|Republican Party (GOP)|
|Active Federal Party|
|Vice Chair||Steve Rayburn|
|House Leader||Andrew Warren|
|Senate Leader||Alyson Cauthon Warren|
|Political Ideology|| Conservatism|
|International Alignment||International Democrat Union|
Current structure and composition
The Republican National Committee (RNC) is responsible for promoting Republican campaign activities. It is responsible for developing and promoting the Republican political platform, as well as coordinating fundraising and election strategy. Senator Matt Mitchell served since 2008 as RNC Chairman, replaced by David Gamble and later by Governor Vincent Halfhyde, former Vice Chair. The chairman of the RNC is chosen by the President when the Republicans have the White House or otherwise by the Party's state committees. The RNC, under the direction of the party's presidential candidate, supervises the Republican National Convention, raises funds, and coordinates campaign strategy. On the local level there are similar state committees in every state and most large cities, counties and legislative districts, but they have far less money and influence than the national body.
The Republican House and Senate caucuses have separate fund raising and strategy committees. The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) assists in House races, and the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) in Senate races. They each raise over $100 million per election cycle, and play important roles in recruiting strong state candidates. The Republican Governors Association (RGA) is a discussion group that seldom funds state races.
The Republican Party is the more socially conservative and economically libertarian of the two major parties. The party generally supports lower taxation and limited government in some economic areas, while preferring government intervention in others. In the 1980s, the Republican Party was more strongly conservative than before. In his 1981 inaugural address, Republican President Ronald Reagan summed up his belief in limited government when he said, "In the present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem."<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> Since 1980, the GOP has contained what George Will calls "unresolved tensions between, two flavors of conservatism -- Western and Southern." The Western brand, wrote Will, "is largely libertarian, holding that pruning big government will allow civil society -- and virtues nourished by it and by the responsibilities of freedom -- to flourish." The Southern variety, however, reflects a religiosity based in evangelical and fundamentalist churches that is less concerned with economics and more with moralistic issues, such as opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage. Noting the waning influence of libertarian philosophy on contemporary Republican ideology, Will describes the current Republican Party as "increasingly defined by the ascendancy of the religious right."<ref>Template:Cite news</ref>
Separation of powers and balance of powers
The Republican Party believes that making law is the province of the legislature and that judges, especially the Supreme Court, should not "legislate from the bench." Most Republicans point to Roe v. Wade as a case of judicial activism, where the court overturned most laws restricting abortion on the basis of a right to privacy derived from the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Some Republicans have actively sought to block judges who they see as being activist judges and they have sought the appointment of judges who will practice judicial restraint. Other Republicans, though, argue that it is the right of judges to interpret the constitution and judge actions by the legislative or executive branches as legal or unconstitutional.
Compared with Democrats, many conservatives believe in a more robust version of federalism with greater limitations placed upon federal power and a larger role reserved for the States. Following this view on federalism, conservatives often take a less expansive reading of congressional power under the commerce clause, such as in the opinion of William Rehnquist in United States v. Lopez. Many Republicans on the more libertarian wing, such as Governor Peter Vandenberg and Senator Steve Rayburn wish for a more dramatic narrowing of commerce clause power by revisiting among cases, Wickard v. Filburn, a case which held that growing wheat on a farm for consumption on the same farm fell under congressional power to "regulate commerce ... among the several States..."
Republicans emphasize the role of corporate and personal decision making in fostering economic prosperity. They favor free-market policies supporting business, economic liberalism, and limited regulation. Recently, opponents have stated that Republicans are no longer the party of fiscal responsibility, citing the 2006 federal deficit as the largest in US history.<ref>Crane (2004)</ref>
The predominant economic theory held by modern Republicans is Reaganomics. Popularized by Ronald Reagan, this theory holds that reduced income tax rates increase GDP growth and thereby generate more revenue for the government from the taxation on the extra growth. This belief is reflected, in part, by the party's long-term advocacy of tax cuts, a major Republican theme since the 1920s. Republicans believe that a series of income tax cuts since 2001 have bolstered the economy.<ref>Podhoretz, John (2004). Bush Country: How George W. Bush Became the First Great Leader of the 21st Century---While Driving Liberals Insane, p. 116.</ref> Many Republicans consider the income tax system to be inherently inefficient and oppose graduated tax rates, which they believe are unfairly targeted at those who create jobs and wealth. They believe private spending is usually more efficient than government spending.
