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|Chairman||Reince Priebus (WI)|
|Senate Leader||Mitch McConnell (Minority Leader) (KY)
Jon Kyl (Minority Whip) (AZ)
|House Leader||John Boehner (Speaker) (OH)
Eric Cantor (Majority Leader) (VA)
Kevin McCarthy (Majority Whip) (CA)
|Chair of Governors Association||Bob McDonnell (VA)|
|Preceded by||Whig Party
Free Soil Party
|Headquarters||310 First Street NE
Washington, D.C. 20003
|Student wing||College Republicans|
|Youth wing||Young Republicans Teenage Republicans|
• Classical liberalism
• Fiscal conservatism
• Social conservatism
|International affiliation||International Democrat Union|
|Official colors||Red (unofficial)|
|Seats in the Senate|
|Seats in the House|
|State Upper House Seats|
|State Lower House Seats|
|Politics of United States
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP (Grand Old Party), although the rival Democratic Party is older. Eighteen US presidents have been Republicans.
The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S. political spectrum. American conservatism of the Republican Party is not wholly based upon rejection of the political ideology of liberalism, as many principles of American conservatism are based upon classical liberalism. Rather the Republican Party's conservatism is largely based upon its support of classical liberal principles against the modern liberalism of the Democratic Party that is considered American liberalism in contemporary American political discourse.
In the 112th Congress, elected in 2010, the Republican Party holds a majority of seats in the House of Representatives and a minority of seats in the Senate. The party holds the majority of governorships as well as the majority of state legislatures.
Founded in northern states in 1854 by anti-slavery activists, modernizers, ex-Whigs and ex-Free Soilers, the Republican Party quickly became the principal opposition to the dominant Democratic Party and the briefly popular Know Nothing Party. The main cause was opposition to the Kansas–Nebraska Act, which repealed the Missouri Compromise by which slavery was kept out of Kansas. The Republicans saw the expansion of slavery as a great evil. The first public meeting where the name "Republican" was suggested for a new anti-slavery party was held on March 20, 1854 in a schoolhouse in Ripon, Wisconsin.
The first official party convention was held on July 6, 1854 in Jackson, Michigan. By 1858, the Republicans dominated nearly all northern states. The Republican Party first came to power in 1860 with the election of Lincoln to the Presidency and Republicans in control of Congress and the northern states. It oversaw the saving of the union, the destruction of slavery, and the provision of equal rights to all men in the American Civil War and Reconstruction, 1861-1877.
The Republicans' initial base was in the Northeast and the upper Midwest. With the realignment of parties and voters in the Third Party System, the strong run of John C. Fremont in the 1856 Presidential election demonstrated it dominated most northern states. Early Republican ideology was reflected in the 1856 slogan "free labor, free land, free men."
"Free labor" referred to the Republican opposition to slave labor and belief in independent artisans and businessmen. "Free land" referred to Republican opposition to plantation system whereby the rich could buy up all the good farm land and work it with slaves, leaving the yeoman independent farmers the leftovers. The Party had the goal of containing the expansion of slavery, which would cause the collapse of the Slave Power and the expansion of freedom.
Lincoln, representing the fast-growing western states, won the Republican nomination in 1860 and subsequently won the presidency. The party took on the mission of saving the Union and destroying slavery during the American Civil War and over Reconstruction. In the election of 1864, it united with pro-war Democrats to nominate Lincoln on the National Union Party ticket.
The party's success created factionalism within the party in the 1870s. Those who felt that Reconstruction had been accomplished and was continued mostly to promote the large-scale corruption tolerated by President Ulysses S. Grant ran Horace Greeley for the presidency. The Stalwarts defended Grant and the spoils system; the Half-Breeds pushed for reform of the civil service.
The GOP supported business generally, hard money (i.e., the gold standard), high tariffs to promote economic growth, high wages and high profits, generous pensions for Union veterans, and (after 1893) the annexation of Hawaii. The Republicans supported the pietistic Protestants who demanded Prohibition. As the northern post-bellum economy boomed with heavy and light industry, railroads, mines, fast-growing cities and prosperous agriculture, the Republicans took credit and promoted policies to sustain the fast growth.
Nevertheless, by 1890 the Republicans had agreed to the Sherman Antitrust Act and the Interstate Commerce Commission in response to complaints from owners of small businesses and farmers. The high McKinley Tariff of 1890 hurt the party and the Democrats swept to a landslide in the off-year elections, even defeating McKinley himself.
After the two terms of Democrat Grover Cleveland, the election of William McKinley in 1896 is widely seen as a resurgence of Republican dominance and is sometimes cited as a realigning election. McKinley promised that high tariffs would end the severe hardship caused by the Panic of 1893, and that the GOP would guarantee a sort of pluralism in which all groups would benefit.
The Republicans were cemented as the party of business, though mitigated by the succession of Theodore Roosevelt who embraced trust busting. He later ran on a third party ticket of the Progressive Party and challenged his previous successor William Howard Taft. The party controlled the presidency throughout the 1920s, running on a platform of opposition to the League of Nations, high tariffs, and promotion of business interests.
Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover were resoundingly elected in 1920, 1924, and 1928 respectively. The Teapot Dome scandal threatened to hurt the party but Harding died and Coolidge blamed everything on him, as the opposition splintered in 1924. The pro-business policies of the decade seemed to produce an unprecedented prosperity until the Wall Street Crash of 1929 heralded the Great Depression.
The New Deal coalition of Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt controlled American politics for most of the next three decades, excepting the two-term presidency of Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower. African Americans moved into the Democratic Party during Roosevelt's time. After Roosevelt took office in 1933, New Deal legislation sailed through Congress at lightning speed. In the 1934 midterm elections, 10 Republican senators went down to defeat, leaving them with only 25 against 71 Democrats. The House of Representatives was split in a similar ratio.
Republicans in Congress heavily criticized the "Second New Deal" and likened it to class warfare and socialism. The volume of legislation, and the inability of the Republicans to block it, soon elevated the level of opposition to Roosevelt. Conservative Democrats, mostly from the South, joined with Republicans led by Senator Robert Taft to create the conservative coalition, which dominated domestic issues in Congress until 1964. The Republicans recaptured Congress in 1946 after gaining 13 seats in the Senate and 55 seats in the House.
The second half of the 20th century saw election or succession of Republican presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush. The Republican Party, led by House Republican Minority Whip Newt Gingrich campaigning on the Contract with America, was elected to majorities to both houses of Congress in the Republican Revolution of 1994.
The Senate majority lasted until 2001, when the Senate became split evenly but was regained in the 2002 elections. Both Republican majorities in the House and Senate were held until the Democrats regained control in the mid-term elections of 2006. In the 21st century, the Republican Party has been defined by social conservatism, a preemptive war foreign policy intended to defeat terrorism and promote global democracy, a more powerful executive branch, supply-side economics, support for gun ownership, and deregulation.
In the Presidential election of 2008, the party's nominees were Senator John McCain, of Arizona, for President and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin for Vice President. They were defeated by Senator Barack Obama of Illinois and Senator Joe Biden of Delaware. In 2009, Republicans Chris Christie and Bob McDonnell were elected to the governorships of New Jersey and Virginia.
2010 was a year of political success for the GOP, starting with the upset win of Scott Brown in the Massachusetts special Senate election for the seat held for many decades by the Kennedy brothers. In the November elections, the GOP recaptured control of the House, increased their number of seats in the Senate, and gained a majority of governorships. Additionally, Republicans took control of at least 19 Democratic-controlled state legislatures.
The party's founding members chose the name "Republican Party" in the mid-1850s as homage to the values of republicanism promoted by Thomas Jefferson's Republican party. The idea for the name came from an editorial by the party's leading publicist Horace Greeley, who called for, "some simple name like 'Republican' [that] would more fitly designate those who had united to restore the Union to its true mission of champion and promulgator of Liberty rather than propagandist of slavery." The name reflects the 1776 republican values of civic virtue and opposition to aristocracy and corruption.
The term "Grand Old Party" is a traditional nickname for the Republican Party, and the abbreviation "G.O.P." (or "GOP") is a commonly used designation.
The traditional mascot of the party is the elephant. A political cartoon by Thomas Nast, published in Harper's Weekly on November 7, 1874, is considered the first important use of the symbol. In the early 20th century, the usual symbol of the Republican Party in Midwestern states such as Indiana and Ohio was the eagle, as opposed to the Democratic rooster. This symbol still appears on Indiana, New York,[dead link] and West Virginia[dead link] ballots.
After the 2000 election, the color red became associated with the GOP, although the party has not officially adopted it. That election night, for the first time, all of the major broadcast networks used the same color scheme for the electoral map: states won by Republican nominee George W. Bush were colored red, and states won by Democratic nominee Al Gore were colored blue. Although the assignment of colors to political parties is unofficial and informal, they have come to be widely recognized by the media to represent the respective political parties (see Political color and Red states and blue states for more details).
