The United States of America has always had a complicated history with political parties and the political process since the beginning. The United States born from a revolution with the goal of being free from Great Britain had many people interrupt what that freedom would look like in practice. The more industrialized areas some wanted a more federalist state such as Alexander Hamilton, where a more political elite would rule, some wanted George Washington to become a king of sorts to lead America, and many more ideas of what this new country would look like.
Source: Pew Research
Formation of Modern American Politics
The Modern formation of American politics can be seen in events leading to and the aftermath of the American Civil War. Where the biggest issue in America at the time was the issue of slavery, so people formed parties to either be pro or anti-slavery leading to a two-party system.
After the Civil War with the defeated Confederacy, being occupied and reassimilated into the Union, new ideas came into being which then created new reasons to stick together as massive parties. The Democrats and the Republicans have been the only two parties to hold political power in America for the last century and a half. This is foreign to a lot of the outside world who had multiple political parties, and it is weird even for Americans since looking deeper into each political party reveals that a lot of these members have different ideas and political aims, yet still stick together. Why? Because they have no other choice but to stick together.
Factions of the American Left
When people hear “American Left” people think of the Democrats, but what democrats do they think about? Do they think of the Democratic Socialists like Bernie Sanders, The centrists like Biden, the new dealers like FDR. What the average American doesn’t think about is the nuance of the American Left, it goes from Centrists all the way to Communists. The more extreme factions tend to have their own separate parties but vote and run as Democrats for the prestige/power of the party.
Left centrists tend to make up the bulk of the Democratic party. They have a want for reform in many sectors of the United States such as in big government and social issues, but aren’t super polarized or political in most regards. They come under scrutiny by more political factions and lean toward not being more political.
Started by Franklin Delano Roosevelt during the Great Depression in the 1930s, it was the idea of using the government as a stabilizing force in the economy through public works and working with labor, as well as free benefits or “rights” provided by the government such as housing and healthcare. A lot of New Dealers were inspired by 20th-century progressive ideas and wanted to champion them and help America recover. After World War II, the term and ideas started to fade out and evolve but some of the policies such as social security stuck around and were expanded. The term New Dealers has started to make a small comeback but, in a way, to pay homage to FDR.
Progressives have become a mainstay in modern American liberal politics. Progressives mainly concern themselves with the social realms of politics and push for many social reforms more than any other faction of the left. Progressives are tied to a lot of other political groups such as the Democratic Socialists and New Dealers, but some still hold enough differences that they can be described as different from them.
Democratic Socialists believe in a more equitable economy, where the economy is focused on the workers and not corporations, currently, their main goal is to reform capitalism into that system through the democratic process. It has recently sprung in popularity due to politicians such as Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Communist Party of America
Similar to the Democratic Socialists, the Communist Party of America wants to change and reform American society. They do this by working with the working class and supporting many causes. Against the exploitation of people and want to make a more equal society.
These are only a couple segments of the Americans left, one can look even deeper and see even more divisions in the factions based on Ideology and situational factors. The American left politics are diverse and continue to become more diverse with each passing year.
Factions of the American Right
When people hear “American Right” a lot of things come to mind, rural areas, religious, and more traditional. The politicians and ideas they think of can range from Donald Trump and MAGA to Ron-DeSantis and conservatives, to Mitt Romney and evangelicals to more abstract ideas like the Tea Party. It is harder to pinpoint conservative factions since it’s a lot less consistent with one another, due to the rapid evolution of politics.
Center-right people much like their liberal counterparts make up the bulk of voters for the American right. They are okay with some reforms but would like things to stay the same. They express a desire for a smaller government and laissez-faire economic policy. They tend to support strong national defense and hold conservative views on social issues.
They advocate for a robust and interventionist foreign policy to promote American values abroad, support a strong defense budget, and often favor more liberal social policies.
Tea Party/Conservative Constitutionalist
The Tea Party was a faction on the right that was formed to deal with fiscal issues in the United States. Mainly, they wanted lower taxes, a reduction of the federal, small government, and a focus on the constitutional rights provided originally.
Conservative Libertarians believe in more freedom for the average person and a very small government. This would mean less regulations and restrictions on the people, and letting the people choose on most social issues except for those affecting abortion and possibly LGBT decisions.
A part of the right that heavily leans into religion, mostly a form of Christianity. Most of these people are found in the bible belt of the South. They don’t have an official party but are a very important faction on the right. Their end goal is to have the government follow more Christian values and protect religious freedom. Evangelicals filter through many of the other factions in the conservative movement.
This is a new faction in the right, created when Donald Trump ran and won the presidency. This faction was founded by lovers of Trump’s populistic style and features. The foreign policies mostly include pro-isolationism, America first, a capitalistic economy, and some conservative ideologies filtering through from the other factions.
The alt-right is also quite new to the political realm, its growing influence started on the internet in places like 4chan. It has evolved from then and has become a fringe force in politics. Although their politics are hard to get an understanding since it’s a decentralized idea/group that consists of anywhere from Fascists to Nazis, to white supremacists, and people who just want to make people angry with their edgy jokes.