The Framers of the U.S. Constitution viewed what we revile as “gridlock” or “stalemate” as a good thing, not a bad one.  They assumed that most changes in the law would be bad ones.  Consequently, checks and balances among the three branches of government were supposed to slow down decisionmaking and preserve the status quo.

The rise of political parties changed all that.  In party government, checks among the branches slow things down only when different parties control the legislature and executive.  The problem is that on occasions when the Party of the State controls both of these branches, massive ill-advised change can take place very quickly -- and when we do eventually return to divided government, it prevents the repair of all the bad things that were done.

Thus although checks and balances were intended to protect the law from damage, in our time they protect the damage.