Political Parties On Crime
Political Parties On Crime
Matthew Jones (Political Science Instructor) gives expert video advice on: Which parties favor gun control?; Which parties have a 'tough on crime' stance?; Which party is more concerned about due process? and more...
Which parties favor gun control?
Republican party has generally been the party that the NRA, National Rifle Association, has tended to favor. And the National Rifle Association has supported Republican candidates far more than it's supported Democratic candidates. The Republican party tends to dislike gun control. Where as the Democratic party tends to be much more in favor of gun control, with restrictions on guns. Areas that are strong Democratic areas, like Washington, DC, are the areas where you're more likely to find very strict restrictions on the use and possession of hand guns. In Washington, DC, if you own a gun, it has to be disassembled if you move it from one room of your own house to another room of your own house. So, it's pretty much a way to get around the 2nd Amendment and still restrict the use of ownership to a great degree. Now, because America is such a gun culture, so to speak, quote unquote, the Democrats have a hard issue with this. And so you see a lot of Democratic candidates who tend to buck the gun control wing of their party. John Kerry said he is a hunter. Howard Dean kind of promoted his pro-gun stance. So, the Democratic party is less, is more wavering on this issue than the Republican party is. And that's just because America's had a long history of being a gun culture.
Which parties have a 'tough on crime' stance?
Conventional wisdom is that the Republicans are the 'tough on crime' one and the Democrats are more the 'rights of the defendant' or 'rights of the accused' party. So the Republicans are definitely more law and order. Richard Nixon built his winning campaign off of law and order and the Democrats being soft on the riots that were happening in Chicago and other places. So he built that winning campaign on "I will be the one who's tough on crime." And conservatives in general are much more willing to be the people who say "you did this action, here's the consequence, we're going to be tough on crime to prevent this from happening to other people. And this tough on crime stance, in terms of the Republican Party, also leads to things like the Republicans being more interested in victim's rights as well. So the Republicans are definitely the more tough on crime party in terms of conventional wisdom.
Which party is more concerned about due process?
The Democratic Party tends to prioritize due process of law in criminal cases and is more suspicious of the power of law enforcement or the overwhelming power of the State in prosecuting criminals. They tend to be more concerned with making sure that people who are accused of a crime get a fair shake, aren't overpowered by the State's resources and intimidation, have rights - like Miranda rights, or habeas corpus rights, or other sorts of rights - that they can exercise against the State's law enforcement. They prioritize about being careful, about making sure that innocent people don't get intimidated by the State and get punished for things that they didn't commit. The Democratic Party tends to emphasize that more, whereas the Republican Party tends to emphasize Law and Order.
What are the major party positions on the death penalty?
The Republican Party and conservatives in general, tend to favor the death penalty more, more willing to be in favor of the death penalty than Democrats and liberals and the liberal side of the ideological spectrum. The conservative side is much more willing to take a stance of you took somebody else's life, you forefeit your own in the process, whereas the liberal side is more concerned, first of all, about potentially executing innocent people, second of all, about the discrimination that can be involved in who gets executed and who does not in terms of racial minorities and others and third of all, more along the lines, tends to be more favoring of the idea that people can change or redeem themseves later on in life and the death bill and executing them prevents them from being able to do that. So they are more in favor of life in prison as being an acceptable punishment whereas conservatives are more in favor of execution as an acceptable punishment.