Elections and party politics across the US

  • Permalink Gallery

    Competitive general elections can mean more productive legislators, but only up to a point.

Competitive general elections can mean more productive legislators, but only up to a point.

Share this:

The public’s levels of trust and confidence in Congress have been at rock bottom for the best part of a decade, something which may be related to the perception that lawmakers do very little whilst they are in Washington DC. But can the threat of a competitive election or a primary challenge spur a lawmaker to be more productive? […]

  • Permalink Gallery

    Maine’s election shows that ranked-choice voting is hot right now. But we have been here before.

Maine’s election shows that ranked-choice voting is hot right now. But we have been here before.

Share this:

This week voters in the Pine Tree State chose to continue using ranked-choice voting in state-wide elections. Jack Santucci explains that ranked-choice voting is likely to be adopted in polarized political environments, creating majorities where there currently are none, and as a reaction to unpopular politicians who have won without majorities of votes. He reminds us that the current […]

  • Permalink Credit: Dean Shareski (Flickr, CC-BY-NC-2.0)Gallery

    State legislators are less likely to respond to constituents who are not white

State legislators are less likely to respond to constituents who are not white

Share this:

The election of Donald Trump in 2016 has reignited debates over immigration and race in America. In new research, Micah Gell-Redman, Neil Visalvanich, Charles Crabtree, and Christopher Fariss examine how state legislators respond to minority and immigrant constituents by sending emails to more than 5,000 elected officials in 42 states. They find that Black and Hispanic senders were less […]

  • Permalink Gallery

    An older Congress tends to support more policies that benefit older Americans

An older Congress tends to support more policies that benefit older Americans

Share this:

While experience can be an important part of being an effective politician, the average age of a US senator is 62; for the House it is 58. In new work, Matthew R. Haydon and James M. Curry look at why it matters if Congress is older than the rest of the country. Examining over 13,000 Congressional bills, they find […]

  • Permalink Gallery

    Sex and religion were the biggest influences on #NeverTrump Republicans

Sex and religion were the biggest influences on #NeverTrump Republicans

Share this:

In the lead up to the 2016 election, many Congressional Republicans joined the #NeverTrump movement in opposition to Donald Trump’s candidacy. In new research Lauren Johnson, Deon McCray, and Jordan Ragusa investigate why some lawmakers signed on to the movement while others did not. They find that the most significant predictors for joining the #NeverTrump movement were lawmakers’ religion […]

  • Permalink Gallery

    Information inequality makes voters vulnerable to manipulation

Information inequality makes voters vulnerable to manipulation

Share this:

This vulnerability makes some large news organisations particularly powerful around the world, write Andrea Prat and Patrick Kennedy.

The media industry is unique in its ability to spread information that may influence the democratic process. There is ample evidence that news coverage influences voting and policy-making, and this issue has become even more prominent after the controversy over the role […]

  • Permalink Gallery

    Why the extensive use of executive orders by state governors may not be a threat to democracy

Why the extensive use of executive orders by state governors may not be a threat to democracy

Share this:

Like the president, state Governors frequently make use of executive orders in order to pursue their agendas. But do these unilateral actions undermine democracy? No, argue Alexandra G. Cockerham and Robert E. Crew, Jr, who find that legislatures can be willing to delegate policy-making authority to governors if they are of the same party or if the legislature is […]

  • Permalink Gallery

    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

Share this:

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 […]

  • Permalink Credit: By United States Coast Survey [Public domain], via Wikimedia CommonsGallery

    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

Share this:

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 […]

  • Permalink Gallery

    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

Share this:

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 […]

This work by LSE USAPP blog is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported.