The two major parties in the United States, the Republicans and the Democrats, vary widely on all issues. The Democrats align themselves to the left and center of the political spectrum, while the Republicans are further to the right. The Republican Party has a more conservative viewpoint, while the Democratic viewpoint is more liberal.

The Democratic Party advocates the power of civil liberties, as well as social progressivism which supports the concept of changing society’s practices if it is going to benefit society. The Democratic Party also believes that in order for people to be as free as possible, government action is required. Democrats are more in favour of a mixed economy compared to a free-enterprise economy. This economy involves a capitalist system, with government regulation, which is similar to Canada. Democrats are also different socially from Republicans. Democrats favour the use of diplomacy over the action of the military. Democrats are also in favour of issues such as stem-cell research, immigration, same-sex marriage, and a tighter gun control.

The Republican Party is more conservative, believing in independence and the concept that the government should not get involved in private economic issues. Republicans believe that if people have more economic freedom, then society will be more efficient. Economically, Republicans are against issues such as raising taxes to balance the budget. Republicans support tax cuts to allow economic improvement. Republicans differ widely from Democrats on social issues. Republicans are generally against same-sex marriage as well as abortion rights. Republicans are also against issues which Democrats support, such as, Affirmative Action and stricter gun control.

The Republicans and Democrats each have four main candidates vying for the presidency. The leading candidate for the Democrats is Barack Obama. Obama is a United Christian born in Honolulu, Hawaii. Obama went to Columbia University where he received a BA. He then carried on to Harvard and received a Juris Doctor. Obama has served as the Junior Senator from Illinois since 2004. Before that, Obama served in the Illinois State Senate from 1997-2004. Obama leans further to the left on the political spectrum compared to most politicians in Washington. Obama has opposed the Iraq War from the start. Obama is also a large supporter of the environment. He has proposed several ideas which would restrict carbon emissions.

The next candidate for the Democratic Party is Senator Hillary Clinton. Clinton was born in Chicago, Illinois into a United Methodist family. In 1965, Clinton received a major in political science from Wellesley College in Massachusetts. Clinton then went to Yale Law School where she received a Juris Doctor in 1973. Since the year 2000, Clinton has been the Senator from New York. Clinton also served as First Lady of the United States from 1993-2001. Clinton is generally considered to be a liberal senator. Clinton is a supporter of gun control as well as abortion. Clinton is also considered to be pro-environment.

After Clinton, John Edwards is the next candidate for the Democratic Party. Edwards was born in Seneca, South Carolina, and similar to Clinton,  he is a United Methodist. Edwards graduated in 1974 from North Carolina State University, with a bachelor’s degree in textile technology. Edwards then moved on to North Carolina University where he earned a Juris Doctor. Edwards was the United States Senator from North Carolina from 1999-2005. Edwards also ran for Vice President in 2004 with John Kerry. Edward’s views are considered to be on the center of the political spectrum. Though he is pro-affirmative action and pro-choice,  he is also pro-death penalty. Edwards opposes same-sex marriage as well.

The final candidate for the Democrats is Governor Bill Richardson. Richardson was born in Pasadena, California, but was raised in Mexico City as a Roman Catholic. Richardson went to Tuft’s University in Boston to play baseball and graduated in 1971 with a master’s degree in International Affairs. Richardson first served as a US Congressman representing New Mexico from 1983-1997. Richardson served as the US Ambassador to the UN from 1997-1998 and as US Secretary of Energy from 1998-2001. Richardson falls in the center of the political spectrum. He initially supported the war in Iraq but now is in favour of immediate withdrawal. Richardson is also in favour of abortion rights for all people. However, at the same time, Richardson does not support same-sex marriage, and is in favour of the death penalty.

CandidateReligionEducationRegion and ExperienceViews
Barack ObamaUnitedBA from Columbia University, Juris Doctor HarvardIllinois Senator 1997-2004, US Senator 2004-Opposes Iraq war, staunch supporter of environment
Hillary ClintonUnited MethodistMajor Political Science from Wellesley College, Juris Doctor from YaleServed as First Lady 1993-2001, Senator from New York 2001-Supports gun control, abortion and cleaning up environment
John EdwardsUnited MethodistBachelors Degree in Textile Industry from NC State, Juris Doctor UNCNorth Carolina Senator 1998-2004, Vice President nominee 2004Pro affirmative-action, pro-choice, pro death penalty, against troop surge
Bill RichardsonRoman CatholicMasters degree in International Affairs from Tuft’s UniversityNew Mexico congressman 1983-1997, US Ambassador to UN 1997-1998, Governor of New Mexico 2003-Wants immediate troop withdrawal from Iraq, in favour of abortion, does not support same-sex marriage

The leading candidate for the Republican Party is Senator John McCain. McCain was born in a US-controlled area of Panama. He was raised as a Baptist Christian in Northern Virginia. McCain graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1958. McCain served as the US Senator representing Arizona from 1982-1999. He then finished second in the 2000 Republican Primaries, following which he served as Senator from 2001-2007. In 2008, he won the Republican Primaries, defeating Mitt Romney, and Mike Huckabee. McCain is considered to be a moderate conservative compared to most Republicans. On economic and foreign issues, he is a conservative, while on social issues he is more liberal. McCain is pro-life and takes a Conservative stance towards free-trade issues. However, McCain takes a more liberal attitude towards issues such as immigration.

The next candidate, Mike Huckabee, is a Southern Baptist Christian born in Hope, Arkansas. Huckabee graduated from Ouachita Baptist University where he received a Bachelor’s degree in Religion. He then attended Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Huckabee served as the Governor of Arkansas from 1996-2007 and also served as the Lieutenant Governor of Arkansas from 1993-1996. Huckabee is considered to be a more conservative Republican. He supports the war in Iraq and he wants to increase border security. Huckabee is also against abortion, same-sex marriage, and civil unions.

