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The Forum

A Journal of Applied Research in Contemporary Politics

Ed. by Disalvo, Daniel / Stonecash, Jeffrey

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Volume 9, Issue 4


Through the Looking Glass, Darkly: What has Become of the Senate?

Sarah Binder
Published Online: 2011-01-03 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2202/1540-8884.1484

Some twenty years ago, Richard F. Fenno, Jr. published “The Senate Through the Looking Glass” – a particularly illuminating and trenchant assessment of the state of the Senate. Listening to senators debate whether to allow television cameras into the chamber, Fenno concluded that the Senate was still capable of thoughtful deliberation and consensual decision-making. In this article, I take a Fenno-inspired peek through the looking glass at the contemporary Senate, using a recent parliamentary dispute to probe senators’ views about their institution. The view is unusually dark. Two decades after Fenno’s assessment, rising partisanship has made the Senate nearly ungovernable—leaving a chamber that struggles to fulfill its most basic constitutional duties.

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Published Online: 2011-01-03

Citation Information: The Forum, Volume 9, Issue 4, ISSN (Online) 1540-8884, DOI: https://doi.org/10.2202/1540-8884.1484.

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©2011 Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG, Berlin/Boston.Get Permission

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