Which Party Are Conservatives?
Historically, conservatives have been closely associated with the Republican Party. However, the term has also been used for a range of other political ideologies.
These include national conservatism, with a strong emphasis on traditional family values and social stability; and economic conservatism, favoring free market policies and deregulation. Some conservatives are neoconservative, advocating expanding American ideals worldwide.
The Democratic Party
In temperament, rhetoric and policy, the Democrats have long been considered the pro-Establishment party. There are no factions of the Democratic Party that have non-trivial influence that are not centrist, supportive of the status quo and pro-Establishment. On the other hand, the Republicans have many radical factions with real clout – Tea Partiers, evangelicals and extreme libertarians.
Today, Democrats are more likely than Republicans to describe their political views as liberal. However, even among the most liberal Democrats, the majority prefer that the Democratic Party shift toward the center rather than move farther left.
While some conservative Democrat groups have organized, such as the Blue Dog caucus, most of these are single-issue groupings such as abortion or gun rights. Regardless, they are not a significant proportion of the party. For example, the Progressive Left and Democratic Mainstays both say that the party should be generally accepting of elected officials who openly criticize Biden, but this sentiment is less pronounced within the Outsider Left group.
The Republican Party
The Republican Party is the Grand Old Party of conservatism, and its core beliefs revolve around a belief that government should leave individuals alone to pursue their own goals and dreams. Nevertheless, there are a wide range of views among the four Republican-oriented groups in our typology, and they tend to differ over what the federal government should do and how much its actions should impact individual rights.
Those who are Faith and Flag Conservatives, the oldest group in our typology, prioritize religious values and their personal faith, while Populist Right and Committed Conservatives are more focused on economic issues such as taxation, wealth inequality and the role of big business in the economy. Moreover, the youngest group in this triumvirate, Ambivalent Right, is more willing to take positions that are not conservative when it comes to issues like same-sex marriage, abortion and marijuana legalization.
Still, a significant portion of Republicans and Republican leaners today think that the country needs to be more diverse. And nearly six-in-ten across all GOP-oriented groups agree that the historical obstacles faced by people who are not white now are largely gone.
The Libertarian Party
The Libertarian Party is the third largest political party in the United States. It is a third-party that advocates individual liberty, free markets, and government non-involvement. The Libertarian Party has a grassroots structure and is primarily run by members through local affiliates. The party is known for polarizing debates over ideological purity and internal conflict.
Founded in 1971 in Westminster, Colorado, the Libertarian Party attracted disillusioned Republicans, Democrats, and political newcomers. They envisioned a society that embraced the principle of “live and let live.”
In 2016, Gary Johnson (accompanied by Bill Weld) won a historic high-water mark as a Libertarian candidate for president, appearing on ballots in all 50 states and earning 3.3% of the national vote. Despite their success, Libertarians still struggle to gain ballot access and get elected to office. For the Libertarian Party to succeed, Devine believes that it needs to focus on moderating its radical platform to appeal to a broader range of voters.
The Green Party
The Green Party isn’t a major player on the national stage, but they have been making headway in some local elections. They are a party of outsiders, but their idiosyncratic ideology appeals to voters across the left-right spectrum.
Many of their policies are liberal, but they also have some conservative elements — such as the emphasis on local solutions and free-market economics. They are often able to win support by weaponising “NIMBY” politics, which appeals to voters concerned about new development in their area.
This is a real concern for the Conservatives, who are losing ground in some of their heartlands to the Greens. It’s important to remember that local elections can be difficult to read, and it’s unlikely that the Green surge in Mid Suffolk reflects a wider shift in the nation’s political mood. But it’s certainly worth keeping an eye on.