United States politics
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United States Politics is the rubric under which the American people attempt to control their country. The political system in the US has favored a two party system (currently Democrats and Republicans) that is more or less "Liberal" and "Conservative", though how true those terms would apply changes in any given generation.
Unlike European and UK political systems where any of a rather large collection of parties, representing a true diversity of ideas and ranges of political spectrum, the US system allows for only two viable parties that are fundamentally similar on most political issues when compared to a world political spectrum.
While it is easy to "take sides" in a two party system, it does mean that no real change is likely to happen, since it is next to impossible for a third-party candidate to win any major state or national position. The two party system has recently devolved into 5 year olds having playground battles over who is rubber and who is glue.
Outside of its own borders, the United States has a long and storied history of involving itself in just about every situation and believing that picking the worst possible allies is preferable to not getting involved.
 Democratic Party
- Party positioning: Center right on economic, financial, environmental, and national security issues, although left of center on social issues. Generally, they prefer not to rock the boat too much, toe whatever line drawn by Wall Street, and often take a conciliatory stance towards the Republican Party in the name of bipartisanship.
- Party leadership: Barack Obama as President of the United States (since 2008); Debbie Wasserman Schultz as Chairman of the Democratic National Committee (2011-onwards); Harry Reid as the Senate Minority Leader (2015-onwards); and Nancy Pelosi as the House Minority Leader (2011-onwards).
- Party color: Blue, ever since Al Gore was randomly assigned the color in the 2000 election.
- Party status: They are in opposition for both chambers in Congress (2015 for the Senate; 2011 for the House), with 44 seats in the Senate (circa 2015) and 188 seats in the House (circa 2015). They also hold minorities in Governorships (18 out of 50), State upper chambers (832 seats out of 1,972), and State lower chambers (2,344 seats out of 5,411).
The "liberal" party. In reality, it's a centrist party that leans to the right or left depending on the time of day (today, it's typically to the right). Despite being denounced as commies by the GOP they would be considered fairly conservative by international standards, only being consistently liberal on certain social issues (LGBT rights being the main such issue of today) and immigration. Their current priorities appear to be: being in favor of Republican policies after being against them, hiking the national debt up as high as it can possibly go & general sneering hypocrisy.
 Republican Party
- Party positioning: Far right on economic, financial, environmental, social, foreign policy, and national security issues. They are noted for their obstructionism in Congress, their disdain for science and government, their consistent opposition towards regulation and tax hikes, and their trampling of workers' rights, civil liberties, and overall human rights as they perpetuate income inequality and class warfare. Generally, their Democratic counterparts are little better, and in some cases, worse.
- Party leadership: Paul Ryan as Speaker of the House (since 2015), Mitch McConnell as Senate Majority Leader (since 2015), Reince Priebus as Chairman of the Republican National Committee (2011-onwards), and Bill Haslam as Chairman of the Republican Governors Association.
- Party color: Red, ever since George W. Bush was randomly assigned the color in the 2000 election.
- Party status: Currently, they control both houses in Congress (2015 for the Senate; 2011 for the House), with 54 seats in the Senate (circa 2015) and 246 seats in the House (circa 2015). They also hold majorities in Governorships (31 out of 50), State upper chambers (1,134 seats out of 1,972), and State lower chambers (3,044 seats out of 5,411).
The "conservative" party. Actually, it's more radically right wing than conservative, with a current platform that includes hardcore social conservatism, Nationalism-lite, hawkishness overseas, laissez-faire economics (from deregulation to tax cuts), support for austerity taken to cranky levels, anti-science bullshit, and "fiscal conservatism" (unless they're in power – then they blow everyone's money on certain projects).
 Libertarian Party
There have been some third party candidates who have "affected" national elections, but their effect is generally to split the vote of one of the two parties, letting the other party win almost "by default". Parties outside the two-party system, such as the Libertarian Party, tend to get very few votes by comparison. They are said to be more socially liberal than the Democrats, but as fiscally conservative as the Republicans, like with their support for abolishing the welfare state.
 Current leadership
Simply put, it's the almighty dollar. If you don't have the financial support of the businesses that own Washington, you may as well not bother running; no one will ever know you're there.
- I Hate Your Politics, John Scalzi