I don't know how to explain my question but basically I don't follow politics much and for instance can't really tell the difference between liberal/conservative vs Democratic/Republican, but recently someone asked me about my views and they were surprised because apparently I like some things from Democratic party and some from Republican (or from both conservatives and liberals). I started to wonder if I am an anomaly because apparently most people belong to one of the two parties (and rarely to green party).

Just to give a concrete example, for instance I don't understand why belief in strong national defense has to go hand in hand with being anti abortion and anti gay marriage. Yet those views do go together, in Republican party. Or why does religion and being in favor of free enterprise go hand in hand? Or to pick another example, this time from the democratic party, why is being pro gay marriage also means being pro abortion, and protecting the environment.

I don't know if my question has more to do with history of US and its culture and society (perhaps in some other country or at some other time in future it's atheists who are pro free enterprise and the religious being against), or with human psychology? Or maybe it's one of those questions that has no answer, and it is the way it just because.

I figured I ask here and maybe someone can explain it to me or direct me to some readings.

  • 1
    why belief in strong national defense has to go hand to hand with being anti abortion. So far I do not know of any mainstream party in the world that beliefs in weak national defense and promotes it (although many accuse their opponents of that, but that is campaigning). And claiming that one party is more prone to military solutions and the other to diplomatic solutions would be difficult, too (presidents usually use both approachs). Could you find a better example (social welfare, environmentalism, etc.)?
    – SJuan76
    Nov 19, 2016 at 9:58
  • I used that example from wikipedia, the intro: "Its current ideology is American conservatism, which contrasts with the Democrats' modern liberalism. The Republican Party's platform involves support for free market capitalism, free enterprise, business, a strong national defense, deregulation, restrictions on labor unions, social-conservative policies (particularly opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage), and traditional values, usually with a Judeo-Christian ethical foundation..."
    – RyanFalon
    Nov 19, 2016 at 22:25
  • "can't really tell the difference between liberal/conservative vs Democratic/Republican," This is unusual. "I started to wonder if I am an anomaly" You are.
    – ohwilleke
    Sep 15, 2022 at 23:24

9 Answers 9


There are two main (and a bunch of other) reasons for this.

  • The main one is that USA has what's known as "First Past The Post" electoral system (which is an academic way of saying, you can only vote for one candidate and whichever candidate gets most votes, wins).

    Duverger's law states that plurality voting (of which FPTP is a special case) tends to lead to two-party system, because the chances of being elected while running on a smaller party platform are minuscule.

    For example,

    • in 1992 Presidential elections, Ross Perot got 19% of the votes, but zero electoral votes (some argue, effectively handing Presidency to Bill Clinton the latter might likely be partly why in 2016, 3rd party candidates got only 4% combined).

    • Libertarian party has a likely voting base that can be argued to be around 20%, yet they got zero electoral votes, only <4% popular vote in 2016 presidential elections, hold zero Senate, Congress or Governor seats, and holds 1 (one) out of ~2000 state legislative seats in upper houses and zero of 5000 in state lower houses.

    As such, despite people having multi-faceted views, they effectively are forced to choose only one of two parties to support in practice. The party may very well not represent many of their views (those ~20% libertarians are among the examples you list, who largely disagree with Republicans on social issues like gay marriage - yet, they tend to vote Republican, over other issues like fiscal policy)

  • Second one is that certain beliefs do tend to be clustered, either demographically, or ideologically.

    Yes, there are definitely people who believe in strong national defense and support abortion and like gay marriage. There are people who support gun rights but like to tax the rich (Bernie Sanders).

    Side note: as a matter of fact, some views clustered in a single party may out-and-out contradict each other (strong national defense typically contradicts gay rights denial, because it tends to drive off or exclude strong candidates for national defense positions from consideration. Imagine a world where Turing killed himself before WWII. Imagine if Alexander the Great was rejected from Macedonian army command because he was bisexual. Additionally, since you can't exclude ALL non-straight people, negative attitude towards non-straights turns them into security risks, either through dissatisfaction with society or through being susceptible to blackmail - which is the fault of society, not them).

