News

    Two Parties Have Dominated US Politics for 150 Years

    The Democratic and the Republican Parties are not the only political entities in the United States.  But these two parties are the ones the overwhelming majority of Americans identify with and cast ballots for. 

    The Democratic and Republican parties are the dominant political forces in the U.S.  Between them, they have controlled the White House and Congress for one-and-a-half centuries.

    Both parties trace their lineage back to the founding of the United States in the late 1700s.  By the mid-1800s, both had essentially become the parties known today.

    In the 20th century, each party had a president who became an icon representing its principles.

    Republican Ronald Reagan was elected in 1980.  He promoted an agenda the party still follows, as the Republican National Committee's Sean Spicer explains.

    "The Republican Party is the party of limited government, lower taxes, free enterprise, and generally supports a fairly conservative agenda," he said.    

    The Democratic Party's iconic figure is Franklin D. Roosevelt.  He became president in 1933, at the height of the Great Depression.  FDR, as he was called, launched the "New Deal," with government-driven economic and social reforms to protect the working class. Melanie Roussell is the Democratic National Committee spokeswoman.

    "Democrats have always tried to help working people establish the American dream by providing help to buy a home, to sending your kids to college, to helping the elderly - older people, seniors, to live a life that they can afford," said Melanie Roussell, the Democratic National Committee spokeswoman.  "It's really about government working with people."

    The two parties appeal to different social, demographic, and even ethnic groups.  Democrat Roussell says her party's following today reflects Franklin Roosevelt's focus.

    "Our core constituent groups, I would say, are young Americans, women, African Americans, Hispanic voters," she said.  "Again, we are the party of inclusion."  

    The Republican Party's support includes tradition-oriented, white voters with conservative Christian religous views.

    While the party has been the long-time choice of the upper classes, Ronald Reagan, and an earlier Republican president, Richard Nixon, attracted working-class voters who had traditionally supported the Democrats. And spokesman Sean Spicer says in the 1990s the Republicans saw a number of shifts, bringing voters in new areas.

    "We started to see a bit of a transition where the Republican Party grew a lot more in the South, and ebbed a little in the Northeast," he said. "Now, what you are seeing is a lot more of the party trying to push out into the Midwest, to grow stronger in places like New Mexico and Colorado, Nevada, where we are seeing a lot of the party's growth.

    The current president, Barack Obama, is a Democratic.  His predecessor, President George W. Bush, is a Republican.


    Jeffrey Young

    Jeffrey Young came to the “Corruption” beat after years of doing news analysis, primarily on global strategic issues such as nuclear proliferation.  During most of 2013, he was on special assignment in Baghdad and elsewhere with the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR).  Previous VOA activities include VOA-TV, where he created the “How America Works” and “How America Elects” series, and the “Focus” news analysis unit.
    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora