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									Aaron Hart
PSCI 1051
Dr. Books
                       Ideology of the Factions within the Republican Party

       The voter base of the Republican Party has several characteristics. Typically,

slightly more men vote for the Republican Party than women. Also, most of their voters

are white when it comes to race. The Republican Party also holds a large majority of the

military service votes because of their promotions of military government spending.

Married white couples with children living at home have also shown a lot of support for

the conservative party. This may be due to the fact that among their tax cuts, the party

offers tax exemptions for children still living at home. Those with higher annual incomes

are also likely show support for the party. In the House races in 2006, voters with

annual incomes over $50,000 were 49% Republican, whereas below that line, only 38%

supported the party(Elections 2006, CNN). In 2004, George Bush won 55% of the most

wealthy twenty percent of the population and 53% of those between low and rich

annual incomes, which consists of about 60% of the population(2004 Election, CNN).

This may partially explain why Republicans are more likely to have 4-year degrees than

Democrats. Business owners are also heavy contributors to the Republican Party for

similar reasons. Geographically, the Republican Party receives some its strongest

support from the southern states. These states have their own southern cultures which

emphasize religion. Most of those who consider themselves to be Protestants typically

vote for the Republican Party, though some still vote Democratic. However, the

Protestant Christian religion is largest religious base in the United States.

Aaron Hart
PSCI 1051
Dr. Books
       The Republican Party has been known by several different names. The Grand

Ole Party, or GOP for short, is one that is most often used. Republicans have also been

referred to as “right wing”, although, most people who consider themselves to be

Republican, actually fall only slightly to the right on the political spectrum, meaning that

they are less conservative. Another common name used when referring to the

members of the party as conservatives. However, all of these words do little to describe

the actual beliefs and ideals of the party, aside from the setting them apart from the

opposition. Republicans, in general, have a defined path or ideal when it comes to some

of the more major issues: separation of powers, the economy, health care, social

problems, the environment, and international policies.

       Republicans typically have a very narrow interpretation of the United States

Constitution. They believe in having a limited national government, while favoring

slightly stronger state governments. Republicans tend to take the Constitution word for

word. They wish to limit the powers of Congress under the Commerce Clause, which

has interpreted loosely, broadens Congress’ powers over the economy. They believe

that many decisions regarding policy on certain issues, such as same sex marriage,

should be left up to the states to set. This would only increase the power of the states,

while still limiting the national government. Although they oppose expanding the

national government, Republican President George W. Bush actually expanded the

abilities of the national government, with much help from the Patriot Act.

Aaron Hart
PSCI 1051
Dr. Books
       In regards to the economy, Republicans believe in having a “laissez-faire”

market, or free market. This means they want little to no government intervention in

the economy, hence the restriction of the Commerce Clause. Although they generally

oppose greater government spending, they do support higher spending for the military

and national defense. They tend to support tax cuts and support supply-side

economics. The goal of supply-side economics is to create more spending from the

wealthy in the form of investments into suppliers, thus spurring an economic

growth(Parties Within the Parties: Republicans, Washington Post). One good example

of Republican economic policy can be seen in what has been referred to as

“Reagonomics.” Reaganomics had four main points: reduce the growth of government

spending, control the supply side to reduce inflation, reduce marginal tax rates on

capital and labor, and reduce government regulation of the economy. Applying these

ideals to the economy, Reagan successfully reduced inflation and unemployment, both

of which were major political issues at the time. Republicans also typically favor

businesses and oppose the labor unions. This can be seen in such legislation as the Taft-

Hartley Act, which gives workers the right to not join a labor union(“Reaganomics”,

Niskanen). This meant that labor unions could run closed shops, where every worker is

a union member. Republicans also oppose raising minimum wage, because they feel

this hurts the business owners by forcing them to cut jobs and programs in order to

come up with more money to fund the raises.

       Republicans also favor a more socialized, or publically funded, health care

system. Initially, they opposed Medicare and Medicaid, most likely due to its increases

Aaron Hart
PSCI 1051
Dr. Books
in government spending. However, some Republicans have begun to show support for

these publically funded programs(Washington Post). This is most likely due to the fact

that a large number of the elderly are Republicans. In general, the GOP opposes the

current welfare system. Not to say that it should cease to be, but most Republicans

believe it should be privately funded and not government funded, in order to cut

government spending.