    But there definitely are correlations between certain beliefs and views - many of them are not straight out causation but rather might be driven by being associated with certain moral attitudes (see Moral Foundations theory which tries to explain how things factor out).

  • It's not just the "first past the post" system which plenty of countries have, it's the massive dominance of the big two parties. Pretty much no matter what you believe, your only way of making a difference in the US is to ally yourself with whichever of the two big parties is closest to what you believe and take advantage of its massive fundraising base and nationwide influence Sep 17, 2022 at 22:12
  • @DJClayworth - dominance of the big two parties is the consequence of FPTP or rather any plurality voting, not the original cause. Constitution (and George Washington's wishes) didn't even provide for parties (aka factions) in the first place.
    – user4012
    Oct 7, 2022 at 16:44

Just to give a concrete example, for instance I don't understand why belief in strong national defense has to go hand in hand with being anti abortion and anti gay marriage.

They don't. For example, Joe Lieberman is strong on national defense and liberal on issues like abortion and same sex marriage. Part of the confusion here is that in the United States, every legislator is forced to align (or caucus) with one of the two parties. Even Angus King of Maine caucuses with the Democrats despite being nominally independent.

In many other countries, parties are smaller and more specific. Voters pick the exact party that they want and then the politicians work out the coalitions after that. This produces similar coalitions in effect, as a strong national defense party might ally with a party that is against abortion and same sex marriage. But it's clearer that the coalitions are temporary. And because politicians make the coalitions and not voters, they are easier to dissolve. Voters aren't invested in them.

In the US, voters pick the president (somewhat indirectly but still solely; their presidential vote doesn't have to determine their votes for legislatures unless they choose to do so). Voters may be picking their candidate based on national defense, but they get a candidate with a multitude of positions. Supporters don't necessarily need to support all the positions, but they need to be able to make peace with them.

Abortion in particular is an example of an area where things have changed. In the 1970s, anti-abortion (pro-life) was a Democrat issue. Southern Democrats like Bill Clinton and Al Gore and Catholic Democrats like Bill Coyne were officially pro-life. Also, at that time, pro-life meant both anti-abortion and against the death penalty.

In 1980, Reagan changed that. He ran on an explicitly pro-life platform. Due to his success, most everyone in the Republican party is at least nominally pro-life and all but a few Democrats are pro-choice (pro-abortion availability). Even those who are nominally pro-life (like Bob Casey, Jr.) vote pro-choice on the few active issues (Supreme Court nominations and support for Planned Parenthood).

The abortion and death penalty issues separated. Most evangelicals are anti-abortion and for the death penalty, invoking separate principles for fetuses and criminals. Others had previously linked them as both human beings. Both are logical positions, but the logic of course follows a different path.

One reason for a politician to pick up certain issues is because they are strongly held. For example, in 1980, roughly 8% of voters said they voted only on abortion. 2% for and 6% against. So Reagan's position had the effect (if not the intent) of giving him a net 4% gain in voters. And it was part of a larger stance, a moral stance. Reagan ran as the champion of moral uprightness (against premarital and extramarital sex, abortion, etc. and for marriage). That was considered one leg of his platform. The other two were strong defense and low taxes. Where low taxes could be generalized out to include low domestic spending and limited regulation. In combination those gave him a political majority.

Notice how low spending and a strong national defense are in conflict. He chose strong defense over low spending (and strong defense over low debt). Someone else might prefer low spending. Someone else might put domestic and defense spending in conflict and favor one over the other. For example, a common Democrat position is that spending cuts in defense should be used to pay for more social programs. Lieberman favors high taxes and a strong national defense (and high domestic spending).

The joke in the 1980s was that voters selected a Democratic Congress to get lots of goodies and a Republican president so they wouldn't have to pay for it.

