Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson laid the foundations for today's political debates between Democrats and Republicans. Hamilton believed that freedom must be married with a strong central government and especially an energetic president, while Jefferson believed freedom derived from local civic virtues. Throughout history, Democrats and Republicans have chosen sides in this eternal debate—and sometimes even changed sides. Today, those debates have become sharper and more polarized, as the two parties square off on major issues such as healthcare, taxes, regulation, the role of the federal government, and what discretion should be given to local authorities. The debate can be loud and shrill, even as the public yearns for some accommodation between these two schools of thought. People may generally desire an active government to deal with acute problems, but localism still has widespread appeal, and political dysfunction often results when these outcomes are presented as polar opposites and elections are reduced to zero sum contests. Social media adds to the polarization, as Americans gravitate to websites that often ratify their preexisting points of view. The parties struggle to function in this environment as they try to adapt to the political realities of the social media age and the Trump era.