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How U.S. Political Parties View Terrorism


Terrorism cannot be given a fixed definition as such. The meaning of terrorism depends on many factors. However, on a broader scale, terrorism can be said as any action, especially violent and unethical, that intends to create terror among ordinary people, for attaining a goal or a target. The activities of terrorists are generally unlawful and their activities usually target innocent ordinary people for achieving their goal. Terrorism is a national threat and is considered to be one of the most serious national problems faced by the United States of America. Different political parties have different opinions on terrorism and the measures taken to fight against it.

The purpose of this paper is to examine the differences in position between the Democratic Party and the Republican Party on the issue of Terrorism as a national and global threat. The paper focuses on identifying the forces in the parties that help them to drive towards its position on terrorism. The paper discusses how the groups educate its members, the public, and the government about its concerns or mission. It also considers how the groups encourage members to participate in the democratic process and support a specific party. The factor that promotes and inhibits corporate influence on the issue of terrorism is discussed in this paper. The paper explains why the U.S. political structure encourages major political parties and examines the effect this has on terrorism. It will also determine whether social mobility will affect political party identification. Finally the paper summarizes the role of political parties and their effectiveness as change agents versus preserving the status quo.

Main Body

The driving factor to work against terrorism and put up a war against it is the sheer terror it causes among people and the country as a whole. However there are differences among the two parties on how to combat terrorism. The Republic party advocates the doctrine of unilateralism at the point of national threat. Unilateralism doctrine does not take the opinion of the world in considering a problem. The Democratic Party, on the other hand, opposes the unilateralism doctrine. According to Democratic Party, the US should opt for strong alliances other foreign nations to fight terrorism. It also works for the support of other countries as well as interested organizations to form strong alliances to fight against terrorism and countries promoting terrorists. A strong international support is considered as the most important factor to fight global as well as local terrorism by the Democrats. The official website of the Democratic Party has issued this on their page on national security. “We will confront these threats head on while working with our allies and restoring our standing in the world. We will pursue a tough, smart, and principled national security strategy. It is a strategy that will end the war in Iraq responsibly and focus our efforts on the terrorists who did strike us.” (National security, 2009, para.2).

Another important difference is in the fact that Republicans are more responsive to terrorism than Democrats. More Republicans think that terrorism is a serious national threat while only a lower percentage of Democrats consider terrorism as a serious national issue.

The major cause in the change of perspective by the parties is their difference in their natures. The Republic Party is generally believes in conservatism while the Democrats have liberalized viewpoints. The website of the Republican Party claims that it is the American armed forces that will defend and protect the democracy of the country. “The Republican Party is committed to preserving our national strength while working to extend peace, freedom and human rights throughout the world.” (What we believe, 2009, Our armed forces defend and protect our democracy, para.1). The conservationist outlook of the Republic party was their core ideology right from the inception of the party. The ideology is highly influenced by neorealist theories. But the Democratic party has more inclination to support international relations and works on the doctrine of neo-liberalism.

The major means of educating the public are through campaigns. The campaign strategies adopted by the Republicans and the Democrats make the people and the government understand the length and breadth of the issue. Grassroots services are done by the democrats to influence the public and to educate them on the position opted by them on national security. Both parties try to reach each and every citizen of America through various means of communication, with the latest being open forums, discussion boards and blogs online. Both parties have a strong agenda lined up to strengthen their positions on national security and war against terrorism. The strategies of past American Presidents are explained and justified by the parties in order to gain more support for each party from the public.

Corporate influence is a major factor of the political parties in deciding their stand on democratic policies like national security and terrorism. There are some factors that affect the corporate influence on the issue of terrorism. The factor which promotes corporate influence is the need for security against terrorism like any other citizen. The corporate indulge in indirect lobbying and grassroots lobbying to promote their party and its ideals.

The United States of America is a democracy and is supposed to run according to the choice of the people. The political parties formed in the US reflect the general outlook of the people on various national and local issues. As far as terrorism is concerned, the people’s approach to the war on terrorism is mainly in two kinds. Whether America should combat its terrorism threats alone or whether it should form strategic alliances with other countries. When the Republican government launched their attack on Iraq in the name of terrorism in 2003, they believed that they could eliminate terrorism all alone. But, the outcome of such action was more or less disastrous for America and the world. Checking terrorism needs a mass evacuation plan which should involve all the countries that face the threat of terrorism. Acting from a single country or changing the rules of that country to end terrorism is not a profitable attempt. The present Democratic government under President Obama is hence encouraging world countries including China, Pakistan and India, to join with the US along with the United Nations to strike against terrorism. Social mobility also tends to affect the political parties on the issue of terrorism “Many scholars have noted the asymmetry effect of social mobility on political orientation: the upwardly mobile tend to adapt to their destinations while the downwardly mobile tend to adhere to their origins.” (Xiaotian, 2008, para.1).


The main difference in the two political parties on the issue of terrorism is the way in which the parties fight against terrorism. The republican viewpoint of unilateralism is at present considered as the effective means of fighting terrorism by the Americans. Although the Democratic Party won the elections last year mainly campaigning on believable changes they are going to introduce, the Gallup polls still show that the American trust the Republicans as more effective against terrorism than the democrats. “Since 9/11, the Republicans have led the Democrats in most yearly updates of the question on terrorism, with the exception of 2006-2007 (periods when Bush’s approval rating was below 40%).” (Saad, 2009).


National security. (2009). The Democratic Party. Web.

Saad, L. (2009). “Americans still prefer republications for combating terrorism”. Gallup. Web.

What we believe: Our armed forces defend and protect our democracy. (2009). Web.

Xiaotian, Z. (2008). Empirical evidence for the asymmetry effect of social mobility on political orientation. All Academic Research. Web.


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