Over at Salon, Glenn Greenwald has written a piece about the myth that Americans want bipartisanship. While the tone is a bit strident, it does make some good points. Partly, it comes back to the issue of how political systems fundamentally (and necessarily) constrain the expression of voter preferences. The zones of intersection between what voters want and how they are able to express those desires are always of interest, when considering the politics of democratic societies.
Another tricky aspect of this is the need democracies have for a credible opposition. Even if you feel strongly that one party or another should be in power in the US or Canada, you generally don’t want the other leading party to be a complete shambles. If they are, they don’t have the ability to hold the government to account – a role that is often more important than the generation of a competing ideological stance.
When it comes to the United States, it is actually a great shame that the excesses of the Republican party have become so extreme: for instance, their rejection of science, growing xenophobia, obsession with tax cuts at the expense of fiscal responsibility, etc, etc, etc. If they were a party with a platform worth respectfully disagreeing with, the political situation in the United States would be a much more honest and admirable one.