Politics is often a matter of compromise. In parliamentary systems, that compromise is often made by politicians after elections, when they form coalitions to choose a prime minister. In presidential systems (where the president is chosen separately from legislators), that compromise is often made by voters. Historically voters would hedge their votes a bit, voting for a president from one party and a Senator from the other. But in the 2016 election, they didn't do that in any state.

In your particular case, you might find yourself becoming more partisan if you were more interested in politics. Because people have been increasingly picking sides. You've stayed out of it, so your beliefs can be more free form and don't need to conform to the political choices that you are making.


Because person's views on specific things is usually a result of their views on more fundamental concepts. Understanding these concepts may provide with pretty accurate estimate (not a guarantee, though; see below) about what view would a person have on specific topics.

For example:

Personal Freedom vs. Social Stability

A person's view on the balance between personal freedom and social stability forms a wide set of their views on "smaller" things in surrounding world.
For example, if someone believes that "my body is my concern" (pro-personal-freedom), this person would more likely be a pro-gay-marriage, pro-transgender, pro-abortion, pro-euthanasia, pro-carrying-weapons than someone whose views are based on social stability.
At the same time, the same person would be more likely anti-high-taxes, anti-police-powers, etc.

The opposite statement (about someone who rather has pro-social-stability views) is also absolutely valid.

The "Strict Father" logic

Also, I'd like to refer George Lakoff's article, Understanding Trump.
Leave Trump aside. This article is not about Trump; it is about you and me.
The article provides with a very deep analysis about how person's worldview affects their approach on other, "smaller" things in their life.

See, for example, The Moral Hierarchy section.

The strict father logic extends further. The hierarchy is: God above Man, Man above Nature, The Disciplined (Strong) above the Undisciplined (Weak), The Rich above the Poor, Employers above Employees, Adults above Children, Western culture above other cultures, America above other countries. The hierarchy extends to: Men above women, Whites above Nonwhites, Christians above nonChristians, Straights above Gays.

So, a person who believes in this moral hierarchy, would {almost} automatically obtain a certain (negative) view on women's rights, other religions, gay/transgender, and many other ideas.


  1. People usually don't have sufficient information to form a solid ground for their views on certain subjects.

  2. However, there are more fundamental concepts which every person believes (accepts of refuses).

  3. These concepts form this person's worldview patterns.

  4. So, there is no surprise to see that some apparently unrelated views belong to the same pattern.

  5. Just like:

    …belief in strong national defense has to go hand in hand with being anti abortion and anti gay marriage

  6. Note, it is not about political parties. In real world, parties often combine several worldview patterns. That's why, for example, the Republican party of U.S. is mostly pro-carrying-weapons but anti-gay-marriage. There are reasons for that, but I believe these are above the scope of this question.

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    This is a very good answer. I'd add a clarification to "The Moral Hierarchy": It's not that men are seen as better than women. It's that men's role is to take on public responsibilities such as providing resources and defense. Whereas women's role is to nurture and support the next generation. Think yin and yang, masculine and feminine instead of better and worse. Women and men traditionally have equivalent spiritual value (one soul each) despite their different roles. The disagreement comes when people insist that men and women are equals not only spiritually, but physically as well. Jul 26, 2022 at 4:08
  • I've got to disagree. There seem to be no patterns whatsoever, just election politics, as @user2012 explained. I tried to search for patterns too, but every time the patterns I thought I saw got broken. Looking at your user name "Be Brave Be Like Ukraine"; one would think that Republicans would support Ukraine, due to brave actions of their militia against the intruder's army (is anything more right wing than that?) and due to that resistance benefitting US defense, But no; most conservative hosts and politicians don't. It's all political BS; no patterns and no logic.
    – Michael
    Sep 15, 2022 at 16:52
  • @Michael, note that all comments on StackExchange are intended to aid improvements to the posts, and I sincerely don't know how to convert your disagreement into a valuable edit. I hope you are not suggesting that because user Michael tried to find patterns and they "got broken", so the entire cause-and-effect logic is "all political BS", using your wording. You didn't let us know what political phenomenons or events you were researching and what patterns you evaluated, but a wild guess is that some additional factor has been overlooked which, in turn, caused your assumption to fail. Sep 15, 2022 at 18:35

I intended to answer why being pro gun rights and being pro life tend to go hand in hand

It stems from the idea of exactly where human rights come from: Natural rights, versus Legal rights.

