There is a widely-held perception that the Democratic Party and the Republican Party are drastically different in their policy, proposals, philosophy of government, and general modus operandi. While there are certainly some significant differences between the two parties, the number of similarities are astounding. A few months ago on IVN, Wes Messamore explored the similarities between the two major party candidates, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.
1. A large number of Democrats and Republicans signed the National Defense Authorization Act for the year 2012, which critics say allows for the indefinite detention of American citizens on U.S. soil without due process. President Obama pledged to veto the NDAA, but went back on his word and signed it into law with the indefinite detention provision included. Mitt Romney says that he would do the same.
3. The Bush-era Patriot Act, which allows for warrantless wiretapping, was passed with bipartisan support and recently extended by policymakers of both parties. Romney has voiced his support for the controversial legislation. Obama supported it as a senator and signed the extension into law as president.
4. Both the Republican and Democratic administrations have attempted to justify the use of extrajudicial targeted killing, the killing of people without trial or substantive due process, including American citizens. The use of these tactics increased under President Obama and has received praise from members of both parties. There was strong bipartisan support for the Obama Administration's extrajudicial killing of U.S. citizen Anwar al-Aulaqi and his 16 year old son without trial, which received praise from Republican Party members and was strongly supported by Mitt Romney.
5. The Democratic and Republican parties both generally support the vastly-growing use of unmanned aerial combat drones in the Middle East:
- The use of unmanned drones to patrol foreign skies, which have been responsible for many civilian and child deaths, began under President Bush and drone use has drastically increased and expanded under President Obama. There has been little to no partisan opposition to these tactics and while the GOP platform advocates for increased drone use, the Democratic platform doesn't mention their use at all.
- Drone warfare in Pakistan started under Bush, has been significantly escalated by Obama, and Romney has indicated that he will continue using drones in Pakistan if elected. Both parties also support the continued drone warfare being used in Libya, which Romney has stated he would likely continue.
- In Yemen, the Obama Administration has continued the fighting that the Bush Administration initiated, which Obama has done with the use of secretive drone warfare and by recently sending troops back.
6. Both parties will also allow drones to patrol the skies of the United States. The FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, which calls for the use of up to 30,000 drones in U.S. airspace, passed the Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support.
7. The Federal Reserve is allowed by both parties to continue to operate as an "independent government agency," whose monetary policy decisions do not have to be approved by the president nor any other elected member of the executive or legislative branch. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke was appointed by George W. Bush and re-appointed by Obama. Mitt Romney has flip-flopped on whether he would reappoint Bernanke, stating in 2010 that he would reappoint him, but stating recently that he would not reappoint Bernanke for a third term. Bernanke was reappointed for his second term in 2010 after a bipartisan vote of 70-30. However, the Audit the Fed bill has also received strong bipartisan support.
8. In an apparent direct conflict of interest, 130 Republican and Democratic congressional members have invested in company stocks while making legislative decisions that impact those same companies.9. Initial versions of the Federal Reserve Act were drafted by Republican Senator
10. Both Republican and Democrats have allowed the Federal Reserve to inject trillions of dollars into the economy through their quantitative easing programs. While many Republicans including Romney have said they are against the third round of quantitative easing, neither party has or is likely to introduce bills aimed at regulating or halting quantitative easing altogether.
11. Republicans and Democrats love earmarks so much that even the bipartisan earmark moratorium, while greatly cutting back on earmarks, couldn't stop the pork from being slipped into bills. Approved earmarks in 2010 totaled over $15 billion and the amount of requested earmarks in 2011 exceeded $129 billion. Citizens Against Government Waste reports that $3.3 billion has been approved for 2012.
12. Both parties and their national, congressional and senatorial committees have spent more than one billion dollars on their 2012 campaigns.
13. The Democratic and Republican convention committees each received $17,689,800 from the U.S. Treasury for their conventions in 2012 and an additional $600,000 to cover the cost of inflation. This is paid for through a voluntary check off on federal income tax forms.
14. Both parties are largely backed by the same corporate contributors and interest groups. Congressional members also receive contributions from many of the same interest groups. Both parties are heavily lobbied by corporate America -- to the tune of $3.3 billion in 2011 and $1.68 billion thus far in 2012.15. The majority of both parties agreed that Wall Street should receive bailouts. The TARP bailout was signed into law by
George W. Bush and initially drafted by Bush-appointed Secretary of Treasury-- and Republican-- Henry Paulson. Obama supported TARP as a senator and the bailout went on to receive overwhelming support from Democrats in the House. TARP also received largely bipartisan support in the Senate.
