Category Archives: American Political Development

Don’t like the president’s “power grab” on ISIS? Blame Congress.

Pundits on both sides of the aisle are criticizing the Obama administration’s decision to bomb ISIS targets without seeking congressional approval.  For example, Andrew Sullivan compares Obama’s actions to those of his predecessor, George Bush, calling the president’s decision a … Continue reading

Posted in American Political Development, Legislative Politics, Separation of Powers, The Presidency | 1 Comment

A Caveat on Congressional Productivity

On Thursday, Chris Cillizza examined an Obama statement in Texas: “This has become the least productive Congress in modern history, recent memory. And that’s by objective measures, just basic activity.” Cillizza agrees and extrapolates this a little too far, saying this Congress … Continue reading

Posted in American Political Development, Legislative Politics, Policy Agendas, Political Institutions | 1 Comment

Yes, Elections are Cultivating Polarization. But…

Competition for power, gerrymandering, disappearing marginal districts define Congress’s electoral landscape. Today, the American electorate is both closely divided and increasingly uncompetitive. In other words, partisan majorities are narrower today than at any time since the Civil War but congressional … Continue reading

Posted in American Political Development, Elections, Filibuster, Legislative Politics, Legislative Procedure, Polarization | Leave a comment

Rules Changes through Precedent: History and Consequences

Don Wolfensberger wrote a nice piece on the parallels between Majority Leader Reid’s nuclear option  and Speaker Reed’s ruling in 1890 that eliminated dilatory motions in the House. Both are good examples of rules changes through precedent. The two were so … Continue reading

Posted in American Political Development, Filibuster, Legislative Procedure, Political Institutions, Senate | Leave a comment

Party Competition and the Supression of Minority Rights

This blog post has been in the back of my mind for some time, but is especially relevant given today’s events in the Senate.  I don’t have some profound point to make, rather this is an attempt to correct a … Continue reading

Posted in American Political Development, Electoral Institutions, Filibuster, Legislative Politics | 2 Comments

Is the GOP Debt Ceiling Proposal Constitutional?

Over the weekend, House Republicans unveiled a debt ceiling proposal that’s the subject of some controversy.  Shocking, I know.  The controversy hinges on the fact that, while Republicans tout themselves as defenders of the Constitution, their plan contains a constitutionally … Continue reading

Posted in American Political Development, Bicameralism, Congressional Absurdity, Legislative Procedure, Political Parties | 3 Comments

The Filibuster: An “Accident of History”? On the Common Cause Lawsuit.

A few months back, we at the blog had a semi-regular series: “things institutionalists know that you should” (see for example see Josh on timing, Nate on Plott’s fundamental equation, and myself on the status quo bias of institutions).  This … Continue reading

Posted in American Political Development, Filibuster, Legislative Politics, Legislative Procedure | 1 Comment