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What Has Made Congress More Polarized?
RealClearPolitics ^ | May 11, 2012 | Sean Trende

Posted on 05/11/2012 7:28:31 PM PDT by neverdem

Thomas Mann and Norm Ornstein ignited a bit of a firestorm with their column describing Republicans as main drivers behind Washington's problems. The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza has made some excellent points with regard to Mann and Ornstein's qualitative arguments, and other thorough responses abound. Rather than revisiting these points, I would like to focus my attention on the quantitative arguments made at the end of the article. Mann and Ornstein note that:

“[P]olitical scientists Keith Poole and Howard Rosenthal, who have long tracked historical trends in political polarization, said their studies of congressional votes found that Republicans are now more conservative than they have been in more than a century. Their data show a dramatic uptick in polarization, mostly caused by the sharp rightward move of the GOP.”

--snip--

Again, to illustrate this point, DW-NOMINATE suggests that Congress became much less polarized in the 1920s and 30s, which is probably true. But it suggests that both parties moved toward the center (and that both Northern and Southern Democrats, on average moved toward the center). There simply isn't any support for the idea that the Democrats in the 1936 Congress were, on average, more conservative than Democrats in the 1926 Congress, at least in the sense that contemporary pundits use the term. But as the agenda moved leftward, the rise of the Conservative Coalition has the effect of pulling both parties toward the center, even though, overall, both were probably becoming more liberal.

DW-NOMINATE remains a powerful tool, especially if you keep its limitations in mind and are looking at discrete Congresses (or really are interested purely in polarization). It even sheds interesting light on realignment theory. But it really doesn’t do any of the things the popular press is claiming it does, at least not particularly well.

(Excerpt) Read more at realclearpolitics.com ...


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Editorial; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: congress; polarization
Maybe Ornstein is leaving the AEI reservation?
1 posted on 05/11/2012 7:28:43 PM PDT by neverdem
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To: neverdem
More polarized than when Rep Brooks beat Sen. Sumner with a heavy cane on the house floor back in 1856?

I'd pay money to see something like that today.

/johnny

2 posted on 05/11/2012 7:37:09 PM PDT by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
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To: JRandomFreeper
'twould be a sight.

Errrr, the Oreinstein thesis about moving to the center is nonsense. There is NO center in American politics. There are only two large coalitions that capture all segments of American society including class, income, physical location, geography, occupations, lifestyles, etc.

With single member districts it's simply impossible to create any sort of different political structure ~ it will always take 50% + 1 vote to win an election.

The losers are forced to form a coalition as well.

Consequently America's political spectrum is not laid out on a BELL SHAPED CURVE ~ rather it's best described as a bi-modal saddle!

Back to the "center", it doesn't exist. However entire factions or large chunks of factions occasionally jump from one poll to another.

E.g. blacks moved to the Democrats in two large well known events we can call ROOSEVELT and JOHNSON

Southern whites moved to the Republicans in about 4 smaller steps ~ twice with Nixon and twice with Reagan, and possibly earlier with Eisenhower, again twice. The latest movement was with George Bush.

Obama's election saw some backsliding when Southerners once again listened to the Socialists siren song of pie in the sky and new blocks for your old car parked in the side yard.

I think Souvrn'rs are over that now.

Republicans haven't dragged anybody to the Right, there being no such creature here, but they have hurt the Democrats in recent elections ~ and the TEA Party faction within the coalition has hurt the Reacharound guys ~ formerly known as bipartisans, their time has come and gone ~ about 12 years ago. Nobody is looking for bipartisanship anymore since the Democrats have been taken over by the 15% who subscribe to cold hard Stalinist socialist theory.

3 posted on 05/11/2012 8:02:46 PM PDT by muawiyah
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To: neverdem

***What Has Made Congress More Polarized?***

When CODE DUELLO ceased to be a moderating effect on the more radical members of Congress.

Before that you could call the curr out and force him to defend his words.

Now they can hurl mud with impunity.


4 posted on 05/11/2012 8:14:02 PM PDT by Ruy Dias de Bivar
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To: neverdem

Polarization resulting from Democrats becoming Socialists, Communists and Marxists. Obama has exacerbated this conversion.


5 posted on 05/11/2012 8:28:13 PM PDT by GeorgeWashingtonsGhost
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To: GeorgeWashingtonsGhost

The party formerly known as the democrats has morphed into the cpusa. Their ultimate goal is the destruction and downfall of the USA.
The repubs have morphed from Reagan type ideals to the old Democrat ideas.

The whole political landscape has shifted left.

So as a result we have mostly Pro American republicrats against Anti American marxists posing as democrats.

And a leader of the marxist party who is hell bent on destroying our system of representative government and replacing it with an African style marxist dictatorship.

He calls it fundamental transformation.


6 posted on 05/11/2012 8:32:54 PM PDT by Texas resident (November 6 - Vote Against obama)
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To: neverdem

marxism


7 posted on 05/11/2012 8:37:49 PM PDT by Principled
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To: neverdem

“Again, to illustrate this point, DW-NOMINATE suggests that Congress became much less polarized in the 1920s and 30s,”

Historically ignorant hogwash.

