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Congress: More Polarized

There’s no overlap between Democrats and Republicans in Congress today. What are the consequences?

By John C. Fortier and Eric Larson

Republicans and Democrats in Congress have always had ideological differences. But the two parties today are much further apart than they were a generation ago. Political analyst Norm Ornstein uses the metaphor of the political parties as teams on a football field.* Imagine members of Congress lined up on a football field with the Republican endzone on the right and the Democratic endzone on the left. In much of the twentieth century, you would have seen players from each party milling around the 50 yard line and some crossing over onto the other team’s side of the field. There were a lot of moderates and cross-party alliances on votes.