Elections and party politics across the US

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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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    Just like previous presidents, Donald Trump’s political fortunes rise and fall with the economy

Just like previous presidents, Donald Trump’s political fortunes rise and fall with the economy

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In spite of an ever-growing list of scandals and criminal indictments, President Trump’s job approval rating has rallied from its December nadir. Trump’s approval rating is now in the low 40s – where Reagan’s and Clinton’s approval stood around the time of their first midterm elections. Given Trump’s controversial statements and the various crises which have gripped the White […]

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    Why do lawmakers shutdown the government? Evidence from California shows we should ‘follow the money.’

Why do lawmakers shutdown the government? Evidence from California shows we should ‘follow the money.’

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The US government has shut down three times since 2013, with two of those budget impasses falling in the last two months. But given the political risks inherent in not funding the government, why would lawmakers choose to cause a shutdown? In new research which examines California’s many state government shutdowns in the 1980s through the 2000s, Stan Oklobdzija […]

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    Rand Paul’s budget filibuster shows the decline of the US Senate as a deliberative body

Rand Paul’s budget filibuster shows the decline of the US Senate as a deliberative body

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Last week Kentucky GOP Senator Rand Paul filibustered a budget bill which would have kept the US government open. John D. Rackey writes that Paul’s filibuster – which was very unusual in and of itself – was in protest that his amendment to the budget bill was not given a vote. This lack of input outside of the Senate […]

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