The Republican National Committee (RNC) is responsible for promoting Republican campaign activities. It is responsible for developing and promoting the Republican political platform, as well as coordinating fundraising and election strategy. Its current chairman is Reince Priebus. The chairman of the RNC is chosen by the President when the Republicans have the White House or otherwise by the Party's state committees.
The RNC, under the direction of the party's presidential candidate, supervises the Republican National Convention, raises funds, and coordinates campaign strategy. On the local level, there are similar state committees in every state and most large cities, counties and legislative districts, but they have far less money and influence than the national body.
The Republican House and Senate caucuses have separate fundraising and strategy committees. The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) assists in House races, and the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) in Senate races. They each raise over $100 million per election cycle, and play important roles in recruiting strong state candidates, while the Republican Governors Association (RGA) assists in state gubernatorial races; it is currently chaired by Governor Bob McDonnell of Virginia.
|Part of a series on|
in the United States
The Republican Party includes fiscal conservatives, social conservatives, neoconservatives, moderates, and libertarians. Prior to the formation of the conservative coalition, which helped realign the Democratic and Republican party ideologies in the mid-1960s, the party historically advocated classical liberalism, paleoconservatism, and progressivism.
Republicans emphasize the role of free markets and individual achievement as the primary factors behind economic prosperity. To this end, they favor laissez-faire economics, fiscal conservatism, and the promotion of personal responsibility over welfare programs.
A leading economic theory advocated by modern Republicans is supply-side economics. Some fiscal policies influenced by this theory were popularly known as Reaganomics, a term popularized during the Presidential administrations of Ronald Reagan. This theory holds that reduced income tax rates increase GDP growth and thereby generate the same or more revenue for the government from the smaller tax on the extra growth. This belief is reflected, in part, by the party's long-term advocacy of tax cuts. Many Republicans consider the income tax system to be inherently inefficient and oppose graduated tax rates, which they believe are unfairly targeted at those who create jobs and wealth. They believe private spending is usually more efficient than government spending. Republicans oppose the estate tax.
This template is part of the series:
Politics and government of
the United States
Other countries · Atlas
Most Republicans agree there should be a "safety net" to assist the less fortunate; however, they tend to believe the private sector is more effective in helping the poor than government is; as a result, Republicans support giving government grants to faith-based and other private charitable organizations to supplant welfare spending. Members of the GOP also believe that limits on eligibility and benefits must be in place to ensure the safety net is not abused. Republicans introduced and strongly supported the welfare reform of 1996, which was signed into law by Democratic President Clinton, and which limited eligibility for welfare, successfully leading to many former welfare recipients finding jobs.
The party opposes a government-run single-payer health care system, believing such a system constitutes socialized medicine, and is in favor of a personal or employer-based system of insurance, supplemented by Medicare for the elderly and Medicaid, which covers approximately 40% of the poor. The GOP has a mixed record of supporting the historically popular Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid programs. Congressional Republicans and the Bush administration supported a reduction in Medicaid's growth rate; however, congressional Republicans expanded Medicare, supporting a new drug plan for seniors starting in 2006.
In 2011, House Republicans overwhelmingly voted for a proposal named The Path to Prosperity and for major changes to Medicare, Medicaid, and the 2010 Health Care Legislation. Many Republicans support increased health insurance portability, laws promoting coverage of pre-existing medical conditions, a cap on malpractice lawsuits, the implementation of a streamlined electronic medical records system, an emphasis on preventative care rather than emergency room care, and tax benefits aimed at making health insurance more affordable for the uninsured and targeted to promote universal access. They generally oppose government funding for elective abortions.
Republicans are generally opposed by labor union management and members, and have supported various legislation on the state and federal levels, including right to work legislation and the Taft-Hartley Act, which gives workers the right not to participate in unions, as opposed to a closed shop, which prohibits workers from choosing not to join unions in workplaces. Some Republicans are opposed to increases in the minimum wage, believing that such increases hurt many businesses by forcing them to cut jobs and services, export jobs overseas, and raise the prices of goods to compensate for the decrease in profit.
