Here is the scenario: after a long period of contention, there is an agreed upon piece of legislation. There is then an election which ought to be relatively minor but is fought on the issue and goes against the agreed upon policy. A party, whose policy it essentially was, fragments and votes against the agreed upon policy dooming it and themselves to electoral suicide.
Turns out that that has happened twice in the last three months. The first time was in Australia with the CPRS. The second was just yesterday and perhaps over the next week with health care reform in the US. In each case, there looked like agreement but an election (the Liberal leadership and the MA Senate race) essentially convinced those supporting the policy to not support it. That is enough Liberals voted for Turnbull that the CPRS should have passed and in the US, all the House of Representative Democrats have to do is vote for the policy and it will be done. However, they are so spooked or something that they don’t want to do that.
In each case, it indicates the poor values of many politicians and also the failure of inspirational leadership to affirm those values. In Australia, leadership didn’t work. In the US, I am still hopeful but everyone around me is depressed. We will just have to wait and see. But what is certainly true, having one minor election scuttle a key reform is hardly an affirmation of working democracy.