The Republican Party, also referred to as the GOP ("Grand Old Party"), is one of the two major
contemporary political parties in the United States
, along with its main historic rival, the Democratic Party
The GOP was founded in 1854 by opponents of the Kansas–Nebraska Act
, which allowed for the potential expansion of chattel slavery
into the western territories. The party supported economic reform
and classical liberalism
while opposing the expansion of slavery. Abraham Lincoln
was the first Republican president. Under the leadership of Lincoln and a Republican Congress, slavery was banned
in the United States in 1865. The GOP was generally dominant during the Third
and the Fourth Party System
periods. It was strongly committed to protectionism
at its founding, but grew more supportive of free trade
in the 20th century.
After 1912, the Republican Party began to undergo an ideological shift to the right
. Following the Civil Rights Act of 1964
and the Voting Rights Act of 1965
, the party's core base shifted, with Southern states becoming more reliably Republican
in presidential politics. After the Supreme Court's 1973 decision in ''Roe v. Wade
'', the Republican Party opposed abortion in its party platform and grew its support among evangelicals.
Its 21st-century ideology is American conservatism
, which incorporates both social conservatism
and fiscal conservatism
. The GOP supports lower taxes, free-market capitalism
, restrictions on immigration
, increased military spending
, gun rights
, restrictions on abortion
, and restrictions on labor unions
. The party's voter base in the 21st century largely includes white
men, people living in rural areas
, members of the Silent Generation
, people without a college degree, and evangelical Christians
. Its most recent presidential nominee was Donald Trump
, and most Republicans are generally supportive of his opinions and actions
There have been 19 Republican presidents, the most from any one political party. As of early 2021, the GOP controls 27 state governorships, 30 state legislatures, and 23 state government trifecta
s (governorship and both legislative chambers). Six of the nine sitting U.S. Supreme Court
justices were nominated by Republican presidents.
The Republican Party emerged from the great political realignment of the mid-1850s. William Gienapp
argues that the great realignment of the 1850s began before the Whig party collapse, and was caused not by politicians but by voters at the local level. The central forces were ethno-cultural, involving tensions between pietistic Protestants versus liturgical Catholics, Lutherans and Episcopalians regarding Catholicism, prohibition, and nativism. Anti-slavery did play a role but it was less important at first. The Know-Nothing party embodied the social forces at work, but its weak leadership was unable to solidify its organization, and the Republicans picked it apart. Nativism was so powerful that the Republicans could not avoid it, but they did minimize it and turn voter wrath against the threat that slave owners would buy up the good farm lands wherever chattel slavery was allowed. The realignment was powerful because it forced voters to switch parties, as typified by the rise and fall of the Know-Nothings, the rise of the Republican Party, and the splits in the Democratic Party.
The Republican Party was founded in the Northern states in 1854 by forces opposed to the expansion of chattel slavery, ex-Whigs
, and ex-Free Soil
ers. The Republican Party quickly became the principal opposition to the dominant Democratic Party
and the briefly popular Know Nothing
Party. The party grew out of opposition to the Kansas–Nebraska Act
, which repealed the Missouri Compromise
and opened Kansas Territory
and Nebraska Territory
to chattel slavery and future admission as slave states. The Republicans called for economic and social modernization
. They denounced the expansion of chattel slavery as a great evil, but did not call for ending it in the Southern states. The first public meeting of the general anti-Nebraska movement
, at which the name Republican was proposed, was held on March 20, 1854 at the Little White Schoolhouse
in Ripon, Wisconsin
. The name was partly chosen to pay homage to Thomas Jefferson
's Republican Party
. The first official party convention was held on July 6, 1854 in Jackson, Michigan
At the 1856 Republican National Convention, the party adopted a national platform emphasizing opposition to the expansion of chattel slavery into U.S. territories. While Republican candidate John C. Frémont
lost the 1856 United States presidential election
to James Buchanan, he did win 11 of the 16 northern states.
The Republican Party first came to power in the elections of 1860
when it won control of both houses of Congress and its candidate, former congressman Abraham Lincoln
, was elected president. In the election of 1864
, it united with War Democrats
to nominate Lincoln on the National Union Party
Lincoln won re-election. Under Republican congressional leadership, the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution
—which banned chattel slavery in the United States—passed the Senate in 1864 and the House in 1865; it was ratified in December 1865.
The party's success created factionalism within the party in the 1870s. Those who believed that Reconstruction had been accomplished, and was continued mostly to promote the large-scale corruption tolerated by President Ulysses S. Grant
, ran Horace Greeley
for the presidency in 1872 on the Liberal Republican Party
line. The Stalwart
faction defended Grant and the spoils system
, whereas the Half-Breeds
pushed for reform of the civil service
. The Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act
was passed in 1883; the bill was signed into law by Republican President Chester A. Arthur
The Republican Party supported hard money (i.e. the gold standard
), high tariffs to promote economic growth, high wages and high profits
, generous pensions for Union veterans, and (after 1893) the annexation of Hawaii
. The Republicans had strong support from pietistic
Protestants, but they resisted demands for prohibition
. As the Northern postwar economy boomed with heavy and light industry, railroads, mines, fast-growing cities, and prosperous agriculture, the Republicans took credit and promoted policies to sustain the fast growth.
The GOP was usually dominant over the Democrats during the Third Party System (1850s–1890s). However, by 1890 the Republicans had agreed to the Sherman Antitrust Act
and the Interstate Commerce Commission
in response to complaints from owners of small businesses and farmers. The high McKinley Tariff
of 1890 hurt the party and the Democrats swept to a landslide in the off-year elections, even defeating McKinley himself. The Democrats elected Grover Cleveland
in 1884 and 1892. The election of William McKinley
was marked by a resurgence of Republican dominance that lasted (except for 1912 and 1916) until 1932. McKinley promised that high tariffs would end the severe hardship caused by the Panic of 1893
and that Republicans would guarantee a sort of pluralism in which all groups would benefit.