Many contemporary Republicans voice support of strict constructionism, the judicial philosophy that the Constitution should be interpreted narrowly and as close to the original intent as is practicable rather than a more flexible "living Constitution" model. Most Republicans point to Roe v. Wade as a case of judicial activism, where the court overturned most laws restricting abortion on the basis of a right to privacy inferred from the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Some Republicans have actively sought to block judges whom they see as being activist judges and have sought the appointment of judges who claim to practice judicial restraint. Other Republicans, though, argue that it is the right of judges to extend the interpretation of the Constitution and judge actions by the legislative or executive branches as legal or unconstitutional on previously unarticulated grounds. The issue of judicial deference to the legislature is a matter of some debate — like the Democrats, most Republicans criticize court decisions that overturn their own (conservative) legislation as overstepping bounds and support decisions that overturn opposing legislation. Some commentators have advocated that the Republicans take a more aggressive approach and support legislative supremacy more firmly.
The Republican Party has supported various bills within the last decade to strip some or all federal courts of the ability to hear certain types of cases, in an attempt to limit judicial review. These jurisdiction stripping laws have included removing federal review of the recognition of same-sex marriage with the Marriage Protection Act, the constitutionality of the Pledge of Allegiance with the Pledge Protection Act, and the rights of detainees in Guantanamo Bay in the Detainee Treatment Act. The Supreme Court overruled the last of these limitations in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld.
Compared with Democrats, many Republicans believe in a more robust version of federalism with greater limitations placed upon federal power and a larger role reserved for the States. Following this view on federalism, Republicans often take a less expansive reading of congressional power under the Commerce Clause, such as in the opinion of William Rehnquist in United States v. Lopez. Many Republicans on the more libertarian wing wish for a more dramatic narrowing of Commerce Clause power by revisiting, among other cases, Wickard v. Filburn, a case that held that growing wheat on a farm for consumption on the same farm fell under congressional power to "regulate commerce ... among the several States".
President George W. Bush was a proponent of the unitary executive theory and cited it within his Signing statements about legislation passed by Congress. The administration's interpretation of the unitary executive theory was called seriously into question by Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, where the Supreme Court ruled 5-3 that the President does not have sweeping powers to override or ignore laws through his power as commander in chief, stating "the Executive is bound to comply with the Rule of Law that prevails". Following the ruling, the Bush administration has sought Congressional authorization for programs started only on executive mandate, as was the case with the Military Commissions Act, or abandoned programs it had previously asserted executive authority to enact, in the case of the National Security Agency domestic wiretapping program.
The Republican Party has long supported the protection of the environment. For example, Republican President Theodore Roosevelt was a prominent conservationist whose policies eventually led to the creation of the modern National Park Service. Republican President Richard Nixon was responsible for establishing the Environmental Protection Agency in 1970. More recently, California Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, with the support of 16 other states, sued the Federal Government and the United States Environmental Protection Agency for the right to set vehicle emission standards higher than the Federal Standard, a right to which California is entitled under the Clean Air Act.
This association however has shifted as the Democratic Party came to also support environmentalism. For example, Democratic President Bill Clinton did not send the Kyoto Protocol to the U.S. Senate for ratification, as he thought it unfair to the United States. President George W. Bush also publicly opposed ratification of the Kyoto Protocols on the grounds that they unfairly targeted Western industrialized nations such as the United States while favoring developing Global South polluters such as China and India.
In 2000, the Republican Party adopted as part of its platform support for the development of market-based solutions to environmental problems. According to the platform, "economic prosperity and environmental protection must advance together, environmental regulations should be based on science, the government’s role should be to provide market-based incentives to develop the technologies to meet environmental standards, we should ensure that environmental policy meets the needs of localities, and environmental policy should focus on achieving results processes."
The Bush administration, along with several of the candidates that sought the Republican Presidential nomination in 2008, supported increased Federal investment into the development of clean alternative fuels, increased nuclear power, as well as fuels such as ethanol, as a way of helping the U.S. achieve energy independence, as opposed to supporting less use of carbon dioxide-producing methods of generating energy. McCain supports the cap-and-trade policy, a policy that is quite popular among Democrats but much less so among other Republicans. Some Republicans support increased oil drilling in currently protected areas such as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, a position that has drawn sharp criticism from some activists.
They are generally against affirmative action for women and some minorities, often describing it as a quota system, believing that it is not meritocratic and that is counter-productive socially by only further promoting discrimination. Many Republicans support race-neutral admissions policies in universities but support taking into account the socioeconomic status of the student.
Most of the GOP's membership favors capital punishment and stricter punishments as a means to prevent crime.
Republicans generally support gun ownership rights and oppose laws regulating guns, although some Republicans in urban areas sometimes favor limited restrictions on the grounds that they are necessary to protect safety in large cities.
