If You Think Both Parties Are The Same, This Graph Will Show Why You’re Wrong

republican-democratOver and over again for the last couple of years I’ve heard how “both parties are the same dude! You need to wake up man! Stop being one of the sheeple!” These remarks often come from people who think Infowars or Natural News are legitimate news sources, but I also get this from some of the more “enlightened” people my page picked up back during the days of Occupy.

Let’s be honest — on some things, Democrats and Republicans share similarities. Both sides tend to have super PACs funding candidates and they almost all seem to be fairly cozy with Wall Street. Beyond that, the differences become more and more obvious. In fact, this graph shows that over the last 30 years, both sides of the aisle in the Senate have moved further and further apart.

US Senate Voting Similarity Networks

Explore more infographics like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.

If both parties really were the same, why is one of them hijacked by social and religious radicals who seem to want to bring the federal government to its knees? If there was no difference between Democrats and Republicans, why is one party determined to do everything it can to disenfranchise voters in order to maintain political power in areas where their support is rapidly slipping away?

Anyone who tells you both parties are exactly the same has either not been paying attention, or they’re being completely disingenuous. I’d even go so far as to say that they’re recruiting for the Libertarian Party (with which I do agree on some things, but not all) or they’re trying to keep people from voting by spreading apathy and disinformation.

Despite the faults of Democrats, including being overly zealous on guns when it comes to some further left members of the party, I don’t see them willing to hold the government and economy hostage because they couldn’t push an assault weapons ban through. They may be out of touch with rural voters and those who prefer boiled collards over arugula, but they’re not batshit insane and intent on installing their own version of Sharia law.

I’m not totally happy with everything Democrats have done but as someone who used to be a Republican and has worked for the Green Party, there is definitely a difference between Democrats and Republicans – now so more than ever.

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Manny Schewitz is a progressive from the Dirty South with an inclination to say it like it is. He is a co-founder of Forward Progressives, and also maintains an active and lively presence on Facebook. You can find him on Twitter as well, @MannySchewitz. Be sure to check out Manny's archives on Forward Progressives for more of his viewpoints.


Facebook comments

  • Matthew Reece

    The Democratic and Republican parties are both full of authoritarian statists, just of different types.

    • demirites

      Do you know anything about statistics? You sound like one of those people discribed as misinformed, disingenuous or driven to apathy by lack of comprehension…hopefully you aren’t one of those recruiting for the Libertarian Party. Its true that stats can be twisted around to show different things, which is why educating oneself in stats is important.

      • http://wallisvstheworld.blogspot.com/ Chris Wallis

        I don’t see how your response negates or even addresses his statement.

      • LeftCenterLib


        Mr Reece didn’t misspell “statistics;” he spelled “statist” as in “supporter of the State” or “supporter of a strong centralized government”.

        Yes, that’s a Libertarian stance. It’s one I happen to disagree with. Still, I’m not going to stand-by while someone is accused of a vocabulary faux pas by another who couldn’t bother to google “define statist”.

      • http://rawrahs.blogspot.com rehctaw

        He said statists, not statistics. You sound like one of those people.

  • Mike Williams

    Most folks who make this claim fall into two categories. 1. They are Republicans. They hate to be associated with losing causes. Let’s face it, winning is extremely important to folks of the Conservative mind set. Some also use this ruse to try to dishearten ill informed folks. 2. They are pompous blow holes who like to toss about hard to disprove incendiary statements….you know….trolls.

    • Matthew Reece

      3. Some anarchist libertarians who oversimplify the situation.

      • grinninglibber

        Yes – that is common.

    • Toomuchcoffeeguy

      Don’t forget about the conspiracy theorists who believe each party plays its own role toward a mutual agenda of protecting the property rights of the rich.

      • Matthew Reece

        Not the property rights, but the unfair advantages of the 0.01%.

      • Sean

        I thought it was the lizard people.

  • al

    Can’t get the graphic to enlarge

    • http://wonderwheels.blogspot.com/ Gregory Wonderwheel

      I can’t even see the graphic.

  • Charles-A Rovira

    I’d like to get rid of the parties and get back to a representative democracy.

    Repubes or democraps, our politicians are equipped with the morals of gutter cats.

    The problem with republics is the same as with monarchies. After a while, the noble intentions at the start are as dead as the noble individuals which founded the kingdom or the republic. (The methods of creation for either are equally bloody.)

    If we want a representative government, we’ll have to RE-create it. (There were no parties in 1776.)

    If we want smaller government, we’ll have to take out the incentives for its growth too.

    The error of (y)our ways is that, despite the evidence of hundreds of years of history, you keep on electing self-selected, self-anointed members of the millionaires club, people who have no understanding of what the lives of the citizens of this country are like.

    That fits in with Einstein’s definition of insanity: “Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

    Lets examine how the situation has really devolved since the founding of this country.

    We’ve become a government
    • OF the thousandaires (the 99%, that would be me and thee,)
    • BY the millionaires (the 1%, that would be the extremely insular privileged overlords and bosses,)
    • FOR the billionaires (the 12,400 individuals identified by the IRS as the people who count (though they don’t really count as they hire some thousandaires to run machines to do that.)

    Personally, I don’t think millionaires like those in Washington would hesitate to have me arrested if I showed up on their street. I really don’t think of them as capable of representing me in the least.


