Partisanship in the Trump Era: Situating Contemporary Congressional Parties in Historical Perspective
This chapter will explain why there are few incentives for members of Congress to collaborate on policy in the way that national legislators did more often than not from the Civil War up until the 1990s. It summarizes why presidential leadership on policy initiatives may yield few returns during the current era. This analysis also examines the internal divisions within the Republican and Democratic parties and characterizes them in light of the internal coalitions of the two parties, the demographic changes afoot in the country, and the ever-evolving geographic footprints of the two parties. The chapter concludes with discussion about what the status quo—characterized by intense competition between the two main parties, divisions within them, and the absence of effective policymaking at the national level—might give way to in the coming decades.