Most Republicans support school choice through charter schools and school vouchers for private schools; many have denounced the performance of the public school system and the teachers' unions. The party has insisted on a system of greater accountability for public schools, most prominently in recent years with the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. Many Republicans, however, opposed the creation of the United States Department of Education when it was initially created in 1979.
Although the GOP has voted for increases in government funding of scientific research, some members actively oppose the federal funding of embryonic stem cell research beyond the original lines because it involves the destruction of human embryos, while arguing for applying research money into adult stem cell or amniotic stem cell research. The stem cell issue has garnered two once-rare vetoes on research funding bills from President Bush, who said the research "crossed a moral boundary".
The 2004 Republican platform expressed support for the Federal Marriage Amendment to the United States Constitution to define marriage as exclusively between one man and one woman. Generally speaking, most Republicans have opposed government recognition of same-sex unions such as with same-sex marriage. This opposition formed a key method of energizing conservative voters, the Republican base, in the 2004 election. A New York Times and CBS News collaborative poll released in April 2009 reported that 18% of Republicans favored recognition of same-sex marriage. An August 2010 Fox poll found 19% support. Historically, most Republicans have opposed permitting LGBT people to serve openly in the military and supported the "don't ask, don't tell" policy. However, majorities of 52% and 58% among Republicans in both 2004 and 2009 opposed the policy and supported open enlistment, according to Gallup polling.
Groups pushing for LGBT issues inside the party include Log Cabin Republicans and GOProud. Fox News national exit polls of self-described LGBT voters found that 24% voted Republican in 2004 and in 2006. That value was 19% and 31% in 2008 and 2010, respectively. In 2011, 28% of Republicans supported gay marriage.
Although the Republican Party has always advocated a strong national defense, historically they disapproved of interventionist foreign policy actions. Republicans opposed Woodrow Wilson's intervention in World War I and his subsequent attempt to create the League of Nations. They were also staunchly opposed to intervention in World War II until the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
In 1952 Dwight D. Eisenhower was drafted by the Republican Party to counter the candidacy of non-interventionist Senator Robert Taft. Eisenhower's campaign was a crusade against the Truman administration's policies regarding "Korea, Communism and Corruption."
On October 25, 1983, at the request of the regional governments, Reagan ordered Operation Urgent Fury, a military invasion of the small, Caribbean island of Grenada, where over a thousand American students and their families were in residence. A Marxist coup d'état had overthrown the established government and shot its leader Maurice Bishop. This was the first actual rollback that destroyed a Communist regime and marked the continued escalation of tensions with the Soviet Union known as the Second Cold War. Democrats had been highly critical of Reagan's anti-Communism in Latin America, but this time Reagan had strong support from the voters and leading Democrats said the invasion was justified. It built the President's image of decisive strong action a year before the 1984 election, when Mondale said he too would have ordered the invasion. Indeed Mondale attacked Senator Gary Hart, his chief opponent for the Democratic nomination, as isolationist and weak on fighting dictatorships.
Reagan escalated the Cold War, accelerating a reversal from the policy of détente, which began in 1979 under President Jimmy Carter following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Reagan then ordered a massive buildup of the United States Armed Forces.
Under a policy that came to be known as the Reagan Doctrine, Reagan and his administration also provided overt and covert aid to anti-communist resistance movements in an effort to "rollback" Soviet-backed communist governments in Africa, Asia and Latin America. The policy was politically controversial, with liberal Democrats especially angry with Reagan's operations in Latin America. Covert operations elsewhere, especially in Afghanistan against the Soviets, however, usually won bipartisan support.
On August 1, 1990, Iraq, led by Saddam Hussein, invaded Kuwait. President Bush formed an international coalition and secured UN approval to expel Iraq. On January 12, 1991, Congress voted approval for a military attack, Operation Desert Storm, by a narrow margin, with Republicans in favor and Democrats opposed. The vote in the House was 250–183, and in the Senate 52–47. In the Senate 42 Republicans and 10 Democrats voted yes to war, while 45 Democrats and two Republicans voted no. In the House 164 Republicans and 86 Democrats voted yes, and 179 Democrats, three Republicans and one Independent voted no. The war was short and successful, but Hussein was allowed to remain in power. Arab countries repaid all the American military costs.
In the 1990s, Republicans opposed the intervention of the United States in the Balkans under President Bill Clinton and in 2000, George W. Bush ran on a platform that opposed these types of involvement in foreign conflicts.
