I am often asked of my political party affiliation. I am a Democrat, since first registering at 21 years old. At that time Democrats in Florida were the majority party and generally identified as moderate-conservative; pro public education, for economic development and for using taxe administration to advance sound public policy. With the surprise election of Governor Reuben Askew in 1970, Democrats added ethics, the environment, and community care for the elderly and disabled as primary platform issues The party strongly supported the federal Civil Rights Legislation of the 60's. Democrats did not favor tax incentives for polluters and the wealthy, trickle down economics, but generally favored some form of gun registration..
Republicans generally stood for individual freedom, a strong military, creating entrepreneurial opportunities and demonstrations of faith in God. Some parts of the Republican Party supported environmental and social issues. But the GOP were opposed to government spending that did not meet cost-benefit tests, busing to achieve racial balance, gun control, and unfunded mandates.
Compare that to today. The Democrats are generally torn between the Sander extreme of wealth redistribution and at the other end, abortionists at will. The Joe Biden philosophy of not seeking repeal of abortion laws today, but favoring adoption over abortion is becoming unacceptable in the Democratic Party.
Today, the Republican Party has been torn apart by the remnants of the Tea Party and the wild issue introduction of Trump. Some in the traditional Republican Party appear to be struggling to hang on to it's leadership position, above many long held GOP principles.
The so called big tent of both parties now has so many caucuses on single issues that it is almost impossible to pass a consensus position. Worse yet, with declining numbers, the parties have begun cannibalizing their own members in the legislature. Reportedly through a deal in reapportionment, certain Democrats favored Republican seats in exchange for safe seats for themselves at a cost to other Democrats. It was sort of take care of yourself, the hell with the Party and principles. That is good for your resume, but does nothing for passing consensus driven, bi-partisan legislation.
With the 2018 election starting in earnest, it is my hope the Democrats and Republicans begin the campaign this time by starting over, and adopting basic principles. The parties should seek out the involvement of grass root citizens favoring those principles. From there candidates should be challenged to support positions in accordance with the principles. And, when you give your word, keep it.
Stand for Something.