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Republicans have historically supported the War on Drugs and oppose the legalization of drugs.[193] More recently, severalIn contrast, George H. W. Bush, formerly a lifelong NRA member, was highly critical of the organization following their response to the Oklahoma City bombing authored by CEO Wayne LaPierre, and publicly resigned in protest.[192]

Republicans have historically supported the War on Drugs and oppose the legalization of drugs.[193] More recently, several[which?] prominent Republicans have advocated for the reduction and reform of mandatory sentencing laws with regards to drugs.[194]

LGBT issues

Republicans have historically opposed same-sex marriage, while being divided on civil unions

Republicans have historically opposed same-sex marriage, while being divided on civil unions and domestic partnerships, with the issue being one that many believe helped George W. Bush win re-election in 2004.[195] In both 2004[196] and 2006,[197] President Bush, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, and House Majority Leader John Boehner promoted the Federal Marriage Amendment, a proposed constitutional amendment which would legally restrict the definition of marriage to heterosexual couples.[198][199][200] In both attempts, the amendment failed to secure enough votes to invoke cloture and thus ultimately was never passed. As more states legalized same-sex marriage in the 2010s, Republicans increasingly supported allowing each state to decide its own marriage policy.[201] As of 2014, most state GOP platforms expressed opposition to same-sex marriage.[202] The 2016 GOP Platform defined marriage as "natural marriage, the union of one man and one woman," and condemned the Supreme Court's ruling legalizing same-sex marriages.[203][204] The 2020 platform retained the 2016 language against same-sex marriage.[205][206][207]

However, public opinion on this issue within the party has been chang

However, public opinion on this issue within the party has been changing.[208] Following his election as president in 2016, Donald Trump stated that he had no objection to same-sex marriage or to the Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges.[92] In office, Trump was the first sitting Republican president to recognize LGBT Pride Month.[209] Conversely, the Trump administration banned transgender individuals from service in the United States military and rolled back other protections for transgender people which had been enacted during the previous Democratic presidency.[210]

The Republican Party platform opposed the inclusion of gay people in the military and opposed adding sexual orientation to the list of protected classes since 1992.[211][212][213] The Republican Party opposed the inclusion of sexual preference in anti-discrimination statutes from 1992 to 2004.[214] The 2008 and 2012 Republican Party platform supported anti-discrimination statutes based on sex, race, age, religion, creed, disability, or national origin, but both platforms were silent on sexual orientation and gender identity.[215][216] The 2016 platform was opposed to sex discrimination statutes that included the phrase "sexual orientation."[217][218]

A group of LGBT Republicans are the Log Cabin Republicans.[219]

Virtually all restrictions on voting have in recent years been implemented by Republicans. Republicans, mainly at the state level, argue that the restrictions (such as purging voter rolls, limiting voting locations, and prosecuting double voting) are vital to prevent voter fraud, claiming that voter fraud is an underestimated issue in elections. However, research has indicated that voter fraud is very uncommon, as civil and voting rights organizations often accuse Republicans of enacting restrictions to influence elections in the party's favor. Many laws or regulations restricting voting enacted by Republicans have been successfully challenged in court, with court rulings striking down such regulations and accusing Republicans of establishing them with partisan purpose.[220][221]

Democracy

Towards the end of the 1990s and in the early 21st century, the Republican Party increasingly resorted to "constitutional hardball" practices.[222][223][224]

A number of scholars have asserted that the House speakership of Republican Newt Gingrich played a key role in undermining democratic norms in the United States, hastening political polarization, and increasing partisan prejudice.[225][226][227][228][229][230][231][232][233][225][226][227][228][229][230][231][232][233][234][235][excessive citations] According to Harvard University political scientists Daniel Ziblatt and Steven Levitsky, Gingrich's speakership had a profound and lasting impact on American politics and the health of American democracy. They argue that Gingrich instilled a "combative" approach in the Republican Party, where hateful language and hyper-partisanship became commonplace, and where democratic norms were abandoned. Gingrich frequently questioned the patriotism of Democrats, called them corrupt, compared them to fascists, and accused them of wanting to destroy the United States. Gingrich was also involved in several major government shutdowns.[229][236][237][238]

