The U.S. Constitution is meant to provide consent of the governed while limiting the power of the majority. It has failure modes, the two party system being one of them, but so does a Parliamentary system. Israel being the classic example of a failure mode of Parliamentary systems.
The UK, with its extremely strong executive, demonstrates another failure mode. In the UKian system it's impossible to have the executive controlled by one party and the legislative controlled by another.
No system that attempts to provide some degree of democracy while preserving the rights of minorities is going to be perfect, and "it works well enough" may be the best we can hope for.
And now for some thinking out loud on the elections in the US.
As George Will pointed out:
For the first time since 1825, meaning the first time since the party system emerged, America is nearing the end of two consecutive eight-year presidencies. In six of the last seven elections, the name Reagan or Bush has been atop the Republican ticket.
Clinton and Huckabee are the least electable, in the general election (very high negatives), of the candidates. If they both get nominated the campaign will be. Interesting. But Hillary still wins.
Otherwise? If Obama or Edwards gets the nomination then I don't see any Republican beating them. McCain, maybe, depending on his vice presidential candidate, on grounds that he is experienced and (for a politician) extremely honest. See his recent comments on how long he thinks the US will need to be in Iraq, for example.
OTOH, 75% of the electorate wants us out in 2 years or less.
Bush, Clinton, Clinton, Bush,Bush,Clinton? 24 years with just two families in the White House? That's a negative. Also, supported the Iraq War, and continues to do so. This keeps the Democratic base at home. Finally, she brings out the Republican base. This may be the biggest negative she has.
The actual fiscal conservatives, and the rest of the Republican Establishment, don't much like Huckabee. The Mormons really don't like him. Pretty much anyone who isn't some sort of evangelical has a reason to dislike him. So they mostly stay home if he's the nominee.
If Romney finishes second in most states, and other candidates (McCain and Huckabee) keep splitting first place finishes, he could get the nomination. Certainly he has a chance to be the decider if McCain and Huckabee are close. In which case McCain gets the nomination.
Rudy "A noun, a verb, and 9/11" Guiliani is too socially liberal for the religious right, and a bit too tax-and-spend for the fiscal conservatives.
Edwards (or Obama) could be the spoiler in the Democratic race the same way that Romney could be in the Republican race.
For me the interesting choice would be if it was Romney vs Clinton. There's something to be said for cold and calculating competence. Primarily that it is better than the willful dishonesty and feckless incompetence which we've had for the past 8 years. I'd have to take a close look at the rest of Romney's and Clinton's positions (and how the House and Senate campaigns were shaping up). Still probably vote for Clinton.
Second hardest: McCain vs Clinton. I seriously doubt I'd vote for McCain, but the right vp (and the wrong one for Clinton) could do it.
Obama or Edwards would get my vote over any Republican, and I'd prefer to have Obama.
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