Book

Compromise in an age of party polarization (2020)

in: Oxford scholarship online

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Abstract

Congressional debates are increasingly defined by gridlock and stalemate, with partisan showdowns that lead to government shutdowns. Compromise in Congress seems hard to reach. But do politicians deserve all the blame? Legislators who resist concessions and stand firm to their convictions might be doing just what voters want them to do. If this is true, however, then citizens must shoulder some of the responsibility for gridlock in Congress. This book challenges this wisdom and argues that Americans value compromise as a way to resolve differences in times of partisan division. Using evidence from a variety of surveys and innovative experiments, the book demonstrates that citizens want more from politics than just ideological representation - they also care about the processes by which disagreements are settled.