Once in your life you probably mixed up the concepts “republican” and “conservative”, believing that they were the same. Even though they believe in similar things, these are very different concepts.
Keep on reading to discover what’s the difference between republicans and conservatives.
For starters, no, a republican is not a synonym for a conservative person. They have pretty similar world and political views. However, they’re not necessarily the same. Some key details make them different.
So, to understand the difference between these two political stands, you’ll need to pay attention to some details and minor information. Let’s see why conservatives are not the same as republicans.
The Real Difference Between Republican and Conservative
The biggest and most important difference between them is that Republicans are members of a political party, the Republican Party of the United States of America, also known as the Grand Old Party (GOP).
The conservatives are people who advocate for social conservatism and/or fiscal conservatism. There is a big variety of conservatives groups, which makes it hard to explicit who is who.
The United States has two major parties: the Republican Party and the Democratic Party.
Overall, the Republican Party is known as a conservative party – a party that advocates for social conservatism and/or fiscal conservatism. The Democratic Party, on the other hand, advocates for progressivism, a political philosophy that supports social reforms.
That’s the reason why Republicans are known as conservative people. But that does not mean that every conservative person is a Republican.
Every country in the world has its own vision of what the conservative philosophy is.
The United States’ conservative philosophy is social and political that wants to protect and bring back United States traditions, republicanism, and limited federal governmental power concerning the states. They want to “simplify” government and states’ rights.
The Republican Party was founded in 1854. Abraham Lincoln was the first Republican president to be elected in 1861.
Overall, the Republican Party is predominated by white men, people that live in rural areas, members of the Silent Generation (1928-1954) and Baby Boomers (1946-1964), and evangelical Christians, especially the white ones.
There are 36 million United States citizens under the Republican Party membership, according to a March 2021 ballot.
Republican vs Conservative: Comparison Chart
What Are Conservative Beliefs?
The United States’ conservative philosophy is a social and political philosophy. It supports individualism, American exceptionalism, American traditions, republicanism, moral universalism, Judeo-Christian values and is generally pro-capitalism and pro-business.
It is common for conservative people to advocate for free trade, and a strong national defense. And because of their Christian values, many conservative people are against abortion, same-sex marriage, and civil unions. It is also common that conservative people fight against communism (or what they believe that communism is), socialism, and moral relativism.
What conservatives want the most is to preserve the “old ways” of living, emphasizing a lot on individuals’ rights.
Conservatives are less supportive of compensatory approaches for those who have been marginalized in civil rights. That includes black people, immigrants, women, Indigenous people, and LGBT+ people.
To them, the federal government should provide to the states’ government. And it should not have importance in deciding what happens to the states. Every state has to government by itself, protecting the states’ political independence.
There are also the United States fiscal conservatives, a more political philosophy than social. And its most important and known idea is to minimize the size of federal and state government, which would minimize the government’s role.
The income taxes for individuals and businesses should be minimized. And institutions – just like the financial industry – should be deregulated. Fiscal conservatives believe that a fully capitalist economy is the right way to go.
They believe that the government’s role should be small. Meaning, many social services should become privatized, such as education, health insurance, retirement investments, security, and more.
What Are Republican Beliefs?
The Republicans believe in almost the same things that the conservatives do. The free market, individualism, Judeo-Christian values, American exceptionalism, republicanism, American traditions, a strong national defense, free trade, limited government, and states’ rights are supported by Republicans.
They’re, overall, against abortion, moral relativism, socialism, communism, Marxism, civil unions, and same-sex marriage.
They’re also opposed to compensatory approaches to marginalized groups. These groups include immigrants (especially the Latin ones), black and Asian people, women, LGBT+ people, Indigenous people, etc.
Republicans – not all of them – are against higher tax rates for higher earners. They believe that this is unfair since the richer are supposedly the ones that create jobs and wealth for the country.
They are against a single-payer health care system. And they believe that is better for the private sector to help poor people through charity than the government to help them through welfare programs and social assistance programs.
Is Conservative The Same As Right-Wing?
No. Conservatives are part of the right-wing. However, the right-wing has more philosophies and political visions than only the conservative.
Inside the right-wing party, you can find nationalists, fascists, classical liberals, the far-right, Christian democrats, and the conservatives.
The New Right that came from the political views after the Cold War is based on the following values: free market, individual initiative, small government, and liberal conservatism.
According to the British academics Roger Eatwell and Noël O’Sullivan, the right is divided into five types: reactionary, moderate, radical, extreme, and new – that I already explained.
The reactionary right is the one that values the past a lot, wanting to keep those old aristocratic, religious, and authoritarian values.
The moderate right can tolerate change if it’s gradual. It accepts some aspects of liberalism, and sometimes can even be confused with liberalism itself. The moderate right is known for its love for capitalism, nationalism and it can promote social welfare policies.
The radical right is a term created after World War II events, and some of the biggest examples of it are the following ideologies: Thatcherism, McCarthyism, the John Birch Society, and the German Republican Party (Republikaner Party).
Finally, the extreme right is most known for these 4 traits: anti-democracy, nationalism, racism, and strong state.
There are multiple types of research and articles trying to find in what side fascism is.
Overall, it’s believed that this ideology is part of the far-right, being an example of its extremist belief. However, some historians believe that this ideology does not belong on any side, it kind of has a side of its own.