What is the Difference Between Republicans and Democrats?

The Republican Party (elephant) and the Democratic Party (donkey) are the two main political parties in the US.

Republicans and Democrats are the two main and historically the largest political parties in the US and, after every election, hold the majority seats in the House of Representatives and the Senate as well as the highest number of Governors. Though both the parties mean well for the US citizens, they have distinct differences that manifest in their comments, decisions, and history. These differences are mainly ideological, political, social, and economic paths to making the US successful and the world a better place for all. Differences between the two parties that are covered in this article rely on the majority position though individual politicians may have varied preferences.


Democratic Party: Of the two, the Democratic Party is older and originated from anti-federalism sentiments during the US’ independence from Great Britain. The Donkey symbol of the party came into play during Andrew Jackson’s 1828 campaign. Party organ, the Democratic National Committees started in 1848 and, during the civil war, this party split into two parties, those who supported slavery left and those who did not, stayed back. The Democratic Party of today is a result of the split. To date, there have been 15 Democrat Presidents.

Republican Party: In 1854, anti-slavery activists and agents of modernity founded the Republican Party (Grand Old Party -GOP) and, Abraham Lincoln became the first Republican President. The party started using the elephant symbol in 1874. Lincoln’s presidency, policies, and ideologies solidified the party and gave it a strong foundation. The US has had 19 Republican Presidents to date.


Democrats: Democrats are usually to the “left” of Republicans on many issues. For starters, Democrats support domestic social services but majorly are not very aggressive on foreign policy. Being liberal, they root for a strong government to improve social structures and support equality and communal responsibility.

Republican: Republicans advocate for limited government intervention on domestic issues but dominate on international relations. While on the right, Republicans are pro-military, pro-business, pro-religion, and campaigns for people have freedoms and to take personal responsibility for their actions. On approach, this party is socially and fiscally conservative advocating for a lean government and strong free market (Darwinian Capitalism).

Practical Differences

Democrats: In general Democrats are more reluctant to use military force against other countries and advocate slow increases of military budgets. Recently, they favor gun control legislation arguing based on the increase in the number of shootings and irresponsibility by civilian gun holders. On social issues, Democrats openly support abortion as well as LGBTQ rights as people have freedom of choice, but when it comes to the death penalty, a majority seem to oppose. Democrats favor higher taxes for high-income earners and the increase of the minimum wage.

Republicans: Republicans mostly favor rapidly increasing the military budget and take hard lines against other countries like Iran. They are pro-second amendment (right to bear arms) and support carrying concealed weapons in public. Party supporters have tough stands on abortion, contraceptive and LGBTQ rights with the belief that legalizing them ruins the social fabric of the society. On tax, Republicans seem to favor tax cut for all, be it rich or poor, and for the market to control the minimum wage. Republican policies favor strong border controls and limited immigration as opposed to more open Democrats.

Geography and Demographics

The Democratic party usually dominates politics in the Northeast and Great Lakes region as well as the Pacific Coast. Recent patterns show Democratic candidates faring well in some Southern states like Arkansas, Virginia, and Florida as well as around the Rocky Mountain states like Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, and Montana. Republicans control the South and West especially Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma.

In 2016, there were more red states (Republican-controlled) than blue states (Democrat-controlled). Most young voters affiliate with the Democratic Party as older people tend to support the Republican Party. On gender, Republicans receive more support from men than women.


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