The G.O.P. was once a respectable political party, giving voice to cautious citizens who saw much to protect in the affairs of the nation. The Democratic Party offered a forum for less sanguine citizens to disagree and seek reform, and in the healthy conflict between the two a robust democracy served the nation well.
Neither party was rigidly ideological, driven passionately to impose a set of beliefs, as the Taliban, say, imposed Islam in prewar Afghanistan. Both parties respected democracy.