“But you already know I’m a Republican,” said Mr. Bates, who was never shy about airing his political views, “so that shouldn’t surprise you.”
“Why,” Mr. Magundi asked, “do we have the same two parties now that we had before the Civil War?—which, by the way, was largely a war between Republicans and Democrats. One would think that, as the issues facing us changed, the parties would change as well. We ought to have expiration dates on our political parties, and when they expired we could form new ones based on the most important questions facing us at the time.
“In 1860, broadly speaking, the Republican Party stood for a strong central government and the abolition of slavery; the Democratic Party stood for decentralized government and the perpetual subjugation of the African. Today the two parties have reversed their rhetorical positions on ‘states’ rights,’ although of course no one on either side really intends to weaken the central government; and as for slavery, we don’t hear as many Democrats advocating it as we used to hear.
“The questions facing us have changed, or the parties have completely different positions on them; yet we still have the same two parties. And I think that simple fact cuts through all the rhetoric and shows us the one real issue that separates Democrats from Republicans: that Republicans believe government should be run by Republicans, whereas Democrats believe government should be run by Democrats.”