After the September 11 attacks in 2001 in New York, Bush launched the War on Terrorism, in which the United States led an international coalition invaded Afghanistan, the base of terrorist Osama bin Laden. This invasion led to the toppling of the Taliban regime. After a surprise raid on bin Laden's compound on May 2, 2011, ordered by Barack Obama, bin Laden was killed and his body disposed of in the sea. There was bipartisan support for this action, with notable Republican and Democratic figures speaking out in support of the raid.
In 2003, George W. Bush launched the invasion of Iraq, in conjunction with coalition partners, most notably Great Britain. The invasion was described by Bush as being part of the War on Terrorism. Saddam Hussein was captured and executed, but his supporters staged an insurgency that dragged on for years. It was a major election issue in 2004 (when Bush was reelected) and in 2006 and 2008 (when the Democrats won).
As a result, some in the Republican Party support unilateralism on issues of national security, believing in the ability and right of the United States to act without external support in matters of its national defense. In general, Republican thinking on defense and international relations is heavily influenced by the theories of neorealism and realism, characterizing conflicts between nations as struggles between faceless forces of international structure, as opposed to being the result of the ideas and actions of individual leaders. The realist school's influence shows in Reagan's Evil Empire stance on the Soviet Union and George W. Bush's Axis of evil.
Republicans secured gains in the 2002 and 2004 elections, with the War on Terror being one of the top issues favoring them. Since the September 11, 2001 attacks, some in the party support neoconservative policies with regard to the War on Terror, including the 2001 war in Afghanistan and the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
The doctrine of preemptive war, wars to disarm and destroy potential military foes based on speculation of future attacks rather than in defense against actual attack, has been advocated by prominent members of the Bush administration, but the war within Iraq has undercut the influence of this doctrine within the Republican Party. Rudy Giuliani, mayor of New York at the time of the September 11 terrorist attacks, and a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008, has stated his support for that policy, saying America must keep itself "on the offensive" against terrorists.
The George W. Bush administration took the position that the Geneva Conventions do not apply to unlawful combatants, saying they apply to soldiers serving in the armies of nation states and not terrorist organizations such as Al-Qaeda. The Supreme Court overruled this position in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, which held that the Geneva Conventions were legally binding and must be followed in regards to all enemy combatants. Prominent Republicans such as John McCain, Mike Huckabee, and Ron Paul strongly oppose the use of enhanced interrogation techniques, which they view as torture.
The Republican Party claims the U.S. should promote friendship not only between the United States and Russia, but also between Russia and its neighbors. With Russia, the U.S. needs patience, consistency, and a principled reliance on democratic forces. Russia must stop encouraging the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The party stress the common interests of the two countries which includes ending terrorism, combating nuclear proliferation, promoting bilateral trade.
The party, through former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton, has advocated reforms in the United Nations to halt corruption such as that which afflicted the Oil-for-Food Program. Most Republicans oppose the Kyoto Protocol. The party promotes free trade agreements, most notably North American Free Trade Agreement, Dominican Republic – Central America Free Trade Agreement and now an effort to go further south to Brazil, Peru and Colombia, although some have a protectionist view of trade.
Republicans are divided on how to confront illegal immigration between a platform that allows for migrant workers and easing citizenship guidelines, and border enforcement-first approach. In general, pro-growth advocates within the Republican Party support more immigration, and traditional or populist conservatives oppose it. In 2006, the White House supported and Republican-led Senate passed comprehensive immigration reform that would eventually allow millions of illegal immigrants to become citizens, but the House, also led by Republicans, took an enforcement-first approach, and the bill failed to pass the conference committee.
The Republican Party has expressed its support for the U.S. citizens of Puerto Rico to exercise their right to determine a future permanent non-territorial political status with government by consent, full enfranchisement and to be admitted to the union as a fully sovereign U.S. state. Puerto Rico has been under U.S. sovereignty for over a century and Puerto Ricans have been U.S. citizens since 1917; but the island’s ultimate status still has not been determined and its 3.9 million residents still do not have voting representation in their national government. The following is a section from the 2008 party platform (unchanged from the 2004 and 2000 platforms).
We support the right of the United States citizens of Puerto Rico to be admitted to the Union as a fully sovereign state after they freely so determine. We recognize that Congress has the final authority to define the constitutionally valid options for Puerto Rico to achieve a permanent non-territorial status with government by consent and full enfranchisement. As long as Puerto Rico is not a state, however, the will of its people regarding their political status should be ascertained by means of a general right of referendum or specific referenda sponsored by the U.S. government.