The Republican Civil War era program included free homestead farms, a federally subsidized transcontinental railroad, a national banking system, a large national debt, land grants for higher education, a new national banking system, a wartime income tax and permanent high tariffs to promote industrial growth and high wages. By the 1870s, they had adopted as well a hard money system based on the gold standard and fought off efforts to promote inflation through Free Silver
. They created the foundations of the modern welfare state through an extensive program of pensions for Union veterans. Foreign-policy issues were rarely a matter of partisan dispute, but briefly in the 1893–1904 period the GOP supported imperialistic expansion regarding Hawaii, the Philippines and the Panama Canal.
The 1896 realignment cemented the Republicans as the party of big businesses while Theodore Roosevelt
added more small business support by his embrace of trust busting
. He handpicked his successor William Howard Taft
in 1908, but they became enemies as the party split down the middle. Taft defeated Roosevelt for the 1912 nomination and Roosevelt ran on the ticket of his new Progressive ("Bull Moose") Party
. He called for social reforms
, many of which were later championed by New Deal Democrats
in the 1930s. He lost and when most of his supporters returned to the GOP they found they did not agree with the new conservative economic thinking
, leading to an ideological shift to the right in the Republican Party. The Republicans returned to the White House throughout the 1920s, running on platforms of normalcy, business-oriented efficiency and high tariffs. The national party platform avoided mention of prohibition
, instead issuing a vague commitment to law and order.
Warren G. Harding
, Calvin Coolidge
and Herbert Hoover
were resoundingly elected in 1920
, respectively. The Teapot Dome scandal
threatened to hurt the party, but Harding died and the opposition splintered in 1924. The pro-business policies of the decade seemed to produce an unprecedented prosperity until the Wall Street Crash of 1929
heralded the Great Depression
New Deal era and the Moral Majority
The New Deal coalition
of Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt
controlled American politics for most of the next three decades, excluding the two-term presidency of Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower
. After Roosevelt took office in 1933, New Deal legislation sailed through Congress and the economy moved sharply upward from its nadir in early 1933. However, long-term unemployment remained a drag until 1940. In the 1934 midterm elections, 10 Republican senators went down to defeat, leaving the GOP with only 25 senators against 71 Democrats. The House of Representatives likewise had overwhelming Democratic majorities.
The Republican Party factionalized into a majority "Old Right" (based in the Midwest) and a liberal wing based in the Northeast that supported much of the New Deal. The Old Right sharply attacked the "Second New Deal" and said it represented class warfare
. Roosevelt was re-elected in a landslide in 1936; however, as his second term began, the economy declined, strikes soared, and he failed to take control of the Supreme Court or to purge the Southern conservatives from the Democratic Party. Republicans made a major comeback in the 1938 elections
and had new rising stars such as Robert A. Taft
on the right and Thomas E. Dewey
of New York
on the left. Southern conservatives joined with most Republicans to form the conservative coalition
, which dominated domestic issues in Congress until 1964. Both parties split on foreign policy issues, with the anti-war isolationists dominant in the Republican Party and the interventionists who wanted to stop Adolf Hitler
dominant in the Democratic Party. Roosevelt won a third and fourth term in 1940 and 1944, respectively. Conservatives abolished most of the New Deal during the war, but they did not attempt to reverse Social Security or the agencies that regulated business.
Historian George H. Nash
Unlike the "moderate", internationalist, largely eastern bloc of Republicans who accepted (or at least acquiesced in) some of the "Roosevelt Revolution" and the essential premises of President Harry S. Truman's foreign policy, the Republican Right at heart was counterrevolutionary. Anti-collectivist, anti-Communist, anti-New Deal, passionately committed to limited government, free market economics, and congressional (as opposed to executive) prerogatives, the G.O.P. conservatives were obliged from the start to wage a constant two-front war: against liberal Democrats from without and "me-too" Republicans from within.
After 1945, the internationalist wing of the GOP cooperated with Truman's Cold War
foreign policy, funded the Marshall Plan
and supported NATO, despite the continued isolationism of the Old Right.
The second half of the 20th century saw the election or succession of Republican presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower
, Richard Nixon
, Gerald Ford
, Ronald Reagan
and George H. W. Bush
. Eisenhower had defeated conservative leader Senator Robert A. Taft for the 1952 nomination, but conservatives dominated the domestic policies of the Eisenhower administration. Voters liked Eisenhower much more than they liked the GOP and he proved unable to shift the party to a more moderate position. Since 1976, liberalism has virtually faded out of the Republican Party, apart from a few Northeastern holdouts.
[Nicol C. Rae, ''The Decline and Fall of the Liberal Republicans: From 1952 to the Present'' (1989)]
Historians cite the 1964 United States presidential election
and its respective 1964 Republican National Convention
as a significant shift, which saw the conservative wing, helmed by Senator Barry Goldwater
, battle the liberal New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller
and his eponymous Rockefeller Republican
faction for the party presidential nomination. With Goldwater poised to win, Rockefeller, urged to mobilize his liberal faction, relented, "You’re looking at it, buddy. I’m all that’s left." Though Goldwater lost in a landslide, Reagan would make himself known as a prominent supporter of his throughout the campaign, delivering the "A Time for Choosing
" speech for him. He'd go on to become governor of California
two years later, and in 1980
, win the presidency.
The presidency of Reagan
, lasting from 1981 to 1989, constituted what is known as the "Reagan Revolution
". It was seen as a fundamental shift from the stagflation
of the 1970s before it, with the introduction of Reaganomics
intended to cut taxes, prioritize government deregulation
, and shift funding from the domestic sphere into the military to combat the Soviet Union
by utilizing deterrence theory
. A defining moment in Reagan's term of office was his speech in then-West Berlin
where he demanded Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev
ar down this wall", referring to the Berlin Wall
constructed to separate West and East Berlin
Since he left office in 1989, Reagan has been an iconic conservative Republican and Republican presidential candidates frequently claim to share his views and aim to establish themselves and their policies as the more appropriate heir to his legacy.
In the Republican Revolution
of 1994, the party—led by House Minority Whip Newt Gingrich
, who campaigned on the "Contract with America
"—won majorities in both Houses of Congress. However, as House Speaker, Gingrich was unable to deliver on many of its promises, including a balanced-budget amendment and term limits for members of Congress. During the impeachment and acquittal of President Bill Clinton
, Republicans suffered surprise losses in the 1998 midterm elections
. Gingrich's popularity sank to 17%; he resigned the speakership and later resigned from Congress altogether.