If rights come from the government, or the legal system, then the government can take rights away if they deem it to be for the greater good. Rights may only be granted when a human is born, or only at a later stage, such as the 18th birthday, as decided by the government and justified by appeals to the public good.

In ancient Sparta, the public good demanded children who would grow into strong warriors and not inferior children who would grow into weak men. To this end, babies were subjected to often lethal trials, with an aim to cull the weak and prevent them from burdening society. This was indeed in the interest of ancient Sparta and it gained a formidable military.

But if rights come directly from God, then all humans have "Unalienable rights" from the moment of conception that cannot morally be taken away.

Unalienable rights are those which God gave to man at the Creation, once and for all. By definition, since God granted such rights, governments could not take them away.

If one such right is the right to life, then abortion is immoral, as is exposing "unworthy" infants. Even if society hasn't yet granted the unborn baby the right to life, God already has. Similarly, if the right to bear arms and defend oneself is a God given right, then no government can be justified in taking that away, no matter the benefit to society. God is seen as a higher authority than the benefit of society.

Positive rights such as "The right to food" could not be considered God given rights however as these positive rights imply a state to provide these needs, And they were thought to be granted before states even existed.

The original rights laid out in the constitution were all Natural rights, explicitly granted by God. Thus being Pro Gun, Anti Abortion is consistent with conservative thought, and with the US constitution.

I realize this answer is slightly off topic, but I believe you can actually use this distinction to understand many differences in thinking between the left and right wing in the USA.

Are rights created by society, or do they come directly from our creator?

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    "all humans have "Unalienable rights" from the moment of conception that cannot morally be taken away." You're picking an arbitrary point there. Most people throughout history who believed that rights come from God do not believe that a zygote or fetus has rights from conception; quickening or birth were and are common lines.
    – prosfilaes
    Jul 26, 2022 at 18:28
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    good point @prosfilaes, but granting rights to the unborn is consistent with grants being given by God, whereas a Government would have no reason to give rights to the unborn. Jul 27, 2022 at 0:12
  • Based on this reasoning, I would expect that conservatives would be generally against restrictions on immigration, as these would seen as limiting the God-given right to live where you want to live. But this does not seem to be the case. Why is that?
    – Marc
    Jul 27, 2022 at 22:09
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    Just to avoid misunderstanding: my point is not that the conservative perspective would be inconsistent or contradictory or anything like that, I just want to point out that this distinction between God-given vs. man-made rights doesn't seem to actually help much in explaining many of the important differences between conservative and liberal viewpoints.
    – Marc
    Jul 27, 2022 at 22:19
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    @prosfilaes Socialist Romania's abortion ban was justified by increasing the Romanian population, a goal which serves the state and society, not because of natural rights of the unborn. The policy achieved its intended effect, almost doubling their fertility rate, at the cost of increased mortality of mothers from illegal abortions. medium.com/dose/… Aug 2, 2022 at 2:47

On face value many issues you mention seem unrelated. But mostly there is a relationship.

One way of understanding politics is the political compass, which is a two dimensional evolution of the one dimensional left-right dichotomy. That helps identify political philosophy, but it doesn't explain it.

In comparison the Inglehart-Welzel cultural map of the world goes a long way to identify politics by culture, and to imply cause from definition. Instead of X and Y being Left-Right, Authoritarian-Libertarian, the Inglehart-Welzel axis are Survival-Self Expression, Traditional-Secular Rational.

We know there's a relationship between neurology and politics. Brain scans have shown a relationship between fearful brains and the politics of threat and ambiguity reduction (traditional, authoritarian). Given natural biological variation, we should expect a neurological diversity in any given population, in which some are more fearful, and some less.