    • Edward Kirby

      I completely agree.

      We certainly need to get rid of the political parties, and I even wonder if anti-monopoly laws can be used against them. A key component IMHO is to put a cap on the size of Congressional districts — making them much smaller than they are now — and amending the Constitution to remove apportionment as a vehicle by which representation is structured. Apportionment was good when we were a country of 3 million citizens. That is no longer the case and we are way past the time for a new vehicle.

      • Sean

        Repealing the Bill of 1929 that halted the growth of the House of Representatives is a good start. The lower house hasn’t expanded since the addition of Hawaii and Alaska. There is something clearly wrong with that.

  • Szponiasty

    Ofc they’re the same. They are different in non essential matters, ideological matters, that are used to divide society. Like for example one side is pro choice other not. In all crucial matters, they are all the same. For example: war.

    • Julie Wickstrom

      They aren’t the same in war. One starts a war. The other has gradually pulled out, not as fast as we want.

      • Lorie Emerson

        And, more importantly, not put us into another one.

      • mychelle

        And who voted to go to war in Congress. Do we really need to get that chart out again?? Patriot Act? NDAA? and on and on? Gradual pull-out or glacial pull out?

    • Brian Frang

      Yeah…. You do realize modern-day Democrats and Pre-civil rights movement Democrats were not of the same party, right? Most Democrats that have gotten us into wars would be Republicans, today.

    • Scaramongus

      Well maybe it is not the parties per say, but the way the system as been manipulated and changed over time to benefit the filthy rich and powerful corporations. That is what needs to be changed IMO. That being said it is obvious that there does seem to be one side that is really pushing for laws, policies, and processes that do just. That certainly is not equally the “fault” of both parties.

      • Szponiasty

        The system is not broken. It has been built that way. Decent people do not need laws, to prohibit them from doing something wrong. Criminals don’t care about laws.

  • Sasha K-S

    I say that the differences are mostly to create media interest to keep people wasting their time on silly bullshit and social issues.

    The huge, overarching issues of our day, that define the power structures of the whole world..the role of corporations, the rights of individuals, our foreign policy and military stance, IP laws, corporate welfare and protectionism, etc…the Ds and Rs agree far more than they disagree.

    The issues they disagree pale in comparison to these, and no graph will demonstrate the relative importance of different issues.

    Even on Health Care, IMHO, they are both completely wrong, corrupt, and muddleheaded; they certainly disagree, but that doesn’t really help anybody, when the status the opposition GOP defends is as corrupt and broken as the democratic alternatives. And, again, neither of them seriously questions the health industry as a whole or threatens the many protections it receives from the government.

    BTW, thanks for saying a kind word about libertarians. As a libertarian, I honestly feel that I agree more with Progressives on many of the issues most important than I do either with Rs or Ds.

    • Scott Davis

      I agree. I boil it down to two issues: Ensuring the Earth’s future habitability and the preservation of the middle class. Both parties fail by these standards. Issue advocacy and true left action are the only answers, not the Democratic party. You really have to pick and choose: Green, some democrat, and if you can ever find a Teddy Roosevelt Republican, good luck.

      • Sasha K-S

        Hmmm…for me, the #1 issue is ending militarism and financial neo-coloniamlism…but, it’s fair to say that those issues encompass and parallel yours on a global scale, because they are the greatest environmental destructors and destroyers of global middle classes.

      • StevenWMason

        How on Earth would you end militarism when every other country wouldn’t? Or do you mean world wide? If so, how would that work when “rebel” types crop up from every shadow imaginable? It would just start right back up again. You seem to give humans more credit than they’ve proven they can handle with that issue.

      • Sasha K-S

        Are you a neocon? Come on, that’s a pretty poor answer. We’ve been involved in dozens of countries militarily and with psyops over the last 50 years. None of them had anything to do with protecting actual America, and many of them produced unintended consequences and motivated pissed off people.

        Go look up the terms in question before you reply to a comment, because I don’t think you understand what ‘militarism’ is.

      • Guest

        Are you serious right now? You’re telling me to look up terms after the inane banter you’ve been spewing? That’s rich. You’re talking about “psyops” and you’re asking me if i’m a neocon? On what level are you trying to build thoughts? Did you like dream some weird shit and decide to post it on this site? I don’t need to “look up terms”. I passed college English with a 100. Thanks though. Militarism is the idea that we should hold a strict or strong and/or aggressive military presence. Stop now before you make yourself look stupid.

      • Sasha K-S

        1. What does ‘militarism’ have to do with defense?
        2. Why is it wrong to talk about ‘psyops,’ such as the ‘psyop’ that overthrew the democratically elected president of Iran in 1953, along with dozens of other confirmed incidents?

  • traildog

    Most folks who make claims about folks who make claims about the similarities about the parties seem to operate within an ahistorical vacuum and are usually quite partisan themselves. Moreover, Schewitz is making a straw man argument: “The parties are EXACTLY the same.”

    Most people who pay attention and remember and understand the corporate Clinton roll-over years, FDR’s New Deal and his war powers, Truman’s attempt at universal healthcare and Containment, Kennedy’s Missile Gap, and the liberal Democratic establishment which simultaneously brought us the Great Society and the Vietnam War.