For most of the post-World War II era, Republicans had little presence at the state legislative level. This trend began to reverse in the late 1990s, with Republicans increasing their state legislative presence and taking control of state legislatures in the South. From 2004 to 2014, the Republican State Leadership Committee
(RSLC) raised over $140 million targeted to state legislature races, while the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee
(DLSC) raised less than half that during that time period. Following the 2014 midterm elections, Republicans controlled 68 of 98 partisan state legislative houses (the most in the party's history) and controlled both the executive and legislative branches of government in 24 states (Democrats had control of only seven).
A Republican ticket of George W. Bush
and Dick Cheney
won the 2000
presidential elections. Bush campaigned as a "compassionate conservative
" in 2000, wanting to better appeal to immigrants and minority voters. The goal was to prioritize drug rehabilitation programs and aide for prisoner reentry into society, a move intended to capitalize on President Bill Clinton
's tougher crime initiatives such as the 1994 crime bill
passed under his administration. The platform failed to gain much traction among members of the party during his presidency.
With the inauguration of Bush as president, the Republican Party remained fairly cohesive for much of the 2000s as both strong economic libertarians
and social conservatives
opposed the Democrats, whom they saw as the party of bloated, secular, and liberal government.
[Wooldridge, Adrian and John Micklethwait. ''The Right Nation'' (2004).]
This period saw the rise of "pro-government conservatives"—a core part of the Bush's base—a considerable group of the Republicans who advocated for increased government spending and greater regulations covering both the economy and people's personal lives as well as for an activist, interventionist foreign policy
. Survey groups such as the Pew Research Center
found that social conservatives and free market advocates remained the other two main groups within the party's coalition of support, with all three being roughly equal in number. However, libertarians
and libertarian-leaning conservatives
increasingly found fault with what they saw as Republicans' restricting of vital civil liberties
while corporate welfare
and the national debt
hiked considerably under Bush's tenure. In contrast, some social conservatives expressed dissatisfaction with the party's support for economic policies that conflicted with their moral values.
["How Huckabee Scares the GOP"](_blank)
. By E. J. Dionne. Real Clear Politics. Published December 21, 2007. Retrieved August 22, 2008.
The Republican Party lost its Senate majority in 2001 when the Senate became split evenly; nevertheless, the Republicans maintained control of the Senate due to the tie-breaking vote of Republican Vice President Dick Cheney
. Democrats gained control of the Senate on June 6, 2001, when Republican Senator Jim Jeffords
switched his party affiliation to Democrat. The Republicans regained the Senate majority in the 2002 elections. Republican majorities in the House and Senate were held until the Democrats regained control of both chambers in the mid-term elections of 2006
, Republican Senator John McCain
and Governor Sarah Palin
were defeated by Democratic Senators Barack Obama
and Joe Biden
The Republicans experienced electoral success in the wave election of 2010
, which coincided with the ascendancy of the Tea Party movement
, a fiscally conservative political movement
. Members of the movement called for lower taxes
, and for a reduction of the national debt of the United States
and federal budget deficit
through decreased government spending
[Gallup: Tea Party's top concerns are debt, size of government](_blank)
''The Hill'', July 5, 2010
[Somashekhar, Sandhya (September 12, 2010)]
''The Washington Post''. Retrieved November 5, 2011.
It was also described as a popular constitutional movement composed of a mixture of libertarian
, right-wing populist
, and conservative
activism. That success began with the upset win of Scott Brown
in the Massachusetts special Senate election for a seat that had been held for decades by the Democratic Kennedy brothers
. In the November elections
, Republicans recaptured control of the House, increased their number of seats in the Senate and gained a majority of governorships.
When Obama and Biden won re-election in 2012
, defeating a Mitt Romney
ticket, the Republicans lost seven seats in the House in the November congressional elections
, but still retained control of that chamber. However, Republicans were not able to gain control of the Senate, continuing their minority status with a net loss of two seats. In the aftermath of the loss, some prominent Republicans spoke out against their own party. A post-2012 post-mortem report by the Republican Party concluded that the party needed to do more on the national level to attract votes from minorities and young voters. In March 2013, National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus
gave a stinging report on the party's electoral failures in 2012, calling on Republicans to reinvent themselves and officially endorse immigration reform. He said: "There's no one reason we lost. Our message was weak; our ground game was insufficient; we weren't inclusive; we were behind in both data and digital, and our primary and debate process needed improvement." He proposed 219 reforms that included a $10 million marketing campaign to reach women, minorities and gays as well as setting a shorter, more controlled primary season and creating better data collection facilities.
A March 2013 poll found that a majority of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents under the age of 49 supported legal recognition of same-sex marriages
. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich
remarked that the "
rty is going to be torn on this issue".
A Reuters/Ipsos survey from April 2015 found that 68% of Americans overall would attend the same-sex wedding of a loved one, with 56% of Republicans agreeing. Reuters journalist Jeff Mason remarked that "Republicans who stake out strong opposition to gay marriage could be on shaky political ground if their ultimate goal is to win the White House" given the divide between the social conservative stalwarts and the rest of the United States that opposes them. In 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled bans on same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional, thus legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide. In 2016, after being elected president, Republican Donald Trump stated that he was "fine" with same-sex marriage.
Following the 2014 midterm elections
, the Republican Party took control of the Senate by gaining nine seats. With a final total of 247 seats (57%) in the House and 54 seats in the Senate, the Republicans ultimately achieved their largest majority in the Congress since the 71st Congress
The Trump era
The election of Republican Donald Trump
to the presidency in 2016
marked a populist shift in the Republican Party. Trump's defeat of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton
was unexpected, as polls had shown Clinton leading the race. Trump's victory was fueled by narrow victories in three states—Michigan
—that had traditionally been part of the Democratic blue wall
for decades. According to ''NBC News
'', "Trump’s power famously came from his 'silent majority'—working-class white voters who felt mocked and ignored by an establishment loosely defined by special interests in Washington, news outlets in New York and tastemakers in Hollywood
. He built trust within that base by abandoning Republican establishment orthodoxy on issues like trade and government spending in favor of a broader nationalist message".
