Category Archives: American Political Development

What does DHS/immigration tell us about the power of Congress and the President?

Institutional power is more of an academic topic. Nonetheless, it has enormous ramifications. The current immigration debate is a great example of that. Despite the rhetoric around the DHS debate, America has never had a dictator president – the current … Continue reading

Posted in American Political Development, Budget, Legislative Procedure, Political Institutions | 2 Comments

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 | 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 | 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