2020 Election SparksPolitical Parties

2020 Elections & Parties: Differences in Voting Method and Policy Issues

Posted on in 2020 Election Sparks · Political Parties

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, there wasn’t a significant difference in the rates at which Democrats or Republicans cast their votes by mail or in-person. That changed in April 2020, when researchers documented a partisan gap in stated preferences for mail-in voting among Democrats. By June, that gap had doubled. Generally, Democrats are more concerned than Republicans about the ease of voting and the broader integrity of the election.

The United States has two major national political parties: the Democratic Party and the Republican Party. Although the parties contest presidential elections every four years and have national party organizations, between elections they are often little more than loose alliances of state and local party organizations. Other parties have occasionally challenged the Democrats and Republicans. Since the Republican Party’s rise to major party status in the 1850s, however, minor parties have had only limited electoral success.  Parties serve several functions in organizing government and shaping electoral choices.  Many people develop a deep psychological attachment to a political party and parties serve as shortcuts for voters and help them organize their vote choices. 

Instructors, click the link below to download this week’s lecture for use in your classroom. The deck contains a writing prompt and a debate question as well as other assessment questions.

Download the PowerPoint Lecture Spark for “Party Differences in Method of Voting"


“COVID-19 opens a partisan gap on voting by mail”

“Mail-in voting has pros, cons”

“Record numbers are voting by mail. Here’s when states can start processing those ballots.”

“Do Republicans or Democrats benefit from mail-in voting? It turns out, neither.”

“Republicans vs Democrats: Where do the two main US political parties stand on key issues?”

“The partisan landscape and views of the parties”

“The Real Difference Between Democrats and Republicans”


  • Debate: Democrats were overly concerned with the Covid-19 pandemic. Most people that got sick didn’t suffer serious consequences.
  • The differences between the two political parties was so stark in 2020 that there is no reason to vote 3rd party. 
  • Poll: The coronavirus was a serious problem during 2020 because of its economic consequences.
  • Even if the parties say they stand for different things during the campaign, when they win, we tend to get similar policies.           
  • Short Answer: Explain what issues Republicans and Democrats were most likely to disagree on during the 2020 election. 

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Featured Image Credit: Sora Shimazaki

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