We also know that there's variation between national cultures in terms of lived experience of threat. Russia has an exceptionally strong 'survival' bias on the Inglehart-Welzel chart. It seems obvious to suggest that this is at least partly motivated by a history of constant existential threat and wars of annihilation. Russians have a strong collective memory of being invaded by people who wanted to destroy their culture, from Napoleon's revolutionary army to genocidal Nazis.

So we know there's a neurological and cultural bias at work between individuals and nations. This bias expresses itself in terms of the intuition of threat and ambiguity reduction. Authoritarian and traditional politics is about group survival, and not individual self expression.

From this we can understand that leaders who promote militarism and reproductive families emphasise anxiety-reducing social institutions which comfort those inclined to pessimistic and/or fearful feeling. In a similar way gun rights advocates target their arguments to increase fear, inflating the risk of individuals being involved in violent crime or burglary and deflating the statistic risk of gun ownership (in relation to accident or suicide).

The commonality is the clustering of threat reduction intuition, and how this ties more broadly into the question of group survival or individual self-expression. We see predictable patterns common between diverse cultures who share an emphasis on survival; the traditional family will be emphasised, as will traditional gender roles. These tend society towards a division of labour which suits militarism, and thus structures culture to present in a way which calms fearful brains.

Questions about immigration and multiculturalism can be understood in the same way, that efforts to increase societal homogeneity and reduce diversity work to reduce threat and ambiguity intuitions.

These manifestations however are often antithetical to brains which are less fearful and eager for exploration away from a place of emotional comfort and stability.

The distinction is quite clear cut. This seems to be why liberals in Russia and America share lots in common, as do each country's traditionalists. Why would those who favour President Trump also like President Putin and vice versa? The gulf of cultural experience between Americans and Russians is huge, but what is common most fundamentally is neurology, and thus how they feel. Indeed it also seems to point to why the behaviour of extremists is clustered, regardless of their politics or religion.

  • It seems obvious to suggest that Russia doesn't have nearly as much of "a history of constant existential threat and wars of annihilation" as most of Eastern Europe, which has been conquered by Russia and Germany and Austria-Hungry and the Ottoman Empire, rarely getting to exist as free states.
    – prosfilaes
    Jul 26, 2022 at 18:31

User bytebuster provided a very good answer. To improve their answer, I would add that, most countries in the world do not have a 2-party system; my country of Canada has 6 parties (and many more "third-parties"). The more parties you have, the more viewpoints you can accommodate. In the US system, where they only have 2 parties, they can only accommodate 2 viewpoints, and because those parties are opposed, when party A says "yes", party B must necessarily say "no", in all but the most extreme of circumstances (e.g. "should murder be legal?", which is a totally ridiculous question). Hence, you have clustering of seemingly contradictory and/or unrelated ideas.

The problem with more parties is you increasingly wind up with what is known as a "minority government". In most democratic systems, when a single party doesn't receive 50% of the votes (or vote-equivalents e.g. electoral college votes, or parliamentary seats, or what have you), the way it works is that some number of parties, who collectively have over 50% of the votes, agree to make a coalition government. The way this normally works, in a "minority government", is that the parties of the coalition can withdraw their support at any time. If any party does so, that means the remaining parties of the coalition have less than 50% of the votes, and the government dissolves (because the government must by definition have more than 50% of the votes). This means a couple things:

  1. That minority governments dissolve faster and more unpredictably than majority governments.

  2. That minority governments tend to like to do "a little bit of everything" for all the members of the coalition and don't tend to have a streamlined, or, in many cases, even coherent, aim or plan.

In the USA, it was decided (by whom, I don't know, and when, I don't know) that minority governments were a bad idea and to stick to a 2-party system so as to never have a minority situation, at the cost of representing fewer viewpoints. Conversely, in countries like Israel and Japan, it was decided that more represented viewpoints are good and so they have dozens of parties and are in near-perpetual cycles of minority governments (and election cycles; Israel has had something like 6 Federal elections in the past 2 years).