    The only people who pompous blowhards with a tendency toward oversimplification are Democratic Party hacks and folks who just don’t like to think too hard about the difficulties of creating true progressive governance.

    • http://wonderwheels.blogspot.com/ Gregory Wonderwheel

      I love it when people can actually refer to the logical fallacies being bandied about. Thanks.

    • melizer

      On the contrary, the “exactly” modifier was limiting the the remark to only those people who feel the parties are exactly the same.

  • Edward Kirby

    Graph? What graph?

  • Edward Kirby

    If “by ye works, ye shall be known”, then there really isn’t much difference between the two parties. As someone else pointed out, they aren’t *exactly* alike, but then they can’t be: they appeal to two different groups for donations. For example, the GOP knows that it can’t change the law to make abortion illegal. They’d have to pass the bill in both chambers, have a president sign it, and then make it past the Supreme Court. Even if it did all of that, there is the little issue of enforcing such a law. The intrusive police-state apparatus that would have to be assembled (and paid for; not a Republican strong suit) would be a monstrosity. So, clearly, the Republican leadership apparatus have no real plans (or even expectations) to outlaw abortion. Oh sure, there are some true-believing fire-breathers amongst the GOP legislators, but they are mostly ignored by the leadership (beyond lip service paid to the cause). And yet they still campaign on this issue. Why? Because it brings in campaign donations. The same goes for the Democrats and issues like gun control.

    So once you boil away all these ridiculous social issues that don’t stand a chance of being implemented anyway, we are left with two groups of millionaires; one that wants cuts to social spending and another that wants deep cuts. And the only reason they can’t compromise on what is clearly a tiny difference in their agendas is because they are driven by their constituents to hate the other side.

    Both sides want more power because with power comes the filthy lucre from K Street. And even if one party did somehow get control of both chambers, the White House and a majority of justices on the Supreme Court, there would still be very little they would be able to accomplish in the way of governing as per their political philosophy. The Constitution — and the parliamentary rules of both houses — simply allows the minority too much power for the majority to do that. And so here we are: in a political gridlock where the only thing happening is the enrichment of people involved in the political process.

    So there may be significant differences in what the mouthpieces from the two parties *say*, but based on what they *do*, I’d say that there was very little differences between them. Its all just kabuki dancing from them at this point.

  • Grand1

    As someone who has a degree in political science, I know there is a vast gulf between Democrats and Republican/Tea Party members. In fact, many Democrats will now not even speak to Republicans. Partisans disagree on gun control, birth control, death penalty, criminalization of recreational drugs, economic policy, education, the poor, minorities, immigration, women’s rights, international relations with ___fill in the blank____ country, environment, energy, etc. Virtually everything that involves public policy is a point of contention. Now, granted there are conservative Democrats and liberal Republicans but not many of either exist in Congress today. So, let’s not try to fool ourselves into believing America is one big hug with everyone sitting around the fire singing Kumbaya. We do not like people of opposite political stripes and we certainly are not the same. I will spare you a dissertation on group theory, but it boils down to the reality that we hang out only with people who agree with us. That’s what people do. That’s why there are two, separate and distinct political parties in the U.S.

    • dd

      Without diversity in our groups, which now can be FB, we move into groupthink, which is not a good thing.

    • http://wonderwheels.blogspot.com/ Gregory Wonderwheel

      Grand1, you go part way, but then you derail at the last sentence. Hanging out with the people with whom we agree would be the reason for a multi-party system, not the reason for a two-party system. The reason for the two-party system is exactly to force people to hang out with people that they disagree with. Otherwise there is no purpose for progressives to be hanging out in the Democratic Party with the likes of corporate-centrists ike Obama, and no purpose for libertarians to be hanging out in the Republican Party with the likes of Romney.

      • Grand1

        I have been around long enough to see third parties sprout and die. Yes, the two-party system hates competition. If, as we see now, one of them self destructs, there is no telling what nor how many parties will replace it. The Democratic Party is not monolithic. As we can clearly see today, neither is the Republican Party. There are subgroups to each group but one identity. I think the laws have much to do with the lack of other parties as much as group identity does.

      • http://wonderwheels.blogspot.com/ Gregory Wonderwheel

        Yes, it is the laws that force us into the two-party system not group dynamics.

      • Brian Frang

        On the other hand, studies have shown that while the polarizing effects of the two party system DO create a lot of gridlock, it also forces more compromise than any other political system in the world. The problem with multi-party systems is that, often, the people who end up in power only represent a very small fraction of the population. At the end of the day, when we don’t have a small faction of one party holding the entire government hostage, our policies are much more moderate than a lot of areas in the world, and to a degree, that’s good. We need more centrism in our government.

      • mychelle

        Sprout and be killed is a better analogy. Democrats in New Mexico and other states (PA and TX come to mind immediately) are out and out hostile to the existence of other progressive parties, such as the Green Party and go out of their way to ensure that qualifications for ballot access are onerous. Republicans meddle and try to use such parties as wedges but the fact remains that such parties have a right to exist, and before big corporations took over BOTH the Republicans and Democrats, this nation had multiple parties!
        Juxtapose our duopoly situation today with the fact that we have sent thousands of our citizens to die in the service of bringing MULTIPARTY democracy to foreign lands, as in Iraq, Afghanistan, the nations of the former Yugoslavia, and have sent vast support, i.e. our hard-earned taxpayer’s monies, to still others for the same purpose.
        And yet our members of the military and our taxpayers are actively denied the free and fair participation of and choice of a multiparty voice in this nation.
        Make sense?