After the 2016 elections
, Republicans maintained a majority in the Senate
, state governorships
and wielded newly acquired executive
power with the ascension of Trump to the presidency. The Republican Party controlled 69 of 99 state legislative chambers in 2017, the most it had held in history; and at least 33 governorships, the most it had held since 1922. The party had total control of government (legislative chambers and governorship) in 25 states, the most since 1952; the opposing Democratic Party had full control in only five states. Following the results of the 2018 midterm elections
, the Republicans lost control of the House yet maintained hold of the Senate.
Over the course of his term, Trump appointed three justices to the Supreme Court
: Neil Gorsuch
replacing Antonin Scalia
, Brett Kavanaugh
replacing Anthony Kennedy
, and Amy Coney Barrett
replacing Ruth Bader Ginsburg
. The most appointments of any president in a single term since fellow Republican Richard Nixon
, Trump was seen as solidifying a 6–3 conservative majority
. He appointed 260 judges
in total, creating overall Republican-appointed majorities on every branch of the federal judiciary
except for the Court of International Trade
by the time he left office, shifting the judiciary to the right
. Other notable achievements during his presidency included passing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act
in 2017, moving the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem
, creating the United States Space Force
– the first new independent military service since 1947 – and brokering the Abraham Accords
; a series of normalization agreements between Israel
and various Arab states
Trump was impeached on December 18, 2019, on charges of abuse of power
and obstruction of Congress
. He was acquitted by the Senate on February 5, 2020. 195 of the 197 Republicans within the House voted against the charges with none voting in favor, the two abstaining Republicans were due to external reasons unrelated to the impeachment itself. 52 of the 53 Republicans within the Senate voted against the charges as well, successfully acquitting Trump as a result, with only Senator Mitt Romney of Utah
dissenting and voting in favor of one of the charges (abuse of power). Following his refusal to concede his loss in the 2020 elections
, which led to the U.S. Capitol being stormed by his supporters
on January 6, 2021, the House impeached Trump for a second time
on charges of incitement of insurrection
, making him the only federal officeholder in the history of the United States to be impeached twice. He left office on January 20, 2021, but the impeachment continued into the early weeks of the Biden administration
, with him being ultimately acquitted a second time by the Senate on February 13, 2021. Seven Republicans voted to impeach, including Romney once again, Richard Burr
, Bill Cassidy
, Susan Collins
, Lisa Murkowski
, Ben Sasse
and Pat Toomey
. Their states' respective Republican parties condemned them for doing so, as well, Republican U.S. Representative Liz Cheney
was censured by her state GOP
for her impeachment vote in the House. In response to Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 elections
and the subsequent storming of the U.S. Capitol, dozens of Republican former members of the Bush administration
made their abandonment of the party public, calling it the "cult of Trump."
Name and symbols
The party's founding members chose the name Republican Party in the mid-1850s as homage to the values of republicanism
promoted by Thomas Jefferson
's Republican Party
The idea for the name came from an editorial by the party's leading publicist, Horace Greeley, who called for "some simple name like 'Republican' hat
would more fitly designate those who had united to restore the Union to its true mission of champion and promulgator of Liberty rather than propagandist of slavery".
The name reflects the 1776 republican values of civic virtue and opposition to aristocracy and corruption.
[Gould, pp. 14–15]
It is important to note that "republican" has a variety of meanings around the world and the Republican Party has evolved such that the meanings no longer always align.
The term "Grand Old Party" is a traditional nickname for the Republican Party and the abbreviation "GOP" is a commonly used designation. The term originated in 1875 in the ''Congressional Record'', referring to the party associated with the successful military defense of the Union as "this gallant old party." The following year in an article in the ''Cincinnati Commercial
'', the term was modified to "grand old party." The first use of the abbreviation is dated 1884.
The traditional mascot of the party is the elephant. A political cartoon by Thomas Nast
, published in ''Harper's Weekly
'' on November 7, 1874, is considered the first important use of the symbol.
An alternate symbol of the Republican Party in states such as Indiana
, New York
is the bald eagle as opposed to the Democratic rooster or the Democratic five-pointed star. In Kentucky, the log cabin is a symbol of the Republican Party (not related to the gay Log Cabin Republicans organization).
Traditionally the party had no consistent color identity. After the 2000 election
, the color red became associated
with Republicans. During and after the election, the major broadcast networks used the same color scheme for the electoral map: states won by Republican nominee George W. Bush were colored red and states won by Democratic nominee Al Gore were colored blue. Due to the weeks-long dispute over the election results
, these color associations became firmly ingrained, persisting in subsequent years. Although the assignment of colors to political parties is unofficial and informal, the media has come to represent the respective political parties using these colors. The party and its candidates have also come to embrace the color red.
Republicans believe that free market
s and individual achievement are the primary factors behind economic prosperity. Republicans frequently advocate in favor of fiscal conservatism
during Democratic administrations; however, they have shown themselves willing to increase federal debt when they are in charge of the government (the implementation of the Bush tax cuts, Medicare Part D and the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 are examples of this willingness). Despite pledges to roll back government spending, Republican administrations have, since the late 1960s, sustained or increased previous levels of government spending.
Modern Republicans advocate the theory of supply-side economics
, which holds that lower tax rates increase economic growth. Many Republicans oppose higher tax rates for higher earners
, which they believe are unfairly targeted at those who create jobs and wealth. They believe private spending is more efficient than government spending. Republican lawmakers have also sought to limit funding for tax enforcement and tax collection
Republicans believe individuals should take responsibility for their own circumstances. They also believe the private sector is more effective in helping the poor through charity
than the government is through welfare programs and that social assistance programs often cause government dependency.
Republicans believe corporations should be able to establish their own employment practices, including benefits and wages, with the free market deciding the price of work. Since the 1920s, Republicans have generally been opposed by labor union
organizations and members. At the national level, Republicans supported the Taft-Hartley Act
of 1947, which gives workers the right not to participate in unions. Modern Republicans at the state level generally support various right-to-work laws
, which prohibit union security agreement
s requiring all workers in a unionized workplace to pay dues or a fair-share fee, regardless of if they are members of the union or not.
