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"New York once had two competing political parties, which provided checks on extreme populist ideas."

Per my conclusion i happened to identify the following pairs: S1:New York, V1:had ; S2: which, V2: Checks. Was confused because "provided" seemed to be the verb to me in the latter part of the sentence.

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    Yes, provided is the verb and checks the object. – Yosef Baskin Jan 17 at 22:59
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With respect to the first part of the sentence you are correct. However, on the second part, you are mistaken. "Checks" here is a noun, and the verb is indeed "provided". According to M-W: one of the meanings of "check", as used here is:

"check" noun

3: one that arrests, limits, or restrains : RESTRAINT

The two parties, of opposing political policies, placed a restraint so that the more extreme ideas did not prevail. No doubt it is an allusion to a common phrase in American politics of "checks and balances", which refers to the different parts of government keeping the others within, preventing one from having excessive amounts of power.

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