First off, my apologies to Spam, as I am going to reply to CM's post, and it really doesn't deal directly with gun control...but it does deal with the current political climate in which I believe why we will never see a resolution to this any time soon. It is related, if only by 6 or 7 degrees of separation.
CM, I appreciate your thoughtful reply, as well. Not saying that I necessarily agree with you on all points, but I do appreciate the thought, attention to detail, time you put behind it, and the fact you are answering in an honest way that explains your past positions, as well as how you arrived to those positions you have now. You do raise some interesting points, many of which I agree with, or acknowledge are problems. I don't have the time to reply to everything (if you thought my last post was TL:DR, beware of this one), but I will try to respond to some of the points you make that stand out to me.
The problem is, your type of liberal no longer makes up a majority of the party, and hasn't since the Clinton years.
The Democrat party now has roughly 3 factions: a) the melo-dramatic, histrionic SJW types b) minorities who don't vote often and aren't really following politics but get duped by Democrat party bosses into voting for them every 4 years; c) rich latte liberals
Sadly, I am forced to agree. The Democratic Party, as it existed during the Bill Clinton presidency no longer exists. Yes, there were extreme leftists who held the same positions of some of the current Democratic leadership, but they were kept in check by more sensible members of the party. I believe that Bill Clinton could, and should, have gone down in history as a near great president, at least where domestic policy is concerned. But for the scandals, he likely would have. In retrospect, I think it is fair to say that the GOP went after Clinton with too much zeal to say it wasn't anything more than to destroy his presidency, or at least diminish his ability to govern. But the fact remains, Clinton did give the GOP the sword ( being the scandals) which was wielded against him. I don't think it an exaggeration to say the scandals of the Clinton Presidency were not unlike tragic flaws. He had the gift of communication, or at least the ability to connect to people that FDR and Reagan had, and had the potential to be as beloved as JFK, and for some he was DESPITE his flaws. But I think what made Bill Clinton outstanding was that he was reflective of what the democratic party used to embody.
Now, we could chicken and egg which side started getting nasty, and who was reacting. In my adult life time, I saw how the GOP went after Clinton, which caused a great amount of anger in the left, and further exacerbated by the Bush presidency, which was won literally by narrowest of margins. It wasn't decided by election, but by court decision. We have the benefit of hindsight now, but that was unprecedented in modern times (the previous case was the Hayes VS Tilden in 1876). Be that as it may, that is how the system works, but I can also understand how one could be upset. Add to that the shrillness of Fox News, and AM Talk radio (IE Limbaugh, later Hannity in particular), with a constant drumbeat day after day, year after year, criticizing the "filthy liberal." I think, at least within the last 30 years, these two points most led directly to the democratic party we have to day. SO, I think it is not unreasonable to say that at the very least, the GOP had a significant hand in creating the monster. What is more is that, it seems they didn't seem to learn from that, but double-downed on their own shrillness, and uncompromising, take no prisoner attitude.
As to the groups, I agree with you on groups a & c, not sure that I agree on groups b. Now, speaking as one myself, Caucasian people can never truly understand 100% what it is to be a minority. One can conceptualize, and try to understand. I know I will never, ever truly know what it is to be African American, Latino, Asian, Native American, LGBT, any more than I would be capable of understanding the biases, insults, dismissive attitudes, condensation, or having to work twice as hard for half the credit that you, or any woman, may have faced, large and small, as a woman in a traditionally male dominated profession.
Now, I am not arguing for white guilt, or that white people need some measure of comeuppance. I am just saying that when the society views you as a minority, it affects your own world view. There are simply things that go on, both subtle and obvious that minorities have to deal with. Little digs here, comments there, sometimes obvious bias, sometimes out and out insult for who and what you are. So, when you have pundits like Limbaugh, or politicians who hammer your culture (IE closing the borders to keep Latinos out), or against Muslims as Trump did, or decry how the Christian faith and marriage itself is "under attack" by the gays by a number of GOPers (who, ironically get caught toe-tapping in some beltway men's room stall), is it any wonder that they are driven into the poll both to vote against the GOP?
