Category Archives: Political Institutions

Could Boehner be the first Speaker to Win Seats and Lose Job?

The Fix recently wrote about how “A 2015 rebellion against John Boehner would be unprecedented.” In the piece Philip Bump argues that “no speaker has overseen a pick-up of House seats and subsequently lost his job.” Setting aside problems in closely connecting … Continue reading

Posted in Elections, Political Institutions | Leave a comment

Assessing Congressional Productivity: Getting it Right

The Washington Post’s Wonkblog had a write up on congressional productivity not long ago. Its central thesis is Congress is more productive in election years than in non-election years. This is a good counter-intuitive point. Many pundits discuss congressional productivity only in … Continue reading

Posted in Legislative Politics, Political Institutions | Leave a 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

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

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

Obligatory Electoral College Maps Are Obligatory

If the antiquated Electoral College is good for one thing, it’s making fun maps.  Here are some Electoral College results you might see tomorrow morning (or late tonight if you’re a political junkie).  You can make your own map at … Continue reading

Posted in Elections, Electoral Institutions, Political Institutions, Voting Behavior | Leave a comment

The Polarization Culprits

Jennifer Victor and Seth Masket recently posted a couple very good posts over at the  Mischeifs of Faction on polarization in Congress. If you aren’t already reading their blog, you should. Both approach the problem from an electoral perspective. There … Continue reading

Posted in American Political Development, Legislative Procedure, Polarization, Political Institutions | 3 Comments