Checks and Balances

I mentioned yesterday how "defenders of the duopoly often confuse the two party system with the constitutional separation of powers . . . referring to the duopoly as if it were a state of equilibrium, a set of checks and balances," rather than, for instance, the hegemonic form of political antagonism and representation. This view is not limited to pundits and bloggers. Today, Chicago radio host Ray Hanania quotes Illinois Republican State Senator Chris Lauzen: "We have problems in Illinois because the checks and balances of the two-party system no longer exist. And we have to believe in the founding principles that the people are in charge, not the politicians." The duopoly does not ensure checks and balances, the separation of powers does. If "checks and balances" no longer exist, this is not a failure of the two-party system. Rather it represents the success of this system, its inevitable outcome, a constitutional crisis.

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