Code: You've stated this a few times, and I think it succinctly sums up the problem. Social issues are not all that should separate the parties. By making this accurate observation, you've backed into the real problem: that both the republicans and the social democrats are both parties of big, activist government. The republicans attempt to differentiate themselves (and garner votes) by representing themselves as the party of 'conservative' social values. In reality, however, they support the same dynamics of big government as the democrats. And when it comes to the national security state, both parties are in lockstep. There is no opposition party standing in the way of the growth of the federal state and the absolute power it assumes. Just witness the 'debate' on presidential powers of assassination and secret committee - leaders of both parties are falling over themselves to assume powers for the chief executive, and for the state, with scant regard who may wield such powers in the future. And as for fiscal issues, the record speaks for itself on government spending under both parties. So yes, you're right, non-issues like school prayer and 'legitimate rape' are all that's controversial among the parties.