       Social policies are a very broad topic of discussion. These are often the same

topics that the American people feel the strongest about. These include abortion, the

death penalty, gun control, stem cell research, same sex marriages, etc. Republicans

tend to take a pro-life stance when it comes to abortion. Similarly, they oppose stem

cell research for similar reasons. Since religion is also a high priority among their

constituents, it is an obvious choice for them to oppose these two topics, since most

churches oppose them as well. Most churches also oppose same sex marriages, another

view shared by the Republican Party. In their 2004 Election Platform, the Republican

Party supported the Federal Marriage Amendment. This Amendment would limit

marriage down to a union between one man and one woman. With Republican

President Bush in office, the bill came before Congress in mid 2006(2004 Platform, RNC).

The Amendment failed to reach the two thirds needed in both the House and Senate.

Republicans oppose strict gun control laws. They think that guns are needed in bigger

cities for the protection of one’s family. Most Republicans favor the capital punishment

as a means of preventing crime. Having something like judicial retribution, they believe,

is a good deterrent for crime. However, some religions, that typically support right wing

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PSCI 1051
Dr. Books
politicians, actually oppose the death penalty. The District of Columbia and fifteen

states have already banned capital punishment(Baker). The Republicans also typically

oppose affirmative action. They believe that it has created race quotas and that it is

actually counterproductive, only furthering discrimination. Republicans also support

school choice, in which families may receive vouchers and other supportive funding,

which they use towards paying for private schooling or charter schools for their

children. They are also advocates of prayer in school. Because most of the party’s

constituents already have a heavy favoritism towards religion, they also support the

teaching of creationism in public schools. They feel that both evolution and intelligent

design have a place in the classroom. As one can see, the Republicans, in general, favor

faith-based initiatives, attributed by their large numbers of religious constituents.

       The environment is a relatively small issue for the Republican Party. Because

they already support businesses, especially when it comes to the oil industry, they care

little for the environment. However, most Republican candidates do support the

research to find alternative fuels because they know that petroleum resources are

dwindling. This can be interpreted as a way to allow them to fund more businesses that

are on the supply side of the economy to find new fuel resources. They support oil

drilling in many environments, such as protected areas like national parks and refuges.

Some Republicans also believe that global warming is not the cause for concern but

rather the result of natural causes and is a cyclical process. This theory suggests that

there are periods of time in which the Earth goes through hot and cold cycles.

Aaron Hart
PSCI 1051
Dr. Books
        Republicans believe that the best offense is to have a strong national defense.

One of the only increases in government spending that they will support is one that

propose more money for the military. Subsequent to this they also believe that United

States should act in its own self interest and not worry about international support.

These ideals are based on the realism theory. Political realism differs in its applications,

but shares the idea that that one should act by the desire for security, military, or

economic power, not because of their ideals. This can be seen in American history in

two forms: Ronald Reagan’s “Evil Empire” and George W. Bush’s “Axis of Evil”. With Evil

Empire, the United States were aggressive in matching and exceeding everything the

Soviet Union did or achieved. This was seen as a nuclear arms race over the years

throughout the Cold War. The Axis of Evil was a phrase used by Bush after the

September 11th attacks as a reference to countries that promote terrorism and actively

seek means of acquiring weapons of mass destruction. Under this premise, Bush

invaded Iraq and Afghanistan in his War on Terrorism. Republican Rudy Giuliani has

stated that America must remain on the offensive against terrorism. Republicans also

support preemptive war, the idea that they must act in order to disarm a foe to prevent

attacks on other nations, and subsequent warring. Being big fans of business and free

markets, Republicans support free trade agreements. This allows transactions to occur

between countries without government interference. The North American Free trade

Agreement was actually partly the work of Republican President George H. W. Bush in

the early 1990s. Similarly, the Central American Free Trade Agreement was signed by

his son, George W. Bush.

Aaron Hart
PSCI 1051
Dr. Books
       Immigration is another big international issue for the Republican Party. They

want to limit illegal immigration as much as possible. However, they are divided on how

to achieve this. Some Republicans favor a work visa program, which allows the

immigrants to come to this country in search of work. The same group favors relaxing

the citizenship guidelines. Others feel that this idea is too liberal, particularly because

their opponents are often supported by these minorities. These more traditional

Republicans feel that there should be an enforcement-first nationalist approach to


       More than one criterion should be considered when trying break down the

party. Because of this the Republican Party can be broken down in two ways. One of

which is dividing it up into several factions: fiscal conservatism and libertarian

conservatives, moderate conservatives, neoconservatives and paleoconservatives,

theoconservatives and social conservatism.

       Fiscal conservatives typically advocate a reduction in overall government

spending. Fiscal conservatism was one of the early bases for the formation of the

Republican Party, but it flourished under former President Ronald Reagan(Niskanen).