Or is it any wonder that some minority voters are suckered by race baiters willing to exploit them for their own gains, just as Trump himself played on white supremacists to gain their votes with a few cleverly crafted re-tweets with subtle inferences they would only understand? And to be sure, I don't think Trump is a racist. I don't even think he really is all that conservative, at least socially. He is a Trumpist: an opportunist, looking for people and situations he can use to his own ends.
My final thought on this point is that I think by far, there is a fourth group you left out, and unfortunately, they are growing, and yet are also becoming increasingly irrelevant in the democratic party: people like me. I believe in fairness for all, as I have said. I lean left socially for the most part, and more to the middle economically and a bit right on foreign policy, and to the right on perhaps a handful of issues. Indeed, I feel like I most identify with the democrats of the 1990s (and ironically, I was actually far more conservative in the 1990s than I am today).
But the reason I feel this group is becoming irrelevant is partially because of the extreme left having hijacked the Democratic party (or at least us feeling this way), and with the GOP seemingly running further to the extreme right just as fast if not faster than the democratic party has run to the extreme left, where does one such as I go? I'd love to go libertarian, bit Ron and Rand Paul-type of libertarians (you know, republicans who believe in smoking pot with their legalized hookers, and complete isolationism) sort of ruined that, didn't they?
So, people such as I, have become apathetic. Is that our fault? Sure, to a degree. Some may not vote, but I found my solution to be vote NO on every proposition, and against any incumbent. Mechanical? Sure. But I long for the day that there are enough of us that we will finally be heard. Will it happen? TBD, but even I have to say chances are slim. But at least I stay true to myself doing it.
Immigration policy is a good example of this- just 10 years ago, you had many liberals arguing against illegal immigration.
I wish I could say you were wrong here. But you are not. I am against illegal immigration, myself, but I also recognize how immigration is handled in this government is just... I don't know, inefficient seems so inadequate, but the most accurate. That said, do you really believe building a wall is going to solve a damn thing? Many who come from Latin America aren't interested in becoming a citizen. They really wish they had other options besides leaving their home country. They mainly do so to feed themselves, or send as much money as they can spare back home, and do so toiling in fields, cleaning toilets, busing tables, or doing whatever other job they can get that teenagers and people on welfare in this country deem beneath them. And many of them do it, while enduring insults or condescending attitudes of the very people they are working for. Now I am not for open borders, but I am for compassion for those who want to work. I am for helping these people, rather than sending foreign aid to their country that really just gets pocketed by the tin-pot dictator that is responsible for making their country a sh*thole in the first place. Don't ask me what the solution is, because I don't know. I can say that immigration is far more complex, and the people that it affects deserve to be more than a political football.
Or take gay marriage for instance. Clinton was against it. Obama was against it. Yeah yeah, I know, he was just fibbing or whatever (I don't know if this makes it better, that he felt the need to lie about his beliefs). But the point is, this was not a controversial position in the late 2000s, in fact, it was the majority position.
While I agree the extreme left is quite shrill on this issue, I have to mention public attitude on gay marriage has shifted since even the late 2000s. Gay and lesbian people can serve in the military, now. The world didn't end. Some states have passed gay marriage. Guess what, the institution of marriage remains intact. But do we really need laws passed to allow small business owners the right to discriminate against a minority, and hide behind their faith and say it's against their religion to bake a cake for a gay wedding? And guess which party champions that position? Gay and lesbian people are going to live together, regardless. I am not saying a politician can't have his or her own convictions, but I think we have reached a point where the people who are either indifferent or out and out support gay marriage outnumber those who oppose it. While a politician is entitled to their beliefs on the matter, and I don't think it is right to demonize someone for simply disagreeing with gay marriage (as long as they are respectful and not motivated by hate), especially when it is more about character assassination than actually being upset that someone opposes gay marriage, I also think politicians should consider that as older generations age and die, and younger generations gain more influence in society, there will come a day when they are seen as extreme (if that day hasn't already arrived), and they need to consider whether they are the right people to represent their constituents, anymore.
And yet, the SJW mob has been on the hunt, scouring social media for any hints of previous support for gay marriage bans, and then getting these people fired. I wish this was hyperbole, but unfortunately it is not. Ask the Mozilla CEO. Oh the horror. He used to support something 15 years ago that a majority of the US did. Off with his head!!