16. The same Wall Street TARP recipients who were top contributors to the Democratic presidential campaign in 2008 are now the top contributors backing the Republican presidential campaign in 2012. In 2008, Republican John McCain was backed by the same companies, although his campaign received less than the Obama campaign.
Both parties work hard to maintain the illusion of a two-party system, but in reality they both serve the interests of the business party.17. Both parties are private, non-profit corporations and are in no way an official part of the United States government. Furthermore, neither party is mentioned in the Constitution nor is there mention of a two-party system, and a few of our
18. As Glenn Greenwald points out in an article for The Guardian, Republicans and Democrats discuss certain general issues during debates while ignoring other more controversial issues that they may agree on, hoping to convince the public that there is a huge difference of choice.
19. Both Democrats and Republicans seem to believe that voting for a third party is equivalent to throwing away your vote while in reality, if everyone voted their conscience and avoided voting for the "lesser of two evils," which 46 percent of those polled said they would be doing this election, the two-party stranglehold may actually be broken.
21. Both the Democratic and Republican parties exclude third parties from the presidential debates. In 1987, the Democratic and Republican parties founded the nonprofit Commission on Presidential Debates to regulate the presidential debates, which excludes third party candidates from participating in the only nationally televised presidential debates.
22. The Democratic and Republican parties have both been sued for conspiring to exclude third parties from the quadrennial presidential debates.23. Both also both believe that taxpayers should provide funding to other countries around the world. The bipartisan
25. The Democratic and Republican parties both agree that a two-state solution should be pursued between Israel and Palestine.
26. No one other than a Democrat or Republican has been elected president in the last 160 years.
27. Lawmakers from both parties in Congress and the executive branch have been responsible for all foreign interventions since 1853, keeping America in a near perpetual state of war. They are also responsible for the assistance and direct involvement of the U.S. in at least 31 instances of covert foreign regime change since the beginning of the Cold War.
28. There is cross-administration support of preemptive cyber attacks. The Obama Administration has continued the Stuxnet cyber attacks against Iran which were started under the Bush Administration.
30. Both Democrats and Republicans are eager to place even more sanctions on Iran, which harm innocent Iranian civilians, hoping to prevent Iran from developing nukes. The fact that eight other countries already have nukes is usually ignored.
31. The Democratic and Republican parties both agree that preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons is a top priority. Obama and Romney also both agree that preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon is a top US security priority.
32. At least 360 former Democratic and Republican congresspeople have left office and accepted jobs as lobbyists for corporations or special interest groups who then attempt to influence the same federal government they once worked for. As many as 5,400 congressional staffers have done the same in the past 10 years alone. Referred to as the "revolving door," members of both parties routinely move between influential private sector positions and policy-making positions in the executive or legislative branches.
33. Republicans and Democrats can agree that the economic stimulus package helped the economy. Romney has stated that he believes an economic stimulus package was necessary and many Republicans have spoke of the success of the Democratic economic stimulus package. Think Progress reports that over half of the opposing GOP -- 110 members from the House and Senate -- returned to their home states to either claim credit for popular stimulus programs or to tout its success.34. The
large scale domestic spying program currently underway by the NSA, AT&T, Verizon and others, named Stellar Wind, was approved by Bush and has been continued under the Obama Administration. There now exist massive domestic spy centers which are designed to collect every single communication made in the U.S., including e-mails, phone conversations, financial transactions, and internet activity. These have been conveniently ignored by the majority of both parties.
35. Both Republicans and Democrats stay relatively quiet about and generally support U.S. reliance on fiat money, fractional reserve lending and our debt based monetary policy. Both platforms are void of any mention of monetary policy reform.
36. The Democratic and Republican parties largely support continuing the War on Terror in which Bush Administration policies have been continued and expanded by the Obama Administration. A Political.com poll found that 72 percent of those polled want troops home from Afghanistan now -- not in 2014, and a Rasmussen Reports poll found that 59 percent of Americans polled want troops removed from Afghanistan either immediately or within a year.
37. Neither party has constitutionally declared war since World War II. This election cycle, both the Democratic and Republican parties have also chosen presidential candidates who believe that the president has the power to go to war without congressional approval. Like the Bush Administration's unconstitutional war in Iraq, the Obama Administration is responsible for an unconstitutional war in Libya. A Romney Administration will consider sending more troops to Libya. Also like George H.W. Bush, Clinton, and George W. Bush, The Obama Administration has sent troops to Somalia. As demonstrated in the third presidential debate, despite who wins the election, foreign policies will likely remain the same.