Fiscal conservatism continued to grow even into the 1990s, when the Republican Party

controlled Congress, despite a change in which party controlled the White House. In

this period, they were able to reduce the national debt by $360 billion and create the

largest federal budget surplus, albeit with the help of their liberal counterparts. Modern

fiscal conservatism relies heavily on the idea of free trade, while paying off the national

Aaron Hart
PSCI 1051
Dr. Books
debt. However, they cannot agree on the policy to achieve this. Most favor the idea of

raising taxes and cutting government spending to make a more balanced budget for

government spending(Washington Post). American businessman and mayor of New

York City, Michael Bloomberg offers this definition of the term at the 2007 United

Kingdom Conservative Party Conference:

    “To me, fiscal conservatism means balancing budgets – not running deficits

    that the next generation can’t afford. It means improving the efficiency of

    delivering services by finding innovative ways to do more with less. It means

    cutting taxes when possible and prudent to do so, raising them overall only

    when necessary to balance the budget, and only in combination with spending

    cuts. It means when you run a surplus, you save it; you don’t squander it. And

    most importantly being a fiscal conservative means preparing for an inevitable

    economic downturns – and by all indications, we’ve got one


Libertarian Republicans most commonly share this idea of fiscal conservatism. Through

this, they advocate the lowering of taxes at all levels of government. They believe that

through this, we can lower the national debt by forcing a decrease in government

spending, due to less taxpayer money being readily available to the government.

Libertarians are considered radicals within the party because they are much less willing

to abandon this idea of fiscal conservatism. They also believe strongly in protecting the

people’s civil liberties. They are greatly opposed to the Patriot Act, which was passed by

Aaron Hart
PSCI 1051
Dr. Books
fellow Republican leadership. The highest ranking representative among the Libertarian

Republicans is Ron Paul, who was selected to the United States House of

Representatives to represent Texas(Texas GOP).

       Moderate conservatives vary in their degrees of conservatism, although, they all

have some degree of liberalism incorporated into their values as well. They typically

share the same or similar economic views as other Republicans; they often differ on the

social aspects. Some may favor liberal values when it comes to gun control, abortion,

same sex marriage, the death penalty, etc. Like most conservatives, they are most

commonly opposed to deficit spending. Moderate Republicans are sometimes referred

to as “Republicans in Name Only”, because their ideals may fall outside of what most

consider “mainstream Republicanism.”(Washington Post). These Republicans are under

much scrutiny within their own party because of their more liberal beliefs. Some more

traditional Republicans believe these moderate conservatives that should just call

themselves Democrats. Mayor Bloomberg, former United States Secretary of State

Colin Powell, and former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, are all examples of moderate


       Neoconservatives and paleoconservatives are often at ends with each other.

Jonathan Clarke, from the Carnegie Council of Ethics and Affairs, states that the main

characteristics of neoconservatism are: a tendency to see the world in terms of good

and evil, low tolerance diplomacy, readiness to use military force, emphasis on US

unilateral actions, opposition to multilateral organizations, and a focus on the Middle

Aaron Hart
PSCI 1051
Dr. Books
East. Neoconservatives are interested in exporting democracy to foreign countries, by

any means necessary. They want to incorporate ideals from American culture,

government, and economics into all foreign countries. These ideals are commonly

known as imperialism. Strength is a common idea among neoconservatives. They

believe that humans are innately selfish; therefore, the US military must remain strong

in order to keep policing the world. Without the US military’s presence, they believe the

whole world would go to chaos. They also believe in a strong national defense. They

are known for a weak dedication to limiting the national government, unlike most

Republicans. They believe in social control and believe that if it were to not be in place

we would end up in an all-out war. Neoconservatives also differ from most Republicans

in that they typically support welfare and open immigration. Their opposition, the

paleoconservatives, is dwindling in numbers. Modern paleoconservatives strive to

oppose the neoconservatives. They oppose the current welfare system and

immigration(Washington Post). Although, they do not wish to be truly associated with

the Republican Party, their ideals on abortion, same sex marriage, gun control, the

death penalty, and other key social topics, align more with right wing end of the political


       Social conservatives align themselves with social issues of the party. Economic

issues are not as a important to them. These Republicans are more concerned with

social issues, such as abortion. Social conservatives greatly oppose abortion, especially

since many of these members consider religion to be a high priority. They also believe

in a reduction in gun control laws, typical of the Republican Party. Affirmative action is

Aaron Hart
PSCI 1051
Dr. Books
another hot topic for social conservatives. They believe that it disqualifies more

qualified employees and creates race quotas. Theoconservatives are also known as the

“Religious Right” group. This faction heavily supports religion in politics. Most of the

members of this group are Protestants and Evangelicals(Washington Post). Major

efforts by this party have been made to criminalize abortion, discouraging funding for

stem cell research, and the banning of same sex marriages. TV personality Pat

Robertson, former Attorney General John Ashcroft, Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin, and

former Senator Rick Santorum are associated with this faction of the Republican Party.