The 19th century Democrats were ‘conservative’ populists, and in the 20th century liberal populists took over the Democrats, but the southern Democrat wing remained until after the 1960s. As such, the democrats in 1930s had 2 wings, one liberal and one conservative.

The Republicans have moved right, by absorbing the rump Democrat conservative wing that the Democrats left.

As reagan put it, “I didnt leave the Democrat party, the Democrat party left me.”

The Congress wasnt less polarized, it was just the power of the left wasnt as great and division were regional not party based.

Now in the age of Obama the Democrats are more ideologically polarized than ever. Have they ever been this leftist as a party? No!


8 posted on 05/11/2012 8:50:46 PM PDT by WOSG (Anyone But Obama)
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To: neverdem

Idiot, this is the natural result of the Dims making deals with the GOP and failing to live up on them. This goes back to Clinton and really even Reagan and the $3 in spending cuts for the then record tax increase he signed.

If you continually lie to people, you can hardly be surprised when they are not interested in dealing with you again.


9 posted on 05/11/2012 9:42:31 PM PDT by JLS (How to turn a recession into a depression: elect a Dem president with a big majorities in Congress))
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To: GeorgeWashingtonsGhost

On an issue by issue basis you can compare across time. But what this guy was pointing was that such a comparison cannot be made by the analyzes being touted by the news media.

Because that analyzes only compares existing members of congress to each other. The only thing that it can say is congress has not been more divided sense 1880.


10 posted on 05/11/2012 10:38:46 PM PDT by Monorprise
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11 posted on 05/11/2012 11:02:43 PM PDT by neverdem (Xin loi minh oi)
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To: GeorgeWashingtonsGhost
Polarization resulting from Democrats becoming Socialists, Communists and Marxists.

Ornstein is wittingly FoS -- this is the same old Leftist whine, surprising coming from Ornstein until you reflect that, at the end of the day, he's a Jewish neocon, and Jewish neocons think about real conservatives along these lines:

A Neocon blogs various discontents with Sarah Palin, "Flyover Country".

No love lost there. Neocons agree with conservatives about 55% of the time -- but never on social issues. There, their socialist, urban-ethnic, Democratic-wardheeler roots show plainly. And they are totally allergic both to Southern conservatives (excusing their opposition as being "for the good of the party's image" [Southerner=redneck lynch-mob, totally]) and, lo and behold, to very Northern, very rural, very non-Southern conservatives who expose the Neocons' hidden socialism and statism. Then they get really grouchy and dyspeptic, and vote secretly for Communists like Obama in preference to a real Christian conservative. Conservatives, after all, have murdered so many millions of Jews in repeated pogroms in North America over the last 100 years ...... oh, wait, I was thinking of Stalinists in Russia. Oh, well, never mind. </s>

12 posted on 05/12/2012 3:59:24 AM PDT by lentulusgracchus
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To: neverdem
What Has Made Congress More Polarized?

It doesn't matter; because we'll be told it is the FAULT of the mean Conservatives!

13 posted on 05/12/2012 4:40:16 AM PDT by Elsie (Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going)
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To: lentulusgracchus
There, their socialist, urban-ethnic, Democratic-wardheeler roots show plainly.

I should have added, "and Trotskyite". A lot of the original neoconservatives were Trotskyites who began to be less ensorcelled by Sovietism after Stalin had Trotsky murdered in Mexico.

And after Israel had to fight for its life twice in seven years against vast Arab armies, the ex-Trotskyites finally began to see the merits of a defense policy, and in particular a U.S. Defense Department, to rake people's bacon out of the fire for them.

But the alliance has always been uneasy.

14 posted on 05/12/2012 4:40:52 AM PDT by lentulusgracchus
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To: neverdem
“[P]olitical scientists Keith Poole and Howard Rosenthal, who have long tracked historical trends in political polarization, said their studies of congressional votes found that Republicans are now more conservative than they have been in more than a century. Their data show a dramatic uptick in polarization, mostly caused by the sharp rightward move of the GOP.”

While...


Mere taxpaying saps, who have long tracked trends in governmental policies, said their studies of congressional LAWS found that Democrats are now more LIBERAL than they have been in more than a century. Their common sense show a dramatic uptick in polarization, mostly caused by the sharp LEFTward move of the Democratic Party.”

15 posted on 05/12/2012 4:43:15 AM PDT by Elsie (Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going)
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To: muawiyah
Back to the "center", it doesn't exist.

The "incivility" and lack of the old palsy-walsy ways began when the "Watergate generation" elected in 1974 came to office bursting with the pus of moral smugness, and promptly began to broom Republicans aside as relics of history. In 1977, I think it was, the Democrats unilaterally reduced Republican membership on all the significant committees, and other insults and slights followed.

They had occasion to regret that contumely when Ronald Reagan's coattails gave the Senate to the GOP and the Senate majority leader's job to Howard Baker of Tennessee.

But the House remained in Democratic hands for another 14 years, and the House Democrats never learned anything along the way, except not to steal from the House Post Office.

