What’s the difference between Democrats/liberals and Republicans/conservatives? Firstly, these are four different things, and aren’t even necessarily mutually exclusive. Ask any American historian and they will tell you how the 19th century Democratic party used to tend conservative and the Republican party leaned liberal. Today, individuals often blur the line. Libertarians today, for instance, regularly run under the Republican party despite having some liberal ideas.

We often make compromises when voting, and, unless someone is truly zealous, they likely won’t agree with their candidate on everything. Political beliefs are too nuanced for that. For example, it might appear to some that Gov. Tim Walz and Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey failed by not taking the violent, authoritarian response to protests that some called for, but consider how that worked out for cities like Portland where protests rage on.

It was common sense that simply increasing the police presence and violence in Minneapolis would have stopped protests. Let us remember it was also once common sense that the Earth was flat. Common sense is just what we say when we’ve decided we understand something fully and are unwilling to take an objective look at it ever again.

So with all that said, what is the difference between Republicans/conservatives and Democrats/liberals? There is no one good answer.

Perhaps a better response than X is Y and W is Z, would be to acknowledge that while there are generally tendencies that can be assigned to these groups, there is no exact answer for any.

At least, that’s what I would hope anyone teaching my children would say (not to be curt).

Dalton Myers

St. Peter

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