This is a picture I took at the Chicago leg of Bill Clinton's "I Am Bulletproof" victory lap --
-- in January of 2001 (I still have my little flag somewhere.)
In the balconies were aldermen, commissioners, state senators, and other members of Illinois' political middle management. In the mosh pit were muggles like me. And crammed on stage with Clinton and Alexis Herman (who spent so much time in Chicago they were considering naming a concourse at Midway after her) were all the political power brokers, rising stars and those-who-are-owed-favors of the first water -- Dick Durbin, Bobby Rush, Richie Daley, etc.
And you who are very, very clever will look very closely at this picture will not fail to notice who is missing. A still-relatively-obscure state senator named Barack Obama who had, only ten months before, lost his primary bid for the U.S. House of Representatives to Bobby Rush (the bearded African American gentlemen on the right) by a blowout margin of 2-to-1. (For the record, I still have my ticket stub from his "Barack the Vote" fundraiser. Yeah, I was an O-bot long before it was either cool or villainous :-)
My point being, sometimes political parties do open the door for relative outsiders.
Democrats, for example, took a chance on a man conjured out of their best hopes.
Republicans, by contrast, have nominated the personification of their most dangerously ignorant, racist fears.