Scholars have also characterized Mitch McConnell's tenure as Senate Minority Leader and Senate Majority Leader during the Obama presidency as one where obstructionism reached all-time highs.[239] Political scientists have referred to McConnell's use of the filibuster as "constitutional hardball", referring to the misuse of procedural tools in a way that undermines democracy.[222][229][230][234] McConnell delayed and obstructed health care reform and banking reform, which were two landmark pieces of legislation that Democrats sought to pass (and in fact did pass[240]) early in Obama's tenure.[241][242] By delaying Democratic priority legislation, McConnell stymied the output of Congress. Political scientists Eric Schickler and Gregory J. Wawro write, "by slowing action even on measures supported by many Republicans, McConnell capitalized on the scarcity of floor time, forcing Democratic leaders into difficult trade-offs concerning which measures were worth pursuing. That is, given that Democrats had just two years with sizeable majorities to enact as much of their agenda as possible, slowing the Senate's ability to process even routine measures limited the sheer volume of liberal bills that could be adopted."[242]

McConnell's refusal to hold hearings on Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland during the final year of Obama's presidency was described by political scientists and legal scholars as "unprecedented",[243][244] a "culmination of this confrontational style",[245] a "blatant abuse of constitutional norms",[246] and a "classic example of constitutional hardball."[234] Senate Republicans justified this move by pointing to a 1992 speech from then-Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Joe Biden;[247][248] in that speech, Biden argued that hearings on any potential Supreme Court nominee that year should be postponed until after Election Day.[247][249] Biden contested this interpretation of his 1992 speech.[249] Democrats were further angered when McConnell seemed to switch his position in the later confirmation case of Amy Coney Barrett, who Senate Republicans confirmed on the basis that they had control of both the presidency and Senate at the time.[250]

In the Party's early decades, its base consisted of Northern white Protestants and African Americans nationwide. Its first presidential candidate, John C. Frémont, received almost no votes in the South. This trend continued into the 20th century. Following the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Southern states became more reliably Republican in presidential politics, while Northeastern states became more reliably Democratic.[251][252][253][254][255][256][257][258] Studies show that Southern whites shifted to the Republican Party due to racial conservatism.[257][259][260]

While scholars agree that a racial backlash played a central role in the racial realignment of the two parties, there is a dispute as to the extent in which the racial realignment was a top-driven elite process or a bottom-up process.[261] The "Southern Strategy" refers primarily to "top-down" narratives of the political realignment of the South which suggest that Republican leaders consciously appealed to many white Southerners' racial grievances in order to gain their support. This top-down narrative of the Southern Strategy is generally believed to be the primary force that transformed Southern politics following the civil rights era. Scholar Matthew Lassiter argues that "demographic change played a more important role than racial demagoguery in the emergence of a two-party system in the American South".[262][263] Historians such as Matthew Lassiter, Kevin M. Kruse and Joseph Crespino, have presented an alternative, "bottom-up" narrative, which Lassiter has called the "suburban strategy". This narrative recognizes the centrality of racial backlash to the political realignment of the South,[261] but suggests that this backlash took the form of a defense of de facto segregation in the suburbs rather than overt resistance to racial integration and that the story of this backlash is a national rather than a strictly Southern one.[264][265][261] The "Southern Strategy" refers primarily to "top-down" narratives of the political realignment of the South which suggest that Republican leaders consciously appealed to many white Southerners' racial grievances in order to gain their support. This top-down narrative of the Southern Strategy is generally believed to be the primary force that transformed Southern politics following the civil rights era. Scholar Matthew Lassiter argues that "demographic change played a more important role than racial demagoguery in the emergence of a two-party system in the American South".[262][263] Historians such as Matthew Lassiter, Kevin M. Kruse and Joseph Crespino, have presented an alternative, "bottom-up" narrative, which Lassiter has called the "suburban strategy". This narrative recognizes the centrality of racial backlash to the political realignment of the South,[261] but suggests that this backlash took the form of a defense of de facto segregation in the suburbs rather than overt resistance to racial integration and that the story of this backlash is a national rather than a strictly Southern one.[264][265][266][267]

The Party's 21st-century base consists of groups such as older white men; white, married Protestants; rural residents; and non-union workers without college degrees, with urban residents, ethnic minorities, the unmarried and union workers having shifted to the Democratic Party. The suburbs have become a major battleground.[268] According to a 2015 Gallup poll, 25% of Americans identify as Republican and 16% identify as leaning Republican. In comparison, 30% identify as Democratic and 16% identify as leaning Democratic. The Democratic Party has typically held an overall edge in party identification since Gallup began polling on the issue in 1991.[269] In 2016, The New York Times noted that the Republican Party was strong in the South, the Great Plains, and the Mountain States.[270] The 21st century Republican Party also draws strength from rural areas of the United States.[271]

