Category Archives: Polarization

Why the Logic of “Throwing the Bums Out” is Wrong

As the election season ramps up, Americans offer dozens of claims about the “problems” facing our country and their purported “solutions.”  But while many of these claims are amenable to empirical scrutiny, few are ever studied. Spoiler alert: Americans are lousy … Continue reading

Posted in Elections, Legislative Politics, Polarization, Political Parties | 1 Comment

Are Career Politicians “Out of Touch” with Constituents?

On Tuesday, Republican voters in South Carolina head to the polls to elect a candidate for the U.S. Senate seat occupied by Lindsey Graham.  Graham, who’s held the position since 2002, is among the candidates.  If Graham wins, it will continue the … Continue reading

Posted in Elections, Electoral Institutions, Legislative Politics, Polarization, Political Parties, Primaries, Voting Behavior | 4 Comments

Bergdahl, Benghazi, and Beyond: The Politics of Congressional Investigations

Is Bowe Bergdahl the new Benghazi? It would certainly seem so.  Several Republicans are calling for investigations into the now infamous prisoner swap.  Calls for impeachment exist.  And, of course, Hillary Clinton’s name has been linked to the Bergdahl scandal. … Continue reading

Posted in Congressional Absurdity, Legislative Politics, Polarization, Political Parties | Leave a comment

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