What is your political affiliation? Chances are when asked this question, most of you will reply with a simple Democrat or Republican. In fact, in August of this year the Rassmussen Report showed that 37.6% of Americans were affiliated with the Republican party, 33.3% per affiliated with the Democrat party, and only 29.2% were in the other category.

Now looking at those numbers it would appear that 1/3rd of the country should have the same conservative values, 1/3rd should have the same liberal values, and the other 1/3rd would be mixed. However, this is simply not that case. There are Democrats that fall further on the left of the political spectrum than others and vice versa. The party has just become a way for people to show if they are left or right of political center. It does not show how FAR left or right that is. This means if you don’t agree with every aspect of your political party or candidate you are not alone.

So what exactly does it mean to be a member of a particular party? I will outline the party platforms for both the Republican and Democrat party as well as the Libertarian and Green party platforms.

Democrat Platform

The Democrat Platform is based on the following ideology:

Democrats believe that we’re greater together than we are on our own—that this country succeeds when everyone gets a fair shot, when everyone does their fair share, when everyone plays by the same rules.

You can find out the details on specific party platform issues on the official Democrat website.

Republican Platform

The Republican party was founded on the notion that power should be given to the state and the size of the federal government reduced:

Abolition. Free speech. Women’s suffrage. These were all causes the Republican Party adopted early on. So, too, were reducing the size of government, streamlining bureaucracy, and returning power to individual states. With a core belief in the primacy of individuals, the Republican Party, since its inception, has been at the forefront of the fight for individuals’ rights in opposition to a large, intrusive government.

To find out more on the republican stance on key issues visit their official party site.

Libertarian Platform

The Libertarian statement preamble of principle is as follows:

As Libertarians, we seek a world of liberty; a world in which all individuals are sovereign over their own lives and no one is forced to sacrifice his or her values for the benefit of others.

We believe that respect for individual rights is the essential precondition for a free and prosperous world, that force and fraud must be banished from human relationships, and that only through freedom can peace and prosperity be realized.

Consequently, we defend each person’s right to engage in any activity that is peaceful and honest, and welcome the diversity that freedom brings. The world we seek to build is one where individuals are free to follow their own dreams in their own ways, without interference from government or any authoritarian power.

You can learn more about the Libertarian Party at their official party website.

Green Party Platform

A snippet of the Green platform statement of beliefs is best summarized in the following statement:

To achieve genuine citizen participation, citizens must share in the power of governing. Greens seek to bring vibrant grassroots democracy to every part of the United States.

Greens seek to repair U.S. electoral system, from how elections are financed, to conducting them in more fair and representative ways, to ensuring accountability and transparency on all levels of government. In particular, Greens believe that the U.S. winner-take-all voting system is fundamentally flawed, resulting in low voter participation, little choice or competition in countless elections, and far too few women and minorities in elected office.

More information on the Green Party Platform and stance on issues can be found on their official party website.

Though we may all fall somewhere within the political spectrum, we can all appreciate the ideology behind the political movements of today. Are you surprised by anything you learned on the official platform pages of any of the parties?