Are Democrats and Republicans Largely the Same? Or, Is One Party Worse Than the Other?

In these last four years, the GOP has shown me to be much worse than the Democrats. I never questioned their patriotism, commitment to the rule of law and Constitution prior to 2016. I believed that many had real convictions in conservative principles. Right now, besides power, I think they only care about tax cuts (and I think that’s related to their power as well).

But I’m not comfortable viewing the parties this way, as this is the way partisans think. Their perception of the other side is often a distortion, seeing them in the worst possible light. How do I know I’m not doing that now? I don’t think I can fully know.

That’s where this thread comes in. I’d like to gather evidence to support or refute my current perception. I welcome others to provide examples/evidence.

I will close with another basis for my perception. While both sides often portray the other side in the worst possible light, the last four years seem to have supported Democrats’ depictions of Republicans, rather than the other way around. For example, some Democrats have accused Republicans of being racist. I never thought this prior to 2016, but now this accusation isn’t easy to dismiss. Republicans characterized Democrats as socialists and/or communists, but Joe Biden was the Democratic nominee. (To be fair, the support for Sanders is not insignificant.) There’s more that could be said, and I hope this claim I’m making can be further scrutinized.

16 thoughts on “Are Democrats and Republicans Largely the Same? Or, Is One Party Worse Than the Other?

  1. I forgot about Akin. That’s one good point for the GOP. I think they eventually censured or remove King from a committee, too–which is another good thing.



  2. Cancel culture

    Republicans like to point this out as a threat from the Left. Is it? Or are the Republicans just as bad?

    I would put the following as evidence for the GOP’s claims:

    My understanding is McNeil is apologizing for saying a racial slur, when asking a question about it. I guess it depends on the racial slur, but this seems super excessive. I absolutely hate the n-word. If it was that, I think the consequences were excessive.

  3. Andrew Cuomo Scandal Highlights Republicans Appalling Double Standard by Max Boot at WaPo

    The stark differences in accountability between Democrats and Republicans underscore the reality that the GOP these days is interested only in keeping power — not in exercising it responsibly. The only thing, it seems, that Republican elected officials can do to arouse the ire of their base is to criticize Trump. Republicans have no right to crow about Democratic misconduct until they show more interest in getting their own house in order. Their double standard — excoriating Cuomo, excusing Trump — is egregious.


    Reps. Nadler, Ocasio-Cortez, other N.Y. Democrats call on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to resign over sexual harassment allegations from WaPo

    Cuomo refuses to resign amid Democratic uproar over sexual harassment accusations from WaPo


    New York’s vaccine czar called county officials to gauge their loyalty to Cuomo amid sexual harassment investigation from WaPo

    This is a really bad look for Cuomo–and adds to another thing that could warrant the end of his governorship in my view. I know politicans can play hardball–punishing people that cross them. A certain degree of that is acceptable in my view. Here, though, the Governor’s point person of the covid vaccine also made calls checking if some of county officials would refrain from judging Governor Cuomo on the sexual harrassment allegations until after an investigation was completed. Why couldn’t the Governor get someone not associated with the vaccines to make this call? It might still be problematic, but not nearly as bad in my view.

    1. Biden calls for Cuomo to resign after investigation finds the New York governor sexually harassed 11 women from WaPo

      It kinda sounds like many of the key Democrats are calling for Cuomo to resign:

      When asked about the report Tuesday afternoon, Biden told reporters, “I think he should resign.”

      “Look, I’m not going to flyspeck this,” the president added. “I’m sure there are some embraces that were totally innocent. But apparently the attorney general decided there were things that weren’t.”

      Pelosi and three House Democrats from New York also called on the governor to step down, joining about a dozen from the state delegation who had previously done so.

      “We commend the brave women who came forward and spoke truth to power,” Reps. Hakeem Jeffries, Thomas Suozzi and Gregory W. Meeks said in a statement. “The time has come for Governor Andrew Cuomo to do the right thing for the people of New York State and resign.”

      The state’s two Democratic senators, Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, also reiterated their calls for his resignation.

      “No elected official is above the law,” they said in a statement. “The people of New York deserve better leadership in the governor’s office.”

      And, in a rare move, the Democratic governors of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Rhode Island put out a joint statement saying they were “appalled” by the report’s findings and that Cuomo must step down.

      I don’t think Republicans have done or would do anything similar. They certainly didn’t respond this way to Trump.

      (By the way, after reading the article, I feel like Cuomo should resign, too. It’s hard to believe that the allegations aren’t true. Sadly, the details of the independent report and Gov. Cuomo’s response to it reminds me of Trump.)

