Conor Friedersdorf writes about how ideological voters are easy to manipulate.
The fact is that ideological voters are easy to manipulate. Think of the last presidential election. Conservatives had been complaining about John McCain for years. What did it take for them to rally around the Arizona senator? A vice-presidential pick and the perception that the media was attacking her unfairly. This makes no logical sense. The media's treatment of Sarah Palin had no bearing on whether or not McCain would be a good president, or sufficiently better than Obama to justify conservatives going out to the polls for him despite their misgivings and the signal it sent about the future -- that the base is always going to rally around the Republican in the end.
I won't hide my liberal proclivities, but I don't want to be a Democrat. I don't want to feel pressure to conform to the party line even when I disagree with it. It's too easy to say, especially in a two-party system, that your team is the good guys while the other party is the Evil, Scary, Un-American Other who will probably, most likely wish to do unspeakable things to you. How can we have effective governance when politicians spend more time telling us how bad the other person is instead of what their ideas are? Ideas get dismissed out of hand as soon as someone from the other team espouses them. See for example the origins of the ACA ("Obamacare"). It's basically a bill built on Republican dogma! But as soon as the Democrats embraced it, it became an unconstitutional assault on our freedoms.
There's a reason the Founding Fathers were wary of political parties. Perhaps it was naive of them, but it's hard to say that political parties have really done much to benefit our country, especially when today's Republican Party has gone completely off the deep end.