Most Republicans oppose increases in the minimum wage
, believing that such increases hurt businesses by forcing them to cut and outsource jobs while passing on costs to consumers.
The party opposes a single-payer health care
system, describing it as socialized medicine
. The Republican Party has a mixed record of supporting the historically popular Social Security
, Medicare and Medicaid programs, whereas it has sought to repeal the Affordable Care Act
since its introduction in 2010.
leaders in the Republican Party supported environmental protection
. Republican President Theodore Roosevelt
was a prominent conservationist
whose policies eventually led to the creation of the National Park Service
While Republican President Richard Nixon
was not an environmentalist, he signed legislation to create the Environmental Protection Agency
in 1970 and had a comprehensive environmental program. However, this position has changed since the 1980s and the administration of President Ronald Reagan
, who labeled environmental regulations a burden on the economy.
Since then, Republicans have increasingly taken positions against environmental regulation, with some Republicans rejecting the scientific consensus on climate change.
In 2006, then-California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
broke from Republican orthodoxy to sign several bills imposing caps on carbon emissions
in California. Then-President George W. Bush
opposed mandatory caps at a national level. Bush's decision not to regulate carbon dioxide as a pollutant was challenged in the Supreme Court by 12 states
with the court ruling against the Bush administration in 2007. Bush also publicly opposed ratification of the Kyoto Protocol
which sought to limit greenhouse gas emissions and thereby combat climate change
; his position was heavily criticized by climate scientists.
The Republican Party rejects cap-and-trade
policy to limit carbon emissions. In the 2000s, Senator John McCain
proposed bills (such as the McCain-Lieberman Climate Stewardship Act
) that would have regulated carbon emissions, but his position on climate change was unusual among high-ranking party members.
Some Republican candidates have supported the development of alternative fuel
s in order to achieve energy independence for the United States
. Some Republicans support increased oil drilling
in protected areas such as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
, a position that has drawn criticism from activists.
Many Republicans during the presidency of Barack Obama
opposed his administration's new environmental regulations, such as those on carbon emissions from coal. In particular, many Republicans supported building the Keystone Pipeline
; this position was supported by businesses, but opposed by indigenous peoples' groups and environmental activists.
According to the Center for American Progress
, a non-profit liberal advocacy group, more than 55% of congressional Republicans were climate change deniers
in May 2014 found "relatively few Republican members of Congress... accept the prevailing scientific conclusion that global warming
is both real and man-made." The group found eight members who acknowledged it, although the group acknowledged there could be more and that not all members of Congress have taken a stance on the issue.
From 2008 to 2017, the Republican Party went from "debating how to combat human-caused climate change to arguing that it does not exist", according to ''The New York Times
''. In January 2015, the Republican-led U.S. Senate voted 98–1 to pass a resolution acknowledging that "climate change is real and is not a hoax"; however, an amendment stating that "human activity significantly contributes to climate change" was supported by only five Republican senators.
In the period 1850–1870, the Republican Party was more opposed to immigration than Democrats, in part because the Republican Party relied on the support of anti-Catholic and anti-immigrant parties, such as the Know-Nothings
, at the time. In the decades following the Civil War, the Republican Party grew more supportive of immigration, as it represented manufacturers in the Northeast (who wanted additional labor) whereas the Democratic Party came to be seen as the party of labor (which wanted fewer laborers to compete with). Starting in the 1970s, the parties switched places again, as the Democrats grew more supportive of immigration than Republicans.
Republicans are divided on how to confront illegal immigration
between a platform that allows for migrant workers and a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants (supported more by the Republican establishment), versus a position focused on securing the border and deporting illegal immigrants (supported by populists). In 2006, the White House supported and Republican-led Senate passed comprehensive immigration reform
that would eventually allow millions of illegal immigrants to become citizens, but the House (also led by Republicans) did not advance the bill.
After the defeat in the 2012 presidential election, particularly among Latinos, several Republicans advocated a friendlier approach to immigrants. However, in 2016 the field of candidates took a sharp position against illegal immigration, with leading candidate Donald Trump
proposing building a wall along the southern border. Proposals calling for immigration reform with a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants have attracted broad Republican support in some polls. In a 2013 poll, 60% of Republicans supported the pathway concept.
Foreign policy and national defense
Some, mostly Neoconservaties
in the Republican Party support unilateralism
on issues of national security, believing in the ability and right of the United States to act without external support in matters of its national defense. In general, Republican thinking on defense and international relations
is heavily influenced by the theories of neorealism
, characterizing conflicts between nations as struggles between faceless forces of an international structure as opposed to being the result of the ideas and actions of individual leaders. The realist school's influence shows in Reagan's Evil Empire
stance on the Soviet Union
and George W. Bush's Axis of evil
Some, mostly Paleoconservatives
and Right-wing populists
through blanket terms such as America First
Movement and the idea of Trumpism
call for Non-interventionism
and the idea of "America First". This turn mostly started in 2016 with the rise of Donald Trump
and the Make America Great Again
Since the September 11, 2001 attacks
, many in the party have supported neoconservative
policies with regard to the War on Terror, including the 2001 war in Afghanistan
and the 2003 invasion of Iraq
. The George W. Bush administration took the position that the Geneva Conventions
do not apply to unlawful combatant
s, while other prominent Republicans strongly oppose the use of enhanced interrogation techniques, which they view as torture.
Republicans have frequently advocated for restricting foreign aid as a means of asserting the national security and immigration interests of the United States.
The Republican Party generally supports a strong alliance with Israel
and efforts to secure peace in the Middle East between Israel and its Arab
In recent years, Republicans have begun to move away from the two-state solution
approach to resolving the Israeli–Palestinian conflict
. In a 2014 poll, 59% of Republicans favored doing less abroad and focusing on the country's own problems instead.
According to the 2016 platform,
the party's stance on the status of Taiwan
is: "We oppose any unilateral steps by either side to alter the status quo in the Taiwan Straits on the principle that all issues regarding the island's future must be resolved peacefully, through dialogue, and be agreeable to the people of Taiwan." In addition, if "China were to violate those principles, the United States, in accord with the Taiwan Relations Act, will help Taiwan defend itself".
