In an increasingly volatile political environment, it can be hard to keep track of the many different beliefs, principles, and core values of the candidates. One of the easiest ways to get a quick idea of a politicians stances is to find out which political party they are affiliated. While not everyone in a party will hold the same positions, you can get a general idea for what to expect.

Democrats

Democrats, sometimes referred to as “liberals,” tend to favor a larger government. They believe that the federal government should regulate businesses, especially when it comes to environmental and safety concerns. They also think the government has an obligation to look out for its citizens. This sometimes comes in the form of social welfare programs such as food stamps and Medicare. Many times this results in higher taxes, especially on those with higher incomes. They believe that military spending should be kept to a minimum. When it comes to social issues, the Democratic party is quite progressive. In general, they support same-sex marriage, a woman’s right to abortion, and believe that there should be an easier path to citizenship for immigrants to the country. Democrats also tend to favor more stringent controls on firearms.

Republicans

Republicans, sometimes referred to as “conservatives,” hold very different views. They believe that the individual states should have more say over laws than the federal government. They also believe the rights of individuals should be protected over all else. While not all Republicans are Christian, a majority are, and this is reflected in their stance on social issues. In general, they are against allowing same-sex marriage and believe that abortion should be outlawed. National security is also important to the Republican party, and they tend to favor a well-funded military and strict controls on immigration. As for the economy, they believe that less regulation on business will result in a more stimulated economy. The 2nd Amendment is also crucial to Republicans, and they believe the right to firearms should have fewer restrictions.

Knowing the difference between Democrats and Republicans is essential for anyone hoping to make sense of this intense election year. Fortunately, once you have the basics down, you will have a much better idea of what each side is fighting for.