American voters are politically flexible. Why aren't our parties?

The strangest thing about the positions held by nearly everyone in American political life is that virtually none of the voting population supports them 100 percent. The Democratic base agrees with such woke specimens as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi about gay marriage, but hates the Democrats’ terrible foreign policy, which has all the bad consequences of the GOP’s but brings none of the cowboy cred that their opponents usually manage to wrangle out of their support for moronic wars.

Meanwhile, only something like half of Republican voters claim to agree with their party about economic issues. Hard as it is to believe, not everyone in Texas and Kansas and Oklahoma is an oil tycoon or the owner of one of those quasi-mythic small businesses about which party leaders are wont to speak in tones of awe. A woman who works at a CVS in Lincoln, Nebraska, is far less likely than the average American to think that abortion is a constitutional right — but she probably thinks health care is one, even if she wouldn’t necessarily phrase it that way, and is not exactly reassured by the solemn promise that one day she might be able to consign a slightly larger amount of her miniscule wages to a health-savings account.