Share this

Is Bipartisanship Dead? Policy Agreement and Agenda-Setting in the House of Representatives, Laurel Harbridge

Reviewed by Eric M. Uslaner

BUY

 

I came to this book with conflicting presumptions. Laurel Harbridge argues that bipartisanship is not dead. I know her work and have been impressed with much of it. But I regularly teach courses (graduate, honors, undergraduate) on political polarization. I have been warning about incivility in Congress since my 1993 book The Decline of Comity in Congress and continue to write about the negative effects of polarization and gridlock. If I did not think that we have entered a period of strong, even extreme, polarization, I would not spend so much time on it.

So I started Harbridge’s book with both interest and skepticism. She argues that cosponsorship of legislation across party lines is the foundation of bipartisanship. Cosponsored legislation—in which at least 20 percent of the “opposition” party joins the sponsoring members—has lots of positive benefits. Such bills have a much greater chance of passing the House, becoming enacted into law, and helping members gain votes in the most competitive districts— especially when the majority party has a small margin. In the period of her study, from 1973 to 2004, “between 20 and 40 percent of all House bills introduced ...[were] bipartisan” (p. 33, italics in original); over this time period, the share of bills sponsored by the majority party with b

To continue reading, see options above.

More by This Author

FDR and the Jews, Richard Breitman and Allan J. Lichtman Reviewed by Eric M. Uslaner

Congress Behaving Badly: The Rise of Partisanship and Incivility and the Death of Public Trust, Sunil Ahuja Reviewed by Eric M. Uslaner

Democratic Challenges, Democratic Choices: The Erosion of Political Support in Advanced Industrial Democracies, Russell J. Dalton Reviewed by Eric M. Uslaner

Producing and Consuming Trust, Eric M. Uslaner

more by this author

About PSQ's Editor

Demetrios James Caraley

Full Access

Join the Academy of Political Science and automatically receive Political Science Quarterly.

Editor’s spotlight

Strengths and Weaknesses in U.S. Elections

Complications of American Democracy: Elections Are Not Enough
Demetrios James Caraley

Why Americans Deserve a Constitutional Right to Vote for Presidential Electors
Demetrios James Caraley

Search the Archives

Publishing since 1886, PSQ is the most widely read and accessible scholarly journal with distinguished contributors such as: Lisa Anderson, Robert A. Dahl, Samuel P. Huntington, Robert Jervis, Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Theda Skocpol, Woodrow Wilson

view additional issues

New APS Book

Continuing Issues in U.S. National Security Policy   CONTINUING ISSUES IN U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY POLICY

Most read

Articles | Book reviews

Understanding the Bush Doctrine
Robert Jervis

The Study of Administration
Woodrow Wilson

Notes on Roosevelt's "Quarantine" Speech
Dorothy Borg

view all

About US

Academy of Political Science

The Academy of Political Science, promotes objective, scholarly analyses of political, social, and economic issues. Through its conferences and publications APS provides analysis and insight into both domestic and foreign policy issues.

Political Science Quarterly

With neither an ideological nor a partisan bias, PSQ looks at facts and analyzes data objectively to help readers understand what is really going on in national and world affairs.

Stay Connected

newsstand locator
About APS