Iron County Progressive

Democratic vs Republican Stand on Controversial Issues*

The Democrats and Republicans have varying ideas on many hot button issues, some of which are listed below. These are broadly generalized opinions; it must be noted that there are many politicians in each party who have different and more nuanced positions on these issues.

   Social Programs

   Democrats across the board believe that government should run such  programs

   as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, welfare, unemployment benefits, and

   programs that support seniors and people in need. They believe more tax dollars

   should be funneled into these programs.


   Republicans question the need for these programs and want to abolish many of

   them, favoring private businesses to take over select ones.

Tax Policy

   Both parties favor tax cuts, but each party takes a different view on where those

   tax cuts should be applied. The Democrats believe there should only be cuts for

   middle- and low-income families but believe that taxes should be higher for

   wealthy individuals and corporations. The Republicans believe there should be

   tax cuts but only for those in the higher income brackets and corporations.


   Democrats support progressive taxes. A progressive tax system is one where

   high-income individuals pay taxes at a higher rate. This is the how federal

   income tax brackets are currently set up. For example, the first $10,000 in

   income is taxed at 10% but income over $420,000 is taxed at 39.6%.

Some Republicans are proponents of a "flat tax" where all people pay the same percentage of their income in taxes regardless of income level. This would result in middle- and low-income earners paying the same tax rate as wealthy individuals. 

Minimum Wage

Democrats favor an increase in the minimum wage to help workers.

Republicans oppose raising the minimum wage claiming it hurts businesses.


Democrats support a woman’s right to choose and keeping elective abortions legal and safe.

Republicans do not believe in a woman’s right to choose and believe abortions should not be legal and that Roe v. Wade should be overturned.

Gun control laws

Democrats favor preserving the Second Amendment while adopting gun controls laws that require strict background checks to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill.  They believe this will help prevent massacres like those that have occurred in the nation’s schools. 

Republicans oppose gun control laws.


Democrats are reluctant to using military force against countries like Iran, Syria, and Libya.

Republicans have a more hard line stance against countries like Iran, with a higher tendency to deploy the military option.

   Energy Issues and the Environment

   There have always been clashes between the parties on the issues of energy and

   the environment. Democrats believe in restricting drilling for oil or other avenues

   of fossil fuels to protect the environment while Republicans favor expanded

   drilling and dismiss the idea that it has a negative environmental impact.

   Democrats support alternative energy solutions, such as solar and wind power,

   while the Republicans favor allowing the market to decide which forms of

   energy are practical. Republicans also deny that there is a climate warming

   problem which threatens future generations. 

   Crime and Punishment

   Democrats are progressive in their views, believing that crimes which do not

   involve violence, such as using drugs, should have lighter penalties and

   rehabilitation. They are also against capital punishment.

   Republicans generally believe in harsher penalties when someone has committed

   a crime, including for selling and the use of illegal drugs. They also generally

   favor capital punishment.



   The parties have different views on the education system of the country, but

   both agree there needs to be change. Democrats favor more progressive

   approaches to education, such as implementing the Common Core System,

   while Republicans tend to favor more conservative changes such as longer hours

   and more focused programs. They are also divided on student loans for college,

   with Democrats favoring giving students more money in the form of loans and

   grants while Republicans favor promoting the private sector giving loans.


Foreign Policy

U.S. foreign policy has traditionally been relatively consistent between Democratic and Republican administrations. Key allies have always been other Western powers like the UK, France. Allies in the middle east were—and continue to remain—countries like Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain.

Nevertheless, some differences can be seen based on the Obama administration's handling of relations with certain countries. For example, Israel and the U.S. have always been strong allies. A major contributor to tension has been the Obama administration's Iran policy. The U.S. tightened sanctions on Iran in Obama's first term but negotiated a deal in the second term that allowed international inspections of Iranian nuclear facilities. The U.S. and Iran also found common ground against the threat from ISIS.

 Republicans in Congress opposed the Iran deal and the easing of sanctions against Iran. 

Another country where the Democratic Obama administration reversed decades of U.S. policy is Cuba. Republican Rand Paul supported the unfreezing of relations with Cuba but his opinion is not shared by a majority of Republicans.  Republicans like presidential contenders Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz have publicly opposed the normalization of relations with Cuba.


Politicians from both parties are often heard saying that "The immigration system in this country is broken." However, the political divide has been too wide to let any bipartisan legislation pass to "fix" the system with "comprehensive immigration reform."

Undocumented immigrants

In general, the Democratic Party is considered more sympathetic to the immigrant cause. There is widespread support among Democrats for the DREAM Act which grants conditional residency (and permanent residency upon meeting further qualifications) to  immigrants who came to the U.S. when they were minors.

Republicans have been opposed to the act.

Legal immigration

Republicans favor legal immigration to be "merit-based" or "point-based". Such systems allow entry visas only to individuals with in-demand skills who can contribute to the economy. The flip side of such a system is that not enough visas may be available for family-based immigration.

A merit-based system is also the opposite of the what the Democrats profess: "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore." 

Civil Rights

Abraham Lincoln belonged to the Republican Party, so the roots of the party lie in individual freedom and the abolition of slavery. Indeed, 82% of the Republicans in the U.S. Senate voted in favor of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 while  69% of Democrats did, but that was because the then strong Southern wing of the Democratic party was vehemently opposed to civil rights legislation.

In any case, the present dynamic is that minorities like Hispanics and African Americans and are much more likely to vote Democratic than Republican. There are prominent African American Republicans like Colin Powell who have now said they will vote democratic.

Voter ID laws

Democrats criticize the GOP for pushing for voter ID laws.   They believe that these laws disenfranchise senior, black and Hispanic voters who tend to be poorer and unable to obtain ID cards

Republicans believe these laws are necessary to prevent voter fraud while it has been proven that voter fraud is virtually non-existent.

*Compiled from several published articles.