Where do you fit on the political spectrum?

New York State’s political parties: what they are, where you lie


Everyone has heard of political parties, but some don’t know what they actually mean.

What makes a Democrat different from a Republican? And what the heck is a Libertarian?

You could feel overwhelmed by political parties and jargon. There are roughly 224 political parties in the U.S. and the list grows and changes each year. But America is a two-party system, which means two main parties –– Democratic and Republican parties –– have more power than the rest. We broke down the eight parties New York State voters can register with and their main ideologies to help new voters navigate the upcoming elections. 


 The Democratic Party is the majority political party in New York State, with 50.38% of New Yorkers registered to the party. Typically, this party is on the liberal side and believes the federal government should play a more active role in Americans’ lives. 

 Main positions:

 The Democratic Party fights for equal rights for citizens regardless of “race, ethnicity, national origin, language, religion, gender, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability,” according to the party’s website. Most Democrats support a government system that provides healthcare to all Americans and support reformation of America’s immigration system. Democrats are fighting against unemployment and most members believe in raising the minimum wage.



 The Republican Party –– also known as the Grand Old Party or GOP –– is the minority party in New York. The Republican Party is typically on the conservative side and prefers a more laissez-faire approach, preferring little government intervention with the American people. While New York State is considered a Democrat or “blue” state, upstate New York does have a large Republican population.

Main positions:

 Republicans want an “assertive administration” that protects “American values,” according to the party’s website. The party also supports Israel and healthcare independent from the government and believes American borders should be strengthened. The Republican Party feels immigrants should go through a strict process before entering the country.

Graphic by Jessica Sutton


 New York’s Conservative Party is a right-wing –– or conservative-leaning –– party that supports “individual freedom, individual responsibility and individual effort,” according to the official website. While this is not one of the main parties, it does have a large number of voters with 1.24% of New Yorkers registered to the party –– the fourth most popular party after the Independence Party.

 Main positions: 

 The party supports current law enforcement activities, denies protection of illegal immigrants and rejects efforts for early voting and instant voter registration, according to the party’s website. The Conservative Party believes religious values are being attacked and supports the implementation of the “flat tax,” which would make everyone pay the same percentage of their income regardless of how much money they make. 

Working Families

 The Working Families Party is a left-wing –– liberal-leaning –– party that focuses on working and middle-class family issues including minimum wage and paid sick leave. Because the party shares similar views with the Democratic Party, the Working Families Party often endorses Democratic candidates.

 Main positions:

 The Working Families Party devotes much of its time to fighting for the wellbeing of workers. The party works to make housing more affordable for working-middle-class families. The party believes the criminal justice system needs to be changed.

Graphic by Jessica Sutton


 The Green Party of New York State is left-wing and prioritizes the environment and supports environmentally conscious candidates. Along with its strong focus on the environment, the party is against all forms of violence and believes in wealth distribution.

 Main positions:

 The party believes that power and wealth should be distributed among the American people. Party members emphasize the importance of environmental awareness and its limitations. They support eco-friendly agricultural and energy-producing strategies. They want America to demilitarize, eliminate weapons of mass destruction and use non-violent tactics regarding issues they do not agree with.



 The Libertarian Party is the third-largest party in America and is culturally liberal and fiscally conservative, meaning it follows Democratic social ideas and Republican economic ideas. This party prioritizes civil rights and low government intervention.

 Main positions:

 Libertarians believe everyone should have equal rights and that the economic system should be free, without any government intervention. It believes America should focus more on peaceful relations with other countries rather than military power and believes the American people should decide whether they pay taxes.



 The Independence Party is a centrist political party that supports candidates who are not influenced by certain political party ideals or interests. This party is the largest minor political party in New York State.

 Major positions:

 The Independence Party wants to change the government and “root out waste, abuse and mismanagement in all levels,” according to its website. The party supports political leaders who haven’t had political jobs before and believe people should be able to individually decide their political views rather than follow the views of any one party. The party welcomes people with various political and social views and supports balanced leaders who are fair to all people.



 The Serve America Movement is the newest political party on this list, starting in 2017. This centrist party’s focus is on fixing America’s political system, which it says has been “corrupted by mainstream parties,” by making the voting process more “fair.”

 Main positions:

Members of this party believe all financial contributions to political parties should be publicly documented with the contributor’s name. This party is against gerrymandering –– when elected officials change district boundaries to support their own political party. The Serve America Movement believes candidates should win based only on the popular vote and seeks to make the voting process easier.

Anastasia Wilds is an assistant arts editor and can be reached at anastasia.wilds@ubspectrum.com and on twitter @AnastasiaWilds.


Anastasia Wilds is an asst. arts editor.