How Do Libertarians and Democrats Differ from Each Other

Updated on October 27, 2016

Libertarian vs Republican vs Democrat Chart

Sample political chart showing where Libertarians fall in between the two big political parties.
Sample political chart showing where Libertarians fall in between the two big political parties. | Source

Do You Agree With the Libertarian Political View?

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Party Affiliation

The Libertarian Party is a relatively young political party with its creation occurring back in 1971. Compared to when the Democrats and Republicans were founded (1820’s and 1850’s respectively) it magnifies how new the party truly is.

It doesn’t take much to recognize the differences between Democrats and Republicans. We read about it in our newspapers, online or see stories about it on our evening news. When it comes to identifying the differences between the Democrats and the Libertarians it is still noticeable, however some of the variances aren’t as black and white as they are when compared to the two big political parties.

The Libertarian party is usually somewhere in the middle of the Democratic and Republican positions; they are historically fiscally conservative but are socially liberal. On some issues they lean a little bit to the right and others they may favor the left. This might be why this party is growing. We have all heard how important the independent or moderate voter is, we just didn’t know what to call them until now.

Current Political Issues

Everyone has their own opinion as to what ails our country on any given day. The most common ones are the economy, foreign policy, the size of the government and social issues. I recognize that there are plenty of other important issues but these seem to be some of the main sticking points affecting our politicians right now. Each side of the aisle has their core values that they will not sacrifice, sometimes at the expense of true progress and compromise. I appreciate a person, even a politician, sticking to their beliefs but we have all seen how an unwillingness to negotiate can bring things to a crawl, or even a complete stop.

Economic Situation

One of the big issues on our political scene is the economy. Politicians are still trying to blame who is responsible for the economic downturn as well as voicing their opinions on how to fix it. Naturally the people on the other side of the aisle are completely detached from how the real world is struggling to get by and they have no reservations sharing this ‘fact’ with the general public; it doesn’t matter which party you affiliate yourself with, you know what I’m talking about.

Libertarians believe that the government shouldn’t have a hand in the economy, period. This position is non-negotiable. On the other hand Democrats feel that the government does have a role in our economy. On this position Libertarians lean more to the right of the political spectrum and would probably align themselves with the Republican position because they too feel the government should have minimal involvement. Any stimulus package or bailout would struggle to get Libertarian support but would probably enjoy favorable Democratic votes.

US Foreign Affairs

Our foreign policy is another issue that Libertarians will agree more with their Republican counterparts than their Democratic ones. Democrats insist on working with the United Nations when dealing with an international crisis. If a country is aspiring to develop nuclear weapons (Iran & North Korea for example) Democrats prefer to go through the United Nations as the international agency responsible for moderating these potentially dangerous situations.

Libertarians hold the opinion that agencies like the UN can actually restrict our ability to protect ourselves both here and abroad. They feel that our country should be able to act in its own best interest, without the oversight.

Ironically many Libertarians did not support the conflicts in Iraq or Afghanistan that transpired after the 9/11 attacks. I can see their disapproval of the Iraq situation but the Afghanistan one puzzled me because we went there to try to get the group, al-Queda, which attacked us. I can only assume that this opposition was more aimed at our involvement of the UN instead of just going over there and taking matters into our own hands, which is kind of where we are with so many other nations already departing the area.

US Government System

We are all aware that Democrats are OK with the size of our government and are frequently accused of trying to find ways to keep growing. Republicans are constantly trying to find ways to shrink the government’s role by eliminating programs and cutting back other ones. Libertarians again will probably side with Republicans on this issue. Libertarians believe that a majority of federal programs serve little purpose and are a waste of financial resources.

Most of us can remember when Al Gore was running for President back in 2000. To emphasize government waste he mentioned that a toilet seat was purchased for $640. Anyone of us who have shopped our local hardware store can attest that toilet seats do not cost this much. This kind of waste is exactly what Libertarians want to avoid. In all fairness all politicians talk about curbing government waste but few actually follow through. Since our country doesn’t have a Libertarian in the House or Senate we don’t know how they would vote on this issue, yet.

Social Awareness

This issue probably is more in the middle than any of the other topics mentioned above. Democrats usually side with entitlement programs to help people who are in need while Republicans are more on the side of getting people off of these programs. Libertarians will have a more Republican side on this issue and actually would like to give individuals the opportunity to not participate in Social Security, a Democratic issue that they will not waver on; this feeds into their conservative fiscal roots.

Libertarians do get more Democratic on social issues; some of them fairly substantial. Libertarians are fine with legalizing drugs, gambling and prostitution. On the same sex marriage subject they have no objections at all if homosexuals want to marry. Their position is that the government shouldn’t be involved at all in these decisions that should be left up to individuals.

Party Overview

Even though these two political parties do share similar interests and positions there are very noticeable differences between the two. In my opinion Libertarians, overall, will support views more commonly held by the Republican Party. Obviously Libertarians will side with Democrats on some of the social issues that Republicans will not back but, as a whole, Libertarians appear to be more to the right side of the political spectrum.

US Political Party

Questions & Answers


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      • Emma Vine profile image

        Emma Vine 3 years ago from Texas, USA

        Thank you so much for posting an informative article on Libertarians. I consider myself one, and there are so many people who go "What's that?" when you tell them!

      • Jack Rotoli profile image

        Jack Rotoli 3 years ago from Philly Metro

        Great article! I always considered myself a republican, or at least more conservative on a lot of issues. Then, one year, many moons ago when political conversations were actually allowed around the watercooler, a woman said to me, "You're not a Republican, you're a Libertarian."

      • adjkp25 profile image

        David 5 years ago from Northern California

        picklesandrufus - I concur; even though they kind of appear to be in the middle of the two big party's it sure seemed to be just a hair to the right. I think having Democratic principles on social issues helps them keep a more open mind to things. Thanks

      • adjkp25 profile image

        David 5 years ago from Northern California

        CM - I have no objections to everyone being on equal grounds. Thanks for your comment.

      • picklesandrufus profile image

        picklesandrufus 5 years ago from Virginia Beach, Va

        Interesting and informative hub. I think the Libertarian party has many more republican views than democratic, but they are surely more open minded than a typical republican. Nice work

      • CM Sullivan profile image

        CM Sullivan 5 years ago from California

        I feel the Peace and Freedom party has the people's best interest in mind. Everyone always says the Star Trek future should be the ultimate goal for Earth and human beings. No money, everyone is equal, tolerance for strange, alien cultures is commonplace and our human potential is being reached. Well this party's platform seems to mirror that utopian future's ideals so it seems we should start on that road. up and useful and interesting.