  • It was "decided" by math. If you look at my answer, it cites the math (well poly-sci) reasons for 2 party system - it's a natural consequence of FPTP/plurality voting rules.
    – user4012
    Aug 13, 2022 at 13:46
  • There are many countries (including my own country of Canada) which have FPTP and plurality voting just as the US does which have more than 2 parties (Canada has 3 major parties (which are expected to win most elections), 3 minor parties (which are expected to have some representation in Parliament) and many more "third" parties (which run a candidate but aren't expected to go anywhere)). Perhaps it is "optimal" to run only 2 parties in the US-type electoral system but it's far from a given.
    – Ertai87
    Aug 14, 2022 at 3:58

So first thing I'd like to address is your misconception that most Americans are either Democrats or Republicans or the small subset of Green Party members. Actual polling typically finds that, when asked, the majority of U.S. Voters identify independent (no party affiliation) (over 1/3rd), followed by either Democrat or Republican (both slightly under 1/3rd), followed by the Libertarian Party and then then Green party (distant forth and fifth, but not enough that most polling will list them... they're pretty reliable to vote for the Republicans and Democrats respectively, though there are some pro-Democrat Libertarians). Because of this, in polls, the most important group to look too are the independents because they tend to be more willing to change their vote than non-independents. Underestimating them can and will cost candidates the elections, and in general elections, they tend to be the group that is courted.

While we're at this, we should get some political terms out of the way:

Left/Right - The right/left divide tends to be determined by national politics rather than globally defined. For example, a right wing Canadian PM would probably be at best a moderate pro-right person in the United States, while a left wing Japanese politician might be more close to a moderate pro-left person in the U.S. at best. The divide is generally regional and not broadly in lock step between nations. To give one real life example, Angela Merkle, the former Chancellor of Germany, is a member of the Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU) which is a center-right political party in Germany. However, she would have difficulty courting the Center Right in the United States, and her U.S. supporters tend to be on the U.S. political left. The terms got their name from the early French Revolution and the National Assembly. Those who supported the King would sit on the right side of the room (when viewed from the Assembly President's podium) while the revolutionaries sat on the left. Since then the right has been associated with conservative politics and the left has been concerned with reformist politics.

Meanwhile, in the United States, the Left/Right divide is less understood and generally falls into the Liberal/Conservative divide. This tends to be more of a false dichotomy as Liberalism and Conservatism are not opposing ideals. America is founded on the principles of Liberalism and it's generally the core beliefs for which the Revolutionary War was fought (Colonial Americans were avid readers of Liberal thinkers of their day and age. Today this is know as Classical Liberalism but at the time the ideology was too new to have large divides). As a general rule, Liberalism is the belief in the concept of "natural law" which holds that in the setting of the wilderness (with no other human contact), anything that people can do is something the government cannot take from them, and that the government must protect the rights of the people. Generally these rights are broadly summed up as "Life, Liberty (the freedom of movement), and property" (John Locke, who was one of the first Liberal philosophers, used the term property. Thomas Jefferson, when writing the Declaration of Independence, changed property to "happiness" because he realized there were people who weren't materialists and Jefferson was a hedonist, which is all about the pursuit of happiness... in fact, the Declaration of Independence is a very short summation of Classical Liberal philosophy as a whole). Liberalism tends to be highly individualistic and pro-capitalistic.

Conservatism is a less strictly defined political philosophy and generally can be summed up as "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Conservatives tend to favor established institutions over reform and change and hold to the belief that the changes are at the root of the problems rather than the institutions being flawed. This doesn't mean that they are opposed to change, but that they need to be convinced that change is necessary or that the changes need to be less dramatic. They also do not favor any form of economics. Vladimir Putin is a conservative politician... but he is in favor of bringing back Soviet institutions and policies, not bringing further capitalist economics to Russia. It's a very regional based. In the United States, Conservatism tends to have liberal doctrines as it's planks (in fact, in Modern European politics, pro-Liberal parties tend to be classified as center-right).

