The GOP giants of my youth were Nelson Rockefeller, Romney Senior, William F. Buckley, James Buckley, Jake Javitz, Ed Brooke's. African-Americans were almost all GOPS, the party of Lincoln. When I went through black neighborhoods in NY, there were still prayer rugs with Lincoln's image. Haven't seen any outside of a museum in decades.
Now there is Olympia Snowe.
I fund raise, vote, campaign and vote some more. Voter integrity is a keen interest. We do not have real choice. Yes, some slight difference exists between the two parties. If you are poor or middle class, voting Dems is in your interest. If wealthy, vote GOP. Many wealthy NYers though are very active Dems. The Blue Dog Dems favor business. The GOP has become populist. I don't see a single candidate refined and Ivy Leaguish. It is all I saw when young. These are not Wall St. Journal crowds. The GOP's main message is no longer fiscal constraint but social issue driven.
Other countries give you a much broader range of vision. Our system may make sense for. Repeatedly, parties nominate candidates that feed off the base rather than the public at large. The nuttier one loses. Voters choose a centrist position. Recently, the parties change power frequently. I worked for a Democratic presidential candidate. He had no grand scheme or beliefs. The very system attracts narcissists. What normal person raises millions and knocks on doors with the message I can represent your interests better than you. High school class president types get elected. The Geek Squad.
I don't think we face this situation b/c of conspiracy or bad will. Recently, I've volunteered for the local party rather than a candidate or issues. Strangely, many of these people could not tell you the principles behind their party. Yet these strange orgs. have the structure to get someone elected. Many of my politcal heros in youth were defeated by the party rather than the other side.
Vote and vote often.