What is a political spectrum?
A political spectrum is a way of classifying different political positions usually on a range usually from left to right.
Liberals on the Left, Conservatives on the Right
The terms “Left” and “Right” originated in France during the French Revolution.
Politicians in the National Assembly sat in two groups:
Supporters of the King- to the RIGHT of the President
Supporters of the Revolution- to the LEFT of the President
In modern times, “left” and “right” refer to opposing political parties, liberals and conservatives.
Concerning money, candidates running in the 2016 elections fall somewhere on the political spectrum. What can you learn about a candidate’s position based on his or her party?
Social and financial issues
People who believe that government should promote community and social responsibility would be further to the left. People who believe in the promotion of individual rights and justice would fall more to the right.
Liberals on the left side of the spectrum believe that citizens and businesses should pay more taxes, and conservatives on the right believe that taxes should be lowered. Liberals believe government should fund more services, while conservatives believe that the private sector should have fewer regulations and more freedom to operate.
Different forms of government and different political parties can be found on the political spectrum with different levels of success. For example, socialism and communism are considered leftist government systems. Both Norway and Venezuela have “socialist” systems and have considerable wealth based on oil, but their systems are having totally different outcomes—Venezuela is undergoing economic collapse, while Norway’s citizens rank 10th in global average income.
Different countries may blend conservative social values with more liberal financial practices and vice versa. For example, many people consider the Saudi Arabian monarchy to be conservative. Financially, the kingdom has a less open market and funds its private sector with public oil money, but it has recently made it a priority to make its market more open.
On the other hand, Switzerland generally falls on the left side of the spectrum regarding social values, but it has one of Europe’s lowest tax rates, a weak central government, and strong local autonomy, which are considered conservative financial priorities.
Parties and world leaders on the political spectrum
Communism anchors the spectrum on the left, represented by Karl Marx. Moving slightly toward the middle are Che Guevara and Fidel Castro. Then we’ll find Dr. Jill Stein, the Green Party’s current presidential nominee. Further on lies former presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders. Anchoring the center is Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton along with her husband, former President Bill Clinton, and, arguably, President Barack Obama.
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Moving slightly to the right, we’ll find former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who is next to former President Ronald Reagan. Further to the right we’ll see presidential candidates Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson (as far as fiscal policy is concerned), and then such governments as the Taliban and finally the Fascist dictator Adolf Hitler at the extreme.
Politics are complicated
Josef Stalin was a dictator with control over a left-inspired economic system. German Chancellor Angela Merkel oversees a socially liberal German society with a conservative economic system that values thrift over spending.
Many other issues also need to be taken into account when you head to the polls, such as social equality, marriage and family values, gun control, and foreign relations, but don’t forget that legislative, state, county, and city races will also affect your pocketbook and your life.