Party Polarization in Congress

Party Polarization in Congress

by Sean M. Theriault
Pub. Date:
Cambridge University Press
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Party Polarization in Congress

The political parties in Congress are as polarized as they have been in 100 years. This book examines more than 30 years of congressional history to understand how it is that the Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill have become so divided. It finds that two steps were critical for this development. First, the respective parties' constituencies became more politically and ideologically aligned. Second, members, in turn, ceded more power to their party leaders, who implemented procedures more frequently and with greater consequence. In fact, almost the entire rise in party polarization can be accounted for in the increasing frequency of and polarization on procedures used during the legislative process.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780521717687
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 07/31/2008
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments     vii
Party Polarization in the U.S. Congress     1
Building Blocks for Explaining Party Polarization     11
A Brief History of Party Polarization     13
Explanations for Party Polarization     43
Constituency Change     59
Redistricting     62
The Political and Geographic Sorting of Constituents     85
Extremism of Party Activists     109
Institutional Change     129
Connecting Constituency Change to Institutional Change     131
The Interaction in the Legislative Process     156
The Link between the House and the Senate     196
Procedural Polarization in the U.S. Congress     218
Bibliography     229
Index     239

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