americans, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, or religion. They support policies such as expanding voting rights, protecting women's reproductive rights and promoting LGBTQ+ rights. This includes measures to combat discrimination, promote equality under the law, and protect the rights of marginalized communities. Democrats also support measures to address systemic racism and promote diversity and inclusion in all areas of society.

Republican Party

It aligns with conservatism (the "right-wing") as it often focuses on preserving order and advocates for less government interference in the citizens' lives. Some of the key priorities and policies in the Republican Party platform include:
1. Fiscal limited government: Republicans believe in limited government and a strong commitment to individual freedom and liberty. They support policies that reduce the size and scope of government and measures that increase personal responsibility and accountability. This includes cutting government spending, reducing regulations, and promoting economic growth and job creation. Republicans also support measures to protect the rights of individuals and limit government interference in private life.
2. Free markets and economic growth: Republicans support policies that promote free markets and economic growth, such as reducing taxes, reducing government spending, and creating a favorable business climate. They believe in reducing government interference in the economy and support measures that reduce barriers to trade and investment, such as free trade agreements and lower tariffs.
3. National security and defense: Republicans prioritize strong national security and defense, and believe in maintaining a strong military and investing in advanced technologies to keep the country safe. They support policies that increase funding for the military and intelligence agencies and measures that increase cooperation and coordination with allies and partners.
4. Law and order: Republicans support measures that increase funding for law enforcement and policies that enhance penalties for crime and increase the use of technology and data to improve public safety.
5. Pro-life: Republicans support a pro-life stance, and believe in protecting the right to life of the unborn. They support policies that restrict access to abortion, limit funding for abortion services, and promote alternatives to abortion, such as adoption.
6. Second Amendment rights: Republicans support the Second Amendment and the right of individuals to keep and bear arms. They support policies that protect the right to own firearms and measures that increase the availability and accessibility of firearms. Republicans also support measures that increase training and education for gun owners and increase penalties for crimes committed with firearms.

Other Parties

Even though the Republicans and Democrats have preserved their power and influence over the elections for several years, there are other emerging parties that continue on the fight to gain power, such as: 
  • Libertarian Party  - As the third largest party in the U.S., the libertarians' platform is based on the principles of individual liberty and limited government principles. They believe in a free market economy and support the legalization of drugs and same-sex marriage. They advocate for non-interventional foreign policy, gun rights, and privacy. They also support eliminating government-run social welfare programs and believe that education and healthcare should be left to the private sector. The party's overall goal is to minimize government interference in people's lives and maximize individual freedom.
  • Green Party - Minor party that highly focuses on environmentalist issues. They support a transition to a green economy that prioritizes renewable energy, conservation, and environmentally-friendly practices. The party also advocates for single-payer healthcare, affordable housing, and a living wage for all. They support demilitarization and a non-interventional foreign policy. The Green Party aims to create a more equitable and sustainable society through systemic change, including political and economic reform.
Watch AP Gov teacher Nicole Johnston review this key topic here.

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