In 2018, Gallup polling found that 69% of Republicans described themselves as "conservative", while 25% opted for the term "moderate", and another 5% self-identified as "liberal".[272]

When ideology is separated into social and economic issues, a 2020 Gallup poll found that 61% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents called themselves "socially conservative", 28% chose the label "socially conservative", 28% chose the label "socially moderate", and 10% called themselves "socially liberal".[273] On economic issues, the same 2020 poll revealed that 65% of Republicans (and Republican leaners) chose the label "economic conservative" to describe their views on fiscal policy, while 26% selected the label "economic moderate", and 7% opted for the "economic liberal" label.[273]

The modern Republican Party includes conservatives,[2] centrists,[7] fiscal conservatives, libertarians,[8] neoconservatives,[8] paleoconservatives,[274] right-wing populists,[9][10] and social conservatives.[4][275][276][277]

In addition to splits over ideology, the 21st-century Republican Party can be broadly divided into establishment and anti-establishment wings.[278][279] Nationwide polls of Republican voters in 2014 by the Pew Center identified a growing split in the Republican coalition, between "business conservatives" or "establishment conservatives" on one side and "steadfast conservatives" or "populist conservatives" on the other.[280]

In the 21st century, conservatives on talk radio and Fox News, as well as online media outlets such as the Daily Caller and Breitbart News, became a powerful influence on shaping the information received and judgments made by rank-and-file Republicans.[281][282] They include Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Larry Elder, Glenn Beck, Mark Levin, Dana Loesch, Hugh Hewitt, Mike Gallagher, Neal Boortz, Laura Ingraham, Dennis Prager, Michael Reagan, Howie Carr and Michael Savage, as well as many local commentators who support Republican causes while vocally opposing the left.[283][284][285][286]

Business commun

The Republican Party has traditionally been a pro-business party. It garners major support from a wide variety of industries from the financial sector to small businesses. Republicans are about 50 percent more likely to be self-employed and are more likely to work in management.[287][clarification needed]

A survey cited by The Washington Post in 2012 stated that 61 percent of smal

A survey cited by The Washington Post in 2012 stated that 61 percent of small business owners planned to vote for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Small business became a major theme of the 2012 Republican National Convention.[288]

In 2006, Republicans won 38% of the voters aged 18–29.[289] In a 2018 study, members of the Silent and Boomer generations were more likely to express approval of Trump's presidency than those of Generation X and Millennials.[290]

Low-income voters are more likely to identify as Democrats while high-i

Low-income voters are more likely to identify as Democrats while high-income voters are more likely to identify as Republicans.[291] In 2012, Obama won 60% of voters with income under $50,000 and 45% of those with incomes higher than that.[292] Bush won 41% of the poorest 20% of voters in 2004, 55% of the richest twenty percent and 53% of those in between. In the 2006 House races, the voters with incomes over $50,000 were 49% Republican while those with incomes under that amount were 38% Republican.[289]

Since 1980, a "gender gap" has seen stronger support for the Republican Party among men than among women. Unmarried and divorced women were far more likely to vote for Democrat John Kerry than for Republican George W. Bush in the 2004 presidential election.[293] In 2006 House races, 43% of women voted Republican while 47% of men did so.[289] In the 2010 midterms, the "gender gap" was reduced, with women supporting Republican and Democratic candidates equally (49%-49%).[294][295] Exit polls from the 2012 elections revealed a continued weakness among unmarried women for the GOP, a large and growing portion of the electorate.[296] Although women supported Obama over Mitt Romney by a margin of 55–44% in 2012, Romney prevailed amongst married women, 53–46%.[297] Obama won unmarried women 67–31%.[298] According to a December 2019 study, "white women are the only group of female voters who support Republican Party candidates for president. They have done so by a majority in all but 2 of the last 18 elections".[299]

