I bet the two-party system was thought up by the founding voters as the ultimate check on government power. They came up with the first two parties — the Federalists and the Democratic-Republicans — and then made up some issues they pretended were important (I mean, really, a national bank? Who cares?) to keep the politicians fighting each other and thus slow the government’s growth. Some people say our two current parties are too much alike, but that’s the thing: The issues they espouse don’t matter. What’s important is that they hate each other.

That’s what we need to keep up. If we ever see the parties start to get along, we have to come up with some completely made-up issue to keep them fighting, like climate change. This may seem cruel, but it’s useful not to think of politicians as people — human beings don’t budget like that. And anyway, what else can we do to protect ourselves from government overreach? Yes, ideally the federal government shouldn’t have this much power, but that’s not the system we have. So right now we should hope for headlines about a bipartisan agreement that was broken up when the senators started to bite each other. Then we’ll know our country is safe.

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