The Republican Party is generally associated with social conservative
policies, although it does have dissenting centrist and libertarian
factions. The social conservatives support laws that uphold their traditional values
, such as opposition to same-sex marriage
, abortion, and marijuana.
Most conservative Republicans also oppose gun control
, affirmative action
, and illegal immigration
Abortion and embryonic stem cell research
A majority of the party's national and state candidates are anti-abortion
and oppose elective abortion
on religious or moral grounds. While many advocate exceptions in the case of incest
, rape or the mother's life being at risk, in 2012 the party approved a platform advocating banning abortions without exception.
There were not highly polarized differences between the Democratic Party and the Republican Party prior to the ''Roe v. Wade
'' 1973 Supreme Court ruling (which made prohibitions on abortion rights unconstitutional), but after the Supreme Court ruling, opposition to abortion became an increasingly key national platform for the Republican Party.
As a result, Evangelicals gravitated towards the Republican Party.
Most Republicans oppose government funding for abortion providers, notably Planned Parenthood
This includes support for the Hyde Amendment
Until its dissolution in 2018, Republican Majority for Choice
, an abortion rights PAC, advocated for amending the GOP platform to include pro-abortion rights members.
Although Republicans have voted for increases in government funding of scientific research, members of the Republican Party actively oppose the federal funding of embryonic stem cell
research beyond the original lines because it involves the destruction of human embryo
Republicans are generally against affirmative action
for women and some minorities, often describing it as a "quota system
" and believing that it is not meritocratic
and is counter-productive socially by only further promoting discrimination
. The GOP's official stance supports race-neutral admissions policies in universities, but supports taking into account the socioeconomic status of the student. The 2012 Republican National Committee platform stated, "We support efforts to help low-income individuals get a fair chance based on their potential and individual merit; but we reject preferences, quotas, and set-asides, as the best or sole methods through which fairness can be achieved, whether in government, education or corporate boardrooms…Merit, ability, aptitude, and results should be the factors that determine advancement in our society.”
Republicans generally support gun ownership rights
and oppose laws regulating guns
. Party members and Republican-leaning independents are twice more likely to own a gun than Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents.
The National Rifle Association
, a special interest group
in support of gun ownership, has consistently aligned itself with the Republican Party. Following gun control measures under the Clinton administration
, such as the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994
, the Republicans allied with the NRA during the Republican Revolution
. Since then, the NRA has consistently backed Republican candidates and contributed financial support, such as in the 2013 Colorado recall election
which resulted in the ousting of two pro-gun control Democrats for two anti-gun control Republicans.
In 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.
Republicans have historically supported the War on Drugs
, as well as oppose legalization
or decriminalization of drugs, including marijuana. The opposition to the legalization of marijuana has softened over time.
Republicans have historically opposed same-sex marriage
, while being divided on civil union
s and domestic partnership
s, with the issue being one that many believe helped George W. Bush
win re-election in 2004. In both 2004
, 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. 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.
As of 2014, most state GOP platforms expressed opposition to same-sex marriage. 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. The 2020 platform retained the 2016 language against same-sex marriage.
However, public opinion on this issue within the party has been changing. 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''.
In office, Trump was the first sitting Republican president to recognize LGBT Pride Month
. 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.
The Republican Party platform previously opposed the inclusion of gay people in the military
and opposed adding sexual orientation to the list of protected classes since 1992. The Republican Party opposed the inclusion of sexual preference
in anti-discrimination statutes from 1992 to 2004.
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
The 2016 platform was opposed to sex discrimination statutes that included the phrase "sexual orientation."
The Log Cabin Republicans
is a group within the Republican Party that represents LGBT conservatives
and allies and advocates for LGBT rights and equality.
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. Polling has found majority support for voter ID laws among the general population. Research has indicated that voter fraud is very uncommon, and 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.
Subsequent to the ''Shelby County v. Holder'' Supreme Court decision which rolled back aspects of the Voting Rights Act of 1965
, Republicans introduced cuts to early voting, purges of voter rolls and imposition of strict voter ID laws. In defending their restrictions to voting rights, Republicans have made false and exaggerated claims about the extent of voter fraud in the United States; all existing research indicates that it is extremely rare.
After Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election and Donald Trump refused to concede while he and his Republican allies made false claims of fraud
, Republicans implemented a nationwide effort to restrict voting rights at the state level
The 2016 Republican platform advocated proof of citizenship as a prerequisite for registering to vote and photo ID as a prerequisite when voting.
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.
Studies show that Southern whites shifted to the Republican Party due to racial conservatism.
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.
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".
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,
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.
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.
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. In 2016, ''The New York Times
'' noted that the Republican Party was strong in the South, the Great Plains, and the Mountain States. The 21st century Republican Party also draws strength from rural areas of the United States.
Towards the end of the 1990s and in the early 21st century, the Republican Party increasingly resorted to "constitutional hardball
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
) early in Obama's tenure.
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."
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", a "culmination of this confrontational style",
a "blatant abuse of constitutional norms",
and a "classic example of constitutional hardball."
After the 2020 United States presidential election
was declared for Biden, President Donald Trump
's refusal to concede and demands of Republican state legislatures and officials to ignore the popular vote of the states was described as "unparalleled" in American history and "profoundly antidemocratic". Some journalists and foreign officials have also referred to Trump as a fascist in the aftermath of the 2021 storming of the United States Capitol
Following the storming of the Capitol, a survey conducted by the American Enterprise Institute
found that 56% of Republicans agreed with the statement, "The traditional American way of life is disappearing so fast that we may have to use force to save it," compared to 36% of respondents overall. Sixty percent of white evangelical Republicans agreed with the statement.
Ideology and factions
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
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 moderate
", and 10% called themselves "socially liberal
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.
The modern Republican Party includes conservatives
and social conservatives
In addition to splits over ideology, the 21st-century Republican Party can be broadly divided into establishment and anti-establishment wings. 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.
