In a two-party system, it’s easy to assume that either party is the mirror image of the other in every way. With the viciousness of the past election cycle still fresh, divisiveness feels a lot more prevalent than cooperation. But that’s not true in all cases. Here are a few issues that both Democrats and Republicans agree on:
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Both parties have pledged unconditional support for Israel, regardless of the costs that may be associated with such a relationship. As a top military ally and a beacon of pro-American sentiment in the otherwise anti-American Middle East, supporting Israel is seen as an essential national security initiative. The bipartisan outrage over Secretary of State nominee Chuck Hagel’s Israel comments proves just how deep that loyalty runs.
2. Death penalty:
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A majority of either party believes in the death penalty for heinous crimes, with a small coalition of Democrats against it. As for the states, only 17 out of the 50 have banned the death penalty, with the year of issuance ranging from Michigan in 1846 (before the Republican Party was even founded) to Connecticut in 2012, showing no clear trend against it.
3. Encouraging start-ups and entrepreneurs:
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Entrepreneurship plays to two different ideals that are beloved by each party. Starting a company shows a sense of individualism that Republicans prize, while Democrats aim to protect small businesses as the self-proclaimed champions of the middle class. With the rest of the world rapidly becoming competitive with the U.S., both parties agree that it’s more imperative now than ever to encourage invention and innovation if we hope to stay in the lead.
4. Less bureaucracy:
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Republicans believe in less government, Democrats believe in more, and nobody believes in bureaucracy. Both parties support tax code simplification; the reason it hasn’t actually been changed yet is a combination of disagreement on how exactly to change it and the influence of powerful interest lobbies. And nobody is against an overhaul of the voting system if it means shorter lines and more free and fair elections.
5. Marriage equality:
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This one is a bit of a stretch. It’s not happening right now so much as it is a trend that is beginning to emerge. Yesterday, Jon Huntsman posted an op-ed in The American Conservative stating that civil unions and marriage equality were a "conservative cause" and should be supported in the name of "civil equality." Huntsman might be far more moderate than many of his Republican counterparts, but the fact that a former Republican presidential candidate made this statement so boldly is a huge step forward for the party. While backing gay marriage alongside Democrats may still have some political risks for Republicans, they’ve also realized that not doing so is costing them a lot of votes.
Admittedly, the issues that Republicans and Democrats disagree on far outnumber those in which they are in agreement — and the sharp increase in political partisanship in the last few years is definitely worrying. But in such a tense political climate and a 24/7 news cycle that reports on every little difference, it’s comforting to know that there’s still some things we can all agree on.
If you have an issue you think I missed, feel free to add it in the comments!