Many Democrats seek to entitle those with less, some of which, but not all, clearly need help. They also use the tool of class warfare to emotionally tie those who are receiving 'entitlements (a nasty loaded word) to them as the party who 'cares.' Most Republicans do not lack empathy, but reject the bureaucratic government model to which many citizens have transferred much of their empathy and personal responsibility and which grows unsustainably larger and deeper in debt providing ever more 'benefits' (another loaded word).
Societies have always had the super-rich (in relative terms) and they almost always have been demonized by those with much less. What's missing in the present economic malaise is enough productive work ( jobs) for willing people to support themselves, not a lack of empathy for the truly needy.
The debate is over the policies that will best provide the opportunity to earn a decent living in a society undergoing technological upheaval, not which political party is more empathetic.