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Against much conventional wisdom, this book puts forth that sustained conflict and institutional gridlock are not mainly questions of character, personalities, or determined by socioeconomic or cultural inequalities. They are, above all, the result of the formula of separation of powers between the Presidency and Congress, which, together with a system of only two parties, fosters adversarial politics and polarization.

     Colomer contends that in the past, bipartisan cooperation and domestic peace flourished only under a foreign existential threat, such as during the Cold War. Once such a threat vanished, unsettled issues and new social concerns have broadened the public agenda and triggered again animosity and conflict.

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