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  • Edexcel Component 3, Section 5.2.2: The current conflicts and tendencies and the changing power and influence that exist within the US parties

  • AQA Component 3.2, Section US political parties: factionalised nature of parties and internal divisions

Background: what you need to know

Although the polarisation of US politics is very real, it is also important to be aware of internal tensions within the Democratic and Republican Parties. This article highlights the divisions in the Democrat coalition that have arisen in response to President Biden’s so far strong support for Israel’s action in Gaza.

Members of the Jewish community have been supportive, but Biden’s stance has lost him the support of progressive Democrats, who are more sympathetic to the Palestinian population.

For a useful visual guide to events in Gaza, see this explainer:

The Israel-Hamas war in maps: latest updates

Click the link below to read the article and then answer the questions:

‘People are frustrated’: Gaza war opens rift among US Democrats

Question in the style of AQA Politics Paper 2

  • Explain and analyse three ways in which either the US Democratic Party or the Republican Party has become more internally divided. [9 marks]

Question in the style of Edexcel Politics Paper 3A

  • Evaluate the view that the internal divisions of the Republican and Democratic Parties are as significant as the differences between the two parties.

    You must consider this view and the alternative to this view in a balanced way. [30]

    TIP: Another foreign policy issue where there are signs of internal division is that of continuing aid to Ukraine. This is causing a split within the Republican Party. If you are answering the second question, you should look at policy areas where each party is united as well as those where there is division. You could look at the two parties’ respective positions on, for example, taxation and public spending, environmental protection and abortion.

Graham Goodlad, Portsmouth High School

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