Why I’m a Democrat

Presidential election years tend to inspire much political discourse, and it is inevitable that during many of these conversations the issue of party affiliation arises. While many people vigorously defend the party with which they identify, it becomes stunningly apparent that many do not have a firm grasp of important issues and each political party’s stances on those issues. Because our economy is arguably the most important aspect of our society due to its immediate and far-reaching effects, both locally and globally, I will focus on what each party brings to the table in terms of serving the economy. Through my article I hope to inspire people to further research evidence behind their personal policy stances and party choice.

To be absolutely clear, both parties share the same goals of creating jobs and helping the middle class grow; however, Democrats and Republicans have vastly different ways of reaching those goals. For instance, Democrats support the implementation of a significantly higher national minimum wage, a more progressive tax system, and more government regulations to protect consumers and workers, while Republicans believe in a more laissez faire approach that allows the free markets to determine wages, less government regulations to disrupt the economy, and a more proportional tax system achieved primarily by cutting taxes. Now we could individually hypothesize which position would actually achieve its goals, but why do that when we have economists to consult and decades of economic data to review? It is similar to attempting to determine which weight-loss routine will work best. You probably would not try to create a plan by yourself; instead, you would ask a trainer or observe the results of others who tried each routine. So what do the experts say?

According to surveys of economists conducted by researchers at Santa Clara University and the University of Chicago , 71% of economists support some level of wealth redistribution by the government, 0% agree that cutting income taxes would lead to greater tax revenue within five years, and about half back raising the minimum wage. Overall, many economists agree with the Democratic solutions, and economic data prove their efficacy.

When Democrats control the federal government, they tend to do a better job with the economy than Republicans. The economy thrived more under Democrats according to almost every reliable economic indicator, such as GDP growth, change in personal income, the unemployment rate, and jobs created per month. But what about the national debt? Republicans pride themselves in being the fiscally responsible party, and many believe that Democrats spend more than they can collect. However, even this core Republican tenet falls short of the truth; under Democratic administrations, the federal debt as a percentage of GDP is more likely to fall. So even though the principles of free markets, deregulated capitalism, and less government intervention seem economically sound, it is clear to me that Democrats offer the better and more comprehensive policies for growing the economy.

I believe that it is important to distance ourselves from politics from time to time and form our own opinions based on facts and rational thought, not on what the parties feed us. After considering much economic data and evidence, I became a Democrat not because of blind adherence to the party, but because Democrats do a better job at reaching the common goals that every American shares: economic prosperity and the American Dream. Most importantly, I hope to encourage others to reflect upon their own political beliefs, think for themselves, and stay well-informed of the facts, because our government operates best when the parties can have constructive debates based on evidence, not empty ideology.

David Seo