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By Cherilyn Hearn

Understanding the Democratic party

On the liberal, softer side of American politics sits the Democratic party. As our country nears the end of the second term of our Democratic president, do we understand what his party stands for and from where they’ve come?

By any other name

Those who would someday be the Democratic party originally called themselves Republicans, long before the actual Republican party existed. Over time they would call themselves the Democratic-Republicans and finally, during his run for president, Andrew Jackson shortened the name and began calling his followers the Democrats, and they have been called thus every since.

The Democratic party is therefore truly the oldest political party, despite the fact that the GOP seems to wear that label stereotypically. There are other ironic truths in the history of this party. For instance, the Democratic party used to fight for slavery and against civil rights. This was actually the main issue during the time that President Lincoln was in office. The southern Democrats wanted to keep their slaves and did not want the federal government interfering in the states’ freedom to make their own decisions regarding racial issues.

Of course, today’s Democrats are known to be the humanitarian party, which is quite a change from one hundred and fifty years ago. When listening to emotional debates and arguments between the parties, you would think that someone would remind them all of a little history.

The U.S. electoral vote

The way in which leaders are elected in America is considered that of a democracy and supposed to deliver the fairest and most accurate result. Candidates collect electoral votes, which are representative votes based on population and meant to report the majority opinions in every state. Every vote is not counted. This method has long been a point of controversy, as one might consider how many elections would have turned out different if indeed every citizen’s vote had been counted. This may have seemed impossible years ago, but with current technology, a change in counting procedures is gaining momentum. One of the largest problems in elections is getting voters to show up, and some believe that if voters truly believed an election could be won or lost by one vote, this would change dramatically.

The Democratic party has come a long way in the years since it was the only party. Nevertheless, in all that time, it is still one of the two largest political parties. Today, the oldest political party is known for its liberal hand in social aid, aid to other countries and a basic platform of caring more and doing more. Despite the long reign of the Republican party from the 1860s to 1930s, both parties are now fairly equal and almost every election comes down to the wire. The emergence of the Tea party suggests that a revamp of the Republican party may be in our future. If Republicans are split, the Democrats may be able to take advantage and conquer.

Both of our main political parties have come a long way and undergone a lot of changes. Before anyone sides or identifies with one another, it’s important to research and know what and who you are aligning yourself with when it comes to politics. Make an informed decision when you vote this year.

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