There's much to love hating about the Democratic party in the U.S., and usually I'd say just about as much to hate about the Republican party (I'm not talking about Republicans and Democrats, but the actual party bureaucracies .. if you have trouble with the idea that those are separate things, then you might want to stop reading, now). However, in recent years, the Republican party has really made a case for their entire voting base just walking away from them in disgust. No, I'm not talking about the usual complaints of the left. There's a comfortable dance that the two parties do, slinging mud at each other while maneuvering toward a known conclusion. It's not the best way to run a country, but it's what we had for many decades.
Then somehow (and I fear that one day we may find out how), the Republican party took over. They didn't take over government. They took over the Republicans. Republicans now vote as a block, and the party holds absolute sway over how their members will vote. This is quite powerful as a tool (just as any oligarchy is) but here's what I don't get: why are Republican voters standing for it? Do they not realize that their vote has been rendered completely meaningless? They're no longer able to make any policy decisions by voting in one candidate or another. Instead, whatever candidate they vote for will be told how to vote.
Why isn't that a source of outrage and disgust?! Seriously, half the nation has had their Constitutionally mandated power to exercise a voice in government neutered and we're spending all of our time and energy debating whether outlawing pistol grips is a violation of the Second Amendment and complaining that the ultra-rich might pay 2% more in taxes? Really?
I'm not really a Republican. I'm not really a Democrat. If my political views had a party it would probably be called "Progressive Capitalism" (what would probably be called "center right" in the UK) but they don't so I just vote for whoever seems less insane (or in many cases, I don't vote for the candidate that's running unopposed, because I refuse to rubber-stamp someone I wouldn't want to pick out of a lineup much less select to represent me). But even I'm pretty freaked out about this and what it says for the future of American democracy.
Perhaps it's time for a new conservative party in the U.S. If there were a party that was mostly centrist, but wasn't afraid to balance the budget, I'd get on board in a heartbeat.