Is Bernie Sanders on his way to winning the Democratic nomination? Maybe. We’ll have a clearer picture after Super Tuesday.

But even if Sanders wins the presidency in November (I don’t think he can), he’ll get nothing done because of a Congress with many moderate Democrats and right-wing Republicans in it. His health care plan won’t go anywhere. His other proposals will run into brick walls. This gridlock (which we see already) is a symptom of a dysfunctional democracy with sides split down the middle but moving farther and farther apart. Each side becomes more extreme, and the people in the middle are left out. Nothing gets done. Nothing can get done.

Historically, democracies die when the right moves farther to the right, and the left moves more left. That leads to deadlocked representative bodies and opens the door to authoritarian leaders who “solve” the problem by sweeping them out of the way and ruling by diktat.

Compromise is VITAL to the survival of democracies our size. Sadly, it’s dead, and with it dies freedom.