I'm old enough to remember when the complaint was you couldn't slip a piece of paper between the parties, or really distinguish between Tweedledee and Tweedledum. And devoted Southern Democrats were not "tribal," they were "yellow dogs." Devoted Republicans were plutocrats. The Democrats had more segregationists; the Republicans had more war hawks. Beyond that, not much difference.Joe Biden invoked two segregationist senators, James Eastland and Herman Talmadge, as he fondly recalled the “civility” of the Senate in the '70s and '80s https://t.co/DGJyIle7dH— NYT Politics (@nytpolitics) June 19, 2019
Party loyalty was a given, not a liability, and the parties earned by serving their constituents. Now, apparently, you serve them by promising to punish your opponents, because your side is good, and their side is evil.
And the problem with politics is the parties are not two sides of a coin anymore. Or maybe they are, but it's a Bitcoin: virtual, abstract, and requiring far too much energy to sustain.
Either way, there never was and never will be a happy equilibrium. Because when there was, it was because a lot of people were left out. That was a problem; and the problem now is, they've been let in.
No more equilibrium. Not for awhile, anyway.