    2. New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announces resignation in effort to head off likely impeachment in wake of devastating report on his conduct from WaPo

      On some level I feel bad for Cuomo, and his family, but the details from the report warrant impeachment or resignation. To me, the story reiterates an age old principle, one the Founding Fathers surely appreciated–namely, too much power in one person or group is a bad thing. Absolute power corrupts absolutely, to quote Lord Acton. And to add a bit more nuance and detail, I think people in power can so easily justify inappropriate actions and also begin to feel above norms and rules that apply to others.

      But to go back to the thread. This incident really does contrast the Democrats from the Republicans in my view. One main difference is that the Democrats do have convictions in political principles and policies–they’re not just about seeking power. The same is not true for the GOP.

        1. I briefly saw a short comment by Preet Bharara, and he seemed wary, as if he wouldn’t put it past Cuomo to have something underhanded up his sleeve.

  4. The Republicans and conservative media approach to the pandemic and the vaccine has been insanely irresponsible. My understanding is that the state of Tennessee stopped vaccine outreach to minors–not only the COVID vaccine, but vaccines for other diseases as well. (Ohio also prevented their schools from following CDC guidelines.)

    Genuine question: Is there anything the Democrats have done that is comparable?

    By the way, with regard to the recent decisions by Tennessee and Ohio, here’s a good response from Alexander Petri.

  5. I don’t want to start a separate thread for a variation of this thread’s subject–namely, are “liberal” media the same as “conservative” media–so I’m going use this post for comments and links on that subject.

    Let’s start with an article I read on Chris Cuomo, which called for him to either resign from CNN or for CNN to fire or remove him for recent revelations that Chris Cuomo seemed to be helping his brother, Gov. Cuomo, when the latter faced sexual harassment allegations. (I tended to agree with Graham’s piece.)

    Chris Cuomo Must Go from David Graham in theAtlantic.

    Here’s what CNN did today.

    CNN suspends Chris Cuomo ‘indefinitely’ after documents detail help he gave his brother from WaPo


    Chris Cuomo fired by CNN after investigation into aid to brother Andrew Cuomo from WaPo


    Fox News pundits gloating–i.e., people living in glass houses throwing stones.

    1. In contrast, Fox News, with Tucker Carlson, made mini-documentary about 1/6 that is, in my opinion, totally irresponsible. As in the Trump presidency, I feel like it’s not far off to describe this as assisting in the torching of our democracy.

      Two conservatives quit because of this. Read their descriptions as well as a comment from another Fox News pundit who quit in 2018.

      Two Fox News pundits quit over concerns about ‘conspiracy-mongering’ Jan. 6 documentary from the WaPo

      The series “is a collection of incoherent conspiracy-mongering, riddled with factual inaccuracies, half-truths, deceptive imagery, and damning omissions,” Goldberg and Hayes wrote in a blog post on Sunday night, concluding that “the voices of the responsible are being drowned out by the irresponsible” at Fox News.

      “Over the past five years, some of Fox’s top opinion hosts amplified the false claims and bizarre narratives of Donald Trump or offered up their own in his service,” Goldberg and Hayes wrote, though they offered praise for the network’s news anchors and reporters — “the people who put the ‘news’ in Fox News.” (New York Times media columnist Ben Smith first reported their departure.)

      While it is not uncommon for paid commentators to exit, often for new opportunities at rival television networks, it is extremely unusual for longtime pundits to burn down their former employer on the way out.

      The only recent precedent at Fox News is Ralph Peters, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel who called out the network in a scathing 2018 internal memo conveying to colleagues his reasons for not renewing his contract as a strategic analyst.

      “In my view, Fox has degenerated from providing a legitimate and much-needed outlet for conservative voices to a mere propaganda machine for a destructive and ethically ruinous administration,” Peters wrote at the time. .

      On Monday, Peters told The Washington Post, “Emotionally, I’m bewildered that two people as well-informed, well-intentioned and thoughtful as Hayes and Goldberg could rationalize their complicity for so long.” Peters acknowledged that “the allure and rewards of performing on Fox can be immensely seductive.”

    2. If you’re not a hyper-partisan, how can you ever trust Fox News (or any Murdoch run publication for that matter)? I raise this question in light of a recent court ruling that won’t dismiss Dominion Voting Machine’s libel lawsuit against Fox News. If you don’t want to listen to the 8 minute clip below, here’s what stood out to me:

      1. Dominion went to the Fox executives and brought them evidence that they were putting on air was false. But that didn’t stop Fox from putting on individuals that made false claims.