Another means of dividing up the Republican Party is by their attitudes toward social

change, by looking at the past, present, and future.

       The Fundamentalist Republicans look to the past for their ideals on social

change. They believe that party has strayed from true conservatism. They look toward

the roots of American government for their ideals. They are also strongly influenced by

God and religion. Alan Keyes once said: “We must renew our allegiance to the

fundamental principle, the simple truth that we abandoned: that our rights come from

God, and must be exercised with respect for the authority of God.”(White, p. 92). They

think abortion, pornography, and gambling should all be banned. They also favor two

parent families and plan to help them through tax relief and educational choice plans

using vouchers for private religious schools. Pat Buchanon, a prominent Fundamentalist

Republican, wants the party to abandon the free trade idea in favor of what he called

“economic nationalism,” which he defined in this way: “I believe in free markets, but I

do not worship them. In the proper hierarchy of things, it is the market that must be

Aaron Hart
PSCI 1051
Dr. Books
harnessed to work for man—and not the other way around.”(White, p. 93). As one can

see, the fundamentalist group has more in common with the liberal opposition when it

comes to the economy. They also see technological advancements as an attack on jobs.

According to these Fundamentalists, with technology becoming more precise and

advanced, the need for the number of robots that can do the same job in a more

controllable fashion is increasing and the number of jobs occupied by humans would

decrease. The Fundamentalist Republicans like to think that most Americans

sympathize with their views, often being referred to as the “Moral Majority.”(White, p.

92-94) Some Republicans like to the present, not the past for their ideals.

       Orthodox Republicans look to the present when it comes to their ideals. Some

describe this group of Republicans as the party’s “default opinion.” Their traditions

stress professionalism, pragmatism, and quiet compromise. They do supply something

that the other two, fundamentalists and reformists, do not bring to the table:

seriousness. Recent presidential nominees include Richard Nixon, Bob Dole, and George

H. W. Bush. These politicians would rather strike an agreement than pose for a

picture(White, p. 95). They offer safety and reliability. However, speediness of action is

not one of their strong attributes. They also lack a true direction, as they are focused on

the here and now, with little promises for the future. They stress fiscal conservatism

and social cohesion. Common ideals really mean little to them as they view elections

based on competence, not ideology(White, p. 96). Always looking toward the future,

one will find the Reformist Republicans.

Aaron Hart
PSCI 1051
Dr. Books
       Reformist Republicans want to push forward. Early reformers thought that a

more centralized and “scientific” government would be the cure to inefficiency and

corruption of American politics. However, they have more recently turned on these

ideals and said that “they are not the solution, but the problem.” “The dynamic of this

‘new age’ is antihierarchical and antiauthoritarian” says Steve Forbes(White, p. 97) As

opposed to fundamentalists, they blame welfare issues on the American government,

not moral decay. Former White House aide James Pinkerton described temporary

reformism as: “…a new Paradigm for public policy in the postindustrial age.” This “New

Paradigm” is broken down into five components: market forces, individual choice,

empowerment, decentralization, and pragmatic focus on outcomes.(White, p. 98)

Market forces were defined by Pinkerton as: “The official who tinkers with the

economy, who pushes the wrong policy button, will see the flow of capital and

investment re-route itself instantaneously across nations and continents and

oceans.”(White, p. 100) Individual choice and empowerment go hand-in-hand.

Individuals are empowered to make choices for themselves. The government is

responsible for making their decisions. This is an example of decentralization. The

people do not need some bureaucracy to tell them what to do. All of the preceding

leads up to the most recent election and the 2008 Republican Platform.

       Senator John McCain was the 2008 presidential nominee for the Republican

Party. His platform consisted of many different topics, some valence issues as well as

positional issues. Both parties have similar views on most valence issues, so they are

less noteworthy. What defines the party the most is where they stand on position

Aaron Hart
PSCI 1051
Dr. Books
issues. Several position issues mentioned in the 2008 Republican Party include: national

defense, the economy, and health care.

