As one of the two major political parties in the United States, the Republican Party is naturally an important feature in our lives as Americans. This is why it’s not unusual for someone to have their own definition of what a Republican is.
And of course, dictionaries are overbearingly concise in their attempt to define things. For example, the Merriam-Webster Dictionary simply states a Republican is “a member of the Republican Party of the US.”
With that in mind, our goal is to take a fair, well-researched and unbiased look at what the Republican Party actually stands for.
Core Beliefs of the Republican Party
Understanding the core beliefs of the Republican Party is an important step in understanding what the party and its members stand for.
All of the core beliefs discussed in this article are centered around the premise of personal responsibility. This means each individual is believed to be responsible for his or her own place within society and in our great nation.
An extension of this belief is the understanding that the government should have a limited role to play when intervening (or attempting to intervene) with an individual’s American Dream. As such, the Republican Party believes government intervention should only occur when society is unable to function on the individual level.
What this boils down to is the idea that governance should take place primarily on a state and community level. With this localization, the government is believed to be better placed for enabling the individual to reap the benefits of society.
The most important of the Republican Party’s core tenets are as such, according to their committee website:
• The best government for the people is one that is closest to the people, and therefore the government should not interfere unless they are needed.
• The strength of the nation lies within the individuals who live in the country, and therefore feel that the individual’s freedom, dignity and responsibility must come first and foremost in our government.
• Free enterprise and encouraging individual initiative are what brought the country economic prosperity in the past, and what will continue to bring it prosperity in the future.
• The government must practice fiscal responsibility, and allow its people to keep the money they work for.
• America should work to protect national freedom first, while working to spread peace, freedom and human rights in the world.
(Information shared by RepublicanViews.org)
A Brief History of the Party
Also referred to as the GOP (“Grand Old Party,” though originally “Gallant Old Party”), the Republican Party traces its origins back to anti-slavery activists and pro-settlers in Wisconsin and Michigan.
The Party’s founders believed all Americans, regardless of race or origins, deserved a fair chance at prosperity. To this end, they also felt any settlers who were looking to develop land in the west ought to be granted it free of charge.
In 1856, it was first recognized as a national party when John Freemont was nominated for the Presidency. Abraham Lincoln became the first Republican president four years later.
It’s thanks to the Republican Party that the Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments were secured. Former slaves were thus granted equal opportunity, and with the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment (majority vote being from Republican states), Women’s Suffrage was similarly supported.
At present, it is the Second Amendment which the GOP is most publicly concerned with preserving.
Health care is a major topic of political debate for the Republican Party. With a belief in patient-centered, free market-based health care that theorizes on competitiveness to drive down costs, the GOP continues to push back against government-run social health care systems.
Recently, Republican President Donald Trump revived the legal battle to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare”. Trump stated at the time: “The Republican Party will soon be known as the party of health care.”
This was shortly after a new health care proposal, comprising of 200 pages, was introduced by Rep. Bruce Westerman of Arkansas. As per Westerman:
“Tax rates are low, but hospital and health care spending is a component of family spending, and if we allow monopoly power to extract high prices you get to the point where that’s a bigger tax on a family than the actual tax collected by the Internal Revenue Service.”
The Republican Party seeks to uphold Biblical Christian family values by recognizing marriage as the legal union of one man and one woman. Allegations have been made claiming this is a homophobic decision alienating approximately 4.5% of the population identifying as LGBTQ+.
However, the Party stands firm on the belief that, by breaking away from tradition, the sanctity of a marriage as an institution set up by the Founding Fathers is compromised. Furthermore, the Party believes being raised by a male figure and a female figure is healthier. In keeping with their core beliefs, the Republican Party encourages states to develop their own laws with regards to gay marriage rather than rely on federal law.
Gender neutrality and other LGBTQ+ equality issues are considered in the same manner by the GOP. That being said, (obviously) not all people who identify as part of the Republican Party agree with these sentiments.
In truth, the Wall is only a proposed aspect of the immigration reform the Party feels is necessary. It is believed, in order to preserve national security, illegal immigration should not be looked upon favorably and illegal immigrants should not be allowed the same benefits as legal immigrants.
Legal immigration, on the other hand, is of no concern to Republicans. This is because they recognize those who legally moved to the US as aids in the enrichment of the nation. However, illegal immigration is believed to set a negative example for future hopefuls and endanger American livelihoods.
As mentioned earlier, the Republican Party stands firmly behind the Second Amendment, which grants eligible individuals the right to own and bear arms for the use of self-defense.
For the GOP, this includes the right to purchase and store ammunition without the need for registration, as well as federal legislation granting carriers of state-issued permits the ability to carry anywhere in the US and its territories.
It is the GOP’s belief that unborn children, from the moment of conception, ought to be granted the same individual rights to life and liberty as any other American citizen. As such, all rights granted under the Fourteenth Amendment are extended to the unborn. Abortion is therefore considered murder in all cases.
To this end, the Republican Party supports the total abolishment of abortion, including in cases where the life of the mother and/or unborn child is at risk should the pregnancy be carried to term.
Welfare is considered an unnecessary drain on the nation’s resources. It is the general Republican view that government should focus those resources on job creation to alleviate the strain on working Americans’ gains.
The GOP has previously targeted welfare and will continue to do so. It is the party’s belief that by reducing taxes and government spending, those relying on welfare will be able to pursue the American Dream.
Government Spending and Taxes
Linked to the section above is the Republican Party’s view that tax reduction is a necessary change. However, also linked to the above is the understanding that, in order for taxes to be realistically reduced, government budget must be reduced first.
Tax reforms such as the Research and Development tax credit are desired to become permanent. Top margin tax rates are also believed to require a limitation to ensure those who have become wealthy through hard work and investment are not “punished” for their success.
In relation to this belief is the desire for tax credits to be granted for those who save and invest. This way, the GOP believes careful taxation and government spending reforms will foster a positive change in the economy.
Global Warming and Environmental Conservation
Republicans generally support environmental conservation efforts, provided the economy is able to thrive. This can often complicate the matter, as some conservation efforts may require short-term loss but guarantee long-term gains.
At the same time, more immediately attractive alternatives guarantee continued short-term growth, but are also more likely to introduce long-term economic decline.
With the national debt currently over $22 trillion dollars, short-term losses are typically considered too risky (for example, in terms of fossil fuels vs sustainable energy). However, the GOP announced a desire to develop new technologies that meet stricter environmental standards.