Category Archives: Polarization

Why Americans “Tune Out” the State of the Union

With the State of the Union just a few hours away, the political science blog-o-sphere is all abuzz.  The essential reading list includes: Can presidential speeches sway public opinion?  Jonathan Bernstein weighs in here. Does the State of the Union … Continue reading

Posted in Legislative Politics, Polarization | 2 Comments

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

Our Very Unproductive Congress: Why Today’s Gridlock is Different and more Devastating

One of President Truman’s most repeated lines, the “Do Nothing Congress,” is increasingly being used less as a metaphor and more as a statement of fact. The 112th Congress was the least productive since the Civil War (figure by Political Scientist … Continue reading

Posted in Bicameralism, Legislative Politics, Polarization, Political Institutions | Leave a comment

Do Veterans Decrease Polarization in Congress?

If the timing of this post doesn’t make it obvious, the use of “veteran” refers to lawmakers with prior military experience, not the length of one’s tenure in Congress.  Speaking of which: Happy Veterans Day! Chris Day—a colleague of mine at … Continue reading

Posted in Empirical Theory, Legislative Politics, Polarization, Voting Behavior | Leave a comment

What’s Missing in the Polarization Debate? Congress.

Currently, the debate over American polarization is dominated by electoral considerations: gerrymandering, sorting, PACs, campaign finance, etc. Most of these arguments are based on underlying assumption that the American people, or a political process that sorts voters into districts, are … Continue reading

Posted in Electoral Institutions, Legislative Politics, Legislative Procedure, Polarization | 2 Comments