       In terms of national defense, the party mentioned that they believe there should

be one central Committee to deal with intelligence as opposed to the current system in

place, which consists of many multi-jurisdictional arrangements. They also proposed

more effective enforcements, as well as increased funding, for border patrols. They also

believe in protecting the workplace from illegal immigrants and fraudulent

documentation of workers. To them, this means guaranteeing our immigration law

enforcement agencies the right tools to maintain these ideals. In terms of military, they

are opposed to reinstituting the draft and believe in protecting our freedoms(2008

Platform, RNC). The military budget is often affected by the amount of tax payer money

and condition of the economy.

       The economy is another big contributor to this Republican platform. The

Republican Party believes in lowering taxes to help stimulate economic growth, in these

times of recession. For families, they claimed that they would lower their tax burden by

doubling exemptions for dependents. In terms of technology, they claimed that they

would ban all taxes on internet usage and stop all new cell phone taxes. For family and

small businesses, they promised to keep fighting against the federal death tax. They

also supported tax credits for health care and medical expenses. In addition to taxes,

they also planned to help small businesses grow. They intended to open several foreign

markets to small businesses to encourage their growth. They were also committed to a

Aaron Hart
PSCI 1051
Dr. Books
legal reform that would help protect small businesses from some lawsuits. Republicans

also believe that employer-employee relations in the future should be dictated by

employee empowerment and workplace flexibility. Following this principle, they

intended for more Americans to work from home as well as other ways of making their

jobs more convenient. They also stated that there should never be decision between

food and fuel and they intend to do this by retaining the USDA as the leader in

agricultural research. They also proposed and to ethanol mandates in the United

States(2008 Platform, RNC). Medicine and health care would also benefit from these

economic changes.

       Health care is another area in which the Republicans stressed the need for

reform. The Republicans stressed that they would not harm public policy in terms of

medicine. They would not put the government between patients and health care

providers, raise taxes instead of reducing health care costs, or radical reconstruction

that would complicate the health care system even further. They wanted all Americans

to have their choice of the best health care providers, coverage, and facilities. They

even called for a health savings accounts for families to meet their needs as well as the

whole family’s needs. They also stated that patients would not have to worry about

losing their insurance, but it’s the insurance companies that should worry about losing

the patient’s business. They believe in protecting individuals with pre-existing

conditions. They pledged to reward good health care providers for real results. In

addition to all of this they planned to fund more medical research as well. They also

planned to lower the costs of the federal government for Medicare and Medicaid, by

Aaron Hart
PSCI 1051
Dr. Books
giving those currently dependent on the system better health care options. They also

planned on building a better health care system for the future by stockpiling medicines

and vaccines in case of a pandemic(2008 Platform, RNC).

       As one can see the Republican Party differs in their important issues, as well as

their ideology, as the go further to the right. In general, the party favors religious

initiatives, tax cuts, and increased military spending. Meanwhile, getting more specific,

there are two ways to view the party. One way is to break the party up into several

factions based on their beliefs. Some factions can be more liberal in certain areas than

others, but they all still consider themselves to be conservatives. Religious Right

conservatives believe most heavily in religion. Libertarians believe most strongly in the

economical aspect of the Republican Party. Moderate Republicans are the most leftist

of all of the factions. They share some liberal views as well as conservative views. They

favor free trade and limited government interference. Another way would be to look at

the roots of the group. This view is shared by most Fundamentalists as well, when they

discuss returning back the clock to their old faith-driven ideals. The Reformists favor

individual choices in everyday society and also believe in little government interference

in the lives of Americans. Lastly, there are Orthodox Republicans, which are considered

to be the default template of Republican ideals. The 2008 Republican Platform showed

atypical conservative views, but in the end they failed to gain enough support to win the


Aaron Hart
PSCI 1051
Dr. Books
                                            Works Cited

1) "2008 Election Platform". Republican National Committee. 3/27/2009


2) Baker, Deborah. "New Mexico Governor Abolishes Capital Punishment." Associated Press

   03/19/2009 27 Mar 2009



3) "Election 2004". CNN. 27 Mar 2009


4) "Elections 2006". CNN. 27 Mar 2009


5) Gallagher, John. "Mayor Bloomberg Delivers Remarks at 2007 Conservative Party

   Conference." 09/30/2007 27 Mar 2009





6) Niskanen, William A. "Reaganomics". Library of Economics and Liberty. 27 Mar 2009


7) "Parties within the Parties: Republicans". Washington Post. 27 Mar 2009


8) "What We Believe". Republican Party of Texas. 27 Mar 2009


Aaron Hart
PSCI 1051
Dr. Books
9) White, John. Green, John. The Politics of Ideas. Albany, NY: State University of New York

    Press, 2001. P. 92-102.


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