By The Right-Wing Teen
Do you wish you could vote for the next President? Making sure you register to vote is an important first step if you want to be able to vote in the presidential election that’s coming up on November 3, 2020.
While the legal voting age in the United States is 18, voter registration rules are different in every state. In some states, you can register to vote before you turn 18, as long as you will be 18 years old by the next general election. When you register to vote, you will have to choose a party affiliation.
(Almost) Everybody Loves a Party
The purpose of political parties is to win elections and influence government policy. The U.S. Constitution does not require any organized political parties. In fact, the founding fathers were suspicious of them and discouraged their formation. But political parties have wielded considerable clout in the political process since the 1700’s.
Political parties state their views and goals in a party platform. They nominate a set of candidates who will work for their interests if elected. Through primary elections, caucuses, and conventions, party members decide which candidates to endorse in the general election, thereby narrowing down the choices for voters.
There are two main political parties in the United States – Democrat and Republican – with some major differences between them (although the beliefs of individual party members may vary). Political polarization – the vast and growing gap between Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives – is a defining feature of American politics today.
When you think of the Republican Party, what comes to mind? If you’re like many young Americans, you may associate the GOP with racism, sexism, and general inequality. It’s a commonly pushed narrative by left-leaning media and academia – but as former Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science Carol Swain says in a video, the Republican Party was started in 1854 as an anti-slavery party, and its first President was Abraham Lincoln in 1861. She goes on to explain how the Republican Party was actually responsible for nearly every positive advancement for minorities and women in U.S. history—and remains the champion of equality to this day.
Republicans are known to be conservative, or “right-wing.” They are pro-life and want to uphold traditional moral standards based on the tenets of the Judeo-Christian belief system. They believe in reduced federal spending and less governmental interference in the economy. They think that people should be responsible enough to take care of themselves. Famous Republicans include Mel Gibson, Bruce Willis, Sylvester Stallone, Chuck Norris, Jon Voight, Ted Nugent, Alice Cooper, Rush Limbaugh, Candace Owens, and Donald Trump.
Did you know that Democratic Party members were the ones who defended slavery, started the Civil War, founded the KKK, and fought against every major civil rights act in U.S. history? Carol Swain, professor of political science at Vanderbilt University, explains in a video how the policies of the Democratic Party have always kept blacks down, and continues to do so through the welfare system. “So now,” she states, “the Democratic Party prospers on the votes of the very people it has spent much of its history oppressing.” Derryck Green of Project 21, a National Leadership Network of Black Conservatives, raises the question, “Who’s really obsessed with race? The left or the right? And whose policies really hurt blacks? Maybe it’s not who you think it is.” Likewise, Democrats claim to be the tolerant ones, but they’re actually the most intolerant of anyone they disagree with.
The Democrat party is often classed as “left-wing.” Democrats want big government – or the “nanny state” – to take care of your business for you. They want people to depend on the government for education, welfare, and healthcare. And yet Democrats are progressive social liberals in that they believe you should be free to do whatever you want in your personal life even if it goes against traditional moral standards. They tend to be humanist and scientific-materialist, disavowing what is termed “organized” religion while substituting a strong religious zeal for climate change policy and even abortion rights. The Democrats used to be more moderate and able to find common ground with Republicans, but nowadays the party has been inundated with radical leftists, the latter of whom have grown more violent, vicious, and vulgar. Famous Democrats include Barack Obama, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Tom Hanks, Matt Damon, Harrison Ford, Ben Stiller, Alicia Keys, Katy Perry, and Meryl Streep.
Some smaller, less powerful third parties also exist, such as the Independent, Libertarian, Constitution, and Green parties. However, third parties face many obstacles in the United States. For one thing, Democratic and Republican candidates automatically get on the ballot, whereas third-party candidates usually have to get thousands of signatures on petitions just to be listed on the ballot. Also, if you register to vote as a member of one of these parties, you might not get to vote in your state’s primary elections.
Independent Party – Independents may hold a centrist viewpoint between those of the two major political parties, or they may have a viewpoint based on issues that they do not feel either major party addresses. According to a Pew research report, nearly four-in-ten U.S. adults (38%) identify as politically independent, but most lean toward one of the two major parties. Bernie Sanders is the longest-serving independent in U.S. congressional history, although he calls himself a Democratic Socialist and has a close relationship with the Democratic Party.
Libertarian Party – The Libertarian party’s core mission is to reduce the size, influence and expenditures of all levels of government, abolishing the welfare state, and a non-interventionist foreign policy. Although they are fiscally conservative, they are socially liberal in supporting open immigration and drug legalization.
Constitution Party – A Christian far-right party that is strongly pro-life, supports gun rights, and promotes American nationalism. It calls for restrictions on immigration, protectionist trade policies, and greater attention to the U.S. Constitution.
Green Party – A left-wing party based on the principles of green politics such as environmentalism, social justice, diversity, peace and nonviolence. Dr. Jill Stein, an advocate for the environment as a human health issue, was the Green Party’s nominee for President of the United States in the 2012 and 2016 elections.
Third party candidates often enter the local political arena with sizeable support; however, few of their candidates end up getting elected to major public offices. So if members of a third party are serious about winning on a wider level, they will usually join either the Democrats or Republicans. You can, too, when you register to vote.
Are You Liberal, Conservative, or Confused?
Political labels: left, right, liberal, conservative, democrat, republican, moderate, socialist, fascist, libertarian, communist, capitalist, and more. What do they all mean? What are their economic policies? What are their social policies? An excellent book on this subject for ages 14 and up is Are You Liberal? Conservative? Or Confused? This book was written by Richard Maybury, author of Whatever Happened to Penny Candy? , part of the “Uncle Eric” series. These books are very informative, yet easy to read, and they offer an enjoyable way of learning about economics, law, and government for both young and old alike. Other books in the series include: Uncle Eric Talks About Personal, Career, and Financial Security ; Whatever Happened to Justice? ; Whatever Happened to Penny Candy? ; Evaluating Books: What Would Thomas Jefferson Think About This? ; The Money Mystery ; The Clipper Ship Strategy: For Success in Your Career, Business, and Investments ; and The Thousand Year War in the Mideast: How It Affects You Today.