39. Both parties believe that the U.S. should be intervening in Syria. The Obama Administration began arming the Free Syrian Army rebels, who are joined by Al-Qaeda factions, and Romney has stated that he supports and will continue arming the rebels in the proxy war with Iran and Russia.
40. The Bush Administration's use of torture through extraordinary rendition, which is when prisoners are sent from CIA black sites to other countries where "information extraction" will be attempted, began after Clinton signed PDD 39 and has continued under the Obama Administration. By failing to speak out or attempting to change these practices, Republicans and Democrats both allow for "enhanced interrogation techniques" -- such as waterboarding, sleep deprivation, hypothermia and stress positions, among others-- to be used to extract information from suspects. The Obama Administration even granted final immunity to Bush's CIA torturers.
42. Despite the increase in use of illicit drugs in the U.S., a rising drug war death toll in Mexico, and the highest public support for marijuana legalization ever, both parties generally avoid speaking about ending the War on Drugs or legalizing marijuana in lieu of a more effective approach. Since the beginning of prohibition in 1937, no administration has attempted to legalize marijuana. Even though there is more scientific evidence than ever indicating the benefits of marijuana, every administration has kept marijuana regulated under Schedule I of the Controlled Substance Act. A Schedule I classification places marijuana in a stricter regulatory category than cocaine, labels it as having no medicinal benefit, and prohibits doctors from prescribing it. Hemp production, which would provide many environmental and economic benefits, continues to remain outlawed and ignored as well.
43. Both parties rigged aspects of their 2012 conventions by using teleprompters with pre-loaded and predetermined vote outcomes, and then ignored overwhelming delegate dissent during voice votes.
44. Both parties generally ignore the fact that the United States has the highest incarceration rate per capital in the world with over half imprisoned for nonviolent drug use, and neither platform offers solutions to this problem.
46. The Bush Administration's Guantanamo Bay has remained open under Obama and although he did sign an executive order calling for the closing, the Senate, in an overwhelmingly bipartisan effort, blocked the federal funding to ship the prisoners to Illinois. Obama then signed the federal fund-blocking bill into law when he could have vetoed. The Obama Administration has also imposed new arbitrary rules for the prisoners and Romney has said that he would like to see it double in size.
48. Under the Bush Administration, not one Senate member voted against the bill that founded the Transportation Security Administration and the House displayed overwhelming support as well. Obama supports the TSA and Romney claims he will make a few improvements but the TSA will remain.
49. A bill designed to ensure that the internet remains open and minimally regulated received strong bipartisan support in the House. On the other hand, there has been bipartisan support for bills such as SOPA and PIPA, which critics such as Google, Wikipedia, and Facebook say would allow severe internet regulation, censorship and provide the president with an "internet kill switch."
50. Both platforms agree that "clean coal" is an essential resource for U.S. energy requirements. Romney and Obama both advocate for the use of clean coal as a way of furthering America's energy independence.
54. According to Gallup, Congressional Democrats and Republicans have record low approval ratings of only 10 percent and according to another poll, 81 percent of those polled have trust in the government "only some of the time or never."
55. Both the Democratic and Republican platforms mention God and both parties are theistic in nature.
57. Republicans and Democrats allow the U.S. to maintain military bases in over 120 countries. A Rasmussen Reports poll found that 51 percent of Americans polled want all troops withdrawn from Western Europe.
58. The Bush-Clinton NAFTA free trade agreement was passed in a bipartisan effort. Obama has not only failed to renegotiate NAFTA, but is now pushing for more NAFTA style deals. Romney has stated that he will be a champion of free trade.
62. Although 62 percent of Americans polled said they want to get rid of electoral college in favor of a more direct approach to democracy, neither the Republican or Democratic Party present this as an option.
63. As Jon Stewart points out, the last eight presidents have gone on television and pledged to move America toward an energy-independent future. In 2012, both party platforms as well as both Romney and Obama pledge to bring America into a new era of energy independence.
64. Voter fraud paranoia is largely bipartisan. Voters belonging to both parties are paranoid that the opposing party may be involved in voter fraud.
65. Political campaign advertisements from both parties have long focused on attacking the other candidate in often misleading ways. Gary Johnson takes a different approach to campaign ads, deciding to not mention his opponent by name.
66. Americans of both parties overwhelmingly oppose the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling that allows corporations and special interest groups to spend unlimited amounts of money, in secret, on political campaigning.
67. Yet both the Republican and Democratic parties continue to heavily rely on the same super PAC funded campaign strategies permitted by the Citizens United ruling.
