AP Style Political Parties and Philosophies

How to Write Political Parties and Philosophies in AP Style

When to Capitalize

Capitalize the name of the party and the word “party” when it is customarily used as part of the organization’s proper name. For example,

  • The governor is a member of the Republican Party.
  • The president is a member of the Democratic Party.

Capitalize terms such as Communist, Conservative, Constitutionalist, Democrat, Liberal, Republican, Socialist etc., when they refer to a specific party or its members. Lowercase these words when they refer to a political philosophy. For example,

  • My boss is a Republican.
  • My boss is a communist ideologue.

When to Lowercase

Lowercase the name of a philosophy in noun and adjective forms unless it is derivative of a proper name. For example,

  • He is a communist; he loves communism.
  • He is a fascist; he loves fascism.
  • He is a capitalist; he loves capitalism.


  • He is a Marxist; he loves Marxism.
  • He is a Nazi; he loves Nazism.

Consider the following examples,

  • Alexander Hamilton was a Federalist, but someone who subscribes to his philosophy today would be described as a federalist.
  • The conservative Republican senator and his Conservative Party colleague said they believe democracy and socialism are incompatible.
  • The Communist said he is basically a socialist who has reservations about Marxism (Communist in this sense is referring to a member of the Communist Party; socialist refers to a political ideology; Marxism refers to the proper name given to Marxist thought.).


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