  • Frank Blankenship

    Spend thrifts versus tight wads, that is the whole of the difference between the two parties and the reason for polarization. Problem. Spend thrifts subsidize indolence and parasitism. Tights wads make a hard world harder. Basically both parties line the pockets of politicians at the expense of the people, voters and non-voters alike. As they are both basically owned by big money and global corporations, I would encourage people to vote outside of the 2 party system. As polarized as the two parties are, they are both too close to each other for comfort, and yet too far away from the man or woman on the street to support.

    • Julie Wickstrom

      Spenders lately have been Republicans to pay for their wars. They certainly like to spend too much, just are hypocrites when the other party spends anything. I’d almost say that “Tight wads” are becoming more Democrats because Clinton and Obama haven’t been quite a frivolous as Reagan, Bush, Bush by percent and inflation. Everyone is spending too much just the republicans are forcing government closure because they didn’t get their way and are wasting our money by collecting paychecks when they purposefully stop all bills even if they are good for their districts.

      • Haad Thehaad Naqvi

        dems have went along with these wars too! Why do we still call it republican wars when the president has token direct action to advance them without the necessary say so of congress. Then people wonder why I think both parties are primarily the same.

      • Brian Frang

        Because the Democrats never would have gone along with Iraq if they hadn’t been lied to by the Bush administration. As far as Syria is concerned…. It’s a murky situation, at best. I think we need to stay out, but there a lot of factors on both sides of the argument to consider.

      • mychelle

        Would they have not? Or do they just say that now?
        Perhaps an examination of their campaign contributors and pork barrel projects in their districts would be enlightening, particularly defense contractors and operations, say in the SF area, Vegas, etc??

      • Frank Blankenship

        Social programs versus wars then, and public sector versus private. What is a tax break for the rich goes one question. It’s an expense for everybody else that theoretically could improve the economy. I don’t think this really addresses the problem of multinational corporate imperialism. The reason some of these Republicans throw those expensive wars. The old anti-trust laws are no being enforced. Technological monopolies these days rival the monopolies of the industrial revolution. Mom and pop, and localities, tend to be out of luck, if luck is business, due to this monopolization of business chains. I don’t think it makes good sense to forget the people you work for, and I think our politicians have done that, unless the people you work for are the wealthy 1 %. Now if it is the wealthy 1 % you work for, it’s a far stretch to call it government of, for, and by the people. I’d say we need to try to get back to that, government of, for, and by the people. All the people, not just this elite group, or that.

  • Dick Marti

    I can’t read the graph. The print is too small and the graph won’t enlarge. It looks interesting, but I can’t make much sense of it.

  • Jerry Smith

    In 1980 I could could not support Carter, although I was too young to vote. In 1984 I voted for Mondale/Ferraro in my school’s mock election. Every since I’ve been old enough to vote in 1988, it’s been the lesser of the two evils. It doesn’t matter who wins, the American people loose. Now that we have had Obama for almost five years, where is the kind of health care reform he promised in the summer of 2008? What is the big difference between “Romneycare” and “Obamacare?” America has fallen deeper into debt, just like under Bush we’re still spending more than we are taking in. We can spend between $600 to $787 billion a year for defense, that money mostly goes to defense contractors, while everything else in America is falling apart.

    • Matthew Reece

      There was Perot in 1992, but that just pissed off the major parties and got them to work together on keeping alternatives suppressed.

  • rish

    It is much easier to say “they’re all the same” and “it’s all b.s.” than to research, fact check or even read every article or meme or news clip. Politics have basically eroded into a meme war on FB and Twitter. People are too lazy to figure out the truth behind opposing headlines, so they call it all b.s.

  • Jane Doe

    There has been a great misunderstanding by Members of Congress, who are elected to serve as Public Servants, not as Tyrant Rulers. America has become a divided country. We have diluted the power of the American citizen to the point that our only role in this country is to support those Tyrants by paying enormous taxes without benefits in return. Those Members of Congress pass laws that favor no one but themselves and corporate giants. I just want to know how many American citizens will lose their credit worthiness, or their homes as a result of this act of terrorism? How many children will go to bed without food as a result of this act of terrorism? How many elderly will die as a result of this act of terrorism? Some may say that this is not terrorism, but as written by International Terrorism and Security Research that depends on, “whose point of view is being represented.”

  • http://wonderwheels.blogspot.com/ Gregory Wonderwheel

    To argue against “both parties are the same” is just to argue against a straw man. The duopoly has differences and it is those very differences that are used on both sides to convince the people that our phony democracy is a real one. The one “Corporation Party” has the two wings called Democrats and Republicans and the two wings are very different so that we the economic serfs will believe that we have a real choice when we vote. The Democrats and Republicans differ in how to treat us serfs. The Democrats say the best way to get productive workers (so the pockets of the owners can be lined) is to make the serfs happy with creature comforts. The Republicans say the best way to line the pockets with profits is to not care whether the serfs are happy or not and to just work them to the bone for as little costs as possible. So yes, there is a real difference between the two parties of the Corporate Feudal Lords, And yes, for us serfs, it is better that the Democrats be in power so the masters will treat us better. But both parties are the same when it comes to knowing who the masters (of business and of war) are and in keeping them in power.

