“[Political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.”
GEORGE WASHINGTON, Farewell Address, Sep. 17, 1796
It seems that there is one thing that people agree on when it comes to the government in Washington D.C. is that things are broken and the government has become ineffectual. The last few years, it seems, have shown us one political farce after another while the country careens out of control. Many people don’t know this but Congress has not passed a budget since 1997. Since then the country has been run on “Continuing Resolutions” and “Omnibus Spending Bills”.
1997 is important for another reason. It is the year I took my required High School Government class. In that class I was told how the American 2 party system allowed nearly comprehensive inclusion of voters due to the broad nature of the party bases, while also discouraging gridlock in the legislative process. Examples were made to show the gridlock that occurs in multi-party systems where coalitions form and fail in the blink of an eye. I was taught that the alternative was to have two parties that would fight over the middle of the road voters to gain a majority. At the time, in American politics, that seemed to be the case.