68. Both Democratic and Republican parties are exploiting loopholes that allow members of Congress and presidential candidates to assist super PACs in their fundraising efforts.
69. Among those polled, there is strong bipartisan support for Obama's Keystone Pipeline project, and the bill passed the House with strong bipartisan support. Romney has indicated that he supports this project as well.
71. The two-party system continues to operate largely due to laws and regulations created by the two parties, which severely limit and regulate the ability of third party candidates to gain traction and ballot access.
72. There has been bipartisan congressional support of filibuster reform.
74. Republicans and Democrats are both responsible for the gutting of the welfare system.
76. Line item vetoes have been supported by presidents and candidats of both parties: Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Mitt Romney. Bills designed to allow line item vetoes have also received bipartisan support in the House and Senate.
77. Both Republicans and Democrats are concerned about the public's knowledge of their use of drones and the use of cyber weapons against Iran.
78. In the 2012 presidential race, both the Democratic and Republican campaigns have decided to not spend taxpayer money on their campaigns.
80. A new farm bill, which will finance dozens of price support and crop insurance programs for farmers and food assistance for low-income families, received strong bipartisan support in the Senate.
81. Among those polled, there is strong bipartisan agreement that conservatism is patriotic.
82. Federal term limits, which many say would be a huge step towards ending corruption in Washington, have been repeatedly rejected through bipartisan votes. In a poll conducted by Pollposition.com, 51 percent of those polled said they would support a one-term limit for members of the House and Senate.
84. Both parties are responsible for continually growing the size of the federal government.
86. Instead of encouraging an open press, Republicans and Democrats demonize the leak publishing organization known as WikiLeaks, and its founder Julian Assange, who are responsible for leaking information that has reportedly damaged U.S reputation. The U.S. military recently classified WikiLeaks as an enemy of the state, the same legal category that Al-Qaeda and the Taliban are placed in.
87. Medicaid and Social Security were initially passed with strong support from both parties.88. Republicans and Democrats often claim that their administrations are transparent,
89. The Bush Administration invoked a state of national emergency following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks and the Obama Administration extended the state of emergency, which allows for revocation of the right to habeas corpus.
90. Since the 1992 presidential debates -- which was the only year to include a Democratic, Republican and a third party candidate -- the Republican and Democratic candidates have refused to participate in presidential debates that include third parties. Obama and Romney campaigns both received invitations to the Free and Equal debates as well as the IVN online debate, but neither candidate responded.
92. The United States Intelligence Community, which consists of at least sixteen various agencies, has grown out of control and has been left largely unchecked by either party, with some reports indicating that no one knows how much money is spent.
93. Both the Democratic and Republican parties routinely pander to the middle class as they blame their opponents for hurting the middle class, and both platforms advocate for middle class tax cuts. However, multiple studies have demonstrated that the United States has more income inequality than most other developed nations, with the poverty rate at 15 percent and the middle class suffering from almost a 40 percent wealth loss between 2007 and 2010. The top one percent, which most of our lawmakers belong to, has seen increased earnings up to 275 percent in the past 35 years with the top one percent now controlling 40 percent of the nation's wealth.
94. The Republican and Democratic parties and candidate fail to adequately address the issue of peak oil, which is when the maximum rate of petroleum extraction has been reached and the rate of production begins to decline.
95. Both parties refuse to accept responsibility for the credit downgrade and neither was successful at stopping the downgrade. When S&P decided to downgrade the United States from an AAA credit rating to an AA+ rating, they stated that the blame lies with Congress and policymakers from both parties, dating back to 2001 and the Bush Administration.
96. Thanks to our Democratic and Republican lawmakers, the United States is one of only two countries in the world that permits pharmaceutical companies to advertise directly to consumers. The pharmaceutical lobby is routinely the top lobbying industry, spending a total of $124,441,774 on lobbying in 2012 alone. Obama and Romney each received over one million dollars. In 2009, nearly three dozen former congressmen worked as lobbyists for a pharmaceutical or health product company.
97. Republicans and Democrats agree that the government needs more money.
98. This Gallup poll suggests that many Americans -- 46 percent of those polled -- believe that a third party is needed because the Republican and Democratic parties are not doing an adequate job of representing the people.
99. There is bipartisan agreement that the Social Security payroll tax break should be allowed to expire, which would raise taxes on 163 million Americans regardless of who wins the election.
100. Presidential nominees for both parties are selected through a very complicated and expensive process which involves state caucuses and primaries that happen over the course of many months.