  • Josh Kobza

    So the fact that they both supported policies that led to the economic collapse, both are on retainer for the military industrial complex, both have made laws that effectively repeal the bill of rights, both are funded by the same evil organizations, both are for continuing the same Keynesian policies that have brought the world to its knees, both are filled with war criminals, both support the most racist laws in history (drug war), etc…

    Honestly the superficial differences between the parties are solely there to give an illusion of choice. Both parties have been bought and sold time and time again to the highest bidder and they keep sending us the bill. Like Carlin said bi partisan only means that there is more deception going on than usual. And as Emma Goldman said If voting changed anything it would be illegal.

    This article does nothing but allow the plebs to feel more comfortable supporting team edward over team jacob. If you are a progressive that actually wants change vote Green Party and treat the democratic party no different than AIG, JP Morgan Chase, or the GOP. In the end they are all different puppets belonging to the same master.

    • Brian Frang

      And then watch as the Republican Party takes over the whole country again. Remember Nader? He ran for the Green Party back in 2000, and if he hadn’t, his votes would have gone to Gore, and a number of key states would have gone to Gore, instead. I’d rather NOT have to go through another 8 years of Republican tyranny.

      • Josh Kobza

        As opposed to being stuck with a Democrat tyranny…

        Extended the Patriot Act
        $500+ renovations on Guantanamo
        -Increased attacks on legal marijuana dispensaries
        -Increased data collection
        -Numerous of unelected officials, appointed to key positions, who were former lobbyists, CEOs, and lawyers for the most evil organizations in the country
        -An ever increasing debt that is being ignored
        -Bombed or put boots on the ground in more countries than the republicans did
        -Increased the drone program that has cost the lives of 40 civilians for every target killed (I would direct you to Noam Chomsky, a real progressive, Glenn Greenwald, or Ralph Nader on what they think of Obama compared to Bush)
        -Sweeping attacks on whistle blowers and journalists alike

        I mean I can go on and on… Both parties are corporately owned and operated.

      • mychelle

        Brian, that fallacy has been disproven multiple times. Nader did not STEAL votes from Gore. This could only be true if you think that the Democratic Party OWNS OUR VOTES!!! And I have news for you, NOBODY OWNS MY VOTE!!
        You EARN my vote! And this was true of voters in 2000 as well. A good many of them were Greens like me who supported our platform and our candidate. Another large portion were people who would not have even voted at all, even for Gore. I personally knew of several Republicans who did not want to vote for their candidate or a Democrat either and chose Nader as a protest vote, so I would include a fraction of these people as well. But why the hell did MILLIONS of REGISTERED DEMOCRATS VOTE FOR BUSH????? Where is the ire for them?? Get your own herd in order before you seek to poach from others!

        Nader was a legitimate candidate.
        I liked Gore though, but why the hell did he choose Lieberman as his running mate????
        Many of my Dem friends were flabbergasted by this, hating Lieberman and completely disavowing his political bent, and so a couple of them voted for Nader as well.

        Academic studies have proven all of these voters above existed and it’s been well documented that only the latter of these votes, a tiny fraction, would have a snowballs chance in Hades of being won by Gore.
        Indeed the Socialist Party candidate Fulani also won more votes than the difference between Bush and Gore in Florida, so give us Greens a break and give the Socialists a bit of hell if you’re still beating this dead horse!

  • John

    Everything the RepubliCONs do has motive. Consider all Rep Presidential candidates have Big wigs will not be able to take their $100M bonuses anymore. Why would anyone want to get rid of it when we are paying higher premiums because of the uninsured? Why do Healthcare providers refuse to insure people with pre-existing conditions? Greed! They lose money. They rather have you go off and die. RepubliCONs are for the rich and greed. I relinquished being a Republican in 2012. They’re crooks, crybabies, and cater to only the wealthy. In 2014 when Dems take Congress there may no longer be a Conservative party…..Thank GOD!

  • Douglas Housel sr

    I had that discussion recently on FB . Being dependent on Social Security that scares me . In fact people like me tend to vote Republican . Makes me crazy . I could name about a million differences but here’s a few contrasts . Michelle Bachman and Elizabeth Warren , Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin , Louis Gomer and Al Franken .

    • Brian Frang

      I’m confused about something. If the idea of being dependant on Social Security scares you so much, why would you vote for people who want to make it harder on the people who have to? Wouldn’t it make more sense to increase the Social Security budget so that when people get to retirement age and/or can’t work so productively anymore, they can still live comfortable lives? It’s not like people on Social Security are being lazy, they paid in to the system for it their entire careers.

  • I Once Was Andrew

    As someone who’s anything but a conservative (just look at my posting history), allow me to call bullshit.

    Saying, “Look how differently they vote! They’re not so similar!” is a purposefully shortsighted approach.

