Every thriving democracy needs at least one strong, intelligent opposition party.
USA, though a young country, has the longest democracy in history. The 2 party model (Democrat and Republican) in the US, Conservative and Labor in the UK, has been a shining example of how a democracy can work without splintered by multi-party chaos. Witness Italy.
That's why the decline of the Republican Party into becoming a fringe group representing a narrow electorate consisting mainly of white, Christian and ultra-nationalists, and often racist, is an alarming development.
The following two articles are worthy of your time. Paul Krugman in the NY Times is here and the Bloomberg article on former Secretary of State and retired General Colin General Powell is here.
It is sad to see the Party of Lincoln, Eisenhower and the Rockefellers, symbols of fiscal conservatism, cultural tolerance, political moderation abroad has descended into a totally unrecognizable party of intolerance.
Many traced that change to Richard Nixon. While a brilliant international tactician, he brought a dark side to US politics with his many brooding Freudian insecurities and "hatred" against his domestic "enemies".
Ronald Reagon was not a "hater" the way Nixon was. But he too had a black and white view of Democrats and Republicans; the tax cutters (GOP) vs the tax and spenders (the Democrats).
In fact under Nixon and Reagon, US began its march towards becoming a larger and larger debtor country.
Fiscal conservatism, long associated with Republican principles, was replaced by reckless tax cutting and spending at the same time. The worst is George W Bush, the last president, in economic policies and in his reliance on fundamentalists in USA to assume a key role in domestic politics.