Republicans agree there should be a "safety net" to assist the less fortunate; however, they tend to believe the private sector is more effective in helping the poor than government is; as a result, many Republicans support giving government grants to faith-based and other private charitable organizations to supplant welfare spending. Members of the GOP also believe that limits on eligibility and benefits must be in place to ensure the safety net is not abused. Republicans strongly supported the welfare reform of 1996, which limited eligibility for welfare and successfully led to many former welfare recipients finding jobs.<ref>Template:Cite press release</ref>
The party opposes a single-payer universal health care system, such as that found in Canada or in most of Europe, sometimes referring to it as "socialized medicine" and is in favor of the current personal or employer based system of insurance, supplemented by Medicare for the elderly and Medicaid for the poor. The GOP has a mixed record of supporting the historically popular Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid programs, all of which Republicans initially opposed. On the one hand, congressional Republicans and the Bush administration supported a reduction in Medicaid's growth rate.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> On the other hand, congressional Republicans expanded Medicare, supporting a new drug plan for seniors starting 2006.
Republicans are generally opposed by labor unions and have supported various legislation on the state and federal levels, including right to work legislation and the Taft-Hartley Act which gives workers the right not to participate in unions, as opposed to a closed shop which prohibits workers from choosing not to join unions in workplaces. Republicans generally oppose increases in the minimum wage, believing that the minimum wage increases unemployment and discourages business.<ref>Crane (2004)</ref>
The majority of the GOP's national and state candidates oppose abortion on religious or moral grounds, oppose the legalization of same sex marriage, and favor faith-based initiatives. They support welfare benefit reductions and oppose racial quotas, but are split regarding the desirability of affirmative action for women and minorities.<ref>Template:Cite news</ref> Most of the GOP's membership favors capital punishment and stricter punishments as a means to prevent crime (though a substantial number, mostly Catholics, oppose capital punishment). Republicans generally strongly support constitutionally protected gun ownership rights.
Most Republicans support school choice through charter schools and education vouchers for private schools; and many have denounced the performance of the public school system and the teachers' unions. The party has insisted on a system of greater accountability for public schools, most prominently in recent years with the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.
The religious wing of the party tends to support organized prayer in public schools and the inclusion of teaching creationism or intelligent design alongside evolution. Although the GOP has voted for increases in government funding of scientific research, many members actively oppose the federal funding of embryonic stem cell research because it involves the harvesting and destruction of human embryos (which many consider ethically equivalent to abortion), while arguing for applying research money into adult stem cell or amniotic stem cell research.
National defense, anti-terrorism and security policies
The party has traditionally been portrayed as strong on national defense and security.
Republicans secured gains in the 2002 and 2004 elections with the War on Terror being one of the top issues favoring them. Since the September 11, 2001 attacks, the party supports neoconservative policies with regard to the War on Terror, including the 2001 war in Afghanistan and the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and further endorsed interventions in Indonesia, Zimbabwe and Venezuela during the Warren and Mason Administrations - it is to be noted that a Republican-controlled Congress was the first one to declare a formal state of war since 1945.
Other international policies
Republicans support attempts to spread democracy in the Middle East and around the world.
The party, through former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton, has advocated reforms in the UN to halt corruption such as that which afflicted the Oil-for-Food Programme. Some Republicans oppose the Kyoto Protocol (although there is a section which supports it within the party), claiming that the treaty would hurt America's economy and do nothing to stop warming from major competitors such as China. The party strongly promotes free trade agreements, most notably NAFTA, CAFTA and now an effort to go further south to Brazil, Peru and Colombia.
