Government starts with the making of laws. Laws are born and sent to the respective chambers for vote or are killed in committees. This is the major reason party is more important than personality. Most voters don't understand this. Committees control what bills wind up being voted on in the respective chambers, House or Senate.
Control of committees is determined by which party has the majority in each chamber. The party which controls the committees controls what bills get voted on. Therefore, what party controls the committees decides what laws get passed. If a bill is never voted on, it can never become a law. To make the process even more difficult, many proposed laws are sent to more than one committee which multiplies the chances that it will be killed or modified beyond recognition by its original supporters if the opposing party controls all the committees. This is why it is really, really, important to vote for the village idiot of your preferred party instead of the super great candidate of the other party.
If a voter prefers the governmental vision of Party A but votes for the candidate of Party B and the election of the Party B candidate gives it the majority in the chamber, the result will be that most or all the laws sent out of the committee for vote on the floor will reflect the vision of Party B. If one side refuses to compromise, which is currently the case in both our congress and state house, Party A will accomplish little or nothing to advance its agenda. This is not the result the Party A leaning voter wanted.
Currently, in our Congress, the Republicans have a majority in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. In the Senate the Democrats are not completely helpless because they can use the rules of filibuster and threat of filibuster, and other procedural rules unique to the Senate, to block or water down greatly what the Republican senators want. The Republicans successfully did this when they were in the minority. In the House, the rules are different. With a Republican majority, the Republicans can do whatever they want and the Democrats are effectively helpless. The only things they can agree to vote on together are such non-controversial issues as resolutions naming Federal post offices in local districts or increased funding for programs that help military veterans.
Currently in Minnesota, the DFL controls the Senate and the Republicans the House.
The result of this is:
1) Because the modern Republican party is so far-right and out of touch with reality it is almost impossible to reach compromise on anything important with the DFL (Democratic-Farmer-Labor party) which is a center-left to centrist party. Prior to 1980 the Republican Party was a normal center-right party, but after the election of Ronald Reagan it began moving steadily to the right at both the national and state levels. With the birth of its Tea Party wing it has gone into outer space. It is truly a case of the lunatics running the asylum. The establishment Republican Party leadership and donors are losing control and they are very worried.
2) Because in our system the President/Governor is elected separately from the legislature and both houses need to agree to pass a law, we can have government gridlock in two ways:
One is when the executive branch and one or both houses are controlled by different parties who can't agree on anything. (With the parliamentary system this normally can't happen because the executive is chosen by the legislature so both sides are generally on the same wave length)
The second way is when the two houses are controlled by different parties which are very far apart with respect to political vision and goals. This is the present situation in Minnesota. When there is gridlock, not only is it impossible to pass important laws but in the recent past we have suffered government shutdowns at both the national and state level as a result. This is a major flaw in our presidential system of government.