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. 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. Vice President Mike Pence
also had an early career in conservative talk radio, hosting ''The Mike Pence Show'' in the late 1990s before successfully running for Congress in 2000.
In recent years, pundits through podcasting and radio shows like Ben Shapiro
and Steven Crowder
have also gained fame with a consistently younger audience through outlets such as The Daily Wire
and Blaze Media
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.
[Fried, pp. 104–05, 125.]
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
In 2006, Republicans won 38% of the voters aged 18–29.
In a 2018 study, members of the Silent
and Baby Boomer
generations were more likely to express approval of Trump's presidency than those of Generation X
Low-income voters are more likely to identify as Democrats while high-income voters are more likely to identify as Republicans. In 2012, Obama won 60% of voters with income under $50,000 and 45% of those with incomes higher than that.
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.
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.
["Unmarried Women in the 2004 Presidential Election"]
(PDF). Report by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, January 2005. p. 3: "The marriage gap is one of the most important cleavages in electoral politics. Unmarried women voted for Kerry by a 25-point margin (62 to 37 percent), while married women voted for President Bush by an 11-point margin (55 percent to 44 percent). Indeed, the 25-point margin Kerry posted among unmarried women represented one of the high water marks for the Senator among all demographic groups."
In 2006 House races, 43% of women voted Republican while 47% of men did so.
In the 2010 midterms, the "gender gap" was reduced, with women supporting Republican and Democratic candidates equally (49%–49%).
Exit polls from the 2012 elections revealed a continued weakness among unmarried women for the GOP, a large and growing portion of the electorate. Although women supported Obama over Mitt Romney
by a margin of 55–44% in 2012, Romney prevailed amongst married women, 53–46%. Obama won unmarried women 67–31%. 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".
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 an eight-point advantage over Republicans among college graduates and a fourteen-point advantage among all post-graduates polled. Republicans had an eleven-point advantage among white men with college degrees; Democrats had a ten-point advantage among women with degrees. Democrats accounted for 36% of all respondents with an education of high school or less; Republicans accounted for 28%. When isolating just white registered voters polled, Republicans had a six-point advantage overall and a nine-point advantage among those with a high school education or less.
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.
Republicans have been winning under 15% of the black vote in recent national elections (1980 to 2016). The party abolished chattel 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.
[In the South, they were often not allowed to vote, but still received some Federal patronage appointments from the Republicans]
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. 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
. 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.
[Harvard Sitkoff, ''A New Deal for Blacks'' (1978).]
In the 2010 elections, two African-American Republicans—Tim Scott
and Allen West
—were elected to the House of Representatives.
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.
The party's strong anti-communist stance has made it popular among some minority groups from current and former Communist states, in particular Cuban American
s, Korean American
s, Chinese American
s and Vietnamese American
s. The 2007 election of Bobby Jindal
as Governor of Louisiana was hailed as pathbreaking.
Jindal became the first elected minority governor in Louisiana
and the first state governor of Indian
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.
In 2012, 88% of Romney voters were white while 56% of Obama voters were white. 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.
["Dissecting the 2008 Electorate: Most Diverse in U.S. History"]
. Pew Research Center. April 30, 2009.
In the 2010 House election, Republicans won 60% of the white votes, 38% of Hispanic votes and 9% of the African American vote.
As of 2020, Republican candidates had lost the popular vote in seven out of the last eight presidential elections. Since 1992, the only time they won the popular vote in a presidential election is the 2004 United States presidential election
. Demographers have pointed to the steady decline (as a percentage of the eligible voters) of its core base of older, less educated men. However, Donald Trump
managed to increase nonwhite support to 26% of his total votes in the 2020 election — the highest percentage for a GOP presidential candidate since 1960.
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. Voters who attended church weekly gave 61% of their votes to Bush in 2004
; those who attended occasionally gave him only 47%; and those who never attended 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
has 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.
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 Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
in Utah and neighboring states voted 75% or more for George W. Bush in 2000
. Members of the Mormon faith had a mixed relationship with Donald Trump during his tenure, despite 67% of them voting for him in 2016
and 56% of them supporting his presidency in 2018
, disapproving of his personal behavior such as that shown during the ''Access Hollywood'' controversy
. Their opinion on Trump hadn't affected their party affiliation, however, as 76% of Mormons in 2018 expressed preference for generic Republican congressional candidates.
While Catholic Republican leaders try to stay in line with the teachings of the Catholic Church on subjects such as abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research and same-sex marriage, they differ on the death penalty and contraception. Pope Francis
' 2015 encyclical ''Laudato si'
'' sparked a discussion on the positions of Catholic Republicans in relation to the positions of the Church. The Pope's encyclical on behalf of the Catholic Church officially acknowledges a man-made climate change caused by burning fossil fuels. The Pope says the warming of the planet is rooted in a throwaway culture and the developed world's indifference to the destruction of the planet in pursuit of short-term economic gains. According to ''The New York Times'', ''Laudato si put pressure on the Catholic candidates in the 2016 election: Jeb Bush
, Bobby Jindal
, Marco Rubio
and Rick Santorum
With leading Democrats praising the encyclical, James Bretzke, a professor of moral theology at Boston College, has said that both sides were being disingenuous: "I think it shows that both the Republicans and the Democrats... like to use religious authority and, in this case, the Pope to support positions they have arrived at independently... There is a certain insincerity, hypocrisy I think, on both sides". While a Pew Research poll indicates Catholics are more likely to believe the Earth is warming than non-Catholics, 51% of Catholic Republicans believe in global warming (less than the general population) and only 24% of Catholic Republicans believe global warming is caused by human activity.
In 2016, a slim majority of Orthodox Jews
voted for the Republican Party, following years of growing Orthodox Jewish support for the party due to its social conservatism and increasingly pro-Israel foreign policy stance. An exit poll conducted by the Associated Press
for 2020 found 35% of Muslims
voted for Donald Trump.
As of 2021, there have been a total of 19 Republican presidents.