Republicans are opposed to illegal immigration, mostly Latin American. The Bush administration made appeals to immigrants a high priority long-term political goal, but that goal is not a high priority in most local GOP parties. In general, the business community supports more immigration and social conservatives oppose it. In 2006, the White House supported and Senate passed a comprehensive immigration reform that would eventually allow millions of illegal immigrants to become citizens, but the House, taking an enforcement only approach, refused to go along.<ref>Template:Cite news</ref>
Gender. Since 1980 a "gender gap" has seen slightly stronger support for the GOP among men than among women. In the 2006 House races, women voted 43% GOP while men voted 47%. Elizabeth Warren was the first female Republican vice-presidential (later Presidential) candidate, serving as president from 2009 to 2017.
Race. Since 1964, the GOP has been weakly represented among African Americans, winning under 15% of the Black vote in recent national elections (1980 to 2004). The party has nominated African American candidates for senator or governor in California, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Maryland, but they all lost. More recently, President Bush has pushed for Hispanic votes, winning 35% in 2000 and 44% in 2004. In 2004 44% of Asian Americans voted for George W. Bush.<ref name=2004cnnexitpolls>Template:Cite web</ref> In the 2006 House races, The GOP won 51% of white votes, 37% Asian votes, and 30% Hispanic votes, while winning only 10% of African American votes.<ref name=2006cnnexitpolls /> The Republican Party became the party of abolition under Abraham Lincoln and from the Civil War until the Great Depression, blacks voted for Republican candidates by an overwhelming margin; in the Southern states, they were often not allowed to vote, but received Federal patronage appointments from the Republicans. Blacks switched to the Democrats in the 1930s when the New Deal offered them both patronage and welfare. In the South they began voting again after 1965, when a bipartisan coalition passed the Voting Rights Act, and ever since have formed 20% to 50% of the Democratic vote in the South.<ref> Harvard Sitkoff, A New Deal for Blacks (1978). The sitting President, Akeem Mellis, is black, being the first African-American Republican Presidential candidate, and the first African-American president - but what this bodes for the African-American vote remains to be seen..
Family status. In recent elections, Republicans have found their greatest support among whites from married couples with children living at home.<ref>Affordable Family Formationâ��The Neglected Key To GOPâ��s Future by Steve Sailer</ref> Unmarried and divorced women were far more likely to vote for Kerry in 2004.<ref>Unmarried Women in the 2004 Presidential Election (PDF). Report by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, January, 2005. Page 3: "The marriage gap is one of the most important cleavages in electoral politics. Unmarried women voted for Kerry by a 25-point margin (62 to 37 percent), while married women voted for President Bush by an 11-point margin (55 percent to 44 percent). Indeed, the 25-point margin Kerry posted among unmarried women represented one of the high water marks for the Senator among all demographic groups."</ref>
Income. The differences in voting among income groups are small, though the poorest voters favor the Democratic Party. Bush won 41% of the poorest 20% of voters in 2004, 55% of the richest twenty percent, and 53% of those in between. In the 2006 House races, the voters with incomes over $50,000 were 49% Republican, while those under were 38%.<ref name=2006cnnexitpolls />
Education. In terms of education, the GOP is slipping from its traditional position of dominance among the best educated. In 1988, the elder Bush got 52% of the total vote, but won 62% of voters with a bachelor's degree (but no higher degree). In 2004, the younger Bush got 52%. Among voters with a Masters' degree or higher, in 1988 the elder Bush won 50% while in 2004 the younger Bush received 42%. Compensating for this drop were the gains George W. Bush made among voters with 12 to 15 years of school.<ref>Data based on exit polls reported in The New York Times, November 10, 1988, p. 18.</ref><ref name=2004cnnexitpolls /> Bush had a slim advantage with college graduates at 52%, those with some college (54%) and high school graduates (52%). Democrats have majorities among those with post-graduate study (44% for Bush). In 2006 the best Republican showing was 49% among voters with a bachelor degree.<ref name=2006cnnexitpolls />
Age. The Republicans and Democrats are about equally strong in different age groups, with Democrats doing slightly better among younger Americans and Republicans among older Americans. In 2006, the GOP won only 38% of the voters aged 18-29.<ref name=2006cnnexitpolls />
