As I’ve been glancing at some trends which might illustrate the changes in the incentives driving regions to become solidly part of a U.S. political party, I’ve been struck by the recent trend of party sorting. Fundamentally, the two American political parties are not ideological parties. Fundamentally, they are empty vessels that tend to get filled up by whatever ideas (not even necessarily ideologies) and personality types the voters see fit. Despite frequently voiced warnings, it is impossible for America to have a one-party future. Since neither of the parties can die, it is inevitable that they change with the times to become more attractive to the median voter.
The question for my time is “how”? With better party sorting, the parties will find it much more difficult to cross over.
The first question must be “where are the True Cores of the Republican and Democratic parties”?
At present, the ideological distance between House Republicans and Democrats is enormous. The Republican presidential candidate who is most popular among young Republicans (or at least used to be before the Rubio drop-out) is Ted Cruz, a fire-breathing ideologue (and demagogue) who is much further from the positions of the median voter than is Hillary Clinton. The Democratic presidential candidate who is by far most popular among young Democrats is Bernie Sanders, a fire-breathing ideologue who is much further from the positions of the median voter than is Hillary Clinton.
However, there are glimmers of hope. It is not Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders who are winning their respective races, but Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. The True Core of the Democratic Party is becoming more and more minority-majority. The political preferences of young people are not fixed for all their lives; they can change over time.
It is extremely unlikely that Trump alone can change the Republican party.