Harvard Professors Levitsky and Ziblatt write in “How Democracies Die”: “Although mass responses to extremist appeals matter, what matters more is whether political elites, and especially parties, serve as filters. Put simply, political parties are democracy’s gatekeepers.” Page 20.
First, when it comes to democracy, better to trust the people rather than the professionals who occupy powerful positions in political parties. Asking the foxes to guard the chicken house is a bad idea.
Second, if parties are to be gatekeepers, then they should both insist that the president must win a national popular plurality. Only then will the parties need to build big tents that include the many factions necessary to win a national vote. If they are going to guard a gate, for the sake of democracy it needs to be a gate to a big tent.