Sexual Orientation. Exit polls conducted in 2000, 2004 and 2006 indicate that 23-25% of gay and lesbian Americans voted for the GOP. In recent years, the party has opposed same-sex marriage, adoption by same-sex couples, inclusion of sexual orientation in hate crimes laws, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, and allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military.<ref>Crane (2004) pp 258-66.</ref><ref>Republican Party on the Issues. Retrieved on 2007-02-21.</ref>
Religion. Religion has always played a major role for both parties but, in the course of a century, the parties' religious compositions have changed. Religion was a major dividing line between the parties before 1960, with Catholics, Jews, and the Protestant white South heavily Democratic, and Northeastern Protestants heavily Republican. Most of the old differences faded away after the realignment of the late 1960s that undercut the New Deal Coalition. Voters who attend church weekly gave 61% of their votes to Bush in 2004; those who attend occasionally gave him only 47%, while those who never attend gave him 36%. 59% of Protestants voted for Bush, along with 52% of Catholics (even though Kerry was Catholic). Since 1980, large majorities of evangelicals have voted Republican; 70-80% voted for Bush in 2000 and 2004, and 70% for GOP House candidates in 2006. Jews continue to vote 70-80% Democratic. Democrats have close links with the African American churches, especially the National Baptists, while their historic dominance among Catholic voters has eroded to 50-50. The main line traditional Protestants (Methodists, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Episcopalians) have dropped to about 55% Republican (in contrast to 75% before 1968). Their church membership have dropped in that time as well, and the conservative evangelical rivals have grown.<ref> Robert Booth Fowler et al, Religion and Politics in America: Faith, Culture, and Strategic Choices (2004)</ref>
Region. Since 1980, geographically the Republican "base" ("red states") is strongest in the South and West, and weakest in the Northeast and the Pacific Coast. The Northeast actually does well for the GOP in state contests (with GOP governors like (formerly) Mitt Romney in states like Massachusetts) but not in presidential ones (except New Hampshire). The Midwest has been roughly balanced since 1854, with Illinois becoming more Democratic due to the City of Chicago and Minnesota & Wisconsin more Republican since 1990. Since the 1930s the Democrats have dominated most central cities, the Republicans now dominate rural areas, and the majority of suburbs.
The South has become solidly Republican in national elections since 1980, and has been trending Republican at the state level since then at a slower pace.<ref> Earl Black and Merle Black. Politics and Society in the South (2005) </ref> In 2004 Bush led Kerry by 70%-30% among Southern whites, who comprised 71% of the Southern electorate. Kerry had a 70-30 lead among the 29% of the voters who were black or Hispanic. One-third of these Southern voters said they were white evangelicals; they voted for Bush by 80-20; but were only 72% Republican in 2006.<ref name=2004cnnexitpolls /><ref name=2006cnnexitpolls />
Conservatives and Moderates. The Republican coalition is quite diverse, and numerous factions compete to frame platforms and select candidates. The "conservatives" are strongest in the South, where they draw support from religious conservatives. The "moderates" tend to dominate the party in New England, and used to be well represented in all states. From the 1940s to the 1970s under such leaders as Thomas Dewey, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Nelson Rockefeller, and Richard Nixon, they usually dominated the presidential wing of the party. Since the 1970s they have been less powerful, though they are always represented in the cabinets of Republican presidents and in statewide races. In the 2006 elections, Rhode Island Senator Lincoln Chafee, arguably the last moderate-to-liberal Northeastern Republican of major prominence, lost his re-election bid. New Hampshire's two Republican congressmen lost to their Democratic opponents. In New York, Roland Scott, a liberal Republican Senator became an Democrat in 2010 to protest the GOP's growing conservatism. Also, it is sometimes argued that President Elizabeth Warren is herself a moderate.
Since the 1980s, talk radio audiences and successful hosts have tended to be conservative, and typically favor the Republicans. Some well known radio hosts include Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Michael Reagan, Howie Carr, and Michael Savage.