Ever since the birth of the United States of America, there has been political discord between the major parties, each believing that they knew the best way to lead the nation and prepare it for the challenges of the future. The values of the two major parties have always differed, and always will.
The Republican party was originally founded by “anti-slavery activists and individuals who believed that government should grant western lands to settlers free of charge”, and gradually built up a profile as a party known for promoting diversity and equality. The Republican Party worked to free the workers from slavery, guaranteed the workers equal rights under the law, and gave African-Americans and women the right to vote. The basic values of the Republican Party have shifted over time to encompass the belief that: “Individuals, not government, can make the best decisions; all people are entitled to equal rights; and decisions are best made close to home.”
A full list of the values held by the Republican Party can be found here. Briefly summarized, the Republican Party believes in:
- the honour of each person’s dignity, freedom, ability and responsibilities;
- each person having equal rights, equal justice and equal opportunity;
- free enterprises’ ability to bring the US opportunity, economic growth and prosperity;
- low taxes and fiscal responsibility from government;
- government only providing functions that cannot be provided by individuals or private organisations;
- small government;
- the best government being that which is closest to the people it represents;
- retaining the ideas which have made the US strong, while continuing to develop ideas to meet upcoming challenges;
- the value that American citizens should place in the US and preserving national strength and pride; and
- the ability of the US to extend peace, freedom and human rights in other areas throughout the world.
The Republican values are sound ones, and ones which the Republican Party is rightly proud of. From these values however, a number of questions arise. How do these values still merge with the values of the Republican voters this election year? How does John McCain himself align with these values? Will John McCain be able to align himself with these values if he does not agree with them? And the most important of all questions: Does the United States of America need these values, and if so, how can these values be applied to meet the needs of the United States?
Republican voters hold most, if not all of the values of the Republican party, and believe in them strongly. These values are also shared by many voters who would not consider themselves Republican, and therefore, the Republican party must return to advertising these values as their own, and adhering to them.
In recent history, the Republican party has strayed somewhat from its traditional values in an attempt to garner support from voters not aligned to either party, but more likely to vote for a Democratic party candidate.
The Democratic party has different values to the Republican party. Their values are available here, but a brief summation is that they:
- believe in having honest and open government, with all leaders serving the interests of the people;
- believe in having a strong defence that should be able to effective handle natural disasters and terrorism, able to assist law enforcement, and that hate crimes should be punished with extra force;
- believe in conserving energy and supporting research into alternative energy sources, as well as keeping energy costs low;
- believe in reducing US dependence on foreign oil and eliminating subsidies for oil and gas companies;
- support fair trade agreements that raise standards for employment and improvement of the competitiveness of US businesses;
- believe in balancing budgets and repaying national debt;
- believe in reducing tax payable for middle and low income workers;
- believe in providing universal college education;
- believe in making college tuition tax deductible and cutting student loan interest rates;
- believe in reducing class sizes and improving maintenance of schools and other educational facilities;
- believe in improving funding for special education;
- believe in providing cheap and affordable health care for all;
- believe in stem cell and other research;
- believe in Social Security and pension reform;
- believe in strengthening anti-pollution laws;
- believe in combating global climate change;
- believe in reforming the voting system to ensure that votes are verified accurately, and that election equipment is modernized;
- believe that all Americans should have equal opportunity; and
- believe in supporting all veterans, members of the military and their families.
Many of the Democratic party values are views also shared by Republicans, such as open and honest government, strong defence, reducing dependence on foreign oil, balanced budgets, low foreign debt, lower taxes, affordable health care, less pollution, accurate vote counting, equal opportunity and supporting the military and it’s veterans. However, unlike the Democrats, the Republicans accept these aims as, for lack of a better expression, “just a part of life”. The main difference, however, is how each party intends to meet its aims, and that very much, comes down to the candidates.
There can be no doubt that John McCain III has a strong support for the military, for keeping the United States strong, and for doing what is necessary to protect the nation, and it’s very easy to believe that he believes in the Republican values of each person having dignity, freedom, ability and responsibilities as well as equal rights, equal justice and equal opportunity, and many of the other Republican values, but is it plausible that he believes in small government, low taxes or fiscal responsibility?
Part of John McCain’s policy platform is to stop earmarks, pork-barrel spending and waste, as well as to reform the budget to give tax cuts. This shows a desire to reduce governmental spending, which is always a good thing, but it is a policy which is difficult to believe will be able to be implemented if McCain is elected. Of course, if it is implemented, spending will be easier to manage and tax cuts may follow.
It’s very hard to look at John McCain and not see a man who talks straight, is willing to put in the hard yards, and is willing to do whatever he can to keep the US strong, safe, and prosperous. However, one of McCain’s weaknesses is one which is a major threat to keeping the US strong, safe and prosperous, and that is illegal immigration.
Illegal immigration costs the United States greatly. It results in lost jobs for Americans, more taxes for legal workers, and less health and educational resources available to everyone. Senator McCain once made the assertion that all illegal immigrants in the US should be given a legal status; an assertion that was rightly argued against. This is an alarming view, because it raises the issue of how strongly McCain believes in his policy to close the borders and keep border security strong.
Of course, at this moment, it’s difficult to properly judge McCain, because the media coverage is more focused on the Democratic Party nominees, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, and the infighting that’s being carried out in the Democratic party ranks.
In this election year, the infighting within the Democratic party is causing extreme rifts within the party, between three main groups. There’s the Obama supporters, who believe in the hard-Left viewpoint Obama believes in, and that America needs change and needs a President who’s (half) black to prove that America is no longer racist… and we’ll ignore the logic that this viewpoint is missing, which is that according to this viewpoint, to prove America is not racist, people need to vote because of race.
Then there’s the Clinton supporters, those who believe in Clinton’s messages of universal health care and education, and her willingness to make extra provisions for those who enter the US illegally, such as allowing them to apply for driver’s licenses. The Clinton supporters in general strongly believe in Hillary Clinton’s ability to be the first female President of the United States, and many of them are quite vocal about it. These people also hold the belief that if Hillary Clinton isn’t elected, it’s because the United States is a misogynic nation.
It’s not fair to say that the United States is either racist or sexist. Certainly, there are people who will vote either against a black man or a woman, for their own prejudiced reasons, however the majority of voters won’t cast their vote on these prejudices and it’s unrealistic to imagine any different.
The third group of the Democratic party is arguably the most dangerous. This group is the Silent Majority of Democrat voters. This group have been silent thus far in the campaign for the White House. They are the most dangerous because while they’ve presumably cast their votes for their chosen nominee in the Democratic party, they’ve remained silent, and allowed for the Obama and Clinton supporters to create such a damaging climate of infighting within the party. It’s obvious, even from well outside of the party, that the fighting for the nomination between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama is drawing blood from the party, inviting ridicule, and distracting enormously from what should be the Democrat’s main focus: Why the candidate for the Democratic Party is a better choice for President than the Republican candidate John McCain III. This is drawing blood, and it’s a good thing for John McCain.
John McCain has been much luckier, and far sneakier, so far in this Presidential campaign than the Democratic party. The other choices for a Republican candidate dropped out of the race reasonably early and with good grace, leaving McCain to be able to focus on how to campaign without any serious fighting within the Republican Party, and without the media attention that comes with such a fight.
In fact, McCain has been quite cunning in this Presidential campaign. He’s stayed out of the media limelight for the most part, and as such, is able to stave off the eventual media frenzy which will attempt to make him look like an unsafe option for President, and also make it possible for him to bide his time and wait for the Democratic Party nominations.
Once the Democratic Party nominee for the White House is known, there will be a lot more seen of McCain, and the campaign for the Presidency will really begin. Make sure to have your popcorn ready.