The third candidate is Mitt Romney, a Mormon from Detroit, Michigan. Romney graduated from Brigham Young University with a Bachelor of Arts degree and served as valedictorian. In 1975, Romney graduated from Harvard with a Juris Doctor and an MBA. Romney has political experience, serving as the Governor of Massachusetts from 2002-2007. Romney also served as the CEO of the Salt Lake City Olympics in 2002. Romney, like Huckabee, is a more conservative Republican and has become more conservative over time. Initially, Romney was pro-abortion but he has since changed his stance to become pro-life. Romney also supports the right to bear arms and would like to reduce immigration.

The final Republican candidate is Rudy Giuliani. Giuliani is a Roman Catholic, born in Brooklyn, New York. Giuliani went to Manhattan College where he majored in Political Science. Subsequently, Giuliani went to New York School of Law in Manhattan where he graduated with a Juris Doctor in 1968.  Giuliani served as mayor of New York City from 1993-2001 and received high praise for his handling of the September 11th attacks. Giuliani also had an unsuccessful run for senate in 2000. He is considered to be a more moderate conservative. Giuliani supports the Iraq war and is against universal health care. However, Giuliani is also pro-choice and believes that humans are major contributors to global warming. Giuliani is a staunch supporter of the State of Israel.

CandidateReligionEducationRegion and ExperienceViews
John McCainBaptistGraduate of US Naval AcademyServed as US senator from Arizona 1982-1999, 2001-2007, presumptive Republican nominee for PresidentLiberal attitude towards immigration, Conservative on free-trade issues, pro-life
Mike HuckabeeSouthern BaptistBachelor’s degree in Religion from Ouachita UniversityLieutenant governor 1993-1996, governor of Arkansas 1996-2007Supports the War in Iraq, wants to increase border security, against abortion, same sex marriage, and civil unions
Mitt RomneyMormonBachelor of Arts from Brigham Young, MBA and Juris Doctor from HarvardGovernor of Massachusetts 2002-2007, CEO of Salt Lake City Olympics in 2002Pro-life, believes in right to bear arms, wants to reduce immigration
Rudy GiulianiRoman CatholicPolitical Science Manhattan College, Juris  Doctor  New York Law SchoolNew York City mayor 1993-2001, unsuccessful run for senate in 2000Supports Iraq War, against universal health care, pro-abortion

The Republicans and Democrats are competing intensely in several areas of the country over issues such as same-sex marriage, Iraq and immigration reform. The South has been a more Republican area over the last 25 years and this should not change for the 2008 election. One of the major issues in the south is immigration reform. The South relies heavily on manufacturing, and many are concerned that many illegal immigrants are taking jobs away from American citizens. The Democratic Party is more in favour of letting these illegal immigrants stay in the United States, while the Republicans are against it. However, both groups are in favour of tightening border security.

The Northeast is an area which will most likely lean towards the Democrats. One of the major issues in the Northeast is the economy, as there are several economic centres such as New York, Philadelphia and Boston. They will most likely support the Democratic philosophy, which involves immediately pumping money into the economy. The Republican philosophy, involving several tax cuts providing more economic freedom, is not as popular in the Northeast. The Northeast has only had one state vote for Republicans in the last two general elections.

The next region, the Midwest, is the most hotly contested. In recent elections, the Northern Midwest states, such as Illinois and Minnesota, have voted Democratic, while Southern Midwest states, such as Missouri and Kansas, tend to support the Republican party. Many of the votes in this area will be split amongst Republicans and Democrats. Democrats are in favour of family farms as opposed to corporate farms. Democrats also want to help kick-start organic farming in the area. For those who do not want agricultural reform in the Midwest, they will vote for the Republicans. John McCain voted against a bill which would completely reform agriculture policy.

The Northwest is one of the most liberal regions in the United States. States such as Oregon or Washington have not voted Republican since 1984. One of the more important issues in the Northwest is the environment. Barack Obama’s goal as president would be to make America the world-wide leader in the effort to fight climate change. Hillary Clinton’s plan is to develop a new treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol. Clinton also wants to deliver a novel approach to alternative energy, such as solar power and hydropower. McCain has introduced the Climate Stewardship and Innovation Act of 2007, which significantly limits greenhouse gases.

California is a state which has voted for the Democrats in every election since 1992. In California, issues such as same-sex marriage and illegal immigration are very important due to the large gay and Hispanic populations.  On the issue of immigration, Obama and Clinton both supported a bill introduced by President Bush which would build a 700 mile fence along the US-Mexican border (“Issues: Immigration”). McCain even helped sponsor this bill. On the issue of same-sex marriage, all three candidates   oppose the issue while also opposing a constitutional amendment which would ban same-sex marriage.

RegionIssueDemocratsRepublicans
SouthImmigrationIn favour of letting immigrants stay, and tightening border securityWant to send immigrants back to former countries, and tighten border security
NortheastEconomic StimulationWant to immediately pump money into economy to save itWant to make several tax cuts providing more economic freedom
MidwestAgricultureAgainst corporate farms, want to kickstart organic farmingAgainst agricultural reform in the area
NorthwestEnvironmentWant to make America a leader in battle against climate change, replace Kyoto AccordIntroduced acts to significantly limit greenhouse gases
CaliforniaSame-sex Marriage, and ImmigrationObama and Clinton oppose same sex marriage, support bill to build 700 mile fence along borderOppose same sex-marriage, support bill to build 700 mile fence along border

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