Political Parties No Longer Provide Ideological Choice: An Analysis

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Parties no longer provide ideological choice. Discuss.

America’s major political parties have traditionally been regarded by popular vote as organizationally weak, decentralized, and ideologically confusing by comparison with the highly disciplined, ideological, class based, parties of the UK. However, the strength of this statement can only be based upon the legislation passed by different Political Parties, policies within manifesto’s, and decisions taken by party leaders, to show us that there is clearly a lack in visible ideological choice between parties. ‘Two glass jars with different labels, both empty’; this has long been the popular opinion of the differences between the two major US parties, the Democrats and Republicans. However, in recent decades, we have seen the emergence of two distinct ideological identities in both the UK, and US. Liberalism has emerged – a belief that the federal government should have an active role in protecting the vulnerable and guaranteeing rights, and Conservatism, a belief that the government should be restricted in order for the individual to achieve their potential. However, the extent to which the Democrats and Liberal Democrats, supposedly Liberal parties, and the Republicans and Conservatives, who promote themselves as such ‘conservative’ right wing-ers, adhere to these philosophies is arguable. Legislation passed by these parties is one way of deciphering the ideologies of each party, and whether each bill promotes either Liberalism or Conservatism. Primarily, the Democrats have been associated with Liberalism since FDR’s New deal from the 1930’s. Although the ‘tax and spend’ policies have become unfashionable in recent years, most Democrats would still identify themselves as liberals, with similar philosophies. Recent policies do support this argument, shown by the Democratic president Obama who, in January 2009, alongside a Democratic Congress, passed a $700 billion economic stimulus package. This is clearly...
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