Well war and then: health care, state expenditures and rights, social/millitary spending and the prioritization thereof, abortion, gay rights, women's rights, family rights, what constitutes a family (or a woman, for that matter), racial relations and how to handle past transgressions and future corrections to that, etc
But yeah, except for the war thing they're identical!
: Few democrats pound their fists in fury over the lack of universal health care. Few republicans do the same over completely privatized health care. Most are content to speak vehemently on their chosen partisan side every 6-8 months, then settle into minor debates over details of current care. Is it because they don't have enough support to win their agenda? I think more because it provides a nice apparent divide that they can use to win partisan support. State expenditures and rights
: Not too familiar with expenditures. State rights--gay marriage thing is the most obvious. No, I'm not accurate with this one. Abortion
: Just look at the presidential candidates. No republicans call for outlawing it, unless I missed one. No democrats call for allowing it in all circumstances. They just debate over partial birth and other nuances. Gay rights
: Aside from its connection with state rights, the crux is marriages, GOP against, democrats for. That's been watered down into same-sex unions. But yeah, still is an if/or divide. Family
: Jeez, enough gay marriage examples, they're killing me. Racial Relations
: An occasional vehement support/denunciation of Affirmative Action, with the other 99% of the time ignoring it aside from EEOC details. Past transgressions and recompense--no serious Democrat is railing for that. The issue itself is fairly tepid though.
But the key word is "virtually", that is, of say 100 possible positions on a spectrum of radical..lance... the positions of the GOP and DEMs will be like 46 compared to 54. Not 20 compared to 83. The extremes of "enforced abortion after two children" vs. "no abortion ever for anyone in any case" just don't exist. Even extremes within "abortions okay except for partial birth" and "abortions only for non-rape victims" isn't that big. But my second paragraph questions why, I'm sure some is due to the majority of citizens agreeing with that limited spectrum. But in some individuals or some issues they'll greatly exaggerate that divide for effect.
Finally, if the divide were really as big as they make it out, more bills and more specific budgets and more presidential initiatives would be going forth (even if doomed to failure). There would be more daily speeches rallying public support, to reflect the importance of the issue. Instead our government is content to sit and debate trivial things and only occasionally give a sound bite for some "divisive" issue to remind people that, hey, this is really important and it sets me apart!
The public is left as one of two main entities: those that get riled over truly divisive issues but only during a campaign (then forget about it afterwards), and those who are keen to fall into the fake vitriol trap because they're partisan nutwads. The public may deserve this, but they also may be inculcated into this passive-aggressive behavior due to the behavior of politicians.
But my response might just be a bunch of ********* NO MORE POLITICS AS USUAL!!