Now this IS a serious problem. I think people should be allowed to change. Are you the same person you were 5, 10, 20 years ago? Is any of us? I know I'm not.
I think when someone changes their position on an issue, like say gay marriage, those who support gay marriage should LAUD that change in position. Not look for an instance in someone's background, and punish them for a belief from their past they no longer have. This is why I am so disheartened with today's politics. It is so full of spite and tit-for-tat. In fact, it is full of hate. Irrational hatred on both sides, to be sure.
Honestly, I don't know what the answer is to this continual war and hatred between conservative and democrats. When will it end? How will it end? I have no clue. But I do know what hatred can lead to. Which leads me to reply to the rest of your post, CM.
Anecdote time. Let me tell you something about myself. And this is not intended to be a holier than thou, sanctimonious rant, either, because I have done plenty to be ashamed of, even recently. It wasn't all that long ago I took a break from posting for a while because I found myself posting toxic replies, and needed to figure things out. I'm not too proud to say I even had to get some professional help, recently. But this is something about the darker side of my personality: my own past prejudices. Something I am ashamed to admit, and something that makes me feel terrible about myself. Something I never even discussed here, before, because maybe I was afraid others here would be disgusted by me, and they may yet be. And they probably would be right to be, too.
When I was in the military, the early 1990s, one thing ( or more properly, people) that at the time was not tolerated, was gay and lesbian people. To a lesser degree, back there was even then a fair amount of prejudice against Middle Eastern people, too. Cadences referring to...well I won't repeat it here, but very insulting terms about middle eastern people. But it seemed almost universally, there was a special hatred reserved for gay people. I don't know why, really. It was just there, inculcated and ubiquitous throughout the Army. I entered the service before Clinton's don't ask-don't tell, and from basic (if you saw Full metal Jacket, the drill sergeants really did act and talk...scream really... like that when I was in, and that is no exaggeration), all the way to the day I was discharged in 1994, there was a culture that hated, insulted, and demeaned gay and lesbian people. In fact, if you did not participate in disparaging gay people whenever the topic came up, someone might suspect YOU of being gay. Like that is the worst thing in the world, right? And I participated in that behavior: speaking ill of LGBT people, using gay slurs to insult friends, or worse, people I didn't like. I was no different and no better than the rest who did it.
It sickens me now, and I make no excuses for any it, because no matter how you look at it, I was wrong. But that was me back then. I didn't know any gay people then (let's be real, I am sure I did know gay people, I probably just didn't know they were gay), but I "knew" they were to be made fun of, and were "less than." Now, I like to think most of that behavior was immaturity, which I have since outgrown. Also, through education, formal and informal, I learned that behavior was wrong.
Most of all, since that time,I have had LGBT people in and out of my life, some of the kindest, gentlest souls I've ever known, and some I now call friends and acquaintances. People who were good to me, and helped me in a couple tight situations where I needed help and had nothing to offer in return. I have changed, hopefully for the better.
But the thing that bothers me to this day is I question what kind of darkness was in me to behave that way. Worse, what if there were a hazing incident involving a gay person? Fortunately, there wasn't, but I still wonder if I would I have resisted the pack mentality or piled on? I'm glad I never found out, but, that also haunts me, BECAUSE I never found out. Would I have taken the higher road? I hope so! But I cannot say.
So, I try my best to never let that type of prejudice and hate infect me again. Maybe that is why I sometimes get on a soap box about people who are prejudiced, because I am really talking about something in my past that I hate about myself.
Maybe this is something someone can learn from. What irrational hate can do. Be it prejudice, or in this thread's case, politics, where you treat someone badly, or are irrational towards someone because of political affiliation. Or be it a case of holding onto rage against someone and that goes for political affiliation, just like any prejudice. Anger and prejudice are terrible things to live with and internalize. It really does decay the soul.
One last thought I have is this: being right, and getting one over the opposing political party, or refusing to compromise, only lasts as long as your party is in power. If US history has taught us anything, it's that the American Voter is fickle, and every 8 years or so, they change back and forth, voting in one party, then the next. So, it may feel good for a while, not compromising, excising all that pent up anger. But what comes around, goes around.