Education

In 2012, the Pew Research Center conducted a study of registered voters with a 35–28, Democrat-to-Republican gap. They found that self-described Democrats had a +8 advantage over Republicans among college graduates, +14 of all post-graduates polled. Republicans were +11 among white men with college degrees, Democrats +10 among women with degrees. Democrats accounted for 36% of all respondents with an education of high school or less and Republicans were 28%. When isolating just white registered voters polled, Republicans had a +6 advantage overall and were +9 of those with a high school education or less.[300] Following the 2016 presidential election, exit polls indicated that "Donald Trump attracted a large share of the vote from whites without a college degree, receiving 72 percent of the white non-college male vote and 62 percent of the white non-college female vote". Overall, 52% of voters with college degrees voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016, while 52% of voters without college degrees voted for Trump.[301]

Ethnicity

Republicans have been winning under 15% of the black vote in recent national elections (1980 to 2016). The party abolished slavery under Abraham Lincoln, defeated the Slave Power, and gave blacks the legal right to vote during Reconstruction in the late 1860s. Until the New Deal of the 1930s, blacks supported the Republican Party by large margins.[302] Black delegates were a sizable share of Southern delegates to the national Republican convention from Reconstruction until the start of the 20th century when their share began to decline.[303] Black voters began shifting away from the Republican Party after the close of Reconstruction through the early 20th century, with the rise of the southern-Republican lily-white movement.[304] Blacks shifted in large margins to the Democratic Party in the 1930s, when major Democratic figures such as Eleanor Roosevelt began to support civil rights and the New Deal offered them employment opportunities. They became one of the core components of the New Deal coalition. In the South, after the Voting Rights Act to prohibit racial discrimination in elections was passed by a bipartisan coalition in 1965, blacks were able to vote again and ever since have formed a significant portion (20–50%) of the Democratic vote in that region.[305]

In the 2010 elections, two African-American Republicans—In the 2010 elections, two African-American Republicans—Tim Scott and Allen West—were elected to the House of Representatives.[306]

In recent decades, Republicans have been moderately successful in gaining support from Hispanic and Asian American voters. George W. Bush, who campaigned energetically for Hispanic votes, received 35% of their vote in 2000 and 44% in 2004.[307] The party's strong anti-communist stance has made it popular among some minority groups from current and former Communist states, in particular Cuban Americans, Korean Americans, Chinese Americans and Vietnamese Americans. The 2007 election of Bobby Jindal as Governor of Louisiana was hailed as pathbreaking.[308] Jindal became the first elected minority governor in Louisiana and the first state governor of Indian descent.[309] According to John Avlon, in 2013, the Republican party was more ethnically diverse at the statewide elected official level than the Democratic Party was; GOP statewide elected officials included Latino Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval and African-American U.S. senator Tim Scott of South Carolina.[310]

In 2012, 88% of Romney voters were white while 56% of Obama voters were white.[311] In the 2008 presidential election, John McCain won 55% of white votes, 35% of Asian votes, 31% of Hispanic votes and 4% of African American votes.[312] In the 2010 House election, Republicans won 60% of the white votes, 38% of Hispanic votes and 9% of the African American vote.[313]

As of 2019, Republican candidates had lost the popular vote in six out of the last seven presidential elections.[314] Demographers have pointed to the steady decline (as a percentage of the eligible voters) of its core base of older, less educated men.[315][316][317][318]

Religion has always played a major role for both parties, but in the course of a century, the parties' religious compositions have changed. Religion was a major dividing line between the parties before 1960, with Catholics, Jews, and Southern Protestants heavily Democratic and Northeastern Protestants heavily Republican. Most of the old differences faded away after the realignment of the 1970s and 1980s that undercut the New Deal coalition.[319] Voters who attend church weekly gave 61% of their votes to Bush in 2004 and those who attend occasionally gave him only 47% while those who never attend gave him 36%. Fifty-nine percent of Protestants voted for Bush, along with 52% of Catholics (even though John Kerry was Catholic). Since 1980, a large majority of evangelicals have voted Republican; 70–80% voted for Bush in 2000 and 2004 and 70% for Republican House candidates in 2006. Jews continue to vote 70–80% Democratic. Democrats have close links with the African American churches, especially the National Baptists, while their historic dominance among Catholic voters has eroded to 54–46 in the 2010 midterms.[320] The mainline traditional Protestants (Methodists, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Episcopalians and Disciples) have dropped to about 55% Republican (in contrast to 75% before 1968).

Members of the