So, what does the current condition of the playing field suggest about the old notions of centrist politics and compromise? What it suggests is that these notions are no longer needed, no longer desirable, no longer useful.
But this leads to another question. What about the selection of a candidate who is deemed electable in a general election? If centrism and compromise are no longer seen as useful elements of the system, how do we now define an "electable" candidate? One of the two major parties is clearly leaning away from the center and in the direction of extreme representation of fewer and fewer Americans.
Problem: They still need votes.
So, how do you set up a platform that clearly represents only a select few citizens but still attracts a plurality of voters? There are several options, but the majority are all built around deceit of the electorate. Which is why we see today's GOP doing the following:
1. Block almost all meaningful legislation so the current administration will accomplish less and have less to brag about. The fact that this is to the detriment of the nation's climb out of recession is unimportant as far as the welfare of the nation is concerned. What is important is that it actually plays a positive roll for a GOP that can now claim the administration "Didn't do enough."
2. Consciously court the most radical elements of the party. The Tea Party's rise to prominence was no accident, nor was it the grass-roots populist groundswell it claimed to be. It was engineered by big money as a megaphone for big money's interests. Nothing about that has changed, which is why we see big-money shills like Ted Cruz coming out in favor of auctioning off large pieces of National Parks, to private interests seeking logging and mining locations.
3. Create an aura of incompetence surrounding the administration, such that the president is seen as wrong no matter what he does or says, even if he just agreed with you. This has long been a tool used by both parties, but its current level of development is extreme by any measure. We currently have pending law suits and impeachment proceedings against the president, neither of which have the least grounds for consideration. But they do serve the purpose of keeping the mind of their constituents off of the lack of leadership by the GOP, and focused on the well-crafted hatred they have been conditioned to feel for the president.