    Both sides:
    - Believe strongly in American exceptionalism
    - Believe in interventionist foreign policy, including throwing America’s military weight around
    - Believe that “the ends (i.e., preventing terrorism) justify the means” with regard to spying on the American people
    - Have no issues with using drone strikes to take out military targets
    - Pushed through the “bailout” that further enriched the bankers who ran the economy into the ground while offering no help to the people who they screwed over
    - Failed to imprison the perpetrators of the aforementioned financial crimes
    - Refuse to acknowledge or redress American war crimes
    - Have failed to address the growing rich-poor disparity and the shrinking middle class, including failing to address such issues as executive compensation and minimum wage
    - Are perfectly fine with the continued existence of the stock market in its current state — rewarding businesses via higher stock prices for increasing their year-over-year profits and meeting earnings expectations, no matter how those goals are achieved (usually by lowering quality, raising costs for consumers, laying people off and outsourcing)
    - Make no effort to achieve meaningful campaign or campaign-finance reform

    That’s just a partial list. Now, it’s not that there aren’t differences between the parties. The Republicans are certainly goddamn crazy, and there are obviously substantive differences on economic and social policy between the two parties. But those differences shouldn’t blind you to the glaring similarities. Both sides are perpetuating the same broken political system that makes everything the Republicans are doing possible. Both sides are in the pockets of the wealthiest people in this country. The fact that one of them is wholly shameless about it doesn’t let the other side off the hook.

    • Edward Kirby

      Agreed. The most important thing to both parties is making sure the two parties are in charge of every aspect of governance in America.

    • StevenWMason

      I agree with you’re response, but I think you’re missing the point of the original post. It’s countering people who say both are exactly the same. They aren’t exactly the same. You even said it.

      • I Once Was Andrew

        No one — not even our fellow Americans — is stupid enough to think that both parties are exactly the same. But to act, as this post does, like they largely couldn’t be more different… it’s disingenuous. You can’t just brush off teensy-weensy things like both parties being in the pocket of big business just because it suits your agenda to focus instead on the Republicans’ craziness. Obviously, I’m totally fine with all the posts in the world pointing out Republican insanity, but we all know that the Democrats are and have been their greatest enablers.

    • Lori

      There is some truth to this most notably in war but I think you are dead wrong when it comes to “failing to address growing rich-poor disparity”. The Dems have put their entire political stake on this. What do you think Obamacare is? They are constantly fighting to raise minimum wage, lower payroll taxes, protect SS, medicare and medicaid not to mention bankruptcy protection and consumer protection. Clearly they don’t go far enough and could do more, but they got Obamacare and the Consumer protection agency through and that was the fight of the century. They could not be more opposite on this issue.

      • I Once Was Andrew

        “Obamacare” is a half-measure, ultimately a piece of stopgap legislation that addresses only bits and pieces of our nation’s healthcare issues. It will get more people insured and it may lower the cost of insurance, but it’s not going to lift people out of poverty, that’s for sure. Similarly, Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security are safety blankets for the poor and elderly, not vehicles of economic mobility.

        The rich-poor divide has been growing since the ’70s, and it hasn’t stopped growing under Obama. Since he’s been in office, the rich have continued to get richer while the poor have continued to get poorer.

        Have the Democrats really been “fighting to raise minimum wage”? Because they could have passed a minimum-wage-raising bill when they owned the House and Senate enough to pass the ACA… but they didn’t.

        As for payroll taxes, Obama cut them temporarily, and that cut expired this year. It has not been put back into place, nor has Obama or any other notable Democrat particularly pushed for it.

        Don’t get me wrong; the Democrats certainly have MORE of the common man’s interests at heart than the Republicans. But that doesn’t make their shit into gold.

      • http://crissa.twu.net/ Crissa

        Which of the blue-dogs in the Senate would have voted for that?

        Oh, you judge all Democrats by less than a handful?

    • mychelle

      And BOTH parties do their utmost to cooperate when it comes to engineering state electoral laws that shut out third party participation.

      • I Once Was Andrew


      • http://crissa.twu.net/ Crissa

        Or maybe a little mathematical knowledge would go a bit further than conspiracy theories. Look up, “Duverger’s law.”

    • semaj

      They differ on issues of poverty education healthcare infrastructure. Republicans want to blindly cut taxes and want to vote down the aca even though most parts of it are popular because it goes against their taxes cut for the rich policy. mot of them run on balanced budgets that they achieve by screwing poor people

    • Joe

      I don’t really disagree with a lot of what you’re saying, but there have been many government closures over the years and some of them have been at the hands of Democrats. Democrats are not above holding the government & economy hostage when they don’t get their way.

  • capok

    wow. few people suggest they are EXACTLY the same. what we do suggest is that they take different paths to similar ends. the republicans soak the electorate for their cronies and the democrats soak the electorate for their entitlements. The federal government on both sides of the aisle are “handled” by powerful lobbies and therefore operate for the benefit of special interest. These are core similarities that make any differences pointless. There has also been much bipartisan support for the eroding of civil liberties since 9/11. Not only have you and many of your readers completely missed what some of us are saying, you also were good enough to confine us to disillusioned republicans and/or conspiracy theorists. Ignorant to the real concern and condescending. Nice work.