In the United States, the two party system and first past the post nature have lead to both parties becoming "Big Tent" parties, where as in Europe you will have a handful of big parties that tend to make coalitions with the few smaller parties in a coalition (since this tends to determine the Prime Minister, a loan member of a fringe party can be a king maker... in the U.S. it's rare that the party with the majority fails to nominate a speaker from their own party, but it's harder for the majority to get something through Congress than it is for the minority party to stop it. The reason for this is the U.S. political system tends to let elected officials be less bound to party platform than other European systems. For example, Joe Manchin, a democrat, tends to vote against many democratic supported legislation because he represents the state of West Virginia, a very republican state, and wants to be re-elected... so it's in his interests to not vote with the Democrats on many things. One could say that Manchin's personal politics are unknown, since he's trying to keep his seat in a constituency that opposes his party quite often.

Historically, the longest standing political divides in the United States tend to be along the lives of an Urban/Rural divide, though who represented these divides has changed (For most of their history, the Republicans tended to be the Urban party and the Democrats tended to be the Rural party... though this has switched in the past 50-70 years. It also tends to fall on a professional/working class divide although this is less reliable than in the past. Even a Christian vs. Atheist divide is not reliable as Catholics tend to favor Democrats over Republicans (again, this is due to the Urban/Rural split. Catholicism tends to be a more Urban religion, while Protestants tend to be a more rural religion. As is Islam and Judaism, which tend to be much more pro-Democrat than Republican.).

Interestingly, both the Democrats and Republicans can trace their parties and ideologies back to the historical Democrat-Republican Party or more importantly, the Democratic-Republican Party founder, Thomas Jefferson. Democrats are directly descended by way of Andrew Jackson's influence on the party. The Republican party tended to be indirect in that it was founded by a coalition of members of the defunct Whig party and the defunct National Republican Party, mixed with several minor parties that supported abolition of slavery.

It should also be pointed out that for much of American political history, there tended to be a mix of ideologies in both parties, to such a degree that JFK was as staunch an anti-communist as Richard Nixon and Teddy Roosevelt went on to form the short lived Progressive Party (AKA The Bull Moose Party) and under the Sherman Anti-trust act, sued 45 companies. His successor, Republican Taft, sued 75 companies under the same act. Both Roosevelt and Nixon were also notable pro-environmental Presidents (with Roosevelt founding the National Parks system and Nixon forming the EPA). Even states reliability to a particular party are not absolute. California has an intersting history of being a long term swing state... that is, it will go for long stretches of being reliable for one party, only to switch to the other party for a lengthy period. From 1952-1992, California only voted for the Democratic Candidate for President twice (In 1964 and again in 1992). They went for the Republican in every other presidential election (a total of 9 elections. It should help that a Californian was on the ticket in 5 of them, was on the Republican Ticket for VP for two, and was the VP of a Californian in 2 more). During this same period, Texas has been a reliable Democrat stronghold.

All this is to say that American's are not evenly split on political ideologies as one might have you think. In fact, the easy fit dichotomy or U.S. politics is a myth that Republicans and Democrats will happily support because the more people who are exclusively party voters, the less they have to worry about the independents who are not loyal to either party.

And that said, independents are wild cards as many of them may favor one party over the other, but not to a point that they are reliable and will break for a spoiler candidate of someone from the other party (or just not vote!) if their preferred party candidate is off putting. As an independent voter, I voted for three separate parties' candidates before I voted for a party for a second time. And I'm 3/4 in terms of voting for losing candidates.


I think you have to diffrentiate between the party and the voters. For example, pretty much every Democrat in the senate is pro abortion 'till birth (almost all of them voted for the bill to codify Roe v. Wade, which really meant abortion 'till birth), transing the kids (the radical ettent to which they believe gender theory), believes men can have babies ('birthing people'?!?!), banning 'assualt weapons' (the gun reform bill they just voted on), etc. Does every (or even most) Domocratic voters believe that? I'm not so sure. Same with republicans, thought the Democrats are way farther left than the Republicans are right. So not every Republican voter believes everything every Republican politician believes, and (I hope) not every Democratic voter believes what Democratic politicians believe.

