Although I applaud your effort, wading through three extra long posts is a bit much for me. Here I thought I posted long post replies at times. I'll just say this without reading all that you posted. If you go back to the 40's,50's and 60's you'll find that between 70-80% of all Americans identified themselves with both major parties. That both major parties had their conservative and liberal wings. That outside of the deep south, the solid Democratic deep south, all states were in play in a presidential election, not just 8 or 10 swing states with the rest pretty much decided. What has happen is since then is the Republican dropped their liberals, the old Rockefeller Republicans of the Northeast and the Democrats their conservative reliable base of the South as the GOP move further right and the Democrats further left. Once that was accomplished in the 1980's those who affiliated with the two major parties had dropped into the 60-70% range. But the two major parties weren't done moving more and more to the extremes left and right. Soon both began to shed their moderates. The one's who could with across the aisle and compromise with the other party. By 2010, not many moderates remained in either party, they had become independents. Thus leaving the hard core left and right in charge of and that affiliated with both major parties. Both major parties percentage now has shrunk to around 55% of the total electorate according to both Gallup and Pew Research give or take a point of two. Independents has grown from 18% in the 40's and 50's to 45% today. What we have today with just the hard core left in the two major parties, they choose the candidates for the general in their primaries which independents in most states can't participate. We end up with the hard left and hard right in Washington. The ideologues with no compromise and no give and take. We end up with candidates like Trump and Clinton who on election day had a 36% and 38% favorable rating. First time in history or since Gallup began keeping track of the candidate's favorable ratings that any major party president had a favorable rating of below 40% gong back to FDR. Both candidates broke the record for the lowest favorable rating previously held by Barry Goldwater back in 1964 at 43%. G.H.W. Bush at 46% was the second lowest up until 2016. No other major party candidate since FDR outside of those four I mentioned above ever had a favorable rating of 50% or below. 25% of all Americans disliked both major parties candidates and didn't want neither for their next president. That included 54% of all independents. 60% when adding that 25% who disliked to those who either disliked one candidate but not the other showed that 60% of all Americans disliked Trump and 60% disliked Clinton, yet one of them had to win in our two party system. Yes, it was a hold your nose and vote for the candidate you least wanted to lose. This is the cause of the problem. The two major parties moving too far left and right. leaving the biggest chunk of the electorate, Americans without a political home or party. Both parties are happy with this, it leaves the hard core in charge, it leave them able to give us candidates like trump and Clinton. Candidates a majority don't want, but have to choose from. Then in congress, it becomes gridlock, party line votes, neither party willing or wanting to give an inch. What we have today is each major party looking at the other as this nation's number one enemy, it's worst enemy. More of an enemy than Russia, North Korea, Iran, ISIS, the terrorists, or anyone or anything else. That each party looks on the other the other party is out to destroy this nation. Probably in 10-15 years independents will cross the 50% line as they become more and more dissatisfied and basically abhor the two existing major parties. But all the power will continue to lie with them.