Posted by | September 21, 2010 11:32 | Filed under: Top Stories

by Stuart Shapiro

A new paper by political scientists Sean Theriault and David Rohde puts forth an interesting hypothesis for the increase in partisanship in the United States Senate (h/t Monkey Cage):

It finds that the growing divide between the voting scores of Democrats and Republicans in the Senate can be accounted for almost entirely by the election of a particular breed of senator: Republicans who were previously elected to the House after 1978. It is the replacement of retiring or defeated senators (both Democrat and Republican) by these newly elected former House Republicans that single-handedly can account for almost the entire growth in the divide between Democrats and Republicans in the Senate since the early 1980s.

Newt Gingrich elevated partisanship to an art form and it was his take no prisoners style that helped lead to the Republican takeover in 1994.  Now those who learned at his knee are gumming up the works in the Senate, holding up nominations, and refusing cloture are any legislation that is the least bit controversial.  This is something to keep in mind as this election approaches.  Some of the Republicans elected will fade away quickly but some will be plaguing us for decades to come.

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Copyright 2010 Liberaland
By: Stuart Shapiro

Stuart is a professor and the Director of the Public Policy
program at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers
University. He teaches economics and cost-benefit analysis and studies
regulation in the United States at both the federal and state levels.
Prior to coming to Rutgers, Stuart worked for five years at the Office
of Management and Budget in Washington under Presidents Clinton and
George W. Bush.