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- Richer Parties, Better Politics? Party-Centered Campaign Finance Laws and American Democracy by La Raja, Raymond J.
- The Catholics and the Others: The Denominational Backdrop to Modern American Politics by Shafer, Byron E. and Spady, Richard H.
- What the Filibuster Tells Us About the Senate by Schickler, Eric and Wawro, Gregory J.
- The Citizens United Election? Or Same As It Ever Was? by Franz, Michael M
- The Return of the Voter: Voter Turnout in the 2008 Presidential Election by McDonald, Michael P.
Legislative Coalitions, Polarization, and the U.S. Senate
1The City College of New York-CUNY
Citation Information: The Forum. Volume 9, Issue 4, ISSN (Online) 1540-8884, DOI: 10.2202/1540-8884.1481, January 2011
- Published Online:
In recent years, scholars have marshaled a vast amount of evidence to show that the congressional parties are increasingly polarized. However, David Mayhew demonstrated that most standard legislative enactments in the second half of the twentieth century passed with the support of large majorities of both parties. This article investigates whether the partisan polarization of the past two decades has crept into the temple of consensual lawmaking that hitherto characterized Senate action on final passage votes. The findings reveal that unilateral votes by one party are better explained by unified government than the rise of partisan polarization. In that light, the import of polarization may be overstated. Institutional features of the political system, coupled with the electoral incentives of lawmakers, offset ideological polarization at the final passage stage of important legislation.