I was registering to vote. (in California, USA) In the registration form, there are 7 political parties one can declare his affiliation. They are:
Here's a quick amorphous rundown of their deeds or connotations:
The word “republic” is from Latin “res publica”, which means “public matter” or “of the people”.
The idea of republic, is governing by a few quality people as voted by a body of qualified voters, and the qualified voters are either the people being governed or realistically some representative selected in some way. (The government of USA, for example, is a form of republic.) Democracy, on the other hand, means government by the people. (i.e. majority rules). The terms republic and democracy has historical and ideological significances and are not mutual opposites.
The US Republican Party is what's usually called “conservative”, by the Rich and Powerful. Democrat or democracy means government by the people. The Democratic Party is thus more attuned to the democracy ideology. Democrat usually wants strong social-welfare, cares for the poor, the minority, the suppressed, the have-nots. In a way, Democrat is a middle ground between Republican and socialism (and communism is a perfection of socialism. Political jargons do not have decisive meanings, as do jargons in other disciplines except maybe in rocket sciences.).
The Republican and Democratic Party are the two dominant US polity, often caricatured as Elephant vs Mule.
All the other political parties are side players. Libertarian or Libertarian Party, the largest minority, is a believer in individual freedom and responsibility, foremost. For example, they care less whether the country is run by few qualified or run by people, but whoever rules, the policy must give the most freedom to each person. For example, no big-brother government, and pro-choice, pornography per se OK, prostitution fine, and sodomy allowed… among consenting and responsible adults. This leaves the government's role not as a guide to what people should choose or do, but as a structure of protection and order. Libertarism requires a knowledgeable and caring population to come forth.
The Natural Law Party, founded in 1992, seems to be somewhat quasi-science based party. I cannot make out exactly what they are. They seems to be based on the idea of a "natural law", that there is certain universal moral principles. Then they also have some scientific outlook. But then sometimes they are associated with New Age stuff.
The Green Party, as the word implies, are advocates of environment protections or earth's wholesomeness as their outlook. The California Peace ＆ Freedom Party, founded in 1967 of the Vietnam War era, is your basic bleeding hearts group. Central to their party is feminism and affirmative action and same-sex lover's rights and the rights of proletarians et al. On the whole, they are a party of feminists and socialists. The California American Independent is your basic White Supremacists or Bible abiding folks. Their themes are anti-abortion, protectionism for American (i.e. favoritism in international trade policies), dislike of immigrants, et al.
Among the fringe groups, i’d love to genocide the “American Independent” family. I don’t give a damn about the “Peace ＆ Freedom” politically correct sissies neither. I care about nature and earth, but don’t buy the environmentally Green craze.
This leaves the Republican, Democratic, Libertarian, Natural Law. I sure am not a believer in democracy as the US Democratic Party is about. (am not a fan of labor unions or protection of the poor or welfarism. (I have a big brain and in no way i'm going to equate myself with idiots brimming around me and that's a ugly truth i do not wish to obliterate.) As to Republican, of ruling by the few in the know, it depends on who's ruling and the climate. If someone like the Republican George W Bush; i wish him stroke half-alive by a lighting. (half-alive means half-dead, like a human veggie).) I'm probably a Libertarian then. Natural Law seems wishy-washy and kooky.
See also: Communism, American, and Open Source
Wikipedia.org has a article List of political parties in the United States . Wikipedia does have a wealth of information. From which i learned more about United States Natural Law Party and Natural law and Legal positivism. In particular, the term “natural law” isn't about science, but has long history.