"I'm writing to you on behalf of my son. In the simplest form, what are the main differences between today's Democrats and Republicans? I get too complicated with my explanations. I don't think these kids really know the difference and just vote for a candidate because he is young, or female, etc. Can you help?"
What Republicans Believe, What Democrats Believe
Republicans believe hard work wins, and government should allow you -- to the fullest extent possible -- to keep what you earn. Democrats believe that success results from luck, chance and happenstance, and therefore a just government takes from those who have and gives to those who do not.
Republicans believe in a colorblind society determined by drive, work ethic and talent. Democrats want a color-coordinated society. This explains the support for race and gender-based preferences to "correct" past sins and to create "diversity."
Republicans believe discrimination to fix previous discrimination remains discrimination, and that all a government can be is just in its own time. Democrats wish to use government to "rectify" past wrongs, which they hold responsible for today's "inequities."
Republicans believe that government should empower the individual -- that a government that taxes least taxes best. Democrats want individuals to empower government, and support policies that redistribute income from person A to "deserving" person B.
Republicans believe that the playing field, while unlevel, requires an individual to do the best he or she can with the cards dealt. Democrats consider life rigged, and that one's destiny rests on matters beyond the control of the individual.
Republicans believe that those who cannot help themselves can and will be helped out by other individuals -- not government -- as a result of basic human compassion. Democrats believe that because of one's misfortune, he or she is entitled to something -- via government -- from someone else.
Republicans believe in peace through strength, and thus support strong national defense, and -- in this era of Islamofascism -- a proactive foreign policy. Democrats believe in strength through peace, and believe they can better influence the behavior of enemies by demonstrating our good intentions.
Republicans believe in the mutual benefits of free trade of goods and services. Democrats believe in "fair trade," and support barriers that shield domestic industries against competition, reducing the incentive to innovate and change to remain competitive.