Elections and party politics across the US

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    Paul Ryan’s retirement means the season for legislating is now officially over

Paul Ryan’s retirement means the season for legislating is now officially over

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This week, the Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan (R-WI), announced that he would be handing in his gavel at year’s end and would not run for reelection. Michele L. Swers writes that before becoming Speaker, Ryan was a well-respected conservative in pursuit of budgetary reform. In a job that he only took reluctantly, his ability to legislate effectively […]

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    In Arizona’s special Congressional election, healthcare dominates the debate in a safe red district

In Arizona’s special Congressional election, healthcare dominates the debate in a safe red district

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Congressional special elections have achieved a newfound importance, with commentators looking to their results as a potential predictor of how the Republican Party might fare in this year’s midterms. Gina Woodall warns that we should not consider the upcoming special election for Arizona’s 8th Congressional District to be a bellwether contest as some others may have been. While the […]

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    Maryland’s electoral maps show how proportional representation could solve the problem of gerrymandering

Maryland’s electoral maps show how proportional representation could solve the problem of gerrymandering

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This week the US Supreme Court hears a case concerning the constitutionality of partisan gerrymandering in Maryland. Examining current, past, and alternative electoral maps, Alex Keena, Michael Latner, Anthony J. McGann, and Charles Anthony Smith find that by making districts more competitive, some redistricting plans can actually work against one party or the other. Only the introduction of proportional representation […]

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    Insecure majorities will ensure that the Senate remains gridlocked for the foreseeable future

Insecure majorities will ensure that the Senate remains gridlocked for the foreseeable future

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Despite the intent of the Framers of the US Constitution that the US Senate would be a place for measured deliberation, it has now become nearly as partisan and gridlocked as the US House of Representatives. In new research, Jeremy Gelman finds that party members in the Senate are more likely to vote with their party when they believe […]

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    Mississippi Senator Thad Cochran’s choice to retire may cause the GOP more hassle than they bargained for

Mississippi Senator Thad Cochran’s choice to retire may cause the GOP more hassle than they bargained for

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This month, Mississippi’s long-serving senior US Senator, Thad Cochran, announced that he would be retiring in April. Rolda Darlington writes that Cochran’s resignation throws up a host of new challenges for the Republican Party, which is already on the back foot in the lead up to the 2018 midterm elections. With both of the Magnolia State’s US Senate seats […]

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    In Congressional races, political networks play an important role in ensuring minority representation

In Congressional races, political networks play an important role in ensuring minority representation

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A number of retirements in Congress ahead of the 2018 midterms have opened up the possibility for increased Latino representation in the US House of Representatives. But, the past has shown that Latino candidates aren’t always selected for, or win elections in, majority Latino districts and that Latinos and non-Latinos who are elected don’t always represent the views of […]

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    In Pennsylvania’s special election, Conor Lamb’s Democratic victory was fuelled by his moderate positions and voters’ concerns about healthcare

In Pennsylvania’s special election, Conor Lamb’s Democratic victory was fuelled by his moderate positions and voters’ concerns about healthcare

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Yesterday, Democrat Conor Lamb claimed victory in the special election for Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District. Lamb’s election win comes as a surprise in a district which voted for President Trump by a margin of 20 percentage points in 2016. Michelle Atherton writes that Lamb, who had largely moderate positions on issues such as abortion and the 2nd Amendment, was […]

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    Why the 2018 elections may bring a surge in state legislative competition

Why the 2018 elections may bring a surge in state legislative competition

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While most observers of US politics tend to focus on national and state-wide races, election contests for state legislative seats can also be incredibly important, especially given that state legislatures are often responsible for redrawing states’ Congressional boundaries. State legislative elections are often uncompetitive, with more than 40 percent of state elections lacking more than one major party candidate. […]

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    The Democratic Party’s presidential primary lasts too long—and that may hurt the eventual nominee

The Democratic Party’s presidential primary lasts too long—and that may hurt the eventual nominee

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In the lead-up to the 2016 Democratic primary, most commentators believed that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would easily win her party’s nomination while the Republican field would be consumed by infighting. While Donald Trump became the Republican nominee in early May of 2016, Clinton took a further month to secure her own party’s nod. In new research […]

Term limits boost turnout in state legislative elections

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In recent years, some commentators have proposed introducing Congressional term limits as a way of decreasing gridlock in the US House and to increase the public’s trust for politicians. But would such limits actually be effective in re-energizing the democratic process? Daniel C. Lewis and Robynn Kuhlmann examine the effects of term limits in the 15 US states that have […]

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