The GOP is usually seen as the traditionally pro-business party and it garners major support from a wide variety of industries from the financial sector to small businesses. Republicans are about 50 percent more likely to be self-employed, and are more likely to work in management.
Since 1980, a "gender gap" has seen slightly stronger support for the GOP among men than among women. In the 2006 House races, 43% of women voted for GOP, while 47% of men did so. In the 2010 midterms, the "gender gap" was reduced with women supporting GOP and Democratic candidates equally 49% to 49%.
Currently, most of the Republican voter base is Caucasian. While historically the party had been supporters of rights for African Americans since the 1860s, it lost its leadership position; the GOP has been winning under 15% of the black vote in recent national elections (1980 to 2008). The party has recently nominated African American candidates for senator or governor in Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Maryland, though none were successful. In the 2010 elections, two African American Republicans were elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. The Republican Party abolished slavery under Abraham Lincoln, defeated the Slave Power, and gave blacks the vote during Reconstruction in the late 1860s. Until the New Deal of the 1930s, blacks supported the GOP by large margins. Most black voters switched to the Democratic Party in the 1930s when the New Deal offered them employment opportunities, and major figures, such as Eleanor Roosevelt, began to support civil rights. They became one of the core components of the New Deal Coalition. In the South, blacks were able to vote in large numbers after 1965, when a bipartisan coalition passed the Voting Rights Act, and ever since have formed a significant portion (20-50%) of the Democratic vote in that region.
In recent decades, the party has been moderately successful in gaining support from Hispanic and Asian American voters. George W. Bush, who campaigned energetically for Hispanic votes, received 35% of their vote in 2000 and 44% in 2004. The party's strong anti-communist stance has made it popular among some minority groups from current and former Communist states, in particular Cuban Americans, Korean Americans, Chinese Americans, and Vietnamese Americans. The election of Bobby Jindal as Governor of Louisiana has been hailed as pathbreaking. He is the first elected minority governor in Louisiana and the first state governor of Indian descent. In the 2008 presidential election, John McCain won 55% of white votes, 35% of Asian votes, 31% of Hispanic votes, and 4% of African American votes. In the 2010 House election, the GOP won 60% of the white votes, 38% of Hispanic votes, and 9% of the African American vote.
For decades, a greater percentage of white voters identified themselves as Democrats, rather than Republicans. However, since the mid-1990s whites have been more likely to self-identify as Republicans than Democrats.
In recent elections, Republicans have found their greatest support among whites from married couples with children living at home. Unmarried and divorced women were far more likely to vote for Kerry in 2004.
Low-income voters tend to favor the Democratic Party while high-income voters tend to support the Republican Party. President George W. Bush won 41% of the poorest 20% of voters in 2004, 55% of the richest twenty percent, and 53% of those in between. In the 2006 House races, the voters with incomes over $50,000 were 49% Republican, while those under were 38%.
Republicans hold a large majority in the armed services, with 57% of active military personnel and 66% of officers identified as Republican in 2003.
Self-identified Republicans are significantly more likely than Democrats to have 4-year college degrees. The trends for the years 1955 through 2004 are shown by gender in the graphs below, reproduced from a book published by Joseph Fried. These graphs depict results obtained by Fried from the National Election Studies (NES) database.
Regarding graduate-level degrees (masters or doctorate), there is a rough parity between Democrats and Republicans. According to the Gallup Organization: "[B]oth Democrats and Republicans have equal numbers of Americans at the upper end of the educational spectrum — that is, with post graduate degrees..." Fried provides a slightly more detailed analysis, noting that Republican men are more likely than Democratic men to have advanced degrees, but Democratic women are now more likely than Republican women to have advanced degrees.
Republicans remain a small minority of college professors, with 11% of full-time faculty identifying as Republican.
The Democrats do better among younger Americans and Republicans among older Americans. In 2006, the GOP won 38% of the voters aged 18–29.
Exit polls conducted in 2000, 2004, and 2006 indicate that about one quarter of gay and lesbian Americans voted for the GOP. In recent years, many in the party have opposed same-sex marriage, adoption by same-sex couples, inclusion of sexual orientation in federal hate crimes laws, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, while supporting the use of the don't ask, don't tell policy within the military. Some members of the party, particularly in the Northeast and Pacific coast, support civil unions and adoption rights for same-sex couples. The opposition to gay rights largely comes from the socially conservative wing of the party.
