Polarization Nation

AP US Government & Politics

How often do House members from the president's party vote with the president?

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What is the big story this chart tells?

  3. What is one reason for party polarization in the House?

  4. What is one consequence of party polarization in the House?

  5. In 1958, a House Democrat was just about as likely as not to vote with Republican President Eisenhower. Why has party loyalty in House voting changed over the past 6 decades?

  6. Overall, is this hyper-party polarization good or bad news?

  7. How different do you think these numbers are in the Senate?

  8. If the trends depicted in this chart continue, how often will party members vote against their president by the year 2020?

  9. If you were a Republican House member from Arkansas, what incentives would influence you to vote with the president's party.

  10. What is the overall effect of this hyper-party loyalty on the American political system?

  11. What would be one change that we could make to the US electoral system that would lower political partisanship in the House?

  12. Can you think of any bill where your own House Representative crossed party lines and voted against their party?

  13. Do you believe that Prince wrote a song called Political Party Polarization Like it's 1999 or is that fake news?

  14. Party polarization sounds sort of like winterizing your political party. Do you agree?

  15. how could Trump's (or any president’s) approval ratings affect party loyalty in the House?

  16. Would the chart above make James “Ambition must be made to counteract ambition” Madison, author of Federalist No. 51 happy?


Learning Extension

Read this fantabulous 538 analysis of party polarization.


Action Extension

Research your Senator or House member and find out how often they vote with the president. Are they with the president

100-80% Trumpier than Trump

79-60% Super-TrumpY

59-40% Trump Friendly

39-20% Anti-Trump

19-00% Trump-Hater

Contact your House Member and ask them how many times they have crossed party lines in a House vote, and under what circumstances they would cross party lines in the future. Share their response with class or online.

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