2. The country is in the midst of a wrenching economic shift from the industrial era to an info-tech economy. The transition coincides with unsettling social change. The nation’s institutions, especially government, are not adapting.

3. History suggests that periods of socioeconomic change in the U.S. lead to political upheaval, including transformation of existing parties and the rise of new ones.

4. Technology gives consumers enormous purchasing power, which has been used to democratize commerce and other institutions. One example: In a few short years, Americans gained the ability to ignore an artist’s album and buy only a favorite one or two songs. The music business was radically changed by we, the people. So why would Americans be expected to settle for the status quo in politics?

5. The parties are weakened. For a variety of reasons, the Democratic and Republican structures no longer have a monopoly on the ability to raise money, broadcast messages, and organize activists.