Religion has always played a major role for both parties but, in the course of a century, the parties' religious compositions have changed. Religion was a major dividing line between the parties before 1960, with Catholics, Jews, and Southern Protestants heavily Democratic, and Northeastern Protestants heavily Republican. Most of the old differences faded away after the realignment of the 1970s and 80s that undercut the New Deal coalition. Voters who attend church weekly gave 61% of their votes to Bush in 2004; those who attend occasionally gave him only 47%, while those who never attend gave him 36%. Fifty-nine percent of Protestants voted for Bush, along with 52% of Catholics (even though John Kerry was Catholic). Since 1980, large majorities of evangelicals have voted Republican; 70–80% voted for Bush in 2000 and 2004, and 70% for GOP House candidates in 2006. Jews continue to vote 70–80% Democratic. Democrats have close links with the African American churches, especially the National Baptists, while their historic dominance among Catholic voters has eroded to 54-46 in the 2010 midterms. The main line traditional Protestants (Methodists, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Episcopalians) have dropped to about 55% Republican (in contrast to 75% before 1968). Their church memberships have declined in that time as well as the conservative evangelical churches have grown. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly known as Mormons, are overwhelmingly Republican and vote in line with the Christian right - George W. Bush received 89% of the Mormon vote. Bush also received almost 80% of the Muslim vote in the 2000 Presidential election. However, his support among Muslims declined sharply and, by the 2004 election, at least half of those voters supported Democratic candidate John Kerry or a third party candidate.
Since 1980, geographically the Republican "base" ("red states") is strongest in the South, the Midwest, and Mountain West. While it is currently weakest on the West Coast and Northeast, this has not always been the case; historically the northeast was a bastion of the Republican Party with Vermont and Maine being the only two states to vote against Franklin Roosevelt all four times. The Midwest has been roughly balanced since 1854, with Illinois becoming more Democratic and liberal because of the city of Chicago (see below) and Minnesota and Wisconsin more Republican since 1990. Ohio and Indiana both trend Republican. Since the 1930s, the Democrats have dominated most central cities, while the Republicans now dominate rural areas and the majority of suburbs.
The South has become solidly Republican in national elections since 1980, and has been trending Republican at the state level since then at a slower pace. In 2004, Bush led Kerry by 70%-30% among Southern whites, who made up 71% of the Southern electorate. Kerry had a 70-30 lead among the 29% of the voters who were black or Hispanic. One-third of these Southern voters said they were white evangelicals; they voted for Bush by 80-20; but were only 72% Republican in 2006.
The Republican Party's strongest focus of political influence lies in the Great Plains states, particularly Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, and North Dakota, and in the Mountain states of Idaho, Wyoming, and Utah (Utah gave George W. Bush more than 70% of the popular vote in 2004). These states are sparsely populated with few major urban centers, and have majority white populations, making it extremely difficult for Democrats to create a sustainable voter base there. Unlike the South, these areas have been strongly Republican since before the party realignments of the 1960s. The Great Plains states were one of the few areas of the country where Republicans had any significant support during the Great Depression.
Republican "conservatives" are strongest in the South, Mountain West and Midwest, where they draw support from social conservatives. The moderates tend to dominate the party in New England, and used to be well represented in all states. From the 1940s to the 1970s under such leaders as Thomas E. Dewey, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Nelson Rockefeller, and Richard Nixon, they usually dominated the presidential wing of the party. Since the 1970s, they have been less powerful, though they are always represented in the cabinets of Republican presidents. In Vermont, Jim Jeffords, a Republican Senator became an independent in 2001 due to growing disagreement with President Bush and the party leadership. In addition, moderate Republicans have recently held the governorships in several New England States, while Lincoln Chafee, a former moderate Republican senator is currently the independent governor of Rhode Island. Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, both of Maine, and Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts are notable moderate Republicans from New England. From 1991 to 2007, moderate Republicans served as Governor of Massachusetts.
Some well-known conservative radio hosts, including national figures such as Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Neal Boortz, Laura Ingraham, Michael Reagan, Howie Carr, and Michael Savage, as well as many local commentators, support Republican causes, while vocally opposing those of the Democrats.
As of 2004[update], the Republican Party had remained fairly cohesive, as both strong economic libertarians and social conservatives opposed the Democrats, whom they saw as the party of bloated and more secular, liberal government. Yet, some libertarians have argued that the GOP's policies have grown increasingly restrictive of personal liberties, and has contributed to increasing corporate welfare and national debt. Some social conservatives have expressed dissatisfaction with the party's support for economic policies that they see as sometimes in conflict with their moral values.
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