      2. According to the clip, Fox never allowed Dominion or anyone else to come on air to dispute claims against them.

      This case underscores the mechanism for accountability to hold traditional media accountable for irresponsible behavior, on one hand, and the absence of a similar mechanism for social media. Both Murdoch and someone like Zuckerberg are putting irresponsibly putting profits ahead of our democracy, but there is a greater means to hold Murdoch than Zuckerberg.

      Having said that, I still don’t understand the lack of non-legal consequences–specifically, professional shunning and reputational damage to Murdoch and the people that his publications. How can they blatantly violate journalistic standards without any consequences from their peers and other elites from other fields (e.g., business community)?

      (In addition to the GOP and conservative media, the business community and wealthy have also failed the country. They’ve have not spoken out against Trump or abandoned support to him and his congressional supporters or the GOP party.)

  6. In San Francisco, Reason Beats Radicalism from David French in theAtlantic

    This is about the successful recall vote of three, progressive, San Francisco school board members, which is noteworthy partly because successful recalls are rare. (This may be the first time it’s happened in San Francisco.)

    Additionally, it’s evidence that the moderate elements of the left and Democratic party have greater influence than portrayed the Right, undermining the latter’s narrative that the Democrats are controlled by Progressives.

  7. Racist remarks

    Los Angeles City Councilwoman Resigns Amid Uproar Over Racist Remarks from the NYT

    LOS ANGELES — The former president of the Los Angeles City Council resigned from elective office on Wednesday amid national outrage over racist remarks in a leaked recording, hours after the state attorney general announced an investigation into the redistricting process during which the comments were made.


    Politicians all the way up to President Biden called for the three council members, all Democrats, to resign immediately. Mr. Herrera stepped down on Monday and Ms. Martinez initially relinquished her Council leadership post. She then announced that she was emotionally exhausted and taking a leave of absence from the Council.

  8. Weaponization of the DOJ, FBI, etc.

    A popular GOP narrative when the DOJ/FBI went to retrieve government documents from Mar-a-Lago was that the Democrats have “weaponized” the DOJ. Same with the Russia investigation.

    But I think there’s more evidence Republicans are guilty of this sort of weaponization, which can be seen in this recent NYT article:
    How Barr’s Quest to Find Flaws in the Russia Inquiry Unraveled.

    This is a long, thorough article, and I recommend reading it. (The link should allow you to read the article even if you don’t subscribe to the Times.)

    If the House GOP was genuine about weaponization of the DOJ, they would investigate the actions of Bill Barr and John Durham. And there’s one issue specifically that would warrant this, in my view–namely, Barr and Durham got a tip from Italian officials that Trump may be linked to some financial crimes. Here’s more from the article:

    Mr. Barr and Mr. Durham decided that the tip was too serious and credible to ignore. But rather than assign it to another prosecutor, Mr. Barr had Mr. Durham investigate the matter himself — giving him criminal prosecution powers for the first time — even though the possible wrongdoing by Mr. Trump did not fall squarely within Mr. Durham’s assignment to scrutinize the origins of the Russia inquiry, the people said.

    Mr. Durham never filed charges, and it remains unclear what level of an investigation it was, what steps he took, what he learned and whether anyone at the White House ever found out. The extraordinary fact that Mr. Durham opened a criminal investigation that included scrutinizing Mr. Trump has remained secret.

    This was happening in 2019.

    Here’s more to suggest Barr and Durham were acting in a political way:

    Mr. Durham used Russian intelligence memos — suspected by other U.S. officials of containing disinformation — to gain access to emails of an aide to George Soros, the financier and philanthropist who is a favorite target of the American right and Russian state media. Mr. Durham used grand jury powers to keep pursuing the emails even after a judge twice rejected his request for access to them. The emails yielded no evidence that Mr. Durham has cited in any case he pursued.

    There were deeper internal fractures on the Durham team than previously known. The publicly unexplained resignation in 2020 of his No. 2 and longtime aide, Nora R. Dannehy, was the culmination of a series of disputes between them over prosecutorial ethics. A year later, two more prosecutors strongly objected to plans to indict a lawyer with ties to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign based on evidence they warned was too flimsy, and one left the team in protest of Mr. Durham’s decision to proceed anyway. (A jury swiftly acquitted the lawyer.)

    This sounds on par with Ken Starr’s Whitewater investigation.

    There’s a lot more in this article, and it sure seems like the reason Republicans are so certain Democrats have acted politically and in bad faith is because they do it themselves.

  9. Hunter Biden

    This IRS whistleblower claims DOJ did things to benefit Hunter Biden (e.g., slowing the IRS investigation). If the DOJ acted politically, that is a legitimate problem and serious matter. Let’s see what comes of this.

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