Category Archives: Empirical Theory

Why the House is to blame for the Senate’s polarization

In the American political lexicon, the Senate is said to possess “coolness” and “wisdom.”  Words like “decorum,” “comity,” and “respect” are frequently used to describe the institution as well.  In recent years, however, cracks have appeared in the Senate’s high-minded … Continue reading

Posted in Empirical Theory, Legislative Politics, Legislative Theory, Polarization, Political Institutions, Political Parties | 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

Rick Santorum’s Measurement Problem: The Religious Left

As our national dialogue pivots from jobs and deficits toward religion, birth control and politics, Rick Santorum has positioned himself at the center of said debate.  His claim that Obama’s beliefs represent a “phony theology” garnered significant media attention last … Continue reading

Posted in Elections, Empirical Theory, Political Behavior | 1 Comment

The Cordray Appointment and Congress’s Crisis of Legitimation

Last week Richard Cordray received what the White House called a “recess” appointment to serve as director of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.  (side note: during break I was surprised to learn that a family member was his roommate … Continue reading

Posted in American Political Development, Empirical Theory, Legislative Politics, Legislative Theory | Leave a comment

On Perry’s Plan: The Relationship Between Congressional Salary and Political Corruption

The other day Rick Perry released his plan to “uproot” the federal government.  The first item on Perry’s list is a proposal to create what he calls a “part-time citizen Congress.” Presumably, Perry wants this citizen Congress to earn less than $20,000 a … Continue reading

Posted in Electoral Institutions, Empirical Theory, Legislative Politics, Political Economy | 2 Comments

“The Man Who Never Was”: Social-Psychology and Congressional Roll-Call Behavior

Todd Purdum, the national editor for Vanity Fair, penned an article recently titled “The Man Who Never Was.”  In his provocative article, and in numerous subsequent media appearances, Purdum describes John McCain as a “ruthless” and “vengeful” career politician.  Nothing … Continue reading

Posted in Empirical Theory, Legislative Politics, Senate | Leave a comment

Institutions v. Agency: Why the Senate is Weird

The “problem of the Senate” is a hot topic today. David Broder, Jonathan Chait, Jon Bernstein, and John Sides all commented on what is making the Senate problematic. The basic debate is whether the Senate is dysfunctional because of the … Continue reading

Posted in Empirical Theory, Filibuster, Legislative Politics, Legislative Procedure | 1 Comment