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Political parties in the United States

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Popular votes to political parties during presidential elections.

In the United States, there have always been two main political parties. Since the 1860s, these two main parties have been the Republican Party and the Democratic Party. The Democrats are also the largest party in the Senate. The Republican Party has the most seats in the House of Representatives.

The third largest political party in the U.S. is the Libertarian Party.

Democratic Party

The Democratic Party's first President was Andrew Jackson who was elected in 1828 and many Presidents such as Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and the current President Barack Obama are Democrats. They have 53 out of 100 seats in the U.S. Senate and 189 out of 435 seats in the House of Representatives. Twenty-six out of 50 state governors are also Democrats. The party generally promotes liberalism and is often classed as a centre-left party. Currently, the party has 72 million registered voters across America.

Most Democrats usually agree with the following ideas:

  • Many support a progressive income tax (rich people paying at higher rates than poor people)
  • Many are pro-choice (meaning that they believe women have the right to have an abortion)
  • Many support stem-cell research to cure sickness
  • Many support withdrawing U.S. troops out of Iraq.
  • Many support more government funding for education and infrastructure (road building).
  • Many support gun control (which means that there should be strict rules about who can own guns and where they can use them)
  • Many believe in Keynesian economics
  • Many believe in global warming and want the government to do something about it.
  • Many believe in health care reform (some believe in universal health care)
  • Many believe that the economy should be regulated more.

Republican Party

The Republican Party was founded in 1854 as an anti-slavery party and its first President was Abraham Lincoln in 1861. The party has led America with such figures as Ulysses S. Grant, Benjamin Harrison, Theodore Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush. The party has 47 out of 100 seats in the Senate and 240 out of 435 seats in the House of Representatives. Republican John Boehner will become the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives on January 4, 2011. Twenty-four out of 50 states have a Republican governor. It has around 55 million registered voters across America. Currently, the Republican Party is identified as conservative and right-wing.

Not all Republicans believe in all of the same things, but generally these are the things many Republicans support:

  • Many Republicans believe abortion should be illegal.
  • Many Republicans are against gun control and support the 2nd Amendment.
  • Many Republicans support the death penalty, rather than a life sentence (which sentences people to death if they do big crimes).
  • Many Republicans support the U.S. having a strong military.
  • Many Republicans support the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
  • Many Republicans are against illegal immigration.
  • Many Republicans want the government to control the economy less.
  • Many Republicans want the government to spend less money.
  • Many Republicans want taxes to be lowered.
  • Many Republicans oppose health care which is run by the government.
  • Many Republicans support a school voucher system (the government giving money to parents who send their kids to private school).
  • Many Republicans support supply-side economics.
  • Many Republicans believe the federal government should have less power over the states.

Minor American Parties

There are several minor parties in the United States, none of whom have any seats in the Senate or the House of Representatives.