  • 4
    Despite your impression of Democrats, you should try to moderate your language and aim to communicate issues from a neutral, non-emotional perspective. This leads to better discussion and working towards the truth even if we disagree on many things. Also, practically, this site tends to lean moderate left and so if you come across as scornful of that perspective, you will probably be downvoted. Especially if you're not providing evidence (external sources) Aug 2, 2022 at 2:44
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    Thanks for the advice. Though I hope I didn't come across as being scornful of Democratic voters - just the party leaders. I think a big mistake people on the right make is confusing what Democratic politicians believe, and what the average Democratic voter believes.
    – Kovy Jacob
    Aug 2, 2022 at 2:53
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    Please, provide references. I get that you may think you are well informed because you watch news or are generally politically curious, but unless you consider yourself at least a semi-professional in the topic of modern politics (as in you have read multiple books on political theory, but don't have a formal degree), your opinion is probably not informed enough to be treated as an answer here. The site is intended to be a repository of lasting information. If someone reads this answer 10 years from now, they won't have any references to figure out why you will have thought this.
    – wrod
    Aug 2, 2022 at 6:25
  • @wrod pewresearch.org/politics/2021/11/09/progressive-left - While in the political world (Democrats vs. Republicans) if you are anti-abortion you are pro strong national defense and if you believe that men can be come women you don't think 200,000 illegal migrants a month is a problem, the same is not the case in the general populace. While most powerful Democrats (forsure on the Federal level) have pretty extreme left wing views, it chages with voters. Same with the Republicans, but less so - there is a lot more of a spectrum. So in reality 1/2
    – Kovy Jacob
    Aug 2, 2022 at 21:05
  • @wrod There are voters who are pro-abortion and are pro very strong national defense, and there are voters who believe that men can be come women and think 200,000 illegal migrants a month is a problem. The polarization only exists between the politicians in the political parties, not the average voters.
    – Kovy Jacob
    Aug 2, 2022 at 21:07

Because on deeper analysis of implications of ideology, you can connect them.

"Just to give a concrete example, for instance I don't understand why belief in strong national defense has to go hand in hand with being anti abortion and anti gay marriage. Yet those views do go together, in Republican party." --> National refense means defending "us" against "them" i.e. invaders. It's cherishing one's own tribe. Therefore you also want the tribe to be strong - and numerous. Being gay and killing fetuses may make for a rich, economically safe and tolerant society, but it will be less fertile, therefore limiting the tribe's biological strength.

"Or why does religion and being in favor of free enterprise go hand in hand?" --> because God's commandments are absolutist rights. "You shall not steal." doesn't say "you shall not steal unless you really need money" but "you shall not steal, ever". And taxation is taking someone's property legally, for benefit of somebody else. Again "us" vs "them" but also you need to be ready to violate the person that doesn't want to pay tax voluntarily.

"Or to pick another example, this time from the democratic party, why is being pro gay marriage also means being pro abortion, and protecting the environment." --> Allowing for cultivating non-procreational forms of sex life serves the environmentalists who think that it's good to have less humans, not more.

  • Please read up more on this subject before you answer. The stuff about "God's commandments" is just garbage. Why do Republicans defend the "absolutist right" of "thou shalt not steal" but ignore "turn the other cheek", or the redistribution of wealth prescribed in the Year of Jubilee? As for taxation being like theft, why does God command taxation? Sep 17, 2022 at 12:20
  • Because Christians are only a sub-group in conservatism, and because not everybody is equally commited to society and/or religion, it doesn't always make sense to turn the other cheek or pay taxes. But it always makes sense to persecute people who kill or steal, because it decreases national security if such things happen. Oct 25, 2022 at 11:06

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