Party Polarization In Congress

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The United States congressional process can be described in many ways, but in recent years approval ratings have hit rock bottom. The words dysfunctional, broken, and chaotic are just a few ways citizens and other lawmakers have described the process. The framers had a strong vision of how they wanted Congress to operate, but in the recent decades, it has proven almost impossible for Congress to conduct business effectively. These issues in Congress have spawned from party polarization to individual members centralizing on their own agendas, to other internal complications within Capitol Hill. In the last few decades, party polarization has been on the rise in the House and Senate. The phenomena known as partisan sorting is an attribution…show more content…
In the House of Representatives, previously, they had a decentralized, committee dominated system that has now been replaced by a centralized, party-dominated system (Barber & McCarty 42). In the party-dominated systems, the judgement is less likely to come from the committees. The party leaders, in turn, have increasingly started making the decisions about policy (Barber & McCarty 42). Consequently, this has made the committees more partisan and diminishes the opinions of the minority (Barber & McCarty 42). As the committees become more partisan they also become more polarized, which in the end gives the committees less incentive to make a compromise, or for members to vote with the other party. Barber and McCarty found that there was also increased violations of seniority for committee leadership (43). This disadvantages the members that are not loyal to the party and undermines the legislative process. These changes, according to case studies, have unfavorable effects on the quality and process of legislation (Barber & McCarty…show more content…
While members of Congress are campaigning, they are not in Washington doing the job their constituents elected them for. Frank Smith, a Congressmen from Mississippi wrote “All members of Congress have a primary interest in getting re-elected. Some members have no other interest” (Mayhew 16). Members of Congress are not subject to term limits so they are constantly worrying about being re-elected. Thus, promoting their own personal agenda before passing legislation. Prioritizing fundraising for members own agenda and their parties are undermining the legislative body the framers laid out and disregarding their legislative duties. The deliberation process to get a bill or law passed requires a lot of time and effort from members, however, when they are campaigning instead this devotes less time to legislation and contributes to the dysfunction and broke

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