Donald Trump would not be President today if he had tried to mount a third-party candidacy rather than running as a Republican. Bernie Sanders would not be a national leader if he had just stayed in third-party politics in backwater Vermont rather than caucusing with the Democrats and contesting for control of the Democratic Party. So the existing parties are a shortcut to power for ambitious politicians. The parties are porous to those ambitions. In the process, they take on new influences, and new policy priorities.
So it’s really remarkable when you reflect back on what the Republican Party was at its founding and look at what it is today. And the Democratic Party as well. They’ve literally exchanged places. The Republican Party was a Northern party that was for African-American rights, high-taxes, and internal improvements.
That is by Frances Lee, the entire symposium is interesting. Christopher Caldwell tells us: “The Democrats have become the party of sexual morality.”