16 posted on 05/12/2012 4:46:59 AM PDT by lentulusgracchus
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To: JLS
If you continually lie to people, you can hardly be surprised when they are not interested in dealing with you again.



17 posted on 05/12/2012 4:54:09 AM PDT by Elsie (Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going)
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To: WOSG
Regionalism used to be the dominant force in the great national parties. That has died out to an extent with the movement of blacks to the Democrats (where they became 40% of the active voting strength of that coalition), and the Southern whites to the Republicans (where they became about 30% of the active voting strength of that coalition).

At the same time we have "industrial' alignments AND "agricultural" alignments.

A lesson ~ decades back Southern farmers could not raise corn as well as those in the Corn Belt. Today, thanks to modern fertilizers Southern farmers get yields that rival, and sometimes exceed, those found in the Corn Belt.

That fact, and Roundup, seed drills, and an incredible degree of mechanization, has given Southern Farmers their much sought after THIRD SEASON. It has also given Corn Belt Farmers a SECOND SEASON, and in some places, a THIRD SEASON.

That has allowed a vast reduction in the need for a large year round farm labor force ~ so those folks moved off the farm into town and industry. A newer foreign based "pulse' farm labor group has grown up to provide people those 2 or 3 times a year when they are needed (mostly at harvest). That process, in turn, has created some serious dilemmas for the Democrats and Republicans.

18 posted on 05/12/2012 4:58:21 AM PDT by muawiyah
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To: muawiyah; WOSG

The current polarization goes back to the Great Compromise of 1986, as consequential (and as dangerous) as those of 1820 and 1850.

The Great Compromise between Reagan and Tip O’Neill was that the Republicans could cut taxes (and claim credit in productive districts) as much as they wanted, and the Democrats could borrow money to give away (and claim credit in parasite districts) as much as THEY wanted.

This couldn’t last, of course, because no nation can endure half slave and half free. What the Reagan-O’Neill compromise has produced is a massive migration of producers to so-called “red” states, and a corresponding migration (augmented by immigration) of parasites to “blue” states, to the point that the parasites are now geographically concentrated enough to control the Senate and to have a near-lock on the Electoral College.

Destroying the money system is only ONE of the consequences of this 1986 compromise, and not the worst.

It is the use of our decaying republican institutions to enslave producers to parasites that means we are headed for war, just as much as the Compromise of 1850 dictated the outcome of Dred Scott v. Sanford and pushed the nation to war.

As soon as Obama appoints 2 or 3 more Supreme Court Justices, and they proclaim that “no producer has any rights to property or income that a parasite is bound to respect”, the fat will be in the fire.


19 posted on 05/12/2012 5:02:50 AM PDT by Jim Noble ("The Germans: At your feet, or at your throat" - Winston Churchill)
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To: muawiyah

Nice analysis.


20 posted on 05/12/2012 5:13:41 AM PDT by BRL
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To: Jim Noble
The proliferation of cheap air conditioning systems facilitated that relocation, and it's not just 'producers' else you couldn't explain the dependent class in Houston, New Orleans, etc.

Some folks like summertime weather all year long but they don't like to suffer through the 130 degree hotspots.

BTW, my explanation for the migration ~ air conditioning ~ is the least complex.

21 posted on 05/12/2012 5:15:14 AM PDT by muawiyah
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To: JLS
this is the natural result of the Dims making deals with the GOP and failing to live up on them

Great point

22 posted on 05/12/2012 5:15:45 AM PDT by BRL
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To: neverdem

“What Has Made Congress More Polarized?”

Lying democRAT, marxist thugs! Don’t forget the state run media.


23 posted on 05/12/2012 5:34:26 AM PDT by kenmcg (How)
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To: neverdem

What Has Made Congress More Polarized? The 2000 Presidential election. The Dems bared their fangs when Gore lost despite receiving more votes than Bush, and they have been on a vindictive warpath ever since. If anyone tries to tell you the problem was caused by the GOP moving right, ask them what happened to the Blue Dog Democrats.


24 posted on 05/12/2012 5:44:53 AM PDT by csmusaret (Obama's new slogan: "Fo Mo Mo Fo.")
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To: muawiyah

Now the ‘alignments’ we have are:

You got it

and

I want it


25 posted on 05/12/2012 7:36:05 AM PDT by Elsie (Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going)
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To: Elsie
Way back in medieval times that was the same polarization but at the moment WE have the upperhand in picking the class of takers.

They'll always be there, and they'll always tell us that we never had it so good ~ so shut up!

It's still good to be the king even if it's just for 2 years at a time.

26 posted on 05/12/2012 7:51:52 AM PDT by muawiyah
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To: muawiyah
INDEED!!



27 posted on 05/12/2012 11:03:43 AM PDT by Elsie (Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going)
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To: neverdem

Thanks for the ping!


28 posted on 05/12/2012 9:45:36 PM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: neverdem

>> What Has Made Congress More Polarized? <<

.
Easy: the election of representatives that know their job is to ‘represent,’ not to meet the scum in the rotten middle.
.


29 posted on 05/13/2012 3:35:34 PM PDT by editor-surveyor
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