Republicans and democrats...

I have never really unerstood the difference between Republicans and Democrats and it seems to me that they agree more than they disagree. What are the fundamental differences between the two?Coz they seem more or less the same to me.

cringes as he awaits inevitable 'my party is better’flame war

As another wag observed, Republicans and Democrats are just different rooms in the same whorehouse.

A big problem is that a lot of the members of the party don’t follow the party platform. In fact, I’d be surprised if most of them knew what it was aside from broad issues. So you may have Democrats that vote fairly similarly to Republicans and Republicans who vote fairly similarly to Democrats. So it’s often hard to pin down the ACTUAL difference between the two - for instance, many Republicans and many Democrats are very protectionist while others are very much free traders.

And the differences between the two change quite often. Democrats used to be the big bastion of segregation, now they are far more liberal on that issue.

I once actually had an acquaintence who is a big money-raiser for the Dems tell me that he didn’t really care what the position of the candidate was, just so long as it was a Democrat… I’ve had Repubs tell me essentially the same thing. Frankly, it’s a bit scary to me that people would support somebody just because of the label they have attached to them.

The reason the parties are so similar is that they need to attract the votes of the majority. Now all chest thumping aside most people in the US (Canada too) hold similar values and expectations. The degree across that spectrum is what the republican and democrats appeal to.

I think the bigger issue is whether the views espoused by the members of the political parties are liberal or conservative. Generally speaking, Democrats hold more liberal views, and Republicans hold more conservative views. You’ll hear terms like “Conservative Democrat” tossed about, which muddies the water even further, but you’ll never hear “Conservative Liberal”. That is the core of most of the debate of Democrat vs. Republican.

These are the platforms from the Democratic and Republican parties.
Arguably, they will tell you what the parties think they stand for.

Or at least what the majority of those voting on the platforms think they stand for – which is not necessarily the same thing.

Really it’s what the majority of those voting on the platforms SAY they stand for. This is distinct from what they think they stand for as well as being distinct from what they will actually do. When you get into the matter of how someone who is actually elected thinks, says, acts then you get even further from the ideals deliniated in those statements of position.

Essentially, vote your issues, not a party.