The Great Divide: Congressional Partisanship in American Government

Enter into any conversation about contemporary politics and someone will inevitably ask, Has Congress always been this partisan? It's a puzzling question for political junkies and novices alike. Congress has always played host to political adversaries; bitter policy debates are nothing new. What is new, however, is the degree to which members of Congress oppose each other along party lines. Partisan voting in Congress, where the majority of Democrats vote in opposition to the majority of Republicans, is at its highest level since the end of Reconstruction. This book explores the most-often cited institutional and political explanations for hyper-partisanship in Congress, including redistricting, ideological voting, and the permanent campaign. Author Marian Currinder synthesizes the most recent political science literature on partisan polarization in a way that is accessible to a broad audience, relying on narrative rather than complex statistical analysis to answer the question of How did we get here? ; and explains how today's partisan polarization is the result of several long-term political and social trends that have driven us and those who represent us far apart. Readers are also challenged to consider how their own actions may contribute to heightened polarization; by making deliberate choices about where to live, where to get our news, and with whom to socialize, we limit our exposure to a diversity of views.