Is there a difference between democrats and republicans?

I recently witnessed someone make the mistake to tell Ed Brayton that there is no difference between democrats and republicans. Here was his response (which I think is spot on):

[…] frankly, that claim is total bullshit. When it comes to issues where a moneyed interest has a lot at stake, they’re pretty similar. Big business is going to get 100% of what it wants from Republicans and 90% of what it wants from Democrats (because they’re able to buy off both parties with unlimited campaign and lobbying spending). But where there isn’t a lot of money at stake, on issues involving equality and social justice, there’s a HUGE difference. If Democrats had been in charge of the House and state legislatures since 2010 instead of Republicans, we wouldn’t have mandatory ultrasound laws and abortion clinics shutting down all over the country. We wouldn’t have laws banning same-sex marriage and bills to pass the Federal Marriage Amendment to ban it at the federal level. With fewer Republican appointees to the Supreme Court, we wouldn’t have decisions like Hobby Lobby or Citizens United. We wouldn’t have people in charge of science committees who say things like, ‘Global warming is a hoax because God said he wouldn’t destroy the earth again after the flood.’ So no, the two parties are not the same and they’re not equally bad.

While others pointed out — legitimately — on the same thread that American foreign policy, under both Democrats and Republicans, has been fairly appalling, it was also pointed out — correctly, I think — that it is exceedingly rare to see a person from a disenfranchised group (LGBTQA individuals, people of color, etc) claim an equivalence between democrats and republicans. One of the two groups hurts folks at both home and abroad; the other tends to only hurt people abroad.

Is this an accurate way of seeing the differences between the two parties? Let me know your opinion in the comments section below.


  • January 23, 2015 - 12:28 pm | Permalink

    I think that is pretty spot on as well. There are areas where there is little difference and that is as it should be on some things. In war, foreign policy, any effort where we should be united, it makes sense. The power and influence of money is the game and to unilaterally refuse to play would only mean one party rule. I really do not think enough people know how bought and paid for our governance is. That is in no small part thanks to the Democrats who can keep enough social justice front and center to keep it from being a total Oligarchy, but it is much closer than some realize.

  • Jaime Wise
    January 23, 2015 - 12:39 pm | Permalink

    I would agree that it’s easy to be dismissive of the differences between the two parties for people not in a minority or disenfranchised group. It’s also easy to get bogged down by the difference between the public campaigns and the actual work the parties do. Political opportunism isn’t the sole prerogative of any party, and throwing you hands up and walking away doesn’t do anything to mitigate the systemic issues we have.

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