Politics to the Extreme American Political Institutions in the Twenty-First Century

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2013-12-11
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan

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Contemporary American politics have produced levels of ideological conflict not seen since the Civil War. Congressional voting records especially illustrate the increasing ideological polarization between Democrats and Republicans in the Senate. In the 95th Senate, conservative Democrats and liberal Republicans overlapped in the center of the political spectrum. A decade later, the degree of ideological overlap had plummeted, and by the 109th Congress it had all but disappeared. The result is the near-complete gridlock the country has experienced over the last decade, resonating from the fiscal cliff to the debt ceiling. Politics to the Extreme brings together leading scholars and experts to examine how ideological warfare infects and affects American political institutions, hindering the ability on our institutions to respond to pressing policy challenges. This incisive and approachable analysis also identifies solutions for bridging the partisan divide and restoring courtesy to Congress.

Author Biography

Scott A. Frisch is Professor and Chair of Political Science at California State University Channel Island. He is the author of The Politics of Pork: A Study of Congressional Appropriations Earmarks and a coauthor with Sean Q Kelly of three books including Committee Assignment Politics in the U.S. House of Representatives

Sean Q Kelly is Professor of Political Science at California State University Channel Islands. He is a coauthor of three books with Scott Frisch, most recently Cheese Factories on the Moon: Why Earmarks are Good for American Democracy and Jimmy Carter and the Water Wars: Presidential Influence and the Politics of Pork.

Table of Contents

Foreword; Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein
Introduction; Scott A. Frisch and Sean Q Kelly
1. Appropriations to the Extreme: Partisanship and the Power of the Purse; Geoffrey W. Buhl, Scott A. Frisch and Sean Q Kelly
2. The Gingrich Senators, the Tea Party Senators, and Their Effect on the U.S. Senate; Sean Theriault
3. The Weaponization of Congressional Oversight: The Politics of the Watchful Eye, 1947-2010; David C.W. Parker and Matthew Dull
4. Party Polarization, Member Incivility, and Legislative Productivity: A Two-Dimensional Perspective on Conflict and Moderation in Congress; Lawrence C. Dodd and Scot Schraufnagel
5. Let's Play Hardball: Congressional Partisanship in the Television Era; Douglas Harris
6. Profile Politics: Examining Polarization through Congressional Member Facebook Pages; José Marichal
7. Necessary and Damaging: Presidential Base Electoral Strategies and Partisan Polarization; Lara Brown
8. A Polarizing Supreme Court? Judicial Decisions in a Red/Blue America; Kevin J. McMahon
9. Growing Apart: 'Civilista' Attempts to Bridge the Partisan Rift; Frank Mackaman
10. Can Polarization be Mitigated? California's Experiment with the Top-Two Primary; Seth Masket
11. How to Turn Democrats and Republicans into Americans; Mickey Edwards

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