Current Supreme Court Justices appointed by Republican presidents
, six of the nine seats are filled by Justices appointed by Republican Presidents George H. W. Bush
, George W. Bush
, and Donald Trump
Recent electoral history
In congressional elections: 1950–present
In presidential elections: 1856–present
Groups supporting the Republican Party
* Club for Growth
* Concerned Women for America
* Eagle Forum
* Family Research Council
* Gun Owners of America
* Maggie's List
* National Right to Life Committee
* National Rifle Association
* National Association for Gun Rights
* Republican Jewish Coalition
* Senate Conservatives Fund
* Susan B. Anthony List
* Factions in the Republican Party
* List of African-American Republicans
* List of Hispanic and Latino Republicans
* List of state parties of the Republican Party (United States)
* List of United States Republican Party presidential tickets
* Political party strength in U.S. states
* ''American National Biography'' (20 volumes, 1999) covers all politicians no longer alive; online at many academic libraries and aWikipedia Library
* Aberbach, Joel D., ed. and Peele, Gillian, ed. ''Crisis of Conservatism?: The Republican Party, the Conservative Movement, and American Politics after Bush'' (Oxford UP, 2011). 403pp
* Aistrup, Joseph A. ''The Southern Strategy Revisited: Republican Top-Down Advancement in the South'' (1996).
* Barone, Michael
. ''The Almanac of American Politics 2014: The Senators, the Representatives and the Governors: Their Records and Election Results, Their States and Districts'' (2013); revised every two years since 1975.
* Black, Earl and Merle Black. ''The Rise of Southern Republicans'' (2002).
* Bowen, Michael, ''The Roots of Modern Conservatism: Dewey, Taft, and the Battle for the Soul of the Republican Party.'' (U of North Carolina Press, 2011). xii, 254pp.
* Brennan, Mary C. ''Turning Right in the Sixties: The Conservative Capture of the GOP'' (1995).
* Conger, Kimberly H. ''The Christian Right in Republican State Politics'' (2010) 202 pages; focuses on Arizona, Indiana, and Missouri.
* Crane, Michael. ''The Political Junkie Handbook: The Definitive Reference Books on Politics'' (2004) covers all the major issues explaining the parties' positions.
* Critchlow, Donald T. ''The Conservative Ascendancy: How the Republican Right Rose to Power in Modern America'' (2nd ed. 2011).
* Ehrman, John, ''The Eighties: America in the Age of Reagan'' (2005).
* Fauntroy, Michael K. ''Republicans and the Black vote'' (2007).
* Frank, Thomas. ''What's the Matter with Kansas? How Conservatives Won the Heart of America'' (2005).
* Frum, David.
''What's Right: The New Conservative Majority and the Remaking of America'' (1996).
* Judis, John B.
and Ruy Teixeira
. ''The Emerging Democratic Majority'' (2004), two Democrats project social trends.
* Kabaservice, Geoffrey. ''Rule and Ruin: The Downfall of Moderation and the Destruction of the Republican Party, From Eisenhower to the Tea Party'' (2012) scholarly history .
* Kleppner, Paul, et al. ''The Evolution of American Electoral Systems'' (1983), applies party systems model.
* Kurian, George Thomas ed. ''The Encyclopedia of the Republican Party'' (4 vol., 2002).
* Lamis, Alexander P. ed. ''Southern Politics in the 1990s'' (1999).
* Levendusky, Matthew. ''The Partisan Sort: How Liberals Became Democrats and Conservatives Became Republicans'' (2009). Chicago Studies in American Politics.
* Mason, Robert. ''The Republican Party and American Politics from Hoover to Reagan'' (2011).
* Mason, Robert and Morgan, Iwan (eds.) ''Seeking a New Majority: The Republican Party and American Politics, 1960–1980.'' (2013) Nashville, TN. Vanderbilt University Press. 2013.
* Mayer, George H. ''The Republican Party, 1854–1966.'' 2d ed. (1967).
* Oakes, James. ''The Crooked Path to Abolition: Abraham Lincoln and the Antislavery Constitution'' (W.W. Norton, 2021).
* Oakes, James. ''Freedom National: The Destruction of Slavery in the United States, 1861–1865'' (W. W. Norton, 2012)
* Perlstein, Rick
. ''Before the Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus'' (2002), broad account of 1964.
* Perlstein, Rick. ''Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America
* Reinhard, David W. ''The Republican Right since 1945'' (1983).
* Rutland, Robert Allen. ''The Republicans: From Lincoln to Bush'' (1996).
* Sabato, Larry J.
''Divided States of America: The Slash and Burn Politics of the 2004 Presidential Election'' (2005).
* Sabato, Larry J. and Bruce Larson. ''The Party's Just Begun: Shaping Political Parties for America's Future'' (2001), textbook.
* Schlesinger, Arthur Meier Jr.
ed. ''History of American Presidential Elections, 1789–2000'' (various multivolume editions, latest is 2001). Essays on the most important election are reprinted in Schlesinger, ''The Coming to Power: Critical presidential elections in American history'' (1972).
* Shafer, Byron E. and Anthony J. Badger, eds. ''Contesting Democracy: Substance and Structure in American Political History, 1775–2000'' (2001), long essays by specialists on each time period:
** includes: "To One or Another of These Parties Every Man Belongs": 1820–1865 by Joel H. Silbey
; "Change and Continuity in the Party Period: 1835–1885" by Michael F. Holt; "The Transformation of American Politics: 1865–1910" by Peter H. Argersinger; "Democracy, Republicanism, and Efficiency: 1885–1930" by Richard Jensen; "The Limits of Federal Power and Social Policy: 1910–1955" by Anthony J. Badger; "The Rise of Rights and Rights Consciousness: 1930–1980" by James T. Patterson; and "Economic Growth, Issue Evolution, and Divided Government: 1955–2000" by Byron E. Shafer.
* Shafer, Byron and Richard Johnston. ''The End of Southern Exceptionalism'' (2006), uses statistical election data and polls to argue GOP growth was primarily a response to economic change.
* Steely, Mel. ''The Gentleman from Georgia: The Biography of Newt Gingrich'' Mercer University Press, 2000. .
* Sundquist, James L. ''Dynamics of the Party System: Alignment and Realignment of Political Parties in the United States'' (1983).
* Wooldridge, Adrian and John Micklethwait. ''The Right Nation
: Conservative Power in America'' (2004).
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