Divided government, ideological polarization, and factional coalitions : a study of the House, 1947-2000
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To understand the dynamics of legislative gridlock, as well as account for the mixed and often conflicting findings in the divided government literature, this paper posits that the previous unidimensional approach of using divided government as an explanatory variable of interest fails to accurately reflect the changing realities of American politics since WWII. Two new and interlocking conceptual approaches are introduced that expand the dimensionality of legislative gridlock: ideological polarization explained through the temporal shift of political parties from a party system of moderation and universalistic policy outputs, to one where particularistic goals became much more common. As studies of divided government center on temporally-bound concepts, they ignore most of the inter- and intra-party variation evident throughout the latter 20th century.