  • Avaria

    though yes, the statement is false, but it serves a purpose. the point of the saying “both parties are the same” is to note, that regardless of who you vote for, democrats or republicans, your still getting a shitty representative. both parties are so caught up in their own agenda they cant see how fucked the country is, both parties to busy fighting each other to realize there isn’t going to be much to fight over when their done. their views may not be the same, but it gets hard to tell them apart with the way things have been going

  • Haad Thehaad Naqvi

    I make this argument (both parties are the same) and it is because of this. What changes with the changes in party? The biggest issue to me is the war overseas-the wars I should say. BOTH sides have shown time and time again they support the wars, if you don’t think this is the biggest issue in every way then you aren’t paying attention, over half of our spending is defense spending, and in terms of how much ”good” or ”bad” we do nothing comes close to the wars, period! When this is not different the rest becomes insignificant.
    both sides are willing to support other types of ”military actions” as well, for example drone on the American civilian pop. with good reason which directly contradicts the American right to a fair trial-an amendment right.
    which leads me to my next point, both are shaky on maintaining the rights granted by the constitution, the gun control example you gave sums that up perfectly.
    If you think there is a big difference between the parties you have given heed to smaller issues and ignored the bigger ones-specifically the BIGGEST one. And no, dems haven’t done much for gay rights, the president-technically leader of the party-has more or less given lip service to it, decriminalization of mary j is also a stagnant issue.
    so excuse me for saying both parties are the same even though one is pro-life and the other pro-choice.

  • Ben Carnes

    A crook is a crook, regardless of what party they belong to. I don’t see anyone trying to bring transparency to the government. Show me who’s grown a pair and risking it all to do so.

  • Timothy Bishop

    They aren’t the same, but are similar in the way they approach business, money and corporations. Far too willing to accept money to advance their political careers in exchange for protecting the interests behind the money.

  • Lorie Emerson

    It seems from the comments that most people want a complete overhaul of the entire system now. I can’t think of an example where that turned out well. Change is and has been happening. Its two steps forward, one step back. If you really study the ACA, it leaves the option of how are insurance works to the citizen/consumer. Choose a Co-op nonprofit as your provider, the government gave them loans to start up. You want a better government? participate. The Pres, as a former community organizer, knows that it takes the people to demand change. Those that like to bitch and whine seem to ignore that this is a very big country, with a very diverse population that hold views at each extreme of the spectrum. The most destructive war would be a civil war, which is what extremists at each end are advocating. Progress does and has happened. You can warp it with convoluted ideologies searching for a Utopia that matches your particular set of beliefs, or you can work for real change like they did with the civil rights movement. We have a mixed race President. That is change. The names of the parties don’t matter; they will switch positions over time. Its the policies and positions that they advocate for. If Republicans went back to being the party of the workers, I would be on their team in a second. Right now, Dem’s are the more progressive. Hopefully, the Green Party can work on the Dems like the Tea Party has the Republicans. They’re all the same is lazy and destructive.

    • mychelle

      We Greens are very familiar with being told we should work on or work within the Democratic Party. I personally have been told this since I first studied Green Politics in my college years. That was almost 30 years ago!! Einstein’s definition of insanity aside, we’re not talking about changing a lightbulb here. The Dem bulb clearly does not want to change.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Halligan/1764272197 Mike Halligan

    before i get too happy with the differences, let’s see how this budget mess shakes out. Taking bets that social security and medicare and medicaid take some serious hits, with no new taxes for the wealthy. Hide and watch and i hope i’m wrong.

  • VetTeacher

    Mike Wiiliams and Matthew Reece nailed this topic dead to rights. Carry on, men.

  • Geri

    Oh my gosh, you are so right! I once was a registered Republican, but no More! I don’t think they care beans about the people just their big company backers. I’m beginning to think the country doesn’t mean very much to them.
    Look at the roads and bridges, which the jobs bill might have helped people and the country. If President Obama suggests anything , it’s not even voted on. Just so very sad for our wonderful country!!

  • Green Party Now

    It depends on what subject is being studied. If you look at the illegal surveillance of the citizenry you will find that neither party is working for the people.

    If you look at the voting laws of this nation you will see that the system is run by the two major political parties, who conspire to keep third parties out.

    And if you compare our major parties to other nations, such as in Europe, you will find that both parties have moved far to the right.

  • Kontra

    but I respectfully submit that this infographic is about legislation,
    not about core ideals. The really important topics don’t even show up
    here. War, privatization at home and abroad through neoliberal
    policies, 2-party lockdown, etc – all the really bad, important stuff –
    are no contest issues.

    Which party do I vote for to get universal
    health care? Which one doesn’t divert funds from public education to
    subsidize corporate boondoggles? Which vote will stop drone strikes?
    Or at least *have a policy* of not carrying them out against citizens of
    this country? Which party do I vote for to counter the surveillance
    state? The police state?

    Or I’ll just settle for: Which one DOESN’T bomb other countries for no sensible reason whatsoever?

    Obviously, I’m not convinced.

  • planckbrandt

    Why is one hijacked? To make the other one look reasonable.

  • Mandy Sue

    So where’s the graph? I didn’t see it.

  • pdquick

    If you’re hearing “both parties are the same,” you’re not really listening. Both paries are doing the bidding of the same interests, using different themes and branding to accomplish the same long-range material interests of the same class of oligarchs. What’s as important as the difference between the parties’ legislative histories is the difference between what the American people want and need, and what gets on the agenda in Washington or in legislatures around the country.

  • D10

    “Both sides have super pacs……cozy with Wall Street.” They are exactly alike in the way that matters most. They cater to their special interests. That’s how we get more spending and less taxes and a big debt. The Democrats, for all their bluster, have not over turned The Patriot Act, have they? So, yeah, Dude, they are the same.

    • http://crissa.twu.net/ Crissa

      They haven’t overturned something that requires a super-majority in the Senate to do? Gosh!

      • D10

        Please explain why it requires a super majority to overturn? The laws were due to sunset but were reauthorized. And how did the bills for extension came to President Obama to sign (a Dem) without Dem approval in the Senate? Dude.

  • Robben

    Yes.. you are sheeple… and no both parties are not the same in regards to beliefs, but both political systems manipulate their course audiences using the same tactics and strategies, and yes, info wars is awesome.

  • Milky Teltron

    Nobody is saying they vote the same all the time, they are told to quarrel by their handlers. Politicians answer to their handlers. Handlers use a divide and conquer
    strategy encourage or foster feuds between smaller powers. This kind of political maneuvering requires a
    great understanding of the people who are being manipulated. In order to foster feuds, for example, one must
    understand the political and social histories of the parties intended to take part in the feuds.

  • Richard A. Tucker

    I’m not sure where to start so I’m going to go with the facts. First, this chart is pretty accurate. I say this based on history and my status as a former registered Republican. I’m not a Democrat and likely never will be.
    The Dems have become the voice for social progressives for a good reason. Yes, some blue dogs are in the mix but anyone care to show me the progressives in the rabid lot of right-wing fascist that call themselves Republicans? Good luck.
    The drone campaign: unlike the previous ADMINISTRATIONS Obama owns it. I seriously doubt he likes it because he never brags about it. Though, in some measure he SHOULD. This maligned effort has led to a body count that been tiny compared to our boots on the ground ops. Does anyone honestly think boots on the ground ops were better? Tell that to the legions of widows, the thousands with permanent brain injuries, and thousands more who lost their limbs. Tell that to all the people NOT killed in the crossfire of of BOTG ops when panicked men fired rounds at everything that moved when their “control” went south. That said, not even the White House claims the drone campaign isa good thing. They know that on a certain level they’ve made a bargain with the devil but they can’t bring it to an end until the voters demand an end. They haven’t. So it continues. I’ll take the lower body count.
    Dems made the mistake of signing on with policy deregulations because the Reps promised reforms that they later reneged on. Since then the Reps have ruled congress and when it was proven that even going along with them proved treacherous (anyone else recall the witch hunt that finally concluded with the impeachment of Bill Clinton over a BJ? I did). Then the Dems put up a weak candidate in Al Gore and despite his technical win had that win stolen from him by procedural three card Monty tactics. The Dems were outplayed and the American people were hoodwinked, one could say willingly.
    It’s been a real struggle ever since.
    The prosecution of war crimes has been sandbagged again by procedural land mines left by the Bush admin. It boils down to this- they left behind a procedural legal snare by which ANYONE even privy to war crimes being committed will be prosecuted. That includes those who knew, tried to stop it and failed because of things like the secret courts. The fact is those people who fought it are more likely to lose their careers and even their freedom than those who actively perpetrated the acts.This is how ensnarled that entire mess is. Those with the money and political clout will avoid prison, tying up our courts while small, mostly innocent players will go to jail. How exactly is that the fault of progressives who routinely were out voted and out played by a stacked Rep. Congress? As for people like Sen. Clinton and Kerry who voted to empower Bush and his cronies, yup, they did, because it was their political careers at stake. This notion that something as COMPLEX as our government can win out through altruistic efforts by progressives or a third party is naive, to say the least. It’s really dumb. I’ve been of boards and committees in small organizations (less than a 7 people making decisions for about 100 people) where that didn’t fly and we expect it from of government?

    And then there’s the LAST midterm, where all the cry baby Dems ALLOWED the REPS to take over again and ALL because they failed to look at the incredible number of legislative progress, real WINS that they enacted inn a short, 2 year window (that could actually be number in less than an actual year in power), and why? Because the whiners weren’t crazy about the centrist in office who ran as a centrist!
    Don’t blame the progressives for their losses because YOU failed to deliver the votes they needed and NO ONE stopped you from doing just that.
    The ACA was gutted in the process because no one wanted to see tens , many hundreds of thousands more unemployed, or wanted a full on fight with the millions employed by the health care industry. That’s the REAL world. Don’t like it? Then vote blue and hold them accountable. By the way, anyone complaining about the lack of a third party can go cry somewhere else. We don’t have a parliamentary process so a third or fourth party is not in a position to build actual coalitions between the parties to gain a majority for procedural voting. That means all we do is weaken our ability to shape policy by watering down the congress and whatever majority there is will remain, even if they can’t get the votes to enact legislation. Force cooperation now. We can build on it. But don’t complain about something that doesn’t exist because no one votes for it. It starts with you and we saw how Nader was maligned for weakening the electorate with his race for president. The same thing happened to Ross Perot.
    We are among the dumbest, or at least the most forgetful voters ever.

  • Ally

    A party ‘getting their way’ is an asinine statement. It should be what is best for ALL of it’s citizens, not just for business or parties sake. No side is perfect, but one is for ALL, the other speaks for itself.